Um... SO. Where were we?
Ah, yes — it's Round-Up Time. So let's do this thing. Starting with…
The Oregon Round-Up!
STATS SO FAR (AND EVER)
Total miles in Oregon: 507.1
Total trip miles: 3865.7
GETTING IT DONE. And we don't just mean having finished our TransAm in Oregon, but more having survived the place itself — the snow, the rain, the mountain passes and shrinking shoulders and wind and… and all of it. What a glorious excruciating mess of an end to this journey. What a ride.
November 7 — An excellent birthday. The day the election results were finally declared. A day of invigoration and joy in a year that's sorely needed both.
Ochoco Pass — Yes, it got a little dicey/icy at the top, but it was like riding through Narnia or inside a perfect snow globe. Some of the most stunning surroundings we experienced on the whole trip.
Those trees, though — The towering Oregon pines—their immensity, their smell, just their presence—were unremittingly awesome. We're not totally sure whether we saw any old growth, but whether or not we did, these forests have a weight and a majesty to them — you just breathe differently in a place like this.
Spoke'n Hostel — Believe The Hype. Simply the best. That is all.
Horse Creek Lodge — After Santiam Pass, we really needed a restful place to stay, and our little cabin at Horse Creek Lodge was wonderful. As was their bike-washing station! And the fact that they gave us free beers while we were washing our bikes. And that Alyssa, the super kind owner, lent me her car to go get us some food. Just, wow. Lovely folks, lovely place.
All our lovely hosts: Jerry in Canyon City; Martin at Spoke'n Hostel; Anne and Lou and Lily Rose and Adelyne in Prineville; Sherry and Richard in Sisters; Alyssa at Horse Creek... We're so grateful for them all!
The snow plow guy on Santiam Pass — Seriously, guy. You rock.
Best OR Eats:
Burnt River Junction in Huntington — they served up some excellent sammies, and also saved our butts from a 35-mile gravel mistake. Thanks, BRJ!
The rockin' sweets from Painted Hills Pastry in Mitchell. Especially the chocolatine!
Beau's Birthday Cake!!! (Which, if you're interested, Sara baked from this recipe.)
One Street Down Cafe in Redmond — Two big thumbs up in the Second Breakfast category.
Our final night celebration meal at Bridgewater Fish House in Florence, OR. Delicious, nice folks, a proper We Did The Thing feast.
Bread & Roses Bakery in Yachats — we hit this place after the TransAm, and didn't manage to drop it into the epilogue, but… It has a place in our hearts. Really nice folks, extremely satisfying baked goods. We bought a bunch and carried them around/enjoyed them for days.
Last OR Thoughts:
An all-in-one landscape tour — Riding through Oregon was almost like doing a recap of all the terrains we'd been through on our journey. Scrubby high desert, snowy mountains, lava fields, lush old forests, rolling pastures, winding riverside roads, and, of course, ocean — Oregon's got it all!
A place to come back to — We don't feel any burning desire to return to, say, Kansas or Missouri any time soon (sorry, Ozarks). But in Oregon—especially since we were riding quickly against weather—we often found ourselves wishing we could spend more time in a beautiful or interesting spot. We'd like to see the John Day Fossil Beds someday, and also the views from McKenzie Pass. We'd love to return to the national forests. And, someday, in a better future, we'd really like to visit Portland, and possibly Astoria. So, thank you, Oregon, for giving us so many possible journeys to look forward to!
Stand up — You might've noticed we were a little defiant in our last week about how many people warned, scoffed, and told us that this trip, in this direction, this late in the season, shouldn't be done. Well, a part of that was a particular experience we had where we stopped into a particular bike shop (we won't say where cuz, ya know, good luck to all bike shops) and asked if someone could take a look at Sara's bike, which was feeling a little jangly/clicky in the pedals/bottom bracket area. The guy said the cranks were loose and tightened them down (supposedly — it didn't really fix the problem, but whatever). Then he went on for a minute about the things that could've gone wrong from loose cranks, in much the same way certain dentists seem to think that admonishment is part of their job. Then he asked us which way we were going. We told him, "To the coast, over Santiam Pass." And maybe he was just in the mode, but he went on to shake his head and huff and puff and condescend: "I wouldn't do that. You should head south, go around..." etc. etc. and so forth. It fell on deaf ears, obviously, but the dude's tone bothered us for days because, hadn't we already made it 3,500 miles? I mean: Come. On. But we only bring it all up now because, even with something as small as a bike trip, there are always going to be people in the world who are scared for you. Who know better. Who are concerned... And I guess this is all just to say: take heart, have courage. It's a tough world out there but, even now, it's absolutely filled with beauty and sometimes with meaning. Don't let someone else's fear keep you from finding that out for yourself.
