Posted by: daneonhisbike | December 28, 2009

The Journey Beyond the Bike

I am in the process of building a 20 foot Tri-Meran to sail the Appalachian trail of the water called the Florida Saltwater Paddle Trail.  After returning from my bicycle tour across the United States, I have decided to not join the work force but yet to continue my travels and human experiences.  Currently, my departure date is around January 31st, 2010.  I will keep this site up to date with pictures and updates as well as my other website which can be found at, www. apacolypso.wordpress.com.  I will have a more detailed post  later but this is the general synopsis of it all.  Check out the site and keep checking in.  It should be interesting!

Posted by: daneonhisbike | October 21, 2009

First Video of the Trip

I finally made a short video of my journey.  Later I will create a full length movie.

You will have to refresh it a few times or click the link once or twice, it likes to skip to adds… it is a free service.

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CLICK THE PICTURE FOR THE MOVIE!

Posted by: daneonhisbike | August 4, 2009

The Return

There will not be an end to Bikopelli.com.  This website will stay up for many many years to come for others to view and will hopefully serve as a guide for other cyclists who are looking to ride the Trans-Am.  I will continue to add posts like usual, just not as frequently.  My book will come no later than December, 2009 and I will keep everyone updated on it.  What I”m doing is putting my pictures, all 2,000 of them on a CD and will be mailing those out shortly.  In the meantime I’ll be swinging around town visiting everyone, this time I don’t stink so bad, plenty of hot water at my folks place.  Here is the last post for THIS TRIP, more trips to come and I will use Bikopelli.com as my permanent blog.

If you are a cyclist and are interested in doing the Trans-Am and would like some tips/tricks/advice contact me and I would be more than willing to share what I learned along the way.

Picture canyon in the high desert of Oregon

Picture canyon in the high desert of Oregon

The last portion of the trip I met some interesting people.  There was a total of seven kids staying at the bicycle hostel in Mt. Vernon, Oregon.  Five of them I got to know pretty well through the rest of the trip.  We stayed up that night and watched movies in which Christy, our host, provided for us.  She said the most common movie that cyclists watch was “A Land Before Time”, a children’s movie created in the early 90’s.  Christy had over ten chickens on her farm so we all had an awesome egg breakfast the next morning.  We took rotations cooking eggs and signing the guest book.  One kid, Tyler, picked up the book and began to scribble.  I thought to myself, they must be writing some good entries, I’ll get an idea about what to say based on theirs.  When my turn came with the journal I read Tylers entry…”It’s about to be egg breakfast up in this piece”.  Alright, “thanks Christy for the egg’s!”

the trio

the trio

I rode with five out of the eight kids that stayed at the bike in.  Three of them lived in Virginia which was also where they started.  Our makeshift group consisted of Aaron, Jacob, Mike (the trio from Virginia), Jake, and Tyler (both from Massachusetts).  I was the third one out the next morning but we all met up twenty miles down the road at a small service station.  They guys were having a conversation about soft drinks.  All five of them drank very little alcohol and instead they filled up on soft drinks every day.  Jacob, a twenty two year old kid with long blonde dreadlocks said “You know, a chic in Wyoming said that people there heat up their Dr. Pepper and drink it like tea”  Jake, a tall stout kid responded “sick dude!”…”yeah I know, so I tried it.  I took out my stove and heated up a bottle of Dr. Pepper.  It just started to crystallize around the rim like these giant blobs of caramel.  I scooped them up and ate them and what was left was this nasty warm sugar water.”  Many of our conversations were filled with humor, they kept me laughing the entire time.

Jacob doing a backflip for us at the airport.  Jake is on the left

Jacob doing a backflip for us at the airport. Jake is on the left

The trio from Virginia were some characters.  Aaron, a tall brown hair kid with the thickest beard I have ever seen, wore nothing but his boxers when he rode.  He rode with two tent poles that petruded out both sides of his bike.  Both of his poles broke so he used a little glue and tape to piece them all together making them impossible to fold up.  Most of their possessions looked homemade.  Their sandals were made out of scrap pieces of clothe and shoe soles, their handlebar bags were one liter Pepsi cups attached with duck tape, and their water bottles were old Dr. Pepper cans.  They all thought I was crazy as hell because of all the stuff I carried.  They would say, “yo Dane, I need to microwave something, you got one of those”?  I really didn’t carry that much stuff, or so I thought anyways.

