Portland to Portland Gals

Friends cycling from Portland, OR, to Portland, ME

By Mike Ferguson

On the Baker City Herald

They call themselves the "Portland to Portland Gals," and for good reason:  Carolyn Walters, 64, and Anne Kelly, 68, are spending their summer months cycling from Oregon to Maine.

They're not raising money for any cause.

They're not even trying to raise anyone's awareness.

"We don't have any cause in mind," Walters said during a layover Thursday in Baker City.  "We're just doing our own thing."

To date, seven days and 449 miles into their 3,583 mile journey, the pair of cyclist have met some wonderful people and seen some beautiful scenery," as Walters put it.

"I've done the interstates, but there (in a vehicle) you're in a suit of armour.  You're approachable on a bicycle."

Indeed, the two received offers of hospitality in Pendleton and La Grande before staying two nights camped in the backyard - by their choice - of Baker City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cheri Smith.

"But we're not complete sponges," Walters said with a laugh.  "We're taking Cheri and her family out to dinner (Thursday)."

"We're lucky in that we're self-sufficient," she added.  "But it's a lot easier with the help of friends, families and strangers."

Walters, a resident of Grover's Beach, a town near Santa Maria on the central California coastline, has already traversed the country by bicycle.  Four years ago, she completed the San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla., route in about 40 days.

Kelly, too, is a veteran cyclist having completed tours of the Santa Fe Trail and long trips through New York and Nova Scotia, Canada.

"She gets around," Walters said admiringly of her friendand cycling companion.

The two plan to finish their trip by mid-September, figuring they will average at least 60 miles a day when they're not climbing the Rockies.

"We should be able to make up time through the Midwest," Walters said.

"It'll mostly be corn on the left and more corn on the right."

As a going away present, the pair's home organization, the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club, established a website to follow the gals adventures.

The address is www.slobc.org/tour/P2PGals.html.