Tuesday, September 30, 2008

San Francisco - days of rest!

What a great city!
Its appropriate that a city such as this should have a great entrance hall that is the Golden Gate Bridge.
There is so much life here. The layout of the city with the steep up and down streets ensures that you see the skyline of the city, no matter where you are in it. Its not too busy traffic wise today Monday . Maybe the weekends are particularly busy and that would make sense. Everyone goes out at the weekends.
Public transport is very good once you get the hang of where everything goes and unlike some places, town maps abound.
I get the bus to Height Street to visit the birthplace of the Flower Power movement in the Sixty's. I was there a number of years ago when it was still alive and well. And then, there was a great sense of the bohemian there and it was good to be there. Today, I can say that the Flower Power movement is no more! There is still the shops there selling dope smoking pipes and weird stuff, the strange clothes shops where you could buy anything with chains and beads on. Where you could find yourself talking to some 'way out' shop assistants who wanted only to love you. Now the hippies are all gone and there are only a few down and outs and homeless and some aging old hippies trying to hold to the remnants of what used to be.
Now there are a lot of Obama t shirts and stuff and there is definitely a change of emphasis from the old days. It was a shame and I leave feeling that a period of my history and a lot of peoples history has disappeared even if you were never a part of it.
Some of the steep streets are a sight to see. I head up to see the bendy street that is so steep they had to make it so the cars cant come straight down , you have to chicane down.
The streets up to it are, i swear 45 degrees. Its like treking up a mountain. Good exercise.... more tomorrow!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Olema to San Francisco 34 miles 28th September 2008

Group agrees to meet at the start of Golden Gate bridge to travel over and find the hotel. Sounds like a good plan. So leaving at 8am.
I head out after coffee and bagels and cheese at 7.45. Cause I have a load. They will soon catch me. Out on the road its the now, almost predictable leg ripper of a climb but there is a heavy fog . Visability down to 30 yards and it s freezing cold. So take it slowly. Over the top the sun comes out and its warming up. I am soon overtaken by the fast men and women of the group and on I go at a steady pace. Its a short ride today so there is no pressure and I have the couple of days to look forward to.
Heading into Fairfax, a quite built up area i see what i have been missing for a while. Town Cycling! It requires different skills with cars coming from all directions and I have to watch for changes in the route through towns.
Its nice to travel through the towns you recognise form the movies , Fairfax, Larkspur, Sausolito The Bay area.
Larkspur, specifically Mount Tamalpais, is the actual birthplace of Mountain Biking. And you wouldn't half know. There are 100's of mountain bikers in car parks getting ready to cycle out. its like a convention or a pilgrimage.
Outside of that town we come across a dedicated cycle track to take us all the way into Sausolito. Away from all roads. Its used by bikers walkers and joggers and its full of all of them. All doing their own thing. We stop for an ice cream before making the final assault on the bridge.
Did I say assault? It was more like Iwo Jima. The hills were so steep I had to fight for every yard.
Finally it looms ahead of you! WOW.
O Connell bridge is a bridge!
The M50 toll is a bridge.
This is not a bridge. Its a structural steel edifice. Its a monument . And when you get on it, it has its own weather. Sausolito was sunny and warm this is foggy, cold and windswept. The wind is howling across the bridge.I see a couple stopped, taking photos and I ask them to take one of me. Turns out they are from Cork on holiday. Its too cold to stop and talk. Pity! It is very exhilerating to cycle across. Its so busy at the weekends that the path set aside for cyclists and pedestrians is devided up. Bikers on the right side of the bridge, pedestrians on the other.
There are 1000's of bikers here. I have never seen so many road bikers all kitted out in matching gear. Testosterone bubbling over! all muscle and shaved legs!
Friendly too,I stop, wondering which way to go and a biker stops and gives me directions straight to the hotel.
Check in get settled and showered and get the bus to fisherman's Wharf and some nice sea food.
All human life is here. What a bubbling city! Its great to get here , great to be here...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jenner to Olema camp ground 45 miles 27th Sept.

