Wednesday, 26 July 2017

That's All Folks

My cycling adventures in America have come to an end! I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I won't try and name names as I'll only miss someone out. I've been fortunate to meet many wonderful people and I do hope some of you will be passing by York someday. I'd love to have you stay and you can get in touch on

Thanks also to anyone who has been following my blog. It's been great to have your company.

The scores on the doors are below.

Arriving in the states 1st May and finishing cycling 26th June
7 States explored by bike - Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon
A further 4 by car - Kentucky, Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota
Total cycling mileage 2,430 miles
59 days spent cycling - an average of 41 miles per day.
Average speed of 9.1 miles an hour
Approx. 267 hours spent pedalling (4.5 hours per cycling day)
Longest continuous cycling stretch - Jackson, WY to Astoria, OR. 1,657 miles
Punctures = 1 (50 miles from the end!)
Bike services 2, 1 new chain
McDonalds visited = 0

This is hardly pushing the limits of cycling endurance but I very much enjoyed sightseeing and lazing around in parks and beaches as well as cycling each day. Here's what I will miss most:-

  • Every day being a new adventure - it's been a wonderful & unforgettable summer. Tough at times but also rewarding. 
  • Unexpected things on the road such as fields full of alpacas, grocery stores in the middle of nowhere blasting out country music, an unexpected mountain popping up on the horizon or fruit vendors letting me eat as much produce as I could.
  • The friendly people of small town America
  • Really long descents that stretched for miles
  • Swapping tips with fellow cyclists
  • Eating as much ice cream / cookies as I like and feeling it is justified 
  • Those moments when no one else was around and I had the landscape to myself, streching out for miles
  • Seeing lots of wildlife I'd never have seen from a car. E.g. badgers, beavers, and lots of deer and antelope that would gallop alongside me.

The adventures aren't over yet as I have a couple of road trips with friends lined up before returning to the UK at the end of August. However this is a bike blog so for now it's goodbye from me.

I believe it is traditional to sum up these blogs with some sort of profound wisdom that I have learnt on my journey and can now pass on. Well here's my take away lesson - it doesn't matter one jot where your towel is, always know where your insect repellent is.

Holly x

Astoria, OR

With mixed feelings I loaded my bike up for the last time to cycle to Astoria. I was sad that the cycling adventures were coming to an end. At the same time, the traffic is so heavy on the Oregon Coast that I was looking forward to making it to Astoria safely. It's a wonderful place to visit and I've enjoyed my days on the beach. Not such a wonderful place to cycle in July. It made me realise how much I've been cycling in rural, small town America until now.

I set off in a wet sea mist. For the first time in weeks the sunglasses were stowed and the rain jacket on.

I was pleased that I ended my trip at the same point Lewis and Clark ended their westward journey. The Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805 and wintered at Fort Clatsop. First though I rode through Seaside where they established a salt making camp to flavour and preserve food. The salt kettles have been preserved.

From Seaside I followed the 'Lewis & Clark Road' which was much quieter than the main highway. I visited Fort Clatsop where the 31 men plus the Indian guide Sacagawea and her baby spent 4 months in the winter of 1805-06. Of the 106 days the explorers spent at the fort it rained every day but 12!

A replica Fort has been built on the site. It must have felt like small quarters and also taken an immense amount of work to build only to be used for 4 months.

From then it was onto Astoria and a finish at the maritime museum in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Cannon Beach, OR

I was keen to overnight in Cannon Beach - I've been here before on a road trip with Frida and didn't think I'd be cycling back one day.

Cannon beach is one of Oregon's oldest resort communities. It was named after a cannon washed ashore in 1846 from the wreck of the schooner 'Shark' which was exploring the area. I saw the cannon at the museum.

Cannon Beach has a 3 mile long sandy beach and the distinctive haystack rock. It also has some nice shops and a pub situated in the local hardware store. Today there is a farmers market with live music.

