Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Day 2 – Barview campground to Lincoln City

Today’s Distance: 63 miles
Total Distance: 122 miles

Day two! Honestly, I woke up feeling somewhat disappointed that I didn’t really hit my mileage goal for day one. As you can see from my Strava track, a lot of the route today was inland a bit so I was riding through farmland and I swear I kept seeing trucks of hops going by. Also, the aroma of manure was thick in the air. I actually saw a pump truck, pumping liquified cow manure on a field at one point so that explained that.

Around mid-morning I finally made it to Tillimook and was able to ship some stuff ahead to myself. Turns out Astoria is closed on the weekends! So I was toting like 8-10 lbs of extra weight on my bike. Additionally, I tossed my u-lock because I brought the wrong key; worthless. I’ll need to pickup a new u-lock soon though I’ve not found much opportunity to lock up my bike. Total weight off the bike: ~15 lbs.

Lunch today was veggie pizza in Pacific City. The pizza was delicious but I ended up eating too much and was sick a few miles down the road. Ugh.

The rest of the day passed pretty uneventful. The big climb of the day was saved for the very last and boy was it a doozy. Probably the hardest, longest climb I’ve ever done; can’t remember a harder or longer one. I arrived at camp after dark, quickly setup and zonked out.

I don’t have an exact spot picked out for a target today. Just going to pedal until I’m too tired.

Astoria to SF day 2

Astoria to SF day 2

Astoria to SF day 2

Astoria to SF day 2

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Day 1 – Astoria to Barview campground

Todays Distance – 59 miles
Total Distance – 59 miles

Well, today was an interesting first day. I had a flat, I underestimated the climbing challenges today and I didn’t get to my planned destination.

I’m super exhausted so I’ll come back and clean this post up a bit but here are the highlights.

The Pacific coast is GORGEOUS. Wow, for reals.

I caught a flat tire within the first 20 miles of day 1. I even just put new, expedition grade tires on too. Bleh.

There were 3 serious climbs today. I’ve now calibrated what the little lines on the map elevation profile actually MEANS.

During the 2nd climb, there was a super sketchy bridge situation. For those who saw my Facebook live, you know what’s up. For everybody else, go check out my Facebook live video.

With all the climbing, I failed to reach my mileage goals for today so I camped at a different camp ground th an I planned. They had hot showers (coin operated and no lights!!) so that was good enough for me. I can hear the surf in the distance and it’s a very brisk night. I expect to sleep really great tonight.

I’m aiming for LIncoln City tomorrow high is about 65 miles or there about a with two big climbs. Wish me luck.

Day one photos are here.

 

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Day 0 – Astoria

As I type this, I’m sitting in my AirBnb in Astoria, OR. I’ve collected my bicycle, sorted and packed my gear and I’m pretty much ready to start pedaling first thing in the morning.

Astoria is a pretty cool little town. The view from the Astoria Column is breathtaking. But first, let me detail my journey to get here because there was a #PlotTwist.

Getting Here

Astoria to SF Day 0

Panic attack?!?!

I caught my flight as expected Saturday afternoon. I had a two hour layover in Chicago then caught my flight to Portland. I opted for a window seat because I thought I could more easily sleep on the 4 hour flight from Chicago to Portland by using my camp pillow and leaning against the wall/window.

That was working perfectly but about an hour and half into the flight I woke up suddenly feeling claustrophobic. I don’t know if I was having a bad dream or something but I really felt panicked and I was struggling to breath. I asked the other two in my row to please excuse me and they let me out. I walked slowly to the bathroom to just be out of that little bitty seat for minute. After some calm, deep breathing I felt good enough to get back into my seat. I kind of struggled the rest fo the flight it stay calm. I had to distract myself with the magazines and talking to my seat neighbors. Anyhoo, I think I understand a little bit now what a panic attack is. It sucked pretty hard core!

