CIPO caraVAN now in California

Hi friends!

We know lots of people were anxiously waiting for a new post, so here we go, sorry we didn’t write earlier, but it’s not been very easy to find enough time and a good connection to the Internetz before. And we usually have other things to do online, like check the weather, our route, contacting friends and people on our route, check the news, etc. It’s not that we don’t love ya, just don’t be impatient!

We are glad to tell you that we survived the terrible weather we had in Oregon. It was pretty intense! We got hail storms and a lot of rain; temperatures below 30 degrees F (0 degrees C), and two or three inches of snow in North Bend, at that point we said “enough!, let’s get out of here”, and we took a shuttle to Crescent City in the North of California hoping to get better conditions. And it’s still very cold, but it’s been sunny in the last days at least.

So basically, we started riding in Tillamook (took a shuttle from Portland, kinda lame, but we were late on our schedule, sick, and not ready for the rain in the hills to get to the coast…), and just made our way down the 101, stopping for a few shots and some rest every time we felt like it, which is pretty often given the great coastal views. Sometimes we stop to shoot small videos, just like when we got into Waldport, the only sunny morning in Oregon (two hours later it was hailing like hell). We slept sometimes in the wild, sometimes clandestinely in campgrounds, other times honestly in campgrounds. We also tried an RV park once when we were very desperate at Lincoln city, not very sexy but it was the first place we found with showers and laundry and we were too frozen to look for something nicer.

In one of those nights in a campground, I woke up around 2 am, and heard the tarp on the bikes making some noise, like if the wind was shaking it, but it didn’t seem very windy outside. I was very thirsty and didn’t have water in the tent I decided to get up, and as I was putting my warm clothes on, I heard this big noise of a bike falling. Gil woke up all afraid; I got out of the tent with my knife asking “who’s there?”, and found three raccoons searching our bikes. They actually made a hole in Gil’s handle bar bag to get some trail mix he had in it. They didn’t seem very scared by my knife and my shouts; they stayed around in the bushes looking at us hanging our food in the tree. It was pretty hard to fall asleep after that, we were kind of paranoid, and I dreamed of zombies attacking the tent later that night. At 5:20 am, Gil wakes me up asking “did you hear that?”, and I could hear the tarp making the same kind of noise, so I told him “it’s your turn to get up now”, but he was all  “well, fuck that, they can eat our shit, I don’t care” and went back to the depth of his sleeping bag, so I had to get up again to find the same raccoons looking in my bags, getting some plastic bags out, even if there was no food anymore. So that time we got up for real (we actually had the alarm at 5:30), packed our stuff with the raccoons trying to get close every time we wouldn’t be yelling at them, and left with the first light of the morning.

[Gil’s version of the events]:

We were woken up by the noise of the tarps covering our bikes being shuffled around, and wondered what the F was it. Coyote got up and grabbed his puny Swiss army knife and jumped making some silly hissing noises. He shouted right after “it’s fucking racoones man!”, so I calmed down said “fuck, did they get anything?” and yep, they had toppled my bike over and had ripped a hole on my handlebar bag. So we both fixed it up and hanged our food and scared the goddamn racoones away.

Later on, we heard some sort of chewing noises all around the tent, and I woke up Coyote to check if it wasn’t my paranoia. He said “it’s your turn man” and I was all “well shit, it’s too cold man, and it’s already 5:30, let’s just get up” and crawled into my sleeping bag again hah! Then he got up and started trying to scare them off again with some lame noises. So I came out, grabbed a huge branch that was lying there, and charged trying to kill the mofos! They were scared shitless and stopped buggin’ us. Yeah, that’s the way we do eet!

A nicer experience in Oregon was the night in the dunes, a really amazing area with huge sand dunes, forest, lakes, and of course the ocean. At the beginning I thought it was just one or two dunes between where we were and the sea, but no, it’s huuuuge, so we couldn’t make it to the beach; it was too far and too dark already, and I had to fix my rack which had fallen down, with some of the screws rubbing the chain and threatening to screw up my gears cassette.

We were usually lucky the first days because we got all the rain and hail when we were stopping for lunch or after setting up the camp, so we never really got soaked, but when we left Reedsport for North Bend, we had rain, wind, and a bit of hail  all the way. That was pretty hard, but the worst part came just before getting to North Bend: we had to cross this long steel bridge walking our bikes on a very narrow sidewalk, with the wind making it hard to keep our balance and huge trucks splashing us. I almost wanted to throw my bike in the water, but it was too heavy to throw it overthe fence of the bridge. We were so soaked and cold that we decided to go to a motel that night, and that was a very good idea because the day after it was all snowy when we got up, and it snowed all morning. So we made the decision to take the shuttle from our warm and cosy room to Brookings, feeling happy to not have camped that night.

We spent a night at Brookings, checked the weather (supposed cold and shitty), and decided to get to Crescent City by shuttle again. Also because Gil got his gloves stolen in a campground (he left them dry in the bathroom all night long with a note, but there is no respect in our days, so sad), and didn’t feel like riding in the cold without gloves.

So we started riding again from Crescent City two days ago, with very nice weather, and got into the Redwoods. Man, that’s beautiful, I didn’t think I would get so amazed by trees after hiking in BC, but that was very special, especially when we decided to go through the Prairie Creek Park on a closed road. We had all the park for us; it was an endless down hill through those giant trees, we really had the feeling to be on our way to another world, it was amazing.

The coast is also really pretty in Northern California, and it was so good to stay dry for two days, so those two last days have been the best days since the beginning of the trip for me at least. That inspired me to say hi in French.

It is still very cold though. When we woke up yesterday morning in the little town of Orick our tent was all frozen, still so hard to get out of the sleeping bag in those conditions, so we just ran to the cafe in front to wait for the sun to come up.And as we got close to Arcata the landscape changed totally into flat farmland, with little family farms, grass and cows, almost no wind, and for the first time we were able to ride without our rain gear that we usually keep because of the cold wind, that was soooo good, because even if we have good gear, it still gets wet inside from the condensation.

Once in Arcata, a random guy who was biking in the other direction asked us if we had gone to the Thanksgiving dinner, and he took us to this Veteran Center where different organizations had set a nice dinner, so we got the chance to eat yummy turkey with rice with cheese, pumpkin, green beans, yam potatoes, pumpkin pie, what a feast… and unexpected, so that was awesome.

Arcata is actually a very cute little town, with a nice central plaza, which is not very common in this region.  We met some very nice people, and one of them, Keo, invited us to his place for the night, where we hung out with him and his roommate Travis. Their place is actually the Aracata Zen Group‘s headquarters, on the top of the hill in Arcata, so it was very cool to know them and this place. We had good talks with them and they invited us for their daily 6 am meditation session this morning. Unfortunately, we were too tired and preferred to enjoy the comfort of a warm room to sleep in rather than getting up so early :-p

And now it’s almost 1 pm, we’re still here, not ready at all, enjoying good breakfast with good people, and we’re gonna leave tomorrow! hah

As usual there is something that makes us not ride all day long (usually it’s the rain or the cold). So we’ve actually had a very slow pace: the maximum we’ve ridden in one day is maybe 40 or 50 miles (60 to 70km); we’ll make it to Oaxaca in a year at that pace, but hopefully we’ll be able to ride more when the temperatures get warmer.

Well, there would be more stories to tell, interesting and/or curious people we met to talk about, but I think it’s time to leave now! So take care friends, we hope you’re all good, and we’ll keep you posted, even if it’s not as often as we wish it would!


You can see more pictures on our Flickr page

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