Our 2012 Adventures in Oregon
|Return to our 2012 Adventures|
We awoke, on 1 July, 2012. Two of our three cats shared our, bed, waiting for us to feed them. They were impatient. Our dog curled up by the door, guarding us from anything coming down the hall. The sun shone brightly. As Dorothy said, we weren’t in Kansas anymore.
For the first time in almost two weeks, we had an almost unbelievable number of choices. What clothes would we wear? What food would we eat? What things would we do? We could do whatever we wanted. Or, we could do nothing. But, doing nothing was too hard, at first. We slowly adjusted to the pace and scale of the world we had returned to. We sped about in our car, driving in a single hour what might take a day on a bike, or a day on the train.
Then, Independence day was upon us. We quickly ordered tickets for the concert at Shoreline, complete with fireworks. We parked several miles away, and biked along a paved path. We soaked in the festivities, partaking of some Merlot we had brought with us. Afterwards, we rode back to our truck, and were home 45 minutes after the end of the concert. Many cars were still waiting to get out of the parking lots.
Our thoughts turned, again, to touring. The rain had greeted us to Washington State, and had ushered us out. We had suspended our tour, stopping at Cathlamet, on the far side of the Columbia from Oregon. We agreed our adventure had ended abruptly. We had stopped, in part, because I had been reluctant to continue in the rain.
When I asked Marian if she wanted to resume the tour, I was unsure what the answer would be. But, she was willing to go back up, and start again. The questions moved to where we should restart, and when.
We successfully used the ACA routes in Washington State. We trusted them for Oregon. After working on the logistics, we shifted our start to Astoria, and not Cathlamet. Looking at the weather, it had reverted to the standard summer pattern. The longer term forecast showed little rain for the next several weeks. We decided on a mid-July restart, feeling the weather would be more moderate.
We set our new goal. We hoped it was more realistic than our earlier, grand scheme. We decided that, rather than bike the entire Pacific Coast, we would try for the Oregon Coast, from Astoria to Crescent City. We divided the coast up into manageable segments. We knew we would climb more hills in Oregon than Washington, We planned our stages, wanting to average 40 – 60 miles per day. We thought we would take rest days in Lincoln City and Bandon. We intended to camp, to save money.
Our adventure unfolded, differently than we had planned. This time, we were more ready for the changes. We ended our tour at Gold Coast, rather than Crescent City. We were 35 miles short of Brookings. We climbed more in Oregon than Washington, 4.7 vertical miles vs 1.45. We rode about 400 miles vs 200 in Washington State. We averaged 42 miles per day. We rode 62.4 miles on our longest day. We took days off in Lincoln City and North Bend.
We only camped four of the eleven nights we were on the road. Weather was the primary factor in two cases. An injury caused two more. And long, exhausting rides accounted for much of the rest. We could have camped more, had we made a concerted effort. As we learn more, we adjust our planning process to the lessons we learn.
David needed to leave, in mid-August, to start school. We wanted to spend what time we could, in August, with him. We also planned to go with him, to Wyoming. We wanted to help get him settled in, and visit our families again.
We made ready to return to the road. We tweaked the list of equipment we would take. We loaded our Garmin Edge 705 with the .TCX files for Oregon. And we took our bikes back to Willow Glen Bikes. Tahn surprised me. My Bottom Bracket was on the verge of a catastrophic failure, something that would have happened within a few days. I had dodged a bullet I had never even heard coming.
Sometimes I felt as though we settled for the Oregon Coast. That is far too negative a way to look at it. We were usually the oldest cyclists on any given stretch. We were slower than almost everyone else. And, while many riders have accomplished all that we did, and more, we were the ones to do it. For us, the experience was unique.
We came away with some tips for future tours:
|1||ACA routes are reasonable, avoid highways where possible, but requires more climbing and a longer distance.|
|2||ACA elevation change profiles are misleading. We discovered GPSies profiles are more accurate and detailed than ACA profiles.|
|3||We will always need to replan tour segments. We need easy-to-use tools to replan. The ACA map panels are about the level of planning. We should build our Garmin TCX files, based on map panels. Our need to base our difficulty grading to reflect map profiles, not planned rides. The numbers must be easy to add together, to form a new estimate.|
|4||Weekends are different from weekdays. More amateur RV drivers are on the road. Camp grounds and motels fill up more quickly.|
|5||When given a choice, spend the night on the far end of town, and skip morning commute traffic.|
|6||Plan food shopping in concert with camping. If possible, hit the store before the campground, even if it means carrying more weight for a few extra miles.|
|7||Camping on a rest day works if the food source is nearby, the campground is pleasant, laundry facilities are available, a power source is available for battery recharging, and there are restful things to do.|
|8||Four sets of bike clothes are handy. Carrying either shorts or tights is better than carrying both. A pull-over in the campground is handy, as is a rain jacket.|
|9||We can never have too much rope, velcro, duct tape, or plastic bags.|
|10||We used our Kindle Fire to record our adventures. We uploaded daily out-takes to WordPress when we could. I became more adept at using the Kindle virtual keyboard, The Kindle is not a USB host. The only way to attach camera was with another computer.|
|Read about the start of our Oregon adventure|