Field Guide Bike Tour-Days 23-25/Bay Area

July 4th, 2010 by

Three days off from biking! Mary and I spent our time in the Bay Area relaxing and catching up with friends. Thanks to Artist’s Television Access for hosting our screening (awesome space and great people; they have been exhibiting in the same space for over 25 years!) and our host Allie in the east bay for putting us up and helping me try to kill an awful cold I snatched on my way into town.

Alamo Square

Where did Mary go?


Field Guide Bike Tour-Days 19-22/Mendocino County to San Francisco

July 1st, 2010 by

Highway 1 in Humboldt County


‘BLESSED be Allah the all-powerful!’ says Hamet Benengeli on beginning this nineteenth chapter; ‘blessed be Allah !’ he repeats three times; and he says he utters these thanksgivings at seeing that he has now got Nick and Mary fairly afield, and that the readers of his delightful history may reckon that the achievements and humours of the two are now about to begin; and he urges them to forget the former chivalries of the ingenious pair and to fix their eyes on — the MASSIVE HILL THEY ARE ABOUT TO ASCEND.’

Okay, the hill isn’t really that bad. Since we’ve already climbed the first 800 or so feet, the remaining 1200 is actually somewhat pleasant as it is on a winding road (forcing motorists to slow) shaded by trees. Yes it’s relentless, but the descent is FUN. First though we ate breakfast at this awesome market after heading out of camp at Standish-Hickey State Rec Area:

Places likes this are a rarity in some of the smaller towns along the coastal highway(s). It was an odd agglomeration of health/junk food, Spencer’s Gifts and community center (some sort of acoustic performance was setting up next door). The variety was very welcome… (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Days 17+18/Humboldt Redwoods

June 27th, 2010 by

The immortal redwoods of Humboldt County, CA! Your majestic beauty and hushed surroundings are only outdone by your seemingly limitless height. Your splendor and awe-inspiring groves is a long anticipated stop on our tour and today we would finally get to partake in your grandeur. But first, LAUNDRY DAY!!

After leaving Eureka, we stopped in the small town of Fortuna, about 15 miles south on 101, to get what would likely be our last chance to use a washing machine. This stretch on 101, till the famous Avenue of the Giants, is mostly flat highway which made for fast riding but little scenery.

This mile marker on 101 marks the halfway point between Vancouver, BC, Canada and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

We found a place to dunk our skunk-wear once in town:


Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 16/Elk Prairie to Eureka and Accident Gallery screening

June 25th, 2010 by

Elk Prairie campground was wet. Wet, wet, wet. A fizzy drizzle fell all night long and straight through the morning. All of our items were soaking and we had not been able to eat since yesterday so we were quiet and moody as the day began. In the same vein as Humbug Mountain Campground, Elk Prairie was named quite literally. The campground faces a large, grassy prairie which is home to a few herds of grazing elk. The morning mist covers the tall grasses and through it you can see bulky shapes and graceful mantles of antlers moving slowly. Elk Prairie was also one of the first points in our tour where we started to meet other bikers who were also headed to San Francisco. Everyone was still fresh in their tours and eager to talk to each other about the conditions and upcoming points of interest. Nick and I felt like old, road-weathered souls but were happy to meet new friends. Starvation forced us out of the campgrounds soon enough and we headed out to Orick to try and find breakfast.

Classic diner breakfast in Orick

In Orick, we were treated to a wonderful old-fashioned diner counter with good, greasy breakfast food. The waitress took particular note of our dejected, tired attitudes and after we had finished eating announced that breakfast was on the house.


Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 15/Harris Beach to Elk Prairie (Orick, CA)

June 24th, 2010 by

Don’t worry Oregon, we will!

At least we keep getting offers to Karaoke, even across state lines.

As we rode through quiet country roads around some of the busier parts of 101 — Oh, by the way, if you are using the ubiquitous cycling the west coast book, ignore the author’s advice to take Ocean View Drive, but not Lake Earl Drive. She seems to think out of the way hilly terrain is preferable to a wide shouldered highway for some reason. Has she even ridden a fully loaded bike before? Where was I? Oh yes, as we made our way through quiet and flat farm land, there was but one thing on our mind: two major climbs we had to tackle today. The first, around 1200 feet, was just south of Crescent City, the other, a 900 footer, was right before our camp site at Elk Prairie. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 14/Humbug Mountain to Harris Beach

June 23rd, 2010 by

Humbug Mountain campsite

Humbug Mountain campsite

The morning sunshine glinted through the ferns alongside the streams of Humbug Mountain and did nothing to ease my early morning grump. Nick woke up singing and whistling and generally creeping me out. He seemed excited to be camping and thrilled to be making cowboy coffee in this damp and bug-filled dawn. Turns out, Humbug Mountain is aptly named. There were swarms of the blighters everywhere and we were eager to get going to escape them. A hearty oatmeal breakfast and away we went.

Captain Cheerful eats his oatmeal

The day started out with a 600 or so foot climb, which I was entirely too sleepy for. I realized I had better get adjusted to sleeping on the ground as soon as possible if I was going to make our required daily mileage. Climbing up the mountain, we ended up in the midst of a prehistoric dinosaur stampede. I was afraid at first but Nick broke out his raptor claws, did a bit of a fey dance, let out a few screeching calls and we were in with pack. They gave us their blessing and we finished our mountain climb in relative ease. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 13/Coos Bay to Humbug Mountain

June 22nd, 2010 by

Showered, laundered, coffeed and well rested, yesterdays run in with a car almost seems like it happened days ago. Last nite I did a look over my front wheel and rack and, surprisingly, everything looks okay. Deep scratches on my bar end shifter and some loss of handlebar tape are the only telling signs of the crash. Maybe today would be a good day to finally buy that Powerball ticket?

My left arm is pretty sore. Okay, it’s really sore, but we decide we can keep moving despite it (thanks Advil!) and start the day with the traditional lathering in sun screen.

Back on 101, we get no further than 10 miles before I see an odd man ahead beside a parked car. He is making his way towards us; at first I think it’s one of the few motorists we occasional encounter who feels their horn is not enough of a venting of dissatisfaction at being slowed down for 2 seconds. Imagine my surprise when I see my friend Thomas and, his wife Britt emerging from the car! It turns out the two of them, their daughter Lois and a friend are on their own west coast tour and were staying in Coos Bay last nite. Thomas, either you got some sharp peepers or have been in the habit of harassing several biking groups along the highway for a few weeks and finally struck gold. Either way, it was such an amazing and pleasant surprise to run into close friends so far away from home, that it required a staged photo to back up the story: (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 12/Florence to Coos Bay

June 21st, 2010 by

WET. JM Honeyman just south of Florence is very wet. Some steady rain drenched our tents over nite, but luckily turned into a mild mist as we packed the next morning. After downing a power breakfast consisting of some bananas and a bit of coffee, we left the park continuing south on HWY 101.

As we climbed up into the Siuslaw Forrest just south of Dunes City, we left the all too familiar and grating sounds of gas guzzling four-wheelers for more hushed soundscapes:

Passing through the small town of Reedsport, we decided to test the pedigree of the Main Street Diner’s pies. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 11/Eugene to Florence

June 20th, 2010 by

While Nick loads up, Mary goes into the hardware store and makes friends. (baby bunny for my birthday, PLZZZ?!)

My perfect army



Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 10/Salem to Eugene

June 19th, 2010 by

Today marked the last stretch of our tour inland as tomorrow we’d make our way west to Florence and continue along the coast all the way south to San Diego. It was also a fairly rushed day as we had to span 70 miles in time to make our 8pm screening in Eugene. Sorry Glorious Gilded Oregon Pioneer statue, only time for a quick snapshot as we hurry our way south!

Oregon State Capitol Building

No doubt you are too busy overseeing our industrious lawmakers to notice a couple of rag-tag bikers pass through your city. Either way, we felt your eyes watching us and avoided stealing any roses from your well governed garden.

Since we were short on time, and less interested in a ‘scenic route,’ we choose the most streamlined roads we could and headed due south. The day started with some climbs through Sunnyside road which led out into the quiet farmlands off 99E and Powerline road:

We saw plenty of vacant houses (many available for rent; for those looking for a challenging commute in Portland…) and took advantage of the shady porches on our little breaks: (more…)