Southwest USA Summary 2014

Morning sun rays illuminating the mist in the deep cove below still shadowed by the steep hills.

October 10, 2015 | Posted in California, Nevada, Places, Summary | By

Aside from Arizona, which has been given its own summary section, we did very little cycling in the southwest. We bounced around between tons of visits and music and also did some great hiking.

California (19 nights: Oct 9-16; Oct 18-31)

Distance cycled:45 mi / 72 km / 292,431 RJP
Elevation gained:785 ft / 239 m
Elevation lost:639 ft / 195 m

Our time in California can be divided into two distinct periods: Humboldt County and SF+.

We drove down to Humboldt County from Oregon for a long-overdue family visit after many years of absence. We stayed with my uncle with six of his seven kids in a doublewide trailer. It was chaos. It was amazing.

Sediment layers exposed at 45-degrees jutting into the ocean forming huge cliffs.

The Oregon coast has many faces. There are so many cool rock formations. Yeah, not actually CA, but I’ve never claimed to be consistent here.

Roosevelt elk with huge antlers grazing

The Roosevelt elk are the largest subspecies of elk in North America. They are HUGE. We saw a bunch of them hanging out in the middle of the expressway. A massive bull was staring down an outsized SUV.

One of the benefits of using a krr was that we had time to take a short backpacking trip which we’d been jonesing for since we left the Olympics. We chose the Lost Coast Wilderness, and WOW! The drive there is the first part of the adventure as you take a curvy, dilapidated road over some steep hills and drop straight down to the coast. We were only able to make a two-night in and out trip due to weather, but we were touched by this place and intend to return to hike the full length.

A dilapidated road drops down into a deep valley of range land

Tons of flabby sea lions basking on the beach

Sea lions everywhere. This is pretty much all they do the entire day, aside from lots of grunting.

Morning sun rays illuminating the mist in the deep cove below still shadowed by the steep hills.

This was the morning view from our first campsite. There was only one other group camped on the far side of the bay. There was a rock covered with sea lions and seabirds below us making noise all night long.

Brandy standing in front of a sea view from the highlands. Gold meadows surrounded by pine stands roll away to the sea below.

We climbed way the heck up to the ridge in the searing sun to make a loop out of it. I still have a scar from bushwhacking through a briar patch.

L is tiny among a half dozen virgin redwoods

On the way back we stopped to spend a bit more time with some big trees.

The SF part of our trip was a mixture of friends, family and music. Most of the rest of my CA family lives around SF, so we were able to have some nice visits. Phish conveniently scheduled their fall tour around our plans, so we were able to see the three-night run there and we even got one of my old classmates to go to a show, which he seemed to enjoy. One of Brandy’s goals for the trip was to go to a west coast music festival and we were able to check that one off the list with the Hangtown Halloween Ball.

Bright orange hills reflected in foreground water

Arriving in the Bay Area on Amtrak

A couple people back from Mike, Trey and Fishman

We waited in line one of the days to get up close.

I had been to SF three times in my life, but had never actually “visited” it rather than just passing through. I finally put that to rest with this visit and got to enjoy the city. It didn’t woo me while I was there (I think the crazy gentrification and housing prices were always in my head), but I think back now and realize that it is indeed a special place. I was also disappointed with the cycling there, but not surprised considering the stupid court-ordered moratorium on infrastructure that was only recently lifted. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how much they had managed to do in such a short time since the moratorium. I was very impressed with how much cycling infrastructure was available in the surrounding areas as well. Oakland was particularly great for riding, but we also rode through the silicon suburbs when we went to visit my aunt and I was pleased to see how nice it was to ride there and how easy it was to bring bikes on the Caltrain.

10 SF cityview

Sign shows a bicycle and says, "Green Wave". Sign below says, "Signals set to 20 MPH".

Signals on several arterials in SF have been retimed to provide progressive green signals for cyclists. In this respect SF is far ahead of most US cities.

Bike route sign says, "The Wiggle" and has blocky zigzag arrow.

The Wiggle is a signed route for cyclists planned to avoid hills going between the center of the city and the western part of the city including Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury.

Entire car is dedicated to bicycles leaned against the side with tie downs. There is one row of seats in back.

Bike cars on Caltrain are spacious and easy to use.

L riding on crushed stone path next to the bay

Cycling along the extensive trail network in the South Bay.