Woke early this morning feeling a bit sore but had a reaqsonably good night. Too early for breakfast so im not waiting around. Head off at 7am. Its very cold but sunny and threatening to get warmer.
Im going to take it easy today. I have those 10 miles to make from yesterday. Its good today, the legs are working and I get to Bodega Bay in short time. A real surfer town. There are lots of surfers out in the water and it 8am. Stop for breakfast in this very posh (by my standards of late) restuarant. Overlooking the seals and wildlife swimming in the bay. Its lovely. Good hearty breakfast.
Now move on, im back on track. Some nasty little hills as I go but nothing to depressing. I begin to see a lot of road bikers out today. I have only seen two on this whole trip. Now im coming across them, or should they are coming across me, in numbers.
In a group of 4 one slows to chat. Jerimiah was is name. A real nice guy. They are all coming from San Francisco on Saturday morning spins. As we are chatting he invites me to his house when I get to San Francisco. A generous offer. Says I can stay a few days if I wish. He is stopping at a bakery a few miles ahead and I say Ill call in for a coffee. Sure enough next town there are a crowd of bikers having a break. I hear an Irish voice calling me and its a guy from Navan Colm (hope I got that right Colm, let me know if Ihavent)living here now. Have a great chat with all of them. Exchanging stories and generally having a laugh.
Say our goodbyes and head on. nice tail wind as I cycle down the Tamasa river. Heading for Olema.
Taking it nice and steady and moving I soon reach the camp ground at Olema and meet my 'support group' who kindly invite me to dinner.
This is a completely different camp ground. Much more expensive for a start. 35 dollars for the night. The last one was 3 dollars but that was a state park. This is private. Even so its hard to see the differenced, except more families here.
San Francisco tomorrow..... a milestone
I need the rest badly... Think ill go to Alcatraz and stay a while...............

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Manchester to Jenner 52 miles 26th September

Well Amanda, here is another one of the days you told me would happen. Today was certainly not a day for me to celebrate.
It started out ok. Early to rise and out to get my breakfast ready in the camp. A beautiful morning with the likelihood of a sunny day. As soon as I got on the road i couldnt get the legs going, even tho the road was reasonably flat at this point. My destination was Bodega Bay some 64 miles down. Heading to San Francisco.I guess I am paying for the couple of hard days I put in earlier. Then I hit the rollercoaster road the same as yesterday and it is getting tedious.No sooner you get up one and down the other side and another looms. Leg Wreckers!! I try talking to myself to get some motivation and it works for a while. So this way I keep moving.
The climatology along this coast is weird im cycling along and i see what looks like smoke wafting across the road ahead. As i get closer I realise its fog rolling in 200yards ahead of me. I know as soon as I hit it the temp will immediately by about 10 degrees. Its cold and wet and lasts for only a couple of hundred yards and then sun again. Its weird. Never experienced anything like it before.
Stop for coffee and a bun and that takes me further. Then I meet 2 guys broken down on the side of the road. Stop for a chat. They are repairing a spoke and truing a wheel. I soon head on looking for food and find a restuarant a few miles down the road. Soon the two boys arrive in with the same idea and we have lunch and a bit of crack. We are all heading to Bodega Bay and agree to meet there.
Heading off refreshed and ready and feeling positive. Few miles down the road, I hit this hill or mountain and grind it up. After 3 miles I see what I think is the top. Struggle up to see another climb round the bend and up it goes again for another mile. Then another that is steeper. Then over the top...hurray!! fast switchback down. But dangerous so have to keep the brakes on. Then just when im on for a 6 mile descent round the bend it kicks again and again and again. I have to hit the brakes hard on the descent when I meet cattle on the road. The scenery is fantastic with fog over the sea way below me. But its cold and im really tired. Seems like an age later the town of Jenner comes and I say enough is enough. 10 miles short of my destination I give up and roll into a B & B for the night.
I havent had one in a while and I am really pissed about this. And as you all know I love my rants..
I lost the coverage on my Irish phone in Coos Bay about 300 miles back and never got it back. Now my American phone has had no coverage for the last 75 miles. I stop in a town to buy some credit for it and find I am unable to contact the company IT&T. Probably the biggest company in America, to have the phone credited.
This country is THIRD WORLD when it comes to telecommunications.
I am 80 miles from San Francisco for gods sake!!, probably the second biggest city on the west coast and I have no phone cover. I just cant believe that.
Could you imagine not having phone cover in Dundalk! There would be uproar. So I am seriously pissed... Gripe over!
Ill pick up the 10 miles in the morning. Dont worry.....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fort Brtagg to Manchester 42Miles 25th September

Passed the 1000 mile mark today-what a man!

