Sunday, March 30, 2008

Snow on the Coast?!?

Day 1
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Lincoln City to Salem, Oregon

Last night we went to sleep in Lincoln City, Oregon with dreams of sunny and warm weather. Instead, we awoke to snow...on the Oregon Coast!

An hour later, as we dipped our back wheels in the Pacific (and the forlorn front wheels pining for the Atlantic), the sun was out, the weather was beautiful, and we were on our way. Until...

Twenty minutes later and a few miles down the road, it started pouring and hailing. We donned all the rain gear we had and headed out again.

As we approached Otis (home of the famous Otis Cafe), the snow was coming down hard. We pulled over and took shelter in a small covered area behind the Otis post office.

At this point, we decided to call in our help -- Jim and Elaine Kirby, Alison's parents, graciously offered to be our support on this trip. We reached Elaine on her cell and ten minutes later they arrived. Crazily, however, the sun came out EIGHT minutes after we called. They believed us, though, because they drove through the snow on their way to meet us. Anyone else wandering down the road would have thought us insane if we told them about snow!

We now decided it would be wise to meet up every 15 miles or so just to see how the ride was going. And in fact, it was beautiful all the way to our late lunch stop in Grande Ronde, Oregon. We ate at the Fort Hill restaurant. I was so hungry that I wolfed down my grilled chicken sandwich. We all fueled up and were back on the road by 4:15. At this point we were averaging about 15 mph and if we could keep that pace up we would make it to our motel in Salem before it got dark.

We encountered some hard hills -- although near the end of this week we are hoping that the hills seem easier as we get our bike legs. We got to the top of the Murphy Hill summit, stopped, ate some snacks, took some pictures, and were back on the bikes. On the downhill we reached about 42 mph (Alison and Gus were going even faster on the recumbent)! None of us had ever gone that fast on a bike! It was exhilarating.

The traffic was fairly heavy until we got to the split of Routes 18 and 22 (we took 22 toward Salem).

At about mile 55 we stopped to check in with Jim and Elaine. A gentleman who knew the area gave us directions. As if on cue, the sky turned dark and it started to hail! We quickly got on the bikes and were on our way. We found out, however, that our hotel, was on the far east side of Salem (farther than it looked on the internet map when I checked last night!). Fortunately, however, we made it just as it was getting pretty dark.

The rain gear was essential today. Putting on the booties earlier would have helped keep feet drier. We were all covered with road grime, especially me since my bike doesn't have fenders. It probably would have been a smart move to put those on!

After getting our land-legs again at the hotel, we decided on pizza for dinner. Our room is like a little apartment (at the Residence Inn, Salem), so we decided to eat in. The hotel staff suggested Geppetto's pizza, a local favorite. It was very good, and went very quickly!

There is still a lot of snow at Detroit Lake and Santiam Pass is completely snow covered, so we will have to sag over to Sisters/Redmond tomorrow. I don't think anyone will complain about that!

The kids did GREAT today. Once we were on the bike, they were singing old commercials ("My bologna has a first name..."; Gus, who rode with Alison, sang his
entire school spring choir concert), looking at the flora and fauna (we saw a lot of skunk cabbage blooming, flocks of geese circling over head, what appeared to be a few vultures tracking our progress -- disappointed I'm happy to say!), and keeping a generally positive attitude. It also helped that our hotel had a swimming pool to keep them going.

Both Alison and I were amazingly impressed with how the kids did. I just don't understand why they didn't have cramping legs when we got to the hotel!

Trip Log:

Lincoln City to Salem, Oregon
Time on Bike: 5:35
Average Speed: 11.3 mph
Fastest Speed: 41.53 mph
Total Miles: 63.29

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bikes are Ready to Go!

The RANS tandem (left) and the Burley San Marino (with BOB trailer) are all ready to go. We leave in just one week to ride across Oregon. The real adventure is about to begin!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kid Quote of the Day

I like riding in the country 'cause I can just pee whenever I want.

Keep Moving Forward

This is a note from Alison. It has always been my dream to bicycle cross-country. I thought that I would be doing this trip in retirement. But I have Multiple Sclerosis now, and I don't know how much longer my legs will be able to pedal 4000 miles. This ride is my ascent of Mt. Everest. My goal is to push the limit of what is possible while living with MS. For others, Mt. Everest might be a flight of stairs or finding the courage to tell their boss they have MS.

My message of hope to all who are confronted with this illness is
1. Don't be afraid--nothing is going to happen that you can't handle.
2. Do it now.
3. Keep moving forward*.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rans Tandem Arrives!

The bike has arrived! We went to Portland to pick it up last week. It is a beautiful piece of machinery. Interestingly, RANS (the company that makes the tandem) also makes small personal aircraft.

On the same trip we also purchased a Rocky Mount R4 tandem roof rack to accommodate the extra long length of the tandem.

The bike was in beautiful shape. Sherman and his staff did a great job getting it ready for us. The trip is seeming very real now!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kid Quote of the Day

"Mom, I farted but the bubble is stuck in my bike shorts."

Different Riders -- Different Perspectives

The weather here has really been cooperative...but we may have a rude awakening when we ride across Oregon in a couple of weeks. We all went on another 25 mile ride last weekend. Gus and Sonia split their time between the tandem and Sonia's Trek, while Dan captained the tandem and Alison rode her Rans V-Rex. Other than some wind, we had a great ride.

You really get a different perspective on the personalities of your kids when they are just a few inches behind you mile after mile. Gus likes to crank hard in explosive bursts. Sonia is a steady peddler. Both certainly add to the speed and power of the bike. And both have very different perspectives of the ride. Sonia notices a lot of what is around us as we ride. Gus likes to talk about totally ride-unrelated stories. Both don't seem to mind telling the captain to ride faster or pass the other bike! I need to get a shirt with the phrase "shut up and pedal" on the back so I can just say "read the shirt"!

Fortune Cookie Adventures

On a recent visit to a local Chinese restaurant, Sonia received a very interesting fortune inside her post-meal cookie. It read:

"Next summer you will dance to a different beat."

Dan's read:

"Your life becomes more and more of an adventure."

When I was in college, we would always append "in bed" to the end of every fortune cookie saying. Now, we are going to add "on the bike" to all of our fortunes!


The more we get ready for the trip, the more we realize that organization might be almost as important as training...almost! The key is to have good lists -- and to not lose them! We have a bike list, a bike rack list, a gear list (one for each of us), a packing list, and a list list (to make sure we haven't forgotten any lists!). Hopefully our planning will pay off when we are in the middle of North Dakota and need that one specialized tool for that one specific mechanical event.

Alison's Bike

We pick up Alison's bike, the Rans Screamer, from Coventry Cycle Works in Portland on Sunday, March 9th. Luckily it came in early so Alison and the kids can get some test rides in before our trip across Oregon. We leave on Saturday, March 29th and return to Walla Walla on Sunday, April 6th. That next day of work and school is going to be interesting!