Nevada (4 nights: Oct 31-Nov 4)

Distance cycled:50 mi / 80 km / 324,923 RJP
Elevation gained:2,379 ft / 725 m
Elevation lost:2,733 ft / 833 m
Flat tires:1

I don’t have much to say about Nevada. I have driven all over that state and love it. We spent the bulk of this time partying it up with our friends in a house we rented for the Halloween Phish shows in Vegas. The drive to Vegas was beautiful, like the rest of Nevada. I was impressed by how nice it was to cycle in Vegas. It’s difficult to use the bike for transport because everything is so spread out, but the roads are so over-engineered that there is plenty of space for all the traffic in most places so we felt comfortable riding as we left town. There were some very nice multi-use trails as we got further out of town. We did NOT ride on the Strip, which is a horrible krr-oriented hellhole. It’s a hassle to get anywhere, especially on foot. It is specifically designed so that you either never leave the casino complex you’re staying in, or you take a taxi everywhere. I really can’t figure out why people love this place so much, but with great friends and great music, it wasn’t tough to have a great time.

Rows of tiny white barracks in a broad valley

Old barracks in a desolate landscape.

Profile of the Strip from a few miles away. The silly pyramid is especially visible.

The Strip from a safe distance

L rides down a drainage canal towards Lake Mead in the distance.

Part of the path to Lake Mead followed a drainage canal. This was a lot of fun slaloming downhill on the banked sides!

L riding on a paved bike path above Lake Mead.

Lake Mead

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

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Northwest USA & BC Summary 2014

Pine trees silhouetted against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains on the other side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the fading sunset orange to yellow to green to blue with the full moon rising

October 8, 2015 | Posted in Canada, Oregon, Places, Summary, USA, Vancouver Island, Washington | By

After a long train ride out West, we spent some great times traveling around Washington, British Columbia and Oregon by train, bike, bus, krr, boat, foot and dogsled. Ok, not the last one. We met lots of friends, old and new, and spent time in stunning natural beauty.

Idaho (Aug 29) Transit only

We passed through Idaho on the train to Seattle.

Washington (15 nights: Aug 29-Sep 3; Sep 8-18)

Distance cycled:326 mi / 524 km / 2,117,849 RJP
Elevation gained:15,147 ft / 4,617 m
Elevation lost:15,129 ft / 4,611 m
Brake failures:2

Our route took us from Seattle up to Vancouver Island, British Columbia via the San Juan Islands, back to Seattle and then around the Olympic Peninsula. We cycled through incredible beauty in Washington and met really great people there. We also had some of the more challenging days of our trip so far in that state, both physically and mentally. We added the Olympic Mountains to our growing “must revisit with more time” list, but do not really recommend cycling the Olympic Peninsula. I had been looking forward to that ride for quite a while, but in the end it did not deliver. It was a nice ride, but the scenic views were too few and far between to be worth putting up with the absolutely horrible log truck drivers. These guys to date constitute the very worst group of people we have encountered on our trip, by a very wide margin. We felt in danger the entire time we were there and it is only a matter of time before someone is killed by their willful negligence.

Snowcapped mountains peek out between closer mountains.

One of the very few views of actual mountains on the Olympic Peninsula

Mountains in the behind a golden ranch

Another rare view near Forks, WA

Rays of sun shining through pine trees in Olympic National Park, Washington

The beauty of the Olympic Peninsula is in the forest

Beautiful red leaves against the blue sky

Fog shrouded rock pillars on Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington

And the sea

Sign saying the dates of forest plantations and harvest and "JOBS GROW WITH TREES"

If only those jobs could be filled by humans with some respect for life.

We chose the perfect time to visit western Washington because the rains had not yet started and there was an unbelievable amount of apples, pears and especially blackberries available for picking on the side of the road.

The cutting board at our campsite includes free pears found on the side of the road.

Free fruit breakfast!

Corncobs bungeed to the front of Brandy's bike rack.

Some other good produce from the farmers market!

"Coming Soon - Cannablyss"

Other Washington produce coming soon!

The ferries throughout the San Juan Islands were a nice treat, although we didn’t see any whales. Orcas Island claimed both of our brake failures. On a steep downhill, Brandy lost a screw, which dropped the pad it was supposed to hold in place. This is a serious design failure in some otherwise excellent brakes. Luckily she was able to find the pad and poached a screw from another, less crucial spot. I had a brake cable snap while coming down a very large hill. Luckily I had been on the road previously and knew I could coast it out without worrying about some busy junction or crazy potholes. I would find out in a couple months that I had made a serious rookie mistake of not investigating why it snapped (hint: that should never happen).

Brandy sits in a low limb of a huge pine tree in a virgin forest on Orcas Island

Great trees on Orcas!

