Tag Archives: 2012

2012 Xtracycle Tree Haulin (6th Annual)

The Tree HaulerYear Six is D O N E.

We all pedaled up to our local tree lot the other evening, chose a 8′ Noble fir and headed home. Simple, straightforward and almost no drama. Continue reading

Tree Haulin, Year SIX

We’re gearing up for Xtracycle Tree Hauling, year six! We plan to get our tree in the next couple of days and promise to post photos of year six later in the week. Not as cute as when the kids were little and riding on the Snapdeck, but still fun nonetheless.

For now, check out years 2007 – 2011. How the kids have grown! More blog posts and photos of all tree hauling adventures here and here

2007 Family Long Bike Christmas

2007, look how little!

Continue reading

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 23-25, San Rafael, CA to Oakland, CA (including the Golden Gate!)

Day 23: Rest Day in San Rafael

We spent the day resting. Hanging out with our friends, relaxing on the couch and napping. The kids enjoyed their time with friends. It sure is nice to spend time someone other than your sibling after traveling for three weeks.
Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23


Miles: 10 miles
Climbing: not sure
Route: local roads
High: Good Friends, Good Food
Low: I can’t think of one
Sleep: Friends house in San Rafael

Day 24: San Rafael to Oakland via the Golden Gate Bridge

We packed up the next morning and started pedaling toward the Golden Gate. I had made plans to meet my sister, and her two daughters near the Golden Gate so they could ride the bridge with us. Of course, we got lost in Marin and the ride took longer than we had planned. We finally made it to the bridge and my sister and my nieces were cheering for us. We were elated and just a bit misty eyed! As we rode up, the 9-year-old said, “Mom, I’m really proud of myself.” I agreed, I’m proud too.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

Lots of photo opportunities in the viewing area at the Golden Gate. We lingered for a while and snapped lots of photos!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

The cousins at the Golden Gate.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

Our trip was officially over. 22 days, 947 miles! Tim and our daughter both said they were ready to keep going, they wanted to continue down the Coast. But we had to get back to Seattle and didn’t have time. We vowed to finish the Pacific Coast another time!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23

Miles: 20 miles
Climbing: not sure
Route: Local roads and Bart
High: Crossing the Golden Gate
Low: Getting on the wrong Bart Train
Sleep: sisters house in Oakland

We spent two days with my sister and her family. More napping. More relaxing. More hanging out with family. We were all exhausted and the parents didn’t have energy for tourist activities. The kids were disappointed that we didn’t spend more time in San Francisco. We vowed to spend more time being tourists next time!

We also reserved a rental car and Tim disassembled the bikes so they would fit on the trunk rack we borrowed from my sister to transport the bikes.

wide load: rental Impala racked up with both tandems for drive home

IMAG0071

Looks cumbersome but the bikes don’t stick out beyond the mirrors. We drove late into the night since we had to return our one-way rental car in the morning. Thirteen hours later, we were back in Seattle.

Here’s a link to our Flickr photo stream from the trip.

 – Anne

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 19-22, MacKerricher State Park to San Rafael, CA

Day 19 MacKerricher State Park to Manchester

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19
After checking out the tide pools and watching the seals lounge around on the beach through binoculars, we packed up and left MacKerricher State Park. Satiated by breakfast in Ft. Bragg and with enough groceries to get us through the day, we pedaled out-of-town toward Manchester.

