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…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 9/Portland to Salem

June 18th, 2010 by

Too soon, it was time to leave home again and head south to Salem. Nick and I woke early to get a jump on the day. We had a pre-screening meet and greet to attend and needed to get to Salem by 5pm. Having ridden the route once already (on a coastal journey to test our equipment before the tour), we knew what to expect.

It was an easy journey out of NE Portland, taking Prescott up to the I-205 bike/pedestrian only path which takes you all the way to Oregon City. There was one humiliating moment on a hill climb where we were passed by a guy on a skateboard. Being pulled by a dog. While smoking a cigarette (the guy, not the dog). We passed him again on the downhill but it should give you an idea of the kind of loads we are carrying on our bikes. Touring isn’t fast-paced by any stretch of the imagination.

Leaving Portland, most of the small cities registered more as smells than anything else. Clackamas smells like the state fair. Gladstone smells like cigars. And Oregon City smells like covered wagons.

Mary spends most of the day trying to irritate Nick. Successfully so.

Upon reaching Oregon City, we took the long hill up to the top where we were treated to stunning views of the valley. That was when we realized we could’ve used the historic elevator instead (room for bikes!). The elevator is worth a visit if you are in Oregon City. It has an attendant who sits inside at a little desk, for what I’m not sure, as the elevator is free to ride and when you get to the top, the round, windowed tower has holographic images all the way around showing historic photos of Oregon City. As you walk past, the images change to modern ones, showing you what is different now. It was neat to see that much of the original historic buildings are still used today. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 8/Portland and Hollywood screening

June 17th, 2010 by

Waking up in Portland was great. I snuggled my kitten for as long as I could before I had to start my chores. My hair was driving me crazy, my helmet pulled on it all day long on the road, so I went and begged the hairdresser to shave it off. He gladly accommodated and I felt Cut Loose (pun-ny?). After that, Nick and I had to get last minute camping supplies and do a little blogging before we headed down to the Hollywood Theater.

We were scheduled to lead a Pedalpalooza ride at 5:30 and having spent the last week riding from Canada, we had not had any time to prepare a route. Lucky for us, the folks that met us were easygoing and full of helpful suggestions. We rode in a group down NE Tillamook to NE 28th where we cut over to Laurelhurst Park then headed back to the theater.


It was nice to chat with folks who had a variety of film and bicycle backgrounds and find out what had brought them out to ride with us. Afterwards, we headed back to the Hollywood area to meet people for a cocktail at the Moon and Sixpence before the screening. Our new Pedalpalooza friends came with us and we were surprised to find out that they didn’t know about the film or the tour and had only come on the ride based on the Pedalpalooza calendar. Once we explained what we were doing, they had a lot of questions and we had such a great time chatting that we almost forgot about the screening, which they were then excited to join us for. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 7/Seattle to Olympia

June 16th, 2010 by

Our intrepid travelers leave Seattle. I spy a small white dog?

Along Lake Washington


Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 6/Arlington to Seattle

June 14th, 2010 by


Why did we think this was a good time to start our leg to Seattle? The prospect of arriving early and wasting the rest of the day in the city seemed reason enough. Or maybe we were just worried about making our screening (at 7pm) in time? Whatever the reason, there was no fooling our late bird bodies as we made our way along the centennial trail south towards Snohomish. We crashed early on and had to take a break. Me? I laid on the ground and starting taking photos of the sky to keep my spirits up.

We hit a coffee stand to try and jump start our leg and were served by a woman wearing just a bra. I’ve seen countless stands like this traversing the back highways of Washington by bike so far; apparently trying to cash in on the success of the ‘bikini coffee’ trend that started in Seattle. What gives? Can’t baristas get tips for just pulling a good shot? I’m telling you Washington, I am parading my nearly naked butt though your fair state for free. For FREE! Take advantage of it. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Days 4+5/Bellingham and Arlington

June 13th, 2010 by

Day 4 found us in Paradise, also known as our friend Bridget’s apartment in Bellingham. I have never been so pampered and coddled in my life. It was a surprisingly comfortable cross between a day spa and my mother’s womb. And just the restorative moment we needed after our miserable border experience of the day before. 80 degrees out and gorgeous out, so we headed down to Bellingham Farmer’s Market for some eats.


Antler Apartments

Antler Apartments, 2

The market was unbelievable. Food porn everywhere you looked, children with stellar fashion sense (anyone know how I can ask parents to take pics without sounding like a creeper? “Hey. Can I take a picture of your child for my blog?” just sounds off.) and a whole new perspective on hippie chic. We saw an 11-year old street magician busking like a pro to a crowd of slack-jawed toddlers. We bumped into the, apparently, thousands of members of Bridget’s Bellingham Fan Club. We ate and ate and ate. We laughed and talked gibberish and made a lot of fart noises and generally acted a fool. A good time was had by all. (more…)

Field Guide Bike Tour-Day 3/Vancouver to Bellingham

June 11th, 2010 by

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; ready to ride

Today was the first day of actual riding: from Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C. to Bellingham, WA. Around 65 miles. We took Ontario street to Kent, working our way across Queensborough and Annacis Island. After that we pretty much took King George Highway, through Surrey, all the way to the border.

Crossing Alex Fraser bridge; headed for Surrey

Snack Time!

The route was mostly perfect, except for a stretch of “trail” we took after crossing the Alex Fraser bridge. On the map it looked bikeable, but boy oh boy were we mistaken. The trail quickly turned into a swampy, gravely, muddy mess. Our road tires and 60+ pounds of gear were not an ideal match for it. At one point, I lost control of my back wheel in a patch of mud, was unable to unclip in time, and went down into a swampy soup. ‘What a humbling way to start the tour,’ I thought, ‘like a scene out of “Smokey and the Bandit.”‘ I now had a nasty case of swamp foot and I hadn’t even ridden 20 miles yet. Upon leaving the nature-trail-park-wannabe, I decided to pay my respects: (more…)