Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W


Trans America Trail E-W

4,641 miles (7,469 km) over 90 days from May 17, 1986 to August 14, 1986

Topic: Bicycle Touring  
Categories: Tour diaries, 1-3 months, TransAmerica Trail, USA Coast to Coast, East to West, USA East to West
Locales: North America, United States, Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon
Year: 1986

Permalink: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Tuz1986

Copyright © 2006-2009 By Dave T

Status: Completed Aug 1986Featured Journal #217
Last updated: Wednesday January 10, 2007 10:14 CST (edited Tue 8 Jul 2008 08:35 CST)
87,134 hits since May 3, 2006 (hitcounts updated nightly)
343 pics

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Grand Teton National Park - July 13, 1986

I have this picture hanging on my wall, I've looked at it every single day since 1986.


Table of Contents

Introduction

Prologue: It's About the Bike... Or is IT?

      First Trip - to Mackinac Island
      Wolverine 200 Marathon Double Century
      Bicycling Magazine, a Schwinn Paramount, and the Rec Room 1981
      Lake Huron Circle Tour 1982
      North Coast Tour 1983 Portland to San Francisco
      1984-1985 Basketball, Cars, Friends, College..... not much Cycling
      Final Preparations and Training Sept 4, 1985 thru May 15, 1986
      I made the News!

Equipment

Detroit to Yorktown Long Car Trip

Trans America Trail - The Beginning

Virginia

      Day 1 Yorktown to Jamestown - Someone calm my nerves please
      Day 2 Jamestown to Ashland - Awesome ride, others, and a cold beer
      Day 3 Ashland to Lake Anna - No 3 mile Islands please
      Day 4 Lake Anna to Charlottesville - Long day, hungry, Monticello, and a little rain
      Day 5 Charlottesville to Afton - The dog, uphill, uphill, uphill, and the Cookie Lady!
      Day 6 Afton (Cookie Lady) to Vesuvius KOA
      Day 7 Vesuvius KOA to Troutville - Brrrrrrr, it's COLD
      Day 8 Troutville to Claytor Lake SP - Tough roller coaster day, the heat, and a shower!
      Day 9 Claytor Lake SP to Wytheville City Park - The rain, wet ride, dinner and a movie
      Day 10 Wytheville to Damascus - "The Place", or is it..... "The Ritz"
      Day 11 Damascus to Damascus - Hangover, rest, and reflection
      Day 12 Damascus to Elk Garden Hostel - Killer climb, dangerous downhill
      Day 13 Elk Garden Hostel to Breaks Interstate Park - Awesome day all around

Kentucky

      Day 14 Breaks Interstate Park to Pippa Passes Hostel - Damn trucks, heat and humidity
      Day 15 Pippa Passes to Booneville - A great day.... NOT!
      Day 16 Booneville to Berea - Calling all dogs, Halt !, a few showers, and all you can eat ....
      Day 17 Berea to Berea - Rest day, sight seeing day
      Day 18 Berea to Harrodsburg - Rolling hills, no horses, more pizza, and Daniel Boone
      Day 19 Harrodsburg to Bardstown - A buzz cut, an old tavern, and a 100 item salad bar!
      Day 20 Bardstown to Hodgenville - Rain, rain rain, but yet another dry day....
            Note to Readers Route Map
      Day 21 Hodgenville to Rough River SP - Nice ride, a cool shower and a hacky sack
      Day 22 Rough River SP to Sebree - Fred the bootlegger and a BBQ

Illinois

      Day 23 Sebree KY to Golconda IL - Finally out of Kentucky - long hot day
      Day 24 Golconda to Carbondale - Huge storm, a motel and finally a real shower
      Day 25 Carbondale to Carbondale - A great time in Carbondale
      Day 26 Carbondale to Chester - Popeye and the Mighty Mississippi River

Missouri

      Day 27 Chester to Farmington MO - The Ozarks start pretty tough
      Day 28 Farmington to Certerville - An irritating day on the TA
      Day 29 Centerville to Eminence - The Ozark National Scenic Riverways
      Day 30 Eminence to Houston - Ozarks finally come to an end
      Day 31 Houston to Marshfield - A Lazy Crazy Guy, a high dive, and a dugout
      Day 32 Marshfield to Ash Grove - Ohhh the Humidity

Kansas

      Day 33 Ash Grove to Pittsburg Kansas - Welcome to friendly Kansas and midway
      Day 34 Pittsburg to Pittsburg - Layover day, and another "buzz" of a time
      Day 35 Pittsburg to Chanute - Hot, windy and boring
      Day 36 Chanute to Eureka - Some late night YELLIN'
      Day 37 Eureka to Newton - The rain, the wind and another small Kansas town
      Day 38 Newton to Sterling - My lucky day!
      Day 39 Sterling to Great Bend - My Michigan accent?
      Day 40 Great Bend to Ness City - Straight road, uphill, and the winds
      Day 41 Ness City to Scott City - Brutal headwind, another storm, and a newspaper
            I made the news, again!
      Day 42 Scott City to Tribune - Finally nearing the end of Kansas

Colorado

      Day 43 Tribune to Eads Colorado - Finally Colorado!
      Day 44 Eads to Ordway - Desolate Territory
      Day 45 Ordway to Pueblo - My first flat tire, some new Nikes, and an old friend

Half Way Stats

      Day 46 Pueblo to Royal Gorge - An optical delusion?
      Day 47 Royal Gorge to Fairplay - Snow Capped Rocky Mountains
            The Big Race
      Day 48 Fairplay to Breckenridge - Rocky Mountain High
      Day 49 A parade, more Mexican food, and the Fireworks
      Day 50 Back on the bike
      Day 51 Kremmling to Walden - A cold morning and a Muddy Pass

Wyoming

      Day 52 Walden to Saratoga Wyoming - Finally, a Tail Wind
      Day 53 Saratoga to Rawlins - High Plateau Through Nowhere
            Mackinac Island Mountain Biking - July 6-9, 2006
      Day 54 Rawlins to Lander - Ma's Boarding House
            Ma's Boarding House
      Day 55 Lander to Sinks to Lander - A day on the ranch
      Day 56 Lander to Dubois - The Wind River Area - Hey, it's windy here
      Day 57 Dubois to Moran Jct. KOA - Togwotee Pass and the Tetons
      Day 58 Moran Jct KOA to Jackson - Teton National Park
      Day 59 Jackson to Jackson - The "Coach"
      Day 60 Jackson to Colter Bay - Hidden Falls
      Day 61 Colter Bay to Old Faithful - Hail to the Victors
      Day 62 Old Faithful - Rest Day

Montana

      Day 63 Old Faithful to Quake Lake Montana - Big Sky Country
      Day 64 Quake Lake to Virginia City - Party Time
      Day 65 Virginia City to Dillon - A hang-over of a day
      Day 66 Dillon to Wisdom - Side trip to Bannack
      Day 67 Wisdom to Missoula - The Coup deta
            Note Thumbnail and Slideshow features
      Day 68 Missoula to 520 South - "Get a List and Keep Planning"
      Day 69 520 South to 520 South - Sightseeing around Missoula

Idaho

      Day 70 520 South to Lowell Idaho - On my own for the first time since Yorktown
      Day 71 Lowell to Riggins - Join the parade
      Day 72 Riggins to Riggins - Salmon River float trip
      Day 73 Riggins to Hells Canyon - Idaho Oregon state line

Oregon - 10th and Final State

      Day 74 Hells Canyon to Baker City - One Hell of a day
            Stayin' Cool - Michigan Style
      Day 75 Baker City to Mount Vernon - Hot, headwind kinda day
      Day 76 Mount Vernon to Mitchell - Another late start...
      Day 77 Mitchell to Prineville - Central Oregon
      Day 78 Prineville to Sisters - A hair cut and the county fair
      Day 79 Sisters to Blue River - McKenzie Pass
      Day 80 Blue River to Eugene - One day to Pacific Coast
      Day 81 Eugene to Florence - COAST to COAST
      Day 82 Florence to Beverly Beach SP
      Day 83 Beverly Beach to Cape Lookout SP
      Day 84 Cape Lookout SP to Cannon Beach - A surprise reunion with friends
      Day 85 Cannon Beach to Astoria - The official end of the Trans America Trail
      Day 86 Astoria to Newberg - My cycling attire isn't proper!
      Day 87-90 Newberg Oregon - Final days

Epilogue +20 Final Thoughts

Where are we now?

