Day 26: Check Point (Day Off)


Look up at giant redwoods

Look up at giant redwoods

This is our 4th and last rest day before we make it into San Francisco. We couldn’t have asked for anything better than what we’ve been given here at our campsite, being surrounded by groves of redwood trees. All of us did not do much, but just stayed put in our campsite for the entire day and napped. We fought off squirrels and bluejays from all the snacks that we consumed during the entire course of the afternoon. It was truly a deserving time off of the bikes.

Gear Failures

Thermarest pillow

I’m going to use this opportunity to report on some gears that have not worked very well for me on this trip. First, we will start with the Thermarest pillow that I brought. Very comfortable pillow, but it takes up half of one pannier (the other half is occupied by my sleeping bag) and with the cold weather, the bottom of the pillow is constantly damp and wet. After a week of riding, the pillow starts to smell really bad and needs a good wash. I’ll have to replace this soon with something more compact and not so sensitive to the weather.


I really wanted our Goal Zero solar panel to be more effective for this trip, but it hasn’t been all that had hoped for as the weather was constantly overcast with fog and very few days of sun. This resulted in devices drained of battery and needing to find electrical outlets to juice up the iPad. I have to say that on good days with sun, I do get full charge on both my battery packs to recharge my dead iPhone and other electronic devices, like the GoPro cameras and accessories. On our off day today, I tried my best to recharge using the solar panel, but the shade of these massive trees prevented me from having this panel out in one place for no more than 15 minutes at a time. Hopefully, we’ll have better luck in future trips with better weather. I may incorporate my trusty NewTrent battery pack instead next time. I’ll try to have a more extensive review after the trip, but for now, I’m not very excited about it.

In Victoria, British Columbia, my rear blinky light popped off and broke. It was a cheap imitation of the Planet Bike super flash. I’m going to need to pick up the real deal the next time I’m near a bike shop. Unfortunately, the places I’ve checked in Astoria and other smaller towns do not carry Planet Bike lights. The rear mount on my rack is compatible with the lights.

My iPhone 5 has been acting very wonky in terms of battery life. It would work a few hours at best between 100% charges. Sometimes it would drain from 100% to 30% and turn off in an hour. Other times, it would turn off at 70%. I couldn’t get anything consistent out of it. I’ll need to replace the batteries when I get back.

The worse thing that I realized on this trip was how bad T-Mobile service was throughout the Washington and Oregon states. I bought a 30 day 5 Gigabyte data plan only to use a small percentage of it when I was in California. The idea was to use it to post blogs, but connectivity in  4G or LTE speed was unheard of until we made it to some places in California. I even called to complain to T-Mobile, but their service representative and manager were not able to do anything other than give me a $5 credit. I could have just paid for a cheaper WiFi-only iPad if this was the case. Hopefully after a year, I can unlock it and use it for future overseas tour.

What Worked

I have to say that I am very happy with the other things I’ve brought. I am very fond of my Thermarest sleeping pad and REI Halo sleeping bag as they have provided a comfortable sleeping environment for me every time. I also enjoy all the light-weight clothing that I brought. They’ve done the job in keeping me dry and not smelly. My trusty Petzel headlamp has been working like a champ night in and night out. My iPad with the Amazon keyboard has been integral in helping me keep my blog updated. The Jetboil has been amazing in boiling and cooking our meals every night on the trip. These are the few notable ones, but I’m going to have a more complete post at the conclusion of the trip concerning what worked and what didn’t.

For now, we rest and make the last push into San Francisco this week! Can’t believe this adventure is almost ending!

About Johnny Lam

Johnny is an avid cyclist who enjoys bicycle touring as well as anything bicycle related. Johnny has traveled the entire Pacific Coast by bike from Vancouver to the border of California and Mexico. He's also toured through-out locations in Southern California. Johnny is also a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor (LCI) and also completed the Adventure Cycling Association's Leadership Training Course (LTC). He is an active member in Los Angeles bicycling community being involved in organizations like the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition (LACBC), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange), and Bike San Gabriel Valley (Bike SGV) by taking part in ride marshaling, pedestrian & bike counts, and other volunteering opportunities.