The route through Mendocino along Hwy 1 is absolutely beautiful. This stretch was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Amazing coastal vistas, perfect weather and curvy windy roads that keep logging trucks away. Most of the traffic was traveling at relatively slow speeds and the lack of shoulder didn’t bother us too much. The series of hairpin turns meant fun downhills, but also lots of climbing. The boy and I developed a pretty good rhythm. When we’d see the sign indicating a hairpin turn, he’d yell, “Tuck and Pedal!!” and we’d pedal vigorously hoping to keep momentum going into the climb that always followed.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19

We originally planned to camp at Manchester State Park, but upon arrival, we learned that they had no potable water and no showers. Desperately needing a shower, we opted for our favorite KKKKOA chain. I annoyed the kids and Tim for the rest of the evening emphasizing my K’s as we cooked dinner in the KKKamper KKKitchen and listened to bad KKKaroke entertainment from other KKKampers. During the night we heard doves cooing above our tent and woke in the morning to a tent covered in dove KKKrap. That was the icing on the KKKake. We cleaned it off as best we could and quickly packed up and pedaled out of there.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20
Our “neighbors” at the KOA had an amazing amount of stuff including numerous dogs and cats in a fenced off pen and a full size gas BBQ!

Miles: 45.6 miles
Climbing: 4279 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 1
High: Beautiful ride through Mendocino Coast
Low: Manchester KOA
Sleep: Manchester KOA

Day 20: Manchester to Bodega Bay

Leaving the KOA
We spent another day pedaling the Mendocino and Sonoma Coasts. Sonoma Coast is amazingly beautiful: rugged, sparsely populated, and beautiful vistas with perfect weather for bike touring. We pedaled up more climbs and descents and honed our tucking and pedaling skills.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

We enjoyed the ocean views all day.

The Sonoma Coast is beautiful

We ran into “The Surfboard Dudes” after lunch and rode with them for a while. They looked like they were suffering quite a bit towing surfboards up those climbs.
The surfboard crew

We also encountered lots of cows grazing behind fences and where there were no fences, cows sometimes wandered in the road. The boy loved it, we talked about cows for hours.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

We ended up naming this big climb “Cow Hill”, and when we reached the summit, the boy wanted his photo taken with one of his bovine friends.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

The distinctive architecture along the Sonoma Coast made the ride interesting too. We looked forward to spotting cool houses in the hills.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

After 71 miles of climbing and sun, we were beat. We arrived at the campground at dusk and decided to take a rest day in Bodega Bay the following day.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

Miles: 71.6 miles
Climbing: 6870 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 1
High: Cow hill! Cows owned the roads, not the cars
Low: Nasty food at a convenience store 10 miles from Bodega Bay
Sleep: Bodega Dunes State Park

Day 21: Rest Day in Bodega Bay

IMAG0333
Not much to report on our rest day, other than actual rest. And reading, and eating. After our experience in Gold Beach, I couldn’t convince anyone to go to the beach with me, so we just stayed in our sandy campsite.

Bodega Dunes campground is low-key. The hiker biker campsite is pretty big and easily swallowed up the five groups who wandered in throughout the day. This campground also has free showers. Bonus for stinky bike tourists!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

Later in the afternoon the “Tandem Family” showed up in the campground. We were so happy to see them. All eight of us went into town for dinner that evening for some fish and chips.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20

Miles: 5 or so
Climbing: minimal
Route: back roads into town
High: Rest and seeing the “Tandem Family” again!
Low: Can’t think of one
Sleep: Bodega Dunes Campground

Day 22: Bodega Bay to San Rafael

The last day of riding, we’re almost to San Francisco. This day was all about food and pedaling. We stopped to stuff our faces with delicious lunch at the Valley Ford Market. A perfect place to get eat lunch, the store was incredible. As we were getting ready to start pedaling again “The Tandem Family” showed up! We chatted a bit and we were off. This was the last we’d see of them on the trip. We were ending our trip in San Francisco and they were continuing on to San Luis Obisbo, South of Big Sur. We’d catch up with them in Seattle when we all returned.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

Tim had heard of  Hog Island Oyster Farm from his sister who is a water quality specialist and food scientist at the University of Washington. Naturally he wanted to stop in and eat some oysters. I was being a grumple pants and really didn’t want to stop, I was anxious to keep pedaling and ensure we arrived in San Rafael by sunset. But I’m so glad we stayed, what a beautiful setting. I wished we could have spent more time eating oysters (and sampling wine) on the beautiful patio. Another time, no wine for us if we want to make it to San Rafael by sunset!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