      My Official Cookie House Picture

Introduction

        
"How far you ride son?".... I just rode coast to coast from Virginia!
"VIRGINIA?".... Yes Sir, Virginia, coast to coast
"Damn, how was your trip?".... UPHILL AND AGAINST THE WIND, I said...
That phrase, uphill and against the wind, perfectly describes my journey as a 20 year old trans-continental cyclist.

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Grand Teton National Park - July 13, 1986

I have this picture hanging on my wall, I've looked at it every single day since 1986.


This journal will be a recounting of that ride as if it was 1986, I plan to post my daily journal on the actual days they occurred.... only 20 years later. I will outline some of the details and inspiration for the trip in the years, months and days before departure. I will try not to bore you with useless details but give some insight into my thought process as a 20 year old about to embark and take an epic journey on the Trans America Trail.

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Almost 20 years later... Standing in the exact same spot as 1986. What a thrill it was to have this picture taken....AGAIN. Ahhhh, honey, get my bike please....


I didn't have the luxury of Internet back in 1986 to do any type of research of any kind for this journey. I have mixed feelings about that, on one hand much of my excitement comes from the road unknown. On the other hand I might have been nice to know what I was getting myself into. I believe the trip was better because it was more of an adventure of discovery for me. Please feel free to send me your thoughts on this, I'd welcome any comments.

My main source of information was the Bikecentennial Trans America route maps, state maps, and a Bicycling Magazine from March 1976. I still have that Bicycling magazine, it is a special Bikecentennial Trans America Trail Edition, more about it later.

I just turned 40 years old this year, but I'm told I don't look that much different than I did in 1986. This is not the only thing I've accomplished or done in my life the last 20 years......but it is by far the COOLEST!

Up Hill and Against the Wind... Wouldn't want it any other way.

Thanks for looking in, enjoy the ride!

Dave-


Prologue: It's About the Bike... Or is IT?

        
        

First Trip - to Mackinac Island

                
My dad purchased a new 10 speed bike and I was the recipient of a semi new green three speed bike. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and it came with a brand new speedometer. The next day I started to ride it around the block, over and over and over, until the odometer read 25. Yes, I rode that bike around the block about a hundred times when I could hardly reach the pedals. I remember my dad looking at the odometer with a bewildered look on his face and saying to my mother it must be broken or something. No dad, it wasn't broken, I did ride that stupid bike 25 miles in one day.

My interest in cycling didn't really start until I worked in the local bike shop when I was 13 years old. My brother Steve worked there and eventually took it over from Tom the owner when he was 14 or so. I was hired in to do small stuff around the shop and Tom hired me for the Beer Store side . My brother always had some money making venture or scheme, this time he owned a bike shop.

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Ray and I at the Village Limits of Mackinaw City, just across the channel from Mackinac Island. Thats me on the left.

I learned to repair everything on any bike, I must have repaired just about every bike in our small town of 1,500. Working many nights in the bike shop and Tom's Beer Store and saving enough money I purchased the top of the line Takara 970. The owner Tom showed me how to lace and true my first set of hand made wheels for my Takara. Tom said I must have some new wheels with Campagnolo hubs, DT spokes, and Wobler rims to go with my new bike. Heck, I can't use junky stock wheels, I need Campy! Many hours were spent perfecting those wheels until they were as true as true could be. One late night while I was doing my finishing touches on the wheels Tom came in and put a 16oz Old Milwaukee on the counter and said I deserved it. Old Milwaukee? Tom was like that, I had to earn my way up to the good stuff, just as I had started with a low end Takara and earning my way up to the 970.

The bike was ready for some serious riding, until Tom pointed out the fact that I'm going to get a blister on my ass if I kept the stock saddle. He was pretty much right and he got me a good deal on a nice new rock hard Brooks Professional. Tom had all kinds of theories about how to "break in" my new Brooks, none really seemed to work. The only thing that got broke in was my rear end. (The Saddle eventually got broken in... in ASTORIA.)

I started going on short day rides with my dad, to places across the river in Canada, up the St. Clair river towards Lake Huron. Many Saturday mornings I spent riding to places like Port Huron, St. Clair, Harsens Island. When I got a little older, I started going on overnight trips with my friend Ray, we'd ride up to the Pinery Provincial park in Canada or Lakeport, MI. Those rides were about 140-150 miles round trip. Ray and I also did the Wolverine 200 one summer on Belle Isle in Detroit Michigan. Yes, it was a double century, and I still have my Detroit News Wolverine 200 back tag showing all 200 miles complete.

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West shore of Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Mackinac Bridge is in the background, the link between upper and lower Michigan

Ray and I hatched the idea to ride all the way to Mackinac Island that summer. The trip to mackinac was probably about 350 miles as we rode along the shoreline of Lake Huron most of the way. Somehow Ray lost all his money along the way and I had only $60 so we did the best we could "bandit camping" until we reached Mackinac Island. Once we reached Mackinac Island Ray's dad came and picked us up in an airplane from the island airport. What a thrill it was flying home from Mackinac Island in a light aircraft. We were both 13 years old at the time and it was quite an experience for 2 young men. Ray and his family moved to Yuma Arizona shortly after that trip and I havn't seen him since.

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Ray flipping me off coming into the shop.

Back in the bike shop we had an old guy name Herb come in all the time, ironically he rode a green 3 speed just like the one I had. Herb rode this bike everywhere, even in the winter and he racked-up miles on his odometer like mad. I fixed that bike many times over the years and watched the speedometer read 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 miles. The more miles Herb racked up, the more Tom kept telling me "You'll never catch Herbie" in a real kidding, serious manner. Tom was always kidding me that Herb was the best cyclist in the city. We'll see about that I said.

Next up, Lake Huron circle tour, Oregon north Cal coast, then Trans America. to be continued.

~

        
        

Wolverine 200 Marathon: Double Century

                
Here is my Wolverine 200 double century back tag.

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Damn.... it was hard. I did this at 13 years old.

        
        

Bicycling Magazine, a Schwinn Paramount, and the Rec Room 1981

                
Tom, the owner of the Beer store and previous owner of the bike shop was always very interested in cycling. Tom had a 1973 Schwinn Paramount in factory original condition permanently parked in the shop. That bike was always off-limits to me and I understood that it was the best of the best. Many times late at night I'd pull that Paramount out and study every subtle detail.

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The Bike Shop

The only picture I could find of the bike shop. Funny how you can see the Beer Store sign in the window reflection.

I marveled at the hand crafted details and the vintage lug work on racing bicycles, pouring through many articles about bike builders featured in Bicycling Magazine. I really enjoyed reading past issues that Tom had lying around the beer store and in his basement. I must have looked at and read every Bicycling Magazine from early 70's to present day 1981.

Tom lived a couple houses away at that time and my brothers and I spent plenty of time shooting pool, and drinking Coca Cola in the Basement Rec Room there. One Sunday when I was undoubtedly skipping church in Tom's rec room I found a March 1976 Bicycling Magazine, Bikecentenniel Trans America Trail Issue. I read the article about the TransAm Tail over and over until I pretty much had it memorized. Being only 14 or 15 years old I understood that I was much too young to undertake such a huge journey. Someday I would ride the Trans America Trail and from that day forward all my cycling would be preparation for that ultimate goal.