The sound outside of the Orcas ferry terminal with imposing grey clouds.

Waiting for a ferry that never came.

Riding on an empty road underneath alongside a raised highway causeway and some huge pipes.

Sometimes you find yourself riding in some really random places.


With some random names

A Model T era car driving down the road

One day there was a classic car rally along our route and we saw dozens of these guys. Most of the passengers were dressed in period wear as well.

Working in front of a huge window with a view of Mt. Rainier

My “office” in Seattle

Lewis staring longingly into the display window of Metsker Maps

And my paradise!

Yellow leaves at night match the school buses behind

Just a final cool photo from Seattle

British Columbia (5 nights: Sep 3-8)

Distance cycled:85 mi / 136 km / 549,770 RJP
Elevation gained:2,155 ft / 657 m
Elevation lost:2,178 ft / 664 m

We had a short, but sweet visit to Vancouver Island. The cycling was fantastic and almost entirely on trails. Our host in Sooke, Justin had been a Couchsurfing guest of ours in NYC back in 2013 right after we first decided to take this trip. We stayed at his parent’s beautiful B & B / blacksmith shop and had a good time catching up.

Silhouettes of the blacksmith tools over the background of chopped wood outside

The forge

Pine trees silhouetted against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains on the other side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the fading sunset orange to yellow to green to blue with the full moon rising

View from the B & B

Victoria is a cute, but pricey town where we had the best sushi of our lives and our first intro to bike polo! I think this town has some good soul, but we just weren’t there long enough to get too far into it. My cousin came down to meet us and we took a krr trip out to the isolated tourist town of Port Renfrew. Everyone says this part of the island is incredibly beautiful. It is definitely pretty, but I was a bit underwhelmed, perhaps because the coast here is so much like Lake Superior so the scenery was not much of anything new for me. We got some more time with BIG trees, which is always magical.

The nearly full moon above a brightly lit colonial building

Victoria at night

Hiking back from Big Gnarly tree

Hiking back from Big Gnarly

A large cliff overhangs a sandy beach on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Aside from the mountains across the channel, this could be Lake Superior.

Vancouver Island is HUGE. We only got to see a tiny part of it. Hopefully we’ll get a chance for further exploration in the future.

Lewis riding on a path next to a highway stacked with billboards

This one spot on the ride from Victoria to the ferry was littered with billboards. We learned that BC prohibits billboards on highways, but this short stretch is on First Nations land, so the laws do not apply.

Oregon (23 nights: Sep 18-Oct 9; Oct 16-18)

Distance cycled:215 mi / 346 km / 1,398,469 RJP
Elevation gained:4,340 ft / 1,323 m
Elevation lost:7,926 ft / 2,416 m

I had not been back to Oregon since I lived there in 2008, so I was excited to come back to this place I loved, but I was also nervous that it might have changed, or I might have changed or my expectations would prove ruinous in one way or another. I am happy to report that Oregon withstood the scrutiny. Portland was as comfortable and welcoming as ever. I was a bit disappointed to find that the city seemed to have stagnated a bit in terms of cycling infrastructure and ridership. Portland was still high on its early cycling successes when I lived there and there was so much optimism about capturing an even greater share of travel. They hadn’t backshifted, thankfully, but there did not seem to be much new, aside from a sweet car-free bridge they were about to open. People I spoke with in the industry seemed a bit disheartened about some negative governmental changes and lack of energy. The low-hanging fruit has been picked and the momentum doesn’t seem to have been enough to take it to the next level. Nevertheless, it is still an awesome city for cycling. I was not at all surprised after six years living in New York to find Portland much smaller and quieter than I remember.

A neighborhood traffic circle is surrounded by flowers painted on the road

Portland: still funky and bikeable

A fully enclosed yellow tricycle waits for a train

A good way to keep cycling through the wet Portland winters.

A cool mural on the side of a house

I was not at all let down in the brewery department. There are tons of good ones and we even took a brewery bike crawl one day. On the west coast I discovered that it’s not that I don’t like IPAs, I just don’t like crappy, stale East Coast IPAs. The difference is night and day. On the flipside, IPAs are great on the West Coast, but the diversity seems to be a bit limited. Everyone makes great IPAs, but not much else. It could be worse though, it could be 1976 and everyone could be making light American lagers only.

Brandy looking bored and cool with a beer flight

From hipster…

B & L looking like dorks with our tasting

To dork in three breweries.

Brandy and Joe packing up the bikes after a successful brewery crawl.

And that’s a wrap!

