Cruising!

We are starting to crank up the mileage. We have been doing 70+ miles a day. Some places we have gone through the past few days since Lander are Jeffery City, Split rock, Rawlins, Saratoga, Rand, Grandby, Kremmling. We are staying in Silverthorn tonight just outside of Breckenridge, Colorado. We were so happy to cross the state line two days ago! 

We are planning on getting to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp two days from now and are really pumped to get to one of our favorite places in the world! Seth and I worked as counsellors there together a few summers ago. And Rmmc has been huge part of Seth’s life. Then we will go take a rest day in Colorado Springs at Seth’s house. There we plan to catch up on writing some more in depth blogs about some of the events of this past week! The stories are never ending it seems. 

But I’ll give you a bit of insight into our life today. What day is it? Today, is June 15 Monday. I never really know what day of the week it is, I always have to ask Seth and Jackson. That is either a sign of truly living in the moment or just being out of the loop. Oh and we started the trip a month ago today. Woo!

Jackson had to wrestle me out of my sleeping bag this morning. We camped in national forest in this valley, in the mountains, by this stream, all factors including a very clear night which led to an unbearably cold morning. We all bundled up and we savoured the warm oatmeal and tea. It was hard to make sandwiches my hands were so cold, and the peanut butter was hardly spreadable and the honey practically frozen. We all were doing jumping jacks to get the blood pumping. I was moaning and groaning the whole morning, for some reason complaining about how cold it was helped. As soon as we started biking we realized Seth was one smart cookie for bringing gloves that extend over the fingers. Jackson and I, unaccustomed to cold Colorado mornings thought our fingers were about to fall off as we rode. We finally came to this part in the road after what felt like forever where the sun was peaking over the mountain. We all stopped and soaked it up and put socks on our hands. After a little while the sun covered the road and after riding in the sun for 5 minutes we had to stop and strip the hundreds of layers that we were wearing, I couldn’t believe the almost instant change in temp. Riding was really smooth today, we had long downhill all the way to Kremmling. Then long gradual climb to Silverthorn. We were going to stay at this campground outside of town about 8 miles before Silverthorn. But when we got there there wasn’t any water.  Well shoot, I guess we will keep biking. From the map we have it looked like there was some camping in Frisco. We tried contacting some warmshowers hosts in Frisco, but that didn’t work out. As we rolled into Silverthorn we stopped at a gas station to go to the bathroom. Seth and I were just sitting on the curb and I saw a guy carrying a bike wheel, I gave him a smile and he came over to talk with us. Kirt, our hero. Seth and I realized later that we probably looked like death just sitting exhausted on the sidewalk of the gas station. Kirt, also a biker, invited us over to stay at his place, which was literally just accross the street, but not before he bought us all cold drinks. He grilled us up some pork and chicken breasts and we ate sweet corn, asparagus and honeydew melon. Kirt has been very kind and generous to us this evening. Would you invite three strangers who you meet at a gas station over to your house?  Also he was the first person we have met that when we told him we went to Goshen college he stopped for a few seconds to think then said “oh yeah, Mennonites right?”. Turns out one of his good friends from when he lived in Atlanta was a Goshen alum, Nate Osborne. Kirt is extremely bright, and comes across as very respectable with great wisdom. We were glad to be so fortunate to meet him and appreciate his on the spot generosity! 

Hoosier pass tomorrow, but not before some pancakes!! 

Finding a Rhythm 

We have been on the road for just over three weeks now. And we have been cherishing our rest days. Our time at Jenny lake was absolutely amazing and we had a very enjoyable day off the bikes. We decided to get into a new rhythm and set the alarms for 5am, ouch. But soo worth trying to ride early and beat some of the winds. We have also been making lunches and doing other things before we go to bed so we can get on the read asap in the morning. Riding along the eastern range of the Tetons was some of the most beautiful riding of our trip! With the early start, we got to watch the sun continue to rise and the transition of the peaks from a pinkish color to their white rocky cops. We were constantly looking back throughout the morning as we rode east. 

  
Oh I almost forgot! We had an unexpected visit from an animal in the middle of the night our second night at Jenny lake. Jackson and I were in the tent and see was in his hammock as usual. Around 2am Jackson nudged me awake and told me there was something in the camp. We froze. Neither of us dared to breathe. After being taught about all the bear rules by Seth we were on high alert. As we laid there listening and sweating, I kept thinking “please go away , please go away” and had the image of a bear slashing through the tent’s walls and attacking us stuffed in our sleeping bags something similar to a bear’s version of pigs in a blanket. Jackson was thinking the whole time “please let there not be food in the tent, I hope we don’t have any food in here”. We try to be really hydrated when we go to bed so we usually wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, Rather than cramping up. So naturally as the animal is sniffing and breathing right next to jacksons side of the tent we are trying to hold extremely still with bursting bladders. I was glad Jackson was between me and the beast! Jackson was sure the sounds we were hearing was a bear clawing through our panniers and the end of our trip was upon us. After what seemed an eternity we scrambled out of the tent to relieve ourselves before diving back into the protection of the tent, both glad that we weren’t alone like Seth over in his hammock over yonder. Well turns out the night does funny things with the imagination and Seth informed us it was just an elk grazing close by.

   Probably this elk, who came back in the morning when we were packing up to leave
  
  
Ok back to the biking. We were trying to get to Dubois Wyoming. Unfortunately we had done about 30 miles when Jackson was starting to really feel bad. Head cold and nausea. He had been feeling bad during the rest day and we decided that it would be best for him to hitchhike to Dubois and Seth and I would meet him there. It was going to be a big day and we didn’t want him to try to push through it, and feel even worse the next day. So we flagged down a truck and a young man heading towards Dubois said he’d be happy to take Jackson. So we threw in his bike and I snuck my rear panniers onto the bed too. Haha! Seth and I had a really solid day of riding, we went over the togwotee pass, the second tallest on the transam route, got up to about 9600ft. Seth was a tank, I was breathing hard and I had half my gear! There were some great views of the Teton range in the distance. Crossing the continental divide I posed for a picture holding up my bike. I teased Seth that my bike was higher than his! It was awesome to ride along and see snow still on the ground.
After a long uphil grind we were expecting to enjoy the steep downhill. But of course the wind was ripping up he valley on the otherside, preventing us from getting our speed prs. We fought the wind all afternoon on the downhill towards dubois. At one point we stopped to consult the map on how much further, and of course discovered that the river that runs along the valley we were following was called wind river. Name was very fitting. Fortunately with the early start we still rolled into Dubois around 4pm. Jackson had met a guy named Steve at the public library while he was waiting for us and Steve invited us to camp in his backyard and shower at his place. We hung out a bit with Steve, Matt and Noah in the evening. Steve had a record collection like none other. I’ve only seen more records at the records store in Goshen ignition garage. His guy knew music! As we lay in the tent reading and relaxing before bed we listened to the music coming from Steves house. I don’t know if it was the records or the speakers but it really sounded like here was a band playing right next to us, the quality was amazing. 
Today we woke up early again and hit the road by 7. We had for the first time a slight downhill and a small breeze at our back. For the first couple hours we were just cruising at 18-20 miles an hour! As the morning wore on we were happy we were making great time. It was so beautiful going thru this Wyoming country. We saw large red and white layered sandstone hills and rolling prairies, along with many prong horned antelope. It was fun to see a herd of them running thru the prairie, legs springing as the went. Had some rolling hills along the way but they weren’t bad at all. We made it to Lander, Wyoming in record time arriving around 1:30pm after a 75 mile day. We treated ourselves to subway and are now hiding from the rain in the public library. We always try to seek out libraries. 
 We often think back to Mackenzie pass when we weren’t nearly in the shape we we’re in now and how terrible that was. When something is going bad Jackson likes to bring up the game ‘would you rather’. It pretty halarious and takes the edge off when we are all frustrated. For example, after riding into a headwind “would you rather ride for 10 miles with strong headwind or do Mackenzie pass?” Or “earwig morning in brogan or Mackenzie pass?” Anyways it helps put things into perspective and remind us of the difficulty we had with Mackenzie mentally and physically. Of course now we would do just fine on Mackenzie pass. 
Tonight we are going to run to the grocery store pick us some supplies for a couple days and then go set up camp at the city park. Heading to Jefferson City and then on towards Rawlins. 