I still have that 1976 Bicycling Magazine, and I've requested permission to copy it's cover, the Trans Am article and pictures. I plan to post them as soon as I get permission.

        
        

Lake Huron Circle Tour 1982

                
The summer of 1982 my friend Richard and I planned a 2 week tour around Lake Huron. We departed from my home in Michigan and rode up the St Clair River the the Blue Water Bridge. We rode across the bridge into Ontario Canada and followed the road along the shore up to Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce peninsula.

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Lake Huron Circle Tour 1982

Somewhere on the eastern shore of Lake Huron near Sauble Beach, Ontario Canada.
Pictured is my friend Richard

At Tobermory we ran into my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mike, who were surprised when they spotted us walking around town. They knew nothing of our cycling trip and had all kinds of questions over lunch and an ice cream.

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Our 1982 vintage K-Mart tent.

We camped and cooked out every single night on the tour. Eating energy rich foods such as Hungry Man Beef stew, Ole' fashioned Chilli with beans.... Good thing the tent was as drafty as it looks. We knew nothing of nutrition, we just ate what looked good in the supermarket.

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Somewhere in Ontario Canada July 1982

Leaving Tobermory we boarded the car ferry for Manitoulin Island. It was a real sight to watch the bow of this huge ship open up and all the cars driving on. Once on the island we rode north to Espanola and hung a left on the TransCan highway.

I recall this being a very busy part of the trip. The TransCan follows the shoreline on the North Channel, a popular boating destination here in the Great Lakes. Finally reaching Sault Saint Marie we entered back into the good ole USA. Riding south we crossed the Mackinac Bridge and back in lower Michigan. The trip continued along lake Huron until we reached Bay City, at which point we worked our way across the thumb and back home.

I estimate the trip was about 1,000 or so miles total. I took about 10 pictures the whole trip, but now I wish I'd taken more. I really learned a lot on this trip, from what to wear, what not to wear, how to stay dry in rain, laundry, and cooking. Many of the things I learned on this trip would serve me well on the Trans Am.

I was 16 years old at the time and my interest started to change into cars. I can remember being anxious to get home once we arrived back in the lower Michigan. I had bought a 1969 Camaro SS and my brother Steve was doing full body work and repainting it while I was away on this trip. Living near the Motor City in Michigan, hot rods were a major influence of my teen and 20's.

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My 1969 Camaro SS

Would this be the end of my cycling??????

After all, this IS the Motor City.

I was the King of the school parking lot and Saturday nights with this car. I wasted more gas needlessly cruising the streets and burning rubber. Those were the good ole' days. Nowadays kids drive these crappy Japanese cars with all this aftermarket trash attached to them. Don't get me started.......

I sold this car to my younger brother who still has it to this day. Someday, it will be mine again.

        
        

North Coast Tour 1983: Portland to San Francisco

                
In 1983 I was 17 years old and a Jr in High School, demands on my time were ever increasing. Growing to about 6'7" tall, basketball and athletics was taking most of my spare time. I wasn't sure where cycling was going to fall into my summer plans with baseball and Varsity Basketball camp during the summer.

I found an ad for a fully loaded group tour on the Oregon, and California coast to San Francisco. This trip fell perfectly in-between all my athletic obligations and the beginning of the school year. I convinced my parents to let me go on the trip, which, was easier than I thought it would be. The trip would be a 2 week tour starting in Portland Oregon and terminating in San Francisco.

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The Rendezvous in Portland, Oregon August 1983

Thats me, tall guy without a helmet

The flight to Portland was my first experience on a commercial airline. I had all my gear carefully packed in a bike box from the shop and had it setup for easy re-assembly in portland. Once landing in Portland it took me a little time to figure out where to get my stuff, since it was my first experience flying, and it was a little confusing for a 17 year old. Found all my stuff and headed out the door, bike box and all. I opened the box right outside the terminal and re-assembled my bike, loaded it up with my bags and hit the road for the randezvou. It was funny, all these people watching me assemble my bike outside the terminal. I don't do bike shops for assembly......

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The Gang.........

ahhh, those old Bell helmets look so silly, don't they?

The trip was un-believable, the weather was fantastic, with no ocean fog layer the whole trip. This was my first and last experience being part of a group tour. Nothing was wrong with this group, everyone was very friendly and we had a great time, but I was the youngest and was essentially treated that way. Not being exposed to much cooking outside mom and Little Ceasars, the nightly meals were horrible (I thought). Who ever heard of such a deal, eating only vegetarian??? I was horrified to find that the nightly meals didn't include some form of red meat, or junk food. I didn't really complain about it I got even! We all took turns planning, buying the food and preparing the meals. So when our (me, Andy, Brian) turn came around we bought hamburger, twinkees, and cokes, all to the dis-like of everyone else.

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Astoria, at the Maritime Museum

I knew this was the Western Terminus of the Trans America Trail and I did a lot of thinking while here.

All the other members of the group seemed to be overloaded with crap, what are these people carrying? I used my experience around Lake Huron to pack pretty much the same way, with slight modification. I used only rear packs and had plenty of room for the group gear, being assigned a big stupid pot.

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Mom... look, GYPSIES!

In the above picture, thats my bike on the end with the Pepsi can next to it. That is my Takara 970 with my hand made wheels. My motto, travel lite, move fast..... At this grocery store I overheard a little kid say "look mom, Gypsies!", the mom quickly grabbed the little kid and quickly ran off. Yeah, the big bad biker gang is going to get you, ha ha ha ha, I laughed.

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North Coast Tour, 1983

Thats me, second from the left

I stopped in a bike shop along the coast, just to see what is what compared to the shop at home. I saw a brand new, aluminum Cannondale bike and the they let me test ride it. This Cannondale bike was unbelievable, the ride, the feel, the response. This was one of the first Cannondale bikes with the small down tube, and the start of the Alum craze. I had to have one, as riding seemed so much better on this Aluminum bike.

The Oregon, Cal Coast is a phenomenal trip, the scenery is spectacular. I really enjoy riding on the coast, you get to meet so many other cyclist. The coast route is so biker friendly it's amazing.

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During this trip I did plenty on thinking about the Trans America Trail. By the time I reached San Francisco I decided to make the Trans Am within the next 5 years. But, I'll need that new bike first............

As I think back on this trip, it really served as my "test run" for the Trans Am. Having been on 2, Two weeks tours with this one having many mt climbs I felt I could ride the Trans Am without a problem. I did not have any mechanical problems, flats or any broken spokes on any trip up to this date. I do carry all the tools to repair my own bike under any circumstance. I read many journals here where people are not prepared to make even the simplest repairs in the event of a problem. ~~

        
        

1984-1985: Basketball, Cars, Friends, College..... not much Cycling

                
In 1984 I was a Senior in high school, my main focus was basketball. We had a great team all returning from last years Varsity, and basketball was everything that year. Our team won the district title and I was a large part of that title run. Being 6'7' I really planned on playing college ball so I joined the track team to stay in shape. That summer I focused on playing basketball and practicing as much as possible. I had no scholarship to play but I probably could have if I called around more.

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#50, dunking my way to the District Championship, 1984. Get out of my way..............

(White man CAN jump)

Cycling was put on the back burner as I spent most of summer 84 getting ready for college basketball, and driving around in my Camaro. I spent so much time cruising with my friends on Gratiot and neighboring cities like Port Huron. I guess my cycling interest was starting to give way to a faster, cooler mode of transportation. Living just outside of Detroit Michigan cars were (are) everything here. Hot rods is what we all did, I had a 69 Camaro, my brothers had a 69 Firebird, and a 65 Mustang, other friends had a 69 GTO, a Cuda and a 72 Cutlass. My friends and I really enjoyed tinkering with cars back then and my Bicycling Magazine was replaced with Hot Rod.

