Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 68. Ochoco Pass, OR to Bend, OR. 60ish miles.

When I stepped out of my sleeping bag into the cool morning air, I felt like absolute shit. The food baby I had created the day before was still there, solid as ever. For some reason, my body didn't seem to digest any of the jalapeno laden dinner. I packed up quickly, put on all of my warm clothes, my warm breath filling the air in front of me and headed down to the road to a rest stop.

The morning was one of the coldest I had experienced the entire trip. The one mile ride down to the rest area caused my toes and fingers to go numb. I stood in the warm sunshine and waited for the sun to get a bit higher in the sky before moving on. After a couple hours of riding and beginning a new audio book I found myself in Prineville, OR where I immediately disregarded the promise I had made to myself the night before. The promise to eat fruit and vegetables went right out the door as I ate pancakes - at least it wasn't full of B+G. As I sat, I started to feel worse and worse until after nearly two hours I decided I had to keep going. Plus the town of Prineville wasn't so awesome.

Nausea start to set in as I started the 30 miles to Bend, Oregon. My stomach churned as the ocean. My legs slowed, my head started to hang low and suddenly a car passed me within inches as it came right toward me passing another car. Holy shit, I thought. If I had weaved or the wind picked up, the last thing that would have gone through my mind would have been my ass. At one point I stopped on the side of the road and rested my head on my arms atop my handlebars. Vomiting was certain. But I kept on, and as I rolled into Bend I stopped to sit in some grass like a bum. After a brief rest I went to the library to update this blog, which has definitely been fun but at the same time has been a bit of a hassle. As I typed it was as if someone pushed a button in my insides and I ran for the bathroom. Sorry, fellow shitter patrons.

Welp, that did me in. I made my way to a fabulous motel. The room was cheap, smelled of cigarette smoke and didn't provide shampoo. That's how you know a motel is nice, the lack of shampoo. There I caught up on the latest 'The Hills' episodes. You know, that show where people are famous just for being alive but not actually doing anything except for being pretty. That sounds good to me, empty, but good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


i know it's long overdue but day 67 is up on the blog.

Day 67. Mt. Vernon, OR to Ochoco Pass, OR - 75 miles

I know it has been a couple weeks since I have made a legitimate post, and I feel a bit pathetic for it, so hopefully y'all are still into reading the remainder of the trip.

The North Carolina dudes I had met the night before in the 'Bike Inn' were up early and moving about before I could open my eyes. They generously shared some Fig Newtons and coffee with me before we parted ways, they to the east and I to the west. (Is that proper grammer? somebody please help me.) There was a bit of a headwind as I headed off but for some reason before long I was feeling a bit weak and tired. I imagine it was due to the mountain passes from the day before. I pulled over to the side of the road, sat upon a guard rail and enjoyed half of a jar of peanut butter before rolling on.

Shortly after I pulled into the town of Dayville - the last stop before 40 miles of nothingness containing a 25 mile, 2000 vertical foot climb. Two cyclists from Oregon, freshly out on the road, were sitting in the cool shade of a local market, where I stopped to fuel up. I probably ate the most calories in that one meal - made up of three cans of food, a hot pocket, candy and soda - and I chilled with the two guys. We went through the usual conversation and they hit me up with question after question of life on the road and I responded proudly. After being fully satisfied I set out into the heat of the day and a gusty wind.

'Abraham Lincoln. Vampire Hunter' played in my headphones and kept me company as I climbed the long, long pass. I seemed to climb over false-summit after false-summit and being as tired as I was, I just became irritated with the roadway. Climb, fall, climb, fall, climb, fall....hours. really just a few but seemed like forever. After the last false-summit I saw another cyclist in the distance and caught up to him immediately. His name was Jim and he puttered along ever so slowly. He had recently had knee surgery and a trip from Phoenix to Bend, Oregon was his way to heal/train his knee back to normal. We rode side by side for a mile or two as cars whizzed by and the occasional middle finger was thrown in my direction. Yeah, it was completely my fault and the gesture was deserved but I didn't care. There was plenty of roadway, and driver should slow down anyhow. Just sayin...

When I finally reached the top I had to layer up for the ride down into Mitchell, Oregon. The breeze and the air was cool despite the hot sun. It was amazing that it took a few hours to ride up 2000 feet and then only minutes to descend into the small mountain town. I noticed a small cafe, and even though I wasn't really hungry, I stopped in for a meal as I had another 2000 foot, 15 mile climb to finish up before dark.

The owners of the cafe were sitting on the porch and no one was inside. Looked like they were taking a smoke break from a pool game going on inside. And they seemed almost annoyed by my presence and eagerness to spend money at their cafe, which I imagine didn't have too many visitors. The woman cooking was actually playing a game of pool while cooking a jalapeno bacon cheeseburger with fries. While I ate two other gentleman came in and ordered the exact same thing I was eating. And I tell you, it was great, but then I bit into a partially cooked fry (these were of the homemade variety, not the frozen one) and thought it to be a bit gross but with enough salt anything can be saved, right? After chowing through the hearty meal and conceiving a very large food baby, I had the hankerin' for some ice cream. surprising, right?

The market across was run by a guy who looked like he had been lost in the woods for weeks and/or under the hood of his automobile all day. He sat in the corner near the register and picked at a guitar as I wandered the store. "You must be one of those biking guys?" he asked. It must have been the jersey and shorts that gave it away. We chatted for a bit and I filled him in and then told him that I had moved from Colorado to NYC just over a year ago. "Well, I guess you went two ways" he replied. It's amazing the amount of people I met that weren't fans of the city or any populated area for that matter Why is it that crowds bother/stress people out? I don't get it. I bought some ice cream, stuffed my belly even more-so and started the last stretch of the day.

I climbed for another couple hours, over one false-summit, before finding myself at a campground. I pulled in, rolled out my footprint and sleeping bag and passed out under a setting sky. For some reason, I wasn't feeling real well and I thought it was because of all the garbage-food I shoved into my face during the day and realized that my diet really had to change. Fruits and vegetables were in order. I vowed that the next day I would have oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.



i apologize for the lack of writing. but please be sure to check back tomorrow. it's the beginning of the end....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

back in the good ol state of co.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

relaxing in novato, ca. full of pizza and beer. 25 miles till the end...

Monday, July 19, 2010

snapped cable. hitchin it to redding, ca.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

just about back to normal and movin south.

Friday, July 16, 2010

a solid 32 miles brings me to la pine, or.

Day 66. Side-of-the-road, OR to Mt. Vernon, OR. 100+ miles.

The day started before the sun broke the horizon. High winds kept me up most of the night and allowed for an early start. I started climbing a pass as soon as I started pedaling but as I pedaled higher and higher I entered national forest and the wind died and I was loving it. Much to my chagrin, I exited the forest just as quickly as I had entered and the wind picked back up. A small town boasted a cafe via a highway sign and made the 1 mile dash straight for it.

While eating I met a dude from Santa Barbara who was on his way north hauling bicycles to Washington for a triathlon. We chatted for over an hour and he hooked me up with some books-on-tape for my iPod and even offered a place to stay in Santa Barbara if I happened to make it down that way. I started up one of those books as I departed; 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' it was titled. I recommend it.

The day consisted of 4 climbs and the book on tape probably got me through them. I just focused on what was being said and pedaled onward and upward almost entering a meditative state as I climbed and climbed.

I rolled into Mt. Vernon with plenty of daylight to spare but I had heard about a specific church that allowed cyclists to stay - almost a co-op sorta place. The co-op was in John Day, or at least I thought, 8 miles east - obviously the wrong direction. I rode down there but found nothing. I asked around, called the police but nobody knew what I was talking about. After searching the internet, I discovered that the co-op was in Dayville - 23 miles west of Mt. Vernon. 31 miles was too far to cover with the remaining daylight so I just headed back to Mt. Vernon where I discovered the 'Bike Inn.' The Inn is a donation based guest house where cyclists can hang, eat, sleep and shower. I ended up sharing the house with three other cyclists from Seattle that night. They were making their way to North Carolina and eventually riding back. I was a bit envious of these guys as this trip was not just a temporary thing. They hadn't any deadlines or time-lines. This was just a stage of life, one I imagine, they will remember forever.

Day 65. side-of-the-road, WA to side-of-the-road, OR. 100+ miles.

So, now I'm basically riding as far as I can everyday in order to wrap this thing up, hence sleeping on the side of the road. Not to mention, it's free!

I was up bright and early, which happens when sleeping near the road. I knew I wanted to get to John Day, OR in two days, nearly 200 miles off so I pedaled and pedaled. But within 5 miles I had to get some coffee and eat. Gotta energize, you know. After the quick, undeserved rest, I was off and pedaling into the wind. After a couple of hours I hit the town of Walla Walla, WA. What a name. shortly thereafter I entered Oregon in 100 degree heat as I pushed toward the city of Pendleton where I could eat again and cool down. I took refuge in a fast-food joint, places I will now stop frequenting due to being grossed out, but the AC was nice as was the ice-cream and burgers and water.

