The last couple weeks have been one big party, with a bit of biking in between. But mainly relaxing, spending time with great friends and fun in the sun. It was much needed. Baja was a rough ride. Lots of sand, not a lot of water or food stops, and a thousand miles of it. Since our ferry leaves tonight out of La Paz, we had no need to cycle more south, but we wanted to see friends and celebrate the end of the Baja and it was well worth the trip!
In El Pescadero, Jesse and Sherri spoiled us rotten. They lent us a vehicle to get to the beach with a surfboard, lounge chairs and cooler in tow. We hit up the local farms for fresh produce and lobster and they chefed it up every breakfast and dinner. They took us sightseeing in Todos Santos, rescued turtles, snorkeled, drank a lot of margaritas , and met lots of their great friends. We had a complete blast and we thank you both like crazy! Expect a visit again when this crazy ride is complete.
Next we rode to Cabo San Lucas (a decent shoulder and along the coast but hotter than the surface of the sun) where we met up with Rick and Brenda who drove us out to their place in La Fortuna and also showed us a great time. Ville surfed, we swam in their pool, played with their pups, toured San Jose del Cabo and ate like kings. They had some neighbors over for dinner and a whole slew of friends stop in on Jeeps on a Poker tour. We were connected with Rick and Brenda through a friend from home, Tony, and my cousins in Orange County, Jeff and G.K. and now consider them friends of ours. As they hopped a plane home, we biked north to Los Barriles where Rick and Brenda have a hotel and insisted we stay. The road was fairly pleasant and meandering but with no shoulder and little traffic. And man, what a treat when we arrived at the hotel!!
The Agave Hotel in Los Barriles was magical! After all our tenting it and splurging on cheap motels we shared with Ryan and Lydia (although a great bonding experience), it was SO great to have our own cushy bed in our own room right next to the pool and ocean. We were lulled to sleep every night by the waves and kayaked, swam, walked on the beach, cruised through town and just relaxed! When we arrived we met a great group of Canadians who welcomed us to dinner and fattened us up. Thanks all of you for fun conversations and great food! If your looking for a easy place to get away with relaxation in mind, check this place out. It was awesome. Thank you Rick and Brenda!!
It was a very sad day when we had to pack up our bikes and get back on the saddles heading northwest back to La Paz. A lot of steep hill climbing up and down and then headwinds on our homestretch to La Paz. By the time we made it through the miles of busy La Paz traffic to our motel, we were both wrecked. Today is our big day leaving Baja and heading by ferry to Mazatlan and the mainland Mexico. If any of you will be in our path, hit us up! Would love to see friendly faces. Otherwise, keep following and keep on keepin' on...
Barely had I rubbed the Sandman sand and literal Baja desert sand from my eyes and a quick movement of a critter caught my eye. I rolled over in the sleeping quilt to catch a glimpse of something the color of sand climbing from Ville's bicycle bag to just under me in the tent. Upon further inspection, I realized it was a small scorpion trying to find a comfy place to crash. Not only do most all desert plants; cacti, scrub brush, and such unknown plant material have thorns on, around, and strewn about the sand, but the animals are not the friendliest folks either. The wide open desert does, however, present some of the most epic star-gazing nights we have yet seen on this bike tour yet. Many wishes on stars should take us safely to the end of Argentina and beyond. And even if the plant and animal life keeps you on your toes, the Mexicans and people of Baja so far have been some of the happiest, kindest and generous folks we have met (of course, the Canadians are an even contender in that evaluation). The road, Mex 1 south, has been very hit or miss with a shoulder or even a decent pavement (we have heard the entire road was more recently paved in stages), the traffic on it seems to do their best to move over, give us room, honk, wave, cheer, and especially the big semi-trucks.
Our first big day off the bikes from the time we left San Diego and crossed over the Tecate border into Mexico, was spent splashing around in a giant downpour of rain in Guerrero Negro while K.G. and Ryan were trying to beat crappy colds in bed at the cheapest motel in town. After a day, we rolled back out of town splashing through the giaint puddles heading to Vizcaino pushed on by glorious tailwinds. The next day brought forth more zoning-out wide-open desert until we dropped into an oaisis of palm trees at San Ignacio. San Ignacio had a very endearing downtown built around a beautiful misssion built in 1728. Ville kindly volunteered to help build a roof on a patio of a casa de ciclista in town, and the next morning we were back on the road heading east to Santa Rosalia.
