California Coast: Day 6 – Ahead of schedule for once!

27 05 2010

I don’t think we have ever known what it is like to be ahead of schedule. But after our 55 miles today, we are only another 55 miles or so from Santa Barbara. So when we get there tomorrow, we will have a day to relax and enjoy the city. Today’s ride was mostly inland and away from the coast, but was still a great ride. We dropped the rental truck off at the airport, grabbed breakfast next door, and headed on our way. It was our warmest day so far, but still only mid 60’s (Meanwhile its pushing 100 degrees at home)! After about 20 miles of rolling hills, easy riding, and a brief stop in Pismo Beach, we stopped for lunch near Oceano, CA. The afternoon ride took us back to Route 1 once again.

When we reached Guadalupe, we were feeling pretty good and decide to put in another 28 miles to get us within a day’s ride of our destination. Shortly into the ride Zach recorded the first flat tire of the trip, and then just a few miles later, the second. We repaired the tubes, and even replaced the tire the second time to get us back on the road. Anticipating a few steep climbs near the end, we cruised along before taking a brief rest with the final climb ahead of us. We made pretty quick work of the winding two-mile climb, very reminiscent of parts of the Rockies. When we reached the top we could see our destination, and we took off down the hill. We picked up speed on the very nice five-mile downhill and were on the outskirts of Lompac, CA in no time. We rolled into town and spotted a deal at the Motel 6, so we checked in, showered up, and headed down the street to a Chinese Buffet. We are looking forward to a challenging, but enjoyable ride tomorrow as we head into Santa Barbara. Tired and sunburned (sorry mom), we are ready for bed early once again to prepare for our final ride tomorrow – this week has flown by! (Maggie)

Day 3 – Increased hills and decreased fluids.

23 05 2010

Today we made our way to Santa Cruz, CA. As I write this it’s 8pm PST and everyone is asleep – we are exhausted! 60+ miles today.

We left Pacifica early and were immediately greeted by a huge hill. After powering up the hill we took a short stop and enjoyed the view. Each hill is tough (easy compared to NY, VT, & NH) but is very rewarding because the views are just flat out AMAZING. Check the pictures out on the flickr feed to your right. Today’s ride was 99% ocean view.

Staying on route 1 and most of the bike trails the entire way  allowed us to be no more than 100 feet from the beach for the entire day. We took advantage of this and stopped frequently to take it all in – and also nap ☺

Somewhere along the way Dad’s stomach stopped agreeing with him and he lost his appetite. I think its dehydration. The problem with the weather here is it’s not warm enough to warrant constant drinking of water – so we often forgot to drink. Dad skipped on dinner and went straight to bed as Maggie and I found dinner at a nice (we were very underdressed, as per usual) spot in Santa Cruz. Maggie and I put down 2.5 pitchers of water during dinner, so I guess we were all a little dehydrated – I don’t think any of us felt 100% today. Dad is still not feeling well and I just put him to bed with some ginger ale and crackers. Get better old man.

Tomorrow morning we will rise early to take on some more miles, but not before doing some bike repairs. Maggie broke a spoke coming into Santa Cruz today and fell asleep before we could get to fix it, and Dads bike and mine could use some tuning. I guess we forget that we need to treat these bikes like fine tuned instruments. Beautiful California awaits us in the morning and I’m falling asleep. Good night everyone, and if you’d like to drop some tips of how we better share our experiences email me @ zwoodward at Comcast dot net

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Also check out to view all the videos from the trip, updated daily.

