Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day #35: Oregon or Bust

Today's Route: Mt Shasta, CA to Ashland, OR (85 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 1,543

Ron joined us for the first 30 miles of our ride leaving Mt Shasta this morning. For a roadie to be able to pedal slowly enough to keep up with two heavily loaded touring cyclists gives credence to Ron's immense patience.

Alex & Ron.

Although Ron is a cyclist, he has never toured before. He very much wants to try self-contained touring. Ron has his eyes set on riding the Pacific Coast for his first tour. I can't think of a better route to ensure that Ron falls in love with the touring lifestyle.

One of these bikes is not like the others.

While riding behind Alex, I glanced down at his pulley and noticed that it was quite dirty. There was all sort of road muck in the pulley, as well as some green, organic life. Yuck! This observation allowed the tables to be turned; now I can tease Alex about his dirty bike!

One heckuva dirty pulley.

Riding along the road, we flew by the below sign:

A rather frightening sign for a cyclist.

We circled back to do a double-take. Yup, that's a tire track, crushing a cyclist. This doesn't exactly give a warm'n'fuzzy feeling about the locals and their respect for cyclists.

A few miles down the road, though, we felt better about riding alongside the cars when we saw this sign:

A less frightening sign.

We stopped by the Shell gas station in the town of Montague to refill our water bottles. We typically would have refilled our bottles using the restroom sink. Due to the water shortage in California, however, the gas station was required to shut down its restrooms to public use. Fortunately, the gas station clerk let us use the water tap on the soda fountain to refill our bottles.

When we left the gas station, we noticed a horse tied up around the side of the station. A young cowgirl had ridden the horse to the station to buy herself a drink. This isn't a sight one sees regularly at the gas stations in Seattle. When we first saw the horse, the horse was in the middle of a massive urination session. My jaw fell nearly fell off my face as the gallons of pee exited the horse! I don't know about you, but my elementary school education included nothing about horse pee. Real-world experience is the best education!

A horse tied up outside the Shell station in Montague, CA.

We saw this skeleton alongside the road. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got close enough to confirm that the skull was not that of a human being.

A roadside skeleton.

Typically, it is illegal for cyclists to bike along the shoulder of an interstate. However, interstate riding is permissible if there are no suitable alternatives to get from point A to point B. As there are no suitable alternatives for cyclists to cross from California into Oregon in this neck of the woods, we were forced into riding along I-5 for 7.1 miles.

Getting ready for a 7.1 mile climb along I-5.

Although the shoulders along I-5 are an entire lane-wide, riding along the interstate is less than pleasant. For one, vehicles are passing by at a ridiculous speed. In addition, breathing vehicle exhaust is yucky. As much as you may fight it, your body tensely attaches itself to the bike -- your shoulders become rigid and your hand grips tighten. What made the ride along I-5 even worse was that the 7.1 miles were all uphill.

We passed the Jackson County line as we rode along I-5. As my baby brother's eldest son is named Jackson, I, of course, needed to pull off and snap a photo.

A photo for my nephew.

A wee bit later, we arrived at the Oregon border.

Oregon welcomes me!

A good part of today's ride passed through the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Established by a proclamation signed by President Clinton in 2000, it is the first national monument established solely for the purpose of preservation of biodiversity.

The ride down from the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to Ashland, along State Route 273 was, by far, my favorite descent. 'Twas a long and winding road, lined with beautiful green trees. A perfectly bright yellow stripe divided the two lanes.

Just as we were to hang a left onto State Route 66, we saw three cycle tourists pass by. Alex and I switched to super-duper high speed and soon caught up with the tourists. We chatted as we rode along 66. The cyclists were on their final stretch of a week-long trip through Oregon.

A few miles later, the cyclists informed us that they were turning off of 66. I told Alex that I thought we had passed our campground. Indeed, in the midst of socializing, we had overshot our campground by three miles!

We backtracked to Glenyan Campground. Lucky us, we added six miles to today's already long ride.

Around 6:30pm, my friend, Ferit, and his sister, Dilek, pulled up to our site. (More on how I know Ferit and Dilek later.)

Having dinner with Ferit & Dilek, in front of their car-top tent.
(Photo by Ferit.)

Ferit and Dilek will be joining us for the next few days. They are traveling through Oregon for a week and a half. Before meeting up with us, they spent a few days kite surfing at Hood River. After meeting up with us, they will spend a few days on the Oregon coast.

Though Ferit and Dilek won't be cycling with Alex and me, they will be joining up with us after our rides. They have offered to make us wonderful meals in camp in the evenings. We certainly can't turn down that offer!

Ah, it's nice to be in Oregon!


I would love to hear your comments on this post!