Do Superheroes Smell Sweetly of Sweat?

BT 2 Dip 10 5-2We rode our bicycles all the way to California! No matter that it has taken us a long time. We made it somewhere! Crossing the state line has meant narrower shoulders, state parks with coin-op showers (6 quarters buys us a measly 5 minutes in drought-stricken California, and we’ve gotten really good at splitting those minutes between us and still having hot water to spare. Seriously, you’d be impressed.), sunshine, and taxes.BT 2 Dip 1.2We continue to meet wonderful people along the way, all of whom root for us, bless us or think us some kind of superheroes for attempting to ride bicycles from Portland to wherever. If only they knew the honest, lazy truth: we roll out of bed later than most other riders, take our time packing up camp, then ride in an uncaffeinated daze to the nearest town where we stop at the first cafe we see to loiter for hours over coffee and chai lattes. When we finally get on our bikes with the intention of actually getting somewhere, we usually ride for a little while, but not too long, because soon we stop to take off layers, consult maps, take photos of roadkill, admire views, find shiny things on the side of the road or happen upon another cute cafe that we just can’t pass up. When all is said and done our butts are only in the saddles for about 3 nonconsecutive hours per day. At an average speed of 10 miles per hour, that approximately equates to barely moving at all.BT 2 Dip 7.1 PeopleIf you ask us, the real superheroes are all the sweet people who cheer us on our leisurely way. Among them are Michael and Marguerite, who generously invited us into their home near Brookings, Oregon for hot showers, tasty omelets and some really great conversation. We saw a familiar face from home when we met up with Ryan to eat enormous hamburgers together. His presence made our day and gave us extra power to blast up one of the most intimidating hills of the whole coastal route. Another Portland friend, Ben, met up with us for a minute in Fort Bragg and directed us to an unbelievable “punchbowl,” which was essentially a gigantic unstable crater that has been created by ocean waves. Being that it was a gigantic unstable crater, we thought it a good idea to descend down the nearly vertical walls into its depths by a rope that had been lying around for who knows how long. Later we were taken in by Page and David, some extraordinarily kind folks who, after spying us stuffing our faces outside a supermarket, invited us into their San Francisco home where we spent the night after they washed our laundry, indulged us with entertaining conversation, and fed and beered us. It was a dream come true to spend a night in San Francisco (David’s favorite place on earth) in the company of such fine people. After traveling far and wide encountering kind people all along the way, it’s been uplifting to return to the US to find magic here too. It turns out the whole world is just full of good, big-hearted people.BT 2 Dip 5The ride itself down the West Coast has been full of big beautiful trees and sandy beaches and scenic overlooks, winding roads, and lots and lots of hills. And also more hills. It seems we are almost always going up or down a hill. Every short stretch of flat road has grabbed my attention out of sheer novelty and I can count the number of those stretches on one hand. Just last week we were gifted an entire seven miles of flatness that, combined with a tailwind, left us feeling quite like superheroes indeed. But then we stopped to have a coffee.BT 2 Dip 4 CardBT 2 Dip 3 CoveOne of our favourite stops along the route was a cute little town back in Oregon called Bandon-by-the-Sea. I loved it because of the Bandon Coffee Cafe, its friendly locals and beautiful beach. And also partly because it is a town with a hyphenated name. While in Bandon we indulged in homemade milkshakes and spent time with three fabulous Alaskan women who were also on a bicycle tour (they were so wonderful they almost have us considering a summer in Fairbanks). Another highlight was our ride along the Avenue of the Giants, a smooth ribbon of pavement that winds it way through a forest of towering redwoods. We spent several nights camped beneath the giants, one of those nights with a fellow camper who looked and sounded just like Clint Eastwood. And to keep ourselves busy (since we’re certainly not busy riding), we’ve been playing disc golf at all of the courses we see along the way. There have been a surprising lot of them, the higher stakes courses being those located just beside the ocean. Considering my total lack of Frisbee skills, I dare not attempt those. David, on the other hand, has gotten quite good at throwing his disc toward the target from his moving bicycle. While trying to capture one of these shots on film the disc almost hit me in the face.BT 2 Dip 8 People&TreesWe spend most nights in state parks, many of which offer a communal hiker/biker campsite, where any self-propelled camper may set up a tent. The benefits of the hiker/biker campsite are many: it costs only $5, we never need to make a reservation or worry if there will be space for us (no matter how many people are there, you can always cram in one more tent), and we often bump into cyclists we’ve met previously along the way, which feels like seeing old friends. Sometimes when I’m lucky the campground will have a utility sink with hot and cold taps, and then I get to bathe without having to spend any quarters at all. A few of the most luxurious hiker/biker campsites have even featured secure lockers with USB charging stations (to accommodate even the most modern cyclist) and bike stands for maintenance and repairs. This hardly seems like we’re roughing it.BT 2 Dip 9 SFComing up next, we get even lazier and take an entire two weeks off the bikes to make tapioca pudding and leech off my brother and sister-in-law at their mountain home in Truckee, California. (Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Chase and Erica!)


8 thoughts on “Do Superheroes Smell Sweetly of Sweat?

  1. Austin, had been meaning to write to you guys asking what you’d been up to. Just read this very simple and sweet post and got to know it all. Your gratefulness reminds me of this nice movie ” Thank you, more please ” where a main character thanks the universe and asks for more such stuff whenever something nice happens. Great going. May you continue to meet kind, intelligent and insightful people.

  2. You’re clearly pinching my bum in the photo, thank goodness David was looking at the camera 🙂 Damn those were good burgers we shared, and great ass pinching too. But seriously, can you try not to pinch so hard next time. I mean, look at my face, clearly I’m in pain . . . Seriously though, I miss you both. Vermont is not the same without you 😦 Anne and talon too 😦 😦 oh those ears on Talon, soooooooooooo soft!!!

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