Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seattle, The HLAA Convention & into California!

Entering California--what a view!

It's been a busy couple of weeks! We made it to Seattle on the 19th, a day ahead of schedule. I continued riding towards past Seattle that day and put in 73 miles the next to give us an 88 mile head start to Oakland (then I rode back to Seattle in the van).

On the morning of June 21st, I had a TV interview. Then my sister Sarah and I checked out the Space Needle. At the Mariners’ game that evening I threw out the first pitch. I think it was the best first pitch I've thrown. The Mariners lost but I enjoyed watching the “fat man” Bartolo Colon, pitch 8 innings. 

We got started late next day because of a big breakfast at our host home (THANKS!) but still managed 80 miles. It was very hilly, climbing to 4,800 feet, and riding past a lot of snow. The uphill climbs seem all worth it when you get to go 30 mph for 15-20 miles afterward downhill. We ended that night in Carson, and drove over the Bridge of the Gods in Oregon to spend the night. 

At this point, I was getting nervous about our route. We were heading East, back into the mountains. Jack and I have been doing Google Map/Avoid Highways the whole time, and it has never failed us--until now. The next day I rode across a bridge illegally because I didn't know until after I’d crossed. Then it started pouring. I gave up riding at 60-something miles. We spent the night in Government Camp that night. 

It rained all night and was still raining when we began the next morning. This day was almost the worst of the ride so far. I was completely soaked just minutes in, it was only 46 degrees, and my hands and feet were going numb. After a stop at mile 15, my legs were shivering and chattering. After a rest at mile 30, I started up again still shivering, when I was transported to what seemed like another planet. The mountains were gone, and I was in a steppe (almost a desert, but it gets some precipitation). My pants and shirt dried off pretty quickly. I plunged into a valley were I had big lunch and changed my gear. Then we made it past Madras and into Redmond.

More rain the next day but it wasn’t so cold. Made 80 miles without much fuss. We had a great dinner that night at Diamond Lake Junction Cafe. Owner was awesome, and he had his three dogs in the restaurant. The portions were huge. We watched Rushmore that night, a Bill Murray movie I had never seen, and it was just great.

On June 26, we made it to Klamath Falls which was our goal all along. Then we drove 75 miles to Medford for a flight to Portland for the Hearing Loss Association of American convention on the 27th.

With some of the great people I met at the HLAA conference.
The HLAA convention was awesome. I met so many people interesting people! The Advanced Bionics people were fun to talk to. I gave my speech around and I think I did alright. I got a standing ovation, but the speaker who followed me rightfully upstaged me. Howard Weinstein (inventor of solar-powered hearing aids) was the keynote speaker, and seriously, I think the Solar Ear is amazing. That guy is changing thousands of lives.

Portland 100 was pretty fun. I met some cool people. Then a group of us walked back to the hotel for more food and beer. I ran upstairs to change because I had sweated a bit in anticipation of my speech. My "Zombie Apocalypse Will Not Be Motorized" t-shirt was a hit. It was so crazy in the banquet hall. When I left the banquet hall to use the restroom, it took me like an hour and a half to get back due to all the conversations I had. My sister joined some Portland 100 people went out to party but I went upstairs to bed, because it was already midnight.

So we flew back to Medford and drove to back Klamath Falls. At this point, Jack and I had decided to ignore Google Map/Avoid Highways and change the route ourselves. We stayed on 97 S, got into California, and made it to Weed. Weed! "I (heart) Weed" t-shirts are big sellers in the town since people actually driving up here just because of the name. 

The next day from Weed, we got on Interstate 5. It wasn’t bad getting passed at 70 mph, because there was a 15 foot shoulder—more room than I usually get. But if there was debris on the shoulder, I had to decide quickly to go around it on the right or bunny hop it. You can't be a righteous cyclist on the freeway. Jack and I figured that the 5 was really the only way to get from Weed to Redding. It was a good ride—averaged 18 mph.

The next day from Redding CA, we pushed it by riding on the Interstate 5 again. I flew along getting my first 67 miles in before 1 pm (started early because of the 110 degree weather). But we finally heard the loudspeaker—a state trooper pulling us over. He was very nice and understood what we were doing out on the interstate but told us we needed to get off Rt. 5 and onto Rt. 99.

So for the rest of that day and today (July 2), it was Rt. 99 with bad pavement and then worse pavement. Still, we got the miles in and we're only 70 miles from Oakland! Success!

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