“We travel not to escape life. But for life not to escape us.”
“We’ll you aren’t some big huge hunky girl!” No, not really. At five-foot-two and a hundred-and-ten pounds that is not quite how most people describe me. Apparently though, when my friend’s gramma was picturing me after he explained my trip to her, that is what she came up with. One of the reasons I am so glad to be doing this trip now, as a young (small) solo female, is because I am breaking just about every stereotype for someone biking around the world. I want to show the world that anyone can do it. Plus, I am starting to enjoy the shocked look most people get when I tell them where I am headed.
This part of the ride (through Oregon) was absolutely gorgeous. There were so many wonderful beaches and viewpoints along the way, and though the road was windy and hilly, it had a great shoulder to ride on for the most part. In northern Oregon it was always cloudy and foggy in the morning (which is great for biking since it is cooler and makes for dramatic beach scenery) then by noon it would clear and give way to a blue sky. In southern Oregon, though the mornings were clear, they were also very cold. A large part of this section was on 101, but there were a handful of 10-20 mile sections that were signed for “Oregon Coast Bike Route” and would take you a more scenic route. These routes sometimes followed the old highway and sometimes followed smaller farm roads. Either way it was nice since it was much less busy and also kept us bikers close to the coast when the highway veered away. I have now upped my milage, and have been doing 100km-130km a day.
Between making meals that take over an hour (my stove can be a pain), setting up and breaking down camp, getting some well earned sleep, and biking most of the day, there really has not been any time for relaxing. In fact, I have concluded that bike touring is an extremely busy lifestyle! Though I would love a little more time to read and go for runs of the beach, it is better to be too busy than bored. The reason I am having to ride long hours everyday is because I have to catch my flight in San Diego. Thankfully this is the only deadline I need to meet in the next three years, so for the rest of my trip I can take a more relaxed pace.
In the last week I have hung out with a group of retires and weekend house owners in their small community on the coast, I have tried out the hiker/biker camp site, camped with my parents (who visited for two nights), I have slept in the bushes at the side of a road, and I have been taken in by a wonderful couple after meeting the guy on the side of the road (whose wife lovingly referred to me as “the hobo”). I have also met my first world touring bike couple (they are just finishing up a year in Asia and Europe). It was great talking to them, because instead of the typical “that is too dangerous you should not be traveling through those countries” (almost always said by those who have never even left the U.S.), I got a “you are going to have a wonderful time, enjoy, and take it all in.”
I am currently taking a rest day in California, and then I will be off again tomorrow to explore the redwoods!