Heading out of San Ignacio, Ryan, Lydia, Ville and I had a slow steady climb into the mountains of sandy, cacti-littered desert near the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve. After a very windy summit, we rocketed down the windy hills into the valley of the Reserve before a long hot climb into the sandy hills that border the coastline and Sea of Cortez. Dropping to the waterfront and south into Santa Rosalia, the city was a chaos of Christmas Eve partiers. We were able to find a tasty fish taco shop open and somehow managed on Christmas Eve to find a room at a very delapidated, over-priced inn to spend the night drinking Tequila, eating Peach-Os and celebrating the holiday together. Aparently Christmas is a huge drinking holiday in Santa Rosalia, for there was music and partygoers all night long and into the morning. We rose early into the quiet, abandoned streets and made the journey south to find a beach to camp on. Upon hitting the coast, the cacti landscape now included various grasses, flowers, and organic plantlife. With that brought an array of colorful butterflies, birds, and bugs. The road south was easy rolling hills with a slight tailwind and we flew through miles, passing Mulege and into the beaches of the Bahia Concepcion.
After just shy of 600 miles since crossing the Tecate border, we had finally arrived on a camping beach, Playa Santispac! With a slew of RVers (lots from the US and Canada), we pitched our tents on the sandy beach and borrowed some kayaks, snorkeling gear, and fishing gear from the incredibly generous RVers. Ville caught a decent sized Trigger Fish and he cooked it in our little pot for our Christmas feast. Was a pretty memorable Christmas I have to say. We decided to take a day off on the beach relaxing in the sand, watching dolphins feast, reading, and not biking before our next days long ride to Loreto. Since leaving Ensenada, Loreto was our first touristy town, chalked full of mini to full on resorts (they even have a Starbucks, folks). We stayed a couple of days in Loreto due to timing and weather issues, for us Loreto didn't seem that attractive but it might be because the weather was rainy and gray while we were there. However, they had some pretty tasty fish tacos.
Dec. 30th was my, K.G.'s, birthday and luckily the rain broke long enough for a breakfast place to open and I had french toast complete with candles on top! We packed up and cycled 20ish miles south to Playa Ligui where a local fisherman directed us to a deserted georgous beach where only the local fisherman seemed to come. It was one of the most beautiful places we have enjoyed on our trip yet. We decided to ring in the New Year on the beach far from any town or chaos and were joined by another cyclist, Helena from Florida. Climbing the giant rock at the end of the beach, Ville and I watched the sunset over the mountains and reflected on a pretty kick-ass full year of travel! New Years Resolution: keep right on traveling.
On a mission, we climbed back on our trusty steeds and began the long slow climb away from the coast and back up into the hills that took us to the top of the plateau and back southwest towards Ciudad Insurgentes. The long climb was cake compared to the side winds we hit once back out on the open desert. We had a nice roadside visit with Rick and Brenda (thanks a million you guys for taking our papers to mail in the US for us!!) whom we met through a friend in Bend and have a place in Los Barriles. We arrived in the tiny town pretty wiped out and the boys scored a really nice room for us at one of the only hotels in town. Once we hit Ciudad Constitucion, only 15 miles down the road the next day, Ryan had the stomach bug and I had a migraine and we decided to hit the market and another motel to rest. Poor Ryan was still sick by the next day and they scored a ride into La Paz, and Ville and I climbed back on the bikes for the last big push into town. Out of Constitucion we pushed through nearly 80 miles of some of the most dangerous and crappy road ride yet! Until now, the drivers in Mexico had been fantastic, but on this stretch we completely lost the shoulder and most drivers seemed in too much of a hurry to give us any room. I counted at least 6 near death experiences as did the other cyclists we talked to on this same stretch. I would not bike from Constitucion to La Paz again, unless I had a death wish.