Fort Bragg to Manchester 44miles

Left Fort Bragg camp on a lovely morning , blue sky and the threat of a lovely sunny day. Blog has no been done so I must spend some time this morning to find breakfast and internet access. Doesnt take long. A nice cafe good food and WiFi. Get the blogs and my calorie intake up to speed. Eggs,bacon and toast and coffee.
Head on out to what is seemingly a short day about 40 miles but when I look at the profile in my book. Its like a roller coaster road along the sea. Tells me in my book that these are some of the steepest hills on the Pacific coast. Oh Dear!!
First 20 miles is ok nice countryide and pleasant riding. Then comes the first of the ups and downs.. hits ok , no problem. I must be getting fitter.Able to take these in a big gear and Im cruising.
The scenery along this part of the coast is amazing. Better than any I have seem. Huge cliffs, rock faces sea stacks and wildlife including seals in the sea. It is a whale area but I didnt see any.
I say to myself, If I start taking piuctures i will take hundreds cause a view from one place completely changes 50 yards down the road. So if you want to see more... come here yourself. I guarantee you wont bew disappointed.
Anyway! These hills wow do they get worse as I go along. There are amazing fast downhills into switchbacks and it is exhilerating but God had it right. One down? One Up!.
There was one where not only did I have to get off and walk but I could hardly push the bike up it. I was leaning at 45' pushing like mad. It was a struggle for about half a mile.
Just like the switchbacks yesterday that I thought would never end . I thought these hills would never end. Some of them you could tuck on the descent and the momentum would take you half way up the next but you still had to push.
Finally when I was about spent I see the sign for the KAO campsite. Very welcome.
Great campsite , pool jacuzzi and hot showers , shop and a dryer.
I also meet my 'support group' the Cross Canada Group. Its great to see them and they seem glad to see me too. Its nice to see them again. I havent seen them since we had dinner in Astoria.
Been a tough few days but its GREAT!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eureka to Garberville 23rd Sept 70 miles

Sorry about posts im doing them in a hurry to catch up.Ill edit them later.. been out in ther sticks for a couple of days.

Headed out today after a lazy day off yesterday. Im not in the mood for more cycling
Have my bagel and cheese and coffee breakfast and head out however reluctantly.
The first hour is always the worst but I get into my stride soon and after traversing the metroppolis that is Eureka I am soon on the nice flat road to my destination is Myers Flat. 50 miles down the road. 25 miles out I come to the Avenue of Giants. A heavily forested area of big californian redwoods. More than the last venture into the redwoods, this is awesome. 25Miles of giant trees lining the road. You might think boring! but WOW you want to be here. It is something you never forget. It makes me feel very insignificant.
Its a leisurely cycle and I come upon some bikers I saw yesterday in Eureka enjoying the spectacle. We stop for lunch at a roadside cafe and have a chinwag. They are 2 brothers from Fresno who just decided on the spur of the moment to buy 2 bikes and cause their jobs were unsure . Cycle to San Diego. No preparation, no training nothing, they hooked up with a french couple and the 4 were peddling along happily to San Diego. I thought I was impulsive!
I leave them behind and head on out of the Avenue of Giants and soon reach my destination of Myers Flat. And ITS CLOSED!! Its remote here so I have no other choice but to keep going.
Into Miranda. I shop at petrol station, nothing else there. Meet a guy who is motorbiking to saettle for a couple of days and he is from San Fran. Gives me some tips about San Fran and move on to Phillipsville,,, even smaller here so move on again. Now 60 miles done but nothing else for it if i dont want to sleep in a hedge. Remember the Bears!! no thank you . So eventually end up in Garberville, on top of a big climb where i roll into the first motel i find and collapse. 70 miles... what a day!!

Garberville to Westport 70 miles

Garberville to Westport
Garberville was a nice little town all mountainy and quaint people with big hats and moustaches. Even the women (no im joking). Coffee and 2 buns and off into the proverbial immediate climb. Its a bitch to get a hill first thing before your legs are ready. But this is not the little hill up by the garda station in Naas. This is 4% for 2 miles. A leg wrecker.
Little did i know this was just the beginniing of a day which when over would go down in the annals as the worst days climbiing on a bike I have ever done by a long long long way.
The 5 or 6 big climbs before Leggit were severe in themselves but put with that a very hazardous road. Shoulder of 6insto 1 foot on a single carriageway road with sheer 400/500 drops on your immediate right side with no guard rail. Man that was scary. The trucks had no where to go so it was a hairy few hours. The climbiing was the easy part.
After that it was into leggit for a quick coffee before tackling the BIG ONE 1500 ft over 6 miles switchback the whole way , no shoulder just relentless climbing. I was cursing the switchbacks cause every one you thought was the last.
The decent was a roller coaster 10 miles down of a switchback decent like something in the tour de france. Very fast. Middle of the road . Keep in front of the trucks . I was faster anyway. Made it ALL Worth while the climbing. Then when you least expect it .... a bitch .... 600ft over 3 miles. Is this climbing ever going to stop. Over the top and another sceamer down hill. Stop at the bottom for some well earned food and meet the guy i met on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angelas. What a surprise. We cycle together for a while but he and his mate are faster than me so off they go. Westport has no facilities so even tho im wrecked I have to keep going. for another 15 miles to a campground. When I get there i am the only one there so sleeping alone again.... bummer!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rest day in Eureka. 21st September

What on earth am I going to do?
Start with a lie in. Thats 8am. Sleeping is still not the best. Up for a leisurely breakfast of Coffee, bagels and cream cheese and something that passes for saussages.
Ill take a walk into town and see this old victorian town with its nicely restored houses and shops. Its a strange place of quiet wide shopping streets of little bijou shops and coffee houses. Very pretty but not your bustling shopping center that exists in every other town center world wide.
Bead shops, bookshops, earthy shops all very environmentally friendly and in the middle?....An Irish Pub. I couldnt bring myself to go in. Found myself an Irish Tricolour for the bike. Must make a statement about who I am. I think people like to put some kind of a story onto when they see the bike. I have a sign on the back that says 'San Diego or Bust'. Always gets a comment.
Tomorrow I hit half way!!! EUREKA!!!
Over 900 miles... I think I can do this!!
Altho when people ask me where Im headed. They are not so impressed as they were in Washington. Until I tell them where I started from.
I see bikers going thro town today and I feel as if I should be going too instead of resting. However sieze the day, the weather is improving wind looks favourable and tomorrow sees me over the half way mark and thats to look forward too. Some big climbs loom in the next 2/3 days so i should be ready for them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Elk Prairie Camp to Eureka - 48 Miles

Well I was still all there this morning.
No Bears! Black or otherwise came to visit... well! Not as far as I knew. A few of the guys were gone but unless the tents were eaten as well.. there was a good reason for it.
Its a beautiful crisp clear morning at 7am with a thin strand of mist brushed along the forest in the distance. The sun is trying to come out and everything has a layer of condensation on it.... There is something about waking up from a nights sleep in a tent. Its hard to say if it is a good or bad feeling but it is definitely different and everyone should try it at least once.
Pack my bags trying to put on something that is not damp.. not easy. Getting dressed in a tent lying down... an experience all its own. Certainly not done at speed.
Up and at em! Up with the dawn and out with the dog as tommy used to say but in this case the bike. Spin on down to Orick for a coffee and a muffin. ALAS POOR ORICK! nothing happens too fast here. Id say even a fire would take its time. There are certain places in America where things havent changed for 100 years. Orick is one of them.
Today has a few climbs but nothing like yesterday. The day looks good and am soon passed by Alaska who says he will stop in Trinidad for breakfast and invites me to see him there. These young speed merchants!
Im taking in the sights, its a lovely run the 25 miles to Trinidad but he is nowhere to be seen. I have a nice breakfast of 2 eggs over easy, 2 strips of bacon and pancakes with syrup and 2 big slices of french toast and the proverbial gallon of coffee. 11 dollars and worth it all. Heading out I meet the 2 girls and guy from Seattle heading for San Fran who were with us in camp last night. They stopping for food. Its all the young people here talk about is food. I kid you not!
An uneventful downhill spin into Eureka... Eureka!! Tired but happy. First place i see is the campground... hesitate for a milli-second and say 'not tonight my lady' Im for the fluffy bed tonight... dont know when I decided that but it was sometime around the time I was putting on my damp lycra cycling shorts at 7am.... I think!!
Carleton Hotel... dinner included, pool jaccuzzi washer/dryer coffee machine and a bath. No Danger!!!
In fact,, time I had a day off so ..... 2 nights. There goes the inheritance kids but its a good cause ... your poor old dad's weary bones...
We will have a leisurely chat tomorrow... when I get up... Talk then.

