Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Murphy Strikes

This trip was everything that I had imagined and more, however I had not known that a friend of mine named Murphy had squirreled any in my luggage. You have all heard of Murphy haven’t you; anything that could go wrong will go wrong, Murphy.

Well Murphy was at work with my picture taking, I’ve never had so many problem just trying to take some photos. Normally I ride with my camera in a small pouch on my bike. I’ve ridden this way for years with no problem, but never with Murphy.

I started off with a Samsung digital camera that I’ve had for years. Not an expensive camera, but a camera that will take pretty good photos, but if it breaks it won’t be much of a concern. The first day it was raining pretty hard and though I had it enclosed in a plastic bag, halfway through the day, I noticed that the camera wasn’t working.

That evening we rolled into town and I found a store called Bi-Mart and picked up a new camera. Took the flash memory card from the broken Samsung camera and presto was back in business with no lost photos. Take that Murphy!

For the rest of the first week I was happily clicking away taking pictures and movies with no problems at all until the day we rolled into the last stop of the week, Crescent City. I took my last set of photos on the way into town. I stopped at the Motel to check in, had lunch at a Subways, found a ice cream stop, went shopping for souvenirs and finally stopped at the library for 30 minutes to catch up on e-mail. As I way unlocking my bike, I noticed that the camera was GONE along with the week’s worth of photos! Somewhere in the last 2 hours my new camera had left the bike. I don’t think that it fell off the bike and I would not like to accuse anyone in Crescent City in taking the camera, so I figure that it must have been Murphy again.

The next day was our off day between weeks, so I headed off to the local Walmart to buy another camera. I found a replacement camera, third camera for this trip. A bit of sticker shock though, the price of the camera was the same, but Oregon doesn’t have sales tax. With the California sales tax, the same price camera cost $13 more. I hope that California spends that money well.

The next day I was off happily snapping pictures again. Murphy was not done with me yet. I think Murphy was trying to see how stubborn I was, because on my third day out while riding through the Redwood forest on a bumpy road Murphy must of loosened the Velcro strap that held the camera in it’s pouch, cause as you may have guessed, out of the corner of my eye I saw the camera make a perfect arching leap from my bike and hit the ground. Ouch!! I fetched the camera. It seemed to still be working, but later in the day the display stopped working. Oh well three cameras and the trip still had a couple more days.

The next town was Cloverdale. It was too small for a Walmart, but it did have a Radio Shack. I found another camera exactly like the one that just hit the ground and bought it. At least I didn’t have to read another owner’s manual.

I guess Murphy must have gotten pretty tired by now because I didn't have anymore camera problems and was able to upload a week’s worth of photos to the web.


When I got home I took the camera that fell off my bike back to Walmart. Much to my surprise, I was able to get an entire refund for the camera that "just stopped working". Is that something that I'll have to explain to St. Peter at the Golden Gate?

Happy Trails,


Friday, September 18, 2009

Second week, day 6; Petaluma to San Francisco

Here are today’s numbers:
49 Miles; Total Distance I traveled
2,682 feet climbed

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Second week, day 5

We're almost to San Francisco. The second week is coming to a close and I'll be leaving. The rest of the group will continue to Newport Beach Ca.

I was very nice to start with a jacket stuffed in the back of my jersey. As we left there were vineyards with silhouettes of mountains against the sky before the sun had risen. Before long were were deep in the dry creek vineyards with their rolling roads and sometimes pockmarked roads, but boy was it great to be out blasting around the corners and powering up the hills.

Before long we entered the Russian River vineyards with many famous wineries. One of the most unique is the Hop Kiln that was built in 1903 to process Hops, that were grown in the area before grapes.

We even passed the Korbel champagne winery before the SAG stop. A short more 10 miles (if you ignore the 12% grade) we got to the town of Occidental. I ran into Jim, Larry and Scott who was just finishing lunch. We lounged for a while before getting going, but I had one more stop. The bakery had a special milk shake, vanilla espresso. Um mm... two of my favorites on one shake, I just had to get one.

At that point I was only 15 miles from the end of the ride. The sun make the ride warm but it was nice cool whenever I passed under the shade of overhanging trees.

At about 10 miles from the end our direction changed so that we had a really nice tailwind. At one point I was maintaining 27 MPH, oh very nice.

The day ended much too soon as I pulled into the motel parking lot at about 2:30.

Distance 70 miles
attitude gained 2301 feet

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Second week, day 4

Second week, day 4

If yesterday was Giants to the Sea, today was the Sea to the Vineyards.

