Jennifer Schofield
Pacific Coast
"Friends" In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends. - John Churton Collins

I met James and Pierre on the side of the road, about 10 miles north of Potlatch, WA. I had expected to see more PCH riders, but they were the first. Didn't have much time to chat at the campsite that evening since it started pouring down rain right after we set up camp - a full-on downpour so forceful we had to shout to be heard. Before running for cover in my tent I learned that they traveled from London to do the tour.

I had a visitor in my campsite later that night. I was already tucked away in bed when I heard my food bag rustling. Admittedly, I left it in a dumb spot - sealed up but on the table. Grabbing my headlamp I crawled out of my tent and found two eyes shining back at me from the bushes. Thinking I only needed to scare it off to save my cheap bagels, peanut butter and bananas, I clapped my hands a few times and scolded the thief. The eyes - and my bag - retreated further into the bushes... and just like that the battle was over. Without emotion or equivocation, I surrendered. I wasn't going to climb in there and deal with claws or teeth, so I got back in my tent and thought I'd just return to the grocery store a few miles up the road in the morning.

When I got up, I saw the silver lining (literally) of my food bag. I waded into the thick brush and recovered the mostly intact bag...still had everything but the bagels! Lesson learned; would find a better spot at the next campsite.

The Brits started out early, and I spent the rest of the day trying to catch them. Intermittent rainstorms, stops for donning and doffing rain gear, and further stops to clean mud and grime out of my brakes all slowed me down. Arrived at pretty Lake Sylvia, quickly pitched my tent during a lull in the rain and sulked because the Brits must have stayed somewhere else. Twenty minutes later they rolled in and we got to visit for a bit, trading stories, favorite tv shows and music. They had been slowed by American delights like Taco Bell and Walmart - which they don't have back home. I was happy to have found not just new companions but possible friends.

We set out together in the morning but before long I found myself out ahead...until I got a flat. By the time I had found a safe place to pull over and get out all the repair fixings (and then some because at home there's always someone close by who is quicker and faster at this), James and Pierre rolled up. Their far stronger and more practiced hands made quick work of it, and a guy from Redding, CA pulled over to offer the floor pump he had in his car.  I hope I thanked everyone enough; the floor pump was a real lifesaver with the snake bite-type puncture causing worry about my tire pressure.

We continued on after that, riding, eating and camping together. I had forgotten how much easier it is to have another person to help watch for signs, interpret maps and give a little boost when energy sags.

Together we caught our first glimpses of the Pacific and exchanged gleeful shouts. (I rode my bike to the ocean!) Before long we reached the daunting Astoria bridge. We stopped at the unfortunately named Dismal Nitch Rest Area to summon the confidence to tackle the 4.2-mile two-lane bridge with legendary small shoulders. Expecting the very worst, we agreed to stay close together for safety.

Once on the bridge, we flew, stoked by adrenaline and a hearty tailwind. Seagulls surfing the wind flew just out of reach...and sadly we saw the remains of one that got crushed in the gutter. Everything about the bridge pushed us forward and we were lucky to have construction on the last hilly section, because the workers gave us a lane to ourselves (so that we wouldn't slow down car traffic). Broad smiles and incredible relief shone all around once we landed on the other side.

The conquering heroes then celebrated in style with burritos, ice cream and the obligatory visit to the Goonies house.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

Pacific Coast's profile picture
Jennifer Schofield

Gear List

- MY BLACKBURN GEAR -

- MY BIKE SPECS -

- PERSONAL ITEMS -

- TECHNOLOGY -

- CAMPING GEAR -

- CLOTHING -

Jennifer Schofield's profile picture
Jennifer Schofield
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have you traveled by bike in the past? Reading Bruce Weber’s New York Times posts about his 2011 cross-country bicycle trip rekindled my 20-year old dream of doing a long bike ride. Then I talked with several friends who have done long tours – both the PCH and Transamerica…and I started thinking, hey, if these guys can do this, I can too. I’ve done the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic a couple times – what’s a few more hundred miles?
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have you traveled by bike in the past? Reading Bruce Weber’s New York Times posts about his 2011 cross-country bicycle trip rekindled my 20-year old dream of doing a long bike ride. Then I talked with several friends who have done long tours – both the PCH and Transamerica…and I started thinking, hey, if these guys can do this, I can too. I’ve done the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic a couple times – what’s a few more hundred miles?
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? I intend to ride from Port Angeles, WA to the US-Mexico border. I am hoping for adventure, time on the beautiful Pacific coast, a good tail wind and embracing life outside the cubicle! I’m looking forward to visiting the small towns along the coast and especially meeting new people along the way.

MY MUST HAVES

  • Magic Feather Because believing I can do it is what's going to get me there
  • My Journal Documenting the memories as I go
  • My Phone Staying connected with friends and family
  • Lip Balm A little bit of comfort that I carry with me on every long ride

- MY RIDE -

- Pacific Coast Milestones -