All the images of my last journey were lost when my phone was stolen save the few I emailed to family. Funny looking at this one as the tree seems rather large. I don’t remember why I took this picture as that was actually one of the smallest trees in the forest. Bike touring is like that, you think you will remember every minute detail but the memories string together in the hundreds and thousands with each passing day. The mind goes into overload with each new vista, hill and dark wooded forest.
Ill never forget that first ride on Chika through hell, I mean downtown Portland. Chika felt like a monster with her 31.6″ bars and three inch tires. She was far to unwieldy to throw around in traffic and then it happened. I saw a pink Brompton go flying by and my heart sank a bit as the Brompton was truly made for banging the city. Something about riding through the insanity of huge public places has always given me such a rush, you become part of the ebb and flow of the majestic anarchy of thousands of idiots in their steel coffins. Its all or nothing, one mistake and your either going to the hospital or the morgue. Being raised in So Cal we have bar none the best MTB riding on the planet but the city was always the gateway and exit from the front country I loved so much.
For all the bitching and griping I do about the traffic on the coast it has become my companion and I actually miss those insane portions where you almost kinda wish you could get that part over with but its all so beautiful that you want it to go on forever. I don’t know why I keep studying and collecting maps of the Yukon, Alaska, Mexico and the continental Divide, when All I can think about is the Oregon Coast. I’ll admit that meeting those crazy minimalist cyclists on uber-light road bikes with 10 lbs of gear really had me dreaming of high speed touring but those big fat tires of mine always seemed to sniff out best dirt. Somewhere on that ride Chicka and I became one, I started talking too her and listening to her. If I pushed her too far without dirt I would feel guilty as if I was somehow neglecting my duties to her. Regardless of where we slept and there were some strange encounters, every night she got the once over.
The strangest part is peeing in broad daylight on the side of the road, I cant imagine how many thousands of people drove by as I watered the flowers. I even got busted by a few dozen cops but only one pulled over and its because he wanted to check out my bike. I got the best picture ever of him riding Chicka and another of me being handcuffed against hood of the car just for fun. The picture actually looked really scary, we all laughed our asses off when we saw it. Slow miles, fast miles, easy miles, hard miles, its certainly the easiest route I’ve ever ridden, minus all the bridges and tunnels which always have me screaming like a 12 year old girl at the sight of a spider.
My daily miles are still short, I’m still hurting but still riding and cant seem to shake the idea of another awesome ride. Last night I slept in a heated garage in a hammock, I had two cool beers and insomnia so I completely disassembled and cleaned the whole bike, by 9:00 AM you couldn’t tell. My load is 99% perfection and while I still have a few minor gear swaps this is the lightest load I’ve every carried. I have everything I need and nothing I don’t. My movement is near constant and all I really want is to sleep in my own bed for once. As much as I despise living on land my tiny home has been a wonderful nest for transitioning. I’ve been following these sailors for about 9 months now and have completely fallen in love with their journey. For the land locked sailor there is a Zen to all things cycling. Bikepacking is the most under-rated and drug-free antidepressant.