There are thousands of miles of cycling routes crisscrossing the United States. They have been vetted and tested by hundreds of distance cyclists and published in detail by the Adventure Cycling Association. When I feel my wanderlust take over, I click on the map of their route overview (below) to investigate the possibilities. I find myself running my finger along proposed routes on the screen, referencing Google Maps, checking up on parks along the way, and imagining whether or not my body can live up to the challenge.
Lately, however, I’ve been scrutinizing the routes with an eye on my very real upcoming challenge. Maybe by now, you’ve clicked on the photo above, and started to look over the routes as well. Perhaps, your eyes are getting a bit wide and your mouth is hanging slightly open. Don’t worry about it. I have seen that face before. I would like to assure you that I am fully confident in my ability to bike unreasonable distances under unreasonable conditions.
I am not, however, confident that I will not complain or need help.
And no, I haven’t necessarily been training. I ride my bike every day, and I do not have room to make excuses as to why I can’t bike. If I want to get there, I need to bike there. This is a regular reality for me.
Also, to add to my bike touring resume, my family’s annual vacation is RAGBRAI ,where we bike together across the state of Iowa. I don’t train for that either…
Riding My Bike from Portland, OR to Arcata, CA : As I Understand It
Saturday, May 19th: Portland, OR – Lincoln City, OR (100 miles)
I have signed up, once again, to the participate in Reach the Beach, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association. This is means that I will need to raise an additional $125 over the registration fee. Please, please please, if you are able, donate to my campaign for Reach the Beach and help me kick off my adventure! and save lungs and such…
Monday, May 21st: Lincoln City – Beachside State Park, Waldport, OR (43.9 miles)
I’ve been using the Oregon Coast Bike Route to choose the places that I think it would be best for me to stop. I’m kinda into showers, and to be honest, that’s why I choose the places that I do. I like showers. I can’t help it. When I was in Guatemala, there was a point where I waited two weeks to shower, because I couldn’t find one that was heated. I can do without a lot of things, but a warm shower is not one of them.
This particular leg of the route passes through Newport, OR which would be a great spot to have lunch with me if you are so inclined. No pressure.
Wednesday, May 23rd: Waldport, OR – William M. Tugman State Park, Lakeside, OR (61.3 miles)
OK, just to be clear, all of these stops and dates are general approximations. Who knows if I will want to make it all the way to this park or if I will just blow right by it? However, this particular place was described as a “hidden gem” with showers, electricity & hiker/bike sites. It is also located neat Eel lake which is good for swimming canoeing & fishing. Sounds good to me.
Friday, May 25th: Lakeside, OR – Sunset Bay State, Park, Coos Bay,OR (27.0 miles)
I can’t imagine myself not spending time in the North Bend/Coos Bay area. Considering my affection for small towns and ocean air, I wouldn’t want to just speed by these places. Sunset Bay State Park, is the Southern most park in the area, and it just sounds like it would be the prettiest. Again there are yurts, electricity and showers for sweaty ol’ me. Please come visit.
Sunday, May 27th: Coos Bay, OR – Humbug Mountain State Park, Curry, OR (58.0 miles)
Humbug Mountain State Park gives me the opportunity to try and climb a mountain! It is often recommended for long distance bikers to go on hikes to counter all the work the biking muscles are dong. Please make sure I remember this. By this time on the journey, the descriptions of parks are more likely to include references to wind surfing & scuba diving than clamming & fishing. California, here I come!
Tuesday, May 29th: Curry, OR – Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, OR (49.3 miles)
A National Wildlife Sanctuary! Goat Island! Sea lions! Yes, please! Harris Beach State Park is the last stop on the Oregon Cycling Route with hot showers so, of course, I will need to stop or just push my way to Crescent City, CA, which is definitely a possibility. It all depends on my friends in Oregon and how much they miss me. Wink. Wink.
Wednesday, May 30th: Brookings, OR – Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Del Norte, CA (36.9 miles)
Once we cross the border into California, it gets bit harder to find the best routes and stops for bikes without purchasing a book or some maps from the Adventure Cycling Association (which I will most likely do). However, the Northern Edge of the Redwoods National Park is withing my reach!
**At this point, I hope to visit & camp with some friends in ASHLAND, OR and/or the NORTHERN REDWOODS NATIONAL PARK**
Monday, June 11th: Del Norte, CA – Arcata, CA (68.1 miles)
While I’m not exactly sure where would be the best place for me to stay in this area, I’m excited to visit this part of Northern California. In my eight years (give or take) living in Oregon, I have still never been to Northern California. This puts me smack dab in the middle of the infamous Redwoods National Park! If anyone has been there, I would be interested in hearing a bit more about biking & camping & eating in the area.
**VOLUNTEER PROJECT (approx. 6/11-6/24): I have e-mailed the volunteer coordinator for the Redwoods National and State Parks. I hope to spend about two weeks there volunteering, writing and exploring. I am still waiting to hear back to from her to see if they will take me. Oh man, I sure hope so!
COUNTDOWN: 34 days!
So You Wanna…
… Donate to my Reach the Beach Campagin? (Please. Please. Please.)
… Visit me along the way? Just e-mail me or comment below or talk to me. NBD.
… Volunteer in California’s National Parks?