Everything we daily do has to do with perception.
The definition of perception:
“The way, in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted”
My perception of the west coast of the USA was; “I am climbing all day”.
This wasn’t the case of course, but this is how it worked (for me):
The west coast of the USA is covered with hills and low mountains.
When you are a car driver you hardly notice this; fairly flat with a hill now and then.
A racing bike has to work hard on his way up.
I met these groups regularly in weekends and sometimes in the evenings.
As a long distance cyclist there is a lot of work climbing every (short) hill.
I carry a lot of weight with me; camping gear, cooking gear, tools to make repairs and different kind of clothing, warm weather and colder weather.
All things you have to be prepared for, you carry with you
With a hill I can work myself up in an hour going between 3,4 and 5 miles per hour.
Going down can be done fast like in, say, about 10 minutes with maximum speeds up to 50 miles per hour.
This only when the road is safe; good surface and good visibility!
That is why I think I am climbing all day, my perception of the West Coast!
I started my trip again, after almost a week of rest in Bellingham, in Seaside Oregon.
Namara, the son of Alex and Mieszko, a long distance walker (just finished the Pacific Crest Trail in 4 months), did bring me to Seaside by car.
Like I told you before in my blog, I did want to win time by this car drive.
This stretch I already cycled in 2008.
Finding a campsite in Seaside was hard; most campsites only did allowed the big to very big RV’s to “camp” there.
Only at the last campsite (of course) I was able to camp ($25!!) for a place next to a small river.
This river was flowing to the sea when it was low tide and fill up again when high tide was coming in from the sea.
The river was also used to fish crabs while I was there.
After this expensive campsite I started cycling next morning.
I had to get used to climbing again, but the surroundings were beautiful.
Heavily wooded and several streams through that.
The shoulder was sometimes very narrow but sometimes good and wide even with a rumble strip!
The State Parks in Oregon are amazingly good for bikers and hikers!
They only charge $5 for a good spot with picnic bench a bear container if needed and the shower is included!
They are also always very kind to us, bicyclists!
When there is a sign “full” this does never apply to bikers and hikers. There is always room for them!
The places where we, bicyclists were pitching our tent were incredibly beautiful! Shaded, big trees around and most of the time not too far from the toilets and showers!
As soon as we rode into California we experienced several differences. The roads were in worse condition.
The shoulders were smaller or no shoulders at all!
There were more potholes and the trash on and next to the roads was more abundant.
Also there were more road kills along the roads.
Where Oregon had better roads and cleaner roadsides, California didn’t.
The chance of having a flat due to the shredded car tires was much higher.
The car and truck tires are having steel wires to bind them.
When they have a flat and the tire is completely torn apart.
These little steel wires are the cause of a lot of flat tires with bicyclists!
So far I didn’t have any flat tire!
The State Parks in California are a little more rundown also. They are also $5 -$7 and you’ll have to pay for the showers.
At first the showers were 50 cents for 5 minutes, later that was $1,50 for 5 minutes!
The last state park in California we had no shower at all!
It was due to water shortage in that area, they used this excuse.
You know what a cyclist needs two things when he arrives at the campsite (State Park):
- a meal (he can take care of himself)
- but also the shower makes you human again!
As usual I met other long distance cyclists regularly, they were cycling the south most of the time. The majority of the cyclists do cycle south due to the prevailing winds, which is north.
Whenever the wind is turned into a headwind the perception of that day is totally different!
A German couple,
I lost their name but they were cycling from Seattle to San Francisco. He carried most of the luggage, because she was a few months pregnant, very appropriate!
Today Spencer told me that he proposed her after reaching the Golden Gate Bridge, how romantic!
Reint Boer Iwema,
A Dutch guy, who flew by two times and at the second time we talked and found out we were both Dutch!
Of course we started talking in English!
He was in the category “credit card” cyclists.
This “group” travels very very light and buys something when he needed anything.
In Portland he bought a new Trek bicycle and some gear and started cycling.
He made some beautiful steep trips and also hiked several mountains.
An inspirational way of traveling, maybe I can do something with that in the future?
A Canadian Cyclist (his parents are from Polish decent) I cycled longer with.
I mean by that we came to the same campground at the end of the day.
