|Has it really been two and a half months since by last bike overnight?|
Oh me, the contrarian. As I hear the rain pound outside my apartment window, my thoughts drift towards a bike ride.
It’s been over two months since my last bike camping excursion. I would have done some other camping rides after the Metzler Park adventure, as the weather was good for another month, but life conspired against me. Time has become a precious commodity these past few months, with work and obligations. But I’ll be getting almost a week of time off from work, starting after Christmas and lasting until the New Year. A week off, what to do?
The obvious answer is: Go Somewhere. But where? I’d love to get back up to Vancouver, BC for this time frame. But April doesn’t want to go, and I’d feel a tad guilty going without her. But the biggest hurdle is cost. This is prime travel time, and carriers price accordingly. Amtrak, my preferred conveyance besides bicycle, would cost me over $100 one way to go there. (Normally we’d be looking at around $60 one-way.) I don’t really feel like spending $200 for travelling. I could go to Seattle instead, but I was just there in August and it would still be pricey, just not as much as Vancouver. Scratch that.
But what about a bike tour of some sort?
I’ve never really done a winter bike tour in these parts, for the obvious reasons: weather and daylight. The chances of rain are pretty high in December. While I might not get dumped on all the time, I’ll get wet at some point unless I luck upon a dry spell. But daylight, daylight is something I can’t get around. On December 27, the fist day that I have off, sunrise is 7:56 am and sunset is 4:28pm. While there would be some light before and after, I’ll only have eight and a half hours of sunlight. That ain’t much. If I were to camp, I would like to be to the campground by 3:30 at the latest to set up. And if it is raining? This means I’ll be stuck in a tent for many, many hours each night. I don’t mind spending an hour in the tent before I go to sleep, but five or so would be too much.
|Yeah, it’s cozy. But do I want to be in this tent from about 5pm to about 7am every day?|
Part of me wants to tell myself to HTFU and deal, while the other part wants to figure out a way around camping during this time of year. And there are options.
I could use yurts and cabins that are located at many state parks in Oregon and Washington. But while cheaper than hotels, they’d still set me back anywhere from $40 to $60 a night. And I would need to make reservations, as it would be really chancing it to show up at a campground and expect a yurt or cabin to be available. And while there are a few hostels around, there’s not enough to string a tour together.
So what else? Well, there is Warmshowers. And thankfully there are quite a bit of options either north or south of Portland. And I’ve already gone north recently, so south through the Willamette Valley would be the better option. I could either ride from my house, head south, then turn around midway through the valley and come back north. Or, I could take Amtrak to Albany or Eugene (prices to these cities are much cheaper) and ride north from there. There are enough Warmshowers hosts that I could do 40-50 mile days, which would be good for 8 1/2 hours of daylight. I could possibly incorporate some Coast Range riding as well, as the likelihood that there would be snow out there is much less than in the Cascades. Whatever I choose, I would want to get to Stub Stewart on Monday December 31, where a group of us will be renting cabins (again) for the New Year holiday.
Hopefully this all works out. I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress.