Although very scenic at times and chalked full of other cool adventure cyclists touring the coast, it has been the hardest stretch since the Dalton Highway simply in part by the amount of ice cold constant rain we had the entire way. It is currently even pelting the windows as we sit inside our friend Kari and Jeremy's place in Mendocino, while warm and dry inside and dreading the time we need to saddle up and ride on out of here again in it.
Upon heading up the steep hill leaving George and Karen's place in Depot Bay (very sweet and generous Warmshowers hosts), Ville jammed his chain between his frame and cassette. While standing a while in the pouring rain trying everything to yank it free, George and Karen rescued us and took us to the local bike shop to break it free. Thanks you both, you are truly what helps us to keep going in this complete depressing torrential downpour! Back on the road, we headed to a yurt we rented with another cyclist, Joseph, and our buddy Mark (who made it all the way over from Bend to hang with us for a few days). The next couple days we were pampered by Mark shuttling our panniers while we rode 30 mile stretches per day and then splurged on cheap motel rooms to get out of the pouring rain at night. We drove out to the dunes with Mark and explored some of the coastal areas, even took in some dancing lessons at Jitterbug and Java in Reedsport. It was a tearful goodbye when Mark left us to continue our trek south, Mark thanks so much for making it out to see us and share in some good belly laughs! We miss you :)
There was a whopping 16,000 ft of elevation gain on the Oregon coast, and a handful of very scenic days where for moments the sun peeked out and the views that stretched before us of jagged cliffs plunging down into the angry ocean were magical. Thanks so much also to Alden and the crew of cyclists who took us in when we were soaked through in Port Orford, having even a dry garage floor to sleep on was 5-star luxury. Because of the horrible weather, poor Alden had 11 dripping wet cyclists in his little trailer to try and put up with (everyone came together and made a big feast and spirits were high inside while a thunderstorm raged outside). South of there was a fantastic scenic stretch and into California we rode and pushed 85 miles to get to Crescent City where another Warmshowers church hosted over 20 cyclists trying to get out of the storm. Thanks St. Paul's Church for helping us again when we needed it most! What a great stop.
Almost at the border, the winding 2 lane scenic road became a multiple lane freeway with cars flying by at minimum 65 miles and hour and throwing spray in your face. It was pretty brutal. We caught up to two Canadian girls, Alex and Marie-Eve, whom we met earlier on and are on their way to San Diego. We camped together at Patricks Point where we woke up to a pond at the bottom of our tent. Luckily we were able to make it to Arcata by lunch and stretch all our crap, even tent, out across a bunch of shopping carts under their front entryway (the security guard kept eyeballing us, but never quite kicked us out) and dry them enough to keep going. We pushed on to Humboldt Redwoods State Park and camped out under the giant trees. If you haven't made a trip through the Avenue of the Giants, it is a serious MUST! A little over 30 miles of the old 101 Highway meandering through the largest towering redwood trees that brings with it a calming stillness to your heart and a feeling of what living in the time of dinosaurs must have felt like.
Heading out of the Redwoods, back on the 101 Freeway, the skies that had held off raining for us to enjoy the forest, opened up and down-poured on us for the next 30 miles to Leggett. From there Highway 1 begins and took us climbing up into the rainy skies where we pitched a tent and tarp we picked up in Arcata to try and help keep us dry, off in the trees. The morning was still a downpour and knowing we would finish our day at Kari and Jeremy's place in Mendocino was our inspiration to get packed up and push on. Down the steep hills we flew being pelted in the face by rain and once we hit the coast, we could barely make out the waves it was so dreary. At our lunch break in Fort Bragg, the sun finally broke through and I was nearly in tears I was so happy to finally see some sun and dry out. After pounding burgers and milkshakes, we jumped back on our steeds and coasted the last 15ish miles to Mendocino. And boy how happy we were to get to their warm and dry beautiful house on the cliffs overlooking the ocean!!
The last couple days have been spent walking around the streets and down by the beach in the rain, but so happy knowing we could make it back to the house for hot showers and a dry warm place to sleep. Kari and Jeremy, thank you SO much for saving us from the rain and spoiling us rotten. You both are awesome and need to come visit us for some good times of travel :) Heading out into the rain to the Halloween Street Fair here in Mendocino and will hit the road again heading south tomorrow. Next stop, San Francisco in about 3 days ride. Happy Halloween everyone!!