#PlotTwist

After the longest flight in the history of the world, my plane finally arrived in Portland and it felt so good to be off the plane. I hussled down to the rental car area to pick up my car and for reasons that I won’t get into here, my reservation wasn’t available. 😑

Ok fine… *deep breaths* I’ll just go to plan B… there’s bus/shuttle service that runs between Portland and Astoria. From my research on the internet, I know that departure point for the bus was Union station. To make a long story short, I ended up sleeping on a bench in front of Union station in Portland – the station closes at 10pm. I had my camping gear so I setup my sleeping pad and sleeping bag and camp pillow so I was pretty comfortable if somewhat nervous as there were other people waiting for the station to open. In addition, there was a homeless camp across the street and there was so much activity. Every little sound had me waking up to check my bag.

Astoria to SF Day 0

The Rest

Once I was on the bus at 6:30am, everything else was pretty routine. It took about 3 hours to get to Astoria – the driver even let me off right at the bike shop (Bikes and Beyond) as they were opening. I transferred my gear from my duffle into my bike panniers at the shop. Unfortunately, the only pack and mail place in Astoria is closed on the weekends so I’ll have to pack my duffle and clothes that I was going to send ahead to SF, until I can find a pack and ship place.

Astoria to SF Day 0

My AirBnb is pretty nice… especially compared to a bench in front of a train station in downtown Portland. 😉

I did the tourist thing a bit and went up to the Astoria Column. I walked the entire way there and back, found some dinner and am now relaxing in my room.

Tomorrow 79 miles to Cape Lookout State Park. #ShutUpLegs

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF 2017 day 0

Astoria to SF 2017 day 0

Astoria to SF 2017 day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Planning

This year, I’m planning what will be my most epic bicycle trip to date. I plan to ride from Astoria OR, along the Pacific coast down to SF CA. It’s roughly 800 miles and I’m giving myself 2 weeks to complete the trip. I’ll be following the same basic plan I used for Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails Reloaded.

  • I’ll use BikeFlights.com to have my bike shipped ahead to a local bike shop, Bikes & Beyond in Astoria, OR in this case the week before I leave for my trip.
  • Book AirBnBs in Portland, Astoria and SF.
  • I’ll use my North Face Base Camp duffle to carry my gear with me on the flight.
  • I’ll fly to Portland OR and stay at the AirBnB on Day -1.
  • On Day 0, I’ll catch the North West Point bus to Astoria OR. Google maps says it’s an almost 3 hour trip from Portland to Astoria and it leaves at 9:30am.
  • Arrive in Astoria and pick up my bicycle and check into my AirBnB
  • Day 1, start pedaling.

If everything goes to plan, I should arrive in SF on a Friday afternoon/evening. I plan to spend the weekend in SF and leave out on Sunday.

The difference between George Washington and Robert E Lee

Trump is awful. To listen to him draw a moral equivalence between Nazis and counter protesters protesting against Nazis and to realize this man is the President of our country and was freely elected there on purpose by people who think like him just feels like a huge punch in the gut. He wants to hyper analyze and focus on the specifics actions in the park instead of looking at the overall broader context of what’s happening.

Trump:

Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? He was a slave owner too, right?

The hosts on this podcast I listen to in the mornings were making this point but I think it’s important enough to repeat here. The difference between George Washington/Thomas Jefferson and Robert E Lee is that the former made it their purpose to build and lay the foundation of our country. Robert E Lee wasn’t just a slave owner. He made it his career and purpose to try to tear our country asunder who’s outcome would have been to institutionalize slavery for longer.

Happy Valentines Jen Harley

I’m glad our weirdnesses match. Thank you for laughing at all my dumb jokes. The jokes I tell to the cashiers and waitresses and you’ve heard a million times.  Thank you for not rolling your eyes when I spend too much money on bike stuff or when I go on and on about autonomous cars, SharePoint, the Titans, Star Trek, or my ideas about a cool space pirate show. Thank you for not sighing too loudly when I’m playing my shitty trap music in the mornings as I’m getting turnt up. Thank you for accepting me for me and all my weird quirks.

Nobody gets me like you do – life is ours and we live it our way.

I love you. Will you be my valentines?

