Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Photos!

You haven't blogged in 4 days!!!

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.

Let's recap: 4 days ago we left Arcata, CA (and our new friends there) in search of the open road and some coastal cycling. Our travels took us through the Avenue of the Giants (one of the most visited redwood forests in the world) to Garberville, CA, where we met some new friends and enjoyed an absolutely fantastic time. We set out the next morning for the coast (!) and California Highway 1, riding along the Pacific Ocean all day. We rode until the sun set, and ended up in Mendocino, CA for the night. Fortunately we met a lovely girl that took us in for the night, and our stay there has cemented itself as a highlight of my trip. We rose early the next morning and enjoyed a hearty egg and potato breakfast, complete with fresh blackberries and huckleberries from our hostess' garden. The fuel served us well - we had a challenging 125+ miles ahead of us en route to Santa Rosa. After a gorgeous, sunshine-filled day of riding, we arrived at the gateway to California's wine country just after sunset. I am now writing comfortably from our host and hostess' couch.

Let's get detailed, since that's why you keep coming back to read, right?

Arcata is a kind-hearted town on California's northern coastline, and one that we were fortunate enough to stop in. We would've pedaled right by if our friend Max (whom we met the night before on the beach in Crescent City) didn't suggest we stop by. We did, and we couldn't be more excited about it. Within minutes of arriving in town we met our lovely hostesses, and immediately embraced the positive energies of this place. Their hospitality was more than we could've asked for, and we're all very grateful for it. They even had Michael Jackson chronological matrushka dolls - very rad. We spent our first night in town recovering our aching legs and sipping kava tea (highly recommended), and woke with a zest for life on our rest day. I ambled down to the local farmer's market with Simona and Jenny (one of our hostesses and a fellow couchsurfer), and enjoyed the wonderful and vibrant atmosphere in the morning. The variety and quality of the produce and the vivacious community contributed to a very memorable morning. The rest of our stay there was spent socializing, skating, and meeting new friends in the community. If you're ever in Arcata and need any bike-related repairs or products, check out Revolution Bicycle Repair in town. Great people. I'm going back to ride with them someday - count on it.

We left Arcata as enthusiastic about our trip as we've been yet - our time there was refreshing and invigorating. There's a lot to be said about the quality of the human experience in a new place. A little kindness goes a long way, and our hearts were filled during our time there. Moreover, our route out of Arcata took us through Eureka (home of some of California's most famous architecture) and the Avenue of the Giants.

I'm going to go ahead and reiterate: there's nothing I can say/write/do to convey the scale of the redwood forest, although I'll try (and the pictures will help). The grandeur of the place is beyond me, and the experience of pedaling through is truly humbling. We rode past some huge trees, we rode THROUGH some even bigger trees, and I climbed all over a fallen tree that was absolutely enormous. If you want photographic evidence, see above. During our ride, we met Clark, a fellow bicycling traveler. He hails from Norman, Oklahoma, and is on his own Pacific coast tour. Travel well, my friend.

We rode through the day and enjoyed the plentiful California sunshine until it started to fade over the Sonoma county hills - we spent so much time playing in the Redwood National Forest that we didn't make the miles that we were hoping for! With the sun setting, we pulled into Garberville, CA. Knowing no one, we stopped at a local cafe and asked a few folks about places to camp for the night. Fortunately for us, we asked a gentlemen named Russell, who offered us a place to camp on his land. Hospitality is abundant in California.

Russell and our other hosts and hostesses for that night are farmers, and live simply with a focus on human interaction, quality of life, introspection, and positive betterment of the world that surrounds them. Our time with them was very pleasant, and I learned a lot from all of them. In addition to some perspective insight and some great conversation, they introduced me to slacklining. I'm beyond interested in getting good at this new sport, and I intend on buying a slackline just as soon as I develop some expendable income. Check it out at

Pictures were not in the cards during our time with Russell and company - those moments are ours to keep.

We rose to another gorgeous California morning on Russell's farm, and enjoyed a fantastic breakfast of banana pancakes and some chocolate chai tea. Russell - I need those recipes.

We had our sights set for California Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean, and two serious mountain passes separated us from our goals. I've done some cycling this summer, and have tackled some sincere mountains in Colorado and Washington, and these two climbs did their best to test my legs. I give some credit to the 4+ miles at 6-8% grade, and I give some credit to the thousand+ miles under my legs in the last few weeks. Hitting those hills fatigued was a challenge to say the least, but Eric and I soldiered on. A rewarding view of the Pacific was well worth the effort.

We rode on for the rest of the day with the hills on our left and the ocean on our right, as content as we could be. We stopped frequently to enjoy the moments that make travel like this so worthwhile, and finished our day in the sleepy town of Mendocino.

I, for one, am thrilled that we did. The town has an indelible charm, and we ended up meeting two lovely local girls that made the experience incredibly worthwhile. Elimah and Emily are two local girls of pure hearts and a genuine passion for living their lives, and we were thrilled to meet them. Elimah offered to host us for the night, and I can't overstate "host". She has a lust for cooking for guests - which work out for us mega-mile cyclists. I'm fairly sure that we ate most of her kitchen the night we arrived. As if that wasn't enough, she prepared an egg and potato breakfast for us, complete with blackberries and huckleberries we picked fresh from her garden. I wish we could've stayed longer, but our travels mandated that we hit the road after breakfast. We insisted that Elimah and Emily come visit us in Tahoe this winter, and now it's on the internet, so they have to come. See you girls this winter!