I started college in September and found that college courses are plenty harder than I'm used to. During my first year I really struggled with the course work and I had to get a tutor for calculus. To say the least I learned pretty much nothing in high school and now I was time to pay the piper.

After my first year of school ended I worked at my brother's landscape company, yeah, the same brother as the bike shop. I liken this job to being in prison, doing hard labor for sweat shop pay. I really get the business from my family about this job, they think I only worked like 2 weeks. In reality I worked the whole summer that year, jobs were tight so I was stuck with it, whether I like it or not. That landscaping job was my main motivation for returning and graduating from college.

After the summer of 85, doing a crappy manual labor job I decided next summer will be different. I decided it was time to do the Trans Am, either solo or with a Bikecentennial Group.

        
        

Final Preparations and Training: Sept 4, 1985 thru May 15, 1986

                
I finally purchased my new Cannondale Aluminum frame and started to decide what components I'll need for the Trans Am Trip. Searching through many magazines I selected a good set of touring components and started to assemble my new bike. Next up was to lace up a new set of wheels, and I choose a new sealed bearing hub set by Specialized. The old loose ball bearing hubs can be trouble if they don't receive regular attention so I thought it would be best to go sealed for the trip. The new wheels come together pretty easy as I was a pretty experienced wheelsmith at this point. The new bike rode like a dream, just as I remembered when I test rode one on the west coast.

The school semester seems to be dragging on as I look forward to next summer. My parents still have not been told of my intentions and I slowly massage my plans. A new tent is a must and I combed the local sporting goods stores for the proper accommodations I'll require for the journey. I settled for a nice big Eureka tent to fit my 6'7' body. (This tent will eventually get nicknamed "the condo") Sleeping bags have always been a problem so I purchased a new bag the kinda fit me pretty good. Cannondale had a nice set of bags (I hate the word panniers) so I purchased the heavy duty front and rear set. I used Blackburn racks and mounted the fronts in the low rider position.

Before Christmas 1985 I had pretty much purchased all my new gear that I'll need for the trip. Soon as I purchased the full set of Trans America Trail route maps from Bikecentennial (now Adventure Cycling) I broke the news to my parents of my plans. Getting no real resistance about the trip I started to think about training.

Being in a college dorm in the middle of Michigan didn't do much for my winter training. Every night was spent in the school weight room working on my legs, calf's, back, and neck. Training rides were pretty much out of the question and I had no intention of getting winter salt all over my new components. I came to the conclusion that I'll probably have to 'get into shape along the way'. This theory should not be much of a problem as I've always been a natural athlete in pretty good condition.

I'll need to pay for this adventure so I worked 2 jobs along with going to school full time. I worked as the drink man in the dorm cafeteria, a highly coveted job I received because I knew the manager. My second job was at Toy R Us at the local mall. I started working as a seasonal employee for the holidays and was kept on because of my knowledge of fixing bikes. The Winter semester just dragged on and on, I thought it would never end. Finally the semester was winding down and my exams were all early in the scheduling cycle so I got out about a week early. My plan was to leave on May 17, 1986 so I had about a month to train, work and save enough money.

Once out of school, my brother landscape company hired me to work until I departed. Once again I hated this job, but worked as much overtime as I could get (and boy did I get it). There was absolutely no time for any kind of on bike training and I did what I could on a Sunday or 2 before the trip. I worked so hard that I figured I'd be in pretty good shape just from work that I'd be ok. This month or so also went by pretty slow.

About a week before my departure, uncle Adam showed up for his usual surprise visit. Uncle Adam lived in Arizona and took the bus all the way to our town about once every other year or so. It was always fun to see Uncle Adam, he would sit in the back yard drinking beer all day playing with Scooby Do, the family dog. Uncle Adam was a real war hero, being in both WWI and WWII. I sat in the back yard many days with uncle Adam, listening to his stories. He wanted to buy me something for my trip so we went shopping one afternoon. I knew he didn't have much money so I just said I needed a lock, figuring it would be inexpensive. We found a good 6' cable and purchased it, along with a case of beer. (I still have this cable) I'm glad I got to see Uncle Adam before I left because he was getting old and this might be the last time I get to see him.

I am pretty much ready and It's time to start thinking about Yorktown. My dad volunteered to drive me to Yorktown and my grandpa also agreed to come along for the ride. This worked out pretty good as I had not really thought about getting to Yorktown..... one small detail I overlooked.

        
        

I made the News!

                
Shortly before my departure to Yortown a local reporter came to the house for an interview. I was surpised by this as I have told nobody except a few friends of my intentions.

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Equipment

        

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Not much stuff... travel lite and move fast!

I traveled pretty lite as you can see. I took about 5 days worth of socks and underwear, 3 shorts, 5 t-shirts, rain gear, 1 pair jeans. I packed all the tools I'll need to repair my bike in any situation.

Most clothes went in the front bags and tools, food, cook gear in the rear. Camera (AE-1) maps, wallet, snacks in the handlebar bag. Tent, bag were bungied on top of the rear rack.

Oh yeah, don't forget my SS 350 hat... I am from Motown remember.

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Cannondale..... sweeeet!

My Cannondale all tricked-out and ready to roll. Brooks saddle and a Cat Eye Solar round out the gear.

I saved $2,800 for a budget of about $31/day over 90 days.


Detroit to Yorktown: Long Car Trip

        
I departed for Yorktown with my Dad and Grandpa early in the morning. We drove to around Washington D.C. the first day and then complete the drive to Yorktown the next day. I drove the last leg, and being anxious to get out of car I almost got a ticket speeding into town. We arrived in Yorktown and checked into the Duke of York motel, right along the water.

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Grandpa at the Duke of York.

Newpaper patrol already?

Once we checked in I quickly assembled my bike and gear just to make sure everything was ready to roll for the morning. I got the bike ready and all my gear was there so good to go.

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Grandpa and I, checking out the history in Yorktown

We walked around the small town seeing all the sights, including some girl walking a ferret on a leash. We ended up in a little local pub and sat down to an empty bar and shared a pitcher of Budweiser Beer. The beer glasses were sweating and mine kept sticking to the bar napkin. My Grandpa reached over, picked up my glass and sprinkled salt on my napkin. "Keeps the glass from sticking to the napkin" he said in his deep voice. Grandpa was always a man of few words as far as I can remember. Soon as the clock struck 4pm the bar filled up to capacity in about 30 seconds. Must have been a tough working day and everyone needed a drink?

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Dad and Grandpa defacing the Victory Monument.. Okay, not really

We ate dinner at the local restaurant, Dad and Grandpa had a huge seafood platter, and I had a big fat steak. (My dad still talks about that seafood platter to this day) We did a little more walking around and took some pictures at the Victory Monument and of the sunset. I'm starting to get nervous, kinda like I do before basketball games. I guess it's excitement nervous... at least I hope it is.....

Tomorrow is May 17, my scheduled departure date and the weather could not have been better for the beginning of the trip. The weather forecast looks pretty good for next couple of days. It is really warm and muggy, not much problem for me, I'm used to it.

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Ka-BOOOOOM !!!!!!!!!!!

Grandpa takes care of the Cornwallis with one shot!

