Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Portland or Bust

Helllloooo. I'm writing to you from the basement of the very gracious Girard family. Jacob and I were in quite a bind earlier today and the Girards came swooping to our rescue. I'll explain, but first I'm going to bring you up to speed on our trip.
After Tillamook, we ended up in Manzanita. Not sure where we would be spending the night, we decided to deliberate over a few pints. This turned out to be a very wise course of action because at the San Dune bar we met an awesome couple named Mike and Sandra. After hearing about our trip, they offered to let us stay with them at their house 4 blocks away. Mike showed us to the residence and returned to the bar for some live music by the Oystershooters. Jake and I showered and went back to meet Mike and Sandra. These two were absolutely incredible. Such hospitality to two strangers on the drop of a dime. We had a pancake breakfast and they even packed us bag lunches!
After Manzanita we did the last 45 miles to Astoria. Coming into Astoria we immediately did the brutal climb up to the Astoria column. The ride was really hard; a thorough test of the skills we'd been working on for two months but certainly worth it. The views from the column were incredible. After taking in the views we headed down to the waterfront for some food and refreshments. We consulted some locals about where we might be able to bunk down for the night and once again "road magic" provided us with an unexpected host. Dave is a 20 or 30 something ex (?) hitchhiker who was currently living in Astoria. He consulted his roommates and determined that it would be no problem for Jacob and I to crash on the couch.
The next morning we awoke and caught a bus to Portland where we met up with Cat, a friend from UNC. She let us dump our stuff at her apartment, pointed out some places we should check out in town and set us loose to wreak havoc on Portland. Today, two days later, we felt like we had seen much of what we wanted to see and done much of what we wanted to do. We also felt like we might be becoming a bit of a nuisance for Cat and her roommate Gina. In light of these feelings, we decided to try and head to the airport and move our flight up. You know, get on standby and sleep there if we had to. Unfortunately, Delta airlines sucks and no longer has a standby list.
That about brings us to our moment of despair. I called the Girards out of desperation, not wanting to pester anyone. Dave immediately offered to come pick us up! Amazing. Now we're shacked up in their basement, which suits us just fine because they have two sons about our age. Tomorrow we'll keep pestering Delta to see if they can't help us head back to NC, but at least I'm not sleeping in the park tonight! I'll also be able to upload all the the pictures from Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon, so prepare for about 4 or 5 albums of glorious roadtrip splendor. Until next time, take care!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Final days :(

Well, sorry for the gap in coverage, but I finally reached the Pacific on Monday! We checked out the beach at Florence, but it was too windy and inhospitable to do a wheel-dipping. Tuesday we stayed over in Yachats after battling wind, narrow roads and heavy traffic all day. The wind is unbelieveable and makes riding extremely stressful on such narrow roads with cars constant. The next day we made better headway up the coast until we hit the Rogue Brewery in Newport. Rogue is one of my favorite breweries, but they tend to overcharge on the east coast, so getting to visit the brewery was a treat. We rode just north of Newport and camped at a nice USFS site. They were having a screening of Planet Earth's episode on caves, but all of us passed out and missed it! Thursday Rich woke up early and headed towards Tillamook (he's eager to get home) while Jacob and I took a more scenic route and soaked up the views at Pelican Bay brewpub in Pacific City. We had a heck of a ride uphill in mist/rain/fog, but were rewarded by a hot shower and nice campsite at Cape Lookout (ironic OR has one as well as NC!). Today we've ridden along the scenic route some more and are in Tillamook right now. Tillamook makes awesome cheese, so we are going to visit the creamery and then decide how much farther we want to ride today.
I'm extremely pleased to be done, but feel somewhat disappointed that the trip is coming to an end. I can't wait to get home and share the pictures and stories with as many of you as possible, so give me a call or drop a note sometime soon and we'll get in touch. I'll probably post up here a few more times as well as get the last sets of pictures up, so make sure to keep stopping by. Cheers!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sweet Sweet Oregon