We stopped at another market towards the end of the day.  There was a little girl there selling cherries to tourists passing through.  Aaron said, “why you looking at me with that sad face, want me to buy some cherries?  I guess I’ll buy some”.  Then Aaron started selling the cherries for the little girl saying, “hey man, you want some cherries, best in the world, I ate a whole pound of them” and then everyone glanced over to the little girl who sat motionless as the tourists passed uninterested.  “Whats the deal?  I’m trying to like sell these cherries for you but your not backing me up, it’s not like were hecklin them, where’s that sad face, just do that, that works”.Inside the store sat a rather plump man who wore an old straw hat and sat plucking a guitar in a dark corner, no lie.  He said that he sat there all day in that store and just played the guitar and other instruments.

I decided to tackle one of the passes so the ride the next day would be all down hill.  I rode during the hottest part of the day with temperatures soaring to over 100 degrees.  This area of Oregon is considered the high desert.  Some parts receive less than ten inches of rain a year.  This is primarily caused by a rain shadow effect from the Cascade Mountain range.  The Cascades are a different mountain chain than the Rockies.  They are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which are a ring of volcano’s both on and off the land.  Mount Saint Helens being the most popular of the volcano’s in this chain from it’s devastating eruption in 1980.  Large barrier mountains such as the Cascades forces warm moist air off the ocean to rise.  As the air rises it expands, cools, and precipitates on the windward side of the mountains.  Whats left is simply warm, dry air that settles into canyons and valley’s on the opposite side.  So if you want to experience two completely different climates head to eastern Oregon.  You go from a dry, sage brush desert littered with decayed bones to a lush mossy rain forest.  If tha’ts not enough change for you there is always the coast of Oregon which has it’s own climate and weather patterns.

I met up with the guys the next day after descending a thousand or so feet into Redman.  Tyler invited me to the airport where his brother worked as a smoke jumper.  They offered to make us lunch and an opportunity to rest in a comfy air conditioned office complex, Ka-Ching!  Tyler’s brother, Evan, cooked us bratwursts and hamburgers while explaining his job to us.  He had to be ready at any time to go fight fires.  His job, repel out of a helicopter, assemble gear, and then create a fire line by cutting down trees, digging trenches, and starting backfires.  A fire line can be described as a tree line that is cut down and burned inwards toward the fire.  This insures that the fire goes no further than the line they created.  They also will dig trenches around a fire to keep to keep it from spreading along the understory.  They do all this with only a few rudimentary tools.  However, this service provided by the U.S. Forest Service seems necessary but yet spawns much anger and debate in local communities.  Ever since the 20th century humans have suppressed fires to protect timber resources, communities, and structures while ignoring the ecological importance of fire.  Fire exclusion has created extremely dense forest under stories which in the past burned away every 15-30 years.  Now, understory vegetation grows without being naturally cleared by forest fires resulting in ‘ladder fuels’ (the term refers to vegetation as fuel and ladder refers to how a fire moves from the understory to the canopy or crown via the multiple stages of growth of the understory).  It is due to fire suppression that allows small fires that would merely thin the understory and ground vegetation to reaching the canopy and jumping from tree crown to tree crown.  The next time you see a massive forest fire on T.V. this is why it happened.  Furthermore, not only does fire suppression create dense choked out forests, the forests themselves are more susceptible to insects and disease.  This is mostly due to the density of the forests making it easier for insects and disease to travel more fluidly through the forests.  But, the public has demanded fire suppression and the U.S. Forest service spends millions of dollars each year battling them.  You can check the current fire danger level at your local U.S. Forest Service station by reading a color coated intensity chart next to Smokey the Bear.  Humans will continue to suppress fire as long as there are structures and resources in danger of being wiped out.  There is much controversy between those who support a minimal to non-management practices and those who don’t.

