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!!!!)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Okay, recap for CO

Alright, so the last time I wrote much in detail I was in Ordway at Gillian's house. After that we headed into Pueblo and got a cheap motel room for Saturday night. We went out to the bars, enjoyed some fireworks and got to sleep in a bed. All wonderful. The next day we decided to go pay for a movie and then proceed to see all of the summer blockbusters we have been missing. On our way to the theater, we decided to check out this guy we had been told about, so we stopped by his house. His name is Donald and he is the man. He and his wife live and teach in Burma 10 months out of th e year and then return home to Pueblo to just hang out for the 2 months of summer. We asked Donald if we could stash our stuff in his yard or garage while we went to the movies. He thought this idea was silly and insisted that we come surfing with him down on the Arkansas River instead. He was correct; we had way more fun boogie-boarding in the river than we would have had at the movies. I'll just rent them on Blu-ray when I get home! That night Donald set up a projector in his back yard and we watched Suicide Kings on his garage wall.
Monday morning we headed up into the mountains. The scenery was gorgeous. We spent one night in Leadville, the highest incorporated town in the country and had the chance to enjoy a beer in the highest brewery in the country. We were considering staying at the wonderful Leadville Hostel, but opted to camp just outside of town instead. In the morning we had an awesome pancake breakfast at the Hostel for just 5 bucks. We rode over Fremont Pass (11000-something feet) and down into Breckenridge for the 4th of July. The fireworks were cancelled due to extreme dry conditions, but there were still plenty of people around! The fireworks 10 miles away in Frisco were still on, because they fire them over a lake, but we decided to stay in Breckenridge. Thursday we rode from Breckenridge to Hot Sulphur Springs. They were indeed hot and did indeed smell like sulphur. Today we are in Walden, just near the Wyoming border. I would have preferred to ride a bit farther and camp out in the woods, but the temptation of the library, indoor pool and showers proved to be a bit much for us.
The last week has been a real blast and I'm pretty sure from here on out will be much of the same. The next stretch through the middle of Wyoming might get a bit flat and boring, but at least I have the Tetons and Yellowstone to look forward to. We are considering modifying the route a bit and not heading to Missoula. This would allow us to see a bit more of Idaho as well as lolly-gag a bit longer in the two Great Parks.
Right now I really really want to go eat a whole pizza at the local pizza shop I saw when riding into town. This will be a battle between my wallet and my belly. Wish me luck and stay tuned!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I likie the Rockies

Hey folks! Sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days; I've been flying through most towns with libraries and am having such a blast now that the scenery is nice. I would love to upload the pictures I've taken, but only have 10 minutes at this internet station, so they'll have to wait until later. We spent the 4th in Breckenridge. I am quickly falling in love with this region. It is so gorgeous and the weather is wonderful. Perhaps I'll move here, who knows. We should be heading into Wyoming by Saturday so I'm excited to put another state under wraps. Thank you so much for the comments. It is always such a pleasure and highlight for me to hear from people. If you're reading this, post a comment and let me know! I'll write a longer post when I have a chance so that you all have a better idea of what we've been up to, but for now I've got to go put in another 50 miles. Cheers!