Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Portland, OR to Clatskanie, OR to SEASIDE, OR
Daily Mileage: 71.4 + 52.4 = 123.8
Total Mileage: 5,019.0**
Average Speed: 12.7 / 12.3
Elevation Gain: 1,576 / 1,824
**This doesn't add up from the previous post. I must have made an error along the way but my spreadsheet has confirmed the final mileage is 5019.
First let me say, sorry for taking so long to post my last two days. I spent a week in California with immediate and extended family and couldn't pull myself away from all the fun activities, conversation and love. Here I will do the usual post that you have been reading for 3 months, I will follow up with a post that will contain various stats, concluding thoughts and thank you's.
Let's get to it!
Off Days 86, 87 & 88
3 days off in Seattle and Portland with my best friend, Jason, was an amazing prelude to my finale. Jason treated me like a king taking me to all his favorite restaurants. His diet, as he repeats many times a day, is meat, cheese, bread, and pasta, so it is safe to say I gained all the weight I lost back in those 3 days.
Some Kayaking in Lake Washington
On day 88 I spent an hour patching 4 tubes and went out to buy 2 more, installing one of the new ones as well. With all the flats I have gotten (I know you haven't forgotten), I didn't want to risk be stranded somewhere with my family waiting on the beach for me. I think 6 "fresh" tubes should do it.
Day 89
For breakfast I made some frozen Mac n' cheese Jason and I bought, but never ate, and of course a peanut butter sandwich. I made coffee with a French press for the second time in my life. I don't know if I suck at it, if the coffee sucked or because it's French, but I am not a fan of the French Press.
It was great to see my tire still inflated when I rolled it out of the Airbnb. I took a deep breath, smiled, and hopped on Jasper heading toward Perkins Creek Camp Ground.
Portland is fantastic to ride through. There are abundant bike lanes and bike paths that take you up and down the Willamette River complete with all types of bridges to gaze at. I crossed one of those bridges and made my way to highway 30 which would take me all the way to Astoria, OR, the start/end of the Transamerican Trail. Until then, it wasn't my favorite ride.
I was hoping to be up along the Columbia River Gorge with awesome views the whole way, but I really didn't get a good view until mile 55 when I climbed a big hill in Rainer and reached an overlook. The first 55 miles was heavy traffic and a pebble filled shoulder.
At the overlook, a man approached me with a sweat faded hat and grey beard to tell me how he admires all "you guys." I answered the usual questions and he continued to talk about himself. From what I gathered, he's been in prison at least twice, escaped once, was in a police chase for a DUI and he killed his brother. No I'm kidding he didn't kill his brother as far as I know, but the other stuff he did tell me.
Once he stepped away, a woman came up to me with a baggie of, what tasted like gingerbread cream pie. She got them from a famous local bakery just outside Seattle and was happy to share with me. Just the pickup I needed for the final 15 miles of the day.
I flew down the final hill and took a 180 to the campground. Upon arrival there were only 10 RVs in a giant field and that was it. I couldn't find an office so I called the number on the information booth and got the voicemail. I left a message saying I was going to camp under their Pavillion and to call me back to pay the 20 bucks. Yes, that's a lot for just squatting on their land and using no amenities, but I knew it would be raining tomorrow morning so I wanted guaranteed shelter. After sitting at a picnic table for 5 minutes I really was not feeling this place and the park in Clatskanie only 3 miles away looked pretty nice, I figured I'd be able to sleep in the baseball dugout that I saw on Google Maps for cover from the rain.
My first taste of Clatskanie was the park. It is a large park for the size of the town and the dugouts were looking promising. If not, there was a giant skate park covered by a huge Pavillion... And if that failed, there were a few gazebos.
I kept riding through the park to get the lay of the land and saw a few tents set up. I pulled up to the bulletin board and started reading the camp rules. As I am reading, a pinned piece of paper of someone looking for their lost ferret blew in the wind and unveiled a sticker. The Bike Inn - Clatskanie, Oregon. I went to their website to find their location, less than a quarter of a mile away, and decided to stay there before I even arrived.