helicopter at the air base

helicopter at the air base

All five six of us sat around the fire house asking questions and munching on food.  Mike wandered over to the couch in front of a giant LCD screen with a program running that monitored lightning strikes.  At first Mike fell asleep sitting up, then he slumped over a bit, then his feet came up and pretty soon he was spread eagle and snoring.  Evan invested some money into a camera that mounted to his helmet and we spent hours watching what he had recorded.  Later the pilot, a thin blonde hair Swedish guy, came in to see what was going on.  Evan told us that we should leave him alone, everyone else does.  He said that the pilot must stay refreshed and in a good mood so he is supplied with his own bunkhouse and all the beer he can drink, no just kidding.  But, he needed to be ready to fly a helicopter at any time so everyone left the Swedish guy alone.

I moved own towards a small town called Sisters.  That night I slept at a campground the the Adventure Cycling group once again.  I had not seen them since Wyoming so it was nice to see everyone again.  They gave me some left over milk, cereal, and bread that I scarfed down during the morning ride.  Sisters is a small quaint town nestled in a valley surrounded by snow capped mountains.  The most notable mountains being the ‘three sisters’, yet another group of volcanic mountains within the Cascade Mountain range.  The three sisters still had snow on the peaks in July.  It was extremely awkward to be riding in 100 degree weather and yet still see snow on surrounding mountains.  Once past Santeam pass, the last pass of the Trans-Am trail, I found myself in a dense, moist rain forest.  Along side the road ran the McKenzie river, a vast tributary that begins in the alpine wilderness atop of one of the three sisters.  The water is a rich cobalt blue created by the rocks on the river bed.  In some areas the collision of tributary systems creates this fine blue mist that refracts the beams of light that sneak through the forest canopy.  The result is a magnificent light show of micro rainbows and mist all tucked away in these little remote basins.  The temperature in these mist pockets can fall below 70 degrees while the surrounding area remains at a stifling 100 + degrees.

Mt Washington

Mt Washington

I conquered the final pass and rode down into a small little town on the edge of the McKenzie.  There I sat out under an umbrella and had an ice cold beer with the Adventure Cycling group.  Before long comes a man on a dilapidated bicycle with a tennis racket attached to the side.  He was a tall, extremely skinny man in his late 60’s.  He had ‘RICK’ tattooed on his arm so I said, “is that so you don’t forget your name”, “yep, how’d you guess.  Did it when I was your age, young and stupid.  You from Europe”?  I wondered…Europe?  Let me see, I talk like an American, my bikes American, and last but not least there is a great big AMERICAN flag on my bike, not all there I thought.  Rick explained why he had an old tennis racket attached to his bike.  He found an old luggage bag, the kind with the handle and rollers you see in airports, and attached that to the tennis racket and that’s how he got around.  He is probably the funniest and craziest guy I’ve met so far.  For a stove he used a PBR can cut in half and hand soap that contained alcohol.  He said, “this stuff burns just fine plus you can put it on your skin and it smells good, win win ya know!”  He would then pause mid sentence and take a deep breath, “smell that, that’s fresh air, that’s why I come up here, just for that.  Cant get that kind of air anywhere in Oregon, it’s no good, especially near the cities”.  I sat and listened to him talk about air for over thirty minutes, man was obsessed with air.  Rick not only had rudimentary cooking tools, everything he owned was like this.  All his meals came out of a can, he used an old shirt as a coffee filter, and all his clothes were circa 1982.  He wore all pastel colors.  His shorts, which were only 4 inches long, were a light pastel blue, his shirt, a hot pink tank top.  At night he sported light green cotton night pants.  I said “Rick man, your a fan of pastel colors, whats the deal”, “it’s soft on my eyes, they were cheap at the store, plus you can see me if I fall down drunk in the woods, you got a problem with them?”  The funny thing about it was that Rick was not a poor man.  He carried a wad of twenty dollar bills in his crotch.

