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    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Almost to California

    Hard to believe, but Jess and I should be in California on Tuesday, August 4th. We've had some strong biking days, including biking up and over the Coastal Range (elevation: 2800 feet) during Oregon's hottest heat wave of the summer. And of course, we did it during the hottest part of the day and ran out of water 3 miles into the 8 mile climb (yikes!). Thanks to whatever random logger I flagged down who gave me some water. Our guest rider, Justin from Portland, was a champ on what was definitely our hardest day--we only hope we didn't totally turn you off from bike touring!
    So yes, we're a little behind schedule, but hopefully we'll still make it to the Mexican border by September 1. We're about 150 miles from the halfway point of the trip, and have really started rolling. Pictures of our incredible side adventures (exploring the Olympic Peninsula, summiting Mount Hood, BrewFest in Portland, and general mayhem and merriment) will come as soon as I can figure out what's wrong with my flash drive. Brendan's currently heading towards San Francisco to fly back to the east coast for a wedding and work, so Jess and I are on our own for the rest of the trip. We took an extra off day in Coos Bay with a professional swing dancer named David who taught us to Lindyhop, Colegiate Shag, Balboa, and East Coast Swing our way through the rest of our trip. David also builds houses--how could we complain about spending an extra day in his gorgeous bayside house with a shower larger than my bedroom that has three, count them THREE showerheads? After 8 nights of camping, this luxury was absolutely unfathomable. This trip certainly wouldn't be possible without Couch Surfing and Warm Showers, and the overwhelming generosity of strangers. When you're on a bike, you're more dependent on other people than any other method of travel (except, perhaps, hitchhiking). It's been both an amazing and humbling experience, as there's absolutely no way to repay people for their kindness except for a heartfelt "thank you."
    So thanks again to both strangers and family and friends for your support as we roll towards the border!
    Happy Trails,
    Jess and Mel

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