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April 29, 2016

By meriwether, Apr 30 2016 05:21AM

I woke up to the pitter patter of rain on my tent fly this morning. And that in a few words sums up coastal Oregon in April. Oregon has been hard . . . and some of the most uncomfortable riding that I’ve done these past eight and a half months. The temperatures this past week have never ventured out of the 50’s. When you’re climbing as I often do here on the west coast, 50’s are OK. But as you slingshot into a downhill after a climb, the wind slices right through your sweat soaked clothing . . . and now 50’s are not so OK - almost painful. So I usually stop to put on my jacket, and then take it off before the next climb. On with the jacket . . . off with the jacket . . . on with the jacket . . off with the jacket - a never ending ritual.

But the Oregon coastline IS another gem of nature, and not as severe as Central and Northern California from an up and down perspective. The coastline is known for its “sea stacks” - isolated monoliths of hard, metamorphic rock that thrust out of the ocean just apart from the coastline, standing resolute and strong against crashing waves and angry surf that use their forces of erosion to try and wear them down. But the sea stacks have resisted those forces for untold eons, and will do so for untold more.

I rode this part of the West Coast from Seattle down to San Francisco back in 1989 (or was it 1988?), and I have good memories of that ride. But it was mid-summer at that time, and I was heading south. Wish I could summon forth a bit of that magic from 27 or so years ago. And I just may - it’s supposed to be close to the 70’s here along the coast this weekend, which would be quite welcome. Surveying these cold, rain laden skies day after day has become too depressing.

I shared the Hiker/Biker campsite last night and this morning with a young German biker by the name of Johannes (Sp?) and his travels make mine look like those of a short timer. He left Germany 10 years ago at the age of 24, and has been traveling the world ever since. Not constantly - he’s a cabinet maker by trade and stops to work for months or even a year at a time in different locations. His travels have recently taken him from South America northward to our part of the Americas, following the crest of the high Andes - Chile, Bolivia, Peru. He described waking up to a foot of snow on his tent. Now that is some tough traveling!

I’m about 170 miles from Portland now, and I’m fairly certain (unless a dramatic change of mind occurs) that I will bring my U.S. Perimeter Ride to a conclusion in that great city where I hope to put in one more volunteer day with Habitat For Humanity. You may recall that was my thinking when I had one of those dramatic changes of mind in Berkeley. However, there is an option I’m considering, which is to take Amtrak’s Empire Builder passenger train from Portland to Chicago, and then finish my ride across a few hundred miles of rolling Indiana and Ohio farmland - what a relief that would be after riding the west coast! It WOULD be good to finish my ride by bicycling into Toledo rather than training into Toledo.

We shall see what kind of cards I’m dealt in this next hand,

Proceeding On toward the end . . . I think.

Many thanks to some recent new and repeat donors who have helped boost the donation total to $16,534 with their contributions to Habitat For Humanity and/or Save The Children in support of my ride: Jeff and Patty Atkins, Mike and Cyndy Cotter, Carol Holdren, Sue and Ken Rauhut, and John Szozda.

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