We also made it down to Bend, and so did our bikes despite being strapped to the top of a Ford Focus. The town was a little more car-oriented than I expected, but we had a nice time, and again, the breweries did not disappoint. The ride over the mountains to Corvallis was spectacular and we got some hot springs action.

Bikes tied to the top of a Ford Focus

Lewis cycles through lava fields

Over the pass to Eugene

Strings of morning mist hang over the fields

Morning out of Eugene

"Nimrod" location sign

A sign just for us!

We had been looking forward to cycling the coast down to visit my family in Humboldt County, CA, but when we compared the timeframe with the distance, it was looking like we’d have to do some heavy pedaling and I was starting to have some pain that couldn’t be ignored. When my friend Araby offered us the use of her krr AND said she’d go with us to the Phish show in Eugene, it was a done deal. I realized that I probably would not have enjoyed cycling the coast too much anyway. There is too much tourist traffic, not enough shoulders and not enough views. I think the way to see it would be to hike the Oregon Coast Trail and I intend to do that someday. The sea has captured my affection on this trip in a way it never has in the past. Although I consider Humboldt County to be part of the Pacific Northwest in spirit, it’s still in California, so I will lump it in with my Southwest summary.

A starfish wrapped around a seaweed stalk on the sand

The ribbed texture of the sand fills the screen

My conviction that Oregon is a very special place has been reinforced. We had an incredible time checking out some new parts, drinking delicious beer and best of all, reconnecting with some great friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I have also had my conviction reinforced that krr travel is for the birds. It could be great for certain things (like Phish tour!) and some of my greatest childhood memories are of grand road trips out west. These are the trips that started it all for me! But man, sitting in a krr driving around just sucks the life out of me these days. It puts me into a state of hypnosis where I just float unconsciously from one place to another. The air is stale, even with the windows rolled down, there is no connection to the places we pass through and I become insanely tired for no reason at all. After all the cycling touring I have come to realize just how much of the experience of a place is missed when boxed in.

Typical Pacific Northwest coffee hut

I love the coffee huts in the Pacific Northwest

B & L posing with loaded bikes

See you soon!

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East Coast USA & Hawaii Summary 2014

Lewis sitting on a bench looking cool and texting

August 11, 2015 | Posted in Hawaii, New York City, New York State, North Carolina, Places, Summary, Vermont, Virginia | By

New York (24 nights: May 2-7; May 16-19; Jun 24-27; Jul 1-14)

Distance cycled:123 mi / 198 km / 799,961 RJP
Elevation gained:3,845 ft / 1,172 m
Elevation lost:4,063 ft / 1,238 m

Naturally we started our trip in New York. Although homeless now, we used NYC as our home base for travel and concerts until mid-July when we finally got the hell out of there. We rode around the city quite a bit, but I only included miles to and from the train station and the Phish shows at Randall’s Island. We also did a mini-tour between a festival in Vermont and some shows upstate.

Lewis sitting on a bench looking cool and texting

This is what you do when you’re funemployed in NYC.

New Jersey (1 night: May 7; May 16; May 19-20; Jun 24)

We were in New Jersey several times, passing through to/from Virginia or the Newark airport. We spent one night there before catching our flight to Hawaii.

Pennsylvania (May 7; May 16; Jul 14) Transit only

We passed through Pennsylvania on our way to/from Virginia as well as on the train to Ohio.

Maryland (May 7; May 16) Transit only

We passed through Maryland on our way to/from Virginia.

West Virginia (May 7; May 16) Transit only

We passed through West Virginia on our way to/from Virginia.

Virginia (7 nights: May 7-16)

Our first trip out of New York was to visit Brandy’s folks in Virginia and drop off a vanload of crap we decided to keep. We did no cycling in Virginia. We drove through the night on the way back. That night is not attributed to any state.

Lewis hanging laundry

North Carolina – Lewis only (1 night: May 13-14)

I took a day trip down to Raleigh and Chapel Hill to visit a friend while Brandy stayed behind to finish some sewing projects. I ate good BBQ, went to a brewery and did no bicycling.

Approaching an iron bridge with Jersey barriers blocking it off.

I guess my map is out of date.

Spray painted on the road of the closed bridge, "If I find out who cut my ropes down Im'a fuc#"


Trays of BBQ and other delicious fixin's

Almost makes me want to eat meat again

Georgia (1 night: May 20-21)

We were stranded in Atlanta after we missed our connection to Hawaii, until we remembered that my cousin, Matt had just moved there. Luckily he had randomly chosen to take the day off work and we had a nice surprise visit with Matt and his family.

