Monday, September 6, 2010

BIKE TOUR n'stuff ! ! ! 460 something miles from Portland to the Redwoods!

Seems like a lot has happened since my last post, but I have been feeling kinda lazy about blogging. Hmmm, lets see.... I was in Georgia for almost a month this time, which I think is the longest yet, but hopefully my brother isn't sick of me, as he has been traveling too. We were both around long enough to have our cousins, the Nixs, over for a boating, lake, BBQ weekend. That was fun, they spent hours on the tube, and I tried wake boarding, yet again falling and scaring the beeeegeezus out of myself and having to cry a little bit about it. I sure do cry easy, bag gum, I hate that about myself. Anyway, we lounged around in the lake for hours, the three of them showing off their expert diving and me trying to just remember how to do it. Then we went out for crappy Mexican food. It was good times. I also finally got the cactus made for David, and started my own art projects while listening to "Born To Run" I would stop working just long enough to run back and forth in the basement 8 or 20 times. It was good to be back making stuff and good to be inspired by an excellent book.I came out here to Portland with enough time to hang in the city for a few days with old friends and try to get to know the place a little. I do finally feel that way now, after visiting 3 or 4 times, getting around town on my bike has at long last edumacated me. I love the vegan joint, Chaos. I also had a yummy vegan sandwich at Dick's kitchen. Tomorrow, the plan is to go to some food cart (everyone is crazy about food carts here) to have some Canadian french fry concoction. I will let you know how it is. Poutine, I think they call it.The Saturday after I got here, me, Christy and Fred, met up super early to start our bike tour! Yay! Step one: get to the coast by Sunday afternoon to meet up with Dan and the kids! The ride was so so beautiful. We took the city metro to the last stop and just headed west. We rode for several hours over rolling hills, farm land, and thru small quaint towns. The afternoon had us going over the Coastal Mountains and that turned out to be the most difficult climb of the trip. It was about 2,000 feet over four miles, which doesn't sound like much, but that took a long time and around 4pm I was tired and the tears started!! I had been so nervous the night before, I barely slept and at like mile 58, I was just ready to get there. We did 60 miles that day, and well, even though it was hard. It was still so worth it. I got some inspiration from a deer that decided to leap and bound across the road just a few feet in front of us!! The top too was so beautiful, and just like hiking, it is so nice to see the plants and trees change with the elevation. We got to our chosen camp ground to find it totally maxed out. I wandered into the woods across the street and found an ok spot for us. I was asleep before the sun was even down.The next day was great, we were headed down hill now, and we passed some lovely farms, and hit hwy 101 in no time. It was about 20 more miles or so till we met up with Dan and that was a good thing that we did. 'cause my new bike needed a little tlc and he is the man!! We took some pics of all of us by the sea, and Christy had a sweet reunion with the kids. Fred and I rode off south while they made plans for a day at the beach.After 53 miles that day, Fred and I landed in Lincoln City. The campground is right there in the city so we walked to a yummy thai restaurant. I ate and ate and after we walked down to the shore just in time for low tide. It was awesome! We saw so much cool stuff in the tide pools and I loved it. We saw anemones and crabs and all kinds of clams and seaweed! The sun was setting as we walked back and I felt good.Over the next week, we rode an average of 50 miles a day, sometimes 65 sometimes 40. We stayed on 101 most of the time, but the Oregon coast bike map would lead us to either more scenic routes, less traffic, or shallower hills. We stopped to see the seals, the whales, and to do little hikes. OH! Also everyday we had blackberry breaks. Yes! blackberries everywhere! It was awesome! We were on a bit of a slower pace than some of the other riders we met, but I am happy we got to be more tourists than the last time I was on a bike trip. We did see quite a few folks cycling and met a couple people we liked. We went swimming at William M. Tugman state park (it was f-in' cold) and nice retired folks gave us some tips on where to stop for scenic views.
Everyone we met was exceptionally nice, and helpful. All of it was fun, even deciding what to get at the grocery store. The slower pace allowed us to eat good! We made lots of yummy stuff and I am glad we made time for it. The state parks (mostly where we camped) were excellent as well. Three times, we had an event to go to after we arrived and got settled. We saw a movie on whales, and went to two informative lectures! We sat for an hour and watched a whale surface and disappear and surface again! That was a first for me! The weather was mostly great, kinda sporadic, but I guess typical for the Northwest. It would be cold and foggy in the morning but get crazy hot and sunny by the afternoon. I only had to curse and spit a couple times to get myself up some steep climbs, but I managed and ended up feeling pretty good about it.One afternoon, we passes a u-pick blueberry farm, and I couldn't resist. We picked enough to have blueberries for several days in our oatmeal!! The coast was so amazing, especially on the climbs as there were lots of overlooks and places to marvel at the rock out crops, arch rock was a favorite!The following Saturday, we finally crossed the border into California and made it to the first Redwood state park of the 3 that we were going to. Del Norte. This was supposed to be an excellent triumphant of a day, but we spent too much time in Crescent City (aka Crescent Shitty, if you ask me) trying to finalize our transportation back to Portland, we did finally sort it all out, but by this time it was late and we still had a monster of a mountain to climb to get to our campground and it was against the wind, ugh!! It was still cool to see the trees get bigger and bigger, but I was in the ZONE...up, up, up, Corrie, get up this fucking hill!! AHHH! Luckily that night we had an excellent ranger give us the low-down on the canopy of the redwoods. I learned a lot, and she was so funny. She had the humor of a 60 year old man, but she was like 25.The next day we rode just 30 miles or so to the Prairie Creek Redwoods. We stopped to squash a penny at the Trees of Mystery and got there early enough to join a guided hike to the "big tree", and it was, BIG!! 28 feet across and 60 around, or some such madness, almost 300 tall. It was nuts!Oh my gosh, but do I love the redwoods, the trees, the frogs (red ones), the slugs (bananas) and the rain forest. I am so, so glad we went. It was magical. The next day we had off! It was such a treat, and I felt so lucky and like I had worked for THIS. We hiked 7 or so miles, hitch hiking back with a sweet old couple from SF. Our destination was the fern canyon and I loved it!! You have to go! It is like something out of a fairy tale. A small canyon with walls at 30 or 40 feet, but completely covered with several varieties of vibrant lush ferns and a rushing spring at the base. You can drive down a crazy dirt road to get there, but I am glad we hiked. We saw so much cool stuff. All the things we had learned in our various lectures and ranger encounters: cathedral trees, buttress branches, fern mats, burls, and ancient ancient redwoods!The next day, we were off, back North. Our ride totally forgot us (note to travelers in the redwoods: the RCT totally sucks, and you have to call them 100 times if you actually want them to remember to pick you up). Ok, moving on, we recovered from being forgotten and rode the 40 miles back over the monster mountain to Crescent Shitty to pick up our truck. That part was pretty easy and we found a camp ground near Jedediah Smith State Park, where we planned to do a short hike on our last day, our day back to Portland. We did and it was great, another cool ranger was there waiting for us, and I loved him. He liked to pontificate on the meaning of humans communing with nature, but he just kinda seemed like a bus driver. We made it back in tact and with only one flat tire between us. Thank you to the 3000 or so drivers who passed us each day without hitting us!!Oh, ps, the next day, we set off in search of the blackberry mother-load. We did pick quite a bit, enough to make 7 jars of jam! Yay for food growing wild on the side of the road!