April 11, 2009

San Francisco Dash: Day Four

Medford, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia (970km)
March 24, 2009

The last day's ride was going to be a long hard go. Distances were the same as the first day, but I now had over 2,700km on my backside and I didn't think my stamina would be quite the same as that first day. However, I'd learned several tricks for making good time, how to plan stops efficiently, and how to posture my ride so I could get 250km in one sitting.

An early start to the day for the final 950km ride back to Vancouver, BC.

First gas stop. Dark, cold, and wet, as it all began.

I got an early start and was on the road by 06:00, eager to get home. I was mildly deluded to thinking I could be back by 4pm if all went well. But based on the time of day I'd get there it was Seattle traffic I was most worried about. Like all tests of endurance I set smaller goals and had my sights set on Portland for a (hopefully) good lunch at Mother's Bistro, a place that Angie and I never miss when we're in town.

Morning mist rising up the mountains.

It's 450km from Medford to Portland and a quick go. The interstate is great here and the traffic light. Putting off breakfast I finally had to warm up with a coffee an Burger King was the only thing I saw for 30kms. They had absolutely the worst coffee I've ever injested!!! I couldn't bring myself to eat their breakfast so I finished another power bar as I huddled over the bike, mountain air chilling my fingers.

Worst coffee ever ever ever.

I made good time and arrived in Portland at 12:30. The GPS got me straight to Mother's, a parking spot was right out front, and I slipped past the line (there's always a wait) and into a single seat at the bar. A delicious tuna melt sandwich was mine and the key lime pie that somehow ended up in front of my was yummy too. This was going to be my one decadent stop of the day so I savoured the coffee.

Portland to Seattle was a long go. The distance was only 300km, but I was really starting to get antsy with the distances and missing a warm bed and shower. It had also started to rain making an unpleasant cocktail with the cold and wind. It was definitely still a West Coast winter here. Seattle traffic was also bad, as expected for rush hour, and even the car pool lane couldn't save me from bumper-to-bumper crawls. Finally through Seattle the rain only increased and it was a truly miserable 200km from Seattle to the Canadian border. Like my last night in Medford, I can't remember anything else of this part of the trip (forgetting can be hard work too).

Clearing Canadian customs was smooth and as I burned down Hwy 99 into Vancouver the sky cleared and there was a beautiful blue sunset to welcome me. It was great to be home, and even better having where I'd been.

The final sunset, in blue, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Check out the series
Prelude: Trip preparation
Part 1: Vancouver to Medford
Part 2: Medford to San Francisco via Shasta-Trinity Forest
Part 3: San Francisco to Medford via Klamath Falls
Part 4: Medford to Vancouver
Coda: Conclusions to a great spring trip

1 comment:

Gloria said...

Thanks for sharing! I had brunch at Mother's Bistro when I was in Portland and thoroughly enjoyed it. :)