Adventure Cycling group

Adventure Cycling group

Rick is the kind of guy that many would pass of as a crazy lunatic but in fact he was a rather smart man.  After he came back from fighting in Vietnam he worked off an on developing micro chips.  Once I got Rick on a certain topic it was hard to get him off of it.  I listened to him talk about the metal film that goes on micro chips for over an hour.  He too had cycled across the United States from Sacramento California to somewhere in Florida.  I sat out by the river with Rick for several hours, occasionally we would splash water on our faces and go back to our conversation.  Every so often a boat would float by and Rick mouth would run a mile a minute saying all sorts of ludicrous stuff.  The expressions on some people’s faces said it all, some even looked scared.  Just imagine, your floating down a river with your family and then there’s a man with a hot pink tank top, dazy duke pants, crazy hair, beer in one hand, cigarette in another, shouting at you to watch where your going and to quit ruining his view.  He said one morning he was down by the river completely naked and a few boats went by.  As you can imagine the fathers on the boat with his daughters were less than thrilled.  Rick would say, “you know what Dane, I’ve been coming here for years, absolutely love it, especially the air, you know there’s something that brought you here, some kind of energy man, there’s a reason why your here experiencing all this beauty here with me, ahhhh, i’ll never stop coming here, I couldn’t ask for more”, then he picked up the empty beer box that we sat in the water to cool down and chucked it in the river!  All this talk about how beautiful the river is and here’s his empty high life box floating down the river, bravo Rick, bravo.  However, despite his strange ways and being a litter bug he carried an arsenal of wisdom with him.

SANY2034

That night I slept out under the stars while Rick laid half in half out of his tent drunk as a skunk.  I was to go into Eugene for the day and do some errands.  Now Eugene is a hairy town.  I’ve heard many great things about it, it’s bicycle friendly, alternative culture, progressive, etc.  Like I expected there were bicycle’s everywhere.  However, there is a strict etiquette that you must follow if you take to the streets on two wheels.  If you venture off the bike path, cut into traffic, don’t use hand signals you get the third degree from all the motorists.  I’m not even going to say the names I was called while trying to navigate through the city.  My plan was to sleep somewhere in Eugene, possibly a town park, but I quickly ditched this plan.  Eugene is filled with homeless who sit out under overpasses and in the parks.  At night they come out of the woodwork and would love to come across something not bolted down.  Eugene was like a child proof city, there was nothing you could tamper with.  In restrooms, there no mirrors, no electrical outlets, and no toilet paper, just a toilet and a seat.  The parks, just picnic tables and everything and I mean everything is bolted down.  It’s like a city made for adult children, just my observation.  Everywhere throughout the city are blackberry bushes that grow rampant.  Along a single path you may find hundreds of thousands of wild blackberries ripe and ready to be taken.  Some of the locals say that they are sick of eating the things.

I later met up with the guys to go to Olive Garden.  We had talked for days about their unlimited soup, salad, and bread stick deal so we decided to go put them out of business.  They stuck us in a private room probably because we all stunk, and kept everything coming.  We crushed 8 baskets of bread, 4 bowls of salad, and each of us had over 3 bowls of soup a piece.  We were in pain when we left.  We all stumbled outside and we each took claim to a bench reserved for those waiting for an open table.  All six of us sprawled out holding our bellies while familes dressed in formal clothes looked on unapprovingly.  Finally I mustered up the strength to get back on the bicycle and took off for a campground on the outskirts of town.

The next day I broke down camp quickly.  I stayed in a wildlife preserve and woke up to geese and ducks all around my tent.  Today was coast day!  I’ve been on the road for 91 days and finally I made it to the Pacific Ocean!  About ten miles from the coast I began to smell marine air.  The air seemed salty and it clinged to the sweat on my arms and neck.  The entire ride I reflected on my entire journey mostly trying to recall all the places I had slept.  I’ve met so many people, seen so much scenery, eaten so much food and soon it would all be over.  No more waking up in a tent or eating stale bread over a wrinkled map wondering where to stay for the night.  No more conversations with random people, no more exhibits to read, no more biking with all my possessions.  It was sad to think about but the thought of reaching the Pacific, seeing my family, and being back in the Appalachian mountains amongst friends and neighbors eased my mind.  Silently I said to myself “I just biked across the United States, from one coast to the other”.  I’ve seen the country up close and personal, every square inch of road, everything.