We started south along the ocean with gorgeous views to enjoy a couple of ocean side towns to play in. I made some pretty good time considering the amount of time that I took poking around and taking photos. After fifteen miles or so we headed inland on route 126 toward Cloverdale.

As we headed toward the hills inland we were quickly in the Redwood forest again, they tell us that this will be the final time to enjoy the giants. At 26 miles the SAG stop was waiting with it's snacks and goodies for the hungry riders.

Six miles beyond I found a general store with Expresso. Just what I needed, some caffeine. I stood on the deck watching the riders go by while I sipped my latte.

I'm getting some of my speed back after almost a 1 1/2 week on the bike (I wasn't able to train 3 weeks prior to the start of the trip because of business travel and the fires in LA), so I'm hanging out taking photos and sipping lattes then jumping on the bike and playing tag with the riders. Not that I'm one of the faster riders, but the fast of the slow riders.

A apple cider stand was on the route and I caught up with 1/2 dozen riders all sampling the fresh cider.

The second SAG stop came up after another quick 26 miles. The road was fairly quiet except for the occasional lumber truck zipping by. The full lumber trucks in our direction and the empty ones in the other direction.

The real climb was to start after the second SAG stop, the terrain started to rise and the hills shifted from the greens found at the ocean to the golden dried grass that California is also known for. The vineyards started to pop up since the ocean became more numerous as the trip rolled on.

At times the pitch reached 9-10% and the temperature started to rise as well. By the time I reached Cloverdale, my forehead was caked with salt for the effort. As I cruised into town, I found some of the other riders parked out in front of a store having ice cream, so I stopped to join them and after a while wondered into the motel about 1/2 further down the main drag.

Cloverdale is a neat town. Except for vineyards and wineries, I'm not sure what it's known for, but it seems to be a pretty nice place to spend a night.

Distance 71 miles
Attitude gained 4170 feet

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Second week, day 3

Second week, day 3

The ride for today should be called, from the Giants to the Sea. I'm now in Fort Bragg on the coast. We started this morning inland in Garberville. Though the ride was only 70 miles in distance, a set of coastal mountain ridges had to be crossed.

No rain, temperature was cool. At the 25 mile mark the climbing began. Several times the road pitched to 9% but most of the time it was about 7%. The climb reminded me of parts of the San Gabriel mountains in Southern California, only more green and much cooler. The roadway was damp from the morning dew most of the time.

At the top of the hill I was happy to see the trucks on wedges indicating a 7% descent grade. The ride down the twisty roads was a ball! This ridge was followed by a similar but smaller ridge and finally bursting upon the Pacific Ocean. I have some wonderful shots of the ride to the second SAG stop where I gobbled down some snacks and water before heading on to Westport for a sandwich. The small store was lost in the 60's, but the sandwich was great.

From there it was it was about 18 miles to town, where an ice cream cone was waiting for me.

on a scale of 10, today must have been at least a 9+.

Miles: 71
feet climbed 5,130


Monday, September 14, 2009

Second Week, Day 2

It was brisk as well left the hotel this morning, the heavy clouds gave us no insight to whether we were going to be pushing our way through the rain again. Patches of blue sky offered us some hope.

The amount of climbing today was about the same amount as the rides have be typically during this entire trip (~ 3000 Feet), but it was mostly in small climbs out of river valleys followed by descents back into river valleys.

The big attraction for today, and I mean BIG, was 30 miles through the Avenue of the Giants. Towering Redwood tree groves with trees reaching for the skies. The roads were damp with dew and cool even late in the afternoon.

We've staying in Garberville that is a throwback to the sixties, with tie dye and peace signs up and down the main drag.

Oh wondering about the rain? Well except for some light sprinkles, it was nice and sunny.

Here are today’s numbers:
    81 Miles; Total Distance I traveled
    3,269 Feet: I climbed

Link to photo album

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Second Week, Day 1

Started off today with a wonderful ride in front of us today. Left with leg warmers on this morning, other folks were wearing jackets and gloves. As we headed south on the 101 we quickly started to climb. Most of the time it was 6% grade but at times it reached 9%.

About 14 miles we had descended and passed the Trees of Mastery. I have photos of Giant Paul Bunyan and Babe standing in front of the complex.

Then is was back to climbing in no time then into the redwood forest, where the giant tress are. It's really astonishing how big the trees are.

Further down the road we came across a herd of elk by the road. I understand that seeing the elk is a pretty unique event.