Greetings from Sisters, Or. We're just stopping in the library here to do some quick "bidness" before we crank it over our last major climb of the trip (hurrah!). McKenzie Pass is roughly 1200 feet of elevation in 4 miles. Phew. At least going down the other side will be fun. Last night we goofed around in Bend, Or which is touted as the "gateway to outdoor sports" or something. There are 29 golf courses in the area as well as 2 ski mountains and plenty of fly-fishing, rock-climbing, mountainbiking and hiking. I was considering this one of the places I may move to in the future, but it seems more sprawling than I would like (reminds me of Cary!). Regardless, it is a nice town with a beautiful park and 3 great breweries.
Today we'll be camping just down the other side of the pass and then tomorrow its onwards to Eugene. I've heard good things about Eugene and it being a college town, we may spend an extra day there to explore/mingle. Rich is extremely antsy to see the ocean, so he's been talking of going ahead without us if we decide to stay a day in Eugene. I don't see what one day matters after 2 months, but to each his own!
I'm extremely excited for the wind-down portion of the trip. We're about a week ahead of schedule, so we can take an extremely relaxed pace up the coast. What a blessing, because there is alot I'd like to see and do. The dunes south of Florence are where they supposedly filmed a section of Star Wars, Newport is a cool town that is home to Rogue Brewing Company, Tillamook has a famous cheese factory and Astoria should be pretty nice. Not to mention I'd like to indulge in some seafood along the way.
Hopefully we won't arrive in Portland too early because I imagine after 3 or 4 days there Jake and I will either start to get bored or be completely broke! Either way, I'm looking forward to checking the city out.
That is about all for now, I'll try to update tomorrow afternoon or Monday in Eugene or Florence. Hope the summer is treating you all well!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick post

Hey folks...I'm about out of time on this internet station, so I'll have to be brief. We're in John Day, OR. We're headed to Bend to check out the Deschutes Brewery in two days, then onward to Eugene and we'll be seeing the Pacific in Florence in about a week!!! I'm so excited. After that, we're going to ride north on 101 to Astoria to soak up the scenery and then dip down to Portland for a few days of debauchery before boarding flights home (except I believe Rich wants to fly home immediately...shame).
Eastern Oregon sucked. Desert, hot, dry and boring. It seems a trend that eastern portions of states are not cool in comparison to the western portions. This area of Oregon is nicer and I look forward to seeing the area around Redmond/Bend. Still can't upload pictures...stay tuned, I promise they are coming!
Kate- I'd really like to come up to the cottage, we'll see if I have the energy by that week of august.
Other Custers- don't worry, its still doorknob and not some gov't spook
Mom- I think the weekend after I get home (either Fri. 17th or Sat. 18th) would be a great time for the party. You'll have to check with the Coats and Rich's parents just to be sure though.
Lisa, I think Rich is about to make a post, so you can rest assured he's alive.
Patrick, good job on the lurking.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lack of posts

Sorry about the lack of posts folks...I know you all are very worried that a bird of prey has ed me up and flown off with me (I hear they are aggressive towards bicyclists). The real reason is that all the towns we've been in have been relatively small except for Ketchum. For whatever reason, Ketchum's internet wasn't working for the 2 days we stayed over there. So as to what we've been up to:
We rode through the Idaho National Laboratory, a huge strange empty research center out in eastern Idaho's desert. Rich's mind is running rampant with conspiracy theories about all the testing going on there. While I doubt they have a lava tube running to the Pacific ocean in which they sail submarines (as one lady told Rich), I'm sure there is plenty of shady government research going on there.
We also got to check out Craters of the Moon National Monument. This was a really cool spot. Its a huge old volcanic hotbed with tons of lava flows. I felt like I was in Hawaii or something. After Craters we headed northwards to Haily, Ketchum and Sun Valley. Alot of stars vacation in this area and I saw The Mint, a bar owned by Bruce Willis, among other things. We stayed a night over in Ketchum and then pressed northwards to a great lake called Redfish Lake. People had told us it was the most beautiful place in the world, but I'd have to say Jenny Lake in the Tetons easily outplaces it. At the lake we met an awesome fellow Carolina alumni named Wiley. Wiley is quite the adventurer and offered to take us out for dinner down in the small town of Stanley. We never turn down a free meal. We swapped stories with Wiley and ended up camping right near Stanley. Yesterday morning we grabbed a pancake breakfast at the local community center, courtesy of Kids across America and parted ways with Wiley. We headed towards Lowman and hit some awesome river and hotsprings action along the way. Feeling quite invigorated by the mountain water, we decided to knock some more miles off and ended up camping just outside of a place called Garden Valley.
Today we plan to press on from here (Emmett, ID) to try and reach Oregon. That would be state number 10. I'm super excited.
I'm also excited about the next few months, but am having a hard time figuring out exactly what I'll be doing. I don't know where I should live, what kind of job I should look for and so many other things! I thought the trip would help me figure things out, not become more confused. I suppose I have at least 2 more weeks to think things over, so maybe I'll have something figured out by the time I get off that airplane in RDU. Until next posting, keep reading and giving me comments. I'm so glad to hear from you all (especially you lurkers out there who have been reading and not commenting). Cheers!

