Monday, March 28, 2011

My formative years

 It was discovered in the fourth grade I could not see the blackboard.  So, I must have been riding blind!

Still no glasses!  My baby brudder hanging around.

Ah!  wearing glasses and the traditional, first day going to school, photo.

Getting serious about this bicycling thing, it appears.

We lived on our bikes in those days.

Until I flipped over the handle bars!

I had forgotten how many bike related photos there are in this old photo album.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I confess, I've bike camped before.

I was forty five years old at the time and my bike was a '74 Harley/Davidson Superglide.
Rode it from L.A. to Lewiston, Montana and back through heat, rain, hail and snow.  I "stealth" camped beside it each night.  What a great adventure that was.

Now I'm older and....., ahem, wiser?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Almost through sniveling.

Setting up my Hubba!

Hubba with rain fly.
That's my 95 year old mother-in-law being entertained by my activity!
She has dementia so it is all new to her and shortly forgotten.

I did get in a few short rides lately.  Not long rides, I'm still testing my knee.  

Meanwhile, I did the easy thing and bought a few more items!  I decided that Bubble Butt is going to have to stay home.  Bubble Butt is my Seva 123 white gas stove.  It started shooting flame out the vent in the filler cap when I used it during the recent overnight campout.  Besides, Bubble Butt is heavy.  Made of brass.  Good for a lifetime but no, he's not going.  

I ordered a MSR Whisperlight International for cooking duties.  And, while I am at it, I stepped up from my backpacking "one pot does all concept" to the Snow Peak Hybrid cooking pot with lid and bowl.  I will now be able to expand breakfast beyond oatmeal to possibly fried eggs and even a pancake!

I also ordered the Pacific Coast Map, "Section One" from Adventure Cycling Association.  That is their suggested route from Astoria, Oregon to Canada.  Current thinking being I will "just" ride from Fort Bragg to the Seattle area.

My wife and I are trading caretaking duties of her 95 year old mother and I'm feeling too many months away on a road might not be a good idea at this time.  Another thing bugging me is the fact I take quite a few pills and I  haven't figured out the reordering and delivery process while on the road.

Just basically more mental sniveling.  More pre-trip "concerns".

Only six more weeks of fretting until I'm outta here!  I'm sure you all are getting as tired of this as I am.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daze of Sloth

Almost a week gone "bye" and I have ridden my bike 2 miles, swam half a mile and walked six.  Way off the mark!  My sore knee has kept me off the bike, rain has foiled my morning walks and forgetting my goggles contributed to my lack of swimming but over-all, I have been a slug!  Like this morning for instance.  I woke at 5:40 for my morning walk and swim.  Rain was pounding on the windows.  "Ahh!  Perfect!"  I rolled over and went right back to sleep!!

Feeling guilty and thinking about it I realize I have never been an athlete.  No baseball, basketball, track and especially no football for me.  I have always been more of an, "Observer, by nature".  The artistic type;, skinny, a wearer of glasses, a book reader, potential accordion player (that failed).  I have never really developed a deep "need" to accomplish anything and when things start getting tough, give me an excuse to wimp out and I'm there!  This past week my dilettantism has brightly shown forth!

Still, I'm thinking, "Hey I can bounce back".  In fact I'm going to try later today or maybe tomorrow.  :-)

My "Hubba" tent arrived today.  Note to self: Hubba Hubba = two person tent.  Hubba = one person tent.

Anyway, I'm running out of excuses!  Ronnie's 70th Adventure draws near or, maybe, I'm already living it!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wee journey. Big summary!!

We are on the Haul Road by 10:30 AM.  Johnnie just ahead of me, Patti and Sequoia in the distance!

At MacKerricher State Park we re-join HWY 1, the day becoming nicer than expected.

Soon we meet a fellow traveler.  He too is travelling with a B.O.B like Johnnie and Patti's.

He too, like us, has to push up some of the hills.

When we arrive in the wee town of West Port another northbound traveler shows up.  Raimo Laosma from Estonia!  He is traveling light, stealth camps, and only eats nuts and fruit; no cooking or restaurants. He is averaging 80 to 100 miles per day with 10,000 miles already under his belt!!  His goal is to ride around the world in one year!  He is heading for Anchorage, Alaska where he will catch a flight to Russia and then ride home!  Here's his webpage.

We enjoy lunch at the West Port park.

Later in the day a stop for a "Victory Pose" after climbing out of another "drainage".
See those pointed rocks or "sea stacks" visible to the right, above my bike?  That is where HWY One turns inland.

We arrive at the Union Landing Camp Ground but it is only 2:30 in the afternoon.  The weather is starting to look threatening and camping on the  exposed bluff above the ocean isn't appealing.  Even though I have completed the twenty miles I "expected" to ride I decide to "press on" with the group, especially since they had not attempted "stealth camping" and want my "expertise" since the next official campground will not be until Standish Hickey State Park more than twenty miles away.

Up into the coastal hills we go with the first hill, Rockport Hill,  a 780 foot-er in 2.8 miles!  The higher we climb the colder it gets.  Rain starts and by the time we reach the top it is sleeting and hailing!!  Then a fast zoom down to almost sea level freezing hands and feet!