Updates

Hello everyone! We’re sorry for the confusion and the delays in posting. All of the posts should now be finished and in order, complete with some pictures as well. Enjoy and thanks for following!

Boise paradise, Running Bear, Crators of the Moon, free BBQ

After our quite adventurous days from Bakers city, we enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of Karen Miller and Sean Hassinger, some of our family friends who also attend Little Eden camp with us the same week in July every year. I’m bummed that I’ll be missing the fun in northern Michigan this year. We enjoyed sleeping in and getting up and making breakfast and relaxing. We should have wrote some blog updates while we were there but we were all feeling super lazy and just wanted to enjoy our vacation at the Millers. With a 9 year old Levi and two 6 year old twin boys, Seth and Isaac, there was always entertainment for us to enjoy and be a part of. Karen drove us around Boise during the early afternoon and gave us the grand tour. It was only after I sat in the front seat and we started driving down the long hill which there house rests on, when I realized how much I missed riding in cars, it just makes transportation so easy! You are all spoiled! We visited the statehouse downtown, saw the Rosa Parks memorial and of course went on our sticker hunt. Karen took us out to eat at Bittercreek Brewery, and I had the most amazing Rueban sandwich, the meat, the house sauerkraut, the sauce, the crispy bread, ahh my mouth is watering as I write this. When we got back to the house, Seth and Jackson went for afternoon naps but I couldn’t pass up swimming in the neighbors pool with Levi. Swimming and just messing around in the pool was a big highlight for me. Levi and I went to jump on the trampoline but after about 5 mins I realized that this was a terrible activity for a recovery day as my legs became jello. We enjoyed some delicious haystacks and ice cream for dinner. The boys had fun teasing Jackson about his girlfriend Emma. Another big highlight for me is that Karen let me borrow her thermarest sleeping pad! The last couple nights have been way better than the glorified yoga mat I was using. Also I gave her about 7 pounds of stuff that I was carrying but didn’t need. I had to say goodbye to my beloved jeans, unfortunately.
After a wonderful nights rest the millers loaded us up with Cliff bars and Gatorade and we were on our way. Beginning back up on the bike was not easy for me, it was a bit of a struggle to leave the relaxing vacation off biking we were enjoying. That and I was chaffing pretty bad, but that has gotten better now thanks to Chamois Butt’r and Button Hole, both great products with great names, high recommendations to both. It took us what seemed like a long time to get through the city. Well we had to stop at the Wilco to pick up some groceries too. Because we visit so many grocery stores and buy many of the same products we now know good deals or bad prices when we see them. We also realized that buying our beloved gummy bears in bulk is way cheaper! So we buy gummy by the pound, obviously. I’m afraid that we will all get cavities.

We had a lot of issues with Seth’s rear wheel in the early afternoon, which made for a long day. The route to get to where we wanted to go was another toss up. We had to choose between going over 12 miles of dirt roads or and extra 10 miles on paved to avoid it. We chose the dirt. It was beautiful scenery and only a little bit of climbing. What we weren’t expecting were the multiple climbs after we got back on the pavement. Our legs were shot when we rolled into Running Bear RV campground around 7pm.

  (Running Bear RV Camp, Seth)

The days just start blending together, its fun for us all to remember back to the different parts of the trip we have already experienced. Yesterday was probably the most typical day of the trip. Here’s what yesterday looked like:
7am Alarm. I hit snooze. Jackson and I groan and roll over. Cold outside sleeping bags. Oatmeal. Tea. Oranges. make Peanutbutterhoney sandwiches. Make Gatorade. Change into gear. Pack panniers. Sunscreen up. Roll out. 3 mile dirt road back to highway 20. Take off jackets. Morning Climb. No descent. Plains. Cliffbars, Gummies, Sandwiches. Eating/drinking constantly. Stop at least once and hour for brief rest. Larger midday rest in Fairfield ID under shade at gas station. Afternoon music session. Slight Headwind. 70miles, 5.5 hours. Butt Feels good. Get to free camping at Haspur Hatchery. Pasta dinner. Cookies. Read. Journal. Watch sunset. Sleep.
  (Seth and Jackson at our camp site at Hayspur Hatchery, ID)
Right now was are all posting our blogs from the community Library here in Arco, where we are staying tonight. We had a rough headwind today, all day, non stop. It was such a mental game, and I struggled. A large part of the ride today was large open landscape, where you can see the cars on the same road as you way in the distance. That makes days like today a bit overwhelming for me, and I have to remind myself to take it one pedal at a time, small goals. This afternoon was a grind! Nevertheless, we were able to bike through Craters of the Moon, a national monument! The landscape was just gorgeous, we were out in the middle of nowhere riding along the lava fields for miles. Just Got word that there is a free BBQ in the city Park tonight!!! Woohoo!!

