Day 74 (August 10th 2016) Eugene – Florence OR; 80 miles

WE DID IT! It is the day we all have been waiting for. We have officially ridden from coast to coast on bicycles. It was a day some of us had minor doubts about seeing , but we all made it in one piece.

The ride to the coast was a long one, but with it being the last day no one seemed to mind. The mindset was let’s get to the beach! It was a beautiful ride full of greenery and hills. We hit a lot of headwind the last 20 miles from seabreeze, but powered through in an adrenaline fueled rush.

It took some time to actually find the beach, but eventually we did. It was windy and freezing complete with an ominous fog that didn’t let us see too far. But we could see the waves so that’s all that mattered.

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We met my parents at the beach, it was great to see them there supporting us on our final ride. They even got us a banner to commemorate the occasion. Unfortunately little Addie couldn’t be there to join in with the festivities but I’ll see her soon enough.

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We all celebrated with a delicious dinner (steak and salmon a plenty). It was nice to have a final meal with everyone to reminiscence about the last 2 weeks. We were able to laugh at memories that in the moment were horrible and painful. Alec also gave a beautiful toast to our accomplishment.

Sheena and I originally had grand plans of riding up to Astoria, however, due to a number of issues, we decided to take the shuttle back to Eugene. There we’ll relax until my friends meet us in Portland in a few days.

It is definitely a weird feeling having completed the trip. We made new friends, shared lifetime memories, and experienced some of the most difficult physical and mental challenges we have yet to face. It is a bittersweet feeling because it was such a great experience. Adjusting to normal life will be complicated, but at the same time, being off the bike will feel amazing. We have seen the country in a way many people are not lucky enough to see it, and I think we have all gained a new appreciation for this great nation.

Special thanks to everyone who supported us on every step of the way. The motivational messages helped me get through this trip with a smile on my face 🙂

Day 73(August 9th 2016) McKenzie Bridge – Eugene OR; 55 miles

Today was an easy and beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. With the clouds still hovering in the mountains it was very magical and beautiful. We made pretty good timing because it was mostly downhill.

We left camp late because of the low mileage and general fatigue. It was also raining so it was a messy camp breakdown. It was eerie how our second to last day was so comparable to our second day of the trip in Virginia. Cold and rainy. But much different emotional feelings.

We’re staying in a house tonight in Eugene. It’s beautiful and a real treat for us so close to the completion of the trip. We spent some time in the city and got a delicious meal.

Tomorrow is our last day! It’s a long one, but my parents will be at the finish line and I have a feeling it will be a super emotional end to a great journey.

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Day 72 (August 8th 2016) Prineville – McKenzie Bridge OR

Another awesome day in the books! Today we finally reached the point where Oregon looks like what Oregon is supposed to look like! But not before Sheena suffered another flat.

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We ascended McKenzie pass, THE LAST PASS OF THE TRIP! Unbelievable. It was a 15 miles climb that was relatively gradual. When we reached the top we could see all the surrounding mountains, including Mt. Hood, Mt. Washington, and the 3 Sisters (I thought we hit those earlier, but I was wrong). We also were in the midst of the lava fields, which looked like another planet, or maybe Hawaii at least.

After reaching the peak, we stopped for a while at the observatory. It was freezing up there. Unfortunately it was cloudy so we didn’t get to see the mountains too clearly.

The descent was absolutely amazing. We were surrounded by forest and greenery. The road was windy and curvy, which could’ve been a recipe for disaster, but there was no traffic so we were okay. It felt like we were in a fairytale. And the feeling continued into our camp in McKenzie pass. The camp we’re in is right by a river and looks like it was plucked out of a fairytale. Absolutely stunning. I’m definitely a fan of central/western Oregon.

Right now we’re sitting around a campfire reminescensing about the trip and having some good laughs.

Day 71 (August 7th 2016) Mitchell – Prineville OR; 47 miles

Today was a short day, but not without a long climb! Ochoco pass looked rough, but we were able to ascend without too much trouble. Luckily we got that out of way early so the rest of the ride was smooth sailing.

We met a rider today, Dan, from Norwood PA, which is super close to where Sheena and I went to college. It was nice talking with someone from our neck of the woods.

We arrived into Prineville relatively early and we were able to visit the town’s brewery. I had a delicious pineapple cider.

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It seems so surreal that we only have 3 more days left in the trip. I am excited, but nervous to return to the real world. It’s been nice not having to work, but it’ll also be very nice to get off the bike. It’ll definitely be a reality check to get back into civilization where peeing on the side of the road is frowned upon and where eating with utensils is a requirement. But like with anything else, we will learn to adjust.

Day 70 (August 6th 2016) Mt. Vernon – Mitchell OR; 68 miles

Even though it was a much shorter day than yesterday, today felt a lot longer. We had a climb that seemed never ending. It was gradual, but just mentally defeating because of the length.

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We rode through Picture Gorge, which was gorgeous. We had steep cliffs on either side of us for a few miles and it felt like we were in Jurassic Park. At one point we even had a crane flying next to us, like a modern day pterodactyl! The rest of the ride wasn’t as scenic unfortunately.

Tonight we are staying in a brand new bike hostel in Mitchell. They opened in May and are looking to branch out to other small towns. It is a wonderful hostel and the people who run it are extremely nice and helpful. We got in early and we were able to take a nap and explore the small yet charming town.

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Tonight the people who run the hostel took us all on a field trip to Painted Hills. It was really pretty during the sunset. Afterwards they treated us to ice cream. They are truly gracious hosts.

Day 69 (August 6th 2016) Baker City – Mt. Vernon, OR; 90 miles

Today was originally supposed to be a shorter day, however, some last minute changes added an addition 20 miles to the ride. We conquered the Three Sisters by noon and they weren’t nearly as bad as the elevation map would lead us to believe. We finished the last few miles with relative ease.

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The biggest hardship of today’s ride was a wildfire that was wreaking havoc on Oregon since Sunday. The smoke was heavy in sections and made it hard to breathe. I had to take a few puffs of my inhaler. After climbing the hills it felt like I just finished smoking 5 cartons of cigarettes.

We took a break in John Day in their visitor center. The woman was very nice and accommodating and even told us that next year they are hosting a solar eclipse viewing party. It is drawing 50,000 people from around the world. Hotels in the area starting booking up in 2011 and all rooms are currently booked. For a town of 2000 people, it’s a huge deal and will boost their economy significantly.

We are staying in a very nice hostel tonight complete with a dog that reminds me of precious little Skippy, rest her soul. We ate in town and had a delicious blueberry milkshake.

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Even though today was a high mileage day with lots of climbs, for some reason it felt short and easy. Luckily it decreased mileage for tomorrow’s ride, so we’ll get in with plenty of time to see the painted hills.