P.S. I can't get pictures to upload here, so stay tuned for a big batch from Yellowstone onward.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The parks!

Hello from Ashton, Idaho. Since the last post we've been through the Tetons, hung out in Jackson for 2 days, back up through the Tetons, through Yellowstone and we are now in Idaho. Phew! It's been an excellent week filled with gorgeous scenery. I posted some of my photos while I was hanging out at some friendly strangers' apartment in Jackson and I'll post the rest when I'm not feeling so lazy. The Tetons and Yellowstone were pretty much as I had expected them; gorgeous and pretty easy riding, but totally overrun with tourists and way too many scary RVs. I really hate RVs. Jackson is still as cool a town as I remember, but now that I'm paying for everything (and not my Dad), the town seems alot more expensive. West Yellowstone is a giant tourist trap.
Idaho is state number 9. That is extremely exciting. I can't wait to see the Pacific after being in farmland and mountains for sooooo long. From here we are heading through Craters of the Moon National Monument and then probably north into the Sawtooth national forest area and then back west towards Oregon. Per Mike's suggestion, we may try to swing over to Crater Lake and then head northwards to reach Astoria. We'll figure that out as we get closer to Oregon I suppose. For now and the next few days, the goal is Craters of the Moon and then possibly Ketchum/Sun Valley. After seeing all these ski resorts, I'm getting the itch mighty bad. Better figure out how to make some good money when I get home to pay for all these ski trips I want to take!!
Anyways, I lost Jacob and Rich somewhere today, so I'm going to head back out into the wonderful 93 degree heat to search for them. Good thing Ashton isn't a very big town!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Hmm, the blog won't let me title this. Anyways, I'm in Lander, WY. Wyoming is very windy. It makes doing anything over 80 miles pretty much impossible. Over the next two days we will have to climb about 4000 feet to get into the Tetons. Other than that, not much has been happening. This part of Wyoming is very open and desolate and generally boring. If it weren't for the nice mountains way off in the distance, I would hate it as much as Kansas. Since I don't have much else to add at this point, I'm going to reply to some of the comments I've gotten since the last post!
Uncle Ev- it was great talking with you on the 4th. Hot Sulphur Springs was nice and you're right; this area is gorgeous. I only wish I could swing down through Utah and visit Aunt Linda, Amanda and Ryan.
Mike- We're heading up into Grand Teton and Yellowstone this week. After that we'll be in West Yellowstone, MT and planning on heading straight across into Idaho and then re-meeting the trail in Baker City. Basically we wanted to cut off a large chunk that unneccesarily goes to Missoula. Any suggestions on the area would be appreciated!
Mom and Dad- the beach sounds like a blast for the 4th. I wish I could have teleported there and back or something. Please don't sell the house, I want to go be a bum there in August.
Dave- thanks for the belated offer of lodging, but no apologies are necessary! Your advice on the challenges to come were much appreciated; you were spot-on about Wyoming's windiness. I'll check out your blog, I hope you keep reading mine!
Kyle- awesome to hear from you bro...i've been wondering how your summer was going down in LA. I hope the job isn't stressing you too much. I'll be sure to get in touch once I've settled back down a bit and can possibly visit you (if you'll still be out there).
Thanks for the notes folks...miss you all very much! Stay tuned for the good stuff (Grand Tetons and Yellowstone!!!!)