  (My view from the tent last evening while reading)
We are headed to Idaho Falls tomorrow and then on to Driggs ID, to visit some of Seth’s Family. Hope everyone is enjoying their summers. Can’t believe it’s June already! Wow.

  (Greg took this after the long climb out of Mt. Vernon/Prairie City area. I kept swerving by accident while going up because I kept trying to look over my shoulder at the spectacular view. I took some time at the top to marvel at the sight.)

Ok, update on the BBQ. Basically the whole populatikn was in the city park. Apparently the local cable company does this annual BBQ for the townspeople. We had no dinner plans before we were invited and so we were thrilled. burgers and hotdogs and pasta salad.  We met our warmshowers contact at the BBQ a guy who goes by the name Scar. Ha don’t worry he’s been very hospitable and we are camping on his property for the night. 

Greg Wilson, Lake Ochoco, Ghost Town, Bike Inn

When we finally left Sisters, we flew to Redmond! We had a bit of a tailwind and our legs were feeling fresh. Our bike seats are beginning to feel like home. After spending a couple hours in Redmond getting groceries and eating lunch in the park, Seth and Jackson rudely awakened me from my nap in the shade and we continued on to Prineville. That was a relatively flat day but after lunch we all started getting side stitches from the large lunch we had, Jackson got it the worst I think. And it’s hot here in the high desert of eastern Oregon, so that afternoon wasn’t the best biking for us. When we rolled into Prineville we came across a biker that we had seen earlier just outside Redmond.

wpid-img-20150527-wa0007.jpeg

 

Greg Wilson, age 22, soon to graduate from NC state, decided to bike by himself from Portland to Denver. When he gets to Denver he is leading youth on backpacking and other adventure trips. It seems there isn’t an adventure sport this guy hasn’t done. So we added Greg to our expedition and it’s been really great, he’s been really fun to get to know and ride with. They made the connection later that Greg had asked Seth for the wifi password at the coffee shop they were both at in sisters. Little did they know we would be together for the next week or more. Greg told us about a $5 hiker/biker campsite just past Prineville that he had heard about so we all went there and camped together. It was a gorgeous spot right on Lake Ochoco. Of course we decided to go for a swim!

image

 

Although Seth declared the temp was great, Jackson was soon to  inform the rest of us that it was frigid. I was happy to get an ice bath session in. Jackson came back from the restrooms and yelled with jubilatiom that there were showers in the campground bathroom. We have some daily rituals, one of which is having Bengal spice tea in the evenings and saying our highs and lows for the day (we have always had more highs than lows thankfully). It was nice to have Greg with us and share tea with him and hangout around the picnic table as the sun cast its final rays over the lake.

imagewpid-img-20150525-wa0020.jpeg

Yesterday we were surprised to find ourselves at the top of the pass by late morning. We were all waiting for something similar to the steep Mackenzie pass we did before sisters, but it never came. We were going uphil all morning without realizing how much elevation we had gained which was a nice surprise. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but I LIVE FOR THE DOWNHILL!! Don’t worry mom, I ride it safe, but the heavy bike just makes going as fast as you can even more tempting. We flew down that mountain in beautiful scenery, desert mountain peaks sticking up all across the horizon. It was about 10 mile beautiful descent and then small climb up to the town of Mitchell, nestled in the rocky hills.