When we pulled up, we saw some familiar bikes and noticed “The Cookbook Couple” sharing oysters in the sun too!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

Tim and our daughter shared a dozen oysters.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

With bellies full of oysters, we got back on the bikes and continued to ride South.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

My good friend, Steph, whom I’ve known since first grade drove out to Lagunitas on the outskirts of Marin to greet us as we emerged from our ride through Samuel P Taylor State Park.  We were so happy ( and a bit emotional) to see them and share our excitement of finishing the tour. Steph dropped her husband, Jim, with his bike and he escorted us through Marin to their house in San Rafael. Along the way, we met several people on bikes who rode with us a few blocks at a time and quizzed us about our tour. Friendly bike people in Marin!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22

The ride into San Rafael was beautiful!

Jim escorted us the last 15 miles

Miles: 55.6 miles
Climbing: 3937 ft of climbing
High: Hog Island Oysters
Low: mom spent some time in the grumpy seat
Sleep: Friends house in San Rafael

 – Anne

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 16-18, Eureka to MacKerricher State Park

Previous post Gold Beach to Eureka, CA

Day 16: Eureka, CA to Richardson Grove State Park

We got a slow start due to the comfy beds and bad hotel TV. The kids really relish down time in the hotel and it’s hard to drag them away! We eventually got on the road and started pedaling towards the Redwoods.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 16
We took a short lunch break in Ferndale, a quaint town with shops, cute restaurants and Victorian storefronts. Tim had been holding out hope that I’d agree to do the Lost Coast after reading about Todd’s Brompton trip a few years ago. The decision to go to the Lost Coast or not had to be made in Ferndale. I wasn’t feeling that ambitious and we decided to turn left instead of right out-of-town and save the Lost Coast for another trip. Before we left town, we stocked up on chocolate from the artisan chocolate shop, Tim got some dried sausage at the local butcher and we were on our way toward the Redwoods. This section of road was pleasant, off highway riding meandering through country roads and dairy farms. The 9-year-old LOVES cows and really enjoyed seeing so many of them along the way.

Tandem in the Redwoods

The route then follows the Avenue of the Giants, definitely a highlight. On a low traffic day, we had the roads mostly to ourselves. Such an amazing experience to ride through a grove of giant Redwoods! We arrived at Richardson Grove around dinner time, a small pleasant campground right in the heart of the Redwoods. The kids loved the campground, lots of enormous redwood stumps to climb and a small but well done visitors center right in the campground. 9-year-old boy nirvana, he loves the Redwoods!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 17

Miles: 58 miles
Climbing: 5216 ft of climbing
Route: various: Hwy 101, Avenue of the Giants
High: The Redwoods!
Low: Didn’t realize there were no grocery stores after Ferndale so we ate some random, bottom of the pannier food for dinner.
Sleep: Richardson Grove State Park

Day 17: Richardson Grove State Park to Standish Hickey State Park

Tim tuned the bikes in the campground while the kids went to check out the visitor’s center. We also met campground neighbors and fellow bike tourists who arrived late the previous night, three college students riding the coast and towing two surfboards! [more about them later in the trip] Ah, the joys of youth. Fun to hear some of their stories from the trip.

We finally rolled out of the campground in search of lunch in the nearby town. We happened upon the drive through tree, paying the bicycle rate for the privilege of riding through a tree.  Kinda cheesy, but the kids thought it was fun!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 17

We ate some burgers from a General Store in Myers Flat. The burgers were really good, but the chef must smoke a lot of the local offerings from Humboldt county because it took him forever to cook four burgers!

Finally on the road after a big lunch, we spent the day pedaling along the Eel River in the heat. The Adventure Cycling route took us on and off the highway all day long. In retrospect, we should have just stayed on the highway the entire way to save time. The minor off highway detours weren’t worth the extra effort and time they took to navigate all of the highway entrances and exits.

