A note on the wind… we’re not crazy, it is that bad!

The below is taken from “THE BOOK” – Bicycling The Pacific Coast – it is the preface in it, and the section that we’ve been asked many times if we’ve read, and which yesterday Ryan told me I do not want to read, because I’ll then want to jump on the train and follow them north to be able to ride south. So naturally, when I found it online I immediately wanted to read it.

Why North to South?

If, in 1981, tom had decided to ride the Pacific Coast south from Canada to Mexico, he would have had a great time, and this book would never have been written. However, in 1982 Tom decided to ride from Mexico to Canada, and the results are as follows.
I rode with him from Mexico to Santa Barbara, ending the short trip with a sunburn and a great enthusiasm for bicycle touring. As he continued to pedal on, I drove north heading to a summer job, certain that I was missing a great ride.

Something happened as Tom rode on by himself. North of Santa Barbara, he encountered stiff headwinds that blew the fun right out of his adventure. Scenery and the thrill of exploring became secondary to his daily battle with the wind. The wind created an invisible, never-ending hill that had to be constantly climbed. the wind beat dirt into his face, produced an annoying whistling sound through his helmet, and attempted to push him back to Mexico. By San Francisco, riding became a chore. In Oregon, 80-mile-per-hour winds blew him to a stop while going down a steep hill. In Washington, he had 3 hours of peace when a very wet storm blew through from the south, giving him a much appreciated tailwind.
When describing that trip, tom will pull out his trip journal. The beginning journal is full of his thoughts and impressions; in the second half he wrote only of the wind. His journal describes how he got up early in the morning to avoid the winds that blew the strongest in the afternoon.

The following summer, Tom and I rode back down the coast to prove it can be fun. It was an incredible trip. Oh yes, the wind was still blowing, but this time, it was pushing us south. near the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon, I had to apply my breaks to stop at a viewpoint on a steep uphill grade. The miles flew by, and we had plenty of extra time and energy to stop and explore the forests and beaches.

To help other bicyclists avoid the disappointment of nourthbound travel, we spent the following year organizing this guide.

When you plan your first tour down the coast, take advantage of the tail winds, head south, and leave yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy the coast.

Vicky Springs, Seattle 2004

However I must also add, at the time of publishing this, the forecast for San Francisco for tomorrow and the following day are both showing South Eastern winds… and thus, a tailwind!

Montreal departure

With a 5am wake-up we gave ourselves plenty of time to ensure we were all packed, the apartment was clean and ready for its visitors, and we could get out the door without feeling rushed. We had a mini-van taxi already booked and when we peaked out the door 15 minutes early it was already there waiting for us. Our neighbour Beverly watched as we found a way to load our bikes and bags into the van saw us off.

We arrived to the airport with plenty of time. Check-in was smooth though there was still some processing time and a fee of $220. This we were prepared for as we knew of the fee of $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second (the bike), plus $50 handling fee for a bike. All times two. The flight was relatively cheap so I won’t complain about the extra fees added for people travelling with additional luggage. However we hoped the baggage handlers earned their $100 we paid for the safe transportation of our bikes.

 “It’s not good if you quit your job right before coming to the US” – American customs

Going through American customs in the Montreal airport we had quite a few questions to answer. Were we bringing in food? How long were we staying? What exactly is it you are doing? What do you do for work? I was told that saying I just quit my job was not something US customs appreciates when they’re screening new arrivals – though she said because she didn’t expect we were going to go live in the US it was okay and with a bit of a smirk she let us through.

A quick and uneventful flight to Chicago gave me a chance to see what the show The Good Wife (thanks for the recommendation Magda) is all about – realizing it has Mr. Big, Chandler and Logan was initially distracting but maybe after a few episodes I would get used to that, and then seeing that HBO’s Girls season 2 was also available to watch also helped the time pass quickly.

Chicago brought us the smells of popcorn, cinnamon rolls, and McDonalds. However we opted for two personal deep dish pizzas to mark our time in Chicago.

The next flight from Chicago to San Diego was also thankfully uneventful. It did however make me realize how great it is to be able to listen to music during take off (which is allowed if it’s the airline’s onDemand system) and specifically I discovered that Coldplay’s Every teardrop song is particularly good for this.

Arrival, baggage claim and the taxi service in San Diego also went smoothly. We had prebooked a taxi with Flex Transportation, and once I turned on my phone I had a text saying they were at the airport waiting. With no customs to go through, we were surprised to walk out of the arrival area and be right there next to the street. All our bags and boxes were waiting. We grabbed a United Airlines cart to shuttle our things the few meters to the road but the porter saw us and insisted on pushing the cart for us. He just wanted a tip and that worked better than the $4 cart rental option.

We found our taxi, a friendly driver who took us to our Warm Showers hosts Brad & Ann. They were waiting for us and set us up in a bedroom. We met their daughter who also flew in a bit later that night, then after Jesse did a quick visual check on the bikes we went to sleep – tired from the long day but relieved that everything had gone well.

Ready to go?

We spent the morning packing our bikes into boxes – not an easy task! Our panniers are packed into three other larger bags to reduce our amount of checked bags, aside from one handlebar bag and one back pannier each which will be our carry on’s.

Our baggage fees will likely be close to the price of the flight, however this is expected so we won’t be surprised when we arrive at the airport. We already checked in online and added our bikes as one of our checked bags, then called Air Canada to register the bikes on the flight. So far no major hiccups.

We have van taxi’s booked already for both going to the Montreal airport, and when we arrive in San Diego. Through Warm Showers we have a place to stay for two nights in San Diego before we get started.

It’s the final countdown!

Jesse’s YouTube Corner

Spice kit excitement

While starting to get the smaller details organized, I went through our cupboards to see what dried food we already had that may be good to bring along as well as what spices will be good to have on hand.  Cornmeal, couscous, quinoa, oatmeal and red lentils were all taken out of the cupboard and will likely be brought along.  Almond butter and peanut butter is short listed.

Now for the exciting part.  I was trying to decide how to pack the spices, how many to bring, and if we only bring spice blends or individual spices.  Then I came across this:

Brilliant. Time to get started.