At dark we found an open gate and piched our tent with Helena amid the cacti. The open desert made for some fantastic quiet sleep. Cool nights, no crowing roosters, sewage, barking dogs, loud music, jet brakes, or just the chaos of a city. At first light we ate our super tasty oatmeal and headed into the hills towards La Paz. The traffic was still unnerving and the winds maddening, but we had only 55ish miles to town and were on a mission. But a mere 15 miles out from town, Ville spotted one of the coolest things we have seen yet on the side of the road: a giant black dildo! And after stopping to kick it around and snap a couple pics, he kicked it up on the road in the hopes Helena would get the pleasure of seeing it too. The last 15 miles we cruised downhill in, finally, a big bike lane to town where we met up with Ryan and Lydia recouperating in a motel downtown. We spent a day together enjoying eachothers company and said our goodbyes the following morning as we headed south towards Todos Santos and they had a plane to catch out of Cabo back home to Pennsylvania. Thanks for the fun times in Baja you guys!! :)
Once on the outskirts of La Paz, a giant bike lane appeared complete with tailwinds to push us all the way into Todos Santos. It's what touring dreams are made of. Todos Santos was named a pueblo magico, and riding through it you could tell that they have put money into this small town: cobblestone roads, painted and cared for buildings, and lots of quaint touristy fashion, food, and hotspots. We stopped to grab some margaritas, but the menus were in dollars and about 6 times the price of any we had seen since coming to Baja Mexico. We got drinks at the OXXO (like a 7-11) instead and sat and people watched on the street. Just before dark, we rode the 8ish miles south to El Pescadero where our friend Jesse and his girlfriend Sherri live. We had chatted about this bike trip with Jesse way back in Bend while white water rafting and he said if we made it down the Baja alive, we should come for a visit. And, well, here we are!
Here we are, two other Bend friends, Ryan and Lydia, and Ville and I cowering under our sleeping quilt under scraggly desert chaparral being pelted by desert sand and gail force winds howling over our heads. The fear of falling too deeply into sleep and letting go of the edge of the sleeping quilt and having it ripped from our bodies would make for a fiercely cold sleepless night. How did we wind up here and what were we thinking getting into this mess cycling Baja?
After getting a lot of friend love from Dan, Jeanne, Peter, Kristyn and Kaitlyn, we were very ready to get back in the saddles and start heading south into the Baja and out of the US.Heading east we decided to forgo the crossing at Tiajuana and instead opted for crossing at Tecate. The hill climb up to Tecate went from sea level up to 3,000 ft and was an extreme push after sitting and fattening up in OC and SD for so long. Crossing was easy and the ride out of the city was followed by baking hot hill climbing in open desert with patches of vineyards littering the valleys. The road beautifully paved with a huge shoulder and the passing trucks and cars gave us loads of room and even honked and waved. This was a good start Mexico.
We camped in Guadalupe, in a campground where proceeds went to run a school for the deaf, and there we met Ryan and Lydia. Originally from Pennysylvania, they had both spent the last couple years living in Bend! What are the odds?! After camping a night, we head out going southwest together to Ensenada. After more hot winding hills, we had a steep, fast downhill into the coast and turned south into the sprawling city of Ensenada. There we found some delicious street tacos of stingray (Ryan's first meat in 8 years, go big or go home Ryan!) and they were what we had all been waiting for. We biked a 14 mile side trip out to the point with images of camping on the beach dancing through our heads and instead camped in a parking lot of an RV park for $20, on the other side of the beach. *sigh* Can't win them all.
The road south from Ensenada took us unfortunately back inland and climbing through more baren desert landscape. Very similar to what we imagine LA, OC and SD to look like if you deleted all the people out of it. It was a peaceful, pleasant ride, save fpr the miles and miles of random construction and deep bumpy gravel. By evening we rolled into San Vicente, where we asked at a small family run restaurant where to camp and they showed us their backyard. We set up camp near the chicken coop, played on their kid's teter-totter, made friends with their dogs (I like to think their puppy liked me the best because he would not stop humping my leg and I renamed him Hump-a-tron), had a tasty dinner in their restaurant, and hit the hay. Sadly the roosters were a bit confused and began crowing at 1 am and then on the hour every hour thereafter, NOTE: don't camp near a chicken coop.
