Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oregon ....finally

The rumors that somewhere there was a town named for Sandy DeHart are true. Not sure what state this is in but for sure there is a town.

Monica/Sajacawea insisted on building a snowman on Lolo Pass which is located on the border of Mt. and Idaho.

Pic taken right before Sassy threw and hit me (in foot) with a snowball. Note her right foot stuck in snow.

Drove a long ways today , started in Great Falls Mt. and ended 100 miles east of Portland Or. Tomorrow Astoria and prepping to get this show on the road. Saw lots of great country again today , everything from snow at high elevations to 102 temps in Lewiston/Clarkston area. Sure hope it cools a bit in near future or biking will be done at night.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Driving Miss Sassy west

South Dakota humor.

Highlite of trip so far. LW was the man. I was humming the Champaign Bubble song for at least 200 miles.

New friend Hans from Germany who is riding L/K east to west. We met in N.D. and expect to meet down the road somewhere in Montana as I ride from the west.

Signs you do not see in Ohio.
As we continue on the road to Astoria we are constantly surprised at how great this country is--the sights we see and the people we meet are wonderful, and we have not even gotten to the mountains yet. The more country we see the more I want to get the bike on the road.
Monica continues to assume the persona of a Shoshoni Indian maid , she directs my driving with grunts and points .
The differences between our ideas of a decent motel room are manifesting themselves. I am getting into roughing it mode for ride and am happy if room has a toilet, bed, cable TV and a working remote--also needs to have a pizza delivery place near by. Monica, on the other hand, feels that shower curtain mold, non draining tubs, lack of toilet paper and soap is unacceptable. So far we have compromised and now (after the first night) she picks the motels.
I am still learning the nuances of posting with pics etc , I feel an epiphany is near and the job will become easier.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lots going on in Iowa

My first solo posting of a pic on this blog, proving it can be done ,so I will build on this positive experience although there obviously is room for improvement in the pic editing area.
Before we left Indianola , Iowa this morn we stopped at McCoy True Value Hardware, using their UPS service to send a package back to Ohio. We met Gerry a very impressive self described "long long time employee" who basically runs the business because she "has more experience than anyone around here". She knows most of the customers by first name and when she learned our name she got a phone book to see how many were listed with same name. Never quit talking the whole time.
We talked about Ragbrai coming thru Indianola and that got her excited. She and her church group "The First Baptist--and don't forget it" will be selling rhubarb cream pies and she expects me to stop and buy some. She will be looking for me.
In Atlantic we stopped at a Maid Rite to see how the Iowa version compares to the one in Greenville. There are a whole bunch of MRs all over Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri since 1926.
The food is almost identical except Gville has a sweeter taste--maybe more sugar or something. I brought up a pic of the gum wall in Gville for Rob the manager and he was impressed. They do not do that kind of stuff in Iowa, but they may start.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful except when we got to Council Bluffs and visited the Lewis and Clark state park--lot of cool stuff there. When we got to the park Monica suddenly changed her whole persona and became Sacajawea, the Bird Woman and for the rest of the day became my guide , directing my every move while driving, mostly by silently extending her right arm straight out with extended index finger indicating the direction I should go (just like all those Indian guide pics). She even asked that I call her Sassy for short . She started calling me her "Merriweather", but when I decided to play along and asked her to call me "Captain" , all I got was a "NO!!"
Tomorrow we will stop at a Goodwill store to see if they have any used headbands with eagle feathers along with beaded deerskin clothes for her to wear as we head for South and North Dak0ta.
Just rechecked the map and it is a long way to Astoria.

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The Road West

I suppose that it is time to describe what this blog is all about.

The goal is to use it to document my bike trip across the US of A. The big plan is to start in Astoria Oregon and follow the Lewis and Clark Trail up the Columbia River , across the mountains , and follow the Missouri River to Council Bluffs , Iowa.

In Council Bluffs I will join the Ragbrai which is an organized 7 day ride across Iowa by about 10,000 other bikers. It starts on July 18. The Ragbrai ends in Burlington, Iowa which is on the Mississippi River. From Burlington it will be across Illionois and Indiana to Darke County Ohio for some R and R, the duration of which will depend on several factors including how long family/friends will tolerate my hanging around telling them about my last 2 months on the road. (in the 6 months before I left I was nicknamed "Bubba Blue" by sons because like that character in the movie Forest Gump who talked constantly about shrimping, I talked biking. I got used to watching listeners eyes glaze over and finding other places to be when I started up.

From Darke County , it will be across Ohio to Pittsburgh to ride on the Allegheny Trail which is a recently opened bike path following old railroad beds to Washington D.C. If all goes reasonably well that will be around the end of August.

I realize this is a big bite to chew on and will be a challenge on several levels but it is one of those things a guy has just gotta do, and in my case, before I get passed the time I am reasonably capable. I have been thinking about doing this ever since my son Russ and I biked the Mississippi River from North to South 6 years ago. That was a wonderful experience.

For several years I doubted whether the opportunity would present itself to take this on. Fortunately some stars lined up and here I am. I would be remiss if I did not thank the great people at Tigereye Design for making this trip possible and providing encouragement. There are many long time friends there and I look forward to staying in touch with them along the way.
Chad and Austen , the ace I.T. guys have prepped me on how to actually use this blog as well as upload pics , plot progress on map etc. Although I have not actually put thier instructions into practice I look forward to mastering those things in the coming days.
Steve Swallow, Ron Simon, Mary, Nancy, Grieshop and others all of whom will be named in later posts --I owe you large.

My family has also been very supportive about "dad's latest dream". Sons Jeff and Russ along with wife Monica have all been "go for it" encouraging.

As I write this , Monica and I are driving towards Astoria in our mini van loaded with bike, trailer and related equipment. We are roughly following the planned bike route. It is fun to just sort of mosey West , mostly along secondary roads where there is really a lot of America to see., especially at 50 miles per hour.

Reports of this drive will follow in days to come.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Due to several requests here is a full view of the "newspaper" announcing the trip. The surprising thing is that the headlines are as accurate as most regularly published papers and the photos are smack right on.
I am blessed to be surrounded by so many creative and mostly caring people.

(to get a better idea of just how creative/caring this "newspaper" is , do a zoom thing and enlarge to read the fine print)

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The surprise sendoff party cake-newspaper!

Today I was "gotten" as badly as I have ever been by gotten in my life. All my buds at Tigereye Design surprised me with a send off party. It involved a bunch of food and a great cake along with a newspaper complete with headlines about the coming trip.
What a surprise and it was all I could do to keep something from getting in my eyes.
Actually at one point I got all emotional and said,"you know ,with all this love around here it is so tough to leave these great people, I may just stick around here for awhile."
No sooner had those words left my mouth when I was assured by everyone at once that I should stick to my original plan and leave as soon as possible.
So I am departing with mixed emotions--mostly good.
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