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

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

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

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

Oregon Day 1

001. Entering OregonYesterday (Wednesday 27th July) we left grey cloudy Washington State and entered grey cloudy Oregon.  Since leaving behind the Cascades we’ve had grey weather interspersed with the odd sunny day.  We’re now going to follow the Oregon coast into California border, which is about eight or nine days of riding.  Everyone has said the Oregon coast is amazing, but we’ve been not inspired by the 35km we’ve ridden so far.  Hopefully things will improve. Continue reading

Cycling through Fifty Shades of Grey

070. Potlatch State ParkI’d suggest reading the condensed version of this blog post rather than the full version as it’s unlikely to be very interesting.  It certainly hasn’t been very interesting cycling over the past few days, evident by the lack of photographs we’ve taken.  So, the short version: we left Deception Pass last Thursday (21st July) rode along a busy section of Highway 20 and took the ferry to pretty Port Townsend where we ate burgers in the sun, followed by cider tasting & two nights with Phil and Emmy Lou who hosted us in Chimacum.  On Saturday it rained from Chimacum to Quilcene, then it was just grey along the Hood Canal to Potlach State Park. Monday, grey turning to blue as we rode through forest plantations to Lake Sylvia State Park via some very long straight dull roads.  We went swimming in Lake Sylvia.  Monday it was grey, again, and we cycled to Brucepoint Park via McDonalds in Raymond (a nondescript lumber town) to get some WiFi.  We spent the evening chatting to other cyclists.  Today (Tuesday) it’s been another nondescript day with grey skies and marshy coastline, probably the dullest day we’ve ridden in over six months on tour. So dull that we dug out our iPods for some musical entertainment. We’re now at Cape Disappointment, an apt name considering how disappointed we are with the cycling since leaving Chimacum. Continue reading

Into the USA & over the Northern Cascades Highway

029. Climbing up to Washington PassLast Saturday (16th July) we left Osoyoos, spent the last of our Canadian dollars on sourdough focaccia from the amazing Lake Village Bakery (as an aside why have we found so many great bakeries in Canada compared to the UK which seems devoid of decent, independent places that don’t require a second mortgage?) and rode our final 8km on Canadian soil alongside Osoyoos Lake before reaching the Canadian / US border.  We were expecting a bit of a grilling about our intentions in the USA, evidence of our flight home, monies to support ourselves etc., but it was straightforward and that was that.  After six weeks in Canada we had left.  The final part of our adventure beckoned. Continue reading

Tent-er-tantrums

199. Cone on shame on the tent at Bayshore ResortSince the last update we’ve had over a hundred holes put into our tent, ridden to the head of the mighty Colombia River, camped with Neil & Ali, rejoined the Kootenay River, said goodbye to Neil & Ali, been five miles from the US border, ridden alongside the enormous Kootenay Lake and taken a car ferry across a lake.  We’ve had sunshine, wind, grey clouds, rain, drizzle, showers and we’re now back to sunshine.  We’re currently camped in pretty Nelson, which is a bit Scottish like (well we are in the Selkirk Mountains) with tree lined hills rising up from the water, but in Scotland it would be a sea loch whereas here it’s a lake at over 500m above sea level. Continue reading