When I reached the coast there was a Latino family sitting out at a picnic table.  The mother/wife said, “wanna a donut”, man I love Latino’s, they just love to give away food to anybody.  I said give me a minute and walked off towards the water to dip my bike.  I stuck both tires in the water, congratulated myself, and then went to devour donuts.  The father/husband quickly said to me, “is that your dog”.  This is not the first time someone has asked me that.  Some people just have a problem with the obvious, myself included.  I wonder, how can a dog of considerable size fit on a bike!  As I was leaving here comes the guys who had found a better access to the beach.  My first spot was in a little harbor with no clear view of the ocean so I followed them for a second dip.

When we reached the coast we all took pictures, made phone calls, shook hands, and cracked beers, we deserved it.  We could go no further, we went from one coast to the other using only our own strength and wits.  Finally, after three months of cycling every day I completed my journey.  However, it was cold, foggy, and moist on the coast making swimming completely impossible.  What amazed me was that there were actually people out there on the beach!  Some brought little tents in which they huddled underneath.  I watched one guy throw a frisbee and it practically disappeared.  After we said goodbye to the coast we washed our bikes off and headed into town.  We all went out for a victory drink in Old Town Florence and later found a spot in a park to sleep for the night.  We also stopped by a Seven Eleven for dinner.  The attendant was in the process of throwing out a stale pizza and we convinced him to give it to us.  However, he first had to throw it away and then we had to fetch it out of the trash, policy, but still free pizza.

That night we were approached by the local hooligans in town.  My SPOT device I used throughout the entire trip was stolen.  Funny that I carried that thing across the states and the final night it gets stolen.  The next day I said goodbye to the guys and made my way back to Eugene for a flight back home.  My plan was to hitch a ride back in town which would give me ample time to box my bike up, secure my gear, and make it to a hotel in time to go to sleep.  I made a makeshift sign, which I hung off the back of my bike, that read “EUGENE….I NEED A RIDE!”  Eventually after 25 miles a blue pickup truck stopped up ahead, score!  That’s where I met David and Kate.  David helped shove my bike in the back and we all scrunched in the tiny little cab.  It was by far one of the most terrifying car ride’s I’ve ever experienced.  At one point David grabbed his camera, turned it around, and said SMILE, all while the car slowly drifted into oncoming traffic.  They had over ten little bobber heads on the dash, there were over 4 half eaten cookies in the sea, Kate chain smoked, and David held an expresso cup that he used to spit his tobacco in.  The strange thing about it was that all the cookies were different flavors as if they didn’t like any of them.  Chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar, and chocolate all had 1-2 bites taken out and then chucked to the side, strange.  I was waiting for David to spill his spit cup and send us plummeting over the cliff but we eventually made it into Eugene shaving off 3 hours of riding time.

From here things just fell into place.  I sent my bike UPS, bought duffel bags for my gear, and walked to a hotel for the night.  However, the people of Eugene were far from friendly towards me.  People yelled at me the entire 5 miles to the hotel.  They would say, “GET A JOB YOU BUM!  GET OFF THE STREETS!”  Some would bark and some would simply mess with me with sayings like, “dropped something” then I would turn around and there would be nothing.  Nevertheless I still met some nice people in Eugene.  One lady automatically said, “Hey how’s it going today”, very friendly like.  “Oh I’m doing great but I”m a bit lost, trying to get to Valley River Rd”, “Honey, I can barely ride my bike I’m so baked, it’s probably that way over that bridge”, and then she slowly peddled off.  I eventually found the hotel, made dinner, and went to sleep.  The next day I caught a plane to Salt Lake City then to Atlanta then to Asheville where my parents picked me up.  Now I sit at home trying out one of my bread recipes that I thought of along the way.