We arrived at our destination in Standish Hickey just in time for a late dinner at the Peg House. Maybe we were extra tired and hungry, but this was the best food we’d tasted the entire trip. Bonus that we were greeted by “The Tandem Family” [see below] from Seattle! They were just finishing their dinner and we shared a beer with them while we waited for our food. After dinner we pedaled across the street to the campsite and quickly set up our tent and crashed.

The campground was filled with bike tourists we’d met along the way. When touring and staying in hiker biker sites every night, you get to know the other bike tourists. And as we learned, everyone has a title. We had already met “The Surfboard Dudes”, in Richardson Grove. Other bike tourists we met included: “The Cookbook Couple”, “The Tandem Family”. When we caught up to the group in the Redwoods, people realized there were two tandem families traveling the Coast and we became “The Other Tandem Family”. Though we never met them, we anticipated a meeting with the “Russian Vodka Dudes”. We heard they were lots of fun and generous with their vodka.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 18

Miles: 48 miles
Climbing: 4650 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 101, and some side roads
High: The Peg House
Low: The on and off Hwy route wasn’t worth the effort
Sleep: Standish Hickey State Park

Day 18: Standish Hickey State Park to MacKerricher State Park including Leggett Pass

We woke up seriously early the next morning (for us) and packed up camp in record time. We’d planned to have coffee and breakfast burritos at the Peg House before tackling the infamous Leggett Pass. We rode out of the campground to cheers from the other bike tourists, they were all surprised that our family was the first to roll out. They all eventually trickled over to the Peg House and most of them left the restaurant/store before we did, so the cheers weren’t really necessary but certainly appreciated!

We’d been hearing and reading about Leggett Pass for a while and were prepared to suffer up the climb. It didn’t end up being as bad as we expected. Shh, don’t tell the kids, Tim and I secretly enjoyed it. After suffering up the long slow hot climb, we enjoyed the especially fun downhill!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 18

We arrived at MacKerricher State Park in the early afternoon. The “Tandem Family” rolled in just after us and we all convened in the way-too-small-excuse for a hiker biker site. It was really just a car spot that the park designated as hiker /biker. A guy was already set up and using a big portion of the site, and we were pretty sure he wasn’t a tourist, it looked like he lived there. There was also one other tent set up in the site. We decided there was no way we could squeeze two more tents and 8 more people into the site and sent Tim to talk to the park ranger. The campground had extra sites, normally reserved for overflow, and let us move in along with our new friends. The “Tandem Family” and “The Other Tandem Family” in one site! We set up camp and still had spare time for playing on the beach before dinner. A first for the trip and super fun for the kids!
Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 18

Miles: 45.5 miles
Climbing: 6353 ft of climbing
Route: Leggett Pass, Hwy 1
High: Climbing Leggett Pass, that wasn’t so bad
Low: CA State Parks budget cuts are glaringly apparent at MacKerricher State Park. One small hiker/biker spot that is just a car spot they designate for bikes. And dirty bathrooms, yuck, bring your own toilet paper!
Sleep: MacKerricher State Park

 – Anne

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 6-11, Beverly Beach, OR to Gold Beach, OR

Previous: Portland to Beverly Beach

Day 6: Beverly Beach State Park to Beachside State Park

This short day of pedaling started with a long breakfast in Newport, OR. Finding food that all four of us want to eat is sometimes challenging. Someone isn’t in the mood for that, or they don’t like that or any other reasons the choice is bad. But breakfast is easy, we can usually find something on the menu that everyone likes. After breakfast we stopped into Bike Newport looking for kids bike gloves. We struck out on gloves but we did learn that the shop has showers, laundry and a lounge that they provide for touring cyclists. If only we had known! After lingering and chatting with some other bike tourists at the shop, we pedaled down the highway a few miles to the  Marine Science Center.  We stayed longer than planned, but I just couldn’t pry my science loving boy away. We finally left in the late afternoon, hoping to arrive at the next campsite before dinner.
Beachside State Park

