Tag: Trans-America Trail

Day 7 – This was a good day

Day 7 – This was a good day

5-25. Redmond to Mitchell

67.5 miles ridden today

Got up. Got dressed. Got moving. I stuck my thumb out and got a quick hitch into Bend to see the town. Wow! What a place! I snagged some breakfast at The Breakfast Club (delicious) and wandered around town a bit. I stopped in at one of the climbing gyms and shot the shit a little. It’s was beautiful. And deserted. Everyone was out climbing real rock. Real slabby wonderful things. I ran a quick pair of 5.8s and hitched back to Redmond.

Snagging the bike I made quick work of the 20 miles to Prineville where I saw my first sign acknowledging that the TransAm even exists! “Welcome TransAm Cyclists!” In front of the Good Bike Co. I squealed to a stop to say hello.

I signed a guestbook and chatted for 15 minutes with the pair inside, James and Kristen. I had to turn down early beer because if I’d had a drink I don’t think I would have left. Plus Kristen had her adorable dog there, a heeler named Emma who just deserved all the pets. And you know – cute lady who had interesting conversation.

I knew that I had a fairly long, if not especially strenuous climb ahead of me, but the big issue was there was no listed water for the 40 or so miles it was going to be. I packed an extra two litres into my bag and left the park I had stopped for lunch at. I intended to not make the same mistakes as yesterday, hydrating well and eating enough snacks throughout. I’ve started carrying my snacks for the section in my front bag, makes it easier to get to and eat.

The climb was steady and long, and I felt pretty good overall. It started to get windy about halfway up, enough that I put on my windbreaker. And then it shifted direction right into my face. Uphill pedal. Into the wind. Yippee.




Clearing the summit brought me to the descent. Another sharp one for 7 miles. I wasn’t worried until the wind kicked up again. Still in my face. I didn’t have to use my brake very often thanks to that, but I still had a few pucker moments when I felt the wind shift slightly.

A small uphill climb brought me to Mitchell. And the wonderful Be Spoke hostel. The bike shop in Prineville had told me about them and said I HAD to check them out. They. Are. Wonderful. I’ve been in a lot of hostels in my time. This is a top 5. So good. In addition to being a hostel for cyclists, they also act as the local community room for highschool kids, a basement church space on Sunday and generally do a lot of good work.

A hot shower and then we were all off to see the Painted Hills, a local natural rock formation. Just amazing and I’m so glad I got to drive there instead of bike!

Dinner and conversation followed, so much that it was 10pm when we finally dispersed.

Also finally caught another Eastbound TransAm rider! Eric is from Canada and we’ll probably ride out of here together tomorrow. But either way it was super good to see some other cyclists (5 here total tonight)

5-23: Day 6- I love popsicles, I love tacos.

5-23: Day 6- I love popsicles, I love tacos.

5-23 Day 6

Eugene to McKenzie’s Bridge.

Leaving town is always hard. Leaving town where one of your best friend’s is even harder.

I didn’t leave Eugene until noon. And the first 15 miles I kept going “I can turn around and be back for dinner!”. Eugene was nice. Seeing James and Angela was nicer. The best in fact. If every single mile of the trip sucks it might still be worth it, just for all the friends I get to see along the way.

The ride out of town wasn’t anything spectacular until I got back into the heavy forests. I don’t think I’ll ever not be happy to see tall tall trees for miles. I cruised well, though my stomach was the happiest with me. I had hot wings for lunch and I washed it down with half an orange soda. The other half I drank 5 miles in – already warm and disgusting. Whoops.

By the time I got to the McKenzie Bridge store I was tired. I bought two strawberry popsicles and watched the Cubs beat up on San Francisco for a bit before trying to figure out where to stay. The lady at the store suggested I go to the USFS campsite where her husband was manager. I shrugged and said why not?

I want to preface this with the fact that I saw so many awesome stealth sites on the short 4 mile ride to the campgrounds. I got there and found they wanted 22(!!!) American dollars to stay the night. “we have running water and a flush toilet” the manager said. I was tired and just didn’t want to fight. I paid. Ugh.

It is Tuesday. Which means it’s taco Tuesday at home. I made taco rice with chicken and got out my tortillas and cheese and had my own tacos in the woods. Then I passed out.

Of note – first night sleeping on my new Big Agnes Ultra Core sleeping pad. Delightful. It’s so large and comfy! Take a look at my sleeping digs below!

Total milage – 56ish

 

5-24: First day of noodle legs. Also the PCT

5-24: First day of noodle legs. Also the PCT

5-24 End point – Redmond OR

This was not a good morning.

I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t drink enough water, or eat enough snacks, or I was just having an off day. But my morning was painful and sluggish.

I managed to make it out of camp by 830… but considering I’d been up since 7 that’s no big feat.

Since McKenzie pass was closed due to it still being full of snow, I had to take Santiam alternate route. It’s a longer way to get to Sisters, 49 miles in total and slightly more gradual but man it was long. The interesting thing was that for me, the approach was the part that sucked the most. It was anything difficult or even long, my legs just were not happy. I did talk to some construction workers who said there were a couple other TransAm riders heading east a day or so ahead of me somewhere. Exciting! Also exciting were the old lava fields I passed! Miles of black volcanic rock!