Hawaii (33 nights: May 21-Jun 23)

Distance cycled:36 mi / 58 km / 232,645 RJP
Elevation gained:1,542 ft / 470 m
Elevation lost:1,542 ft / 470 m
Broken spokes:3

We were lucky enough to come across some insanely cheap tickets to Hawaii in the months leading up to our trip. In the past we’d skipped similar deals because it just didn’t seem right to go there for only a week. Finally! We’d have enough time to give Hawaii our full attention. We spent over a month there and visited all but one of the populated islands open to the public. The people we met were incredible and showed us that the aloha spirit is still alive. Each island is unique and magnificent in its own way and we absolutely intend to return, possibly to live. We only did a small amount of cycling, on crappy rental bikes on the very bike-able island of Molokai. The bikes were in such poor condition that I broke several spokes on mine.

We paid for accommodations for 11 of our nights there, including 5 nights of backpacking on the Na Pali Coast. Our 19 nights of camping ranged from squatting with a homeless guy in Kona who claimed to be the deposed king of Hawaii to some of the most beautiful spots we have ever been. Of those, 13 nights were on the seashore.

A huge forest fire from the plane on the way to Hawaii

A huge forest fire from the plane on the way to Hawaii

Lewis in the distance on a tiny road along the coast

Vermont (4 nights: Jun 27-Jul 1)

Distance cycled:68 mi / 109 km / 438,646 RJP
Elevation gained:4,101 ft / 1,250 m
Elevation lost:5,016 ft / 1,529 m
Ass kicked by bike:1 time

There was time for one last festival with our buddies Austin & Elyza. The Frendly (sic) Gathering in Vermont attracted a much younger crowd than other festivals, but was a good time nonetheless. The festival fit in logistically well with the Phish three-night run at Saratoga Springs so we made a small cycle tour out of it. The Green Mountains were our first true climbing with loaded bikes. Just getting to the festival entrance was challenging enough, but we were shocked to learn that there were another seven miles and 900 feet of elevation gain to get from the check-in to the actual festival. The choice of riding or taking the yellow school bus was easy and provided some unearned downhill coasting when we left the fest on Sunday. Perhaps to pay us back our insolence, the road hypnotized Brandy to forget to unclip from the pedals going into the campground that night and she toppled over onto her poor knee. It was pretty bashed up, but luckily it was superficial and she was able to ride the next day. Sleeping arrangements ran the gamut on this ride: state park, free camping next to a creek in the woods, escaping a storm in our tent behind the house of a friendly jogger, Warm Showers hosts, stealth camping behind an Amtrak station.

Our friends chilling in a hammock in the woods

Hammocking it up with A & E at the Frendly Gathering.

Lewis at a rocky stream in the woods

This stream filled up with lightning bugs at night.

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USA / Canada Summary 2014

The full moon rising over a wall of sunset highlighted mountains in Arizona

August 3, 2015 | Posted in Canada, Places, Summary, USA | By

Well, we’re back in the USA for the summer. What better time than now to finally post the summary of our travels in the USA last year?

What follows contains excessive quantification of our activities from my last day at work, May 2nd, 2014 until we crossed the border to Mexico at Douglas, Arizona / Agua Prieta, Sonora on Christmas Eve, 2014. I kept track of a bunch of random useless information with respect to our cycling, sleeping, breweries visited, transit used and other stuff so put on your nerdiest glasses and get ready for the good times. I have broken it into the following posts:

Whole Country Nerdy Stats (this post)
East Coast & Hawaii

This post contains our overall numbers for USA/Canada for a bunch of different categories. The regional posts contain brief-ish reviews of what we did in each state and some photos.

Closeup of a spring tree bud

This is what we did with our first free day together – sat around in a park looking at blossoms and watching people play frisbee.

Moving the last of our stuff across town from our apartment by bike

Packed up and ready to move out of our apartment

We entered 24 US states and 1 Canadian province, but 3 of those were drive-thru and 5 were train-thru:

–       New York (May 2-7; May 16-19; Jun 24-27; Jul 1-14)
–       New Jersey (May 7; May 16; May 19-20; Jun 24)
–       Pennsylvania (May 7; May 16; Jul 14) Transit only
–       Maryland (May 7; May 16) Transit only
–       West Virginia (May 7; May 16) Transit only
–       Virginia (May 7-16)
–       North Carolina – Lewis only (May 13-14)
–       Georgia (May 20-21)
–       Hawaii (Jun 21-23)
–       Vermont (Jun 27-Jul 1)
–       Ohio (Jul 15)
–       Michigan (Jul 15-17)
–       Indiana (Jul 17) Transit only
–       Illinois (Jul 17-22)
–       Wisconsin (Jul 22-Aug 27)
–       Minnesota (Aug 27-28) Transit only
–       North Dakota (Aug 28) Transit only
–       Montana (Aug 28-29) Transit only
–       Idaho (Aug 29) Transit only
–       Washington (Aug 29-Sep 3; Sep 8-18)
–       British Columbia (Sep 3-8)
–       Oregon (Sep 18-Oct 9; Oct 16-18)
–       California (Oct 9-16; Oct 18-31)
–       Nevada (Oct 31-Nov 4)
–       Arizona (Nov 4-Dec 24)

We cycle toured in 12 states: New York, Hawaii, Vermont, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona; and 1 province: British Columbia. This brings our state cycle touring total up to 17, with the inclusion of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Maine and one duplicate, Wisconsin from previous tours.

A road in a state

A road in a state


Total USA & Canada Cycling
Distance cycled2,080 mi / 3,347 km / 13,516,150 Ron Jeremy Penises (RJP)
Elevation gained62,106 ft / 18,930 m
Elevation lost64,608 ft / 19,693 m
Cycling days70
Total nights236
Paid (inc. camping)43
Lodging TypeNights
In Transit6
Vacation Rental3
Sleeping SurfaceNights
Air Mattress12
Drove All Night1

We were in a bed almost half of the nights of our trip, which seems crazy when I look at it, but it makes sense considering how much we visited friends and family. The hammock nights were woefully few because we kept chasing autumn down the west coast and nights were a bit too chilly. Luckily we were able to dust them off once we got to the coast of Mexico.

An immaculate bedroom

Our first Warm Showers hosts had an immaculate house that reminded us of a B & B and made us nervous to bring our filthy asses in there, but they were so welcoming that we quickly felt at home.

Our hammocks strung up in a beautiful oak grove with tons of afternoon light

Our poor neglected hammocks got used a couple times, such as this incredible stealth spot in Wisconsin.

Host TypeNights
Spontaneous host12
Warm Showers8

We spent the most nights with friends (thanks guys!), including a handful of nights with friends of friends. We had no specific host on 82 nights, but this category is varied because it includes wild camping, park camping, hotels and hostels. Family put us up for 39 nights, which is actually a bit less than I thought it would be.

A great night highway shot with blurred lights as we pass a semi

We took a photo of every place we slept, or spent the night, as was the case when we drove all night back from Virginia.

Other Miscellaneous Crap

Here is some more miscellaneous crap we kept track of.

Water FeaturesNights
River / Stream12
Arroyo (inside)3

Yes, I know camping in arroyos is foolish, but it’s also the best place to camp for every other point aside from being washed away in the night.

The full moon rising over a wall of sunset highlighted mountains in Arizona

Sweet moonrise from our cozy little arroyo

Hot Springs2
Music Festival4

We would have loved to have way more fires than that, but I’m pretty conservative about the conditions in which I’ll build one, especially in the desert. The backpacking nights come from four hikes: Na Pali Coast; Pololu Valley (I barely count this because it was a 45-minute hike in and out); Lost Coast Wilderness; and Superstition Wilderness. All four of these places demolish anywhere else I have backpacked in amazingness factor. Most of the 23 concerts are Phish, but we did also see Primus on the Primus and the Chocolate Factory tour, which was one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Two weekend music festivals make four nights and very good times. Mosquitoville nights are nights where the mosquitoes are “out of control” and are not good times until you’re in your hammock laughing maniacally watching the bastards bouncing off the net.

A huge bonfire shoots sparks into the night visible through the silhouettes of other revelers.

Our most badass fire (note, I did not build this)

Closeup of the boys playing at Bill Graham from our sweet spot on the floor

Phish at Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco (sorry to cut you off Page)

We spent 38 nights on public land (5 in official Wilderness Areas). Below is the breakdown by agency or type.

Public Land Management EntityNights
State Park19
National Forest7
National Park3
County Park2
Other state land1
The trail is a thin line in the middle of a cliff, with steep drop offs to the sea. Tiny hikers are barely visible.

Approaching ‘Crawlers Ledge’ on the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast in Hawaii

The bright sun casts rays through the mist over an empty, still dark bay from behind the mountains hugging the coast. Huge wave lines come in perpendicular to the camera and stretch off to the horizon.