Miles: 30.28 miles
Climbing: 2633 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 101
High: Hatfield Marine Science Center
Low: Missing the Oregon Coast Aquarium
Sleep: Nice private hiker biker campsites at Beachside State Park

Day 7 :Beachside State Park to Honeyman State Park

We woke to a heavy damp coastal fog. The laundry we hand washed the night before and left on a clothesline was wetter in the morning than it had been after we washed it. And now it all smelled like wet, damp sea air. After coffee and breakfast, the kids and I wandered over to the day use area so we could walk on the beach while Tim finished packing. Beach time was brief, too cold to linger! Dip your toes in the ocean, kids, it’s time to get on the road!

Thankfully the sun quickly burned off the fog and warmed us up. We enjoyed a fast ride down the coast aided by a nice tailwind. Nothing like looking down at your bike computer to see you’re going 25 with little effort!

The kids talked us into a tour of the Sea Lion Caves, after seeing all of the billboards on the Highway. A stinky tourist trap that I could easily have skipped but it ended up being a highlight for the boy, so I guess it was worth it. I can still smell the stinky cave and hope I won’t ever have to go back.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 7

Miles: 35 miles
Climbing: 5366 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 101
High: According to the kids, the Sea Lion caves
Low: According to the parents, the Sea Lion caves
Sleep: Stayed in a regular campsite at Honeyman State Park.

A quick note about families and hiker/biker sites and rates: In OR state parks, the hiker/biker rate was $5 per person. A regular tent site was $16. With four of us, it was cheaper to stay in a regular site. Some campgrounds didn’t charge us for the kids but instead charged us for two bikes or $10. This policy was inconsistent and the amount charged varied by park. We much preferred the quiet and camaraderie of the hiker biker sites if given a choice. But we didn’t want to pay more for it (dirtbag bike tourists!)

Day 8: Honeyman State Park, OR to Coos Bay, OR

The wet stinky laundry from the day before was still not dry and was now rotting in our waterproof panniers. So we decided to stay at a motel in Coos Bay and do some laundry. The ride to Coos Bay was pleasant enough and uneventful. We arrived in Coos Bay, checked into a motel and set out on foot to find the laundromat. Why didn’t we ride? It would have been so much faster. Not much to say about Coos Bay and after about an hour there, we were wishing we’d planned our motel stay for a better town. We couldn’t find anywhere to eat and ended up eating breakfast for dinner in a roadside Denny’s clone.

Miles: 46 miles
Climbing: 3457 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 101
High: Happening upon a 7-11 on our way out-of-town on Free Slurpee Day!
Low: Coos Bay
Sleep: Super 8 in Coos Bay

Day 9: Coos Bay to Cape Blanco State Park

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 10

Eager to get the hell out of Coos Bay, we drank lots of coffee in the room, the kids consumed free pastries from the breakfast bar and we made an effort to kickstart our morning. The kids dragged their feet, hoping to prolong bad TV watching on the real bed with pillows. Eventually we convinced them it was time to go, and we were on the road.

After 45 or so uneventful miles in the saddle, we arrived at our planned campsite for the night. a depressing little KOA off 101. But after a quick tour, we decided to ride 10 more miles to Cape Blanco, hoping to find a more inspiring place to rest our tired legs. The ride out to Cape Blanco was brutal,  we pedaled against a raging headwind the entire way. We finally arrived to find a nice hiker biker area tucked in the trees and out of the wind. A super friendly couple from Austin we had met a few times in campsites and on the road had already started a fire when we rolled in. One of the best aspects of hiker/biker sites is sharing stories with all of the other bike tourists. Most didn’t even mind sharing the sites with old people and their kids.