From San Vicente south the shoulder began to dissapear and although there was heavy traffic, they respected our space and still continued to move over for us. After a big breakfast, we stopped a few times for road tacos and burritos, but the road was pretty flat so we moved through the miles pretty easily. When I got distraceted by a stray dog that nearly got hit by a car, my tire went off the road and I hit the pavement pretty good and got some scrapes and bruises but was able to hop back on the bike and keep on keepin' on. When we arrived in the busstling city of Vicente Guerrero, we stopped at a fish taco stand and a man and his wife (he originally from there and his wife from LA, now live in Klamath Falls, Oregon) came up and asked to help us find a place to camp. They followed us to a restaurant and RV park, and tried to pay for us to camp. He said that he knows what it's like to be in another country where you struggle to understand the language and don't know where to go. We are grateful to this couple for the reminder of having sympathy/empathy for others.
From Vincente Guerrero to El Rosario, it was a very narrow road with a ton of load, dusty, obnoxious traffic that we put our heads down and just tried to fly through it. We passed miles and miles of massive greenhouses full of farm workers growing food for hungry Americans. Thanks Mexicans for all the hard work feeding us, without you who really would feed America? At the very end of the day we had a very long and steep climb up and over the hills into a fast and steep drop into El Rosario. The first restaurant we came to Mamma Espinosa, a famous checkpoint on the Baja 1000, and we were able to camp out back. Out back put us right next to the busy highway at a huge hill (lots of jett-brakes all night) and next to the open sewer. Note: scope out the free camp site in someone's yard and maybe try the next yard if it is loud and smells like poop.
The next morning we had a hard start when we watched some guys in a pick-up run over a stray dog and drive away. We are pretty sure it ended fast for the dog, but always hard when traveling in other countries and remembering that the differences in culture are far reaching. In America we put sad looking pooches on TV with Sarah McGraphlin sappy music to raise money for rescueing them. Mexico and many, many other countries we have traveled, dogs and cats are stray, mangy, and littering the streets. They don't have sappy commercials for the starving children here, or for the starving children in the US for that matter. Cultural norms are weird aren't they?
Leaving El Rosario we would have a long dry stretch inland throug the desert without any stops, so we packed up food and headed out east on Highway 1. The first night we camped in Guayaquil, a one building town. The homeowner let us camp out back in his garbage/tire pile and drunkenly made us quesadillas before camp. Guess it was the local truck stop because it was super noisy all night. Note: Don't camp at a truck stop unless you want to stay up all night drinking with the truckers. And a garbage pile is not an ideal campsite.
The wind howled through the night and continued to blow into our faces as we trudged east all day and once we made our 50 miles, we found some cool rocks to set up camp early and relax a bit. Wrong. As soon as we ate, and the sun was setting, the winds picked up and began to howl and rip at our tents. We made a quick decision to pull down the tents before they shredded and blew away, laid out the tarp under the trees and all four of us spooned for warmth and huddled under our sleeping bags and quilts while listeneing to the gale-force winds howl outside. Not a lot of sleep was had that night. As the sun lit the sky, we packed up and trudged back to the road to try and get somewhere out of the terrible winds. And they only became worse through the day. It was the most insane side winds I have every experienced. We took turnes trying to ride leaning into the side-wind, walking bikes, and trying to make some miles. For a brief period, the road turned in our favor and we flew 35 miles an hour on flat and rolling hills from the tailwinds! It was surreal! Somehow we managed to ride nearly 80 miles in the chaos of winds and made it to El Rosarito where we splurged on a room to wash the sand from our eyes and get some actual sleep.
One more day of not nearly as bad side/head winds and we arrived in Guerrero Negro. So weird to roll into a large town after fighting the desert for so many days in completely wide open desert. Beautiful, but man, it was a rough stretch. Today we are taking a rain day off here in town to finally get WiFi to catch up with all of you and call our families. Thanks all for your patience, we promise to write again and post more pictures soon when we get some stronger WiFi. Until then, keep on keepin' on...