I left Pendleton nearing 5pm with at least another 50 miles in my mind. What I didn't know is that the next 30 would be straight into the wind and uphill. This kicked my ass. As I climbed and climbed, I knew there were two passes that I would be approaching and as I hit the first one and found it to be 9pm, I stopped for the night. I thought that crossing in the morning and in the daylight would be a much better option.

Near where I posted up there was a family eating supper in a camper, no doubt enjoying the sunset. As I was just about set-up, a man was crossing a field from the camper and heading in my direction. I immediately thought him to be the land owner and was coming over to kick me out. My mind started coming up with excuses and ways to charm the man as to let me stay. Turned out I was just putting myself through a bit of mental anguish as I met him halfway. We shard a wave and a brief hello before he asked me if I was setting up for the night. I said yes. He then asked if I had everything I needed; water, food, ice-cream. The man and his family were from British Columbia and were on there way down to Disney Land for holiday. He was a fellow traveler, more of a backpacker, but had concern for any traveler. We shared stories of traveling before he went back to his camper and returned with ice cream for me. Nothing like an ice cream sandwich and a drumstick before retiring for the night. I know it's been happening the whole trip, but I still dig, and always will dig, the kindness of strangers.

Day 64. Pullman, WA to side-of-the-road-somewhere, WA. 95ish miles.

I was up early, before Paul, and headed out the door only leaving a thank you note behind. My head pounding a bit from potent micro-brews, I quickly ate some McD's and set out towards...who knows. For nearly three hours I rode through more of the hilly, lush green fields I had entered the day before and before I knew it I was perched atop a 2,000 ft. vertical drop into Lewiston, ID.

There were two routes down into Lewiston, a two-curve route on the highway or the old frontage road that snaked downwards. I chose the frontage road. Solid descent. I snacked a bit in the town, used the library and continued on. Naturally after a 2000 ft drop, there is always a 2000 ft climb to get back out of a valley. For the next three hours I climbed a mere 20 miles into the wind before reaching the top just to drop back down. Oh, and the green hills disappeared and became brown and dry.

The landscape out here is like nothing I've ever seen. It is a high-plains environment full of canyons and draws, which, are where the roads are constructed. Most of the time the roadways wind and follow streams and rivers until they are forced to climb over long, tall hills. After dropping back down I stopped at a cafe merely to refill water bottles, but after looking at a menu, my glandular problem forced me to eat a philly cheese steak, sweet potato fries and a mountain dew. With daylight dwindling I knew this to be a risky move and one that would most likely leave me in the dark, but 'who cares' i thought. After being full and happy, I pressed on into the fading sun.

Within 10 miles I found a touring cyclist on the opposite side of the road standing there next to his bike. I stopped just to make sure everything was ok with him and it was. He was waiting for two of his friends that he had left in the dust. Within minutes the two friends came riding up and we all rested and had a chat. The three guys were from England and had been on the road for only six days. I told them I had been out for 9 weeks and was bombarded with questions. To those who are just starting their trips on the west coast, I appear to be somewhat of a veteran to this game and must know all about this form of travel. I answered their questions, to which, they were thankful for my answers and we parted ways.

My goal was to hit a campground past Dayton, WA but due to a 3 mile climb up a 6% grade I was 10 miles short of that goal and decided to set-up camp at the top of the pass. There was a semi-truck parked at the top as well so this gave some comfort as to not be the only person sleeping on the side of the road. Fortunately there was a bit of a drainage on the side so I was mostly out of view to the passing traffic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

day 63. coeur d'alene, id to pullman, wa. 92 miles.

i tried to get up bright and early to get a good jump on the day. but it didn't happen. i snoozed for a couple hours, enjoying the comfort of my hotel bed.

on my way out of the city i stopped at a local bike shop to top off my tires. just before stepping inside, two dudes approached inquisitive of my origins. when i said nyc they became stoked and shook my hand. toward the end of our conversation, one asked, "i bet you like weed. i can get some if you need it." i politely declined explaining that while i do support the sticky plant, it's effects just don't do it for me.

i rolled over a few mountain passes before being out of the woods, so to speak. its amazing how the terrain can change in the blink of an eye. rolling hills of lush green grass and wheat surrounded me in all directions as if floating on a raft.

the day went on, the heat reached 100 and countless cars and trucks screamed by, their air conditioners blasting, no doubt. in an effort to remove myself from traffic i took a right and veered into washington state towards pullman. the green rolling hills continued for miles as i rolled over one hump to see many more of its brothers stretching on into the distance.

the clock showed 7pm as i hit pullman. standing out in the parking lot and looking at a map, a dude with a pony tail, glasses and a baseball cap approached interested in my travels. after some brief discussion he invited me to stay with him. paul owned his own place where a spare bedroom and a shower awaited.

we spent the night at two breweries talking about all sortsashit and drinking tasty microbrews. paul was a cool guy looking to earn his phd at wsu.

honestly, i started thinking this trip was just winding down as i cruise through these last couple weeks. but honestly its just the same as when i started except my endurance is a bit better. I'm still going to have some wild experiences and meet some interesting folks. yes, there may only be three weeks left but its gonna be awesome.
shower!! in a guesthouse in mt. vernon, or. headed in the direction of bend, or tomorrow. i hear its quite the spot.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

cooling down in pendleton, or. 101 degreeeeeezzzzz.

day 62. athol, id to coeur d'alene, id. 20 miles.

traffic was whizzing by on the highway just beyond my pine-needle coated barrier. the tall weeds surrounding me as well as my sleeping bag and bike and bags were coated in Idaho morning dew. i was certain that if no one spotted me last night as i crept into the woods, they would surely spot me this morning as i used trees as drying racks. but without problem i was on the road riding in morning sunlight.

i cruised into a local subway shop for a bit of breakfast. i had a thought today; do they throw all leftover bread out at night? would be a great spot to pick up some free grub to accompany my jar of peanut butter. anyway, a fellow subway diner struck up conversation about my ride and said i needed to check out the coeur d'alene lake in coeur d'alene, only 5 miles off.

my original plan was to use the library in the city mentioned above and then move on. well after visiting a local coffee shop and the library i cruised to the lake. what a wonderful sight: a massive lake, grassy knoll for the sitting and a dock that ran off into the water. ok, I'll hang for a few. in seconds i was stripped down to merely bike shorts and feeling very euro in my revealing attire. i rolled out my thermarest pad and stayed for over two hours while i read, mapped, and enjoyed the scenery and views. my stomach rumbled and i knew it was time to eat and it was during lunch that i knew i couldn't pass up this clear beach day.

i rode down to the strip of cheaper motels outside of the main strip. i rang a bell and an older fellow came from around the back chasing an old dog. "can i get a room please?" i asked. "well, sure. i have a single available. so you're on a bike huh? so you don't have a car, no pets, and you probably don't smoke." his eyes stared at me through thick lenses. i nodded to reasure the man. "well what are you looking to pay? cuz i know there are cheaper spots down the way." i was bit taken back. "well, i like paying 5 to 20 bucks. are you saying that this is negotiable?" i asked. "well, no." he responded. i laughed. before giving me a price he showed me a room. if it had a hot water and a bed i was sold. "so how much?" i asked. "this single is $55. how does $45 sound?" "uh....sounds good to me." strange i thought. funniest part, as i was signing my receipt amother dude came in looking for a single. the old man told him it would be $60 and the guest rejected it and left. then the man looked at me and said "i used to race bikes." the bike scored me yet another deal.

i spent the rest of the day on the beach working on my farmers tan before going to dinner and relaxing in the comfort of a bed and a massive ice cream cone. I'm not sure the relaxing day was deserved but it was sure nice.

Friday, July 9, 2010

posted up in pullman, wa for the eve. a stranger saw me scoping my map like a goob and offered up his place. how rad is that!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 61. Libby, MT to Athol, ID. 110 miles.

I tried to start early, I swear it. But after visiting a local coffee shop and visiting with the owner for a good while, it was 11:00am before I departed Libby, MT. The morning was bright and crisp and I could feel the heat begin to creep in. For the last few weeks it has been a bit chilly, the wind and breezes cooling my skin - especially when in the shade of mountains.

I stopped briefly at Kootenai falls, which my buddy RT from West Glacier had told me about. I hiked down a short hill, across a bridge and through the woods. Quite impressive they were as water poured down rock that seemed to be sliced with a knife. Sharp, 90 degree edges acted as steps for the cool, blue water. After a quick hike back up I was on the road again, only stopping in Troy, MT for an air pump and then here and there for a snack and water.

It wasn't until I reached the town of Bonners Ferry, ID that I stopped in for a rest. A small chain restaurant, Zip's, looked like just the place so I sat down, consumed two double cheeseburgers, fries, Mountain Dew and a chocolate shake. I've been telling myself that I need to cut down on this bullshit food, but during the heat of the day I let my stomach conquer my mind. Perhaps I have a glandular disorder. A man in the restaurant asked me about my trip and we went back and forth talking about weather, distance and when he ran out of things to ask I asked him about his motorcycle helmet and his motorcycle sitting outside. He opened right up and told me all about his travels on that bike. He loved it. Sometimes it's clear that people just need the right opportunity to talk about what they're doing because not enough people in this world take interest. Welp, I'll ask you a question and you can go right on ahead.