Miles: 57 miles
Climbing: 4704 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 101
High: Ice Cream from a General Store in Langois
Low: Riding the last five miles with a head wind to Cape Blanco
Sleep: Hiker biker site at Cape Blanco State Park

Day 10: Cape Blanco State Park to Gold Beach, OR

Hoping the previous night’s headwind would blow us back to the Hwy, we set out from Cape Blanco with Gold Beach as our destination. We had decided on a rest day in Gold Beach and were pleasantly surprised when the sun came out and warmed us up. We enjoyed another day of riding with winds in our favor, North to South on the Pacific Coast in the summer is the way to go! Every couple of days, we encountered cyclists who were riding the Pacific Coast from South to North. One guy riding North told us the headwinds were so bad, that he was only able to ride 20 miles a day. He said often he’d reach the top of a climb, head for the descent and realize he was riding slower on the descent than he had ridden on the climb!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 10

Miles: 48 miles
Climbing: 4217 ft of climbing
Route: Hwy 101
High: Tailwinds, baby!
Low: Lots of road construction on Hwy 101
Sleep: Indian Creek RV Park (don’t let “RV” in the name fool you, it’s a pleasant spot by the creek with really nice quiet tent spots in the back of the park.)

Day 11: Rest Day in Gold Beach, OR

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 11

The RV park ended up being a very pleasant place for a rest day. The tent area was deserted so we had the place mostly to ourselves. We ate breakfast in the restaurant, cleaned all of our laundry, used the free wi-fi and lazed around in the sun most of the day. But for some reason, I couldn’t sit still. I thought since we were in a beach town we should really go to the beach. I convinced everyone to ride into town and have a picnic lunch on the beach. Apparently my short-term memory had blocked out the tail wind that blew us South from Cape Blanco. We pedaled to the beach, pushed our bikes through the sand, our faces getting pelted by sand. Sand blew in our food, and in our eyes, and in our chains. We left after 10 minutes wishing we had just stayed at the RV park out of the wind and rested like we’d planned.

Miles: 4 or so, into town for groceries and dinner
Climbing: minimal
High: Kids enjoyed finding and playing with salamanders in the creek at the campground
Low: Wind and blowing sand foiled our planned picnic on the beach
Sleep: Indian Creek RV Park (Did I mention the breakfast? Yummy!)

Next up: Gold Beach to Eureka!

 – Anne

2012 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Days 1-5, Portland to Beverly Beach

Following is a series of posts about our 2012 two-tandem-family Pacific Coast bike tour. Our family of four (mom, dad, an 11 year old and a 9 year old) pedaled two tandems from our house in North Seattle and ended up in San Francisco three weeks later. Of course there’s more to the story than that, and if you want to know more, read on!

Note: In summer 2013, we’ll complete the route, picking up where we left off in San Francisco and riding to the Mexican border.

Day 1: Seattle to Portland on the Bolt bus

We originally planned to ride directly from our house in Seattle and end up in San Francisco, CA at the end of 3 weeks. However, plans don’t always work out. Many setbacks delayed our departure ( lots of rain, some mechanical issues and family stuff). Instead of pedaling to Portland, we ended up taking the bus. I already wrote about the first day in a previous post so I won’t repeat it here. But if you’re curious, clink the link and read the funny first day story.

bolt bus tandem loading

Stats:
Miles: 10 miles, give or take
Low: Refused by Amtrak
High: Accepted by Bolt Bus
Sleep: Comfy bed at friend’s house in NE Portland

Day 2: Portland with Friends

Ahh, Portland. The bicycle mecca. We have lots of friends here and love to visit when we can. It’s such a great place to ride bikes and eat delicious food!

