Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Random Highlights.... And a farewell!

Amy and I wanted to point out some random highlights of the trip.

First of all, we added up all the mileage.  We biked 1829 miles!  

According to Amy's bike computer we burned nearly 50,000 calories!

Lucas' sweet tan line!

Lucas' hair right before the end of the trip.

Lucas' hair after some serious trimming.

Amy didn't want to show a picture of it, but her thighs have nearly doubled in thickness!  

Yesterday we went to the San Diego Zoo.  It was pretty awesome.  The zoo is huge!  
Here are some random pics and highlights.

This Orangutan rolled around this lawn for about 10 minutes.... It reminded me of when I was super tired after  biking and would have no interest in walking.  If I could have, I would have rolled around!  He's onto something!

Polar Bears wrestling.

Gorilla checking us out!

Mire cat giving us a look.

Snow leopard relaxing 

 Tomorrow Amy and I will be dropping my parents off at the San Diego Airport, marking the the true end of our bike trip.  But the adventure isn't over yet!   Amy and I's adventure will be continuing over the next month or so.  I have a couple job interviews and many places to see in between those places.  Amy has been applying to a few jobs as well.  We'll be headed to New England, back to family and friends while we figure out our next step in life....

I want to thank you, yes, YOU!  Thank you for following our blog and leaving comments along the way.  Your support was so appreciated!  It has been a wonderful adventure and hopefully it is only one of many to come!!

I look forward to reading about your next adventure!

Keep the dream alive.
Lucas and Amy

I would also like to thank Ronnie, Jerry, and Lucas for supporting me throughout this adventure and all of the many friends we saw along the way for their wonderful hospitality! THANK YOU!!!

We have finished our west coast ride.

This is Wednesday, Ronnie and I fly home tomorrow, Thursday the 25th.  Luke and Amy also leave tomorrow by car for Boulder, Colorado.  He has a job interview there next week.  I am happy to be headed home.  I suspect Gucci has missed us, I look forward to seeing the kitchen project and the garden.

Saturday the 20th was our last full day of riding.  We ended at my friend and high school classmate's home in La Jolla.  Sunday we left Jim and Carol's home to do the last 35 miles through San Diego and ended at Imperial Beach, right on the Mexican border.  We rode down the fence between Mexico and the US to the beach where the fence ended out in the Pacific.  Mexico is heavily populated there, the US side is a closed federal park, so it is barren with frequent trucks and vans from the Border Patrol passing us.  Luke has attached a picture of this area.

The west coast ride was more difficult than the cross-country ride in 2008, largely because of the coastal hills and mountains that follow the coast the whole way.  We had many miles of 4-6 miles per hour, whereas on the cross-country ride the prairie and mid-America was pretty flat with a prevailing wind out of the west.  We did have some days of very favorable winds, but a lot of the time the wind was out of the west, coming over our right shoulders.  When I finished the 08 ride, I said I wouldn't do this again; here I am finishing another old tour.  I feel similarly this time, I have had enough of long tours.  This one was exacerbated by the large urban areas: Vancouver, Bellingham, Astoria, Cresent City in Northern California, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and everything after that.  Sometimes it felt like we were competing with traffic for space on the road.  In Southern California they allow cars to park of the roadside beside all the beaches.  I don't know that I would recommend this ride to anyone if I were asked.  My answer would include a lot of description of the above.

The counter-balance to the challenges was the opportunity to ride this whole month with Luke and Amy and spend the month with Ronnie seeing the west coast.  This time was absolutely precious to me.  Spending so much time in the redwoods, along the beaches and coast, seeing LA from a bike and getting to the Monterey aquarium, the San Diego Zoo and many other experiences that I don't recall as I write but will when I'm waiting for planes tomorrow.  Our gratitude to Jim and Carol for having us in their home these last four days has been wonderful!!!