When I pulled in I was greeted by two cute dogs and one of the proprietors, Kris. She led me to my room which was basically my own kingdom. I walked around naked for a bit while the shower heated up and slapped Jasper on the butt for a congratulatory no flat tire day. I guess it got a little weird, but I was alone and you can pretty much do anything when you're alone.
Complete with this piece of art, this was room was meant for me. I have been making animals noises for 89 days, where can I buy this?!
Kris and her husband, Chris (kidding, I think it was Brian), were super friendly and had so much going on. For one, they were preparing for the Farmers market in the morning by slicing plums and two, they were fermenting grapes in four of those big plastic garbage buckets to make wine in a few months.
To celebrate my final night on the trip, I enjoyed a few beers at the local Mexican restaurant and returned to The Bike Inn to sprawl out in my full size bed. Really, the beers were drank to help me fall asleep. It is sad to know this trip is ending, but I cannot wait to see my mom,  dad, brother and girlfriend at Seaside tomorrow!
Day 90
This is it. The final day. As expected, it is raining. Not hard, but hard enough to be called rain and not a drizzle. Of course I have spent about 4-5 days in the rain out of 90 and one of the had to be the last day, but that's okay, nothing can bring me down... Not even a flat. Actually the would have really pissed me off, but here's a spoiler: NO FLATS TODAY!
The good news is that it's not cold like it was riding into Prarie City with Wally, so I was happy enough to let freedom ring.
I sung my way to Astoria complete with:
"Love Reign O're Me" by The Who
"Come Clean" by Hilary Duff
"Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
"Fire and Rain" by James Taylor
When the rain slowed a bit I topped it off with "No Rain" by Blind Melon. 
It really wouldn't be a day on this trip without singing or cat calling at some cows, but there were no cows to Moo at today.
Still got pretty views!
Well this is just about it. I reached Astoria!
Astoria is a beautiful town with a boardwalk and old railroad the runs along the Columbia River. Unfortunately Astoria was a little underwhelming. People were out and about as the rain stalled momentarily, but nobody seemed curious about my luggage as if they have seen thousands of people like me. Psh!
I stayed in contact with my family and they told me they were an hour and a half away from the beach in Seaside. I am approximately 16 miles away which would probably get me there before them. Can't have that! So I rode around town to the local bike shop and had an espresso and donut. Even the guys at the local bike shop hardly lifted a head when I entered. They probably knew the last thing I was going to do was buy something.
I checked the weather before heading back out for the FINAL 16 MILES! It said no rain, but that was a lie. I rode onto highway 101 to my last bridge of the trip. Well not really, there are a lot of small bridges along the way, but you hardly notice those. This was the last major bridge and my god it was scary. Small shoulder, high headwinds, rain and lots of cars.
Oh my god is that salt water!?
I continued to battle headwinds after getting off the bridge but I really didn't care. It would slow me down, but soon I would be taking my final right turn onto 12th Ave.
It is hard to explain my current emotions. It has been an incredible journey, and at this moment it has satisfied me to the core. In under an hour I am going to see my favorite people in the world cheering for me as I push my final pedals of these 5,019 miles. When people have asked me, "Are you sad the trip is ending," my response has been, "It's bittersweet. If my friends and family grabbed a bike and rode with me, I would never stop. But I miss them a lot."
Many days on this trip I invisioned what it would feel like to turn that corner and see my family. I would start to get very emotional and tears would begin to surface. Tears of pure joy. Now, I don't have to daydream any longer.
I texted the group chat, "El Familio" (we understand this is incorrect Spanish) consisting of the four people who are anxiously awaiting my arrival that I am 1 mile away, under 5 minutes. I threw out my right hand to signal my final turn and... I couldn't see anyone. This damn rain! 
A few hundred feet later there they were! Mom and Livi in ponchos, Dad and Adam in raincoats and hats all screaming for me and somehow patiently standing jumping up and down at the end of the street waiting for me as I rolled closer and closer.
I don't feel like I am on a bike any longer. I feel like I am floating. If it weren't for the video, I'd be convinced the butterflies in my stomach carried me the final 100 feet. I raised my fist into the air like a batter who just hit the walk off home run in the World Series and my family screamed even louder.