He is also going to Panama and maybe Columbia.
We decided to cycle the Baha California together from San Diego!
This was a French retired teacher who was very funny. He also cycled along the west coast and did things differently too.
He was funny to listen to and he did eat in a different way. He did eat more bread and hardly had any cooking ware.
I did meet him several times in Californië. Where he went and where to I couldn’t understand completely.
His English wasn’t very good, but my French is much worse!
Gianni was an Italian cyclist who was a purser on one of the Japanese airlines.
He also cycled along the west coast in a remarkable way!
He used the Brompton folding bicycle as bicycle.
He also traveled very lightweight! Inspiring because I do have a Brompton myself!
A very pleasant man to cycle with and talk to in the evening!
Two young Canadian cyclists,
They cycled fast and frequent they passed me. They were young inexperienced cyclists.
They had a lot of bad luck with the bicycles that caused them to stop at bicycle shops frequently.
Maxime, was one of them, he does want to cycle with Spencer and me through the Baja California.
If that happens is not certain because I didn’t have any contact with him lately.
James is a pediatric doctor, who worked in Seattle in a university hospital.
He ended this holiday in San Francisco.
A very pleasant man I met along the route just before San Francisco.
The next day I lost him in the very busy suburbs of San Francisco.
Also because there were a lot of weekend cyclists on the road!
Marcello was a Brazilian cook who did cycle until San Francisco and of course cooked very extensive at the campsite.
He also did inspire me in several ways.
Together with James he did cycle towards San Francisco, where I lost both of them.
The West coast road,
One of the highlights of the trip was the road itself.
From Seaside (Oregon) all the way until San Francisco (Californië) is the road I did cycle.
Really Wonderful roads along the sea and hills / mountains were very impressive!
The views of the rocks and high waves were huge and beautiful.
Together with several views of whales and sea lions, it was amazing!
These huge trees with the meandering beautifully build roads were enchanting.
I regularly made pictures and film clips, in reality the scenery was much more impressive.
Regularly I did think back of the movie “Avatar” with the breathtaking sceneries with enormous trees and plants!
The trees of these woods are used in one of the movies of Star Wars where flying vehicles flew close across these big trees.
These big trees are not in one big forest but next to several big patches there are Redwoods scattered in smaller forests, often in State Parks.
Maybe these trees / forests were the, so far, most impressive part of my trip!
The flora and fauna,
The trees are already mentioned, but also the abundance of the flowers along the road and in the forests was amazing.
Wild fuchsias blooming were great to see and made me very happy!
The turkey vultures who circled high in the skies on the thermal current made me think back in 2008 when I did see these impressive birds for the first time.
The whales that I did see several times from the coast in the distance, to far to make good pictures.
Also the sea lions I did hear when I rested climbing a very hard stretch along the coast.
A lot of other birds did give me a very good feeling of that day.
The pelicans I did see in Oregon and the bay in San Francisco were impressive and beautiful.
The smallest birds, the hummingbirds were too fast to make a good picture. In the Netherlands we don’t have that specie!
Kingfishers I didn’t see the last time I was in the USA, but I did see two of them this time so far.
I do have a bird book in my I phone but I don’t have my binoculars anymore so I don’t know exactly what kind of birds I sometimes do see.
The Golden Gate Bridge,
This was a true milestone and impressed me very much. Several pictures I did made and went on cycling.
Later that week I did drive over the other three bridges of the San Francisco Bay erea.
One of those bridges was just like the Golden Gate Bridge but at least three times as long.
All is so very impressive!
As I have told you before, I am inspired by the ideas of other cyclists and people.
Also, my journey and / or my stories did inspire other people.
We have inspired each other, which is great!
One moment on the trip I told someone that a lot of things in life are choices.
This implies that of something is going wrong or you’re unhappy with a situation in life you’ll have to change that!
You won’t be happy if you stay in the negative situation, do something about it and make another choice!
When I did say that someone who was hearing this became emotional, but wouldn’t discuses it.
Later she said that she just needed this story from me!
Other people are just impressed by my story; some of them admit that the story made them thinking of their future.
I am not only talking of cycling!
But if you love to do something and always wanted to do, don’t postpone it until you are retired!
Also I am not telling that people will be happier when they bicycle for 6 months or more!
