Our final stats from the USA

Distance cycled in the USA: 2,984km

Average day: 65km

Amount of uphill: 32,000m (or x3½  Everest)

Longest day: 108km over the Cascades mountains from Winthrop to Colonial Creek campground

Hilliest day wasn’t over the Cascade mountains but Monterey to Kirk Creek campground via Big Sur with 1,545m of ascent

Longest bridge we’ve cycled across: 6.8km heading into Astoria, Oregon

Number of nights camping: 38

Number of different state parks / state beaches we’ve camped at: 25

Number of WarmShowers people who’ve hosted us: 10

Ferries taken: x1 – Fort Casey to Port Townsend

Trains taken to avoid riding through homeless camps: x1 – Bayshore, San Francisco to Redwood City

States ridden through: 3 – Washington, Oregon & California

The route we took is here: click

usa

 

The final days – riding into Los Angeles

215-the-end-of-highway-1-where-we-rejoined-highway-101After a lot of fog induced misery down the US coast we pondered completing the final leg of our 9 month cycle tour by train.  Philippa came up with lots of good reasons why that would’ve been a sensible decision and yet it wouldn’t have seemed like a fitting end to our tour and so after receiving an encouraging email from a Brit who’d cycled to LA a few weeks earlier we opted to carry on by bike.  Before we left San Luis Obispo we had lunch with Neil and Ali, who luckily were also in town on their road trip.  We won’t see them again on this tour, but it gives us another set of friends to visit in the Brisbane / Gold Coast area.  Continue reading

Is this the end? Redwood City to SLO

191-view-of-big-sur-from-kirk-creek-campgroundAfter an amazing time off the bikes in the Bay Area we reluctantly left Jon and Sal’s house and continued the journey southwards towards Los Angeles.  The luxuries of things like fridges, kettles, decent showers and electricity would once again be left behind, although it’s only a short hop to LA compared to what we’ve cycled since January.  We’d been recommended a route by Joth to Pescadero, although work meant he couldn’t cycle with us, but luckily Emma had been able to jiggle her shifts around to allow her to accompany us for the day.  To rejoin the Pacific Coast we first needed to cross the Santa Cruz mountains, which meant a 500+ m climb to ease us back into cycle touring.  In New Zealand this would have been a major worry, but we’re now so use to lugging our heavy touring bikes up hills it wasn’t too bad.  The cool of the redwood trees, beautiful landscape and empty road certainly helped.  We’re jealous that Emma and Joth have this on their doorstep; cycling from our flat in East London to Woolwich isn’t the same. Continue reading

The best and worst of times

141. Lake TahoeThere’s been a bit of a gap since our last post, mainly because there’s not been much cycling to report.  Instead we’ve been having some time off the bikes, which has been much needed because since arriving in North America at the start of June we’ve not had two consecutive rest days.  We’ve been hosted in San Francisco by Manik & Rowan, spent two nights in Napa Valley wine tasting with Neil & Ali, had a weekend in Redwood City with Jon & Sally, met up with cycling friends from the UK who now live in the Bay Area and we’re currently in Truckee, which is in the Sierra Nevadas. Continue reading

Things do eventually get better…

109. Racoon locker beerAfter the rather miserable day last Wednesday we spent another few days battling with the misery of the fog and mist and cold until Sunday, when things improved considerably. I had been worried about updating the blog given how downbeat we have been the last few days so I’m pleased that we’re now in a more positive mood. Having met other cyclists on the road also struggling with similar issues I do feel a bit reassured that it isn’t just us having a low point. Continue reading

Some days are just crap

090. This is probably beautiful when it is sunnyWhilst on tour we’ve discovered that some days we expect to be good can turn out to be different. That may be because of a whole host of things, such as the weather, especially if there’s a headwind, the attitude of the drivers, the quality of the road surface, the view we may or may not see from the road.  Yesterday, Wednesday, was expected to be good day.  We’d heard Highway 1 would be pretty devoid of cars, coastal views would be spectacular and it was only about 65km to Gualala Regional Park where’d planned to camp for the night.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the worst days, often feeling like we were partaking in the Hunger Games. Continue reading

Fogust strikes again

039. Tree at Founders GroveWe left Bayside on Friday morning for what would probably be our last cycling day in excess of 90km (and actually probably 80km) of this tour! As seems to have become the norm, we set off in grey and cold cloud and this was how we spent the rest of the morning. As we had been hosted in Bayside we were already on the Old Arcata Road which we continued to follow all the way to Eureka. This was a good, quiet road with a mostly large shoulder and avoided some of Highway 101.

Continue reading

California Dreaming

005. Redwood Highway south of Cresent CityOn Monday it was our last full day in Oregon, and only because we were having a day off in Brookings.  Being a rest day we had a leisurely breakfast, a lazy morning, a slow amble into town and some beer tasting at Chetco Brewing which we stumbled upon before ending the day with a roaring campfire.  There were a lot of other cyclists at the Harris Beach State Park all heading south and as we’d heard the next campsite (Mill Creek in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park) had a small hiker/biker area we were away nice and early.  Pretty quickly we were in California, our third and final state in our fourth and final country on our nine-month cycle trip. Continue reading

Oregon saves the best for last

089. View from Arch Rock look outAfter getting unexpectedly well fed at Sunset Bay we crawled into the tent and then proceeded to devour the enormous cinnamon bun we had purchased earlier in the day. It was probably enough for six people, or as we found out, two cold and hungry cyclists. I went to bed wearing most of my clothes and waited for sleep to arrive or my feet to defrost, whichever came sooner; sleep I think. Continue reading

The ups and downs of the Oregon coast

066. Bridge over Coos BaySouth Beach, where we were on Monday night, was a bit odd because there was a group of “transient” people staying there who were clearly not hikers or bikers, but possibly homeless people.  We’ve seen similar people trying to hitchhike along the highway and it’s likely that’s how these guys were travelling.  We’re aware there’s a huge wealth gap in the USA, but we weren’t expecting it to be evident on the hiker/biker campsites in the State Parks.  The cyclists kept to themselves and the transient people kept to themselves and it was all OK, although it was a different atmosphere to the other hiker/biker sites we’ve used. Continue reading