Jen being weird

Jen

Ps. Thank you for being my chunky monkey. 😉

This is how I brew kombucha

I’ve recently had a few people ask how I brew kombucha so I thought I’d spend sometime and detail my current process.

Getting Started

You’re going to need some supplies before you can start brewing your very own kombucha tea.

  1. Mother SCOBY – If you know any cool people who are brewing kombucha already, you can just ask them for one; they’ll probably have lots!
  2. Starter tea – Your source of the SCOBY will probably also send you home with some tea.
  3. Brew container – I purchased two of these 2 gallon glass containers.
  4. Heating pad – You might not need this if you live in a warm climate but we keep our apartment pretty cool. I picked up two of these to keep my brew at 80 degrees.

Here’s a photo of my brewing setup.

Buch!

Brewing your kombucha

You can search the web and there are some pretty standard ratios of water to sugar to tea for kombucha. When I was first starting out, I converted all that to metric because my containers were metric and plus it just made it easier to think about in my brain.

If you look at the photo above, the right container has a little silver mark just above the spigot. I drain my tea down to this level and leave the rest as starter tea for the next batch. For each of these container, I use the following:

  • 26 grams of oolong tea
  • 435 grams of organic sugar
  • 5 liters of distilled water

I start by putting 1 liter of distilled water into a large pot and bring it to a boil. I take the pot off the heat and add the sugar, stirring so it will dissolve. Next, I add the tea in tea bags. Cover and let brew for 30 minutes.

Next I remove the tea bag and add 4 liters of distilled water. You probably want to take the temp of your mixture because adding liquid to your brew container that’s too hot can damage your SCOBY. Everything on the web says 80-85 degrees.

Put your container on the heading pad and wait 1 week. You can use a ph meter at the end of 1 week; you’re aiming for a measurement of 3.

That’s pretty much it!

I need to improve our bottling methods as we just store the tea either in growlers or in individual kombucha tea bottles that we’ve purchased at the store. I’d like to invest in a kegerator.

 

 

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Conclusion

C&O Day 6
Self from Point State Park in Pittsburgh. #Success

My bicycle tour from DC to Pittsburgh is in the books and it was a very successful trip. I’ll be using this trip as a template for future trips. After each trip, I like to reflect and identify what worked well and what did not work so well so that I might review this next year as I’m preparing for future trips.

What didn’t work so well

Despite having three dang lists to work from, I managed to forget my chamois cream. Rashes on the booty is a lot like pain management in that you really have to stay ahead of it. Once you’re in pain, well it’s already too late. A kind stranger gave me some stuff to use – although it wasn’t chamois cream. It would have been much worse otherwise but it would have been much better if I was slathering on the button hole straight from the get go. Lesson learned: DON’T FORGET THE DANG CHAMOIS CREAM

I also had some difficulties keeping my phone charged. I was using a non-Apple charging cable and the thing failed on the evening of day 2. I managed to find a gas station and get another little cheapy but that one started to fail a few days later. Additionally, I over estimated how bad ass my new external battery charger was so by the 5th night, it was drained. I should have taken more care to charge the external battery. Lessons learned: Go ahead and invest in the dyno hub so that I can charge while pedaling. Additionally, stick with official Apple charging cables and maybe even pack a spare; they’re small and light.

I want to reduce my kit. I had a whole bag full of stuff that I barely even broke into – GoPro mounts and odds and ends. I think I can probably fit my kit into the two rear bags if I strapped my tent to the top of the rear rack. I also carried too much food. I ended up eating a fair amount along the way. There’s something really nice about pulling up to a diner or pub at the end of a long day of pedaling.  In the future, I’ll probably carry less food while planning to eat along the way.

Trip template going forward

  • Ship bike ahead to a bike shop near starting point using bikeflights.com. $49 for shipping plus whatever the bike shops charge ya to box and reassemble. Probably close to $200 total.
  • Fly to the destination. I was able to get a ticket to DC for under $150. More than the bus ticket I purchased last year but way more convenient.
  • Use my new North Face base camp duffle to check all my gear on the flight. Last year I shipped my gear ahead to the motel. Checking my stuff was way easier and less stressful.
  • Give myself at least one whole day in the starting city/town to get things together. Plus it’ll be nice to have a little extra time visiting a new place.