Stomach full and mind at ease, I rolled on down to a local ranger station. I learned that maps are free at visitors stations and since there wasn't one around I was hoping that an Idaho state map would be waiting for me there. Turns out there wasn't but after enough hobknobbing with a ranger, she pulled a map out of her car and handed it over to me. Said she didn't need it anyhow. Funny how it works if you smile and act friendly with folks. You can almost get anything you want.

After a couple hours I found myself in the town of Sandpoint, ID - seemed like a real nice town but I just stopped for a drink and rolled right on through. It wasn't until 10pm that I stopped in the small town of Athol where I met a fairly unfriendly individual who didn't want to give me anything for my nice smile and friendly attitude. I noticed a handful of RVs and campers set-up in some grass and assumed the piece of property to be a fine place to setup my tent. There was no obvious order to the property and appeared to a backyard turned campground - a weak one at that. I asked a group of RVers whom to speak with. They pointed me over to a corner of the property where a Caterpillar was pushing brush into a large bonfire. A man wearing a sleeveless t-shirt was directing the machinery and drinking a beer. He was sitting on a tailgate by the time I walked up to him, orange glow from the fire lighting my way. "How's it going, man?" I shouted out on my approach. "What's up" the man said in return. As I got closer it was clear that he was almost perturrbed with my very presence. I asked him how much it would cost to set-up a tent on the grounds. "15 bucks" he replied. "15 bucks!!" I said, obviously appauled by the fee. "yup" he returned without hesitation. "Well, that seems a bit high just to set-up a tent. Think I'll just keep it going." "I guess you will" and he sent me off.

Of course as I left and after I was gone I thought of many witty and snappy remarks as to why $15 was an absurd price. First of all there wasn't a shower or a bathroom on the property but most importantly there wasn't even a picnic table. Picnic tables have been the most important piece of furniture I have come across on this ride. They allow me to stand up my bike, spread out my shit and keep it all off the ground. Well after putzing around town for nearly an hour I moved on past the thievery of a campground, only about a quarter mile, and found a nice free spot behind some trees off the highway. I was camping on the ground, my stuff on the ground, just as I would have been at the "campground." $15 my ass. If you ever find yourself in Athol, ID - skip it.

coeur d'alene, id. talk about a hard spot to leave.

Uploaded by

Day 60. Kalispell, MT to Libby, MT. 90 miles

I awoke in my recliner at the early stroke of 11:30am. I have no idea how I slept so long in a recliner but I was refreshed. I packed up and said goodbye to my new friends and headed to a bike shop and grocery store. By the time I ran my errands it was 1pm and I was just getting started. One nice thing about being this far north is that it's light until 10pm allowing for endless rides.

I headed out with no destination in mind. The only thing I knew is that there weren't any real towns or stops between Kalispell and Libby so I pressed on, only stopping to snack on snickers and drink water. The ride was beautiful through green-wooded mountains, along rivers and lakes. Fortunately the ride was mainly down hill as the elevation dropped from 2900 to 2100 over the 88 mile course. Occaisionally I climbed and descended and climbed again. The wind would hit me from the front and then push me along. Several small white-tail deer hung out near the side of the road and would either run along side with me attempting to escape my incredibly menacing presence or would cross directly in front.

I was hanging out on the side of the road, looking at a map and snacking when a driver headed in the opposite direction turned around and pulled up just to ask if I was alright. It was nice to see that kind of concern because for some reason I got the feeling that most people were just upset that I was clogging their narrow mountain road. The gentleman and I chatted for a while and I basically just rattled off a series of questions and listened to him tell me about his life. Where he was from, where he was going, his numerous jobs were just a handfull of topics. He was also a volunteer EMT in the area - good on ya, man.

The sun was setting and I had nearly 30 miles to go so I stepped on the gas and poured into Libby at nearly 9pm, the sun still glowing. I was surprised at myself for pulling off 90 miles like that but was glad to know that I'm capable of such distances so late in the day. A small campground sat behind a grocery store where I stayed for a mere $5. After setting up camp I went into the store for some ice cream and since I don't have a freezer with me, I just get to eat everything I buy. A nice pint of Half Baked accompanied me back to the campground where I chowed, talked to some friends and called it a night. The night was crystal clear and the stars were shining brightly. I stared up at them through my tent until the sandman came to me.

We're moving now.

Day 59. West Glacier, MT to Kalispell, MT. 30 miles.

So, I didn't make it as far as I had hoped, but meh.....

It took forever to gain motivation and actually head out today. I strolled down to the rafting office to hang with RT and Cal, drink a ton of coffee and shootheshit before I actually left around noon. Off in the distance I could see storm clouds a-brewin' and when I hit an incredibly narrow canyon road the sky opened up. The river was off to my right and a tall rock wall to my right. Rain fell for at least 20 minutes and hail for at least two as I crawled through the skinny roadway to a nearby gas station where I ate a hot pocket (haven't eaten one of those bad-boys since I was in highschool) and drank some coffee and dried off.

It rained off and on all day, or at least the three hours I was actually on the road. As I was cruising down route 2 toward Kalispell, I punctured my puncture-resistant tire on some sharp gravel. And for some reason I couldn't get the tire up to a solid pressure. So I rolled into Kalispell in search of a bike shop and found them to both be closed. The rain and hail blew into town and it just so happened I was outside of a bar so I went in for some dry conditions and brews. As I was leaving the joint a kid outside asked me where I was headed. He said he and some friends had a shop so I could top off the tires but I still wanted to buy a new tire for my next leg which was 175 miles without a bike shop, just in case.

I rode to the 'shop' - which was a dude's garage where bikes are built, and a fellow named Brandon was there to meet me. He stood in cowboy boots, black work jeans, a black t-shirt advertising the bar where I had just had beers and a dirty pbr trucker hat. A red beard covered his face and a bull ring ran through his nose. I filled up the tires when he asked, "you hungry?" Well, naturally! He brought me into his apartment where I met his girlfriend, Mindy, and biscuits and gravy were heating in the oven. We talked about my trip, and I knew I wanted to spend the night in Kalispell so I could pick up a bike tire the next day so I asked if they knew where there were any good spots to stay the night. The two of them looked at eachother for a minute and said "dude, you can stay right here." Perfect, exactly what I was hoping they would say.

I hung out with Brandon and his pals for the eve, supplying the PBR in exchange for a comfy recliner to sleep in. Did I mention that they fed me again after the b+g! These guys were great and also were the founders of the Black Label Bike Club in Kalispell, inspired by one in Big Fork. (If I messed any of that up, my apologies). These guys were in the practice of building high-bikes. And by this, I mean, bikes that consisited of two or three bike frames welded on top of one another to create a mega-tall bike machine. A bike so large that you have to climb up it like a ladder just to get to the seat. Talk about dangerous. Brandon had fallen off one weeks back and cracked his ankle and tore up his shoulder. I guess that's what happens when you're living three bikes high.

Thanks for the lodging and comraderie, dudes. much better than sitting in a motel 6, staring at a squak-box. cheers.

days 57+58. kicking it in west glacier, mt.

my buddy ryan strolled into the living room where i was asleep on the couch and my other buddy, ryan was asleep on the floor. yup, 'the ryans' as they've been called. "time to go" he said. the clock displayed 6am and we staggered to the car under a steel-grey sky. even after a large coffee i still managed to sleep during the 2.5 hour drive to west glacier, mt.

i stood in front of a group of glacier rafting company guides as i was introduced and they received their daily rundown. after gallons of coffee i found myself dressed head to toe in neoprene. a wetsuit covered my skin and booties wrapped my feet. either i am the definition of pure weakness or I've lost all body fat because the slightest bit of cold made my legs shiver.

my buddy ryan was the guide and i was the single creepy guy on the raft trip. usually when folks go rafting they come in at least groups of two or more so when there is a single guy its easy to wonder 'what's his deal?' either way, river rafting is awesome even though it does make me a bit timid. i mean, water is one unforgiving force that can spoil lives just as easily as it can bring joy. and when its 38 degrees, even more so. after braving rapids just as a child would minus screams, i posted up in a warm room on a dry couch, turned on some hulu and relaxed the rest of the day.

as the evening rolled around as did a bus full of river folk. ryan was driving and the other ryan and i hopped aboard. the bus was going to big fork, mt for a community theatre performance of 'dirty rotten scoundrels.' it was actually pretty good despite the fact that im not the biggest fan of musicals. on the way back to west glacier, the bus ran out of gas and we pushed that thing a few hundred yards to the nearest station. well i pushed for a bit until i couldn't keep my pants up any longer. I'm currently using a shoelace to keep these things up as i didn't bring a belt due to weight. bottom line I'm just a bit too skinny to keep my usual drawers up. so i filmed them push their transport in.

the next morning i awoke and went on a ride into glacier national park with a new pal, caitlin. the ride was beautiful. thick, green forest lined the roadway. bright blue water rushed by over waterfalls and slicing gorges into the land. tall peaks towered in the distance and he best part, there was fresh asphalt which made for a fast, fun ride. after 40 miles we were chilling in a local restaurant chowing down.

the rest of the day consisted of relaxing and eating pizza. i thought of the next three weeks and the push into san francisco, roughly 1200 miles away. awesome.

for my pals in kalispell, mt.

