Day 0 – We’re Ready for you California

21 05 2010

Tomorrow we will start day 1 of a ~400mi ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbra, Calif. Dad, Maggie, and myself will be up before 5am to make an early bus ride down to Boston. We spent all day today (well mostly in the last few hours) packing our essential bike gear and bikes in preparation for the 6+ hour flight across the country. Thinking about what our family of 5 did last summer on our bikes and how it took 65 days compared to the 6 hours it takes in a plane is just so awesome for some reason. It’s true, this adventure cycling thing is addicting.

With all that being said we’re looking at a max temp of 12 C (54 F) when we touch down tomorrow at SFO. With the wind traveling directly in our faces at 30kmph (~19mph). We are starting the trip to Santa Barbra after we back track a few miles (about 20 miles – remember wind in faces – 19mph… lol) over the Golden Gate Bridge. We’ll sleep on the other side of the bridge for day 1 and then star the trip down on day 2. Hopefully with some good winds and maybe a little sun 🙂

The trip is scheduled to last about a week… flying home to Boston out of LAX on the 28th.

Anyone think we can bang out 400mi in 4 days? That would be a new record – but not by much ..it would also probably kill me.

Hey! I almost forgot…  You should follow these feeds on twitter for constant updates of what’s happening down the coast of Calf. twitter.com/zachwoodward & twitter.com/sumwhereonabike

Cheers,

Zach

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Next? -> California Coast

19 04 2010

A year ago we started putting things together for our trip across the USA. I never thought I would fall in love with distance cycling but here we are.. a year later… planning another adventure.

I am counting down the days until we get back out there. This May Zach (myself), Maggie, and Dad will be biking as much of the California coast as possible. Mom and Jake are still in in working and in school and can’t come 😦

Of course everyone can expect constant twitter/facebook updates, tons of pictures, and a daily blog post (written by Maggie of course, haha)

– Zach





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!

Maggie





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!

Maggie





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!

Maggie





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
mountains.

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
dinner.

Brian





August 4

4 08 2009

Day 59:
I need to start this by taking back what I said after climbing Logan Pass – that was not the hardest thing I have ever done. Today we climbed Sherman Pass in Washington, the first of the Cascades. We set out from Kettle Falls with extra frozen water, G2 and snacks for what we expected to be a fairly difficult climb. That is the understatement of the trip. As we started up, Jake and I passed a road worker who asked if we were heading for Republic. When I answered “yes”, his reply was “it’s only going to get much worse before it gets better”. I thanked him very much, coming just shy of calling him a jerk. The climb at the beginning was pretty standard, although not the switchback style of Logan. Mostly, long, gradual climbs. The temperature warmed up very quickly so we were going through our water supply steadily. About a third of the way up, Maggie had a broken spoke so we stopped for a quick repair. Traffic was not too bad although we saw plenty of logging trucks, which was a bit of a surprise. Fortunately, they were coming down the hill so didn’t bother us too much. We met a few other bikers, one gentleman who had just started his eastward journey to Bar Harbour a week ago. He let us know we had our work cut out for us on the upward climb as he happily glided downhill.

Brian, Maggie and Zach had the lead with Jake hanging back with me – thanks Jake. With about 7 miles to go, Jake and I met up with the others at a nice little bridge turnout close enough to a creek. Great place to wade in the water and even dunk our heads to cool off. The water felt great. We set off for the final climb but it didn’t get any easier. I found myself stopping to rest about every half mile – sorry I slowed you down Jake. Brian stopped every so often to make sure that Jake and I were not too far behind before continuing on with Maggie and Zach. As Jake and I finally saw the sign for the Scenic Overlook, a driver with an rv came down the hill and shouted “almost there!” – music to our ears. Jake and I pulled into the overlook but saw no sign of the others. We checked out the area and decided that they must have gone a bit farther down the road. We should have known – we weren’t quite at the top. Another half mile brought us to the very top as evidenced by the elevation sign and the steep grade sign we love to see. 5500 ft! Everyone was laying down by the information map – good idea. We were all out of water so just rested before heading down the glorious downhill. Before we left, Brian called the Northern Inn and booked us in for the night. It was obvious we weren’t going to get any farther than Republic today. Some of the more optimistic had grand thoughts of getting two passes done today. Oh how wrong they were.

The kids headed down ahead of Brian and I (I think they may have broken some speed limits on the way down). Brian and I chose the more gradual pace using our brakes regularly. I tried not to worry too much about the kids ahead of us. The ten miles went by very fast and we arrived just outside of Republic and stopped for a late lunch. When the waitress found out we had just climbed the pass, her reply was “I think all you bikers are nuts”. The food was great and we soon re-hydrated and re-fueled. I must confess, I almost fell asleep at the table.

Three miles later, with the obligatory final hills (ugh!) we arrived at the Northern Inn, a very nice motel. Some ice for my knees and a glorious shower and I felt a bit revived. I napped while the rest caught up on their Internet stuff. Now, Brian and the kids are down the street at the market getting some snacks and drinks for tonight and tomorrow. Time to get our “Family Guy” fix for the night (never though I would be saying that!) I don’t remember when I was this tired. Tomorrow’s climb won’t be nearly as high and I certainly hope the hills are not quite as long. Wish us luck.

Carolyn