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Hello Pretty People–

I had a plan to write up a end-of-ride reflection a month ago when I finished, but then it was summer and there was so much else to do! I am writing this wrap-up post from my parent’s living room with everyone’s favorite family member, Smudge, trying to get up in my business and stick her big cat butt on the keyboard. What follows in the post are some minimally organized musings on the trip.

I definitely caught the bike-trip bug and have already started scheming on other trips to take. I find it to be the perfect speed to really see a place–you are not within the confines of a car with a limited view, you can smell the smell both good and bad, there’s the difficult uphills with the reward of downhills, and you can stop wherever you want and not worry about parking (except in Sausalito which sucked and makes you pay to park your bike because they’re snobs).

We raised almost $3000 for WRAP! That’s about triple my initial goal of $1000 and well over my reach goal of $2000. It just goes to show what can happen when everyone throws in what they’ve got– my friends and family aren’t millionaires but it adds up! I really felt all kinds of support for the trip and people contributed in so many different ways– from my mom location tracking my phone and checking in on me, to words of encouragement all along the way, fellow travelers giving me tips and food and sharing stories, and friends sending me off and welcoming me back with love.

Along the way it was very comforting to be able to stay in hiker-biker sites for less than $10 and no reservations the whole way and always have a shower of some kind. It just goes to show that it isn’t that hard to create infrastructure to support people having a safe and regular place to rest their heads, but what is lacking on a larger scale is the will to do it for poor people. All along the way there was both overt and implicit signage that I was welcome as someone traveling on a bike adventure, but anyone without the temporary transient status would not be acceptable. I would see people take a first glance at my bike with things strapped all over it and when they saw my sign, relax and then wish to engage but not before that.

I was regularly told that what I was doing was brave and when informally surveying fellow dude-bikers, no one commented on their bravery– even the ones also biking solo. I wonder if that’s because we expect men to do slightly risky things? Is it because we think woman alone–rape? Is it something to do with the physical nature of biking every day being more taxing for women? Some combination of those ideas or some other belief? I wouldn’t do it alone again, but not because of safety, but because I got bored with myself and lonely. I wasn’t doing this trip to escape society and socializing, but that ended up happening for periods of time.

I took one practice run before leaving with a friend in town and I became light-headed during that. It was a good trial because I was able to adjust certain things within a controlled environment (aka wear one layer less of clothing and reinforce that I need to properly nourish for mass calorie expenditure and hours and hours of physical activity). I did not overpack and had a few lighter items, like a hammock, that I didn’t use much. I did my research on what to pack via some online blogs and by planning to layer and be kind of grimy. I just had my one sleeping/camp outfit that I wouldn’t wear if I wasn’t showered, so I was always in clean-ish in my sleeping bag which felt good. Overall, I was a lighter traveler; however, I brought no “ultra-light” items.

People have a wide-variety of food plans while biking–some don’t have camp stoves, some eat out all the time, some prepare healthy foods, some just prepared foods. I ate mostly rice with some sort of soup or beans on top for dinner, oatmeal with PB in the morning, and gas station or grocery store prepared food for lunch. It was a high-salt diet and I became very thirsty and overcompensated by drinking a lot of water initially and then had to pee all the time. Not fun. I also found myself craving some sort of sugar-water in the afternoons, usually a half-and-half or other juice–not sure if it was for the calories or sweetness or both.

I had a loose plan for this adventure and some loose back-up plans if anything went awry. I was incredibly, incredibly lucky to not even get a flat tire. I did not physically prepare for the trip and you really don’t need to because campgrounds are so frequent that I could set my own pace (unless you have a deadline or a plane ticket , of course). I do bike around town regularly and I’m in baseline decent biking shape (20 mile days are no problem) and very comfortable riding in and around traffic.

I would definitely build in days off every week and I really enjoyed town days for exploring a place. Top campgrounds were: Cape Blanco, Beachside, Standish-Hickey. I would like to camp at Van Damme and some more Oregon ones. I would like to bike the northern Oregon coast still too.

I couldn’t believe I’d done it when I finished and it still feels like a bit of a dream or that it took place in another world. In many ways it did take place in an alternate reality from a “normal” day.

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