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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Bike tours and carfree vacations

    The summer vacation season is finally here! Here's a chance to share stories of your carfree vacations--past, present, or future plans.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You first!!

    I'd love to see some of the photos of your car-free trip.

  3. #3
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    Last fall I took this nice ride on the Natchez Trace and elsewhere. My Natchez Trace Tour is complete | Walter's Little World

    It was a really splendid trip. Full of beautiful
    and quiet placed and just perfect weather to go with

  4. #4
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    We, my wife and I, went on a ride down the Pacific Coast from Eugene, OR to Davis, CA last month. It's a ride I do regularly, but this is the first time my wife has joined me on the Oregon portion. (We've often ridden the portion of the CA coast between the Russian River and Fort Bragg.)

    Here's sunrise the first morning. This is the O&C lands that we ride in as often as we can manage. This location is about 50 km from our house and is just three km past the last suburban house for the next 70 km.



    A bit further along, about 100 km from home, and another watershed south from the previous photo, is Smith Falls. Breakfast break.


  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    The next day saw us hustle out of Coos County (not our favorite place). Here I am with my favorite greasy breakfast 50 miles into the day. Lucky for me, one of the shops on the dock agreed to fire up the oil a couple hours early to satisfy my appetite.




    This is Port Orford, OR, just north of Humbug Mountain. We met several nice and interesting people at the campground near here. Two of them were travelling north into the summer north wind. One of those was an extremely fit college student from Switzerland bound for Alaska and then home for some mountain climbing. His bike and gear weighed more than our tandem and its gear; he's a strong man. The other northbound rider was a man who had made a substantial sum in China over the previous decade, and then lost it all. He was on a journey to find his inner peace. Not all the motorists were down with his mission as he rolled along on a Wally world bike with a trailer and only one functional brake. Still, he was happier than the Portland couple who were doing a bucket list ride from Astoria to San Francisco.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Yes, we ride at night a lot. We rode about a third of this trip at night to avoid the worst of the traffic. The views under the full moon were stunningly beautiful, particularly moonset.




    After a day off in Crescent City at an old, inexpensive but nice motel just south of town (bonus points for its beachside location), here we, or at least the captain, are on the Drury Pkwy just after sunrise (yes, another predawn start). The Drury Pkwy provides a nice break before the narrow, winding roadway to Patrick's Point.


  7. #7
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    Back to the beach we go. This is the south side of Trinidad, just north of Arcata.




    After enduring Eureka and an inland foray to the Avenue of the Giants, or, as we call that area, Little Alabama, we eventually get back to the ocean. Normally I skip the Avenue, since it's mostly second and third growth trees amongst some rather unfriendly folks, but neither of us felt our fitness was up to tackling the climbs on the Lost Coast and we had appointments to meet at our endpoint. We both concluded that this "normal" route down the coast has so much aggressive traffic and underfunded law enforcement that if it was someone's first tour it would likely be their last.





    We did have a long conversation with a CHP just north of Leggett the morning this picture was taken. We were taking a brief break just north of Richardson Grove in order to have fresh legs for that little sprint. He asked what we were doing riding there at 5:00 AM. We told him we were avoiding the drunks of the early morning and the heavier traffic that would come later. He told us that he or his troops make a drunk driving arrest every Sunday morning thereabouts between 5:00 and 5:45 AM. We chatted until 5:45, at which time he bid us a happy journey.

    He is incredibly frustrated with the flow of heroin and meth into his region. These drugs are used to pay for the new potent marijuana and hash oil that is being produced. Meanwhile, the Mendocino County DA is lowering the drug dealers' and couriers' charges to misdemeanors and funding his office and the Sheriff with the civil fines the crooks agree to in return for avoiding felonies. Beautiful area, tragic social structure. We did have a couple of non-issue encounters with some drunks that morning on the Avenue, but these ones were mostly harmless.
    Last edited by B. Carfree; 06-15-14 at 01:03 AM.

  8. #8
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    Here's lunch in Fort Bragg.



    After one last camping night here, we stayed at a nice old hotel just across the road from the beach in Fort Ross for our last night. Our strategy was to do the pair of climbs over Jenner Mountain (really just a hill) at 2:30 AM so we could avoid having any traffic on it. This climb has a series of semi-blind curves with unprotected falls of several hundred feet. No one passed us until we were well past that sketchy area. Unfortunately, when the motorists woke up and found us climbing between the Sonoma and Napa valleys, they came in a flood. I'm going to have to find a new route between the Russian River and the Napa Valley before my next trip this way. I'll probably just come inland further north and avoid most of that mess.