~


Trans America Trail - The Beginning


Virginia

        
        

Day 1: Yorktown to Jamestown - Someone calm my nerves please

Saturday May 17, 1986, 25 miles (40 km) - Total so far: 25 miles (40 km)

                
The first day of the trip has finally arrived, and I wished it was the last. I didn't sleep very well last night, in fact I didn't sleep at all. I kept thinking about how far it was to Oregon and how I'd gotten myself into this. My dad and Grandpa also didn't sleep very well as everyone tossed and turn most of the night. Finally about 5am I got up and went outside to check on the weather. It was so early I watched a brilliant sunrise come up over the bay.

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Yorktown, May 17, 1986

Dad and Grandpa got up shortly after and we all went to breakfast at the motel restaurant. I ate my food in a hurry, I guess I was anxious to get this started. I've dreamed about this day for years and it's finally here. We finished breakfast and made my way to the water to dip my tire and get a picture or two. After tire dipping I rode over to the Victory Monument, the official start of the Trans America Trail.

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Dipped my tire, really I did.

My Dad and Grandpa met me over at the monument for pictures and final farewell. I really didn't feel good, and I thought I was going to throw-up. I was either really nervous or it was all the breakfast I ate, maybe both. Many things were going through my mind at one time, and again wondered how I'd gotten myself into this. Pictures are done so it was time to roll.

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My Dad and I, checking out the bike.

My cycling shoes were new and I had a hard time getting into my toe clips as I wobbled around the street circling back for one last picture. Good thing my dad didn't say "this is a dumb idea lets go home", I might have taken him up on it. I'm glad he didn't because after I got rolling everything turned good, and I remembered why I wanted to do this.

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Time to ROLL!

Goodbye Yorktown...........

Getting a few miles down the road I started to get my confidence back and was very excited now that I'm underway. I really enjoyed the ride, the weather was great the roads were perfect. The days plan was only to ride to Jamestown, about 25 miles away. This short day was basically my shakedown and to get a plan for the next week or so of riding.

I arrived at the campground in Jamestown at about 9am, and I checked in and setup camp. The bike performed perfectly and handled like a dream with the front panniers, I wish I used these on previous trips. Once I got my plans for next few days together I decided to checkout the pool.

While at the pool my dad and grandpa showed-up, they were concerned after I wobbled my way out of Yorktown. I guess this was that offer to end this crazy idea and come home. I said go home, I'm fine, the bike is fine, and today's ride went extremely well. I'm doing this..... Dad and Grandpa left, hopefully they won't worry.

The campground was boring so I jumped on my bike and cruised around. I got my first helmet lecture of the trip by a group touring Williamsburg. I'm not but 25 miles into my trip and my first lecture, I just played along and didn't do my usual verbal barrage. (this won't last, because I hate helmet zealots) Heading back to Jamestown I ate at the tavern and waited out the night.

        
        

Day 2: Jamestown to Ashland - Awesome ride, others, and a cold beer

Sunday May 18, 1986, 77 miles (124 km) - Total so far: 102 miles (164 km)

                
I slept pretty good last night and was anxious to get on the road. Up early I broke camp at 7am and looked for some go food. The ride followed along the James River into Plantation territory. I passed many huge plantations and civil war battlefields as I followed the trail toward Ashland.

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I can't drive..... FIFTY FIVE!!

I didn't know Sammy Hagar Rode the Trans Am?

The weather for today was hot, sunny and humid, estimating the temp being about 88-90 degrees. I really enjoyed riding in the early morning when it was cool with few cars and tourists to clog up the roads. The ride was great because of the scenery and the quality of the road. I clipped along at a pretty good pace, doing 50 miles before noon today.

The lunch stop was in Mechanicsville, and I ate pizza at the local dump. Resting for about an hour I hit the road for the last 25 miles or so. Needing some fluids I stopped at a store for water and the lady asked why I was so far behind the others. Others? She told me there were about 10 bikers in the store few hours ago.

The route was a little hilly near Ashland, otherwise not to bad. Arriving in the Americamps Campground the lady at registration told me to go camp with the others, and let me camp for free. Who are these others? Clayton, Fred, Phil, Gene, Diane, Sheryl, and Rich were the Bikecentennial Group I almost joined. I rode over and introduced myself and setup camp.

The group was pretty interesting, and everyone was very friendly. Clay asked me if I wanted a beer and flipped me a cold one.

I'm really excited about the trip now, as I remember my parting words to Tom before I departed home for Yorktown "I'm kicking Herb's Ass". I'm no longer concerned about making Oregon, things are just falling into place and I'm not going to fail. Bicycle touring is nothing new to me, and I guess nerves took over yesterday at Yorktown.

I've really enjoyed today and I looking forward to tomorrows ride.

[Author's Note]- The writings here are directly transcribed from my 1986 log book. ~

        
        

Day 3: Ashland to Lake Anna - No 3 mile Islands please

Monday May 19, 1986, 49 miles (79 km) - Total so far: 151 miles (243 km)

                
Woke up early this morning, about 6:30am and Gene from Bikecentennial was already up. We decided to get some breakfast together and then head up to Lake Anna. The weather is very hot and humid, and a cloudy threatening look to the sky.

The ride was pretty good and the terrain was rolling with some elevation gain. Traffic was on and off most of the ride so overall not a bad day.

I rode with Gene from the Bikecentennial Group most of the day, as our riding pace was just about even. Gene is 56 years old from Vancouver B.C.. Gene is a real character and you'd never know he was 56. I really enjoyed the riding company today and I'll probably be around this group for a few days as our plans are just about the same for the next week or so.

The rain held off until we arrived at the Lake Anna Family Campground, it then rained off and on the rest of the night. I found out that there was a nuke plant about ½ mile away, better not be any 3 mile islands tonight.

Talked to Mom and Dad tonight, this is my first call home. They were happy to hear from me and that everything is going pretty good. I told them I'd probably be riding with a bunch of people for a week or so, and I think they were relieved to hear from me.

I'm a little tired today so I'll hit the bag early tonight to be ready for a 70 mile day tomorrow.

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Road less traveled

[Author's Note] As I head west the journal will become more interesting and the pictures more plentiful

        
        

Day 4: Lake Anna to Charlottesville - Long day, hungry, Monticello, and a little rain

Tuesday May 20, 1986, 70 miles (113 km) - Total so far: 221 miles (356 km)

                
It rained all last night, thunder, lightning, the whole nine yards. The rain stopped at 6am at which time I bolted out of the sack and packed up camp. I'm pretty good about having things ready the night before and all I have to do is roll and my bag, tent and hit the road.

I headed for Mineral, which was a good bet for a café ......which it did. My breakfast was great, 2 eggs, sausage patties, hash browns, toast, coffee, all for $2.50. After leaving the café I ran into Gene and we ended up riding a talking most of the day. There is some definite changes in terrain today, many rolling hills with the climbs getting longer and longer. I guess I'll be climbing over the Appalachians shortly so I'll be seeing a lot bigger stuff than this. Actually, I'm looking forward to some mountains to see how I'll handle the hills.

Gene is a good person to ride with, he keeps me laughing most of the day. I had brainwashed Gene into not eating his Bikecentennial issued lunch and we went to a café in Palmyra. We both got some pretty good burgers, and I think he was done eating the group issued lunch from then on. (Sorry Clay).

The weather was cloudy most of the day and it sprinkled off and on when we arrived at Monticello. Gene and I took a short break and walked around Monticello for about 45 minutes. It was looking like rain and was getting late so we headed to Charlottesville and the campground. I've been really hungry today and I've eaten all my snacks before lunch so I'll have to start carrying more. Upon arrival in Charlottesville we rode past a McDonalds at which time I could not turn it down.

The evening was spent sitting around the picnic table while it sprinkled, drinking beer with the Bikecentennial group. We talked about tomorrows ride up the mountain to the world famous Cookie Ladies house, and we planned on spending the night there. It will only be 40 miles or so, but all uphill. I'm getting to know the rest of the group, more interesting stuff about them tomorrow.