And now, folks:
THE AMERICA ROUND-UP
Okay, so — we've been racking our brains on how to even begin summing up this journey: the highs, the lows, the countless thoughts that keep plaguing us about this vast, fraught nation and our places in it. It is much, and will possibly become the source of an addendum to our account here. But for the moment we're going to rely largely on something a little more graspable, and which we're also quite fond of: Stats! So, here goes!
We climbed 172,725 feet of elevation. Ya'll, that's 5.95 times up Mount Everest. Yikes.
We also rode 3,865.7 miles. Which is 0.016% of the way to the moon… Maybe we should compare that to something smaller?
But we did cross 9 states! We skipped Montana… But also we saw Indiana. Surely that counts for something?
We averaged 56.8 miles per riding day, not counting rest days... But counting all the short days while Beau's knee was in recovery. Obviously.
And we spent 83 days on the road, 15 of which were rest days. Rest days rule.
We replaced 2 tires (1 for Beau, 1 for Sara) and 2 chains (same). We lost track of how many tubes we went through, but here's a fun gallery of our flats throughout the trip!
We ate 17 bajillion jars of Peanut Butter, and 3 times as much Tuna.
We raised $4,303 to Get Out The Vote! Thank you again to everyone who contributed, shared, and sent their support!! We couldn't have done it without you!
And we sent in two absentee ballots!
And we also took 12,558 pictures... which Beau has spent literal days sorting through and putting into videos and albums and such, so that we can now tell you things like:
in Virginia we took 1,742 photos over 16.5 days and 608.9 miles
in Kentucky: 1057 in 12 days and 519 miles
Illinois: 257 photos in, like, a day and a half / 120.1 miles
Missouri: 861 in 7 days / 374.1 miles
Kansas: 1128 in 8.5 days / 494.7 miles
Colorado: 2720 in 10 days / 477.8 miles (CO's so pretty)
Wyoming: 1629 in 10.5 days / 326.7 miles (not including the 120-mile car ride…)
Idaho: 1147 in 8 days / 437.3 miles
and Oregon, with 2010 photos in 9 days and 507.1 miles (not including the epilogue of 105.1 miles, which brings our trip total up to 3,970.8!)
Moving past stats, here are some fun things Beau carried all the way across the country:
A tarp and bungees, for the guitar (and sometimes for the bikes at night)
Extra guitar strings and a capo
A beard trimmer
A foam roller
This honey bear! Which started the trip not even whole, and still has about half left, despite many peanut butter-honey-banana sandwiches.
A wine key
What's that, you say? A mascot? Hell, yes! These little guys traveled with us since the laundromat coin-op prize thingy in Wytheville, VA. Guess whose was whose?
And we also mailed 5 packages home, consisting mainly of tchotchkes we picked up along the way but also of stuff that was no longer seasonal, or that we were just tired of carrying.
And now we, too, are back "home" in Charlottesville. The bikes are at the shop — they're both getting new chains, new rear cassettes (gears), new brake pads, and new cables. Beau's replacing his front tire (Needs. Flat. Protection. And also to match with his new wheel, which is apparently not the best…) and he's moving on to his third set of handlebar tape while Sara's still on her first — apparently he grips the bars weirdly, or at least in a weird place. But he's made it this far.
And so, for now, we're going to call this thing rounded up. But, in case you're just craving more, we'll be posting some Casing the Promised Land photo albums soon. And maybe at some point we'll find that we have something else to say here. But, till then, be safe, be kind, be brave, and thank you all.