Uploaded by

last night's lodging.

Uploaded by

Monday, July 5, 2010

seriously foul weather in kalispell, mt. think this may be it for today. anybody willing to house a traveler?

When a bus runs out of gas the Glacier Rafting Company team pulls through.

You will notice, I'm filming and not helping. I thought that the team should bond and handle their bus on their own. Big thanks to the Glacier Raft Company for hauling my hobo-ass down the river. Awesome time! A real solid set of folks up here in West Glacier, MT.

Uploaded by

Headed back onto the asphalt today. roughly 1200-ish miles to be had before SF. In the words of Bud Light, "Here We Go" (or something stupid like that). ok, peace out, homies.

Now you know why I decided to go north around Nevada.

Uploaded by

Just a little vid from the other side of Trail Ridge Rd.

Uploaded by

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 56. jackson, mt to darby, mt to missoula, mt - 130ish miles.

I slept in fo sho after my late arrival into Jackson. I ate an incredibly unhealthy breakfast with Jon. We even scraped another table's plates after they just left food sitting there. Never leave food sitting there...unless you're in japan. I hear that it's polite to leave a little bit when you're finished. If this is incorrect, please shout.

It definitely took some motivation to get going. That motivation came in the form of sweet rolls and mtn dew, and then I was off with no destination in mind - just riding. As I hit the town of Wisdom, MT 18 miles down the road, the mosquitos I had been warned about, began to swarm. These things were some sneaky bastards, a different breed of blood-sucker. They would chill in the draft I created and then come in for a juicy snack, and then WAAP, squashed, dead, gone. These devils swooped in for nearly 30 minutes before I climbed toward Chief Joseph Pass and started gaining elevation.

I climbed for nearly 3 hours, reading stories of Chief Joseph, the Nez Perce Indians and Lewis and Clark along the way. Atop the pass, the wind blew in strong from the North fighting my descent the entire way. After climbing for hours, the most relieving thing is the descent but when wind stands in the way of a smooth cruise and I am forced to pedal that's when I start to lose it a bit. Chief Joseph pass towers at 7,200ish feet and I descended just over 30 miles to Darby, MT which sits at 3888 ft. So a 3400 foot descent that was one of the most dissatisfying of the entire journey, but, meh, what are you gonna do? I had wanted to ride a bit past Darby to Hamilton but due to the wind and my crazy brain I stopped in at a local restaurant with the plan of camping at a local rv park for the eve.

In the eatery three other cyclists had just sat down to dinner. I joined them. One dude had started his cross country trip over a year ago but due to physical health issues couldn't finish. So this year he picked up where he had left off. Two other guys had started at the end of April in Yorktown, VA and were headed to Florence, OR. The solo guy excused himself from dinner promptly to go and update his blog. He was a bit too structured for crossing america via bicycle, I thought, but to each their own. Who am I to judge? I chilled with the other guys for nearly an hour talking about all the strange, crazy and interesting experiences we had all had thus far. We were to go to the local watering hole for a few beverages but there just wasn't much happening so we called it in for the night.

After setting up camp, I called a couple good pals I had in Missoula to see of their whereabouts. Well, the original plan was to chill with them but they had to head out from Missoula the next morning at 5:30 to guide rafts down the river in West Glacier, MT, 2.5 hours north. I was bummed that I was going to miss them but they insisted we somehow see each other. "We're gonna pay our bill here and then we're coming to get you. No questions" they told me. "Well, I can't argue with that. see you guys soon." an hour later a car with a bike rack showed up to grab me, my friends inside. We packed it up and cruised straight-up to Missoula.

I know you're now thinking, "What? A car ride? What the hell?" I assure you that I am making up for the 60 mile auto-ride and then some due to the fact that they kidnapped me and brought me to West Glacier, 150 miles north, so I'll be covering that distance when I depart, adding 100 miles to the trip and probably a couple days.

After a bit of bar time at a local Missoula establishment we crashed for the night. I climbed onto a comfy sofa and passed out, my legs tired from the two days of mountain passes and headwinds. It was great to be on cushions as well as with friends. Montana is one bad-ass state, boy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

day 55. twin bridges,mt to jackson, mt. 75ish miles.

a little bit of wind, a little bit of despair, a little bit of joy, a little bit of climbing and a little bit of hitching.

the day started out as most do. Pack up, clean up, fuel up. i bid farewell to those who were set for denver and departed for dillon with hopes of catching jon for to ride with a partner.
i didn't catch jon until 11:30 that night when he was already at camp.

the road to dillon was a bit of a climb, well actually, just a 30 mile gradual elevation gain. i stocked up on supplies in dillon as i had planned on putting in 70 more miles and there weren't many towns along the way. as i rolled off the curb and into the street i felt a bit of a tug and my bike wasn't rolling properly. i glanced down and noticed the rack had come loose, the left support dangling.

I'll eat breakfast and figure this out, i thought. i took a closer inspection and realized the bolt holding the rack in place had snapped. half the bolt was still stuck in the frame with no obvious way of freeing it. i thought, this may be the end. i went into eat and to think things over.

i knew there was a bike shop in town, so i left my things with the restaurant staff as the rack could not support weight, tied the dangling bit up with a shoestring and headed to the shop. it was closed and not to re-open until 4pm the next day. sweet. there was an after hours number on the door so i gave it a shot. "i should be back in a few hours" a voice said after i explained my situation. "i'll get you fixed up."

i retrieved my things from the eatery and loaded up the handicapped bike. it held up quite well to my surprise and made it down to the local library and then espresso shop. by the end of the jaunt, the shoe string was stretched and the rack dangling once again.

i loitered in front of alternative board and bike for an hour before another injured bike rolled in and then the owner/mechanic. the other bike had busted a spoke while carrying a guy east. he had to hitch into town dodging two passes, his friends still out on the road. these guys were from oregon and headed to virginia, were trying to make the whole thing in 50 days. doable. he said they wanted to do a 200 mile day. good luck with that, chief. i do hope that works out for em.

my bike was fully functional by 4 so i ate again, used the library and headed to camp. but when i got to camp i saw the sun high in the sky and headed to wherever. once again i didn't want to waste daylight so i climbed atop a pass and met a dude talking to his lady on the phone. i completely interrupted his conversationand made him talk to me. the sun was starting to glow golden and i knew it was still nearly 30 miles to the nearest town. "how's the next pass" i asked. "just a small hill, man. nothing really" he replied. i set out into the sunset with hopes of jackson.

well that pass was a lengthy and ominous climb. it was 10:45pm and pitch black when i rode to the top. jackson still 10 miles out, a man who had just passed me in his truck sat waiting. "can i give ya a ride? its gettin' awful late." the man asked from his old pick-up truck. "you know, its supposed to be all downhill from here. think i might just finish it up." i replied. "well, there are two more hills like the one you just climbed" he warned. i was pretty sure it was downhill, but being a foreigner to those parts and the fact that there wasn't any light made his offer sound pretty good. i loaded up with him and he carried me all downhill to jackson. would've taken 45 minutes on the bike. oh well. it was nice get to camp. there i found jon reading in his tent.
posted up for the eve in darby, mt.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

montana sunset.

Uploaded by

day 54. gallatin forest, mt to twin bridges, mt. 90ish miles.

First I'm gonna back track a bit and fill yall in on the remainder of day 53, which i finished after my initial blog post.

i walked into a shop called freeheel and wheel, a bike shop and coffee joint. i used their pump last week and wanted to show some love and buy some coffee. i ended up there for over an hour chatting with the gal behind the counter. she invited me to an evening game of ultimate frisbee but i declined stating that i still had ground to cover.

i departed around 7pm with no destination in mind. in montana there is light till about 10pm. i must give props to the madison arms resort in west yellowstone as they were going to put me up for free. to my dismay they were 5 miles in on a gravel road and i have developed a phobia of gravel. so i pressed on.

the weather beautiful as the sun lit up the ground around me and warmed my skin. i biked along a long lake for miles. houses built sparsely nearby and small resorts offering lake views passed in my peripheral. as the sun sat and the day began to wind down i found a small campsite off the road. in the gallatin national forest it costs $14 to camp for a night - perposterous i say! a storm rolled in just as i set up camp and secured my food from yogi. it rained, and lightning flashed all night.

when i awoke the next morning it was still storming so i slept in. i awakened to voices and sunlight and began the move to dry off and pack up. welp, just as i started to tear down the camp the rain moved in again. i just barely got everything secured in waterproof bags before the rain started to pour.
i sat behind a tree waiting until i decided the precipitation wasn't going to let up. i should have just slept for another hour. in no time the sun was out and i was cruising into a valley without any wind.

i pulled into ennis, mt shortly after noon and sat down at a local cafe. there i consumed a chili cheese burger, the best ever. i used the library for some net needs, stocked up on a few supplies and took off.

the first 10 miles climbed 2000 feet, the wind blowing and a hint of rain filled the air. during the long descent dark clouds loomed in the distance exactly where i was headed. i stopped to eat again at a local cafe in virginia city as the sky opened up and poured for an hour. as soon as it cleared i was off again, full and happy. within minutes it was raining again and i pulled into a small cafe in nevada city for coffee, ice cream and a cookie. these small towns pride themselves and exist purely for tourism. back in the day they were thousands strong because of mining but now they have dwindled to the 100s.

the rain finally cleared up and i pushed out the last 30 of the day to twin bridges, mt. at the local rest area and to my surprise a bike camp was set up. what i mean is, there was a unique shelter built just for touring cyclists. there is a bathroom, shower, tables, benches, a rack, pump and clothesline. everything a cyclist could want.

inside another person's gear was strewn about. as i got comfortable, jon, the owner of the gear, strolled in. he was from logan, utah and was on his way to kalispell, mt. we shotheshit for a while before 4 more cyclists joined us. these guys were riding from banff to denver. definitely nice to see other folks out there. one surprising thing about all of us there that night is that we are all in our 20s. usually i find that most touring cyclists are retired and are finally fulfilling a life long dream. for us, we are just banging this thing out early, leaving room for more adventures on down the road.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

posted up in twin bridges, mt at a bicycle camp. this place is dope.

and then its sunny.