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Mom wants to do the Trans Am now!

(hi mom)

[Author's Note] I didn't take any pictures on this day, so I'll post one of my Mom near Monticello, standing at a bike 76' route sign. My mom and dad went on a trip to Virginia a couple months after I returned, they happened to come across the Trans America Trail route marker.

        
        

Day 5: Charlottesville to Afton - The dog, uphill, uphill, uphill, and the Cookie Lady!

Wednesday May 21, 1986, 39 miles (63 km) - Total so far: 260 miles (418 km)

                
Something woke me up around 6am, it was Gene shaking my tent. I rolled up my bag and get ready in a hurry as Gene and Rich were going to the diner for breakfast. It wasn't going to be a long day but I was hungry so got the tall stack of pancakes and coffee. The pancakes were so big I could hardy eat 2, the lady gave us all water with ice and we departed for Afton.

The weather was overcast today with periods of sun. The hills are starting to get very steep as we go up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I got chased by a crazy dog today, and I tried out running it without success. Had to use my secret method, squirt it with water . works every time. I Rode with Rich, from West Falmouth, Mass most of today. Rich has a pretty strong personality but I enjoy the conversations and riding company. I also rode with many of the others from the Bikecentennial group thought the day, but we all got strung out because of the mountain climbs.

My legs kinda feel like rubber today, I guess because I didn't do hardly any training before Yorktown. The legs are getting into shape slowly. The last 10 miles up to Afton were pretty tough on me today, I used all my water on that damn dog and got de-hydrated. Rich had some spare water and passed it to my on a long pull uphill. (thanks Rich).

The roads are still very good with very little traffic. The short day was due to the length and steepness of the hills. The weather looked like it would rain and was getting cold, I'm glad I'm sleeping in-doors tonight.

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The Cookie Lady, June Curry

Afton Virginia

For those who don't know June Curry, she is the Cookie Lady and has been hosting and feeding Trans Am cyclists since 1976. The bike house is full of memorabilia from visitors since 1976. We did a bunch of things around the house to help June as she is getting old. Diane and Clay cut the grass, Phil, Rich did some work in the garage, I fixed the cold water shower outside and helped out Sheryl do some things in the house. After all the work was done we all decided to open up our tents to get them dry from rain yesterday.

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June says.. Wear a Helmet!

The people from the Bikecentennial group are all very interesting. Phil is 21 or so from Boston, Mass (I believe) and is a real intelligent, computer hacker/programmer kind a guy. Phil got the nickname "world book" because he knows everything (not in a negative way). Phil has an electronic device that signaled the proper tones to a pay phone, telling it I just put in a quarter. Next time I call home it will be free! Clay was the Group Leader, and this was his 3rd time across on the Trans America Trail, but first as a group leader.

Yesterday Clay told me I could only ride along with the group for 5 days, and then I'd either have to join the group or go off on my own. He said that is the official Bikecentennial position and it was not because they didn't want me hanging out with them. The general consensus was everyone wants me to join the group because I got along really well with everyone. My plans were pretty much the same for the next 5 days or so, I'll decide what to do then.

Tomorrow, it's up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for 30 miles or so then down the other side.

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Tired today

How about wearing some different clothes? Sorry, I didn't bring many.

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Hey, get away from those bikes!

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Gene from B.C. Canada

Jack Daniel's Black, on the rocks please.......

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Rich, Cheryl, and Clay waiting........

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Diane from Iowa....Go Diane Go!

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Fred from D.C. ... or is it Momar Kadafi?

[Author's Note:] June Curry is still putting up cyclists to this day. I am amazed that she is still able to do this at her age. I've read about June in many publications over the years since 1986, she is known world-wide.

        
        

Day 6: Afton (Cookie Lady) to Vesuvius KOA

Thursday May 22, 1986, 30 miles (48 km) - Total so far: 290 miles (467 km)

                
Last night was pretty cold, I'm glad I got to sleep inside on the couch at the Cookie Lady's house. Slept pretty good and I woke about 8am with everyone else, felt like after a dorm party.... bodies lying everywhere. We all ate inside the bike house because no restaurants were available.

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Made it to the top, finally.

To start out the day was a very steep and long uphill to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We entered the Parkway at Rock Fish Gap and headed south for about 30 miles. High elevations reaching 3400 feet were occurred. Riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway was pretty tough, with many steep climbs. Very little traffic was a real pleasure and I enjoyed the views.

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Overlook near Rockfish Gap

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Gene and Rich taking a break on the Parkway

I stopped many times on the Parkway just to soak in the views. This is some of the best scenery of the trip so far. I rode with everyone today including Sheryl from Worcester, Mass. Sheryl is a student at College of the Holy Cross and is about same age as me. She is packing everything but the kitchen sink it seems, as she has a huge load to carry. I think people don't realize they can't pack for a normal trip when they bike tour. Sheryl is struggling on the climbs and I beginning to wonder if she can make it all the way to Astoria. I spent a little time today riding and trying to encourage her.

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Clay and Sheryl, make way on the parkway.....

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Early morning fog in the valley

The last 3 miles of the day was an awesome downhill to the Vesuvius KOA. The campground was pretty nice with a rec room and good, hot showers. Somehow they let me camp for free today, yeah, I'll take it. I took a good, long hot shower and did some stretching to loosen up my legs from all the climbing last couple of days.

I wonder what's going on at home? I made a call home and talked to everyone, everything seems good in Michigan. I mention I'll probably be traveling with the Bikecentennial group for a couple more days or so then I'll be on my own again. Mom and Dad are keeping a map of the USA with my route highlighted on the wall. Every time I call home they put a little pin flag on the map with my progress. I can just picture it, all the neighbors standing around the map drinking beer make jokes.

I'm starting to get to know everyone from Bikcentennial pretty good, and I've enjoyed talking to each person. Gene and I have spent the most time riding together because of our pace is pretty close. Clay, Diane, Fred, myself and sometimes everyone else have a few beers after the days ride, and talk things over. I've been enjoying the camaraderie of our beer group and look forward to it each day.

I got a little joke played on me today, Clay opened my new peanut butter and took and big finger full. I thought I bought a jar that someone opened in the store until everyone started laughing. Thanks Clay, I'll get you back.....

The weather was pretty good but a little cold in the morning, the day was overcast to partly sunny. ~

        
        

Day 7: Vesuvius KOA to Troutville - Brrrrrrr, it's COLD

Friday May 23, 1986, 66 miles (106 km) - Total so far: 356 miles (573 km)

                
I awoke this morning about 6:30 but stayed in the bag another 30 minutes because it was COLD. Gene was rustling around so I got up, got packed and left by 7:30am to get some breakfast. Leaving the campground it was cold, about 40 degrees. I descended Vesuvius Mountain with sweatpants, 2 t-shirts, a long sleeve t-shirt, socks over my hands and I still froze my butt off.

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View near Vesuvius

It was a very long day riding, lots of elevation gain (and loss), with a few good steep climbs. I think I'm getting in pretty good shape, and my legs are feeling less fatigued at night. The downhill sides of the climbs are big fun, I blast down as fast as the conditions will allow. Somehow I picked-up the nickname "Animal" from Gene, because I charge up the hills and race down the other side.

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Early morning in Appalachia

Gene and I rode most of today together, as he is the only one that can pretty much keep up. We stopped for a short break in Lexington to check out the city. Lexington is a pretty cool town, I wish I stay there last night. Continuing on to Natural Bridge we decided to get some lunch and contemplate the trip to the Natural Bridge. After careful consideration we decided to skip it, the traffic was pretty heavy going there and it already was going to be a tough day.