wpid-img-20150526-wa0022.jpeg

Mitchell. Well, looked like your classic western ghost town from those movies. At this point it was only 2pm, we had made great time and the next town was too far to continue onto so we were kind of stuck. We put our bikes against the small general store and sat on the bench on its front porch. There was a very mutual feeling of “where the heck am I, it is safe to be here?. Jackson brought up the horor movie the hills have eyes and told us he was keeping his eyes peeled. Greg walked into the store to check it out and the ladies inside were talking about what to do with Jerry’s ashes. That was a bit creepy. then as we continued to sit there an older man walked by us and entered the store, but not before we noticed his leather belt that had the name ‘Jerry’ inscribed on it. While we were sitting there I front of the general store a guy who introduced himself as Junior came up and told us we could set up our tents down at the park, a little green space that we could see from where we were sitting. With a bit of hesitation the four of us went to set up our stuff at the park. Greg commented later that it was fun to reflect on the transition of our experience, which turned out to be just excellent. There was a small pavilion there with outlets and a public bathroom. As we camped there reading our books, the place really started to fill up, with other tents. There were Three other bikers other than us four who were there and some touring motorcyclists. One of the bikers, Bob, was warming up for the race across America following the trains am, which he hopes to do in 29 days, that’s like 150 miles a day! The winner last year got to Mitchell from Astoria, OR before he stopped, some 36 hours of riding. No thanks, we are content to just to cruise. The other two bikers, shane and Chris, recent grads of high point university in NC were heading our direction and so our pack grew to 6 On Wednesday.

imageimage

Of course we had just another beautiful day of riding Wednesday, not too hot, not too cold, blue skies in the morning. We had a 6 mile climb out of Mitchell in the morning, which wasn’t terrible but definitely made me work hard. As I approached the summit, I saw Jackson and Seth talking with a man,Lee, was his name. He said he passed us as we were climbing up the pass and was stopping to meet us and give us watermelon. What a pleasant surprise! Get done with a solid climb and there is watermelon waiting for us at the top! Lee had renovated his van to live in year round, he is big into traveling and had a surf board and standup paddle board strapped to the top. He also is big into biking and showed us some of his mountain bikes in the back. He just drives where he wants and does what he wants. As we were parting he told us “in the end, it’s going to be alright. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end”.

image

The afternoon was a highlight of the trip for me. We rode downhill thru this canyon for a long period of time. It was magnificent, you’ll just have to look at our photos and videos. Then it opened up into this wonderful valley which we rode thru the rest of the afternoon to mount Vernon where we are now. We ate at the small cafe here in town for dinner. I had a burger with two 1/2 pound patties on it and fries. It was huge and delicious.

Our journey has landed us at a place called Bike Inn, which provides a place for bikers to stay and have a shower. Christie, the owner started opening up her guesthouse next to her home in 2006 when she saw some bikers sitting in town delirious and exhausted.

image

We have several options of where to camp today (Thursday). But there are several passes before BAkers city which is 70 miles away, so we will stop somewhere before then. Either camp near Austin junction or at the top of the second pass in national forest.  We have grown to really like Greg and I hope he continues traveling with us for a while.

 

Us us at the top on Mackenzie pass

wpid-wp-1432827238470.jpeg

Eugene 

We found somewhere to stay! Thanks for everyone who is looking out for us! We are amazed at the outpouring of support. Hadn’t posted that for 10mins and we had people calling other people they knew in Eugene. Even friends of friends were looking for someone to host us! That means we could have stayed with a friend of our friend’s friend ha! Wow networking. 

Eugene

Last night we were able to camp in the backyard of this evangelical church in swisshome oregon. We were sweaty, dirty and tired when we went to bed. Jackson and I have been sleeping in our tent while Seth has been setting up his hammock which he says is incredibly comfortable. Jackson and I are glad for the extra space. it was nice to fall asleep to the pitter patter of rain on the fly.

We got up this morning and biked about 50 miles to Eugene where we are now. We had one big climb to do this afternoon and I got up to 40mph one the way down. I live for the downhill thrill! Flying down the mountain side with your eyes tearing behind your glasses, and the wind in your ears, adrenalin pumping, ahh what a rush!! If only this trip was only long steep downhills. I have these clear biking glasses and Jackson calls me Bono every time I put them on.

When we rolled into town we stopped at the north end of this beautiful lake that is here in Eugene. The sun was out and we just sat and watched the marina and sailboats gliding over the water out on the lake. It was really nice to lay down a bit and take the shoes off.

image

So don’t worry, but right now it’s approaching 5pm and we aren’t sure where we are going to stay tonight. We are basically waiting for someone to call us back from Eugene Mennonite church. While we do so, I’m enjoying a bagel and humus at this local bagel shop we are at. We are going thru some other options, but if you know of anyone in Eugene who will put us up for the night let us know. We are all feeling a unique sense of calm in this moment of uncertainty!

