Day 39: Meeting Joe

The night was a bit breezy, but without any rain. I had used my sleeping pad inside the hammock and that seems to have kept my bottom from getting too cold. Though given that as I lay down the hammock tended to sag, all the loose stuff moved towards my arse. I guess I will have to hook things up properly the next time. The sleep was good and I tossed around a bit. But as far as hammock as a fair weather sleeping solution goes, I think I am happy with it.

After the gorgeous sunset yesterday, I came back and slept through. I was up at 6ish and started packing up at 7. The packing time was a little longer than usual because I have not settled the hammock routine yet. Made a coffee and oatmeal and headed out at 8:30.

The route out was on the 101 which was a bit of a hassle with all the traffic. I suppose they have done a good job of having wide shoulders along most of the road, but bits were narrow and the big trucks didn’t help much. as we rode along, after 10 miles, one of Krissi’s earlier riding buddies, Joe was heading towards us. He had decided to back track a bit so we could ride together. Nice. We rode along and stopped at some of the numerous view points to look at the gorgeous Pacific. At one place, we hung out a bit and spotted a whale too! whoop whoop.

Our next stop was a well known bike shop in Newport. They were known for having a super bike tourist friendly shop with showers and occasional camping too. We had to check it out and the guys there were exceptional and super friendly. I snagged one of their shop stickers for my collection on the computer. Well worth advertising for. While there, I managed to get a set of used silver shifters (a replacement for my bar ends). A few weeks back, some plastic bits on my shifters broke off. They still work ok and bike shops in Pdx said it was fine. I had taped it and it is working alright. But I figured at 25$ for a super sweet shifters was well worth the price and a old backup to have.

We decided to make a lunch stop at Newport and found a good cafe for a bean burrito and coffee (free refills!). I tried o get my internet work done while in wifi zone and after a long break (1.5 hrs or so) we got back on the road again. The only hill for the day was before Newport and later on it was pretty flat with strong tailwinds. The best a cyclist can hope for. The 101 was generally boring, but once in a while it would open up to some nice ocean views. We met a couple of other cyclists and invited them to join us at the campsite. Guess they decided to wild camp tonight.

We got to the beachside state park slightly after 4 and found a sweet cozy nook to camp in. Once again, at 6$ with great showers, I am enjoying the camping here! Here’s to day 2 of hammocking…

Route: Lincoln City to Beachside State Park
Distance: 77
Ascent: 2000
Descent: 2050
Expenses: 20$
Comment: Hammock worked good. Good start to the experiments.

Day 38: Sighting the Pacific ocean, again.

The days have definitely gotten shorter since I had camped last and given the fog in the coast, I couldn’t get the sunlight disturbing my sleep till 6:30. I eventually got up at 7 and packed up inside the tent. The rain had stopped overnight, but the tent was still a bit damp.

While in Pdx, I upgraded my sleeping mat from the self inflating thermarest to a ultralite Nemo. The new pad was definitely more cozy with almost 2.5 inches of air but I have to get used to it. Keeping it too stiff just made me roll around too much and sometime in the night l let out some of the air to make it easy for me to lie in place.

I made a b’fast of oatmeal and headed out in the fog. The weather wasn’t too cold, true thermometer reading 17C, so a pleasant start to the day. The road was nice and flat for a bit and then climbed steeply up the coastline. The nominal upslope was about 7% with some sections hitting 10% which was a bit of a work with the loaded bike. At some point, we stopped for a short break and I got my glimpse of the Pacific Ocean roaring way down the cliff. I spotted a Huge island with a hole, which brought back painful memories of the first few days of the Te Araroa on the 90 mile beach.

The road went up and then descended nicely towards 101 which is the spine of the coastal highways. There were a couple of possible back roads and we took one. I stopped for a shirt bit for a bite. It was too early as 3 miles down the road was a proper town with fancy cafes while I ended up with sugar shot on raisin rolls.

We planned to get to Lincoln City which was a good enough distance for the day and there was a detour for us to make via the old 101 highway. The road was super quiet and fantastic to ride on. A very enjoyable way to get into town.

As we got into town, I spotted a McMenamins (a nice chain of pubs in Pdx) and stopped for a late lunch. The burger was pricy, but I enjoyed it anyway. Next stop was our campsite, just a few km away and we arrived ear;y enough for me to scout a spot for the hammock. ah, I picked up a nice hammock while in Pdx to see if It would be a feasible solution for camping. I am carrying additional weight (unusual for me) but if it works, I might decide between the hammock or tent, going forward.

We found a decent spot just at the entrance with strong trees and I set up my hammock there. It took a while to get it right, but I suppose its the learning phase now and I was pleased with the setup (though I set it up facing the wrong side. duh. Hopefully I sleep decent tonight.

Route: Tillamook to Lincoln City
Distance: 81.5
Ascent: 2800
Descent: 2900
Money: 38.25
Comment: Hopefully the Hammock experiment works

Day 37: Hello Krissi or How I decided to leave a cozy home and ride up and down hills again

First things first… A week back krissi had messaged me and mentioned she decided to ride the US Coast and was heading towards Portland. Aish invited her down to hillsboro and she showed up a couple of days back. A few rest days and a bit of a chat later, we figured we could be riding down the coast together and decided to continue to ride as a duo.

So this morning, we planned to start and krissi decided to make some pancakes at home and we had a nice long b’fast. I suckered my brother to join us for a bit and he joined in the morning ride up to highway 6. It was good because navigating to the quieter 6 was a bit of a work and we speedily made our way out. After a brief stop for coffee, we parted ways. I have had an awesome time in PDX as I always do and its about time I head south to meet my visa deadline in November.

