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Good Toledo Blade Article

The outdoors editor of the Toledo Blade did a nice article on our trip:

 

Click to read.

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On the train back home, Aug. 6-8.

Empire Builder from Portland to Chicago.

I’d like to thank Tom Vanden Eynden, one of the tour members, for his generosity in having me share a sleeper room.  Tom was one of the best liked members of our trip and I can certainly vouch for what a good guy he is.

We boarded a bus (the train was so late leaving Eugene, they bused up to Portland to catch the Empire Builder) , 1 p.m. on Monday and arrived in Toledo early Thursday morning (1 a.m. ish).  That’s a long time to traverse the country, but, oh my, what a civilized way to travel!  No arriving two hours before departure, no going through security, totally friendly and accommodating staff on the train (our car had its own porter who saw to our needs, made up our beds, etc.), excellent food, a congenial atmosphere on the train where you could get to know other passengers, and spectacular scenery you can view from the observation car.

Our room was not large, but comfortable . . . and made into two bunk beds (top bunk required a bit of gymnastics to get into and out of).

 

One of the best parts of the trip was the people we got to know while eating.  Seating is at tables of four for meals, so we had another couple at our table.

 

To give you an idea of the people we met, one person, after working as a commercial real estate broker, decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and then climbed Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina (highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere).  He hadn’t done anything like this and just decided it was something he wanted to try in his retirement.  He climbed Mt. Aconcagua in his early 70s.

Another couple raised bees and gave us an education into the intricacies of these amazing insects.

Another couple were avid bicyclers and we had fun comparing notes on our various trips.

We also met three high school girls who were headed to a Harry Potter convention in Chicago (2,000 attendees).  One of them also makes Harry Potter magic wands.

There was lots of time to read, eat great meals, chat with others in the observation car, nap, and watch the wonderful scenery.

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All in all, the bike tour was the trip of a lifetime.  As Tom pointed out, it was like a job, where each day’s responsibilities were just to ride your bike.

If anyone has any questions about the trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  rfrye1@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Florence and Eugene, waiting to take the train back to Ohio

Joe and Dove, from Eugene, were generous enough to offer to drive me back to Eugene from Florence, but I decided that after riding for over 4,000 miles, it would be embarrassing to get a ride rather than ride 80 miles.  So after a day of rest in Florence, I rode back (very scenic route).

Beautiful route back to Eugene.

A parting shot of Florence over the Siuslaw River.

Bridge to Florence from the state campground.

Delicious sticky bun as sustenence for my ride back to Eugene.

Flowers along the route.

I considered trading my bike for a little more relaxing mode of transportation.

A good-looking llama.

Enjoying a pound a blueberries at a blueberry stand.

Pick your own or buy already picked.

Eugene is a very bike-friendly community where every street has a bike lane and there are numerous bike paths. This one is 7.5 miles long starting from the center of the city.

Co-motion bike manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters.

I was given a tour of their factory (just 14 employees who produce, on average, 3 bicycles per day).  I also had a chance to test ride the Americano Rohloff bike with the internal Rohloff shifting mechanism and belt drive.  What a wonderful bicycle . . . and just $5,200!  The entire bicycle is hand-made at the plant.

A satisfying lunch at the High Street cafe along with a locally brewed beer.

Ahhh

I spent the night last night at a hotel, camping, but enjoying the hot shower.  Eugene definitely has a counter-culture feel to it, with a lot of homeless people, but with a lot of people enjoying the out-of-doors as well (nice REI store here).  The menu of the restaurant where I had breakfast included dishes made from soy, tofu, eggs from free-range chickens, etc.  I think I would have been asked to leave if I had ordered sausage or bacon. 

You know you’re in a bigger city when I had to talk to three people here at the library to use a computer, and had to pay $3.  In all the nice libraries in the small towns on my trip the librarians would just nod to the sole computer for public use and I’d use it for as long as I wanted at no charge.

I do have to make a comment or two about a fellow traveler on the road with me . . . the nice folks driving RVs with their SUVs trailering behind.

I had trucks, 18-wheelers, coal trucks, grain trucks, logging trucks, pick-up trucks, cars, etc., pass me and by far the worst drivers — the most dangerous drivers — were those in these monsterous RVs.  Here’s some 65-year old guy who only drives this 2 mph rig once or twice a year and can’t seem to move over a few feet as he passes me.  I see him in the cab with is black socks up over his calves, his wife with their yappy little cat-sized white dog sitting in her lap.  There should be a special test drivers of these vehicles must pass before they’re permitted on the road!  Some are dangerous on a riding lawnmower.