Monday, 22 August 2011

The road to Mexico

San Luis Obispo, CA to Lompoc, CA (miles: 61 calories: 1704)
After a rest day in San Luis Obispo and randomly bumping into some college friends (it was awesome to catch up Kris, Chris, E$ and Dierdre!!)  and catching up for an evening, we were ready to ride!  Well... I wasn't feeling like an all-star.  I came down with some kind of cold and felt pretty crappy actually, but good enough to ride!   We rode down to Pismo beach, a ride I used to do in college to get a delicious cinnamon bun at Old West Cinnamon Rolls.  (If you ever make it to Pismo Beach, CA you have to stop and get a bun!)
After that it was pretty uneventful ride through mostly farmland down to Lompoc, CA.   
Enjoying a delicious cinnamon bun at Old West Cinnamon Rolls.
Building side in Guadalupe, CA. 

Lompoc, CA to Carpentaria, CA (miles: 67 calories: 1882)
Being from new england I was unaware that dinasoaurs live in CA!!  We saw this T Rex on the back on this pick-up, chained down it's fate didn't look so good...

Today it really started to feel like we were in southern California.  First of all the weather was warm, sunny and great, especially, after the fog and dampness of the north.  There were palm trees everywhere.  And lastly, there were crazy amounts of people!  There were cars everywhere and many of the roads were multi-lane roads and highways.  It started to feel less and less bike friendly.... welcome to Southern California!  This was also the first night we were rejected by not one campground, but three.  It was super frustrating, so we ended up in a hotel. 
T Rex chained down to pick-up.

Jerry and Amy biking through the suburbs of Santa Barbara.

Carpentaria, CA to Malibu, CA (miles: 61 calories: 1734)

Video blog.
There were SO many cars and the biking on these highways was super scary.  Normally, I'm pretty comfortable biking around cars, even fast moving cars.  But, something felt different here.  First of all, it really didn't seem like cars cared if you were a bicyclist on the road or not, they would not give you any space.  In fact, a city bus drove by me going about 50 mph and it literally grazed the side of my pannier on my bike.  I honestly have never been as scared on a bike...  With that feeling and after being rejected by three campgrounds the night before, none of us were too happy to be in southern California... 

Malibu, CA to Dana Point, CA (miles: 90 calories: 2221)
Today ended up being the longest bike ride of the whole trip!  We bike from pretty much the most northern section of LA to the most southern section of it.  Fortunately, there were about 35-40 miles of bike paths like the one you see Amy and I standing on below.  Also, it was super flat!! 
Amy and Lucas on the strand near Venice Beach, CA.

Amy and Jerry at the beach side of LAX

Dana Point, CA to La Jolla, CA (miles: 57 calories: 1455)
This turned out to be the last full day of the bike trip!  We met up with my father's fellow high school graduate (from Phillips, Maine where the graduating class had 18 students).  Jim is letting us stay in his guest house, which is SUPER nice.  It's pretty crazy!  Can't say thanks enough to Jim and Carol for their wonderful hospitality and company!  Thanks Jim & Carol!  
Check out the view from the kitchen.
View from Jim's Guest house!

La Jolla, CA to the Mexico & US border (miles: 37 calories: 837)
Wow... When we were in Seattle on a rest day, the border of Mexico seemed like it might as well be the moon!!  But, we made it!  

The furthest southwest point in the continental US.   

Amy and Lucas at the Mexico and US border (note the Mexican flag in the distance)

Time to celebrate we are done!

Make sure to check in again, we'll be tallying up our total mileage and calories burned (according to Amy's bike computer).
Until then,

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Big Sur!

San Francisco, CA to Half Moon Bay, CA (miles: 33 calories: 664)

After a great rest day in San Francisco we took our time heading out of the city biking by the famous Lombard Street and through the Golden Gate Park. 

Once we reached the ocean we were hit with a strong headwind which made for a really slow and tough day of biking.  It was really brutal to bike and bike and only make it 15 miles.  We finally stopped biking in Half Moon Bay having only gone 33 miles (probably our shortest day)!  We set up camp at Half Moon Bay State Park, relaxed a little, and went to bed early.