Ville and I took a day off in Santa Barbara walking around and being tourists. Every now and then we need a day off the bike seats and a chance to enjoy the places and not just ride right through them. We stayed with my cousin Chelsea and her boyfriend Erik, thanks for showing us around and letting us stay guys!! Riding south we rode along the coast (had a long stretch with an amazing new bike lane just above the water) into Ventura, where we stopped to eat lunch and watch the surfers. Met Chris from Portland, OR/Ventura who works for Patagonia, thanks for the gear coupon Chris! From there we continued along Highway 1 making it to Leo Carillo Campround just before dark. As a camp spot with time to explore, we hear this camp spot is sweet, with access to some beautiful tide pools along the water. For touring cyclists who show up before dark and ride out in the morning, this campground was the worst on the trip so far! $10/each for the crappiest construction site placed right next to the RV dump site, with not even boxes for our food (since we have no way of locking food in our cars, we rely on boxes to store food away from critters when in busy campsites).
The next morning we had to fix a flat in Ville's tire, and rode south through Malibu with georgous ocean views to our right and towering desert hillsides to our left. For miles we saw some pretty unbelievable homes and cars pass by, but as odd as it sounds, at 5 months into the trip and footloose and fancy free, I rather be on the bike traveling. If anyone remembers the beginning of the movie American Beauty, Kevin Spacey's character quits his big office job and goes to get a job at a fast food joint stating he wants a job "with the least amount of responsibility." After working full time jobs and tackeling a full house remodel for a year, we wanted a 2 year bike ride with the least amount of responsibility.
After Pacific Palisades, we rode into Santa Monica, where it had recently rained so the crowds were minimal and my friend, Danielle, came to pick us up with our bikes and we headed to downtown LA to hang with Dani's sister Kristen and her husband Adam. We got to check out their fancy, cool new loft space they have been remodeling and headed to Grand Central Market for some pretty epic food stall eating!! If you want to enjoy LA, you need to know people in the know. Otherwise, your just sitting on freeways. Thanks kids for taking us out and showing us a good time! After, we went back to Dani's place up in the hills of Montrose to stay a night and get spoiled with butter coffee for breakfast. Ville is still going through withdrawl and talks about it in his sleep :) Thanks Dani for taking the time to come get us and drive us all the way back to Santa Monica in the morning. When we decide where in the world we are going to live next, you need to move right next door so I don't miss you so much!
From Santa Monica, we spent the day riding down the coastline of LA, through Manhattan and Redondo Beaches, where Google Bike Map routed us through Torrance, Carson, and south along the LA River to Long Beach. Somewhere in Torrance at a stop light, a car pulled up to us and asked us where we were headed. When we told him where, he asked if we needed anything and if he could buy us lunch. We pulled over to Marie Callenders and met Ricardo, a local math teacher who had cycled a tour down the US coast some years back and was SO excited to hear about our trip. Ricardo, you really saved the day! It was the first time we didn't have much for lunch and didn't have much for funds to get lunch and you didn't know it, but thanks for feeding us.
I'm pretty sure Google Bike Route didn't account for sketchy neighborhoods that cyclists probably shouldn't ride through cause we saw some characters with lots of neck tattoos on our route to Long Beach. Along the LA River we ran into a guy (looking back it just might have been a stolen bike) who had a flat tire and we stopped to help him fix it. He "God Bless"ed us and headed the other way as we pedaled south. From Long Beach we rode along the coast through Seal, Huntington, and Newport Beaches. In Newport we rode inland along the San Diego Creek bike path to my Aunt Lori and Uncle Steve's house in Tustin. My Uncle Steve is a big cyclist/cycling fan and the reason Ville got into bikes. He took us to The Path Bike Shop where our bikes are getting a complete overhaul and shiny new parts as we head south into Mexico with a lot less bike shops. Thank you so so much Aunt Lori & Uncle Steve, your unconditional support & love is overwhelming! We made a quick trip down (by rental car) to Encinitas to spend Thanksgiving with Jeanne and Max ( I use to be Max's nanny and tutor since he was 7 years old in Bend and he is now 19 and going to flight school in Arazona, but only home for Thanksgiving) Thanks for having us for the holidays and we loved getting to see you both! See you again on the bike down.
