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The Climbing Club • View topic - Biking to Portland

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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 Post subject: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:32 pm 
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Frodo
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:49 pm
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Location: The Shire
So it wasn't exactly the trip I intended to do. The final pre-trip plan had been to bike the distance in two days and stay at RV Parks/woods by the side of the road. For various reasons, though, that didn't happen. I had to spend a night in St. Helens and finish the trip on day three and never stayed at a campground. Here are some reflections and a partial account of the trip:
Pre-trip
1. The idea of the trip itself received quite a bit of resistance for the following reasons--
a. I wanted a solo trip
b. I'd never biked more than 45 miles-ish
c. Was/Am lacking y chromosome (I didn't feel that this was a problem but many others did)
d. Potential roadside death.

I include this because this was a significant part of my trip--deciding whether or not I should do it. What it kept coming down to was yes, the trip had risks, ones that I couldn't completely minimize. If I were to meet that crazy on the side of the road, my cell phone, mace, and borrowed PLB (a bit ridiculous, I know) would do little good; my lack of experience was undeniable; and the choice to solo added an inherent danger. All this ran through my head (and manifested in nightmares) throughout the preparation.

Not to get too philosophical for this forum but the two questions I pondered in response to risk-analysis were: what does one need to do to live (what makes one feel alive?) and are these choices we make worth the potential cost of living?
Don't worry. We won't get into these, but basically I concluded that the trip was a go. :)

2. I then taught myself to change a tube and got as much advice from bikers as possible.

Biking
1. Though I contemplated buying a whole new set of black diamond apparel, I ultimately decided to keep this trip as basic as possible. :D
No fancy bike gear. No new seats. No GU.

2. Do not believe people when they say things along the lines of "you'd best conserve your strength while
you SIT ON YOUR ASS FOR THREE DAYS AND SOFT-PEDAL A MECHANICALLY
EFFICIENT DEVICE."
2b. Despite the obvious tones of encouragement and good-will, statements like these only lead to false hope. This will not help when you're sore beyond anything you’ve imagined.

3. There are many wonderful people in this world. I was fortunate enough to meet quite a few along the way.

4. I found that the further south one goes the less people are aware of street names. This happened throughout my trip south of Kent. The best example of this was when I asked a guy if I had passed Mill Street (there were no street signs around). Response: "Uh...I think you passed it back there"
I didn’t believe him and continued a block up… to where the street sign indicated that he and I were both on Mill Street.

4b. Perhaps in response to the lack of street sign awareness, certain streets bear no signs whatsoever. This caused significant problems on day two when I ended up in the wrong town. A couple times. You're in the country, Sweetheart was the explanation I received from a gas station attendant in Toledo.

4c. If you plan on doing this trip, get the most recent set of directions. Some of the highways have been renamed. Highway 417 outside of Vadar is one example (it's now West Side Highway, which eventually becomes Highway 417.) Also The Lewis and Clarke Bridge outside of Longview is now called the Rainier Bridge for whatever reason. Other streets stop and start in various places. Again, some streets are not marked at all.
In conclusion, a detailed map of each section is probably a good idea.

4d. You also might not want to attempt biking over the Ranier Bridge. It’s about long ways and has very little shoulder. There are other ways around it though. One way is through Industrial Way in Longview. If you choose this route; however, you may want to consider the fact that it goes through one of the worst neighborhoods in WA (or so they say.)

4d2. Or. You could take a ride from a nice family--dogs, boy with Nintendo whatever-those-things-are and all--and not worry about the bridge.

5. Day 1, I finished in Centralia. There I met a guy who told me that the faster riders in the STP go through there at 11 in the morning. Centralia is mile 100.

6. South of Centralia (highways 603/ 411) is probably the most dangerous part of the trip (highways with little shoulder; lots of traffic; seeming animosity towards bikers.)

7. Though it's not on the STP route, I'd suggest riding over the St. John's bridge. It's a beautiful way to enter Portland.

8. I’m so happy I did the trip. Sometimes you just have to do things like this. Sometimes it's essential.

9. Yay for youth and health.

Post trip
1. I met my family in Portland and spent the next few days avoiding chairs and hanging out with my siblings.

ps. Didn't take any pics, but if I had they may have looked something like this:
Plus a helmet and backpack and everything
Image

Outside Centralia
Image

Beautiful Seward Park
Image

St. John's Bridge
Image


Last edited by Erin Slomski-Pritz on Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:00 am 
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Raging Alpoholic
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:15 pm
Posts: 812
Nice job on this Erin! I have a friend with a Y chromosome and more biking experience that still trained for several months for the 2-day STP.


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:48 am 
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Duchess of Bearington
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Location: closer to josh, kris, and mel than craig
Erin, congrats on finishing the trip! I'm so glad you decided to do it and did it safely ...can't wait to hear more details, as I'm sure you have hilarious stories.


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:34 am 
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The Shepherd
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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:31 am 
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Mountain Rhombus
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Location: Near the taco truck

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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:56 pm 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:34 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Edmonds WA
Amazing idea and TR. I really hope to do something similar one day.

When I first saw the pictures, I thought, "not as good as Erin's other ones."


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:22 pm 
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Alpine Slogger
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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:57 pm 
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receiving spoon
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Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:29 am
Posts: 327
Good job Erin! Glad you made it back safety and had a good adventure. I must say, that biking around here to and from work is pretty scary, I can imagine that biking on unknown roads and highways might be even more terrifying! Did the PLB get any use?


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:03 pm 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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Location: Wallingford
Coolness.


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:36 am 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Portland (on the way to Smith)
Awesome work. Good choice of the St. John's Bridge. I grew up close by and drove by it nearly every morning.

Let me know when you're doing it again. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:37 am 
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experienced hiker of the climbing club
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Location: Bashing Brush
Glad to hear this all went well! Welcome back!


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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:11 pm 
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The Pub Czar
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Location: too far from a pint.

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Last edited by amit tai on Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Biking to Portland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Alpine Slogger
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