Crescent City to Elk Prairie Campground 49Miles

Crescent City was not a nice place. Motel was seedy and noisy but it was comfortable. Had some nice fresh fish and chips for dinner. tasty! A couple of beers and a seafood chowder. Not quite in that order but close!!
Woke at 7am got ready for the road. There is quite a lot to get ready. Cause as you all know, I can be a bit disorganised at times. And that mother of a hill awaits me.
Out into the morning sun and still cool. Although the weather seems to be improving. No mist and damp around which I am grateful for.
Hit the climb after about 4 miles and it is steep. Its like 4 miles of 'Dollys Brea'. Im out before a lot of the traffic so I get to suffer in peace. Knee hurts this morning but soon burns off. Took 2 hours for the first 13 miles. But got easier as I moved into Giant Redwood territory.
There were Redwoods on the climb but I didnt have time to really look at them. Had to watch the road, the cycle lane was narrow and traffic was getting busier.
But after the climb I could have a good look and..... WOW .... what Trees! The further down the road I got the bigger they got. Look at the pictures. These are awesome sights! Big, Tall,old and proud as they stood close together reaching 100's of feet into the sky.
I met randy, a guy I camped with a week of so ago and another guy from Alaska, in a cafe out in the wilds. Its amazing how you can keep meeting the same people all the way. We stopped along the road to get some photos and ended up in the camp together at Elk Prairie.
This was a beautiful place but we were warned by the Ranger to beware of Racoons and 'BLACK BEARS!!!' I said @WHAAAT'@@. He said, dont worry its brown bears you have to worry about black bears are ok. I asked him if the bear knew what colour he was but he just laughed.
But each camp had a big steel box where you had to put your food. SCAREY!!!!!. I was snugged up in my sleeping bag a while, when I suddenly realised I had a Granola bar in my bag 'IN THE TENT' AAAHHH!. So I ate it. The bear can have the wrapper.
There was some beautiful trails from the camp I took the time to walk some of them into the giant redwoods. So peaceful. Makes you feel small in there with them.Saw some wild elk in the trees along with this most beautiful big stag with 5 ft antlers on him. Wonderful!
Got back to the camp and we had been joined by other guys who I had met some days back. 2 Guys from Australia who gave me some tips for servicing my bike on the go. Had a good chat and off to bed by 8.30. Get to sleep before the bears and the racoons come to visit....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gold Beach to Crescent City 57 miles

There are days when a man dares to love what he has achieved.
Well today was for my lovely boys and girl!
My Luke, my Alex, my Samuel, my Sebastian and of course my Emily.
I have been instilling into my grand children especially Alex for so long. That his grandad, is a GENIUS. And after today they should really know he is telling the truth. Cause their Grandad knows for sure. I am so proud of myself today I dont mind who knows it.
After the knee pain yesterday I had dark thoughts last night of maybe having to stop. But I brushed them aside and had an early coffee and a muffin and hit the road at 8am full of confidence and feeling good.
But that first climb soon showed me I was still in difficulty as the pain came back. It slowed me to walking pace on even the slightest hill. I was trying to save it by making the right leg do the work. But that didnt last long.
Then a brainwave. I unclipped my left foot and saw that it was toeing out a bit in order to save the knee so i took the shoe off and made an adjustment to the plate so my foot toed out when clipped in.After about half hour the pain eased and I was cruising again. Even over the climbs.
By the time i got to Brooking 30 miles down and with the California border just 6 miles away.
I got a 12ins subway and a 16oz black coffee, A liter of Gateraide and I said Crescent City and California here I come.
Crossing into California was as good a feeling as I have had in long time. Got a construction worker to take my picture. And headed off. 20 miles to go. Tired but elated. Whooping and hollering down the road it flattened out and i put her into top gear. I was feeling energised and strong and did the 20 miles in one and a half hours..... i was flying! I just about do that at home on my road bike which weighs nothing... Magic!!
Into Crescent City Pop.8500 and a CITY! Looking at the mountain ahead. I shouted 'you are mine'.
The biggest climb of the whole trip looms first thing in the morning. Rises 1200ft in 3 miles. Bring it on....
Kids thats why, YOUR Grandad really is A Genius!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Port Orfort to Gold Beach 29 Miles

Headed out from Port Orfort and tried to get breakfast. There are no breakfasts in Port Orfort. In fact there is verylittle in Port Orfort. I get a buretto and a coffeand a recharge for my phone (eventually). And head out. Heading for Brooking on the California border. Like always ther is a climb out of the port and would you beleive Oregan saves itsbest till last. The views and the rocky cliffs and sea stacks are magnificent.
I have a worrying pain in my knee these last few days thats getting worse this morning on the climbs. I slow to ease it and my speed slows dramatically. I think i need to rest it so I resolve to stop half way today to rest it. Gold Beach is the first piece of civilation I get to. It can be really remote out here. Miles of beautiful sandy beaches with great dunes and no-one around for miles. At least at Gold Beach I have the internet and my second group will catch up tomorrow. California will have to wait for me another day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Senset Bay Park to Port Orfort 52 miles

Broke camp at dawn after a restless night. I really need an Odearest mattress. These mats are not enough formy old bones. Head out into the miost and rain again at 8am. Lads! I was ex Eupecting all the way sun.... so whats gone wrong?? Im in Oregan... ! Thats what is wrong. Thats what happens in Oregan. Give me Ireland any time. This is February in Ireland. Miserable !! Head up the 7 devils road... I wonder why they call it that. I soon find out!! & she-devil hills. Like Rome!! Tears the legs off. I admit to walking some of the way. Even pushing the bike is not easy. As i get to the top I get the sense of a little head wind that soon turns into a breeze which begins to gust up and drives me nearly backways. Anyway head down beat intoit ... nothing else for it. Bad cess to Oregan!!
There is nothing to see in this part of Oregan .. hense no pics today just beating the wind. Stop for lunch in Langlois.. Thank god for Subway. Replenished... move on. A rolling road no serious climbs. I dont meet any of my fellow riders. My 1st support group are ahead ofme and my group fromyesterday are having a day off. Arrive intoPort Orfort. by around 3.
Technologically speaking... a backwater! only one internet accesscafe in town. The Crazy Norwegian! Great fish and chips and chowder. Hence this blog!!.. Hopefully California tomorrow...!! EUREKA!!!
Here is the bridge from yesterday..