Uploaded by

montana brings it.

Uploaded by

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Days 48 - 53. Waiting for a day and then a lovely friend comes to visit.

So I am grouping days 48 - 53 together as I toured Yellowstone with a lovely friend of mine. Actually while on this tour, a couple referred to us as a 'unit.' I've never heard that one before.
To describe this time I am referring to a passage out of "Travels With Charley" and borrowing the words of Steinbeck. Obviously some of this is altered to fit my personal story.

" Yellowstone was a break in my journey. My lovely friend flew in from the East for her brief visit. I was delighted at the change, back to a known and trusted life -- but here I run into literary difficulty.
Yellowstone broke my continuity as did the Denver area. This is permissible in life but not in writing. So I leave Yellowstone out, at least the visit, because it is off the line, out of drawing. In my travels, it was pleasant and good, in writing, it would contribute only a disunity.
When that time was over and the good-bys said, I had to go through the same feelings all over again. The feelings of rolling solo, looking to only my own thoughts and random strangers for company. "

My version of Steinbeck's passage does not do it justice but this is a time I want to keep for myself. Yellowstone is a beautiful place, a bit of a playground for adults. A place where adults hang out and check stuff out. I know why young people don't frequent the place as it can be a bit boring. But overall, the place is unique, wonderful and calming for the scenses. Ones that visit just need to be prepared - mentally.

Ok, now you have it. All caught up. Now I venture into pure wilderness. A wilderness that is unsafe to just camp in without a bear box or a tall tree, in which, I can hoist food. Welcome to Montana. (Overly Dramatic). Ha.

Day 47. Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park. 75 miles.

I'm glad to be out of the plaines and into the mountains where destinations are mysterious and routes even more so. Tall trees hide destinations from view and asphalt is carved into the forest floor. The scent of pine fills the air, white clouds swim through the blue sky and hills of jagged rock stretch above all. The miles pass quickly here.

I rode over a couple of passes to the junction of Grant Village in Yellowstone. All the while, vehicles from all over the country passed by. Inside, eager faces peered into the canyons and woods that bind the roadways. The ride was smooth, climbing and descending and the only concern I had were motorhomes due to their massive size and lack of shoulder on the road. I trust semis more because their drivers drive constantly, while Ma and Pa Smith take their giant RV that is pulling a Hummer that is pulling a trailer holding motorcyles only but a few times a year. Gotta watch out for those giant wastes of resources. I mean really, do you need all that? Really?

I ate lunch and spoke with a man from Scotland who was all about touring back in the day. Had toured New Zealand and parts of the US. Next trip, I hear? I pressed on to Madison Junction where I knew a hiker/biker campsite was waiting. I decided to bypass all the sites as I had planned on spending the next 5 days touring the park with a lovely friend of mine who was coming in for a visit.

As I sat down in my campsite, another cyclist rolled in. He was a frenchman traveling from Denver to San Francisco and we began talking immediately. Obviously there is a bond long distance cyclists share because we're all eager for companionship as well as eager to share our own stories of life on the road. It's addicting. We spoke of food, countries, customs and fire as the sun sat. The sky was clear that night and the air cold. Finally my 15 degree sleeping bag came to good use.

Day 46. Middle of no where to Grand Teton National Park. 85ish miles

I awoke with the sun and put in 20 miles before hitting a breakfast joint in Dubois, WY. The Cowboy Cafe, I recommend it. Biscuits and gravy, eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and chicken fried steak adorned a griddle type plate that was placed in front of me. A cup of coffee to compliment. The staff could not have been nicer. They were interested in my ride and what I was doing and they let me rest there for over an hour while I pondered the mountain pass awaiting my arrival.

A fine looking Texas family asked from another booth, "Are you on a bicycle?" A man with a huge grin and a Texas accent wearing a Canadian Tuxedo sat, his wife to his right and his three boys directly across. "You got it, man," I responded. We chatted about the ride and their own personal vacation. It's great to see people interested in the ride and the fully loaded bicycle. Apparently they saw me roll up to the cafe. Obviously if I were in a car they most likely would n0t have said a word.

I rolled out of breakfast and into a grocery to stock up on supplies. You never know what's out there, or lack there-of, in this country. I then decided some sugar was in order and rolled into a donut shop. There I downed a regular donut, a long john and a mtn dew. Also while there I saw a young man I had noticed at breakfast and at the grocery so naturally I asked him how he was doing. He replied with "same shit, different day." Naturally I thought him to be a local but when I inquired he told me he was from North Carolina and visiting family. Well, why the canned answer because I can't imagine that when on vacation that you can be doing the same shit? Anyway, turned out the young man was in the Marines and was only 19 years old. He had enlisted after school to be a mechanic but due to the current situation in Afghanistan he's headed out to the front lines in October. Going to be a 'grunt' he said. Also said that his shooting isn't the best. Better work on that man. I guess he was visiting family to say his last goodbyes as he told me about his families' plan to have him cremated once he was gone. Talk about a downer conversation but a real one, nonetheless. I thanked him for what he was doing and rode off.

The sun shone brightly for 10 miles before ominous rain clouds and strong headwinds moved in at the base of Togwotee pass. I crept along for at least 6 miles and for a solid hour before a spot of blue hope cut through the dark sky. For another 4 hours I climbed the pass, sweating profusely, the body heating a cooling with each wind gust. I stopped somewhere near the top for a snack of cookies and bread and a little email action and after about 20 minutes a ranger pulled up. "You need to be careful. There's a sow grizzly with three cubs in this area." I can see it now, a cute cub wandering up to me and sniffing my heels just when an angry mama bear knocks my head off. I hopped on the bike and cautiously watched the roadside for an angry ball of fur.

I eventually hit the top waiting for the smooth descent down the other side but unfortunately didn't get it. The wind blowing ever-so strongly, I pedaled furiously just to keep the bike moving down the pass. After at least 10 miles of descending and 10 miles of flats I hit Grand Teton National Park. The place was a zoo.

Grand Teton and Yellowstone are always crowded and extremely busy, especially in the summer months. Here, patience is a virtue. You can't ever be in a hurry. One great thing about the large crowds is that you don't have to ever keep an eye out of wildlife because the mobs of people and cars gathering on the sides of the road are a strong indicator. And when sitting on a bike, it's impossible to miss anything. As I approached my first crowd, I thought everyone would probably be scoping some elk or bison but turns 0ut it was a sow grizz digging in the dirt a couple hundred yards off the road. Rangers were directing traffic just trying to keep it moving while rubber necks extended through open windows with hopes of grabbing a peak at the large beast. Another great thing about a bike; you're always on the shoulder and can park anywhere. After an eye-full of grizzly bear I moved onto Colter Bay where I crashed for the eve. To my surprise they didn't gouge me over the price and the site was a mere $7 - talk about a deal.

I saw a few other cyclists but was too tired to visit with them. I rolled into camp, pitched a tent, ate some chili and climbed into my sleeping bag to read and snooze. I must say, there is something comfortable about actually sleeping at a campsite as opposed to the side of the open road, though not as exciting. Damn, this is awesome!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 45. Sweetwater Station Junction to somewhere between Lander and Dubois, WY. 95 miles.

I departed just after sunrise and put in a solid 40 by 9:30 discovering the beauty that is Wyoming. Rolling hills coated in green life, red cliffs and blue skies accompanied me the entire ride. Also, it was all downhill except the occaisional short climb.