SANY2036

SANY2038

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creepy

creepy

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SANY2052

SANY2052

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SANY2047Kids in Eugene painting

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SANY2060

mission accomplished!

mission accomplished!

It feels good to be back home.  I’ve spent much time reflecting over the trip trying to see if I changed or learned anything.  The answer is absolutely.  I not only learned more about the country and the people who inhabit it, I learned more about myself, what I”m capable of, and who I want to become.  This trip has in fact restored my faith in humanity by the generosity I received along the way.  America is still an awesome place to live and by meeting so many wonderful people I’m proud to call them and myself a countryman.  Ahhhh, the things I’ve learned go even deeper than all of this but your gonna have to catch up with me, pull up a chair,  a beer, and I’ll tell you the rest.  Until then thanks for reading and keeping up with me, I’m glad you liked it.  And again, I want to thank all those who gave to my charity, together we raised over 1,400 dollars for charity that otherwise never would have been raised.  I have much confidence that these funds will go to improving the quality of life for others.

My book will be out no later than December, 2009 and all those who supported my charity will receive a free copy of it.  I am working on putting all 2,000+ photo’s of the trip on a CD and on the internet so look out for that.  If you have any idea’s suggestions about other long distance trips or opportunities to raise money and awareness for those in need please feel free to contact me anytime.

That’s all for now

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

Posted by: daneonhisbike | August 2, 2009

I DID IT

THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

I’m sitting in a hotel lobby about to catch a flight back home.  I’ve been peddling hard for the past few days through the cascade mountains in Oregon in anticipation of arriving at the coast.  Well, I finally made it.  I woke up early on August 1st having only fifty miles to go until the coast.  Upon arrival, the weather changed from 95 degrees and sunny to 60 degrees, foggy, and wet.  I have carried an image in my mind for three months about what the coast would be like and well it was not what I expected.  Expectations never really pan out so it’s never really good to establish them in the first place, but it’s something we all do. 

I met up with a few other kids who travelled from Virginia as well.  We all unloaded our gear at the parking lot and hauled our bikes 1/4 mile down to the beach.  The final 100 yards we were all in a mad dash, some in tears and some laughing histerically.  I was both.  Finally, after three months of cycling Dorothy (my bike) and I stood in the Pacific Ocean.  I cannot describe in words the emotions that I went through.  Three months, from one coast to the other, an entire continent, travelled by bicycle. 

Now I return back home to my wonderful family and friends.  Like always, I do not have the time to finish a good write up about the ending of this journey.  Upon arrival to my home in North Carolina I will write the final chapter in this journey and include the remaining photo’s I took.  My thoughts and thanks will all come in my next post which will come no later than August 5th so please check back for my final entry, or is it?  One thing I know for certain is that this is not the end of my travels nor is it the end to raising money to help those in need.  I want to thank all those who supported me, tracked me, fed me, and donated to my wonderful charity I rode for, thank you, I did it, I biked across the United States.

Total Miles: 4,513

Total Days: 92

Total Money Raised: ?  Over 1,300 will give a final update on my next post

Posted by: daneonhisbike | July 27, 2009

So, how much can you eat?

I did’nt spend much time in Idaho.  For one, the temperature was well over 100 degrees every day.  Fortunately most of the roads went by streams so I spent most of my days bathing in the rivers.  I get the strangest looks because of my tan lines and because I’m the only one out there washing clothes on a rock.  I finally broke down and bought some fishing supplies and went fishing down by a resevoir in Hells Canyon.  The bobber sat there for twenty minutes without a hit so I just went swimming instead.  I can only catch fish with a credit card. 

Hells Canyon is a ten mile wide canyon that sits at the border between Oregon and Idaho.  It was carved out by the snake river which drops over a mile down from the canyon’s  rim.  I suppose they call it hells canyon is because it is incredibly hot.  The temperature sored to over 110 degrees one day.  One lady said that many cyclists need help to get through the canyon, some get delierious from the heat. 