Cheers, Zach

Day 2 – A little more vacation and a little less mileage

22 05 2010

Well, we have really begun to turn this bike trip into a vacation. After a great night’s sleep we woke up to the sunrise over the San Francisco Bay. Despite the late night, we were up super early because of the time change. So we enjoyed a relaxed start and a great breakfast at the hotel. After some basic repairs we killed a little time in Sausalito while waiting for the bike shop to open. The people at Odyssey Bicycles were able to get Brian’s gears running smoothly again, and we stocked up on a few more gear links (just incase…). We grabbed a quick snack then caught the ferry across the bay to Pier 1 and Fisherman’s Warf. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city, and even Alcatraz were unbelievable. We wandered around the city for a bit before catching up with the bike route (this city is packed with bikes). Again, we were ready for food so we stopped for another snack before finding our way back to the bridge, where we started our route south. It was obvious that we were not going to knock out the 80 plus miles we had planned so we took our time and enjoyed the nice ride out of the city, plenty of steep hills though! The scenic route along the coast was incredible, and we followed it until calling it an early day at the Holiday Inn in Pacifica, CA. After grabbing dinner, and catching the Habs game we are all ready for bed, though it’s only 8 O’Clock here.  Hopefully we will be up early again, ready to get ourselves back on schedule tomorrow.


August 8 – We Made It!

9 08 2009

Day 63:

WE MADE IT! Exactly two months after dipping our tires in the Atlantic we reached the pacific ocean. With the ocean just a few miles away (Bay View, Washington), Jake took off, while the rest of us were stopped, to ensure he would reach the ocean first. Zach and I weren’t going to let him have it that easily so we sprinted off in an attempt to catch him. No luck though. I saw him turn the corner and run to the water before I reached the beach. It’s okay he can have those bragging rights…I still made it to the top of every mountain pass first! More importantly though, after nine weeks of biking, and only two full days off, we successfully rode from New Castle, New Hampshire to Anacortes, Washington.

It seemed like just another day of riding when we woke up in our tents, packed our gear, and started out on the 14 mile ride to breakfast in Marblemount (yesterday’s original destination). It was pretty cloudy, but we enjoyed the break from the heat. After a buffet breakfast at the Marblemount Dinner, we stocked up on drinks, and headed out with a long day ahead of us. For once the ride was mostly downhill and flat so we were making great time. By staying on Highway 20 we saved ourselves a few miles. Just before lunch in Concrete, Zach had yet another flat tire…a pinch flat after hitting a large rock. With only two tubes left, we replaced that one and hoped to make it through the day without any more flats, but Dad’s rear wheel was on it’s last legs, and the tire cord was showing through. After lunch in Concrete (crazy to think of how many of these little town diners we have eaten in over the last 9 weeks) we were back on highway 20 for a while. With another uneventful 20 miles behind us, we spotted a DQ and couldn’t pass up the opportunity… so we enjoyed a little ice cream before our final 20 miles. We were off the main road, riding on rough county farm roads once again. As we neared the end, we climbed one very steep hill and with Jake right beside me I knew he was scheming. And after a quick rest stop, he took off for his victory. When we all caught up, and touched the ocean for the first time, we found the bike trail into Anacortes…our final 10 miles. After 85 miles, we finally arrived at the Anaco Inn for the night, where we were very pleasantly surprised by our two room villa! We enjoyed some pizza and relaxing (real relaxing…no worries about tomorrow’s ride!) and headed to bed…very excited to sleep in! Tomorrow we will formally dip our tires before leaving the bikes at the bike shop to be shipped home, while we head to Seattle and await our flight home on Tuesday!

It’s hard to believe we are finally done! Thanks to everyone we met along the way, and those at home keeping close tabs on us the whole way!


August 7

8 08 2009

Day 62:

After a wonderful sleep in the Country Inn and a great big breakfast we were off to tackle our final mountain pass. We did not get very far past the general store before the EXPLOSION! Jake’s rear tire, already extremely bald from all this riding, tore right through and the tube popped. Luckily, we had a replacement tire, so we were able to replace the tube and the tire before continuing on our 20-mile climb. The sun was out and it was getting hot. As usual, we took our time getting to the top, stopping every five miles to regroup and have a quick snack break. The climb got much steeper as we neared the top, and Dad and I stopped with about 3 miles to the top to load up on snowballs and waited for the others to arrive! With the final hairpin turn is sight we headed for the top. Up around the corner, I looked over the edge and saw the others not too far behind. Finally, the sign was in sight and we had reached the top…Washington Pass: Elevation 5477 feet. Turning around, we saw a sign that read “7% grade – Next 7 miles” …we had just climbed it! We decided to knock off the last mountain pass before lunch, so we cruised down 3 steep miles and climbed the last 2 to the top of Rainy Pass: Elevation 4855 feet. With no services available for the whole day, we stopped for lunch at the Rainy Pass Picnic Area where we enjoyed lunch of Ramen Noodles, crackers and peanut butter, freeze dried chicken teriyaki, gummy worms, and whatever else we had left. With the rest of the
day a guaranteed downhill we were eager to make quick work of the next 50 or so miles. We cruised down the mountain, surrounded by the gorgeous views, for a little while but were soon slowed by the wind. We really can’t catch a break! The wind was incredible. It was actually blowing us over, and we turned around to find that it would actually push us up the hill…where was that while we were climbing? The view over the turquoise lakes was still spectacular as we worked our way down the mountain. We definitely we not making the time we had hoped for, as we had anticipate cruising at 20 mph for 50 miles. With the wind picking up, we hurried to the nearest town as it was nearing dark. Through two tunnels and down a hill we arrived at the Newhalen county store just before closing. We quickly munched on some sandwiches for dinner and stocked up on snacks for the night. It was clear we weren’t going to reach or original destination, so we headed one mile down the road to a State Park campground where we set up just before the last of the sunlight disappeared. Having fallen14 miles short we have a long day ahead of us if we still plan to finish tomorrow…so we are in our tents and ready for bed. Must rest up for our final day as we plan to arrive in Anacortes, Washington tomorrow night!


August 6

7 08 2009

Day 61:

Beneath cloudy skies we left Okanogan to tackle our second to last mountain pass. After stocking up on drinks and topping off the tires with air at the bike shop (creatively named “The Bike Shop”), we were back on highway 20. It was hot already, and we began our climb with a very steep hill. Eventually, it evened out a bit, but we were still climbing. Tired already, we welcomed a short break to talk to Tom Pitts, a local agricultural consultant and rancher who allowed us sample his fresh picked cherries. They were great! I think I could have eaten them all day…thanks Tom!! We certainly took our time on the way up to Loop Loop Pass. Don’t let the name fool you, this was a very legitimate mountain pass, harder than yesterday’s climb but not as difficult as Sherman pass. After climbing 3000 plus feet over 20 miles, I reached the elevation sign, and was surprised by the gradual final mile to the top. I waited for the others to begin the 12 mile decent into Twisp. We flew down the hill, over 30 mph for sure! After a very late lunch at the Pub, was very filling, and gave us enough energy for the final 23 miles. We began to climb again, as the ride to Mazama is just the beginning of tomorrow’s final mountain pass. Riding late in the day, we saw tons of deer throughout the rolling hills. Of course we finished the day with some big hills and finally arrived at the Country Inn to warm showers and comfy beds. Our trip home is finalized as we will finish Saturday and are forced to hold off till tuesday to fly home due to our last minute reservations….so we will be in Seattle for a few days. We are off to bed to rest up for our final mountain pass tomorrow and our second to last day of riding…wow!


August 5

6 08 2009

Day 60:

Today was hot! If you have windchill in the winter do you have
windwarm in the summer? The southerly wind started with a vengence at
noon and it was like riding into a blast furnace. We were told the temp
topped out at 108.

The temp was a fact during the day but did not become a factor as we
banged out another mountain pass (Wacaunda pass ) where we had
another young bear cross our path.

Once over the pass, we entered the desert like terrain of the area
east of the cascades. Very dry with limited vegetation.

We met a few fellow travelers today, one guy from Rhode Island who
started the week before us and a family from Calgary. The Calgarians
are were a family of 5 and the kids looked to be about 7,6,5. They are
riding a tandem and a triple. They are taking a year to do the west
coast. My hat is off to those guys riding their rigs through the

After 41 miles and a quick flat repair for Jake, we arrived in
Tonasket for lunch. We have had number of flats lately. I attribute
this to the very hot temps and tires that are becoming very worn. We
should probably have rotated tires earlier in the game.

We battled the inferno to Okanagon. After a total of 70 plus
miles completed we enjoyed a swim in the pool before a late