I rolled into the local Lander libraray where I charged my phone, chattered with pals and charged my communication device. From there I went to breakfast where I was accompanied by a peculiar gentleman. I couldn't not tell if this man was drunk, handicapped, or possibly both. He wore a black, worn-out cowboy had that had long ago lost it's shape. A yellow windbreaker was keeping him warm but under it was a striped cowboy shirt. His jeans sagged low and his black boots were also worn-out. His skin was dark brown as if he had been crossing the desert and his hair was thinning rapidly. He seemed to have been talking to himself but I think he may have been commenting on my wool socks that stretched to my knees. It was hard to tell. As I sat down, I saw him stand and stagger his way over to my table and plop down in the seat across from mine. He looked at me and smiled a toothless smile and I welcomed him. He began to mutter something and outstretched his hand. I shook it. His name was Thornton and honestly something just wasn't quite right. He held up three fingers and muttered some more gibberish. I tried to decipher his speech but couldn't and he gave up trying to communicate what his three fingers were all about. We spoke about simple things such as where we were and where he was from as well as where I was going. He seemed confused by most things and had a lot of trouble understanding what I was talking about, at which point, he would grin his toothless grin in my direction. As my food came and I chowed, he began talking to himself and pointing in all directions. The waitress shot me a look like, 'you want me to get rid of this guy?' I shot back a 'no, he's good.' The man once again held up his three fingers and muttered, 'dollars.' 'Oh' I replied. Sure, I thought and threw him 3 bucks. As I finished eating he begged for one more dollar. 'you're sneaky, thornton.' I told him. 'You just hit me up for three and now you're asking for one more? you should have just asked for four. Sorry, bud but you're not getting another one.' I had a couple more singles in my pocket but I wasn't about to part with them purely out of spite. The man needs to work on his skills. He stood up and walked outside. I paid shortly thereafter and stepped into the now hot sun. Thornton was passed out on a bench.

I toured around town for a bit looking for a bike shop - nada. So I stopped into an ice cream joint and loaded up on dairy, which, i'm learning is a terrible idea. I headed out just after noon for the town of Dubois, 75 miles and 1000 vertical feet from Lander. The first 25 came with no problem, just some climbing, a slight breeze and some gathering clouds. As I turned to head west, dark clouds moved in, the wind picked up immediately and rain began to fall. As if it were written in the stars, a rest area came along and I stopped to wait. After 30 minutes it appeared as if I would spend the night there, though the area adorned a sign that read 'no overnight camping.' Well, what would the law officials expect me to do? I posted up in a picnic shelter, inflated my sleeping mat, got comfy and did one thing I haven't done this entire trip. I opened the book I brought along and started to read.

'Travels With Charley.' by Steinbeck. I picked this book up while traveling in Costa Rica earlier this year. I actually started it there but didn't make it too far in. I then started over in NYC and once again didn't make it too far. But under this shelter I picked up where my bookmark sat, started reading and remembered why I brought it. If you are a fan of Steinbeck you may notice that I am trying to emulate his writing style. Though I am no writer. I'm just a guy blogging on a computer for a handful of readers. Steinbeck is a writer and an incredibly deep thinker I am discovering and if I ever have the talent to think so deeply or write with such brutal honestly about myself, I'd be one.....well I don't know, because I am no writer.

It is Steinbeck and his story of traveling that has inspired this and past blog posts. The last few posts I've written have been absolute crap and for that I am sorry. After my Colorado rest I became lazy and have been leaving out important details. Perhaps not important, but details that truly make the story entertaining and interesting to read. I hope to improve as this trip continues on. One thing reading does to me is put me to sleep. Within a few pages I was snoozing away as the rain continued to fall. What I guess was a couple hours later, I awoke to sunshine and a slight breeze. I packed up as quickly as I could and set out to tackle the remaining miles to Dubois.

Well, the slight, but constant climbing and small breeze drained all my energy and I watched the sun fall behind the mountains. The hills and remaining clouds were drenched in pink light and then darkness as I rode down one last hill. In the distance I could see the road climbing back through some small hills and into the distance. On my left I noticed a large mound of dirt and behind it I thought a perfect campsite. A no tresspassing sign was posted as I crossed a cattle guard and cattle were sprinkled on a hillside above my newly found site. A river rushed below and I was hidden from the road.

I've become accustomed to leaving the rainfly off my tent at night so I can watch the sky grow dark and stars come out from hiding. (I'm trying to sound dramatic. Is it working? ha.) I was definitely short of my Dubois goal, but I thought, 95 miles is nothing to shake a stick at.

Day 44 - Rawlins, WY to Sweetwater Juntion Station, WY. 83 miles.

I awoke with a dry mouth and my skin was leaking. Nature's alarm clock was beating down on me. I packed up slowly and headed across town to my northern route. But before I started I needed sugar and grease and McD's had just the right combo. After a solid gut-bomb I headed to the market where I ran into two other cyclists headed east. "Gear up, man." they told me. "There's nothing out there for miles. It's kinda creepy actually." I stocked up on carbs - bagels, gatorade, peanut butter and a chocolate eclair and headed north toward Muddy Gap junction, the point, at which, I would head west.

The ride climbed for miles until I hit a massive hill that I am thankful I didn't have to climb. It dropped over a thousand feet and in about 6 miles. The next 19 miles straight-lined into vastness, tons of traffic whizzed by, wind came from the west and the north, constantly changing, until the small, nothing town of Lamont, WY. From there I climbed over a short pass and cruised 11 miles into Muddy Gap Junction. The ride down was effortless as the wind suddenly changed and raced down the valley at my back. Sweet.

There I stopped at a small gas station that seemed to be a mirage. There I met another cyclist heading to Denver. A doctor who had some time to kill and why not just kill it on the road. I gave him a bagel as he was bit unprepared for the 45 mile haul to Rawlins. The man was most likely going to get stuck in between.

In the gas station a tip jar stood full of washingtons. I went into the bathroom and discovered why. Due to the extreme location of this station, people mainly went in for water and el bano. A nicely drawn sign asked for tips to keep the bathroom clean. I dropped a single bill into the jar as I was thankful for the placement of the station and felt it deserved a buck for letting me use it's facilities and re-fill my water bottles.

It was a little after 2pm when I headed out, planning on getting to Lander, WY, 81 miles away. Well, my friends, that just didn't happen. The next 40 miles took a little over 5 hours due to violent wind. I say violent because it whipped all over the place, gusting without mercy, sending me and my bike all over the highway. But I will tell you that my route is full of history. Wyoming is very proud that people used to crawl through the state on a trail you may have heard of - the Oregon Trail. You know, that game you played when you were a kid. Hunting was the best part, killing deer and bison left-and-right. Anyway, I stopped just to have a break at every landmark. Feel free to read more about it, but that shit was crazy back in the day. There were some incredibly tough folks out there.

Needless to say, after being wind and sun burnt I rolled into the Sweetwater rest area where I threw up a tent and cooked some dinner. I even received a text about a full-time job when I return. But who wants to work a full-time job? I'd rather ride in violent wind. Ha.

Day 43 - Riverside, WY to Rawlins, WY. 60 miles.

A ride has really never been so uneventful as today's. It was a short 60 miles, so I didn't leave until nearly 2pm and didn't arrive until nearly 7pm on account of strong headwinds. But if you ask the locals, "today wasn't windy at all. you shoulda been her yesterdee" they told me.

I slept in a bit, had a large breakfast somthered in gravy accompanied by endless glasses of water and hot coffee. Today was the reason everyone had flooded to Riverside. The Woodchoppers Jamboree. I strolled up the hill to the event, paid my $7 entry, and sat next to my newly made bicycle-pals. I must say i was a bit late to the chopping on account I had just spent nearly 30 minutes talking to a wise old soul at the visitors center.

"They call me Cowboy." an old feller, dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a properly tied neckerchief told me. "well sir, they call me Andrew" I replied. Cowboy had been all over this great nation of ours, from NYC to SF to Texas to Seattle. Seemed to have a good business in each spot, whether it be a restaruant or ranch. He gave me a brief history lesson about my route through Wyoming and I gave him a brief history lesson on my ride thus far. After snatching a free WY state map, he handed me a business card and asked that I drop him a note when I finish my trek. "You got it, Cowboy."

Woodchopping is cool for about 20 minutes, unless you're drinking Bud Light, as all the spectators were. I, however, was not as I had a ride to do. I watched men and women with small chainsaws and large chainsaws slice through wood like butter. I watched man and woman teams hold large two-man saws and cut through fresh pine. One man, I felt badly for. He came all the way from Wisconsin to compete in this match and just shit-the-bed. He even had a special sheeth for his Xcaliber-ish saw. He started to cut and tear into the wood until his saw jammed. Then he'd get it going again, and once again jam. Sorry buddy, maybe next year. As the woodchopping ended a bbq started up near the ol' corral where I immediately headed, chowed some brisket, drank some Mtn Dews, said goodbye to my friends and walked back to camp. I'm fairly certain I'll see the frenchman in NYC. He'll probably even sleep on my futon.

As I said before, the ride to Rawlins was uneventful. Some ups and downs. Only a little wind until I reached I-80 to head west. Once I headed west, the wind so strong, it was a challenge to pedal downhill. I'm talking about being in the easiest gear and still working my ass off just to get moving. And I was on 80, so the semi's were ripping by, which actually was a blessing. These semis are just big wind-blockers, deterring the worst part of Mother Nature. I spent 20 miles on this stretch which took nearly 3 hours. Just brutal. So brutal I feel as if I was going insane, literally. So insane, I was talking to myself, singing, even letting out an occaisional yell just to keep myself moving. At any rate I rolled into RV World Campground just before sunset. Thanks again to the folks at

I stolled over to a local restaurant called Cappy's near my campsite where I enjoyed a wonderful dinner and some great coversation and then made some awesome friends. My bike was parked just outside where I could see it, but as I watched ESPN and enjoyed my food, I heard "Who's bike is that outside? I just ran it over." My heart immediately jumped and my head turned quickly. The bike was fine. A man, Bobby, strolled over to my table laughing. "So what's your story?" he asked. I dived right into the details and before I knew it, Bobby picked up my check, paid, and brought me a nice bit of soup for breakfast the following morning. As I packed my stuff up and began to head out, Bobby invited me over to his table to hang a bit. Turned out, his sister, Tina and her husband Jeff own the joint and they were sitting there too. There I met the whole family: Bobby's daughter, Rachel. Tina's daughter, Kristin and Tina's mother. I also met Bobby's best pal, Jim. Bobby and Jim had come up from Phoenix, AZ to remodel Tina's bathroom. It was only to take a week but three weeks later, here we all were partying at Cappy's. This is what traveling is all about.