The canyon has been inhabited for long time.  The most noteable inhabitants are the Nez Perce.  The Nez Perce are a tribe of Native Americans who lived and still do in the Pacific Northwest.  They are descendents from the first humans to come to the America’s more than 10,000 years ago.  Nez Perce name is French which stands for ‘pierced nose’ which is a misconception.  The Chinook tribe who shared the same hunting grounds were the only tribe that practiced nose piercing.  In the 1800’s the U.S. government tried to relocate the entire Nez Perce tribe to a reservation.  However, they did not go quietly.  Some stayed on their land and fought while some surrendered and left for the reservation.  In 1877, Chief Joseph surrendered after fighting over 13 battles.  Chief JOseph said later in his most famous quote, “Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”  There are signs all along the road throughout Idaho detailing all the battles fought by the Nez Perce and the U.S. government. 

After leaving the resevoir the roads were littered with fruit trees.  There were apricots, blackberries, raspberries, plums, and my favorite, cherries.  I filled every bag I could with the fruit and took off.  Later in the day I finally crossed over into Oregon, something I have been looking forward to since the start of the trip.  Oregon is very much different than the other states I have travelled through.  For one, they have an excellent recycling program.  There are these massive machines set up outside supermarkets where you can get store vauchers for your containers.  I found a few bottles and cashed them in for a few chocolates.  I told the cashier that I’ve never seen anything like that except in Europe.  “Yeah, it’s fantastic that we have it.  We make it easy for people to recycle their containers, give them an incentive.  It’s a win win all around.  People can cash in their bottles for money, the bottles get recycled, and it cuts down n the litter on the road side”.  Fantastic, every state should have something like that set up. 

The first night in Oregon I stayed in a baseball dugout next to a ‘Relay for Life’ gathering.  They were so kind and appreciative that I was riding for charity that they let me just sleep wherever I wanted.  The next day I was just about to leave when I heard, “Five dollar all you can eat buffet, whoooooo’s hungry”!  Oh yayah, ME.  I forked over the five bucks and the guy serving pancakes noticed my bike and said, “I’ll bet your hungry, how many pancakes can you eat”?  “As many as you can cook man”, “well alright lets see it”…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.  I slammed 8 thick fluffy pancakes, 8 links of sausage, and probably 3 pounds of eggs.  However, the ride that morning was far from pleasent.  I don’t know what it is, people are more interested to see how much I can eat rather than where I’ve come from or why ride a bike across the U.S.A.  I went into a diner in Oregon for a biscuit one morning and got to talking to a local logger.  We talked about everything from logging to NASA.  However, he too said, “so how many biscuits do you think you can eat?”  Is there some kind of fetish for eating competitions in Oregon I thought.  This time I said “As many as they can bake off”, “alright, lets see it”…”C”HALLENGE ACCEPTED.  Operation crush the biscuits commence, mission codename, apple butter”.  He laughed but really wanted to see how many I could eat, I ate ten of these enourmous buttermilk biscuits and then wobbled out into the sun.  Thats the thing, I could funnel 20 pounds of lard into my stomach and not gain weight, the beauty of cycling. 

I ended up finding a camping spot in the mayors yard one night.  Now I am staying at a ‘cyclists only lodging’.  Christy from Mount Vernon opened up her guest house for cyclists so I decided to take a day off.  I’m glad the trip is almost over really, it’s getting too hot to cycle, especially when you have a belly full of butter and flour. 

Only about one more week and I’ll be at the coast, cant wait.  I have a whole bunch of stories and could write all day but like always I’m crunched for time in the library. 

 

check out this trio.  The little boy is only 6 years old

check out this trio. The little boy is only 6 years old

 

SANY1929

SANY1939

SANY1946

Oregon!!!!!

Oregon!!!!!

 

apricots

apricots

 

cherries

cherries

 

blackberries

blackberries

 

SANY1973

look at the antlers on this car, novelty

look at the antlers on this car, novelty

 

SANY1983

SANY1994

SANY1996

I love my gun

I love my gun

 

SANY2008

SANY2012

SANY1963

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