Second Important Take-away: Google maps sometimes lies.
In order for the team to push across the bridge their route called for, they would have had to push in the middle of a 6 ½ km stretch of heavy traffic. Cars would’ve been stuck behind them and they decided that since the general public wouldn’t appreciate that very much, they would wait for Andrew to come back and pick them up. Halfway across the beautiful bridge they finally saw it:
WELCOME TO OREGON.
They were so close and Astoria, a neat little fishing town, was their first stop. The guys tried to find a campsite, only stumbling across places that book a year in advance before finally figuring they could camp on the beach, since nobody owns the ocean. Parking in a random parking lot, they see the grass and they walk out to see their first glimpse of real ocean and nothing else. You couldn’t see land past it.
The plans to beach-camp became initially foiled as it was late and 'no camping' signs appeared everywhere they looked. In a final attempt to find a campsite, they had to make a tough choice when they discovered a KOA (Kampgrounds of America). They hadn’t has wifi in a while and KOA, while expensive, became the best, last minute option. "Foofy camping" was the general impression of the massive campground space, with an indoor/outdoor pool, and the selling point of FREE PANCAKES. Many a pancake was consumed on their rest day before they went out to find Seaside, a beach that Andrea & Tim in Revelstoke had recommended. It was surreal to think back to Revelstoke and reflect on how two weeks had gone by. The destination was becoming real at this point and the end was in sight.
Continuing their rest day, the guys met up with Jess Pell, ate at a bakery, had sushi and then decided to try their hand at some stealth camping. They drove back towards Astoria from Seaside to try and find a place to camp, finally locating a more isolated beach area. A forested area offered a sweet spot at least 20 ft. from the 'no camping' sign, so they hiked in and enjoyed the natural mattress of the mossy ground.
Refreshed they pushed to Oswald West State Park, where the first 20 kms went by easily and rapidly (45 mins) and then continued on through Seaside.
The scenery was delightful, with a breathtaking forest, tunnel & coastline. As soon as they passed Canon Beach it was all uphill, a stark contrast and adjustment from Seaside's flat terrain.
Right after they begin to peak they encountered a gentleman named Ted, a 64-year-old walking from Southern California to Victoria, BC by himself. With nothing but his little cart he would cover 20 miles a day, explaining he was walking essentially because he knew that he could do it & opted to not sit on his couch and watch TV. MASSIVE shout out to Ted for doing his thing.
Things went down hill for awhile, literally, and the guys had to stop and walk a ways, as Jordan was now on his 5th set of shoes and needed to conserve this pair and make them last.
They drove back to Canon Beach to stay at for the night, a place described as "kind of like Banff with an ocean". The team drove to a random rest stop, just on the border with not a lot of pavement, and slept in the van, this time terrifically because there, unlike the bright lights of Wal Mart parking lots, they had total darkness. The team pleasantly awoke to a man snapping a picture of the van next to Caleb’s head and drove back to Canon Beach for their rest day.
After getting hyped up for Stumptown Coffee at a café called Sealevel, they ended up chatting with Jason, an employee who wanted to know more about their travels and are invited to stay at his place that evening. Following a day of exploring hidden beaches and rock climbing they got the privilege of an awesome sleep on his couches and the added bonus of fresh fruit in the morning.
Went back to the park and pushed, still on the 101, through a series of small towns with brutal pavement. Got to Rockaway Beach, known touristy place for big rocks with holes in them, and then right past the Tillamook factory where, after eating their greek yogurt for days, the team was excited to stop in.
Shockingly nothing was purchased. Watching the workers cut the cheese all day must have turned them off eating. (Sorry, I had to).
In Oregon they have logging roads that are legal to camp in, so they drove into the Tillamook State Forest and up a mountain to the furthest point the van could go before setting up their tent right near the top for the night. Returning to Tillamook, the team started their day and pushed through a temperature of 41 degrees. Instead of taking the final rest day, Caleb and Jordan decided to split up the day into 2 days.
Even though only 35 km the day felt long. They tried to find another logging road, but instead discovered a free campground where they could spend the night. They chose a location deeper into the forest than the campground itself, and enjoyed a 'shower' in the ice cold creek after hiking in all the gear.
2:30 am brought another deep life discussion with Caleb and Andrew (much to Jordan's dismay).
(Not-so-fun) Fact: The states has mile post signs. This means that every time a sign appears, you know you’ve only pushed 1 mile. Seeing the post every mile was mentally draining and after a long uphill stretch (with elevation 1300 ft.) followed by a straight drop down, everyone was exhusted. By the time they hit the entrance to Gales Creek the shoulder dropped off. The last 10km had no shoulder, so they took a different road, equivalent in length, to just north of Gales Creek and were reminded the whole way of the flat farmland of rural Alberta. Even the marketing of signs felt like home. From Gales Creek they pushed an extra 10-15 km into Cornelius to make their last day a little easier. This was the final Wal-Mart camp out, and the guys had the opportunity before bed to meet up with Caleb’s parents, who had come down for the finale. Caleb says: Shout out to Mom and Dad for letting everyone swim in their hotel pool.
They headed back to the Wal-Mart for an amazing sleep and, around 10 am the next morning, embarked on the FINAL PUSH. The towns blended together before Portland, taking them a weird route before they finally reached a bike path type area.
Another first: First elevator ride on a push. The team took an elevator up to a bridge to cross the road and push along the bike path. The path, slightly raised above the highway, led them all the way to the Japanese Gardens (a rose garden that Portland is known for). They went through Washington Park and then got into Burnside road, leading directly to their end point. Pushing through Portland, they knew they had made it, but they didn't consider themselves finished until they reached the white stag sign.
Caleb's parents had a finish tape to push through to “officially” end the adventure, and it was a very surreal feeling to reach their goal. There was a peace in finishing that didn’t really hit them right away. They stayed at Andrew’s cousin's (not really related, but close enough in East Indian culture) house, finally took showers, and as their last hoo-rah dinner. went for Thai cuisine. Challenge complete.
- Jordan can be salty. Especially at 2:30 am.
- At Canon Beach the team ate at the Screw n' Brew-- the only combo sandwich place and hardware store that they've ever encountered.
- Contrary to what this post might suggest, we are not sponsored by Tillamook. However, to any Tillamook employees reading this, we are open to any interest you may have in the idea.
And so concludes the 2015 Push for Burundi update. We can not emphasize enough how grateful we are for each and every one of you: our supporters, our readers, our family & friends, and all of the wonderful strangers we encountered along the way!
Your encouragement, investment and dedication to the visions and dreams that PFB holds have helped shape who we are and those we impact in exciting and unparalleled ways.
Look forward to more exciting news from us soon!
-- Love, The PFB Team