From Cedar City to Denver, aka Up

Isaiah recovers from his bone marrow transplant, thanks to a donor in Germany.

Isaiah recovers from his bone marrow transplant at Colorado Children’s Hospital, many thanks to a donor in Germany!

This section of my trip started with lots of climbing, and that was pretty much the theme for the next two weeks or so.

Wednesday June 10th found me in Cedar City, visiting my Cousin Kathy and her two sons. I got going pretty late as I took the opportunity to clean out and reorganize my panniers in an attempt to get a fresh start. I also really enjoyed chatting with my cousins and continuously helping myself to just one more slice of coffee cake.

Eventually I left and started my adventure on the Western Express Route. This route has a rather foreboding description on the Adventure Cycling website:

The Western Express Bicycle Route… challenges the rider with extreme weather and riding conditions, as well as logistical obstacles. One’s efforts are rewarded, however, by experiencing some of the least visited and most magnificent areas of the American West…

East of Cedar City, Utah, the route passes through some of the nation’s most isolated communities and several of its most spectacular scenic wonders. Take some time to explore Cedar Breaks, Escalante, and Natural Bridges National Monuments; Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks; and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. To even the most experienced of travelers, these natural sculptures, spires, buttes, and canyons are no less than humbling. The Utah portion of the route could be a worthy destination in itself.

I’d already taken my tours through Zion and Bryce Canyon, so I wasn’t expecting to encounter anything that could really compare. Oh, I was so unprepared. Continue reading

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From Eureka to Portland, aka You’re Going the Wrong Way

He learnt to communicate with birds and discovered that their conversation was fantastically boring. It was all to do with wind speed, wing spans, power-to-weight ratios and a fair bit about berries. Unfortunately, he discovered, once you have learnt birdspeak you quickly come to realize that the air is full of it the whole time, just inane bird chatter. There is no getting away from it.  – Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

At the risk of having you all experience what Arthur Dent went through when he learnt birdspeak, I’m going to talk a lot about what it’s like to pedal north, or as I like to call it, The Wrong Way, along the Pacific coast. You’ve been warned.

So last I left off, I was sitting in Eureka, trying to get people registered as potential new bone marrow donors. The people at Cal Courts were amazingly friendly, and we got over a dozen people to register! I tried to get a wod in, but people kept wanting to swab, so I very happily did that instead. The next morning, Tuesday April 28th, I dropped in on Humboldt CrossFit and got a few more people after they completed their wod. I was sad to leave Eureka, but it was time to ship the swab kits back to San Francisco and get back on the bike.

As I was leaving my Motel 6, a lady in the parking lot told me to take lots of pictures. I was heading for some incredibly picturesque places! I was a little behind schedule, and I wondered if I would be able to visit Patrick’s Point as originally planned. But I figured that I would regret it if I didn’t spend time there, so I made camp early at Patrick’s Point and took myself for a nice hike. And I’m so very glad I did. If you’ve never been to Patrick’s Point and are able to, you must go.

A panoramic shot of some of the beauty found at Patrick's Point.

A panoramic shot of some of the beauty found at Patrick’s Point.

There are all kinds of interesting rock formations, sea stacks, secret little beaches, and incredibly varied and super dense forest. The trails are clearly marked, but also rugged enough to give you the feeling that you’re off on a wilderness adventure. I took a small bottle of wine with me and found a little outcrop to sit and reflect. Continue reading

Coastal Trip Day 5: San Simeon to Pismo Beach

On the morning of Day 5, we woke up in San Simeon thinking about breakfast. Real, hot breakfast, with eggs and toast and hashbrowns and bacon and pancakes. However, there weren’t any great breakfast options in our immediate vicinity, so we did what we always do: we got on our bikes.

Let's go find breakfast!

Let’s go find breakfast!

About six foggy miles later we were in the cute, sleepy town of Cambria. We wandered down Main Street until we found the local breakfast joint, where we burst in on the quiet scene with our neon windbreakers and sniffly noses to bask in the warmth of steaming mugs of coffee. Continue reading

Coastal Trip Day 2: Santa Cruz to Seaside

It's Day 2 and we're reunited with Sue!

It’s Day 2 and we’re reunited with Sue!

Having successfully ridden our bikes to Santa Cruz on Saturday, on Sunday we were meeting up with Sue and Erik. Cortney and I staggered out of bed a little later than planned and had more trouble than you would think two well-educated adults would have in finding our inn’s breakfast room. Anyway, we settled down to the typical fare inns and motels offer, and though we thought we were quick with our coffee and hard boiled eggs, we promptly made ourselves late for our planned meet-up time with Sue and Erik.

I spent about a year living in Santa Cruz when I was getting my masters in education, so I vaguely knew how to get to Harbor Cafe. But I didn’t remember the roads well enough to recall the train tracks that go by the Boardwalk. As I tried to read the multitude of signs that wanted to tell me where bikes are and aren’t allowed, I locked my tires right into those tracks and went tumbling. Before I knew what happened, I was picking myself up off the ground and listening to a bystander’s comment, “It’s all part of the experience.” Indeed. Continue reading