Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Yes, I know. More than a few of you have written me about my lack of blogging of the last few days. Rest assured that I have been living life to the fullest (and without internet access). My time has been spent cycling, meeting new friends, enjoying California sunsets (and night skies), leisurely sipping espresso, and trying not to live outside of the moment. In an era where social networking and being "plugged in" is the norm, it's a refreshing exercise to attempt from time to time.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Our legs are getting some much needed rest and our hearts are being filled with even more gracious hospitality from some new friends. We spent the night in Arcata, CA after a gorgeous day of riding from Crescent City.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Wow. The Oregon Coast from Port Orford to California is ridiculous. A kindhearted woman that we met in Gold Beach mentioned that it's the most photographed beach in the country, and with good reason. We stopped so much it took us 5 plus hours to cover 55 miles. Fortunately, that resulted in a lot of good photos. We've been sleeping on the beach every night next to a bonfire, and morale is as high as it's ever been. Arriving in California boosted spirits even more, and we're excited to keep exploring. We met a fellow traveler named Max yesterday - he was camping on the same beach with us last night. We wish him all the best in his own travel, and hope to cross paths again.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
If you keep a life goals checklist (and you should), add bicycle the Oregon coast to it NOW. Seriously, this is some of the best scenery I've ever seen. Every turn is a gateway to a new panorama worthy of a postcard, and the roads are fantastic. I'm enjoying some of the best riding of my life.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Our rest day in Portland (the first of two as we we wait for the rains to pass through and clear our way for the coast) was highlighted by a walk though the Hawthorne District, vintage clothing and antique shops, a PHENOMENAL americano, some great art, the quirkiest donut shop I've ever heard of or seen, and some delicious pho.
Our "host family" of Alisha, Savannah, Kathy, and Jordan live in a quaint little house on the outskirts of the Hawthorne District in southeast Portland with their dog Jack(son). Actually, according to their Wifi connection, it's "Jackson's House". They've been more than hospitable, and we're very grateful. I'm writing this entry from the comfort of their home, and I'm full of delicious blueberry pancakes that we contributed for breakfast (for the family). I'm listening to a Jose Gonzalez record. Life is good.
The Hawthorne District is an arts district in the soulful part of Portland (that statement is based off of nothing but the personalities of our hosts and the awesomeness of the surroundings), and is apparently sustained solely by secondhand stores and antique shops. It's very cool. It'd be easy to bleed rock and roll if you had access to this kind of style every day - you can see why there is such a vibrant arts and music scene here. We stopped in to browse in a few shops and found a lot of cool apparel and trinkets. I almost bought a Hall and Oates LP. Eric almost bought a military jacket. Amy almost bought every purse/umbrella/girls' accessory she saw. Then we remembered that we're all homeless gypsies. C'est la vie.
My personal highlight of the day came when we strolled past a cafe that had an original Banksy piece on the outside wall (disclaimer: Banksy hasn't taken credit for the piece, but he hasn't denied that it's his, either). If you haven't checked out his art yet, do. Cool stuff. The cherry on top was the perfect americano I was served inside. I love a good espresso drink, and this was one of the best I've had in some time. I may go back today.
The group highlight of the day was undisputedly our stop at Voodoo Doughnuts, which was recommended by our hosts. Quirky dosn't really cover this place - they serve all sorts of weird doughnuts (they were cited for health code violations last year after adding a Nyquil-filled donut to their menu) and have a very unique style about the place. In addition to serving doughnuts, they offer civil unions conducted by a legitimate reverend on site. I thought this was a joke on the menu, but a couple was getting married when we walked in. Seriously.
The photos above give you an idea of what they're working with.
We ended our day about town with a heaping bowl of pho at a local Vietnamese restaurant, and it hit the spot. Something about the Pacific Northwest - they do pho right out here.
We're taking an extra day here to let the storm system pass though and clear our way to the coast and the Pacific Ocean. Tomorrow, we set out for Lincoln City, and a night's sleep on the beach.
I can't deny the feeling that the real adventure begins tomorrow.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Today we woke to more dry weather (!) in our tent in Rainier, OR. The forecast didn't look too promising last night, so we set our alarms for 6:30 in hopes of getting some miles in before the rain started falling (again).
That plan didn't work out, but we were able to get our tent broken down in dry weather and clean up before our ride (as clean as you can get using a gas station sink). Moreover, although it didn't stay dry for us all day, it wasn't exactly pouring either. Compared to much of the last few days of riding, today ended up being quite manageable.
We rode the 53 miles into Portland without interruption (other than one flat tire) and only two quick stops (to fill up water bottles and refuel with some some Bear Naked granola bars), and got in just after 11. It was nice to get to our destination early in the day and have plenty of time to take in the city and enjoy ourselves leisurely.
Unfortunately, the weather got progressively less pleasant as the afternoon wore on, and most of our activities were postponed. We made the most of it though with a family lunch at a salad bar restaurant that was fantastic. We took our time there and enjoyed a nutritious meal, coffee, and ice cream. The rain can't keep our spirits down!
Our post-lunch destination was the home of our new friend Alisha, who I met on Couchsurfing.org (a great site if you haven't heard of it). She's offered her home (and her roommates as well) to us for the weekend, and we couldn't be more grateful. Their generosity has given us a great launchpad to go out and meet some people/promote the TYB cause in Portland.