Portland, OR to Crescent City
It’s been incredible to tour with my pom along for the ride. Giselle tucks into her basket on the flats, but most of the time she sits with her head out, faces away from me and watches the road stretch behind us. On climbs she faces forward, and I wonder if she’s gaming out how long it’s going to take me to hit the peak. This week has been a lot of up and downs with burning legs, but the coming week has Leggett and the Lost Highway—both climbs around 2,000 feet. I’m nervous from anticipation.
I was fortunate to hit Portland and ride out to the coast with a patient friend. It was my first long day of riding with Giselle, and I was anxious about how she’d handle the highway. David and I hit a strong wind as we set out west, and we had a grueling ten miles per hour downhill after a morning of climbing out of the city. It took us nearly seven hours to get to our campsite, where we found a fire left on the beach burning up a giant piece of driftwood. The next day I crept a mere 40 miles south. Along the way I met a man on his first bike tour down the Oregon coast, a dad of two who opted to have two knee surgeries simultaneously, and an eagle scout-turned-comedian who hiked Cape Tillamook with me. It’s always interesting to see what and why people stop me; generally, it’s some combination of bike, dogs, and tattoos. Taking the road slowly lets me spend so much time taking in views, whale watching, popping down trails, and talking with locals.
The Oregon coast is beautiful, and it’s covered with campsites and roadside information for travelers. I’m not 100 miles into California yet, but I’m already missing the tourist-centric information stops on the OR coast. The campsites are pretty close together, and you’ll find a mix of hot showers to refresh you and frigid fog that leaves everything you own dripping in the morning. After fifteen days of camping I planned a Warm Showers host for us, and experienced the most generous hospitality I’ve had to date. Thomas and Misti were the best possible hosts I could have asked for as we crossed into California, (a decidedly unceremonious border). They were hosting two Swedish brothers at the same time—we ran into each other on a climb in the morning—and they cooked us dinner and breakfast. Misti had mentally labeled me, she later told me, as “the chicken one,” because I go to bed early. I love chickens, so I’m going to stick with this label from here.
Another note of thankfulness to wrap up: I never knew how nice fresh laundry could feel. I literally buried my face in a clean towel for a good few minutes. Now that we’re in the redwoods, I’m almost screaming with excitement for the next campsite; Giselle continues to be relatively unimpressed. I’ll give it another fifteen days before the jaw-dropping novelty wear off for me, but by then we’ll be well past them.
Roadkill Count was significantly higher this week:
- Pacific Coast Milestones -
- FROM: Brooklyn, New York
- DOB: 2016-01-01
- OCCUPATION: Mechanic and Social Media Communications
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure?
I’ve had the fortune of seeing a lot of the world, and it’s taken me time to recognize that there is so much amazing adventure within close reach here in the US. Travelling from one end of the country to the next will give me an incredible lens into the landscape of my home, and I am excited of the people and natural beauty that I will meet along the way. I’ve followed the Blackburn Ranger program for the last few years, and the variety of their backgrounds and approaches were immediate inspiration for me to tackle the same path in my own way.
Have you traveled by bike in the past?
The last time I traveled by bike was a few years ago, but I can always be found around one of my bikes, commuting or exploring on day trips. When I travel, I make sure to rent a bike or bring one with me: there’s no better way to see a place than to get around by bicycle.
What is your goal for the route?
I plan to camp along the entire route, and share all of the natural beauty and cultural quirks along the way. I also plan to hike a number of summits with my bike and friends, and find beautiful views that can only be found far away from cities.
What do you hope to get out of this journey?
I'm excited to shake up my routine, and the routines of my friends (and friends-to-be!) along the way. I want to push my limits to get the most out of the time I have, and to learn more about myself.
- Pacific Coast Milestones -