Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Final chapter. I’m going to throw out random thoughts and hope most of it will make sense. This whole thing started a few years ago as a crazy and completely unrealistic project. The more I talked about it without fully understanding the magnitude of the effort the harder it became to back down and back out. It seems a million years ago and at the same time it seems like a moment ago that I started out from Virginia. The night before leaving I don’t think I slept more than a few minutes. I was surprised by my high level of anxiety and trepidation. I shakily got out of bed, got dressed, couldn’t eat very much and jumped in the van for the ride to Yorktown and our starting point. Everyone got completely soaked standing around in the pouring rain trying to get organized to hit the road. Lots of pictures, wheel dipping and a last hug and kiss goodbye. Then everyone mounted up and started pedaling. From the start to somewhere in Kansas I questioned my ability to complete the ride every day. For a long time I was sore all over, real pain in my left knee, and if the butt sores got any worse I was done for sure. I can remember the hills of Missouri(we all agreed that this was the hardest part of the trip) as I crested hill after hill praying that each would be the last for the day. I knew if I could just get to camp and rest, I’d refreshed for another day. There were days going uphill that I thought how easy it would be to get knocked off by a side view mirror so I could just lay down and rest. Miraculously somewhere in Kansas it all turned around. After adjusting my seat up and down I found a spot that seemed to distress my knee and that stopped hurting. The neck and back soreness just naturally went away. I found ways to move around on my seat to change the pressure points and the butt sores while never going away became manageable. From that point on the riding became much more fun. I knew I would make it to the pacific barring a real crash or some other serious injury. My expectations for the whole experience were exceeded by 1000%. I learned how far my limits were both physically and mentally; way beyond what would be assumed without getting pushed beyond the perceived limits. Seeing the country at 12 m.p.h cannot be matched. I would have to say the single best part of the trip besides eating everything was the people we met and talked to while stopped for refueling in the small town cafes. These are the real Americans with real lives and no pretention. They were universally hospitable, curious, and interested. I can’t imagine how many vehicles passed us over the 4000 miles, but I can only remember two instances of discourtesy. I am very proud to share that I was one of only two riders who never walked his bike up part of a hill. Only two of the group was able to ride every fabulous inch. The rest of us fell short(no pun intended) for one reason or another. Mostly it was caused by mechanical breakdown that couldn’t be fixed on the road. I missed one day in Kentucky due to illness. What would I do different next time? First of all I don’t think I’d ride cross country again, but there are so many regions of the country that could be ridden in a few weeks and there’s organized rides. I’d love to think the grandchildren at some point would like to go on a week or two ride with boopah. I would certainly like the next ride to be a bit more upscale. Sleep in a bed and have meals catered or eat in restaurants. Mechanically my bike was perfect, but for future ride I would like to have fatter thus safer tires so it would be easier to ride off road when called for. As much as I’ve enjoyed doing this blog I would not do it again. It became an obligation and point of stress especially as I hunted around some days for internet. Also, next time I would try to enjoy the journey with less focus on the destination. I was always fearful that any extra miles for side trips or on days off would diminish my chances of successfully reaching Florence.
p.s. if any of you have individual questions, comments, criticism, need clarification, or simple want to communicate with me rather than use the comment section of the blog please email me at golden1231@earthlink.net and I will respond by email.


States-10-virginia,Kentucky,Illinois,Missouri,Kansas,Colorado,Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon
Riding days-69
Rest days-11
Hours in the saddle-346
Average speed-11.7
Maximum speed-44.3
Calories burned-225,879
Flat tires total-9
Flat tires I changed by myself-3
Cumulative feet of ascent-196,904
Longest day by mileage-82.45
Longest day by time in saddle-7:30
Shortest day by mileage-23.60
Shortest day by time-2:22
Highest point-Hoosier pass, 11,539
Slept outside-39 nights
Slept inside-41 nights
Peed on the road-552
Pooped in the woods-0
Worst head wind-Muddy gap, Wyoming to Jeffrey city, Wyoming-14 miles
Rain- all day-3, part of day-5
Highest temperature-105
Lowest temperature-38
Best sore butt cure-1% hydrocortisone ointment…….thanks Dr. Sibrack!!!!!!!!!!!!
Books read-Obedience: a novel(Lavender), The concrete blonde(Connelly), Night over water(follett), The Increment(Ignatius), Beat the reaper(bazell), Dead man’s walk, Comance moon, lonesome dove, streets of Laredo(McMurtry), Storming las vegas(huddy), The 8th confession(Patterson), World without end(follett), The lion’s game(demille), Killing Rommel(pressfield), Rough justice(Higgins), The power of one(Courtenay), The mysterious montague(Montville), The Poet(Connelly), Invasion of the body snatchers(finney).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday. Triangle lake to Florence 52 miles. Made it. Mission accomplished. I will collect my thoughts and stats and make a final post in a day or two. Right now I plan on chillin’ and hanging out with caryn.