I have another hiker/biker site in an otherwise full campground in a forest just the other side of town from the beach.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Nehalem, OR

Cape Lookout state park to Nehalem Bay state park was a fairly flat ride. It took me past the giant inflatable crab of Garibaldi. I also went via Oceanside for breakfast and a visit to another beach.

Another $6 hiker/biker site available in the state park. Normal tent sites are $29 and were full anyway. Perhaps the trick is to abandon your car somewhere, pack everything into a rucksack and arrive at the campsite claiming you've just hiked 20 miles! You could also choose to arrive here by horse and get a space in the horse camping area. The 4th night in a row I've gone to sleep with the sound of the sea.

Hiking and cycling are very popular round here so I've met lots of other cyclists over the last few days. There is a popular route going from Vancouver to San Diego, California which a lot of people are doing. These are the busiest roads I've seen though so while it's great to be by the sea, the traffic can make for stressful cycling. This is why I was not too tempted to add more days cycling onto my trip, instead I will stay at Nehalem for another couple of nights and also have a couple of days in Astoria before meeting Sissel for our road trip.

Nehalem Bay has another great beach which stretches for miles. The wind has not let up here though whereas the last few days on the coast have not been very windy for me. The camping spots are well sheltered in the trees.

Nehalem is small but has some nice shops and cafes. It also has a winery (this is American for vineyard) which does tours & tastings so I may well do that tomorrow.

Update - what was that I was saying about no punctures!? 45 miles away from Astoria and I get my first flat. Not surprising as the roads round here are so busy I'm forced to ride in the shoulder which has all sorts of debris and broken glass. Still all fixed now and it would have been a shame to have carried tyre levers and spare tubes across the states for no reason. Fingers crossed for no more problems.

Cape Lookout, OR

Some views of a misty Pacific City. Which is not a city, it might charitably be called a small town. Americans love naming tiny places 'cities'. Strangely enough, the car park is on the beach.

The mist cleared in time for a view down to Cape Lookout state park as I cycled over the headland. The campground in the park was full unless you arrive by foot or bicycle. I got a biker site right above the beach and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and another sunset.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Neskowin, OR

A 74 mile day to reach the Pacific Ocean meant my longest mileage day of the trip but I could smell the sea and hear the gulls before I reached the coast which was a good motivation.

Following Wendy's route I avoided the highway for most of the day and rode on some really beautiful quiet roads through farmland & vinyards then uphill through the Siuslaw national forest and down to the coast. I was very excited to see the sea!

Despite not cycling coast to coast I've pedalled 2,288 miles to get here so thought my bike deserved a dip in the sea. It's performed admirably with no punctures or broken spokes. Though I've still got some cycling to do so I'd best not jinx it! I swapped the front and back tyres round a while ago and that's stopped too much wear. I last started cycling again in the Grand Teton national park which was 1,515 miles ago so it was still a fair amount of pedalling over the rockies and cascade mountain ranges to get to this point.

I'm staying for 2 nights at Nancy's guest house which has bedrooms and also hostel type beds. It's beautiful here and the garden goes right onto the beach. Unfortunately Nancy is booked up this weekend or I could happily stay here for days!  Nancy is pictured with Steely who arrived last night. We went down to the beach to watch the sun set and Steely took some snaps of me and my bike this morning. Steely's given name is hard for westerners to pronounce so when she moved to America she named herself after Steely Dan. I think that's awesome and if I ever move to China I shall pick a cool Chinese name for myself!

The beach here is beautiful and stretches for miles so this morning I enjoyed a long walk then back to drink lots of tea. No I'm not swimming - the Pacific is freezing here! Its cloudy today which is amazing. I've been baked by the sun for weeks and am loving the cloud cover.

Tomorrow I shall start making my way slowly north to Astoria. Updated with a 2nd beautiful sunset at Neskowin

That's All Folks

My cycling adventures in America have come to an end! I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I won't try a...