 Okay, that’s off my chest!  (I do appreciate the professional truck drivers, as they are very courteous and make every effort to move over.) Now I have a few days to explore Eugene before catching the train back to Ohio!

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Finished! The glorious Pacific Ocean!

Rafting on the McKenzie River

Covered bridge over the McKenzie River

The bed and breakfast where I camped in Nimrod, Oregon (right next to the McKenzie River).

My campsite . . . where a lawn chair gave me a view of the river.

More rainfall on the western side of the Cascade Mountains produces a lusher landscape.

Mmmm . . .

Adult salmon at a hatchery . . . where they provide the eggs that are raised to stock the McKenzie River.

Makes you hungry, doesn’t it! Remember, no getting sick.

I rode through Eugene on their very nice bike path . . . and camped 20 miles west of the city.

Not there yet . . . the Siuslaw River as it meanders into the ocean.

Not quite there yet.

Yes!  The official front wheel dunk in the Pacific near Florence, Oregon!!  The 4,000+ mile trip is almost done (I’ll be riding back to Eugene in a day or so to catch the train back to Bowling Green).

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POST STARTS HERE!

I just dipped my front wheel in the Pacific Ocean here in Florence, Oregon . . . done!  (The hardest segment of the trip was the 200 yards to the ocean over fluffy sand.)

Now, to catch up on blog entries.  After staying in the city park in Sisters, I rode up to McKenzie Pass.

First had breakfast in the Sisters Bakery. Delicious!

One of the Sisters peaks

A bit of a climb to McKenzie Pass

On the way up to McKenzie Pass

McKenzie Pass!

For miles and miles at the summit of McKenzie Pass are lava flows from defunct volcanos.

The ride down from McKenzie Pass was spectacular . . . weaving back and forth next to the McKenzie River.

Darn WordPress!  This post has gotten bolloxed up.  To read it as it was entered, you need to go halfway down, read to here and then go to the top.

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Sisters, Oregon

Easy 38-mile ride into Sisters, Oregon, today (getting me ready for the climb tomorrow to McKenzie Pass).  The stunning Three Sisters peaks, still shrouded with snow, are almost as magnificent as the Tetons.

Two of the Three Sisters peaks as I come into Sisters, Oregon

Riding across the country . . . on just 85 chocolate milkshakes!

Soda fountain in Redmond, Oregon

I’m staying t0night in the Sisters Community Campground.  I met a guy there who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (Sisters isn’t far from the trail).  Compared to the challenge of hiking, biking isn’t nearly as grueling.

McKenzie Pass won’t look like this tomorrow (although it is closed due to snow from November to July).

Will the pass look like this?

 

Rafters on the Deschutes River not far from Sisters

 

 

 

 

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Still Prineville

Perhaps the best part of this trip are the serendipitous surprises every day. Tonight, riding past the city park, came to a town concert – some 500 people at least in the shade of tall pines listening to a band playing rousing marches, toe-tapping jazz, and vocal numbers.

image

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Prineville, Oregon

Beautiful Oregon

Entertainment in Halfway, Oregon. The woman played the dulcimer, guitar, harmonica, penny flute, as well as reading journal entries from early settlers on the Oregon Trail.

Leaving Halfway, Oregon, population 355.

Oregon

Met up with Ed and Kathy again (last saw them in Kansas). Kathy sags for Ed, meeting him along his ride. At the top of a tough climb, there she was, with cold drinks for both of us! Ahhhh, what a way to ride.

Oregon scenery . . . always amazing

Had a good night’s sleep at this bike hotel in Mt. Vernon, Oregon.

Leaving Mt. Vernon on my way to Mitchell, Oregon

Once a school?

I wish I knew more about geology to appreciate the amazing landforms.

The power of water to carve out the many canyons.

Coming into Prineville, Oregon

This post got out of order.  What follows should be before what’s above!

Just a 50-mile day, but had a 2,500 ft. climb this morning . . . then a meanering slight downhill though the forest.

More pictures . . .

A spurting waterfall along the way.

Always scenic

My friends on the road move about as fast as I do.

Coming down to the Snake River

Lake Bonneville formed by the Snake River

Lake Bonneville

Oregon . . . the last state!

Oregon

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