Lucas and Jerry at the top of the tower in the de Young Museum

Half Moon Bay, CA to Sunset State Beach Campground (miles: 68 calories: 1780)

The wind was much better today.  We still had some wind in our face but not as strong and not as frequently as yesterday.  As we were biking we saw a sign for chocolate dipped strawberries!  YESSS!!!  We stopped at Swansons Berry Farm.  They had everything from pie to jam!  Lucas and I devoured an olallieberry pie (I saved my chocolate dipped strawberry for after lunch) and Jerry had strawberry shortcake.

We continued biking, stopping at the Patagonia outlet in Santa Cruz to check out their sale on baselayers.  Lucas picked up a pair of pants and I got a hoodie for the cool nights.

Delicious Berry Farm we stopped at for snacks

Sunset State Beach Campground to Big Sur, CA (miles: 67 calories: 1777)

We got an early start today. We biked by lots of fields of strawberries, artichokes, and brussel sprouts in the morning.  

We spent the afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  We saw lots of animals including a giant sunfish!  An average adult sunfish weighs around 2,000 pounds!  We also saw an albatross named Makana being fed squid.  

After another 30 miles of biking we arrived slightly haggered to Julia Pfeiffer Burns Campground and Ronnie had already set up our campsite, tents and all! (This is not the first time Ronnie has done this).  It is awesome to ride into an already set up campsite!

A giant sunfish

An albatross 

Sign on Cannery Road where the aquarium was located

Big Sur, CA to San Simeon, CA (miles: 69 calories: 2079)


That pretty much describes the day.  There was lots of fog and lots of hills.  I was disappointed not to see some of the many beautiful vistas that we biked by.

After 50 miles of hills we finally hit flat-ish land, phew!  We stopped at beach where Elephant Seals were hanging out on the beach.  They were all piled on top of each other, motionless.  Occasionally they would move in an worm-like manner to a better spot.  Every now and then they would scoop sand and throw it on top of themselves.  It was fascinating to watch.

 Foggy view

Elephant seals!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fort Bragg, CA to Anchor Bay, CA (miles: 60 calories: 1662)

Today felt like a rough day for me.  It was cool most of the day and you couldn't see much of a view of the coast due to all the fog.  We rode up and down the hills along the coast and I was relieved when we finally ended up in Anchor Bay.  There weren't a lot of options for camping since it's the weekend and places fill up quick.  We got a small spot at an RV campground just on the water.  We could just fit our two tents and the car!  Our other option would have been to keep riding to Gualala to a place 2 miles off route (and up a hill!). 

This campground was almost all RV's.  Some were there for just a weekend and others looked like they were there for the summer.  Jerry talked to a couple of guys who were fishing for abalone.  All around the campground were lots of abalone shells. 

Anchor Bay, CA to Bodega Bay, CA (miles: 51 calories: 1318)

Another cold and foggy start, but it cleared up in the afternoon.  We followed route 1 most of the day and traveled along a narrow, winding road that followed the coast.  We would climb up to the top of a steep cliff overlooking the ocean and then fly back down to the bottom, take a sharp turn and climb back up again. 

We ended the day in Bodega Bay staying at the Bodega Dunes Campground.  Since we only rode 51 miles today we made it there around 4 p.m. and could have a nice, relaxing evening.  We ordered pizza and went to bed early!

Jerry and Lucas at the top of one of the steep climbs

Bodega Bay, CA to San Francisco, CA (miles: 73 calories: 1855)

Again, the day started out foggy and cold.  Route 1 went inland for a while and we passed through lots of farms before heading back to the coast.  We stopped in Tomales for second breakfast and rode for awhile before stopping for lunch in Point Reyes Station.  There we met up with Damien, an Irishman who had also started biking in Vancouver and was heading to San Francisco that day.  We had run into him a couple times before and he decided to join us for the afternoon. 

The sun was out full force in the afternoon as we navigated through the suburbs of San Francisco.  As we got closer to the Golden Gate Bridge we kept stopping to take more photos.  Finally, we reached the bridge only to find out that the walkway on the west side (where we were) was closed and we had to go down a set of stairs to walk under the bridge and back up another set to get to the other side.  This wasn't a big deal for Lucas, Jerry, and I, but Damien had his bike loaded down with rear and front panniers and needed help carefully bringing his bike down and then back up the stairs.
Lucas helping Damien carefully bring his bike down a set of stairs before crossing the bridge.