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Florence to Sunset State Park 56 miles

Left Florence this morning. Another cold,foggy damp morning. But need to get on. Head out slowly up a couple of hard climbs that are hard on the legs first thing. But slowly get the powere in the legs and start to move. Eating up the miles. I soon pass a guy pulling a bike trailer and he tell me they are a group of 15 on an un-supported American Adventure holiday and heading for San Diego. I soon pick up more of the group and enjoy their company. There are 3 Aussies a couple of English and some Americans. They are heading for the same camp ground as me. As 3 of us approached the bridge at Winchester we discovered it was illegal to hold up traffic, this means bikers. So we were forced to ride on this path at the edge of the road over the bridge which was about a mile long . The path was 2ft wide with a i ft drop to the road of and with traffic racing by, boy it was scary. You really had to concentrate the mind and forget the traffic. Some decided to walk over in stead... wutz.. So after that we were stayed together for the rest of the day. Eventually I pulled into a WallMart for some food for the night and met one of the guys from my original 'support group'. They had a rest day in Coos Bay and I said I would probably see them tomorrow sometime. At the camp ground we are not together but I meet two young guys on their way to Monteray. There is also and old transient in the camp. He was in the marines for 40 years in Vietnam flew Blackhawks and also in the CIA for 44 years. Knew Hoover. Interesting guy. I never knew anyone from the cia before.
Later we are joined by two other bikers on their way to San Fran and a young couple a german and a canadian who are hitchhiking. Nice night around the campfire. I have no internet of phone coverage.Sothats why the blog is late. Sorry to all those who are waiting with bated breath forthe next installment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yachats to Florence 26miles

When I was at the airport in Dublin, I met a lovely couple and we had coffee and Amanda told me, there would be some days during this trip that I would find tough, for no particular reason. It would just happen!
Well Amanda, you were right and today was just one of those days.
I left this morning in good spirits. Said goodbye to my host Victoria and headed off into the Oregan mist. Its something hard to describe. Like going out into one of those dead of winter damp misty mornings in Ireland. Gets into your bones! I kept telling myself the sun will burn it off and it will get warmer. But with the rain jacket on to give me heat and sweating inside it I soon got cold. There were a few climbs where I slowed to a walking pace and it became thoroughly miserable. I resolved I would write off the day and get warm lodging in Florence.
Id say the chardonnay from the night before had some effect on my performance but , hey! This is not the tour de France. I can loose time.. Scenery is still spectacular in the mist and listening to the giant seals through it makes it eery.
I got another of those tunnels where you wait for a lull in the traffic, hit the button and ride like hell. While i was in there, I was passed by two of those monster RV,s and a fully laden logging truck. Have to say it scared the Bejazzes out of me . I was like road runner out of there.....
Tomorrow is another day....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lincoln City to Yachats 14th Sept 2008. 53 miles

Woke up early this morning. Had to make a call to Cork it was Moya's birthday and Emily's Christening. They were all having a celebration . At 6.30 in the morning!!!! I cant believe that. ... Who eats at 6.30 in the morning. You Irish....! Anyway,... American technology being at it is.. its impossible to phone ireland at that time of the morning. You can invade Iraq but you cant call Ireland.
They should invade Ireland and get our telephone system instead of worrying about all that oil.
Well rested and ready for the road.
Its cold , foggy and miserable out there. Get a mile down the road, have to stop to put more gear on. Shortly, the sun comes out and burns off the mist . Its now pleasant and im rockin down the road. This morning the road is really coming up to meet me and the miles fly by. I get to Wal Mart 25 miles down the road and wish to present them with, what looks like a phone, is shaped like a phone but by any stretch of the imagination could not be described as a phone.
Don fixes me up with a credit and a phone that defo works. Calls to cell phones, can you believe that? ( detect the american accent... yawll).
Spin on down to Waldport. Some reason the energy level is up and im cooking. Flying now. Tyres on this bike are blown up hard that when they go over a little stone it can fairly ping them across the road. So as a pasttime on those lonely miles i try to perfect the art. I get BIG points if I ding a passing car. I know I shouldnt...but. Got to get your thrills where you get your thrills.
Bike needs to be serviced. Gears are jumping always at the wrong time. Shimano 105.. any you bike nurds know what i should do. That will wake them up!!
Looking for a place to stop. Yachats looms. It is one of those names that stood out when I was preparing this trip. And now I know why. A beautiful little town with a forrested backdrop nice shops and lovely American bostonian houses. I am directed to cottage accomodation right on the beach.
Im sitting here looking at the Pacific Sunset from my kitchen table. Glass of Rosemount charrdonay in hand a bagel and Philli cheese and .... WOW... it dosnt get much better than this... Talk tomoirrow..