I ended up partying with the family until 3am. We laughed, talked, danced and basically just had a good, solid time, just the few of us. Everything was on the house and I couldn't have been happier. I knew I had at least 124 miles to ride the next day and I was set on making it happen. But as you can imagine, a drunk mind is invincible and even stonger, though more unaware than a sober one.

As 3:30am rolled around, I climbed into a frigid sleeping bag. It can be 80 degrees during the day in Wyoming, but once the sun sinks below the horizon, the temps can drop to the 30s and 40s. I was not aware. Were you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

cruising into yellowstone where the miles pass ever so quickly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

going up?

Uploaded by

sittin down to a killer breakfast, then its up and over some mountains. headed to moran jtc.

Monday, June 21, 2010

definitely camping on the side of the road tonight.

Uploaded by

Day 42 - Grand Lake, CO to Riverside, WY. 121 miles boyyyeeee.

For some reason I was up before sunrise. So I heated some corned beef hash, brewed some joseph and caught up on some news. The original plan was to ride up to Walden today and stay with the friend of a friend. I stocked up on some supplies as I had roughly 60ish miles of mountains and flats to ride through - and that was all - not a store or anything for miles.

The first 15 miles were all down hill but into the wind as I descended out of a draw toward Granby, CO. Then I headed a few miles west and headed north through another draw that climbed for 20 miles until is went over a pass at 9500 feet and into a vast valley. Somehow in this draw the wind swirled all over the place the enitre time. At times it was pushing me uphill and at others it held me back.

On the way down I pulled into the small town of Rand and met another cyclist from Boulder. He was doing the TransAm trail from VA to OR. We set out together and I must say, the dude smoked me. he must have been in his 50s, and of course, me, thinking I'm this young guy with all the speed in the world, was left in his dust after the first 5 miles. I tried to keep up for as long as I could and even have a conversation, but was we kept moving, I felt tired and had to hang back. I never saw him again, except as a little ant-like spec in the distance. nice work, john.

I hit Walden about 4:00 and with plenty of daylight I just decided to keep moving and wing it. But first I had to stop for a bowl of spaghetti - was just what I needed. I kept moving planning on stopping in the medicine bow national forest at some random point, but the longer I rode the more I realized I probably wouldn't find such a place. 50 miles and 3.5 hrs later I was in the town of Riverside, WY just as the sun fell behind the plaines.

The place was booming and the town only has a population of 45. Just so happens that that weekend was the annual woodchoppers jamboree and rodeo. Tons of partying to be had. I posted up with 3 other cyclists at the local campground, which was awesome by the way. There was one dude from france and a couple from Wash DC. The couple were ride recumbent bikes - honestly I don't know how you ride them things, but they seem to enjoy it. The bikes have huge windshields too - guess it keeps em from swallowing bugs. Yes, I have come to swallow some gnats and flies on this trip. We all spoke of the exact same issues and emotions we had all been experiencing on this trip. And of course, hunger, was at the top of the list. Nice to know it's not just me eating errrthing in sight.

Like I said before, there was partying to be had. So we all went across the street to the local bar where bonfires, country music and PBR ruled. I was out by 12 but the word on the street is that on this particular weekend that bar doesn't even close. Riverside, you have won me over.

day 41. estes park, co to grand lake, co.

i awoke to wind howling outside my window, rattling shutters and rustling trees. so i went back to bed for two hours. when i awoke the second time the wind was merely gusting. well, here goes nothin i thought.

trail ridge road. the road through rocky mountain national park and, i believe, the highest paved road in the lower 48, towered before me. with 4500 vertical feet to climb over roughly 20 miles i knew i was in for a workout. did i mention the wind was blowing.

i payed my 10 bucks to enter the park and started climbing. i was expecting a photographer to show up at some point. he was from the paper that did the interview the night before. after a few corners, there he was. he snapped a photo as i rode by and shouted "good luck" as i rode away. but he didn't have a tone that translated to 'i know you're gonna rock this shit out!' it was more of a 'don't die, man!.' comforting.

i was rounding switchbacks thinking it wasn't so bad. i stooped every once in a while for a snack and water and to talk to auto-bound folks.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

a short but windy one. posted up in rv world campground in rawlins, wy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

after 121 miles i'm in riverside, wy. and theres a log chopping comp tomorrow!

welcome to the west. croozin.

Uploaded by

grand lake, co. that john denver would be happier than a pig in...

Uploaded by

day 40. boulder, co to estes park, co. 35 miles.

a short day and a solid warm-up for trail ridge road. only 35 miles and 3500 vertical feet of climbing to be had to reach estes park, co.

there were three of us today. an old pal, paul, and a new one, craig. it was awesome to have people along for the ride. actual conversation was nice for a change. the two rode as far as they could but both had to turn back early. i'm pretty sure they had sand in something and wimped out. nah, i kid. they have these things known as jobs and had to return to them. thanks for cruising fellas.

after some lightning, that flashed directly overhead, followed instantaneously by thunder, and some rainfall and climbing, i descended into estes park. elk run this town. no joke. you can find them all over the place. even chillin next to busy roadways. majestic giants that taste delicious.

i rolled into the sponsored, elk meadows lodge, where an apt style home was waiting. shortly after settling in, a reporter came over from the estes park trail gazette or something of the like. its nice to see someone interested again after weeks of nada. not even my hometown paper gave a shit. negativity rules the headlines these days. if you're like me and are interested in good, check out good folks over there.

as the sun sat, i sat staring at the continental divide, a bit nervous about the next day and the climb ahead, wondering if my previous month of work had been enough.

put some hot sauce on my burrito, baby!

Uploaded by

the gracious lodging from winding river resort.

Uploaded by

45 degrees in grand lake, co this morn. headed to walden today to crash with uncle bob.

days 31 - 39. resting and fundraising in the denver metro area.

8 days of rest is just what i ordered. as anybody knows, rest is good for muscles and with the mountains coming up i needed my legs to recover from the last month of work. so, i went into relax mode.

i went back to my bud's house and retrieved my bike. i rode it a whopping 8 miles to my mom's place. But i rode it without any of the gear attached. i rode as if i had never ridden a bike, wobbling too and fro, as if i just pounded some whiskey. i just wasn't used to a light and empty bike. could barely stand-up.

once i parked that bike in the garage, there it sat for two more days. i spent time with my family and friends and enjoyed rides in cars to see them. i also enjoyed home cooked meals. my mom is one mean cook. spaghetti with meat sauce - bomb.

i left parker on thursday and headed into treads bike shop where an old high-school friend runs the shop. per wigand, a bad-ass bike guru, contributed to this ride with a complimentary tune-up. we caught up briefly and i headed out to see an old friend for coffee. i was to return for the fresh bike in a couple hours.

i met my pal, michaela, at a local coffee shop. her two year old son, Tanis, was in tow. her second child secured in her belly, to be born in sept.
its amazing how people are growing up; getting married, having kids, buying houses, securing full-time jobs....tacking on the responsibility. i'll take none of that thank you. i will continue to live the free life.

when i returned for the bike, i discovered new handlebar tape, a new chain, new brakes, a sparkling cassette, and an overall slick smooth ride. i hooked up the shop with pizza and a case of dale's pale ale (which is some of the best canned beer on our planet) and cruised to denver.

i met up with a pal in denver for happy hour. she told me her new plan is to live out of her truck for the next few months and travel some of the US and then head to central america. yeah buddy.

the next night was my good friend's birthday and a group of us spent the night out in denver but not like high-rollers though, please. i'm talking about a pbr and whiskey kinda night. couldn't have been better to see everyone.

the next day i spent 4 hours riding up to boulder. it was only 25 miles but somehow i managed to stretch it into an afternoon affair. cold rain fell nearly the entire time. hands and toes numb, i wound through bike paths until i landed just a bit too far west. i looked at a map and thought, ok, straight here and I'll be set. well, i ended up hitting highway 93 and for those of you who know this road, its not one to cycle on. so i had to back track and turned my 25 mile route into nearly 40. well done, me.

sunday, we had a bit of a fundraising bbq thanks to some truly great friends. it was great to see some more friends and we put the total donations up to $4100. now, i realize that this may pay for a lab test or something similar but that's $4100 more than they had before. thank you to all those who have donated.

now that i think about it i have not really discussed the lymphoma research foundation and why i chose them to help. its simple really. lymphoma isn't as simple to find as say breast or testicular cancer. you can't just give a feel and say 'whoop, there it is.' lymphoma is something doctors and scientists find through tests and procedures and it takes cash to fund tests and studies to find a cure. the lymphoma research foundation knows where to allocate funds, so why not donate to those who know best? that's it, put simply.