Once we were all situated again we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge!  With only one walkway open it was really crowded with pedestrians and walkers. We met up with a couple of Lucas' friends, said goodbye to Damien, and headed to a hotel for a hot shower!
Lucas, Amy, and Jerry crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

Lucas, Amy, Damien, and Jerry just after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge!

We celebrated the completion of our 3rd map with a Mexican dinner. Only two more maps to go!
Celebrating with a "Mucho Grande Margarita"

Rest Day in San Francisco!
Ronnie, Amy, and Lucas at Fisherman's Wharf

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Hills, hills, hills!

Eureka, CA to Benbow, CA (miles: 72 calories: 1907)
After our half rest day we were back on the bikes!  It was a wet and chilly start.  An impromptu detour in the morning led us up a steep and winding country road.  After refueling and warming up at Starbucks in Fortuna we continued biking going down the beautiful Avenue of the Giants.  As the day warmed up it was nice to be in the shade of the giant trees.
All along the way there are many touristy stops, one of which was the Shrine Drive Thru Tree Auto park.  You pay $3 a piece to go in and take your picture in the center of this (now dead) redwood tree that was being held up by cables!  This place also had a drive-on trunk (essentially a large stump they converted into a ramp you can drive onto), a children's walk through stump, and two tree houses made out of redwood trunks.  We also passed the "Famous One Log House".

The Drive (or bike) Thru Tree!
Famous One-Log House!

That night we stayed at Benbow State Park.  It was located right next to a nice creek to take a dip in!  That night Lucas and I spotted some curious holes in the ground near our tent... Around one of them was a spider's web.  When we peeked in we could see the two large front legs of a spider! We moved our tent.
Spider hole!

Benbow, CA to Cleone, CA (miles: 62  calories: 1554)

It was a sunny, warm start today!  After about 20 miles of small hills we hit a big hill just outside of Leggett (over 1000 feet!).  After a nice long down hill we climbed another 500 foot hill!  Phew!  The afternoon was full of lots of rolling hills along the coast.

We ended the day at a state park just north of Fort Bragg.  Our campsite was surrounded by blackberry bushes!  This morning I had blackberry pancakes and Lucas made delicious blackberry syrup!
The chef
Blackberry Pancakes

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


We have made it into Calif. We are about 120 miles into Calif; Fernbridge is what we think is half-way. Yesterday we rode through a part of the Redwood National Forest, it was awe inspiring. Gigantic trees all around us; massive stumps of trees that were cut decades ago inspired a spiritual sense in me. As we came out into a clearing, a small herd of elk were feeding. We stayed at a campground within a redwood grove. Luke found a slug six inches long on his bike seat when we got up, it is called a banana slug, it had a very yellow color.

My last post I ended saying that I would talk about topography. Since I have come to realize that this ride is much more hilly than the ride across America. Of course, the mountains in the northern Cascades and the continental divide were Big, the prairies came next and they were quite flat and seemed endless. Here the hills seem endless. Yesterday we rode 58 miles, but I think we probably climbed 4000 feet combined. This means there were a couple of hours of peddling at 5-6 miles per hour. I guess that is all I will say about topography.

Just after the peddle through redwoods, we crossed a bridge where numerous people were gathered gazing over the side. There was a grey whale swimming back and forth under the bridge. One of the locals showed me (this is Ronnie) several newspaper articles about the whale. She said that the whale had been around about 5 weeks. Originally it was with it's baby. After several attempts to get the whales to return to the sea, the baby headed to open waters. For some reason, the mother whale stayed. The local lady also said that the baby had beached at least once so there was speculation that s/he was not well. Tugs at your heart. There was a man in a boat playing the flute when Jerry, Luke and Amy went through. So for now the big grey is entertaining hundreds of onlookers. I don't know if there are stories on the Internet covering this, but it was in Klamath, California on the Klamath River.

Grey whale in the Klamath river.
Grey whale in the Klamath river with flute player in a canoe

Amy at the base of a large red wood.

That dude is playing the flute to the whale...

Jerry & Ronnie