A lot of people don’t think they are able to do this.
But I still say; what age you are or in whatever condition: everybody can do this.
Maybe in another pace, speed or way!
The only thing you need is a very strong motivation!
My stay her in San Francisco,
My very good friend Alex (I mentioned him several times before), his parents are living here near San Francisco in a place called “Los Altos”
The stay here is very relaxed and incredibly hospitable!
The parents are living in a wonderful neighborhood, nice and very secluded!
In the neighborhood there is even a hot tub and two swimming pools!
The parents are spoiling me!
When I came from my camping spot on Mount San Bruno State Park my plan was to cycle to the house of the parents of Alex.
When I did entre South San Francisco I was very confused by all the highways and freeways blocking my way.
I decided to stop cycling there and use the Cal Train for my transport towards Los Altos.
It is one of the many train and bus systems here in the bay area.
I could push my bicycle directly inside the train, without charge and without a problem!
In Palo Alto I cycled towards Los Altos with a little climb of about 240 feet.
The parents are both above 85 and very up to date and still drive their car themselves.
They both are reading their newspapers and have had a lot of interesting life “experiences”.
I could borrow their car, so I could bring my bicycle to Albany on the other side of the bay!
One of the highlights was, that when I arrived on Sunday afternoon, they arranged a test ride in a Tesla.
A fully electric car with a vast range of about 250-300 miles!
When you know me it is rather special when I make advertisement of a car but this car is really special, a game changer I think!
The only bicycle shop that is able and allowed to do maintenance on my Rohloff hub is “Cycle Monkeys” in Albany. This on the entire West coast!
I had some issues with the hub and had to have it looked at there.
After 3100 miles of sometimes very rough roads and lots of potholes the bicycle needs a full clean- and Checkup!
The main reason visiting “Cycle Monkeys” was that I did hear strange noises when I was climbing steep hills in the lower gears of the Rohloff hub.
Next to that several parts needed to be adjusted and renewed.
The “Cycle Monkeys” were amazing; they gave me the feeling that they really knew where they were talking about!
This did give me a lot of the trust!
When two men were adjusting the hydraulic brakes, the specialist of the Rohloff hub was just disassembling one Rohloff hub, inspecting, cleaning and reassemble it again with great accuracy and patience!
Yesterday September 18th I came in the shop for a test ride, to diagnose the noises, by the end of that day they had finished my bicycle, Great!
It turned out to be a chain ring and thread it was on, was worn out and was replaced.
Also the half worn chain did improve the sounds it produced!
The bicycle now rides like the wind and is very quiet again, I am so very happy!
I have a lot of confidence the ride and will succeed with this bicycle again!
COOP, (Cycling Out Of Poverty)
I had a banner of that charity I am supporting with me all the time and two weeks ago I did hang it on my bike, there were a lot of questions asked about it.
I also did receive several gifts after I told about the charity.
Ron and a cycling couple both gave me $5.
I will take care that this $10 will be raised to €10 and given to the COOP under the name “Gifts USA”
The distances so far:
· Alaska 1271 km
· Canada 2334 km
· Washington State 110 km
· Oregon 699 km
· California 659 km (until Francisco)
In total 5073 km
Plans for the near future
My plan is to cycle on with Spencer on the Baha California.
I would like to have more time to spend in Central America.
That is why I will rent a car on September 24th, take my bicycle on it and pick up Spencer along the way to San Diego.
Here we will prepare ourselves to cross the border really early the next day, to avoid the chaos a little.
Also we would like to pass Tjiuana, the town directly across the border in Mexico quickly.
Cycling in a small group is nicer, a bit more save for instance, when doing some shopping.
Our families are very content with this traveling together!
There have been some issues;
Last week there was a tornado over the most southern tip of the Baha.
Creating a lot of damage and flooding, also the power of the Baha was down for the most part and tourists had to be evacuated.
This week I tried to find out if we could travel on the Baha, but so far I couldn’t get an answer.
I think the Mexican government will do everything they can to start everything up as soon as they can. Tourism is a big income for the country!
Next to that I did find fares of the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan, which were unclear for me.
There are a lot of adventures waiting for me.
You are on the backseat, so to speak, and I will tell you about it next time, in La Paz I think!