8 days resting was fantastic. now time to tackle some mountains.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

after 45 miles and 4500 vertical feet of climbing, i'm posted up in the winding river resort in grand lake. the story continues.

snow. trail ridge road. 12,180 ft.

Uploaded by

day 30 - kit carson, co to franktown, co - 100+ miles.

with 120 miles to cover i hit the road early facing some solid wind. it was the semis and me out there on route 40 heading to limon, co and ultimately parker.

after 25 miles i rolled upon some construction. two lanes were knocked down to one and delays were in full swing. "can't let you ride through," the sign man told me. "no?" i asked. "you'll be too slow and this goes on for 20 miles. gonna have one of our guys drive ya through." so be it. sorry to disappoint but i hadn't a choice.

the dude who drove me was from pittsburgh and knew of the neighborhood where i had stayed. small world. anyway, he dropped me in hugo, co at a local restaurant that i'd reccommend to anyone - can't remember the name but it ended in 'family restaurant.' great food and great people.

thanks to the lift i made it to limon an hour earlier than i had planned. after a short jaunt on I-70 (there was no other paved route) i was on a back road i had driven plenty of times over the years. i was pumped for some rolling hills, welcome to mtn country.

after some cold rain and some pizza i hit franktown, co where i stopped to see some good friends. well, my mom came over, some other friends drove up from denver and we enjoyed a night.of steaks and drinks. everyone thought me to be incredibly skinny so i ate leftovers from three others' plates.

so on account of beer and darkness, i hitched a ride home with my mom but i left the bike with my friends and returned the next day to ride it home. no rides unless absolutely necessary.

great end to a solid day. really couldn't have been better.

and this is his lady.

Uploaded by

this dude is on a world tour. 17 months on the road. headed east.

Uploaded by

and the west side of the divide.

Uploaded by

east side of the divide just below tree line.

Uploaded by

crossing the divide today. here goes nothin'.

Uploaded by

lodging at elk meadows lodge in estes park. thanks guys.

Uploaded by

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

so did a new pal, craig arfsten. thanks for the company.

Uploaded by

a good friend paul lee rode up today. nice work bud.

Uploaded by

the colorado rest is over. check the view from the elk meadow lodge in estes park.

Uploaded by

day 29 - scott city, ks to kit carson, co - 132 miles.

when the wind is at your back you don't waste it. period. you must use it like a winning lottery ticket.

similes, gotta love em.

i hopped outta my tent and started moving as quickly as possible to utilize nature's gift, skipping breakfast. after being pushed 25 miles it was time for a gas station breakfast. breakfast burrito, bfast sandy, and hashbrowns were available. now, you may knock gas station eats, but since those are the only 'restaurants' around the food isn't so bad. i would have eaten more had it been available but some jerk ate it all. i kid.

the wind continued to push me forward and before long i was at the colorado border. a large wooden sign, hand built and crafted with care, stood before me. 'welcome to colorful colorado' it boasted. for some odd reason, the word 'colorful' is carved with a taper and at a slant. anyone know why? i realize the designer was trying to be hip, but it makes no sense to me. whatev. either way, it tromps the welcome to kansas sign. that one is just mere metal, small and sitting atop a metal post. if you were driving and came to a fork in the road and the kansas sign to the left and the colorado sign to the right which would you choose based on sign detail alone?

i lined up to take a photo of my bike alone with the sign when two cyclists came in from the west. do you happen to wonder who took the photo of me at that sign? the dudes were from fresno, ca on there way to newport news, va. they had actually ridden across nevada and highway 50. said it was awful. just as i thought. exactly why i've chose the mountains. i'll ride through many a mountain to avoid the desert.

as we separated the wind changed and came from the south. just so happened my route was to take me north at that point. once again the wind was with me.

most of the time i am finding the wind dying down in the evening. i coasted into another gas station gourmet where i ate dinner to wait out the wind. this was cheyenne wells, co. i must have been there for over an hour. as i spoke with the one employees, one started to knock the spandex, which i used to do. i defended it all the way. its like riding naked and in total comfort. by the time i left i had that guy convinced that he too was going to ride across the country.

the last 25 was a bear. the wind hadn't died and i could see my destination the whole time - making it seem longer.

i posted up in a city park in kit carson where a church function was happening. they offered me some of their leftovers but i had to decline. crazy, right. but i was stuffed from the gourmet earlier. i did however grab a gallon jug of water.

the wind howled all night. the tent chattered so that it sounded like rain. distant thunderstorms lit up the sky. fortunately, no tornados in an area prone to the monsters.

due to the wind, i put in 132 miles of riding and would actually make it to parker, co (my hometown) a day early. i was really looking forward to that.


just made a large donation due to funds I've been collecting on the road as well as from the bbq. I just want to thank:
The Mast Family in Celina, OH
The lovely couple in Rogers, OH
The folks from Ontario in Hannibal, MO
Catherin and Steve
Jennifer Cooper
Russ Griffin
Michelle Roche
Janet Ratzlaff
Terry Ratzlaff
Jerry Aronson
My Aunt Diann in Belle Plaine, KS
My cousin Brad Hodgson in Belle Plaine, KS
The Cook Family in Parker, CO
And anyone else who tossed some bucks in the bucket at the BBQ.
$4,100 bucks thus far. The key now is reaching out to the folks I don't know. Spread it.

Day 28 - La Crosse, KS to Scott City, KS. 100+ miles

The sun poured through the mesh lining of my tent and I was rolling. After a few short miles, some coffee, clif bars and a flat I met a couple from the Netherlands who were also traveling across this country. At this very moment I can't remember their names but they were incredibly friendly and just as eager to talk about their trip as I was mine. I'm also fairly certain they were skinnier than I was. I mean, being from Europe, folks just seem to stay thin, unlike the US, and with all the riding they had been doing in the last 5 weeks, they were toothpicks.

They had started traveling in Washington DC and were headed to Portland, OR via the transamerica trail. I think I may actually run into them again in yellowstone. We shall see. These two were just taking their time and enjoying it as much as possible - actually they had never been to the US so I can understand their curiosity for all things American. I noticed that the gentleman had bad sunburns on his hands and was fairly wrapped up. His third day in, he acquired lime disease from some tick and was forced to go see a doctor as well as take a trip to the hospital. The sunburn was from the antibiotics he was taking. I think most people would have called their trip off at this point, but not these guys. They were just dealing with it and had been on the road for well over a month. We parted ways, well we headed in the same direction but I just sped off in front as I had some serious distance to cover - or at least, wanted to cover.

I stopped and heated some chili at a local rest area and just as I finished eating, the happy Dutch came rolling in. We sat together and chatted again. They ate half a loaf of bread with peanut butter and jelly. We spoke about how much food we were consuming and about how nice it will be when the trip is over. But don't get me wrong, the trip is great, its just the idea of wrapping it up and saying 'wow, i just did that!' They told me how they noticed how big everything is here in the States. Big cars, big food, big houses, big buildings. "big people" i interjected. I know they were just trying to be nice and not say it, so I just threw it out there because we were all thinking it.

Once again I was off with nearly 85 miles still to cover. Nearing 1pm I rolled into Ness City, KS. Temperatures were approaching 100 and I was just waiting for tumbleweeds to come rolling through and for the Old West to come to life. What that means, I'm not exactly sure. But one thing I know, don't eat at the Cactus Club if you like service or good food, that's all I'm sayin'. Welp, after some grub and some huge ice cream treat I was off into the hot sun.

The wind was strong out of the south and then suddenly switched and came from the north just as I started a long northwesterly route. Everyone says Kansas is flat. Yeah, it is when you're in a car because you don't notice any of the elevation gains or losses. You don't notice that the horizon is above or below your line of sight. Well, when you can see 15 miles into the distance and the horizon is nothing but up, that my friends, is one long hill. Think about that the next time you roll through KS. Just notice how many time you go up and down.

My Dutch pals gave me one piece of fantastic advice. They told me that it's possible to sleep in city parks, especially ones that are used to cyclists rolling through town. I hit the town of Drighton in the early evening and Scott City was still 25 miles out. I phoned the Scott City Poh Leese and notified them of my arrival. "Cool" they said. "Ride safe."

I rolled into Scott City near sunset and set up camp. A couple, enjoying the perfect weather, came walking past and we started to discuss the ride. The young lady of the two said something that I couldn't tell was a positive or a negative thing, but nonetheless, I mentioned how I tried to get people to come with me on this trip and how tough it was to get anyone to commit to a 3 month venture. "Yeah, it's probably tough to get folks to just stop what they're doing so they can screw-off for 3 months." Uh....what? What are you saying to me? Are you being funny or saying that I'm just screwing off? I thought all this and replied with something I think is very very true. "I think the only reason we have jobs and work is so we have the means to screw-off." I mean who really wants to work? I guarantee most everyone is only working to support all their screwing-off. But of course there are those who also work just to get by. I get it.

Honestly, I'm gonna keep working but it's absolutely to support my screwing-off, at least at this stage of the game. Who's with me?

Ok, peace out.