For this part of the finish I always imagined myself riding right onto the beach to dip my front tire in the Pacific Ocean with my family in tow. But when I reached them, without thinking, I dropped my bike and ran into my dads arms. Seconds later I was wrapped up in a cocoon of pure ecstasyNothing could wipe the smiles off the five of our faces. I reached the Pacific Ocean, but instantly, I was home again.
The dip in the Pacific Ocean!
Seaside, OR with the Family!!!
Wally came to congratulate me!
Adam hooked me up with my own geotag!!!!
I have never been away from my family this long. They have been there for me through every thing I have ever done. From the home runs and errors on the baseball field, failed engineering tests and everything in between. When I spoke (pun?) of the idea of this trip, they were all behind me 100%. They would not have missed this moment for the world and they couldn't be prouder of me. Likewise, I couldn't be happier to have them on my side forever.
If I had written this blog in a timely manner I would tell you that I am going to rest and enjoy the week traveling down the coast to San Fran with my family and then I would write my conclusion of this trip after it all sank in. But I didn't write this in a timely manner. I am already back east laying in my bed writing this blog. Still, as I said at the beginning, I will write a conclusion post as I have much more to tell you now that everything is said and done.
Jasper made it home safely and I am going to go for a ride around Connecticut... without any panniers!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Days 83, 84, 85: To Portland and Beyond!

Rainbow, OR to Albany, OR to Salem, OR to Portland, OR (to Seattle, WA via bus)
Daily Mileage: 91.5 + 27.9 + 54.0 = 173.4
Total Mileage: 4,893.1
Average Speed: 13.8 / 12.8 / 12.4
Elevation Gain: 808 / 918 /1.346
60 degrees my ass. It is absolutely freezing in this forest! The good news is, no bear came to eat our pop tarts and peanut butter.
Wally and I desperately wanted to stay in our sleeping bags until it warmed up, but we have 88 miles to go today and needed to get a head start. We left at 8:30 and it was 39 degrees.
Morning view from the tent
My entire body was shivering for the first mile. My toes were already numb and my fingers also started to lose feeling. Luckily when we turned onto the main highway heading west, we got sunshine on our backs and that helped... A little.
I didn't gain feeling back in my toes until mile 27. It took Wally even longer, but eventually as we reached Walterville temperatures finally rose to what can be considered warm and we ran into another parade!
So a little background on the long day today. As you have read, it is all "downhill" from here. We are still coming off the final pass and closing in on the west coast. My plan is to get into Portland on the 12th where a bus will take me to my best friend, Jason, in Seattle. The 170 miles to get there could easily be split up into 56 mile days, but Week 1 of the NFL season starts tomorrow at 10 PDT, so I plan to ride only 28 miles to Salem on Sunday and arrive around 10 so I can kick back, relax, eat wings, drink beer and enjoy football!
Wally and I held out on lunch until we found a McDonald's at mile 52. I have been on the PBPT breakfast sandwich, tuna sandwich lunch and canned chili and Ramen dinner the last week so it was really nice to get some.... More crap in my stomach.
Naturally as we exit, my rear tire is dead flat. I can't take this anymore. I simply pumped it up and told Wally I hope that holds.
It held for 4 miles. Time for a change. This tube was punctured with a tiny hole, so I patched it up and threw it back on crossing my fingers like always.
The tube held the rest of the day, but of course, as elevation fattened out, Oregon became an uglier Kansas and we battled headwinds the final 18 miles. Wally jumped in front of me to take on the headwinds and I drafted close behind. I was losing steam fast, but reminded myself 18 miles ain't no thaaaang.
We arrived at Diane's place, our Warm Showers, for the night. She and her daughter, Amber, were so welcoming and laid back. They invited us to dinner downtown and even low on budget, I decided to splurg after a tough 91 mile day (it's always a few miles further than Google says).
Two beers, salty fries and a massive 8 inch tall burger later. I was happy and didn't care about this being my second burger of the day. Did Mac D's really count? To top it off, Diane wouldn't let Wally and I pay for dinner. Another amazing deed by another amazing person.
I am not jaded by all these things people have done for us along the way. Each one makes me feel so grateful and is as nice as the first and the last. 
That night I fell asleep on their couch dreaming about Seaside and my family while the cat snuggled up next to me. It was a perfect end to my final super long day.