Soon I spot a side road that looked "possible".  Dragging our bike under the closed gate we ride out a ways and find a wide enough area to pitch our tents on the soggy ground beside the logging road.

Once set up we go for a walk and discover....,

 A room with a view!!!
Picnic table, fire ring, portable toilet and..., late afternoon Sunshine!!

 It doesn't take long to return to our original camp site, take down the tents and move to our new location!!


An amazing place!

And to top it off, a teenager who likes to cook!!!

During the night the rain returned so it was damp packing in the morning.

 Back at the highway Sequoia cleans her brake rims.  What an incredible teenager.

Our parting photo opportunity.  They heading towards the infamous Leggett Hill and me returning to Fort Bragg.
What a fun and interesting time we had.

Into the rain we all go.

Strong headwinds and mixed weather all the way for me.

I stop for pizza in West Port and soon after my right knee started acting up.  With twelve miles to go I  have to push my bike up the last few remaining "drainages".
 A warm "dry" house, a loving wife and a bottle of ibuprofin is a perfect end to my "wee journey".
58 miles round trip.

So, what did I learn?
  • My new rain suit works beautifully.  Open up the pit zips when working up hill and zip close when zooming down.
  • I need a new tent!  My light weight backpacking tent just doesn't cut it.
  • I need to seam-seal my panniers.  They leak.
  • My butt is broken in!  I had no discomfort in that regard!!
  • My shoulders didn't get sore.
  • I was surprised my knee became painful.  I not sure if it is a real problem or if I could have "ridden" through it.
  • My Long Haul Trucker performed perfectly.
  • You meet really interesting people on bikes!!
Overall, I learned it is a whole lot easier to be actually traveling by bike than sitting home thinking about it.  Especially if you are a worrier and fretter like I am!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Biking Community!

You meet the nicest people!
Monday I did another test ride wearing my rain gear.  I stopped by Fort Bragg Cyclery to show off my new duds and happened upon a family traveling from San Diego to Portland; Johnnie, Patti and Sequoia, their fourteen year old daughter!  They were in the shop getting their bikes tuned up while hunkered down in a motel because of the rain.  One thing led to another and my wife and I offered them accommodations in Lolli's Fabric Studio.  Last evening we had them over for dinner and we got to talk about serendipity and life in general!!  Great fun.

This morning I am joining them in their northward ride as far as Union Landing State Park.  Only twenty miles but it will be a good test of my rain gear and overnight camping abilities in the rain.  (Rain showers are predicted all day and into the night.)  Along the way there are a few places I expect I will have to get off my bike and push.  I am very curious to find out.  This will be a wee test of the real thing!!
Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I did it!!! See previous post!

I rode fifteen miles in the storm!  It was a real test of  the new rain gear and panniers!
The rain gear worked perfectly.  I stayed dry and didn't get too hot on some of the up-hill pushes.
I had filled each pannier with sweatshirts and t-shirts to also check their water resistance.  When I got home I discovered some of the clothing in each bag did get some damp spots.  I am going to have to use garbage liner bags for the items I want to stay dry.  Either that or buy rain covers.   I didn't have waterproof gloves or shoe covers so my hands and feet were wet all the time but not cold with this 49 degree day.  I should invest in waterproof gloves and shoe covers.

All in all I am very pleased.  Returning home I fought a headwind of rain with gusts to twenty mph and my body stayed warm and dry.  Thanks Lolli!!

The perfect storm.

My wife bought me rain gear for my 70th birthday!  That's not me in the photo by the way but that's what the jacket, pants and helmet cover look like.  Made in Oregon by folks who should know rain.

Here is the current weather radar image and forecast:
"Breezy...rain. Rain may be heavy at times in the afternoon. Highs 49 to 59. Southeast wind 15 to 25 mph. Gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon."
I couldn't ask for a better testing day.
All that remains is to see if curiosity will  over come common sense!
That's the trouble with getting older.  :o)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mulling it over! Making a plan.

PB&J at Friendship Park in Mendocino.  I have been riding twenty miles each day this week.  Mendo just happens to be a nice round ten miles away!

Now that the radiation treatment for my prostate has been shelved my mind is back on business!!  Currently thinking is, I will ride from Fort Bragg to Astoria, Oregon.  By the time I get to Astoria I will know if I am cut out for bicycle touring and camping.  If I am burnt out and sick of bike riding I can continue north to my relatives in the Seattle area, give that damn bike back to my brother and call it good enough.  But, if I am loving it I can ride MY bike east on the TransAmerica Bike route and "go for it"!

So, with that in mind..., when could I leave?

Originally I thought it would be cool to leave on my 70th birthday, April 10th.

But April IS cool, and rainy, and windy.  April showers and all that.

May.  Now May has flowers and all that!!  Much more reasonable.

From what I have read, most folks riding from Astoria to Yorktown, Virgina like to leave in June.  Late enough for the passes to be free of snow but early enough to get through the Midwest before it gets real hot.

Figuring thirty miles per day, six hundred miles to Astoria, a few rest days tossed in and I'm looking at twenty-four days of riding north.  Counting back from June that works out to a departure somewhere around the 7th of May.

Oh yeah, one other thing has been on my mind.....

That "lump" between here and Leggett!
I know.  I know!  I need to get used to lumps but this one happens very early in the ride!  Oh boy!