Taking the week off to get bikes fixed, we have tried to see as much of my family here in the area as possible. Thanks all of you for taking the time to see us while we are in town, we love you all tons: Lori, Steve, Terri, Tom, Sara, Scott, Cindy, Steve, Josh, Travis, Sean, Eileen, Chelsea, Shannon, Kurt, Dominic, Gavin, Jeff, G.K., Chip, Taylor, Kendyll, Mike, Trish, Duncan and Meredith. If we forgot anyone, you are still loved!
So my little bump in the road turned into big bumps, called hives, all over my body. I wrote our last blog post with promises to ride out the next day and woke up to really bad hives all over my (K.G.'s) legs. If you missed our last few posts, I ate some dates (we now think they had mold or a fungus that I reacted to, since I had been eating dates the entire journey) and not heeding my body's warning of tingling lips after the first morning, ate them 3 mornings in a row. The following day I blew up like a balloon complete with patches of hives all over my face and legs. After a stint in the ER in Fort Bragg, I got some 'roids and EpiPens to keep me on our way. Of course the 'roids ran out after 6 days, when we hit Santa Cruz, and then when the Prednisone (which made me feel like a rockstar when I was taking it) was out of my system and no longer masking the problem, hives just took over and I was unable to get out of bed. Not wanting to just get on more steroids, I opted to let the "bad dates" just work their way out of my system, but as each day got worse, I called my acupuncturist in Bend who sent me to one of the best doctors I have ever been to in Santa Cruz, Kim Kuhn. (www.kimberlykuhnlac.com) Kim, your a miracle worker!!
I was SO miserable and she squeezed me in, explained that it would take 4-6 weeks to get the toxin out of my system, but put in needles (acupuncture) and sent me home with herbs to take 3 times a day until things were improving. The needles finally relieved some of the burning fire all over my skin (which had by now spread all over my body), and by the following day things had started improving. I was also put on a special bland diet to help not add fuel to the "fire" and after a couple days felt well enough to get back on our bikes to head south. (Ville used their wetsuit and surfboard to surf all the days I was bedridden before you go feeling super sorry for him, and the waves were really good). Our good friend Hannah (we had been crashing at her place while she was away) came back and we spent our last day in town with Hannah and Amy (whom we met before our bike trip in Thailand) seeing the sights and getting to hang. Can't thank you all enough for letting us stay and helping us out while we were there Bill, Kizzy, Hannah and Amy!!!! And Hannah, your gonna kick some serious ass with your surgery, recovery and meet us (us, Amy, JLo, and ???) to celebrate becoming the biggest baddest banshees at the end of this journey in Tierra Del Fuego. See you there!!
Heading south we passed through Monterey and down the coast of Big Sur for the next 3 days, which we had been dreaming about since beginning this epic journey. And it did not disappoint! Weather was fantastic, views were surreal, and we got to enjoy the Super Moon lighting up our night sky and then setting over the crashing waves in the early mornings. The last night camping at Kirk Creek Campground we met Richard and Helena who shared their dinner with us and were so excited to hear about our trip. We are planning a visit in Pasadena on our way south. And day 4 we arrived in San Louis Obispo where my Aunt Annette and Uncle Scott live. On our spin around the downtown, the local LuLuLemon store gifted Ville and I with a free pair of snazzy shorts to support our ride! Thanks LuLuLemon! And thanks Annette and Scott for hosting and spoiling us on our way through. Scott, your a rockstar and we will be sending you good healing energy for a very speedy recovery!!
Since the camping spots have become more challenging as we head south, my Uncle called ahead and the following night we spent at the Los Alamos Fire Station with Justin, Mark, and Alex. We planned to camp in the yard, but the boys let us stay in the gym and even bought us a burrito dinner with leftover birthday cake for dessert. Thanks a ton guys!! With tailwinds at our back, we flew on to Santa Barbara and made 60 miles by noon. The sun has been shining on us the whole way and we crashed at my cousin, Chelsea's place last night and enjoyed a day off today resting and catching up. Next stop, Malibu and on to LA and OC. Who is en route and needs their dose of Ville and K.G.???