We’re Alive!!!

Hello All!

First of all we would like to apologize for the delay in posting! A lot has happened since our last post that we need to fill you all in on.

Most importantly, I, Jackson Bush, finally was able to grace the group with my presence. I flew to Portland Thursday night, stayed with Andrew Glick that evening, and then took a bus to meet Caleb and Seth in Albany the next morning. The deal was that my bike was supposed to meet me in Albany sometime on Friday, so that I could assemble it and we could begin riding on Saturday. However, we waited a while and my bike didn’t come. After a call to Fedex confirmed what we had been afraid of, we came to terms with the fact that my bike wasn’t coming on Friday and our only option was to wait until Monday for it to come.

This, of course, wasn’t the end of the world as we were staying with Rich and Twila Lehman who are two extremely hospitable and flexible people. So, we ended up staying the weekend in Albany. I was able to borrow one of Rich’s bikes so we could go riding every day while we were there. We as a group are extremely grateful for the hospitality we received while staying at the Lehmans, even though we tried to eat them out of house and home.

By the end of the weekend I was especially itching to get on my bike and ride. Monday morning we packed up and waited for my bike to arrive. Fortunately, it came around 10:30 and we began to assemble it right away. Of course it took us much longer than we thought, but we were able to get on the road at around 2. At that point we still needed to bike 50+ miles as well as buy groceries and the like. We basically took 34 through Corvallis all the way to the Suislaw National forest.

Naturally, this being the first day and all, we would have a formidable climb around halfway through the trip. Partway through the climb I can remember looking at the other guys as we were all sweating, panting, and grinding away on our granny gears as we made painfully slow progress up the hill. We did eventually make it, and the coast down the other side was certainly an adrenaline rush. (No brakes!)

By the time we made it to Siuslaw National Forest it was around 8 I believe, and the sun was beginning it’s slow descent. Apparently in national forests like that they have this thing called dispersed camping where if you find some patch of land that doesn’t have about 30 no trespassing signs plastered all over it, you can squat down and camp. In the back of my mind these camping spots were going to be everywhere. This was, however, not the case. We had already done like 52 miles by this point and the only thing we wanted to do was just throw our stuff down and eat as much as we could. However, we ended up having to bike four more miles or so through the forest until we found a suitable place to camp. Needless to say we slept like babies that night.

Alright so I’m running out of computer use time at this public library so I am going to have to be more brief. On Tuesday we woke up, ate a lot of oatmeal for breakfast and packed up camp. I think we got on the road around 11. Fortunately, we didn’t have a huge day of riding planned. We continued on highway 34 all the way to Waldport, Oregon on the coast. We went grocery shopping there and I was able to go to a co-op bike shop there to fix my pedal (Green Bike Co-Op I believe). Then we got on the famous highway 101 along the coast and began to head south. Let me tell you that highway is absolutely stunning. Forest covered ridges and hills to the east and the Pacific ocean to the west. All navigated through by a winding two lane highway. Stunning!!!

We camped at Cape Perpetua along highway 101 last night. We arrived around 6 I think, which gave us enough time to hike down to the tide pools along the ocean during low tide. We had an amazing time walking along and looking into various tide pools. Afterwards we came back, set up camp, cooked some supper, and then started a fire and relaxed for a bit.

Today, however, has hands down been the most beautiful riding so far. There have been low hanging clouds over the ridges and we have had a tail wind. We were riding along some steep and beautiful cliffs down to the ocean. At one point after a climb we were granted a beautiful view of the valley below and Florence in the distance. Then it felt like we dropped out of the sky as we flew down into the valley on tight, winding roads. truly unbelievable.

All we have done today is continued along highway 101 and now we’re in Florence. Tonight we are camping in Swiss Home, which is a church or something that is putting us up for the night. The plan is to head to Eugene and catch the Transamerica from there!! Hope you’re all doing well and sorry for the long delay between posts.