At about the 60 mile mark we pulled into the second and last SAG stop at about 1:30 and still had about 20 miles to go. I got a sandwich at the market and noticed that it was starting to sprinkle a bit. Nothing to be concerned with, I was planning on being at the hotel in less that 90 minutes if I worked quickly. Oh but then I noticed that my front tire was soft, drat the tire had a slow leak, so I needed to stop and replace the tube. The whole time it was increasingly raining harder. Buy the time I got on the road was wet and the water was splashing up my back, oh lovely...

By the time I pulled into the hotel, I was soaking wet, jumped into the shower, cleaned and headed to the post ride rap followed by great BBQ for dinner.

There is a chance of rain tomorrow.

Here are today’s numbers:
85 Miles; Total Distance I traveled
4,484 Feet: I climbed

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day off - Crescent City

This week of riding in Oregon surpassed my expectations. It was challenging, fun and beautiful.

It had not occurred to me that the ride would involve so many bridges. When you think about it however, all the rivers in Oregon have to flow to the ocean. If you are to build a road that runs along the coast, you'll have to build bridges to cross the rivers.

Most of the bridges were built during in the '30s during the depression. A testament to the huge investment in infrastructure that was made to keep people employed. I wonder if at the time if the folks that decided to build these projects really understood the long term usefulness of the investment or rather they were looking primarily for a way to keep people working.

Yesterday, at the end of the ride, I made some errands that included, Ice cream, Bike shop and souvenir shopping ending up at the Library to update the blog and check my e-mail. When I returned to my bike outside the Library I noticed that my camera was gone. I normally carry my camera in a small pouch on my bike. I'm guessing that someone helped themselves to my camera while I was inside. All my photos from last week were in the camera's flash memory. So a week's worth of photos is gone. On the plus side, the trip leader has been keeping a great website with a bunch of great photos, you should check it out (link). I'm going to update all my previous posts with links to Mike's site.

This morning I took off to find the Walmart to pick up a new camera, maybe the third time will be a charm.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sixth Day Friday (9/11/09); Gold Beach OR to Crescent City CA

As the week goes on I'm waking up with less aches and pains. I hardly groaned getting out of bed this morning.

We started off in the fog this morning. This same trip spend many days in the fog, we're fortunate that the fog did not last the entire day.

When the fog lifted the fantastic views returned.

The ride today was only about 60 miles, though I have added on several more miles exploring the area. We crossed the California state line and have ended the first week in Crescent City CA. We will have a layover day here. One rider will depart tomorrow and 3 new riders will join us.

Though the first couple of days were difficult the rest of the week has become more and more fun. The week has been a blast and I can't wait to see what next week will bring.

Mike Munk, Day 6

Fifth Day Thursday (9/10/09); Bandon to Gold Beach

Today was a short day, only 56 miles as per the route sheet, of course I always stray off the map a bit to check things out. For me it was a 60 mile day.

The views, like yesterday were gorgeous. Shortly out of the Bandon we came to Face Rock. Like the old man in the mountain in Hew Hampshire, the rock has a face in profile facing up at the sky. We all took turns placing our profiles against the rock's profile.

The temperatures were just perfect for biking. Most likely 65 to 70 with a nice breeze.

Mike Munk, Day 5

Fourth Day Wed (9/9/09); Florence to Bandon OR

The mileage on the route sheet was almost 76 miles today.

Though the route was fantastic, the highlight of the ride was saved to the end. The series of peaks called the Seven Devils along a ridge was a blast to ride. 

I've ridden similar crest routes in Italy and France and the Seven Devils ranked right up with those rides only more beautiful. Lush evergreen trees on either sideoccasionally a break in the trees would reveal a overview of the ocean.

The Seven Devils started after the last rest stop. A short climb to and intersection, turn left, then boommm, a steep climb with twisty turns. You had to jam into the lowest gear just to keep going. From there it was one peddle stroke at a time. Slowly, oh so slowly the road started to bend over and the climb went from 12-13% grade to 8-9% grade. Finally a peak in the road and a downward glide. One Devil down and 6 more to go.

I must really be kinda of sick, but this was fun. Slow going with sweat falling from my face, but the the challenge combined with the views made this the most fun part of the trip. Knowing that this was only going to last ten or fifteen miles made it more bearable as well.

Mike Munk, Day 4

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Third Day Tuesday (9/8/09); Lincoln City to Florence OR

What a wonderful day!! Blue sky and very cool temperatures. I was wearing leg warmers and my yellow jacket to keep warm.