Gene and I have been playing a little game of "Catch-Up", when one guy pulls over for a side of the road relief break the other speeds off. We keep track of how much time it takes for the other person to catch up, take too long and you're buyin' lunch today! As you can imagine, there is some strategy involved here, take a leak when it's flat ahead and get a free lunch. Gene is pretty good at this game but I'm the climber, so I get lunch today.

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Where's the sun?

I've been detecting some discontent from a couple members of the Bikecentennial (BC) Group, and Gene and I discuss it a little. I guess the tough days are starting to take their toll on people. I told Gene I wasn't going to officially join the group, and he said it probably isn't an issue any longer anyway.

We cruised into Troutville today about 2pm and setup camp at the park. There was no running water, no showers, no bathrooms, what an experience. I went to the Grocery Store and load up and stuff for dinner and tomorrow. I stayed away from the BC group for dinner as they were working on some issues. As I cook dinner, Gene keeps swiping my food until I threaten to stab him with my flimsy plastic fork.

Fred asked me how the days ride went and I gave him the "thumbs up". More about Fred and our daily de-briefings tomorrow.

I slept outside on the picnic tables under the covered roof. It was pretty cold out in the open and during the night 2 trains went by. (the tracks were about 15 yards away) When the second train went by it woke me from a sound sleep and I jumped sky high off the table. ~

        
        

Day 8: Troutville to Claytor Lake SP - Tough roller coaster day, the heat, and a shower!

Saturday May 24, 1986, 73 miles (117 km) - Total so far: 429 miles (690 km)

                
Didn't sleep very well last night, it was cold, too many bugs and that stupid train freaked the crap out of me. Was up early just because my accommodations were horrible and the worst of the trip. I was glad to get up and get the hell out of there with Gene. We did our usual routine, get to a diner early, eat good breakfast and hit the road. This being the holiday weekend we anticipate lots of idiots on the roads.

Today we headed for Claytor Lake State Park, about 75 miles. The weather looking pretty good, sunny, hot and humid is the forecast. It is pretty foggy this morning as we departed the diner for Claytor Lake. The scenery is amazing here in Virginia, and I can't imagine what could be better than this until we reach the West.

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Typical early morning weather in the mountains

I loaded up on snacks and stuff because I knew today would be pretty tough. At the supermarket yesterday I bought, cookies, crackers, jerky and some grapes. I also swiped some of those produce bags on a roll (about 20 of them), these bags have all kinds of uses. I open all my snacks and store them in these bags, it's less weight and they pack better. I even use these bags to cover my feet when it rains (no, not the same ones with the snacks in them), which I've already done a couple of times this trip. When the people from the BC group see this I got laughed at pretty good, but..... my feet were dry and theirs weren't. I only had one pair of shoes, so keeping them dry was a must.

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We got to Christiansburg and looked up at this wall of a climb into the city. The road almost looked vertical as we approached it. Gene and I looked at each other and just laughed....... are you kidding me? Slowly but surely I made it to the top in my lowest gear, and Gene was a few minutes back. Not once have I had to walk my bike on any hill climbs so far and the streak stays alive today. Man, if I can make that hill, I can make anything. We took a well deserved break for lunch and talked about all kinds of crazy stuff.

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We arrived at the Claytor Lake SP in late afternoon. Today was the hardest day of the trip so far, it was sunny, hot, humid and very mountainous terrain. The unfavorable conditions took its toll on everyone including myself today. Two of the BC members are threatening to quit and the thought did cross my mind for about a half a second. No way am I quitting . EVER! With the holiday weekend brought higher traffic, which also contributed to the conditions. Today I finally took a shower after a day and a half of smelling bad.

Another guy from the BC group is Fred from Washington D.C.. Fred is quite a character in his own right and he keeps me laughing. Fred and I have these short de-briefings after each days ride, talking about how things went. Fred would wander into camp long after everyone has arrived, he is always stopping and talking to people and taking pictures. Today Fred arrived and I was laying on the picnic table and Fred came over and said "Big Dave, how was your ride", I was so tired I just gave him the "thumbs up", then I said "you?" Fred flashed "thumbs up" .... Everybody's tired today.

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I sent home this post card before departing Troutville . My parents kept all the postcards and recently gave them back to me. Checkout my Bike/USA logo.

        
        

Day 9: Claytor Lake SP to Wytheville City Park - The rain, wet ride, dinner and a movie

Sunday May 25, 1986, 38 miles (61 km) - Total so far: 467 miles (752 km)

                
The rain started during the night and stopped around 6am. I jumped out of the bag and got packed up and headed for a café. No one else was up so I departed for breakfast on my own. I guess even Gene is tired because he is usually waking me up. The weather forecast is calling for rain today but I don't really care because it's warm today.

Stopped for breakfast in some little dump diner, but breakfast was pretty good. I had eggs, sausage, hash browns and coffee for $3. The BC group must really be dragging today because nobody went past for the 45 minutes I was there. Heading out today with no riding partner, it felt kinda weird not riding with Gene.

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The ole' 76er!

Soon as I got about a mile down the road it just poured. This is the first day I really wore my full rain suit, and produce bags covering my shoes. Really, riding was not bad and actually kinda neat. After 29 miles I stopped at another café and had some coffee and talked to the waitress for about an hour. She is a very interesting girl and I invited her to come hang out in Wytheville later today. I seen Phil ride by, so I paid my bill and chased after him in the rain. Phil and I rode the last 10 or so miles together in a heavy down pour. We pulled into the Wytheville city park and made our way to the pavilion to stay dry.

Phil is another very interesting guy from the BC group. He is a pretty smart guy and seems to know a lot about everything. He doesn't exactly fit in too well with the rest of the group. I like Phil, so we've been doing plenty of talking, and hanging out after the days are done. Phil has this method of securing his bike every night, he puts one of the tent poles through his rear wheel. If anyone tries to make off with his bike they'll end up dragging the whole tent with them. I think this is hilarious and offer to lock his bike up at night.

Most of the BC group members straggle in to Wytheville after taking their time, especially Fred. It was raining heavy so I went to the Chinese place and had some pretty good food. We all decided to go the movies and I decided to run back to the city park to see if the waitress girl came by. I didn't see her so I ran back to the movies and we all saw Jo Jo Dancer, which was ok, I guess. When I returned to the city park after the movie, I found a note from the waitress girl on the picnic table. I guess said girl came after all, and it figures I'd be at some stupid movie.

Tomorrow will be a nice 65 mile ride into Damascus, I understand it is "The Place" to be....

        
        

Day 10: Wytheville to Damascus - "The Place", or is it..... "The Ritz"

Monday May 26, 1986, 62 miles (100 km) - Total so far: 529 miles (851 km)

                
The night was pretty cold, and it rained pretty heavy. I slept pretty good and dry under the covered pavilion. At 6am or so it stopped raining briefly and I got packed up headed to a restaurant in a hurry. The food was pretty good and I had French toast, sausage, toast and coffee for about $2.50. I departed in heavy fog with Gene from the restaurant and headed for Damascus.

The ride today was pretty good except for off and on sprinkles. The first part of the day was up hill for 30 or so miles then downhill 30 miles into Damascus. I traveled past the highest point in Virginia, Mount Rogers located in the Jefferson National Forest. The area is dotted with many hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail (AT). I am riding in the Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains. I will intersect with the AT in Damascus, and will probably be staying with some Hikers at the Hostel.

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Near Damascus Virginia

(hey, look, I did bring other clothes...)

The ride was pretty good, not too tough and some great scenery. A large pack of dogs chased me upon arrival in Damascus... I out ran them. Gene and I arrived in Damascus around 2pm and got some lunch before heading to "The Place". I've been hearing so much about the "The Place" I'm not sure if I should be scared or excited? The hostel, called "The Place" is run by a local church and is shared by both AT hikers and TA bikers. What a real experience this is, the place is a condemned old house complete with bugs, fleas and who knows what else inside.

