It’s All Downhill from Here

After enjoying a long chat over coffee with Alan, we took off. We climbed one big hill on Highway 230, and then began our long descent back to Medford, stopping for the night at Joseph Stewart State Campground again. We rode approximately 50 miles today! That’s near the upper limit of what we’ve ridden.  Not just loaded, but ever!

Hwy 230, our last big climb, 5415 feet
Hwy 230, our last big climb, 5415 feet
Highway cuts through hundreds of feet of ash deposited by Mount Mazama during the eruption that created Crater Lake
Lost Creek Reservoir near Joseph Stewart campground showing the effects of severe drought

Despite being nearly all downhill, it’s surprising how tired we were by the end of the day. You’d think a fully loaded bike would build up so much momentum that we could coast all the way down, that the only part of us that should be tired is our hands from having to apply the breaks so much. And yet, the panniers create enough wind resistance that even going downhill we usually have to pedal. Plus, a loaded bike is so heavy that it takes a surprising amount of strength to make the micro-corrections necessary to keep it upright and under control.   And so, we arrived in camp unexpectedly tired. This was our last night on the road. The trip was nearly over. We were simultaneously excited and sad.

The next day we continued on Highway 62, and then returned to Medford on back roads. (No animal miles this time!)

We were elated to have such a successful first tour – a real one this time. A full week, not just an overnight. It has been immensely challenging, but so gratifying. We are so proud of ourselves!

Overall, we rode approximately 200 miles over eight days. While our daily mileage varied from 2 (riding around camp on our rest days) to 50 (practically all downhill), we averaged 25 miles per day. We had originally planned on averaging 30 miles per day in Europe. Now, however, we realize that we should start out around 20 until we get in better shape. (This gives us a bit of a buffer for animal miles, hills, rest days, or anything else that might impede our speed.) There’s a reason we call ourselves Team Lumaca!!!

Mileage 9/23/15: 50 miles

Mileage 9/24/15: 27 miles

Total Trip mileage: 193 miles