When we travel to Portland, we usually stay with Vincent and Jennifer: great friends and gracious hosts! (and of course the wine, is an added bonus.) Vincent and Jennifer never fail to make us feel welcome in their home!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 2
Vincent knows how to relax on a Holiday

I can’t really call day two a rest day. Other than the 5 mile ride from our house to downtown Seattle the previous day, we hadn’t actually done any riding. Day two featured relaxing, last minute grocery shopping and a mini-tour to stretch our legs and check out Portland’s Fourth of July happenings. We also stopped at REI in the Pearl District to buy a travel pillow for Tim. After the quick tour of Portland, we pedaled back to Vincent and Jennifer’s for a Fourth of July BBQ, neighborhood fireworks display and to prep for the following day’s departure.

Miles: 10 miles, give or take
Low: The boy gathered up all of the spent fireworks from the neighborhood fireworks display. He was crushed when we told him he couldn’t bring them with us on the bike.
High: Food, fun and good friends!
Sleep: Comfy bed at friends’ house in NE Portland

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 2
Portlanders getting ready for the evening fireworks show

Day 3: Portland, OR to McMinnville, OR

If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you’re probably not surprised that we got a late start leaving Portland. To all of you non-early bird types out there, I’m happy to report that you don’t have to be an early riser to be a bike tourist. Thankfully NW summers feature long days and many daylight hours for riding. You can sleep in on occasion and still make it to the campsite by dusk.

We packed up our gear and rolled out of NE Portland later than we had planned even by our standards, but happy we were finally pedaling toward our goal. Our friend, Mitch, met us on the Klickitat Greenway and rode to the Lloyd Center MAX station to see us off. So fun to ride with him and his daughter and to get a personal sendoff!

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 3

Our plan to ride MAX to Hillsboro to avoid big hills and 18 miles of suburb riding quickly evaporated as we arrived at the Lloyd Center MAX station and encountered a series of full trains. Portland friends had warned us that large bikes aren’t technically allowed on MAX since they don’t fit in the designated bike area. Since the worst possible outcome was getting kicked off, we thought we’d try to board any way. Our hopes of squeezing two giant fully loaded tandems on the trains packed with Fourth of July weekend revelers diminished with each passing train.

As the minutes ticked by, we began to picture ourselves in a motel on the outskirts of Portland instead of camping at the base of the Nestucca Valley climb. We eventually gave up on MAX and decided to ride to Hillsboro instead.  We pedaled downtown and began the big climb out of West Portland. Just past the last Portland MAX stop near Jefferrson station, we were passed by a nearly empty Blue line MAX train. That empty car gave us pause, should we try again? On a whim, we decided to wait for the next train and test our luck. The next train was empty so we jumped on and let MAX whisk us off to Hillsboro, shaving at least 2 hours off our first day of riding and allowing us to arrive in McMinnville just before dinner. Dirty rotten cheaters? We say, no!

The boy on MAX, just happy to be here

Stats

Miles: 35 miles, give or take
Low: Scaryloud, close talker man on the MAX who wouldn’t leave Tim and our daughter alone
High: Fudgesicles and icy drinks at the general store in Yamhill
Sleep: Hotel Oregon in McMinnville

Day 4: McMinnville, OR to Pacific City, OR

We stayed at Hotel Oregon, a McMenamins hotel in McMinnville.  After a restful sleep, and a hot breakfast we packed up and left the hotel earlier than normal for us. Yay! On the road before lunch! We cherish the little victories.
Leaving Hotel Oregon in McMinnville

Todd had recommended a route that followed the lovely Nestucca River Valley out to the Coast. He warned us about the big climbs on this route so we were prepared to suffer. The kids surprised us with their tenacity and didn’t complain much as we pedaled all day uphill in the heat. It was super slow going, at one point my bike computer said I was only going 2.5 miles an hour. You can barely keep a bike upright at that speed, it would have been faster to walk! But the road was relatively traffic free and even though the climbs long and steep, we enjoyed the pleasant and scenic ride.

Fourth of July weekend meant full campgrounds along the Nestucca River so we decided to go all the way to Pacific City and test our luck there. Julian had kept in touch all week and said he might head out on a camping road trip with the kids and meet up with us. We texted a few times throughout the day and kept in touch about our whereabouts so he’d know where to meet us. As we emerged from the cellular dead zone on the Nestucca River, we confirmed with Julian that we’d meet him in Pacific City.