The last 6 miles up to the pass were the actual real climb. The shoulder was narrow and there were lots of trucks, plus the wind decided to make an appearance, blowing right into my face. But I managed to do the 6 miles to the pass in about an hour and small change.

Once up there though…. Beautiful. I stopped to take a picture with the Pacific Crest Trail crossing sign, and marveled at the fact that there was still snow on the ground and the surrounding peaks. Then, it was time to descend.




I’m not sure which I hate worse – climbing with traffic or descending with traffic. Climbing usually gives you two lanes (one for passing, one for trucks) which means at least most of the vehicles can give you a little space. Descending… one lane and a shoulder that usually has more gravel than I care for. Plus you’re relying on tiny brake pads and skinny wheels. I know none of this is reassuring right?

I think I may have bruised the space between my fingers and thumb today on this descent. The first mile I was lucky and managed to get in with a parade of cars limited by a downshifted tractor trailer. But then the wind started coming crosswise. I pulled off into a viewpoint lot for a moment to collect myself. I was about halfway down the steep section. I waited for a long break in the traffic and started again. I rode in the lane, windbreak flapping despite being zipped. I made it to the more gentle decline and finally got to relish the descent. Thank goodness.

I’m not sure what this will mean for the Rockies though…

I made it into Sisters and stopped at the library to steal some wifi and maybe pickup a new used paperback. No such luck on the book, but the wifi let me try and find a place to stay in Redmond, about 20 miles away. A warm shower person said no, but Buckeye texted me a name and number of a friend of his in town I could stay with.

Buckeye (my friend from the Appalachian Trail I stayed with in Portland) has become my Oregonian Wizard. He notated maps for me, pointing out places of interest, gave me a place to stay and a ride to Astoria, and he keeps on giving! It’s amazing.

The ride to Redmond really made it clear how the terrain had changed. Scrub brush and stunted trees that look like they’d kill for a drop of water. Dusty and dry, it looks more like Texas than the lush wet Oregon I’ve been used to.

Also somehow I managed to sun burn only one part of one leg. The world is a weird place.Total miles – 70.5

5-22: quick video update!

5-22: quick video update!

Hey y’all! Just checking in quick like before I head out today! Got a bunch of town errands done, quick bike fix and lots of food and drink!

 

Much love goes out to James and Angela who opened their place up to stinky me for a day and a half! Love you two!

Now back to the road!

 

 

Day 2 – ups, downs and flight

Day 2 – ups, downs and flight

I guess I’m still on East coast time because I was awake at 630am. I laid in the tent for another half hour before giving up and packing up camp and rolling out. There were a few descent grades, but I ended up with wonderful views from the cliffs in Oswald West park.

To me one of the most amazing things about Oregon had been how the cliffs and the sea come together so abruptly. They rise from the beach sand, with waves crashing against them at high tide, stalwart against the water. Sometimes you’ll see a jutting hump of rock just a few hundred feet offshore, with a tree or three clinging to life as the ocean moves around the rock. It truly is amazing to see.

Coming off the mountains are always a rush. Zooming along at 30, 40 miles an hour with only skinny tires keeping you up. You can pull on the brakes, but only so much before they start to overheat. Meaning you have to ride it out. Embrace the speed. The terror. And with turns and twists, you pray that the oncoming traffic stays in it’s lane, and those who try and post you leave enough room.

I’m not sure which worries me more honestly – ascent or decent. Ascending these hills can be arduous sometimes. The grade can be intense in places, with no good shoulder (I saw three areas today with no shoulder due to rock falls) and you’re moving agonizingly slow compared to cars. Uphill leaves you tired and hurting. But the decent can be freeing and fast, covering the distance of the ascent in a fraction of the time. Though scary in it’s own ways.

There was also an amazingly large deforested area, the whole side of the hill denuded of trees and vegetation. Truly amazing


Descent brought flat rides through the bay area. And an amazing treat: 2 foot long pepperoni sticks for a dollar!! They were delicious and i had to resist buying more from the factory outlet store – there was so much Jerky.

I did manage to get myself turned around in the afternoon. There was some poor signage in a little town called Netarts, and i was used to going up at that point that I just continued on a climb. I got myself turned around and stppped at a little grocery store for ice cream and a soda. Refilled my water and biked on.

I’m not a big shellfish eater – something which perplexes my father to no end (though he always says “more for me” so it must not bother him too much) but it was amazing to see people digging for oysters in the tidal areas. Shovels and buckets slung in the arms and over shoulders, tall rubber boots, they make their way through shallow water pools and wet sand to dig, hoping to fill their pails. Everyone had a smile on their face as they returned, anticipating their delicious (to them) harvest.


I had one final sharp climb of the day, but was greeted with someone spectacular i hadn’t expected – paragliders. Essentiall, very large parachutes that the pilits glide on, catching thermals to rise higher. I got to see one of them launch, by throwing himself over the side of a thousand foot cliff with his rig attached to him, inflating in a wonderful instant. It was amazing to see them fly effortlessly though the sky. On the other side of the climb I was greeted with a huge sand dunes area! Oregon’s terrain continues to surprise!

My day ended in a campground in a little town with a big name – Pacific City. I did more miles than I anticipated, stemming from the camping area I had expected to use being closed. I pushed on so now I have that much less tomorrow. My butt hurts!

Miles today – 64

 

More pictures when I get to better internet land…

 

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