Spoiler alert: This is mine and Wally's last ride together. I didn't know it at the time either. Wally was still unsure about his plans for the remainder of the trip and time was running out. That night at dinner he told me he would be heading Northwest toward Astoria (the official start/end of the Transam) while I made my way to Portland.
So for the last ride, I followed Google Maps to our Warm Showers host, Regina, in Salem racing to get there before 10 AM. Had I known it would be my last time with Wally, I would have slowed down and we could have ridden together a little more, but I guess we've done enough of that in 3 weeks and 1 day anyway.
It was the perfect fall day. I know it's not fall yet, but this part of Oregon is lined with apple trees and all sorts of other trees around each turn. Not only did you get the cool crisp wind against your face and legs, but every so often a wife of apples floated into your nostrils and you know fall when you feel it. The sounds of football analysis in my ears only amplified that feeling.
We arrived at Regina's just after 10 as her and her husband were working in their garden in the back yard. Actually her husband is building a shed which is where we will sleep tonight. The frame is up and the roof just completed.
We said our hellos and did my best not to be rude as I left all my crap on their porch and rode my bike to Buffalo Wild Wings. Isaak (stayed with them back in Blacksburg, VA) gave me a BWW gift card and I finally get to use it! I haven't had wings in over 84 days!
Football Sunday was excellent. I kicked my feet up at the bar and watched my Packers on the projector with a beer in one hand, wings in the other, and fantasy apps open on my iPad.
I found Wally at Starbucks around 4-5 and we rode back to Regina's. She welcomed us with beer and a vegetarian dinner that was so excellent. I almost exploded after seconds, this time I actually had to skip dessert.
Conversation at dinner was very entertaining. Regina's husband is a very funny and bright guy. We talked a lot about enjoying the moment you're in, not the destination or where you'll be in a week, but enjoying that very moment you're in. I spoke a bit about this in Council, ID as I watched the sunset. This is something I hope to take home with me; to slow down and attempt to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Manhattan... We'll see how long that last.
That's when Wally told me he'd be heading a different direction tomorrow. He continued, a little bashful, and spoke of how we have become great, close friends for life. He looked up at me, our eyes met and I couldn't help to flash my biggest smile back at him in agreement. We cheers'd to that and I echoed his sentiments. The last three weeks would have been really tough if I was alone and I couldn't be happier to have had Wally by my side through all the headwinds, cold weather and of course, the flats.
After an incredible organic breakfast including my first soft boiled eggs, Wally and I said our goodbyes making sure to get him on snapchat one more time. Good luck to Wally as he makes his way to the coast and figures out where/what he's doing after.
I am alone again for the first time since Tabernash, CO until connecting with David and Marion in Walden.
It's nice and I love it. Especially since I know I'm riding to Portland to hop on a bus to take me to Jason's house in Seattle. I don't feel lonely, only excited. This is my 3rd to last day of riding on this trip!
If you have been watching my Snapchat, strap in. All those stupid things I say to Wally or David or whoever, I will now be saying to you all. 
Farms and apple trees
I thought to myself as I rode away from Wally, maybe now the flats will stop!
The ride was very enjoyable. At times I feel like I am back in Connecticut escaping the city and surrounding myself with trees and falling leaves. Then I turn the corner and there is a cute farm and a view of the distance mountains. 
The enjoyment stopped as I reached the top of a small hill and felt a very hard lump in my tire. I looked down and saw my tire was flat, of course. But this time the flat felt like you were walking with a rock in your shoe. The Rock the size of a golf ball. Each rotation felt dangerous.
I literally jumped off Jasper to avoid injuring the rim. I felt my heart race as I have never felt anything like this before, I didn't know what to expect.
I am glad I left early because I didn't want to miss my bus and at this point I was expecting at least one flat. Matthew Michalek: Keeping the inner tube business alive since 2016. I undressed Jasper and flipper her over and found the culprit.
The last few towns of Oregon have been great for bikers. Seemingly every street has a bike lane. The only problem is they don't sweep the bike lanes so there is debris everywhere. Most of the time you ride in the car lane because you are avoiding rocks and the like in the bike lane. It is almost counter productive. Cars assume you are in the bike lane which can be dangerous when you're not. And when you stay in the bike lane... You get screwed.