We rolled through town, located the grassy parking lot posing as Woods County campground and discovered  it was full. Dang. Skunked on the first day of camping! We asked the campground host if we could pitch our tent on a spare patch of grass in the campground but he said no, he wasn’t really interested in helping. Sure campground man, turn away the family on bikes, they’ll find other accommodations. Not giving up and determined to sleep in that grassy glorified parking lot, we spotted a friendly looking guy camping in his Vanagon. We’re former Vanagon owners, and know anyone who drives an 80’s Vanagon camper can usually be trusted. You have to have some good karma to keep those vehicles running. As we suspected, he was super friendly! He let us pitch our tent and split his campsite with us. Bonus that he also gave us a restaurant recommendation in town. After we set up the tent and unloaded the rest of our gear, we headed off to town to find the dinner place Vanagon guy recommended. As we pedaled the mile toward town, we heard some commotion from an oncoming car. “Tim! Anne!”

Yay, Julian made it!

We reported the full campground situation and sent him off to test his luck with another camper. After a delicious dinner and a couple of much earned beers, we pedaled back to the campground for some rest. We were happy to see Julian’s car and tent set up right next to ours.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 5

Miles: 68 miles
Low: Arrived in Pacific City at dusk to find the campground full
HighJulian and the kids drove down and met us in Pacific City!
Sleep: Woods County Campground. Friendly vanagon guy agreed to split his campsite with us.

Day 5: Pacific City, OR to Beverly Beach State Park, OR

The next morning we awoke to kids laughing and playing outside the tent. We rolled out of bed and fired up the coffee. Julian said he planned to stay another night and agreed to drive ahead to Beverly Beach and get a campsite we could all share.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 5

The ride was enjoyable and beautiful, with quintessential Oregon Coast vistas all day long. We even made pretty good time, despite our lack of training!

Just North of Lincoln City, the Adventure cycling map listed a cutoff that detoured off the Hwy 101. Anytime you can ride off Hwy, do it! Just as we turned onto Slab Creek Road off Hwy 101, we saw a spray painted sign on a piece of particle board that said the road was closed 4 miles ahead and something like, “No way through on bikes” Tim was sure the sign meant motorcycles and that surely we could pass whatever the issue could have been on bicycles. So we decided to ride the 4 miles uphill to see if we could get through.

IMAG0049
We didn’t expect to find a chasm and impassable washout! There was no way to lug 2 fully loaded tandems down into the pit and back up again on the other side. We reluctantly headed back down to the Hwy 101.

What followed was the scariest ride of my life. A non-existent shoulder, a concrete barrier that didn’t allow much room to maneuver in the lane, speeding cars, winding hair pin turns with lots of blind corners. All of it combined for the worst stretch of Hwy on the trip. I steeled myself to get it over with and pedaled like I’ve never pedaled before. The boy and I rode away from Tim and the girl, they couldn’t catch us no matter how hard they tried. I was riding on pure adrenaline and there was no way I was slowing down to wait.

We survived that section of highway but I think I lost some years of my life from the stress.

The rest of the day was uneventful and pleasant. We arrived at Beverly Beach and were greeted by Julian and the kids, a nice campsite by the river, beer, corn on the cob, steak and Julian’s signature swirly dogs for the kids!  What a nice surprise.

Stats
Miles: 52 miles
Climbing: 5366 ft
Low: Bike route detour just North of Lincoln City forced us to ride the scary Hwy
High: Julian hosted our nights camping complete with steaks, corn on the fire and beers!
Sleep: Beverly Beach campground

Note about climbing stats: Tim used a Google GPS app to track daily mileage and climbs. Looking at them now, the numbers seem high and should probably be verified.

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 5

Up next, Beverly Beach to Gold Beach

 – Anne