Sunrise from camp in the Lost Coast Wilderness in California

Looking up at Brandy staring off at epicness, sharing the view with desert vegetation

The complex beauty and epic scenery and feelings of the Superstition Wilderness in Arizona cannot be captured in a hundred photos, but this one actually tells a lot of the story if you let it sink in.

Public Transit

Ethan Allen Express: Saratoga Springs, NY-NYC
Lakeshore Limited: NYC-Toledo, OH
Wolverine: Jackson, MI-Chicago, IL
Empire Builder: Columbus, WI-Seattle, WA
Coast Starlight: Eugene, OR-Oakland, CA
California Zephyr: Richmond, CA-Truckee, CA

Napping in Montana on the Empire Builder to Seattle

Napping in Montana on the Empire Builder to Seattle

Regional Rail
Metra Union Pacific North: Clybourn Station Chicago, IL-Kenosha, WI
Sounder: Seattle, WA-Everett, WA
BART: Oakland, CA<->Berkeley, CA
BART: San Francisco, CA-Richmond, CA
Caltrain: Bayshore Station San Francisco, CA-Palo Alto, CA
Caltrain: San Jose, CA-22nd Street Station San Francisco, CA

Awesome roll-on bike car with tons of capacity on the Caltrain

Our bikes make some friends on the Caltrain

East River Ferry: Wall St-Greenpoint (home from my last day of work)
East River Ferry: Randall’s Island Special
Washington State Ferries: Anacortes, WA-Orcas, WA
Washington State Ferries: Orcas, WA-Friday Harbor, WA
Washington State Ferries: Friday Harbor, WA-Sydney, BC
Washington State Ferries: Sydney, BC-Anacortes, WA
Washington State Ferries: Clinton, WA-Mukilteo, WA
Washington State Ferries: Edmonds, WA-Kingston, WA (on a bus)
San Francisco Bay Ferry: Alameda, CA-San Francisco, CA

On the Washington State Ferry to Orcas Island, bicycles are leaned against the wall in the car bay.

Our bikes enjoying a break on the ferry to Anacortes

Intercity Bus*
Kauai County Bus: Lihue, HI-Hanalei, HI
Kauai County Bus: Hanalei, HI-Kapaa, HI
Kauai County Bus: Kapaa, HI-Lihue, HI
Hawaii Island Hele-On Bus: Kona, HI-Hilo, HI-Pahoa, HI
TheBus: Pupukea, HI-Honolulu, HI
Olympic Bus Lines Dungeness Line: Seattle, WA-Port Angeles, WA
The Wave (Tillamook County): Tillamook, OR-Portland, OR

*I believe that all of these but the Dungeness Line are operated as local, fixed-route bus services, but I am categorizing them as intercity because of the distances.

An old school bus all tricked out

Sadly not in revenue service

Local Transit
We had our bicycles with us for the most part, so generally did not use local public transit, despite my professional interest. However, we did use local transit in the following cities:

NYC, obviously
Atlanta, GA (rail)
Chicago, IL (bus & rail)
Milwaukee, WI (bus)
Phoenix, AZ (rail, we tried to use the bus, but after three passed us with full bike racks, we just rode the 25 miles)

Phoenix Light Rail

Phoenix Light Rail

Multi-Use Trails

These are all trails we rode on for more than some short, half-assed amount. What that cutoff means is chosen arbitrarily of course.