I had to literally unscrew the screw from my tire because pulling it with a wrench was not working. I pulled a tube out of my bag that was going flat earlier, but I never found the hole so it was not patched. I changed this tube in under 5 minutes. A new PR. I am 8 miles away from Jason's friends house where I would store Jasper, please please make it 8 miles.
It made it 7 miles! I pumped the tube back up to ride the final mile. I don't care right now, I'll deal with this later. 
I made it to the drop off location and took a deep breath. Then it sunk in... On my god I made it to Portland!!!!!
It is pretty surreal, but it ain't over yet!
I parked my bike, took a shower, called an Uber and made my way to the bus station with a 6 pack a beers and snacks. I had no patients for a 4 hours bus ride so I watched an HBO series and enjoyed my 6 beers. Before I knew it I was in Seattle. Wow, 180 miles in 4 hours!! My mind couldn't handle that. For the rest of the day I kept thinking I was still in Oregon.
Alas, the moment I have been anticipating for a few weeks now. Jason pulled up and we embraced in the middle of traffic, no f@#ks to give anyone right now.
I am enjoying the days off in Seattle with Jason and his girlfriend Amelia Angela and their awesome cat, Amelia. This is my forth time in Seattle and it still hasn't rained. I'm starting to think the whole rain thing is a lie.
Jarmo and Amelia
Second cone in Seattle with Angela!
Jason is driving me back down to Portland where we will spend some nights out on the town and I will reunite with Jasper... where she probably has a flat rear tire awaiting me.
Seattle, WA
Then it is the last two days of riding, 116 miles to Seaside, OR!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Day 80, 81 & 82: It's all downhill from here!

Prairie City, OR to Mitchell, OR to Redmond, OR to Rainbow, OR
Daily Mileage: 83.1 + 69.2 + 66.2 = 218.3
Total Mileage: 4,719.7
Average Speed: 12.5 / 12.8 / 13.8
Elevation Gain: 3,437/ 3,275 / 3,120
Day 80
The sun was shining over the mountains and it promised to be a nice WARM day. The son of our warm showers host works with the park service and had a bunch of non perishables that he unloaded on Wally and I. Canned fruit and chili! Dinner for a few nights, woo!
We rode down to the coffee shop which apparently sold tubes. I am still in desperate need, limping around on my last pached tube. They didn't have any for me, but we were told in 13 miles, the chamber of commerce in John Day has a little bike shop and should be able to help. I hope so, because it is day 80 and we are celebrating with 80 miles to a hostel in Mitchell, OR.
I added a bit of air to my rear tire, sucked down a donut (holler at and prayed this tube would last 13 miles.
This ones for Dan!
It was a gorgeous day and all downhill to John Day. We got there in 50 minutes and I bought two new tubes. Ahhhhh I can finally breath again!
The remainder of the ride continued to be downhill and all of a sudden we were stuffed back into some canyons. It is so fun to ride through this and gape at the towering walls of rock above.
After 50 miles, the gradual uphill began for the next 20 miles. The sun was beating down... Suns out guns out. I rolled up my sleeves and zipped off my jersey. Maybe I can even out this tan before I reach Seaside. It was so hot and I was so sweaty my arms were glistening with sweat. I don't think that has happened since Colorado!! I love it!!!!
Now we are a few miles into the ascent and I am laboring. My legs feel exhausted and I cannot seem to get Jasper moving at all. Then I feel the slight bump, bump, bump. I looked down and saw my tire was limp.
This time I didn't freak out and scream. I knew this was coming and I was happy to have a new tube to replace it with. The tube wasn't popped, just slowly leaking from the patch. Upon further examination the patch looked like old wrinkly skin so I threw on the new tube while Wally and I chit chatted.
Usually I would be super focused on the task at hand, but at this point, I can now change a tube like it is second nature. I haven't used tire levers the last few changes either. That is kind of cool, kind of sad. Call me, if you want a tutorial.
Back on the rubber, only a few miles to the top, then we roll 7 miles downhill into Mitchell.