We were jonesing so much to get back on the road after being in the biking groove, but man was it hard to get back on the bikes and hit the road again. It's been a solid month off (Kristen had neck injections and Ville went deer hunting) while visiting with as many friends as we could in the time spent in Bend and Portland and we now have lost all our cycling fitness, are use to hot showers and being a month later, it is now colder and a LOT more rain. As if we hadn't had enough in Alaska and Canada, but now on the Oregon coast, well, it is very lush, green, and beautiful because it's not a desert. It rains.
So pumped to have been able to squeeze in some friends and family on our stops in Bend and Portland! We were able to make it out for my little Brandon's 21st Birthday! (I use to babysit for his family in Bend since Brandon was 6 months old). Thanks so much to Mom and Dad for letting us stay for a few weeks in your house and spoiling us crazy while we were there. It was really nice to get to spend the time together and we really hope to see you and the fan in Costa Roca!! And a huge thanks to Joey for getting us over the pass back to Portland to say Goodbyes to family and hit the road. And thanks to Tony for lending the truck to get us over. Hope to see you both in Baja! Goodbyes were not hard on the flight to Alaska because we would be back to Portland and Bend in a few months, but to say Goodbyes for the next year and a half is a bit more rough. We wanted to make sure to see everyone, but it's just hard when your trying to get moving as the winter creeps in on our heels.
When we arrived in Portland we said our goodbyes just in time for the biggest storm and tornadoes to slam into the Oregon coast as we were trying to head over to the coast. We were able to spend a bit more time with Kristen's family and decided to just go for it on Monday once there was a break in the weather. We rode our from Kristen's sisters place in Tualatin and over the hills on Nestucca River Road. It was gorgeous and very little traffic once we started into the big climb into the mountains. By evening the rains were coming down in a complete downpour and we found a closed campground and shelter to camp under to get out of the rain and try and dry off. By morning it was just drizzling and some sun and we had a spectacular slow ride descending down along the river through fireworks of fall colors. A few miles down we came to a large road closure where some construction workers were working to remove a large slide (a boulder the size of a pool table and huge tree had fallen over the road). At first they said we needed to head back up the hill and take a long detour, but after seeing our bikes let us hang out and chat while they cleared the debris enough to let us through. Thanks guys for the fun conversation and helping us to get back down the road!
Once we hit Hwy 101, we headed north to get to Netarts to visit friends for the night. Google bike route took us on a very wild road through the woods and a very tough climb up over the mountains with views of the ocean at the top. We realized as well that it's hunting season here on the coast now and was also a bit unnerving while up in the woods on bikes. At least we wear bright jackets. We had a great visit with Happy Meal and Erica (we also hiked on and off with Happy Meal on the PCT in 2011). Thanks so much for spoiling us with hot meals and a warm bed! Hope to see you south of here or at least plan a visit at the end of the trip guys!
Since it wasn't completely down pouring rain we decided to get on the road the next day and head south in hopes of not being soaked all day. Well, it was beautiful views, but very wet for our 58 miles and we were welcomed into George and Tricia's place (Warmshowers hosts) that welcomed us even last minute because we were soaked. They also opened their home to 3 other cyclists cycling the US coast and needing to get a bit dry. You both are amazing people that have very kind and generous hearts. You are what make the world a happy and beautiful place!
Today it is still pouring, but we are planning to head south only 30 miles to Beachside State Park where we are planning to meet our friend Mark from Bend and get a yurt (with heat and a cover to get out of the rain) and hang for a couple days. Thanks all for following and until next time, keep on keepin' on!
We limped into Portland on fumes, but Jordan (Kristen's brother) picked us up and we soaked in a long and much needed stretch of rest, relaxation and catching up with friends and family. We spent time with Jordan, Lisa, Sean and little Braydon (Kristen's sister, husband and little one), and met up with JBro! We had great times hiking parts of the PCT with JBro back in 2011 and he had just completed the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) a few days prior. After a few days in Portland, Oregon, JBro, Ville, and I got a ride from Suzanne (Kristen's Mom) to Bend, Oregon and our hometown where we finally put our stuff down and took some time off.
Once in Bend, I, Kristen, had to undergo PRP injections in my neck to try and heal an old bicycle injury I had when I was, of all things, doored by a car. The recommended time-off for healing is 2 weeks, and although really stubborn and wanting to get back on our bikes and hit the road, we decided to be good and actually take the time off. Here is some pics from fun times spent in Portland and Bend enjoying our friends and family while here. Thanks all for making the time to see us and for all the love and support you have given us!
K.G. & Ville
In Cuenca, Ecuador. Next stop, Loja.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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