What can I say about today, except it has fulfilled all my expectations. It was that picture that I had in my mind when I was making the trip reservations, blue skies, slightly cool temperatures and views!!! Just gotta tell you about the views. Lighthouses, blue ocean, calm seas but still with waves crashing on the beaches and into the rocks and water splashing everywhere. Oh did I forget to mention about the whales? I know lots of folks that have paid a lot of money to go whale watching, well we saw whales for the overlooks all along the ride today. Whales spouting and frolicking in the white foam.

Here are today’s numbers:
    80 Miles; Total Distance I traveled
    3,648 Feet: I climbed


Mike Munk, Day 3

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 2; 9/7/09 Tillamook to Lincon City

Day 2;

Today started off today with more showers. Before heading off to breakfast we huddled in the lobby of the motel. we knew that the showers were going to pass quickly. The sky was mostly blue skies with some clouds.

After breakfast we head to the ocean and a pretty big climb. For coastly trip, there is surly a lot of up and down. At the top there was beautful light house. When we asked the park ranger if the light house is still used, he replied that the light house is no longer need since all the ships have GPS.

The day was one of hills, descents and sun. A wonderful combination. Unlike yesterday, wind was not a factor. Eary in the day, my camera stopped working so I don't have photos from today. I stopped a store called Bi-Mart and picked up a new one. I likely saved money instead of buying it in Califorina since there is no sales tax.

As we move down the coast, we are expecting more hills and more blue skies.

Here are today’s numbers:
    65 Miles; Total Distance I traveled
    3,774 Feet: I climbed


Mike Munk, Day 2

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Day (9/6/09); Astoria to Tillamook

Well we got a slow start to day because of the heavy rain. The plan was a 8AM departure, but with the rain and wind, at times the rain was coming down sideways.

After the worst of it passed we departed, approx 9:30 and headed south slowly turning toward the coast after 10 or 15 miles. The rain came and went which caused the jacket on, jacket off routine several times.
The wind was in our faces most of the day, blowing petty hard. I have to look at the route sheet, but I think that the snack stop was at 26 miles and I didn't reach it until 1PM, a bit behind schedule.

We had a tunnel to ride through. Before entering the riders hit a button that causes a set of blinking lights to flash indicating to the drivers that bikes are inside the tunnel. Biking through a tunnel can be very unnerving. It's nosily; the cars are zipping by closely. Oh this particular tunnel was uphill. I just beat it through as quickly as possible.

Of course the reason that I took this ride was for the vistas. Today did not disappoint. There were many spots where the break between the trees provided breathtaking views.

There were some long stretches where we road where the turbulent ocean was crashing into the rocks 100 feet below us.

Here are today’s numbers:
      72 Miles; Total Distance I traveled
      3,330 Feet: I climbed

The weather is expected to be nicer tommarrow with more favorable winds, I’m looking forward to it.

Ohh Ohh.. breakfast is to be at the Pancake House, lets see what they will have.

Happy Trails,


Mike Munk, Day 1

Sunday, August 30, 2009

View Larger Map

Hello All,

Well it's been a little later than been usual, but I will be taking a two week bike trip down the West Coast of the US, mostly along U.S Route 101.

As you can see from the map of the first week, we will be hugging the Pacific Ocean every day. Do you think that it's possible to get tired of one breath taking view after another. I don't know, but I'll willing to find out.

The second week in California, As shown below, I expect to be equally breathtaking with the Redwood forests in the North, wine country in the middle and completing the ride by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco.

View Larger Map

I'll be biking with a bicycling touring company called America by Bike (http://abbike.com). I traveled with them last year, from San Francisco to Salt Lake City (http://coxintl.com/2008-sf-2-slc) and look forward to them again. 

I'm starting to look through the itinerary and am starting to look forward to some stops:

  • Tallamook, OR; thy have a air museum housed in an old blimp hanger; Tillamook Air Museum
  • Lincon City (link) sounds like a pretty nice place, but after a day on the the bike I'm usually looking for an internet connection, ice cream float and a mico-brew (not necessarily in that order).
  • Brandon, OR; We'll be arriving on the second day of the Salmon Derby
  • Gold Beach, OR; I what to take some time to visit the tide pools
  • Crescent City CA; The town is 1.4 square miles. We'll be spending two nights in town. The highlight of the town seems to the Trees of Mystery, which also has internet links to Tourist trap.
  • San Francisco CA; the last day is pretty short, we'll be staying at the Comfort Inn by the bay. One of my friends suggested lunch at California Culinary Academy, it's only 3 miles away from out hotel, do you think that they will let some sweaty biker in for lunch? 
Second Week