Current Bike Touring Activities
The trip is done and in the bag! I intended to follow the ACA Washington Parks route. Well, I sorta did. But I met up with a German guy (should I say kid?) and rode with him. He was using the updated version of Vicky Springs classic "Bicycling The Pacific Coast", riding the Olympic park alternative. I'm flexible, so I figured, why not? So I rode his route. The changes were minor, but they did add some miles, and actually wenr further west in Southern Washington.
Another change was to add the "Lost Coast" alternate. A very strenuous 2 day trip to a rarely visited and incredibly beautiful section of the northern California coast. I had hoped to do this from the start, but wasn't sure I could find the time, or if I was strong enough. I'm glad I could do it, as it was well worth the extra day and effort.
Also, after the reunion, I had planned to continue my ride with one of the people I rode with last summer. However, we weren't able to make that work, so I rode on alone. And instead of re-riding the entire section from the reunion to San Fransisco, I only did half of that section twice. I avoided one section so I wouldn't have to re-ride a nasty section of construction.
Finally, I had expected to ride solo for all or most of this trip. Well, that didn't exactly happen. On the 2nd day, I met Nike Seer, a much younger (and stronger :-) rider from Germany. We rode togeter for 18 days. Then literally as my cousin was dropping me off to restart the ride after the reunion, another rider, Russ Rice stopped to say hi. Long story short, we rode together for 13 more days. So out of 46 days of the actual trip (I'm not including family time), I rode with the two above, 31 days, and by myself, only 15 - less that 1/3 of the time.
............Now back to our regularly scheduled content..............
This year I am riding the Pacific Coast Route from Canada to Mexico with one minor deviation:
Between Port Hadlock-Irondale Washington and Elma Washington, I am following the western part of the Washington Parks Route instead of the Pacific Coast Route.
The Washington Parks Route circles out west to the coastal portion of Olympic National Park, instead of following the eastern side of the Hood canal. I've done the Pacific Coast route before, but not the Washington Parks Route, and I want to explore the Olympic Coast, and it's rain forests. At Elma, I'm rejoining the Pacific Coast Route, and riding it to Astoria, where I'll take a day off to visit with my nieces.
After Astoria, I'm continuing on the Pacific Coast Route south towards San Francisco. I have done all of the Oregon to Eureka section of this Route twice already, but it's one of my favorites. Not only is it beautiful, but the logistics are great too. Particularly in Oregon, there are Hiker-Biker camp sites at most state park campgrounds, which are spaced frequently along the coast.
When I get to the San Francisco area, I'm taking a 3 day intermission to attend a memorial service for my father who passed away in December, and to join my family for a 2 day family reunion back up on the coast north of San Francisco. These activities are set for August 10-12.
At the end of the reunion, One of the people I rode with last summer is joining me. We will then head south towards San Diego. At this point, I have no deadlines, so I am taking a more casual pace, arriving in San Diego in early September.
Once I reach San Diego, I'll simply grab a Greyhound bus for the 10 hour ride back home.
One twist for this year is that I have purchased a used Bike Friday New World Tourist. Since this bike folds into a suitcase sized bag, my return trip on the bus will be easy. While it could be argued that the REI Randonee I have used in the past is a better bike for a two plus month trip, I want to give the Friday a good test run. Assuming all goes well, it will open up the path to taking many future 2-3 week trips that might not be worth taking otherwise due to the logistical hassles.
Stay tuned, we're getting close!
Summer 2019 Pacific Coast Route
This is the route I plan to follow, starting at the top (Canada) and going south to Mexico. The blue is the Washington Parks Deviation. The black dot is where I will stop for 3 days for my Father's memorial and our Family Reunion.
Section One Alternatives
In the middle of section one, I am following the blue path, which is the Washington Parks Route, instead of staying on the green, which is the Pacific Coast route. The fine gray line shows yet another alternate which avoids rejoining the pacific Coast route until I get to Astoria. It stays close to the ocean, mostly on US 101, and crosses the Columbia River by way of the Megler-Astoria bridge. While bikes are allowed, this bridge is over 4 miles long, and has a peak span height of 196 feet above the water! An interesting alternative for sure! Plus, it saves 1 day, in case I feel I'm getting behind.
My New (to me) Bike Friday
This year, I'm riding a Bike Friday travel bike which folds and partly disassembles such that it fits in a suitcase that meets the size regulations of regular sized luggage for airplanes. It also has a kit that converts the suitcase into a trailer. As you can see in the pictures, I'm not using a trailer, but regular panniers. While the trailer option has many advantages, it has one big disadvantage: It pushes the while left edge of the rider and gear over close to two feet. Highway 1 in California already is narrow. pushing me 2 feet further into trafic makes me uncomfortable. So I'm using panniers, and I got my bike and gear to the start in a box that I tossed once there. After the dust settles, we'll see how well it worked as a touring bike as well as how well it travels on an Airplane...
The other sort of significant changes are:
- No separate camera. I'm going back to just using the camera in my cell phone. While it's nice to have a "real" camera, and the image quality they produce, I've found that I'm more a bike traveler who happens to take occasional pictures, than a photographer who happens to travel by bike. And I'm saving several pounds, and avoiding the theft and power issues that come with it.
- No stove. What? I can hear you say Blasphemy! How can you camp without a stove!?!? Well, the answer is, quite well. To start, I eat in cafes a lot. And unless I were to cook from scratch (which I don't), I can just eat food from a can. Sure, it's not heated up, but it tastes the same. Heck, I can even eat oatmeal by letting it soak over night! Plus, I don't have to worry if TSA is going to confiscate my stove because it has a tiny bit of fuel residue, or that I might be in trouble because I can't find fuel.
Other than that the only differences are minor clothing changes since I won't see any really cold weather.