Hello again, it has been a while!
Rio has now returned to the UK and is studying towards her dream of a Masters in Marine Mammal science at St Andrews. I am still on the road in Southern California. Our last few weeks together were pretty hectic, hence the break in communication. I am now going to try and update the blog with some quick posts (& lots of pictures), to where I am now. I will start with mine and Rio’s final month together. We had a fantastic time and cycled some beautiful roads.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Cycling over the the border to California where we stopped at a sign welcoming us to the state, and danced to the song ‘California’ by Phantom Planet. The Northern California coast provided us with plenty of beautiful views.
- We cycled through the avenue of Giants where we felt like mere ants. John Steinbeck described the enormity of these trees so well- ” the redwoods, once seen, create a vision that stays with you always… they are not like any other trees we know, they are the ambassadors of another time.”
- We then overcome the longest climb of our trip to 1800 feet cycling over the Leggett mountains. The fact that we had started at 04:30am meant we were probably half asleep when we did it, so it didn’t seem nearly as hard as we had expected.
- Cycling over the Golden Gate bridge to San Francisco a grand finale to our journey together.
- We had just over two weeks to explore prior to Rios departure. We rode the steep streets of San Francisco and fell in love with the city, hitch-hiked around Lake Tahoe and discovered the majestic area of Yosemite National park.
It was very difficult to say goodbye to Rio, we are just as weird as one another and would often be the only one finding the others awful jokes hilarious. The consolation was that we had so many shared memories of a wonderful time together, a better travelling companion could not have been found. She is now studying a subject that she is passionate about and I am continuing on a solo adventure which is very exciting. Another post will be uploaded soon to update you on what I have been doing since Rio left in August.
We’re back on the road again after 2 weeks wwoofing on an organic blueberry & cranberry farm.
The farm was just South of a town called Bandon, right by the Pacific Coast in Southern Oregon. The owner, Nick, had bought the farm less than a year previously and we were the first wwoofers there to help out. A majority of our time was spent picking and sorting blueberries, as well as weeding around the bushes. This was the first harvest of the season so we were also able to help at its debut at the Farmer’s Market at Coos Bay. It was good fun and we learnt a lot about working on a small-scale commercial fruit farm.
Some of the highlights were:
- Travelling around the farm on a quad bike – checking out the 70 acre property full of lakes, sheep, llamas and searching for lobster mushrooms.
- Being invited to a local wedding reception in the old cheese factory in Langlois – which involved a lot of country dancing to the upbeat band playing. This was coincidentally on Hattie’s birthday so we had a double reason to dance!
- Celebrating 4th July on a beach and seeing the fireworks over Bandon.
- Attending an annual dog show, where all the owners were grooming and pampering the plethora of pups.
- Spontaneous road trip to Eugene, where we had a tour around the University of Oregon, and back to Portland where we spent many hours back in Powell’s bookstore and were able to try the famous VooDoo doughnuts (we both had the ‘Dirty Old Bastard’ which was covered in peanut butter & oreos – yum).
It was wonderful having Nick as our host as he joined us in all these activities and provided a lot of laughs when comparing the American vs. English language. It was inspiring to see someone who was just 3 years our elder owning and working on a fully productive farm. We’re excited to keep in touch and see how the farm takes off and prospers with his ownership and lead. After leaving the farm, we’ve seriously missed the enless supply of blueberries on the doorstep!
Since being back on the road cycling, we realised that we lapsed quite behind on the blog – as most nights we put up a tent and are asleep before it’s dark! Therefore there’ll be another update soon as we will keep on it more diligently.
Hattie & Rio
We set off from Portland for the coast, both looking forward to the cool sea breeze after being inland for a couple of warm weeks. We continued opting for backroad routes towards the coast, then joined up with the Highway 101 and the ocean in Tillamook. The bike ride out was through charming countryside towns with plenty of rolling hills and even a few mountains.
We also faced our first flat tyre of the trip, on the back of Rio’s bike, but were pleased that we could fix it without too much worry and were cycling again within the hour.
Our first glimpse of the Pacific in Oregon was on Sunday morning when we cycled down to see a mist covered bay with playful seals swimming around.
Since then, we have been able to follow the coast along the 101 and every corner has felt like it should feature in a picture postcard. The area is well-known for its lighthouses, so we made sure to stop and check out two of them this week; Yaquina Bay Lighthouse near Newport and Heceta Head Light near Florence (which can be seen in the background of the photo below). We’ve also been keeping our eyes on the sea at every stop, after meeting 3 marine mammal observers who told us that Grey Whales were still in the area and could be seen milling off the coast.
During this stretch we’ve been saving money by spending a majority of our nights wild camping. Finding a decently hidden location has added to the excitement of the trip, with some locations being easier than others. Most of our ‘campsites’ have been in forested areas within 10m of the main road, allowing easy access and quick departure in the morning. As of yet we haven’t run into too much trouble, the only downside is having no access to a refreshing shower at the end of the day – but we find the dirt and mud has made us look more tanned than we really are. Our lemon & eucalyptus mosquito spray works wonders as a perfume, if we’re without a shower for a few days.
We’re able to cook and enjoy a warm meal at the end of each day using a small Trangia camp stove, meaning we don’t have to rely on being close to restaurants or towns for our food.
We’re currently having a day off in the beautiful hilly countryside near Coos Bay whilst staying with a friend’s family. They have a wonderfully copious supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from their well looked after garden, which is definitely recharging our batteries in between cycling.
Hattie & Rio