Two years ago, Laura and I went on a tour with some friends down the Oregon coast. It was our first big tour and everything was so intimidating and harrowing. Perhaps the toughest stretch of the trip which has been forever etched in our minds was the two days from Reedsport to Eugene. It is about 90 miles and goes along Smith River. There are two decent size climbs and no potable water or services along the way. When we did it 2 years ago, we were pretty green as far as tourists go. We didn’t bring enough water or food for the crossing. It was also in the 90s and low 100s, we ran out of water and I was overheating pretty bad. I instantly went into survival mode after we got lost in the poorly signed BLM land. It was not a good time.

So, it wasn’t without some trepidation that we decided to try the route again. This time we were better prepared. We carried extra water and had enough food. The weather was also in our favor with a gentle sprinkle up the summit. We have also have quite a few tours under our belt and are more able to calmly assess situations.

We climbed the two summits without any problem and made it out of the “green tunnel” in one piece and with smiles on our faces. Although we were carrying more weight this time around, the ride seemed much easier and more pleasurable. Instead of being in survival mode, we were able to stop and enjoy the ride.

It was nice to revisit a ride that was so challenging years ago and find it easier. Proof to ourselves that we’ve grown stronger as bicycle tourists and prepared for the challenges ahead.