Not so fast! Only a few hundred yards later the sound of a gun goes off. Jasper is okay, I am okay, but I turn around and Wally is shaking his head. Another popped tube. Haha we can't go anywhere together! At least it is hot and gorgeous out!
Finally, we make the 7 mile descent just after 6 PM. It was a wondrous descent. After 75 miles, it was nice to almost literally fly into town.
Our stay for the night is the Spoke'N Hostel whom I found on Warm Showers but also got a note passed along from David that it is an awesome place. Jalet (pronounced Juh-lay), the proprietor, messaged me back on facebook saying they like to take their guest to the Painted Hills for sunset at 6. Wally and I were bummed we were to late. On the up side, were both craving some soda, so we hit the grocery store and enjoyed the cold fizz bubble down our throats. 
Then, who pulls up in their car? Jalet! She told us there is still time to see the Painted Hills so we road the very short ride to the hostel, which is in a church (it basically is the church), then hopped in her car to see the hills.
An absolutely incredible sight. Not just for their beauty, but every color you see was a different environment millions of years ago. One color was a time flooded in water with millions of fish, another color was a jungle, another color they found woolly mammoth fossils, and lots of colors are different types of lava flow. From 40 million to 6 million years of history right in front of our faces.
As the sun set we drove back to the hostel for showers. Jalet cooked us spaghetti with meat sauce while we cleaned off. Quite possibly the best meal I've had this whole trip. Home made and taste just like moms!
I truly gorged on the pasta. Three full plate servings and I almost didn't have room for scooped Huckleberry and Death My Chocolate ice cream.
This whole place is a dream. This is Jalets job and something she has a great passion for. She said she has never seen a hostel, but she nailed this one. Upstairs are the bunk beds (complete with power strips and 4 setting light above your pillow), a lounge area and pews for hanging a meeting new people. Downstairs is more hang out area with a few guitars (ah man it's been a while, I played a bit) and the kitchen complete with tons of fruit, oatmeal, fresh mint lemonade, cookies, coffee, hard boiled eggs and much much more.
Like I said, this is a dream and a place that would exceed Queen Elizabeth's expectations. I don't know if I can leave... But unfortunely after breakfast and a few coffees, I will have to go on. It is a place like this that makes me want to return to Mitchell, OR. Forget the hostel even, I will come back to say hi to Jalet.
Chill zone
Jalet hosted over 300 cyclist this year and I know how gracious we all are for what you have done here. Thank you a million, trillion times Jalet.
Me, hostel dog, Jalet and Wally
 Day 81
Similarly to leaving my brother and friends in Denver, it wasn't easy to leave Spoke'n Hostel. That is obvious if you saw when we left (11:30). Jalet made us feel loved and at home and what more could you want on a trip where you have been away from your family practically the entire time.
Spoke'n Hostel
I made Wally and I three eggs and two pieces of toast each then we continued to fill up on cookies and were forced to eat and take as much fruit as we could. No problem there.
The day began with a 15 mile or more climb and Wally and I were excited to get to the top, eat lunch and fly down into Redmond.
At the top we pulled in for lunch at the Ochoco Divide campground to use the picnic table. The 75 year old host gave us crap for "day use" and wanted us to pay 5 bucks to use the table for 20 minutes. We were outraged and began to pack up. Wally moaned under his breath, "This is not what I fought over seas for" and surprisingly the old man heard it.
Wally hates to use the veteran card, and I can attest I haven't heard him use it for any type of grocery discount or anything like that, but this had the appropriate affect on the older gentleman. When he was steadfast on making us pay and happy to see us leave otherwise, all of a sudden became our best friend. 
"Oh since your a veteran you can stay. I am so sorry I didn't get around to brushing the pine off this table! How is the ride going today?" Just leave us be man.
After lunch we began our much awaited 40 mile descent into Redmond. That last about 5 miles and we were greeted with wicked headwinds slowing us down to hard fought 10-12 MPH rather than the easy 15+ we were hoping for.
It was a more exhausting day than we anticipated. To top it off, we stopped for a soda 20 miles outside of Redmond and as we began the final leg, Wally got a flat! Wouldn't be a day without one!