East River TrailNew YorkManhattan
University Parks TrailOhioToledo
Centennial TrailOhioToledo area
Lakeshore PathIllinoisChicago
Pike Bike TrailWisconsinKenosha
County Bike TrailWisconsinKenosha & Racine Counties
Root River PathwayWisconsinRacine
MRK TrailWisconsinRacine County
WE Energies TrailWisconsinRacine County
Oak Leaf TrailWisconsinMilwaukee County
Ozaukee Interurban TrailWisconsinOzaukee County
Eisenbahn State TrailWisconsinWashington County
Sheboygan Interurban TrailWisconsinSheboygan County
Friendship TrailWisconsinCalumet County
Fox River TrailWisconsinCalumet & Brown Counties
Wiouwash Trail WisconsinShawano County
Mountain Bay TrailWisconsinShawano County
51/29 TrailWisconsinMarathon County
Green Circle TrailWisconsinPortage County
Wisconsin River TrailWisconsinWood County
Southwest Commuter PathWisconsinDane County
Badger State TrailWisconsinDane County
Capital City TrailWisconsinMadison
Highway 2 Bike PathWashingtonSnohomish County
Centennial TrailWashingtonSnohomish & Skagit Counties
Tommy Thompson TrailWashingtonSkagit County
Lochside Regional TrailBritish ColumbiaVancouver Island
Galloping Goose TrailBritish ColumbiaVancouver Island
Interurban TrailWashingtonSnohomish & King Counties
Cheshiahud Lake Union LoopWashingtonSeattle
Olympic Discovery TrailWashingtonClallam County
Waterfront Park TrailOregonPortland
Eastbank EsplanadeOregonPortland
(San Francisco) Bay TrailCaliforniaSan Mateo County
Guadalupe River TrailCaliforniaSanta Clara County
The Wiggle*CaliforniaSan Francisco
Pioneer TrailCaliforniaNevada County
I-225 East Beltway TrailNevadaVegas Area
St. Rose Parkway TrailNevadaVegas Area
Amargosa TrailNevadaVegas Area
UPRR TrailNevadaVegas Area
Arrowhead TrailNevadaVegas Area
River Mountains Loop TrailNevadaVegas Area
Arizona Canal TrailArizonaPhoenix
Sun Circle TrailArizonaPhoenix Area
Other unnamed canal trailsArizonaPhoenix Area
The LoopArizonaTucson
Aviation BikewayArizonaTucson

*Note that the Wiggle isn’t really a trail, but it’s cool enough to mention here. It is a signed route that “wiggles” through many blocks to follow the best grade east/west to reach the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park.

A selfie of both of us riding on the crushed limestone Friendship Trail

On the Friendship Trail in Wisconsin shortly before one of our stealth mosquitoville nights

The trail is a long wooden plank causeway across a bay

We are about to discover yet another blackberry motherlode on the Tommy Thompson Trail into Anacortes, Washington

The signage for the Wiggle is a squiggly arrow

The Wiggle in San Francisco

Breweries & Other Alcoholeries

We also visited the following breweries and makers of other fine alcoholic substances. I’ve noted where we filled a growler, just because.

Maker NameStateCity
Dirk the NorsemanNew YorkBrooklyn
Brooklyn BreweryNew YorkBrooklyn
Crank Arm Brewing CompanyNorth CarolinaRaleigh
Kona Brewing CompanyHawaiiKona
Grand River MarketplaceMichiganJackson (growler)
Haymarket Pub & BreweryIllinoisChicago
Saint Francis Brewing Co.WisconsinSt. Francis
Sprecher Brewing Co. WisconsinMilwaukee
Three SheepsWisconsinSheboygan
Red Eye Brewing Co.WisconsinWausau
Bull Falls BreweryWisconsinWausau (growler)
Hydro Street Brewing Co.WisconsinColumbus (growler)
Spinnakers Gastro BrewpubBritish ColumbiaVictoria
Tugwell Creek Honey Farm & MeaderyBritish ColumbiaSooke
Astoria Brewing CompanyOregonAstoria
Nehalem Bay WineryOregonNehalem
Pelican BreweryOregonTillamook
Hopworks Bike BarOregonPortland
Upright BrewingOregonPortland
Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.OregonPortland
Commons BreweryOregonPortland
Base Camp Brewing CompanyOregonPortland
Crux Fermentation ProjectOregonBend
Deschuttes Brewing CompanyOregonBend
Block 15 Brewing Co.OregonCorvallis
Flat Tail BrewingOregonCorvallis
Lost Coast Brewery & CaféCaliforniaEureka
Redwood Curtain Brewing CompanyCaliforniaArcata
Faction BrewingCaliforniaAlameda
Rock Wall Wine Co.CaliforniaAlameda
Magnolia Brewing Co.CaliforniaSan Francisco
Southern Pacific BrewingCaliforniaSan Francisco
THAT BreweryArizonaCottonwood
Mother Bunch BrewingArizonaPhoenix
Prescott Brewing Co.ArizonaPrescott
Beaver Street BreweryArizonaFlagstaff
Hops and Vines WineryArizonaSonoita
Hannah’s Hill WineryArizonaSonoita


Cool art produced by welding bicycle wheels and gears together adorns the wall at Crank Arm Brewery

Crank Arm Brewery Raleigh, NC

Brandy admires the art at Commons Brewery Portland, OR

Brandy admires the art at Commons Brewery Portland, OR

I could go into all sorts of additional detail with crazy maps and reviews and plenty of other crap, but I’m going to leave what remains of my eyeballs in my skull and leave it at that. The next post will begin the less detailed state summaries. The first will be the East Coast & Hawaii (Hawaii included because it was sandwiched in time by the East Coast).

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