Ville and I had a plan to take off a day in Mendocino and then hit the road, but me, K.G, had a new attention getting scheme! I ate something weird (I think it was probably the dates we picked to spice up the oatmeal, but can't confirm as of yet), have never had an allergy of any kind, woke up to my face blown up like a balloon and a severe outbreak of swollen hives all over my body! Cool, right? Yep, not that cool. So I took Benadryl and thought I would ride it out and the next day they were even worse, so Jeremy was nice enough to drive us back to Fort Bragg so I could go to the emergency room and get a shot of Adrenalin (which did nothing because I am an adrenalin junkie and get high on that all day every day), steroids and an IV. Then, they prescribed me a generic EpiPen (which luckily my insurance covered because of the whole fiasco of what they cost now) because we will be in a lot of remote places and I prefer not to die somewhere because of food. My very sweet husband said I looked like a botched plastic surgery patient, so I am pretty much looking and feeling awesome these days.
So back on the road after 3 days off, heading south and the sun FINALLY came out!!! After 3 weeks of solid rain (we had rain from the time we left Portland to Mendocino), we finally were able to dry out and see some epic Highway 1 views of the coastline. And if you have yet to drive from Leggit south, I recommend adding it to the Bucket List. Lots of ups and downs for this dynamic duo on wheels, but at least my butt will look good if my face and everything else looks like a nightmare.
Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge was pretty surreal and having lived a few years in the city in my early 20's, a blast from the past of memories! A huge thank you to Arron and Emilia for taking us in on such short notice and even giving me all kinds of goodies to help me feel better (Emilia, all the drugs are helping and I couldn't keep going without them!). Thanks to Johanna and Aino for the goodies sent all the way from Finland, what a treat on our journey! Thanks Sue for lending us David and Thea for a night in Half Moon Bay, you both are awesome and what a great time getting to go to a house party full of kids and partying husbands!
When we left San Francisco, we had a short day to Half Moon Bay and David, Thea, Ginger and Phinneas welcomed us for an evening of bar-b-queing, boozing, and wild times! Thea left for ladies night and Ville and I got to party with all the dads and kids. What a stellar group of guys that welcomed us in, fattened us up, forced booze on us and laughed with us as friends. Rare when we are always on the move, it was much needed, thanks guys! Special thanks to the great host Sam. The next morning, David took us down to Mavericks to watch the 30-40ft waves going off and the surfers nuts enough to paddle out! Our ride south down to Santa Cruz was SO beautiful! Hugging the coastline, epic warm weather, easy road and huge surf. It was the moments we had dreamed about when planning this bike trip.
Sadly, our dear friend Hannah had to bail to NY when we were passing through, but she gave us her lovely parent's and they could not be nicer people! We had a tasty dinner last night with Kizzy, Bill and Brenda, Kizzy's mom and got to sleep in Hannah's bed. Ville says, "Sorry Hannah for wetting the bed!" Please come visit us in San Louis Obispo Hannah!! So off we go, weather is suppose to get sunnier and hotter as we continue south, and if any of you are in our path, please reach out for a visit. Until next time, keep on keepin' on...
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!
Hello all our friends, family and supporters!
To celebrate our, Ville and Kristen's, arrival in our hometown of Bend, Oregon, we are kicking off a fundraiser for Carly's Kids. For those of you that don't know about Carly's Kids yet, Carly's Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to provide underprivileged children access to outdoor education school. Your charitable contribution is tax deductible and directly impacts, enriches, and inspires kids.
Would you like to help support Carly's Kids mission to help kids AND get a cool postcard from us from somewhere cool that we travel through while on our crazy Alaska to Argentina bike tour? Well, here is how you can help:
1. Click on the Carly's Kids link below or on the Carlys' Kids box on the right side of our page.
2. Click on the button DONATE
3. Donate a minimum of $20 to help kids in need get to outdoor school and before you checkout, fill out the following information in the comments:
We Lost The Map
Name (of who will receive the postcard)
Mailing Address (where to send the postcard)
Thanks all for the continued love and support along our journey! Cheers to Bend, Oregon, Carly's Kids, and 3400 miles. Keep on keepin' on!
Ville and Kristen Jokinen
We Lost The Map
K.G. & Ville
COME CELEBRATE OUR HALF-WAY! Crow's Feet Commons, Bend, Oregon May 11 6-8pm
“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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Together, let's send this girl to Argentina!
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