He got this flat around 5:30 (8:30 EST and I wanted to watch the first NFL game of the year! I got fantasy players going tonight!!) and it happened to be on the busiest highway we have been on since Yellowstone. So we were already upset about the heavy traffic, but another flat at the end of the day is.... Wait for it... Deflating.
Once that was fixed, I made my mind up, I am sprinting these final 15 miles to the city limits to minimize death. Wally aptly named those 15 miles, "The Death Dash."
A dash it was. I flew through those miles. Had it not been rush hour it may have been a more relaxing ride; it was beautiful, but there was no time for that.
Mountains in the distance
We arrived at our Warm Showers house, Patrick, while he was out on a hike. He warned me he is moving out so his house is empty, I told him we didn't care. We let ourselves in and made ourselves at home. As promised, it was empty. Only his bed remained in the TV room on the floor and one giant piece of art that he was leaving with the new owners.
Pat took us out to the brewery for the second half of the game and bought us two beers each. I got an incredibly delicious peanut butter stout called Nut Cruncher. Pat works for the Forest Service and is bike touring down the Pacific coast 400 miles at a time. He is an awesome guy who would love nothing more than to take 3 months off, or forever off, and bike tour.
Back at his house he has hops growing up a pergola and had us suck on one. Such a bitter taste, if we bit into it we would be tasting that bitterness for the next week.
At last it was bed time and falling asleep on a two beer buzz takes approximately 2 minutes.
Day 82
Wally took the time to swap his front and rear tires to maybe avoid further flats. We'll see if that works.
Today is our final big climb of the trip and apparently a very beautiful one. Similar to yesterday, but better. Up to over 5,000 feet and then flying down to the coast at 0. However, all in due time.
Naturally, Wally's front tire gave out 10 miles in. Luckily, it only took a quick pump and we rode 5 more miles into Sisters, OR.
Not at all what we expected. A town of roughly 9,000 people and a gorgeous one at that. I got good vibes immediately as we drove in. A sign under "The town of Sisters, OR" that reads bicycle friendly is always a good start. We made our way to the bike shop so Wally could get itself and another spare tube. 
At the Blazin Saddle bike shop, the first thing that was offered to us was a free beer on tap. I knew it was right about this place!
Shocker, I noticed my new tube from a day or two ago was getting a little flat, so I also got a new tube and decided to change it as well. I figured why not have a fresh tube at the right PSI for our final big climb.
After a beer and lunch we made our way to the final climb.
Right outside of Sisters the scenery, as promised, started to become forest like. I was loving it! I was dancing in my saddle and in the middle of bursting out Bohemian Rhapsody, "Mommaaaaaaaaaaa, oooooOOOOOOOOO!!"
Then it happened. Come on say it with me, you know the drill. 
Alright so screw the right PSI. Clearly if my tires are inflated above 50 PSI, I am getting a flat. This all started when REI Denver gave me a new wheel. I didn't get my first flat until just outside of Denver and now I'm on... 7? 8? I don't know anymore.
So, contrary to my hopes, I am climbing this final pass at whatever PSI my tiny frame pump can get me to. It's all good though, because it is freaking gorgeous.
Also Wally gave me a few caffeine pills so were flying high now. The ride was a beautiful forest that eventually peaked onto lava rocks. 11,000 years ago it would have been liquid hot magma.
So we did it! Despite all these flats we reached our final pass!
The descent was the topper too. A wild turning ride through this forest. Wally and I held on tight to our brakes almost the whole time, but it was magnificent. 
Also at the top we enjoyed warm sunlight, inside the forest we were smacked with a sheet of chill like we just rode into a refrigerator. As we twisted and turned and got below 2,000 feet we felt the immediate temperate swap back to warmth and my goosebumps were final gone.
It was awesome to enjoy a descent with no headwinds and better yet, no flats. We cruised those final 30 something miles to our (maaaaybe) final campground of the trip, Delta Campground. We are quite literally in a forest. I'm sorry Axl, WE'RE IN THE JUNGLE BABY!!!!
Very cool place for the final campsite. Actually, not cool, it's supposed to be in the 60s tonight and dry. I can curl up in my tent and fall asleep under the stars tonight one last time. Oh my god, I'm gonna cry just typing that.