Jackson Bush

Here are some photos, sorry they’re not in order but i’m about to be kicked off the computer!!

image image image image image image image image image image

The First Day of the Rest of My Life (or At Least This Summer)

This is my life. Rain. The ache of my shoulders. The constant grinding of my gears. And a head wind. Oh the agony of a headwind! What have we gotten ourselves into?

Ok, in hindsight it wasn’t THAT bad, but we might have bitten off a little more than we could chew for the first day riding by biking the 60 miles to Salem, OR. We got off to a slow start Tuesday morning with packing and making sure everything was ready. My bike had somehow already gotten a flat just from riding around the city, so I replaced my tube while Caleb did some work on his bike. By the time we got everything ready to go it was 11:30. We took off from Andrew’s with a light drizzle and biked along the Columbia towards Tryon Creek State Park, where we were over the weekend. On our way there and after we realized it takes a lot more energy to move up the hills around Portland with all of our gear strapped to our bikes. Those hills sapped much of our initial energy, but we were able to power through. At one point I heard Caleb remark as we went by some restaurants, “That smells soooooo good! I’m so hungry!” We were hungry, but we were also trying to meet Andrew at his work for lunch. I ended up taking pity on him by giving him half of my Cliff bar. It was well received.

caleb and seth bikecaleb&seth

2 hours of riding down we made it through the 20 miles to meet Andrew for lunch. After Caleb made a clutch buy from a nearby convenience store: two bags of gummy bears which would become a lifeline later in the ride. From Wilsonville we headed into some of the rolling hills and country around the Willamette River. To cross the river we descended some ridiculously steep hills to a quaint little ferry which took us across. Unfortunately we had to then go right back up those hills on the far bank. It was a beautiful part of the country and even the light drizzle could only add to its beauty. After moving through these hills we hit the flats which would take us all the way into Salem. At this point in the trip we were already fatigued, but we knew we had along way to go. Even though we had been biking though varying levels of rain and head wind, our spirits stayed high because it was our first day of riding.

DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRO

The miles dragged on as we passed many farms and small towns. The rain would start coming down harder and then get lighter. Through all of it we pushed on thanks in part to those gummy bears. I find it hard to accurately describe the experience of this part of the ride. I mainly focused on the fact that I needed to keep riding while occasionally getting distracted by the weather, the surrounding valley, and my gummy bears. My legs had been spent for so long that it had just become part of the whole experience. Thankfully we knew a warm shower and good meal would be waiting for us in Salem at the Aeschliman’s house. Around 8 pm we finally rolled into Salem and made it to the Aeschliman’s where we had a glorious shower and meal. Our legs were tired, but our spirits had remained high. Next time we won’t plan a leg that long one our first day.

-Seth

Seth’s Bike Arrives!

As the Friday afternoon wore on it became clear that Seth’s bike was not going to be delivered until Monday. So with a bit of frustration, but excited to have some more days in Portland we spent the weekend with Andrew Glick. Saturday we went to this incredible farmers market downtown Portland which was being held on PSU’s campus. It was a gorgeous day outside and there were hundreds of people milling about the campus green buying fresh produce and a delicious lunch. We bought some food for dinner and I got this incredible chili burger. Sunday we biked south a ways to Tyron Creek State Park. Nestled in among the busyness of the city was the most gorgeous bike path right through the thick temperate rainforest. Seth and I had a lot of fun zipping around the curvy path that also had a fair amount of rolling hills. Riding that bike path was one of my favorite parts of the city.

Seth at farmers market

As Monday afternoon rolled around we were beginning to get anxious. I was about to leave to go to the grocery store when the long prophesied Fedex truck pulled up in front of the house. Seth spent a couple of hours assembling his bike while I went to the grocery store and then returned and made dinner. Andrew was surprised to come home to a house full of people with dinner on the table. We enjoyed a delicious hearty soup together before Andrew went to his class at PSU. While Andrew was at class we did some biking around the city, went to the Columbia flagship store, and biked across some sweet bridges in the light rain. When we all got back Andrew was surprised that we were still hungry after eating only an hour and half ago. We also finished a whole pan of brownies. It’s becoming apparent that on this trip we will eat like never before; food will taste so good at the end of the day! Be careful if you invite us to your house because we will probably eat all of your food. caleb bike portland