Monday. Eugene to triangle lake 36 miles. Easy ride. The first 6 or 7 miles out of Eugene were ridden on a very nice paved bike path. The rest of the day was rolling gentle hills as we entered and passed through the coastal range. Last night in the tent for maybe the rest of my life. Camp ground very rustic. No hot water, no showers. Quite appropriate for the last day on the road.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

mimi stopped by for a visit in eugene today

ollie and pam joined us for dinner in redmond a few days ago

observatory at mckenzie pass summit

riding through the lava fields on McKenzie pass

Sunday. Mckenzie bridge to Eugene 58 miles. A very pleasant easy ride dropping about a thousand feet over 58 miles was easy pedaling making it possible to cruise at about 15 m.p.h. we followed the mckenzie river the whole way. Rode into Eugene and past the university of Oregon. I have my own room in a very nice and clean motel. As much as I’ve grown to enjoy the cocoon feeling in my tent, it’s nice to be able to spread out a bit. Brewpub for dinner and only 38 miles tomorrow so there may be some sleeping in tomorrow.
Saturday. Redmond to mckenzie bridge 56 miles. Last night in Redmond we had a surprise visitor. Ollie, our fallen comrade and his wife joined us for dinner. They have a cabin nearby. It was great to see Ollie and even better to see him mostly mended from his injuries all the way back in Virginia. An incredible ride today with no extra curricular excitement. Out of Redmond we had a nice gradual climb through the high desert to Sisters about 20 miles away. After second breakfast we embarked on a chancy ride over mckenzie pass. This is a seasonal road that has been closed due to winter damage. Some folks we met on the road told us we could blow through the barriers and cruise over the pass. We decide to take a chance hoping we wouldn’t get turned around and have to go back adding about 30 miles to the ride and an extra high pass to climb. The climb up was gradual through mostly forest the all of a sudden it opened up into a huge lava field. The whole area of mountains were created by volcanic activity. As it turned out we negotiated with the construction crew that we met and we had a once in a lifetime 20 mile ride on a newly paved road with absolutely no vehicular interference. The ride ended with a 3500 foot descent down a narrow road through a forest with huge evergreen trees. It was really something.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday. Mitchell, Oregon to Redmond, Oregon 72 miles. Great start today. As I was getting my bike ready to go I realized my back tire was flat. Rotten way to start the day. I changed it no problem, but couldn’t find the cause. This is not good because whatever caused the flat could still be lurky. Sure enough after 10 miles in the midst of a 20 mile 2500 foot climb it went flat again. At least it wasn’t hot yet. Andy thought the problem was with the wheel. I changed it again and hoping for the best rode on and miraculously made it all the way without another flat. At this point I’ll leave well enough alone and keep riding. After the initial climb the rest of the day way flat to slightly down hill. Right after Prineville with about 20 miles to go a bit of excitement ensued. Scott had been ahead of me passing earlier when I stopped for second breakfast. In the distance I see his bike parked on the side of the road but no scott. As I approach I notice a car parked on the opposite side of the road and someone crouched down beside it. I realize that it’s scott and that he must be helping someone with a mechanical problem. I stop to check it out and immediately realize this is an emergency. A dopey kid had stopped to change a flat and didn’t properly set the jack. Somehow he got under the car and the jack collapse bringing the car down Ion his face and chest. I asked scott if he had called 911. He thought it more important to get the kid out and was furiously working the jack. I called 911 and 4 sheriff’s car arrive in about 2 minutes. The kid was pulled out with compression pain in his chest and scraps on the side of his face and head, but did not seem to have any serious injuries. i‘m sure scott saved his life as the weight of the car probably would have suffocated him. Quite a day!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday. Prairie city, Oregon to Mitchell, Oregon 82 miles. Today’s ride was within one mile of our longest single day ride. For the first 51 miles we rode down steam through the broad valley along the john day river. We then entered a deep narrow canyon turned and headed up a long 25mile climb that took us up out of the canyon and through pine forests to summit after climbing about 2500 feet. Then it was down hill to the tiny town of Mitchell where we’re staying in an historic old hotel. Historic means no air conditioning and bathroom down the hall. Hopefully it will cool down from the current 97 degrees.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday. Baker city, Oregon to prairie city, Oregon 70 miles. Today was our toughest ride in weeks. The terrain was uniquely different from any other day on the trip. We encountered three ripples all 1000 feet plus or minus in elevation change. All three were had identical grades heading up and screaming down. After completing the first climb the descent was only a few hundred feet and entered a beautiful high valley. The road flattened for several miles and then the second climb took us up again and then down a bit to another higher valley. Flat again and then another climb which opened into a huge valley as pictured below.

how appropriate

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday. Halfway, or. To baker city, or. 53 miles. Two healthy climbs with two short quick descents and the rest of the day gradual uphill through steep dry canyon walls on both sides. We’re definitely in high dessert which will continue for a few days. there’s a heat wave in much of Oregon that somehow avoided us today. Mid 80’s, low humidity, and wind that didn’t pick up until we made camp. Rest day tomorrow then a seven day ride to the ocean.

irrigation required

picture on the wall of a bar we were in yesterday

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday. Cambridge, Idaho to Halfway, OREGON!!!!!!!! 52 miles. Forecast was for hot, windy and chance of t-storms so left at 6:05am. The first 20 miles was a climb out of the weiser river valley to 4130 feet. Then a great cautious down hill to the snake river and hell’s canyon with a wonderful second breakfast halfway down. The landscape is still hilly but extremely dry as you can see in the pictures. We crossed the brownlee dam and entered Oregon our last state. We continued down the snake through hell’s canyon for twelve miles. Very, very hot. Andy kept us in water and even delivered popsicles. The climb out of hell’s canyon was a gradual 16 mile up hill to halfway where we’re staying in a very nice motel due to heat and probable storms.