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rest day in Lincoln City 13th Sept.2008

,A well deserved rest day today in Lincoln City. There is nothing much of interest here that i can find. But then I wasnt really looking today. Its a 5 mile long town with nothing too much off it. Hotels, motels and shops. Has a great corresponding beach with a gale blowing North to South which if it keeps up, will blow me all the way to San Francisco.
Thought on this quiet day I would give you some impression of what i have seen.
Vancouver is undoubtedly one of the Great cities of the world. It seems to have a vibrancy about it that you do not get in many places. A busy city, because everything goes through it. There are no ring roads. Its built on what looks like an achipelago. Everywhere you go you got to get a ferry or cross a bridge. Has a beautiful climate similar to our own but a little more of everything, more sun, more rain. You could and should spend weeks here. The outdoor life is where its at here, boating, skiing,cycling,rollerblading. A bit like Australia from that point of view.
When you come into the US you find an immediate change of atmosphere. Gets more rural, more down to earth. You are now in, it appears to me, a working country. Farms factories and the American way. American flags fly everywhere outside private homes. Im not sure what it is saying, I suppose I could ask. But its like the North around the 12th. A people who want to make a statement about who they are and what they stand for. Altho its doesnt seem to be the most christian fundalmentist region that you hear about in certain parts of America. It seems to be however a very christian place. Religeon is deep here. They are very political people too. Nearly everyone you speak to has a strong opinion currently on the McCain/ Obama race for the white house there is little or no ambivolence. They know what they want and why.

But back to cycling. The bike is supreme here and in Canada when compared to home. British Colombia, Washington and Oregan have given a special place to bikes. There are cyclelanes everywhere and shoulders on the highways for cyclists and they are respected by drivers. But stay in them cause if you dont they will let you know you are out of your comfort zone and in theirs.
And a WORD ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING... at home! forget about it. These guys over here are doing it all themselves. And you turning that little red light off your tv at night doesnt mean a thing. The number of RV' s over here is scary. Fuel shortage... there isnt one. These things are as big as a Kavanaghs bus with a 4x4 attached and towed on the back. And there are 100's of them. They pass you every minute on the highway. And if its not that its these monster 4 wheel drive yokes with the big wheels. So for every lightbulb you switch off, these guys turn 10 on. As for the logging trucks.. wow.. i dont know where it all goes. They are hauling timber everywhere.
American breakfasts... forget the breakfast roll. Pancakes and syrup, bagels and cream cheese. What the boy wants the boy gets. Coffee flows like water... you only buy one cup.. they just keep filling it... for free and free internet access... one of the most civilised things in any small cafe. We could learn that at home. Went to a hotel before ileft Ireland to access the internet on my laptop. They wanted 5 euro for and hour... really! come on! Wake up and smell the American coffee!
Anyway back to the road tomorrow. Suitably rested, bum in shape and rearing to go... talk more then

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cape Lookout State Park to Lincoln City 12th Sept 08

And was I wrong about the climb. Hits right from the off. And any of the lads will tell you. You need to stretch those pins before you hit a climb. This was a mother of a climb. 900 feet in less than 2 miles. With no beeakfast. Have to admit I got off once or twice. The young guys passed me but even they were struggling. It was cold, misty and damp. Cresting was a godsend. The descent was fast and bitterly cold. Sand Lake hoping for breakfast but no sand lake or breakfast. It was Pacific City before I hit civilation. Club sandwich 2 gallons of great coffee and internet access. Catch up on the blog. Charge the phone. Civilised America. Out of there with the most beautiful following gale..... the miles fairly spun by. Stopped to take a picture of this place where the sand was taking over the forrest. Front wheel spun and i ended up on my arse on the road. Glad nobody saw me. Looked like a drunk. Then came the second gift of the day. Another 800footer climb in 2 miles. Stayed on this time but pulled the legs of me. Down to 4 mph. could have walked it faster. Fast 4 mile descent into Lincoln City. I think ill have a day off the bike tomorrow. Sorry Piroska, I am in need of some respite. Besides I have the makings of a boil on my bum and with no friends that close to me to have a look. I think I need the rest. A nice Econo Lodge and good shower. Wash out a bit of gear. A great New York steak a bottle of red californian and an early night. You cant tell me camping beats that. .... Talk tomorrow...

Friday, September 12, 2008


sorry about the delay in the blog.Camped last night and no internet. A bit remote out here. Anyway, Nahelem was good. Got fantastic lodgings in a place called Art Happens ruin by Bonnie. Gave me the run of the place. Some great art. Left it too late to go for dinner. The town was sold out of hot food. I kid you not! Got a Pot Noodle and some cheese and went to bed. Headed out on the trip after a massive breakfast. It was a good spin for about 25 mi8les to Tillamook. The place of good cheese. Had a tour around the factory and some samples. Thought I miught stay the night but decide to push on after the cheese. Good energy food. Took the 3 capes scenic route over a series of moderate climbs. My book says i should stop at Neharts for food for the night but i had to back track a mile of so to get there. One small grocery store with practically nothing in it. Got a tin of spagetti and meat balls and a gaterade and a jam tart. Thats it. Met a german guy on the road heading my way and we met later at the camp ground with and young guy from Wyoming. He had already cycled 1500 mi8les and was heading for San Francisco and a girl from Seattle going to San Fran. We all had dinner on the beach. Mosquitos were rampant but i was prepared for them this time. Completely covered myself in clothes and spray. Beautifulsunset overthe Pacific. In the tent by 8.30 and slept onand off till 7.45 am. Great! getting used toi this camping. Heard we hit a Mother of a climb as soon as we leave here tomorrow. Good Night... thinkabout me....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Astoria to Nehalem 10th Sept. 2008

Good morning.. i dont know what it is in your world. This time difference is making me confused. Today the trip is taking me into Oregan and hopefully i will see the Pacific ocean for the first time in all its glory. As I say the time difference is a problem so I head out through Astoria in the wrong direction. After about 4 miles of hill climbing i discover my error. Hate that, climb all those hills , a but the concellation of going down them..Retrace my pedals back and go south ... Another 4 mile bridge ( no a different one). The guys who did the M50 bridge at home dont know diddly about bridges. This is a monster in length. Fast traffic a 18ins shoulder 3/4 full of debris. Get over fast and stop for a subway breakfast. Turkey and ham roll with salad and mustard and mayo plus coffee.. Off again in ernest now. Spinning along nicely eating up the miles on a 20 mile flat stretch. Nothing to recommend it. Then i hit the first climb about 6% 2 miles long. Approaching the top i hear this roaring sea way beneath and nothing can prepare you for your first sight of the Great Pacific Ocean. A continuous roar and white breakers way out to sea. I am in awe of it. Two more steep climbs each about 3 miles but I keep saying it the descents... Half way up this climb there is a tunnel where cyclists have to push a button to activate lights that advise drivers that there is a cyclist in the tunnel. Then you wait for a break in traffic and head off like the devil is after you. And in a way , he is. When you are in, the noise of the cars coming behind you would scare the living daylights out of you. Top of the last climb a fantastic view over Nehalem from about 500 ft high and the sweep down to a lovely quaint village, we would call it and stop for
the night... What a day...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bay Center to Astoria 9th Sept 2008

Wow, i must have been tired yesterday, my english gets better and better. Those mozzies fair made a mess of me yesterday. I was up half the night tearing at my arms and legs with a hundred bites. I look like the elephant manthis morning. Anyway, blagg a cup of coffee from my 'support team' and get ready to head for Astoria and the crossing of the Mighty Colombia river. Its a short enough spin of about 40 miles today mostly flat but with a few hills. Its a cold damp misty morning, not raining just one of those days you hang out you clothes to wet. I need a pampering, my clothes and me, presumably are all smelling of wood smoke.
Its an uneventful trip down but when the Colombia river comes into view ... wow ... awesome. 5/6 miles wide with the Astoria bridge in the misty distance.The group have arranged to meet at the bridge so we can all cross together for safety, with the support wagon behind protecting us from the traffic. A good plan. Its a single carriageway road with a small shoulder. We head off in single file with a welcome following wind and we fare bowl along. 4 miles. But there is a vicious kick up for the last mile followed but a fantastic downhill off this great concrete turnpike which flys you into Astoria. What a ride!!!. Couldnt get better at Disney.
Beautiful picturesque Astoria. If you have seen the Goonies. that was shot there. A motel for the night a nice fish dinner and to bed. Another great day.