Since Pittsburgh is relatively close to Nashville, I was able to use hotwire to rent a car to drive myself and all my gear back to Nashville. After fees and such, it was only $38 from Thrifty. Tank bicycle fit perfectly into the trunk after the laying the seats down on the Chevy Cruz.

Finally, I wanted to give a huge shoutout to our friend Eve in Pittsburgh. She let me couch surf while in Pittsburgh so I saved a lot of money on motel costs. She was an excellent tour guide and showed me around the city Saturday.

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 6 Cedar Creek to Pittsburgh

Today’s Distance: 41 miles
Total Distance: 347.2 miles

Day 6 – The big finish

I made it. I rode my bike all the way from Washington DC to Pittsburgh PA. That’s a pretty nice feeling.

The ride itself was pretty easy – only 41 miles so I took my time breaking camp and getting on the road. During the night, my external battery and phone battery both died so I felt kind of discombobulated not being connected to friends or family or having a way to really navigate. Additionally, I woke up to the second flat of my trip. This time I actually found the tiny metal splinter and removed it.

I had breakfast at a diner in West Newton and I tried to charge up my devices.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. I spent most of the time in silence (dead phone) and that was actually pretty nice in retrospect.

C&O Day 6

C&O Day 6

 

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 5 Rockwood to Cedar Creek

Todays Distance: 69.6 miles
Total Distance: 306.2 miles

Day 5 – CODE NAME: Animal

Today was really a great day. I can’t really explain how nice the GAP is after riding on the C&O. Silky, smooth as butter… so nice. I even aired my tires up to road levels at lunch time and boy did the miles just click by.

Today at lunch time, I figured out my trail name: Animal. I was standing near the path in Ohiopyle (Ohiowhat??!?), about ready to set off on the rest of my day when a lady said “your legend precedes you. It’s nice to meet you”. I’m like “what??” Let me back up. The past few days, I’ve been passing these guys that were heading in the same direction. They’d pass me, I’d pass them, we’d have a nice friendly chat while doing so, etc. It turns out, they actually left DC on Saturday while I left on Sunday. Most of the time with these guys was spent yesterday, on the ascent up from Cumberland to the contentitnal divide. I’m a bad climber in cycling terms because I’m big but I just keep turning over the pedals, complaining and grumbling but just click, click, click… one pedal stroke closer every second. So we kept passing each other on the climb. I’d pass, then they’d pass. I’m running a fully loaded touring bicycle while these guys were credit card touring (i.e., staying in motels and eating out most meals). So imagine, here is a big burly, tattooed, bearded dude with fully loading touring rig climbin up the mountain with you while you have a couple bags only. I dunno… I don’t think I’m some sort of monster cyclist but they apparently thought so because they were talking to this lady who spoke to me in Ohiopyle. They’d told her “you can’t miss him, he’s a big guy with a beard and a fully loaded touring bike. The guy’s an animal.

I got a big kick out of it. 😉

The other interesting thing that happened to me today was that I ran across this guy pulling the cart pictured below. Like, imagine you’re riding your bicycle in the woods and it’s been a while since you’ve seen another living soul then this. At first, I thought it was some guy trying to run a pot stand in the woods. Turns out, he’s pulling the thing to Washington DC to protest pot being illegal or whatever. If you notice in the rest of the photos at the bottom, his cart is just a few inches too wide to fit through the baracades and he was so mad. He was talking about overthrowing the government for violating his rights of freedom of movement and he was starting a revolution right there; I suppose he was using Twitter. At this point, I asked if I could take photos of his trailer then promptly set off. So strange.

C&O Day 5

38 miles to Pittsburgh so that means I don’t have to feel rushed to get going in the morning. I might actually sleep in a little bit later than I have been on my trip. Yay!


C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5