Pedaling out of Mendocino, we realized that we had a full plate - 125 miles to Santa Rosa. This is where it comes in handy to be athletes. The "bicycle tourist" caps were taken off, and the "fitness enthusiast" caps got some wear in the California heat. We hammered our brains out up and down (literally up and down - hills are plentiful in these parts) the coast all day, trying our best to enjoy the beautiful views despite the overwhelming amount of lactate in our legs. It was some of the most scenic riding I've ever been a part of, and not a day that I'll soon forget.

We rolled into Santa Rosa as the sun was setting over the local vineyards (there are plenty), and we stopped at the first supermarket we could find. Eric and I swore to each other that we would reward our hammering efforts with a tub of ice cream, which we did. 1.75 quarts of mocha almond fudge ice cream never met a quicker demise.

Now we're staying with our new friends Sheri and Cory and their pups, and the legs are getting a rest. We're going to take the rest of the day to recharge our legs and recuperate, then hit the town tomorrow morning and do some promotional work. Despite more than a few people hinting toward the lack of culture in Santa Rosa, I'm looking forward to seeing the place. I may go to the Peanuts and Snoopy Museum, too.

Update: Due to a shift in our schedule and a lack of exuberance in my legs, I won't be attempting the King's Ridge Gran Fondo route tomorrow. I've been swayed by my time in California, and I know that I'll be back. That being the case, I'm going to save the ride for a time when I'll have fresh legs and an enthusiasm for some sightseeing. One can never have too many reasons to travel, in my opinion, and I'm already looking forward to coming back and tackling that ride.

On to Napa and Sonoma, and some vineyard tours. I can't believe that we'll be touring Napa and Sonoma day after tomorrow. Isn't that what wealthy people do - tour wine country? I thought we were homeless vagabonds? Oh, yeah - you don't need to be rolling in cash to live the good life. Go out and grab it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Arcata, CA and then some..

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.

Our ride featured a lot of time on 101, with a foray onto the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. That stretch of road (the parkway) was the highlight of my trip thus far. Riding through a redwood forest is an experience that I can't even begin to describe - the energy in those trees isn't quantifiable, and the atmosphere is truly otherworldly. I've included some photos with this post, but they don't even begin to do the place justice (noticing a trend with my recent posts?). The sheer scale of the trees and the serenity of that place is something I'll not soon forget.

The rest of our ride was fantastic, and the weather has been steadily improving every passing day. As I write this from our hostesses' porch in Arcata, there isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature is hovering around 80 degrees. Even better, the forecast shows nothing but positivity for the next week from here to San Francisco. That alone makes me smile.

We head out tomorrow to Leggett, CA via the Avenue of the Giants - a true redwood forest. Our hostesses have confirmed that we're in for a treat, and I'm brimming with excitement. Thus far, this adventure has been unbelievable. The sights, the hospitality from new friends, and the fresh perspectives have been much more than I could have ever anticipated.

California seems to be a very special place.

Be sure to check out our video updates at, and on our YouTube channel for some additional perspective on our trip!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Oregon Coast into CA!

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.

I've got a lot more to say, but I'll let the photos do the work.

If that's not enough, check the video updates on

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Eye Candy Today

I'm going to start with an apology - I left my camera outside and am enjoying my coffee just a bit too much to go get it now. Rest assured, when the photos do go up tonight/tomorrow, you'll know it was worth the wait.

The Oregon coast is ridiculously beautiful - if we stopped to take it all in every time we turned and saw some jaw-dropping scenery, we'd still be riding. It's that good.

We were blessed with near-perfect weather all day, and we didn't take one minute of it for granted. It's a real treat to be dry and (relatively) clean, and we're very grateful. Spending a few days in the rain really reminds you how pleasant a clear day can be.

Our 93 miles yesterday were some of the best of my life, and I'd turn around and do it again today if I could. Fortunately, the alternative is 81 miles south on the same gorgeous coastal road to Port Orford, OR. I'll let you know how it went in a few hours....

Keep posted on for video updates and some additional photos, and let us know how you're doing! Email me and say hello - I'll pass the love on to the rest of the team.

Also, if you haven't checked out our swag yet - go to and take a look at our extensive line of fashion apparel. By "extensive" I mean we have shirts and wristbands. You'd look good in them - we do.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Oregon Coast is One of the Most Scenic Places in The World

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.

Yesterday was a day to remember as well, rewarding our 103 miles from Portland with a beachfront campsite and PERFECT weather all day. We said goodbye to our new friends Alisha, Jordan, Savannah, and Kathy and rode out of Portland under sunny skies. The roads out of town were primarily busy main thoroughfares, but with a very conspicuous lack of precipitation and fresh legs they were very enjoyable.

We rode through Oregon wine country all day, all the while enjoying sights of vineyards, mountains, and valleys. With no rain, our only issue was a coastal headwind that blew defiantly in our faces all day. That being said, when the direction the wind is blowing is your primary complaint for a day, it's a good day.

With the coast in our sights our 3rd century of the trip didn't even bother our legs, and we arrived at the 101 with the sun still shining and the skies still dry. It was FANTASTIC.

Arriving in Lincoln City to a sunset was one of the biggest rewards I've ever received for anything. Since the "work" for the reward was flawless bike ride, I'd say we had a good day.

We camped on the beach and had a spirit fire to celebrate dry weather and our first day on the Pacific Coast bicycling highway. Falling asleep to waves crashing after a day of cycling is my zen.

Highlight: today is Eric's, my cycling partner for this trip and dearest friend, birthday. Happy birthday, brother.

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

Rainier to Portland!

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 (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.