The day was overcast, typical of what I expect in PDX this time of the year and we rode gently up over the coastal mountains. I have ridden this route before and it was still pretty ride. The weather helped a bit, though I was under a lot of load. I have been riding the past weeks unloaded and riding the bike with full load again was a bit of a work. Luckily the slopes were gentle (max of 6%) and we got to the crest around 1 pm. Along the descent, we found a nice camp spot and decided to do a picnic lunch there. It was a lovely spot and if given an option I’d have stayed there. But we were only 50 km in and decided to push on.

There was supposed to be another hill according to my gps, but we were gradually going down al the time. I realised the track on my GPS was on dirt roads and the hill would not be showing up after all. So reaching Tillamook was going to be easy. Towards the end of the ride it started to drizzle a bit, the typical NW rain, which is small enough not to be a problem, but big enough to get everything wet.

When we got into town, we decided to look for a shop with cheesecake (after all tillamook is known for its cheeses), but we couldn’t find any. Bummer. We snacked on some of the pancakes from morning and looked up the maps for a campsite there was one by the coast, about 20 km away and we rode on. I had to stop off to stock up on cooking fuel and as we rode on, we saw a couple of private campsites. It was getting dark and the prospect of riding another 1.5 hrs didn’t look good and we decided to stay when the light was still good.

The place was an RV park, but pretty quiet anyway and the rain continued as we cooked and ate food. Looks like a few days of persistent wet weather. Good for the region, which has been dry al summer, but not so great when I am on the bike and camping. Ah well. I had a month of fantastic time, so I can’t complain really…

Route: Hillsboro to Tillamook
Distance: 111
Ascent: 1900
Descent: 2150
Money: 22.50
Comment: Awesome to start the day with Aish and Krissi

Bootcamp – 10th Anniversary Special Edition

I haven’t written much about my time in PDX. I have been here during late summer / Fall for the past 10 years and have quietly followed along Aish for the first few years learning the ropes of camping / hiking / climbing. In the last many seasons, it has been intense cycling and hiking sessions with Satya who joins us from the East Coast.

Over the years we have explored numerous hikes in the gorge and rode to the coast. And once we got bored of some of the trails in town, we even rode up into S Oregon and Washington to hike / bike. Here’s what an unknown poet had to say about this madness…

two short of a dozen
peaks hiked, miles ridden
in heat, brazen, in cold, frozen
in bootcamp, nothing is hidden

10 years this fall, not a task for all
for ye finish bootcamp, ye get a glory stamp
hikes, walks, bikes, all that make one say yikes!
two short of a dozen, in bootcamp nothing is hidden

I might even hazard to say that a lot of the work we have put in over the years gave me confidence to start long distance hiking and touring. So blame it all on the bootcamp. This is the place I buy and test gear. This is where I stock up on camping and back country tricks.

The thing about the Boot camp is the idea that it is unadulterated masochism with no point to it at all. There are rides to ride, hikes to hike, distances to cover, heights to climb, food to eat, ales to drink. And behind it all is just the notion that we one up year after year. Its a short and intense 2 week period of utter madness.

Every day starts with a nice big b’fast and then goes down to putting the body thro some insane amount of workout and ends with a big dinner and a sleep that comes to only those who have toiled all day hard in the outdoors, like peasants and miners. And wake up again the day after and rinse and repeat.

One could dig deep to find a philosophical insight to the process, but that deviates from the essence of this annual event. So let’s not look into any reasons. Instead, just look at the events that we participated in the big One Oh version.

The overall stats looks something like this:

Distance: 663.5 Km
Ascent: 5,862 m (FYI: Mt everest is 8,848 m)

Pst. The 11th iteration might be a first ever International Boot camp. So come back in a year to see what we might be up to.

Day 36: A rest day and a short break from touring

The Detar family were really awesome. Will was the one who toured across america, but his mum was amazing and had toured Washington with him! The rest of the family were all in multiple sports and were hugely enthusiastic about my journey too.

We talked a long while, asking about each others travels and telling stories. They lived in a beautiful house which had a real rustic feel and I was provided with a really comfy bed to sleep on. Ah nothing better.

Cynthia, was a great cook too and made a lot of vegetable and fruit salads that I dug in, heh. It was a nice relaxing day for sure and I felt pretty well rested after the long section of 8 or so days.

I was hoping to ride across East WA or OR and try to get to my brother’s place near Portland, but he decided instead to drive up and give me a ride back to his place. It was a long and hot drive I reckon of 400+ miles (about 6-7 hrs) and he wanted to head back home.

Cynthia and Tom offered for us to stay the night, but given that aish had a few engagements thro the day , we decided to ride back part way in the evening. Fitting the big bike in the boot was a bit of a work, but we managed it and headed out.

We ended up staying after a 3 hr ride in a motel. The place was basic and at 60$ pretty steep for me these days. Still a nice comfy place to sleep is necessary so we can be well rested for the rest of the drive tomorrow.

We got back to familiar grounds in the day and I felt immediately at home with the neighbourhood I have seen evolve in the past decade or so. Glad to be home. The next few weeks are going to be one of binge eating and doing day trips on the bike and foot.

There won’t be much updates on the blog till I start my tour again. May be 3 to 5 weeks I reckon. But do keep an eye out as I might just write about the day trips I end up taking…

So long…

Route: Post Falls
Distance: 0 Km
Time in saddle: hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 0
Comments: A lovely host family!