    I snapped my front derailleur cable near the top of Calistoga/Petrified Forest Rd. I adjusted the limit screws to give me the middle ring and we limped into Calistoga. While waiting for the only bike shop in town to open, I had a nice hot breakfast (the captain can't eat food from a kitchen that uses wheat flour, so she ate cold food from the store).

    At the end of a 140 mile final day, we rolled into our old home town of Davis, CA. We met a rider on the way in who was riding a Light Speed, which is a custom bike made by Kimo Tanaka, an old friend in Davis who has repaired more than one of my old Trek steel frames. Our brief companion was thrilled to sit on the wheel of a fully loaded tandem that was rolling along at 22 mph into a headwind for the last fifteen miles of his ride. He fully understood our barn sour pace. By then, after 730 miles spread out over eight days of riding plus a day off, we just wanted to get off the bike. That feeling lasted about two days, and then we were out riding our old training routes in the Davis area (along with hundreds of other riders).

  9. #9
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I need to get my tent out of the dust and do some weekend trips! Lately I have been so motivated by inertia.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    We, my wife and I, went on a ride down the Pacific Coast from Eugene, OR to Davis, CA last month. It's a ride I do regularly, but this is the first time my wife has joined me on the Oregon portion. (We've often ridden the portion of the CA coast between the Russian River and Fort Bragg.)
    Nice!

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Car-Free Holidays ....

    2003 - 3 weeks in England, France, and Wales ... including the PBP ...


    A few samples:







  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Car-Free Holidays ....

    2004 - 3 months and 5000 km in Australia ... including the Great Southern Randonnee ...

    The story:
    Australian Adventure


    The photos:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7602327323524/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7602327322204/


    A few samples:








  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Great photos Machka. We're a few years from taking months off at a time for long tours again but I enjoy riding vicariously through what you put out there. Thanks.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Great photos Machka. We're a few years from taking months off at a time for long tours again but I enjoy riding vicariously through what you put out there. Thanks.
    Thank you!

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Car-Free Holidays ....

    2007 - About a month in Europe ... including the 2007 PBP ...

    The story:
    Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2007 Paris Brest Paris Europe Tour


    The photos (most of the photos are with the story):
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7622354301323/


    A few samples:






  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Car-Free Holidays ....

    2008 - A couple weeks in Australia. Mostly car-free, although we did rent a car right at the beginning and end.

    The story and photos:
    Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2008 Australian Tour

    I haven't completely finished the photos for that one ... it was spring break toward the end of my degree, and I was a bit busy. But I'm hoping to finish the photos soonish.

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Car-Free Holidays ....

    2012 ... 4 months (mid June to mid October) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, UK, Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and France

    The story:
    Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2012 Round the World Tour

    (but not the North America or Australia sections ... we had a car for those parts)


    The photos:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7632796492886/

    (but, again, not the North America or Australia sections ... we had a car for those parts)


    A few photo samples:

    In Taiwan ...


    In Japan ...





    In Scotland ...


    In The Netherlands ...


    In Germany ...


    In Switzerland ...


    In France ...



  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    In 2005 ...

    I took a couple weeks off mid-summer to go to California and up the west coast of the US. I suppose that trip would have been car-light in a way. I was transported about in an automobile a little bit right at the beginning of the trip. But after that, I made use of Amtrak, Greyhound, West Jet, and my bicycle.

    I went to San Francisco ... was transported out to Sacramento ... and then to Davis where I started the Gold Rush 1200. At the end of the event, I was transported back to Sacramento where I caught the train to Eugene, OR. I hadn't been planning to go to Eugene, but the train was running about 12 hours late, and I had to change my plans en route. So I spent the night in Eugene, then put my bicycle together, cycled around the town in the morning, packed my bicycle up, and caught the bus to Canada. That was an interesting experience!!

    Over the border in Canada, I stayed with family and cycled around lower mainland BC for several days.




    Then later in the summer, Rowan came to Canada and I took 3 weeks off to travel. Shortly after he arrived, we cycled from Red Deer, Alberta into the Canadian Rockies and down to Banff over 5 days. That was a really nice little tour, very enjoyable.


    We rented cars for the rest of the trip ... so that part was not car-free ... into Calgary, flight to Des Moines, out to Le Claire where we rode the UMCA 24-hour Time Trial, then across to Boulder and Louisville where we rode the Last Chance 1200K, and then across to Los Angeles where Rowan flew back to Australia and I flew back to Canada. Of course, we did stop to cycle now and then along the way.




    Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7602332365295/

    Me ... in Eugene ...



    Cycling out to the Icefield Parkway ...



    In Banff ...

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Mini-Tour!

    In 2006 ...

    Most of our travels were with an automobile. We travelled from central Alberta to Boston, made it most of the way through the BMB (by bicycle), then drove back across the US to Le Claire, Iowa and rode another UMCA 24-hour. After that quite successful race, we drove back up to Alberta again. And, of course, along the way we stopped and cycled in as many US States as possible.


    However, Rowan and I did do one very short cycling tour that year ... and it was magical ...

    The Story:
    Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2006 Pine Lake Tour


    If you don't have a lot of time or money ... you can still get out and tour. This one is a perfect example of that ... and it can be wonderful.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    In 2011 ...

    We flew to Canada and spent about 3 weeks there. During our time there, we did a short credit card tour on Vancouver Island.

    Day 1, my father drove us to the ferry, and we set off from there ... first the ferry across and then cycling to the hotel.

    On Day 2 we cycled over to the Brentwood/Mill Bay Ferry, and then cycled to Mill Bay, Cowichan Bay and Duncan on the first day. We also stopped at the wooden boat museum in Cowichan Bay, and we arrived in Duncan early enough to see the totem poles. (44.98 km)

    On Day 3 we cycled from Duncan to Chemainus and on to Ladysmith. We stopped at Chemainus for quite a while having lunch, browsing through the Wednesday market, and taking photos of the murals. In Ladysmith we discovered that there is one and only one motel, but it wasn't too bad and we had a view of the arm of the ocean just there. (46.5 km)

    On Day 4 we cycled from Ladysmith to Nanaimo, and had meant to do most of it by backroads, and did get out to Maple Bay ... but a wrong turn brought us back onto the TransCanada Highway and made for a longish day of cycling. However, the loop we did was very scenic. (69.5 km)

    We stayed with friends in Nanaimo and had a very good evening with them. The next morning (Day 5) we were given the opportunity to try out a Greenspeed tandem which was an interesting experience! Then we were escorted to Duke Point to catch the ferry back to Vancouver, and that was a good ride too. (33.5 km)

    We were picked up by my father at the ferry terminal, who took us to my grandmother's place, then on Day 6 we cycled from my grandmother's place to my parent's place (53.17 km).


    Aside from the first day of rain, the weather on the rest of the tour was lovely and even quite warm on the last 3 days. And the distances were good, allowing us to see lots of things and to take make it a relaxed tour. The people we met along the way were very friendly as well. Several people stopped to talk to us and to take pictures of us together, and one retired couple invited us to tea on our way to Ladysmith. We declined, but I was quite pleasantly surprised at the offer.

    We followed the rotary route much of the way, although there were occasions where we did our own thing. However, the rotary route information linked above is a very good starting point for anyone thinking about a tour on Vancouver Island.


    The photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7627943421118/








  21. #21
    Junior Member
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    Love reading about, and seeing the pics of, your tours. Maybe one day the wife and I can start doing these. I especially liked the Switzerland shot.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbelvetron View Post
    Love reading about, and seeing the pics of, your tours. Maybe one day the wife and I can start doing these. I especially liked the Switzerland shot.
    Thanks.

    It's easy enough to start small. Our 2011 tour of Vancouver Island, for example, was a short credit card tour. We didn't carry much (as you can see from the photos) and we stayed in motels or with friends. It was a very enjoyable tour with beautiful scenery and interesting things to see along the way ... and we kept our daily distances relatively short so that we could stop and see things along the way.

  23. #23
    Junior Member
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    Well with a four year old and 9- month old twins I don't foresee any touring for quite some time. We'll just have to live vicariously thru the forum!

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbelvetron View Post
    Well with a four year old and 9- month old twins I don't foresee any touring for quite some time. We'll just have to live vicariously thru the forum!

    Ah yes, that might be a bit of a challenge ... but maybe in a few years weekend tours might be on the cards.

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    2007 - About a month in Europe ... including the 2007 PBP ...

    The story:
    Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2007 Paris Brest Paris Europe Tour


    The photos (most of the photos are with the story):
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7622354301323/
    I don't know if you're watching the TDF, but they're going many of the places we went in 2007 ... to Lille, Ypres, and today to Nancy. It's like reliving the trip.



    They've got this statue in a yellow jersey right now.

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