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typical scenery today

The ruff and ready hikers who have not had a shower in a month all stayed inside the house. Most of us bikers setup tents outside because the conditions inside were horrible. The hikers I met initially were a little strange, like crazy, like not well. We didn't really seem to get along that well with the hikers and I walked in on them talking about us. I walked around the corner and their faces all turned red as they all stopped mid sentence. What a bunch of clowns.

Having a planned rest day tomorrow with the BC group, we all decided to go to the local pub. We arrived at the pub about 3 in the afternoon. Gene, Clay, Diane, Rich and I didn't leave until closing, at which time they had to tell us to leave. Gene paid for all the beer and food and got a 12 pack of Bud to go. We all were a little drunk as we headed back to the Ritz, as I named the dump we were staying at. During the walk back we decide to finish off the 12 pack, so we stopped on the church steps. Clayton was smashing beer cans and chucking them into the flower beds, Rich was waving at cars while holding up a beer, and Gene was dancing on the top steps. Good thing this town doesn't have many cops or we'd be in trouble.

Arriving back at "The Ritz" we decided to take Phil for a ride in his sleeping bag, while he slept. We also picked up Fred's tent and moved it (with him in it) to a new location. We kinda decided we were hungry so we decided to go into Sheryl's tent (a very small one). Packed in like sardines and to Sheryl's surprise we all fit. Finally some dumb hiker came out and told us to shut up or he'd call the police. I told him to shut up and to consider this pay back for talking about us earlier.

I went to sleep with this stupid song from Robert Palmer in my head. This idiot at the bar kept playing the same song over and over for 6 hours.

[Author's Note:] If anybody is offended because we were drinking beer on the church steps I'm sorry. Before anyone sends me a nasty gram please remember this happened 20 years ago when I was 20 years old. Everybody has done things to let off a little steam in their younger days.

        
        

Day 11: Damascus to Damascus - Hangover, rest, and reflection

Tuesday May 27, 1986

                
I awoke today at about 9am, and it felt good just to stay in the bag for a while. I still have that stupid Robert Palmer song in my head this morning. The day was good for rest and not much more, with rain and hangovers for everybody. I got up and went had some breakfast at the local café and then did some much needed laundry.

I decided to send home my cooking gear today. I've only used it a couple of times and it's not worth the weight. The stove, fuel bottle, mess kit, utensils along with some film and other assorted unused things got shipped home. It will be nice with the extra room in the rear packs, and maybe I can get some extra clothes.

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"The Ritz"

All of the hikers that were clowns have left and a new crew has arrived today. As it seems the new crew of hikers are friendlier than those idiots from yesterday. Today two guys from Australia arrived, they are doing 22 miles a day thru hiking to Main. They are short on time so they are doing about double the normal days hiking to make sure they complete the trail. Another Aussie named Dave came in, he was hiking with his dog. He said the dog wasn't hip on carrying a pack until he figured out it was his food he was carrying.

Didn't do much during the day, I sat around with Clay and a few other talking and killing time. Clay has done the Trans America Trail twice before and has a ton of trail information. We sat around planning out our stops each day as he said being in Breckenridge for the 4th of July would be a good time. I am the un-official group member so Clay asked me what I thought about the itinerary. Riding with these people has been a great experience and everyone is enjoying my company. I'll probably ride along until something changes. Gene has been really lobbying me to stick to the same itinerary.

Clay is a pretty funny guy, always making some wise crack of some sort. I enjoy sitting around the camp having a few beers with Clay, most times it is pretty entertaining. Clay is an ex-U.S. Marine and Vietnam Vet, but you wouldn't know it. Clay said he would like to own a bakery some day in a small town somewhere, maybe in Iowa....?

The Memorial holiday just ended and I really thought about what it meant to me as an American, riding my bike across this great county. I thought about my Uncle Adam, who falsified is birth certificate at 15 or 16 and enlisted in the Marine Corp for WWI. I understand he fought gallantly in battles that are legendary in Marine Corp history. During WWII, he tried getting back into the Marine Corp but this time, ironically he was too old. The Army Air Corp finally took him and he island hopped in the south Pacific during WWII. I think Clay would enjoy meeting Uncle Adam.

I waited for evening to call home to see what was going on, not much. I guess I'm not missing a thing. Short day tomorrow.

        
        

Day 12: Damascus to Elk Garden Hostel - Killer climb, dangerous downhill

Wednesday May 28, 1986, 34 miles (55 km) - Total so far: 563 miles (906 km)

                
It rained pretty hard last night and got all my stuff wet again today. I'm staying in a Church Hostel tonight so maybe things will get dried out. Breakfast was with the whole crew today as we all took our time this morning getting going. It was nice to get back on the road today after a day off, as I was pretty bored in Damascus on a rainy day.

The ride was semi flat with some moderate hills until Hayter's Gap then it got mountainous. I rode today with the whole BC group until Hayter's Gap. Going over Clinch Mt there was a pretty tough 4 mile climb, and the rain didn't make it any more fun. Everyone got strung out going up the mountain as everyone is different on the climbs. I got to the pass first and took a break to watch everyone else come chugging up. It seems these long pulls are not getting any easier.

The downhill side of Clinch Mt. was very dangerous, one lane wide with many switchbacks. I descended pretty carefully today because of the wet and dangerous conditions. Gene and I arrived at the Hostel first, at which time the weather started to clear up.

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Elk Garden Hostel near Rosedale VA.

Didn't have much to do today, and we had no beer group because of the church hostel rules. It is nice to have places like these hostels but you have to abide by all the rules. This hostel was a log cabin and it was kind neat.

Since I had nothing to do I gave my bike a complete check, tires, rims, spokes, cranks, brakes, cables. Everything on the bike has been performing perfectly. My brake pads are getting a little worn but nothing major. I've had no flats or broken spokes to this point. Gene and Sheryl ask me to check over their bikes as well. Everyone in the BC group is also doing well on equipment, with relatively few flats and broken spokes. I think Diane had 2 flats in one day.

Tomorrow I'll be at Breaks Interstate Park, right on the state line of Kentucky.

        
        

Day 13: Elk Garden Hostel to Breaks Interstate Park - Awesome day all around

Thursday May 29, 1986, 46 miles (74 km) - Total so far: 609 miles (980 km)

                
Woke up early this morning, I guess I was excited about the ride to Breaks today. Gene and I left early and had breakfast in Rosedale. Gene and I discuss all the BC group members and what kind of shape everyone is in. Pretty much everyone is in pretty good condition and there are few complaints. Sheryl is the one having probably the hardest time, party due to the fact I think she over packed. I've been getting in pretty good shape over the last 12 days and I'm no longer sore each night.

Today is the first sunny day in about a week of riding, I'm happy to see the sun again for a change. The riding is pretty tough today, as it seems there are many steep hard climbs (west of Honaker). Gene and I rolled along at a pretty good clip today despite the terrain. The downhill runs were the best of the trip, fast and long. I blasted down the hills and Gene tried to keep up as best he could.

We stopped for pizza lunch in Haysi and took a break. Lunch was pretty good and on Gene so I was happy. Gene and I talk about a bunch of things, especially me staying on the same itinerary as the BC group. I guess I've become Gene's main confidante and friend on the trip. Gene has traveled all around the world and tells all these crazy stories. From what I know, Gene owns a construction/development company in B.C. Canada and he is divorced. Gene travels all around the globe while someone else runs the business. Not a bad deal if you can get it? Right when we finished lunch we met up with the rest of the BC group, including Fred.

Today is also the first day of coal trucks, and it's a real nightmare already. I'm covered in coal dust and my bike is a mess. I've been reading and hearing about these coal trucks and I'm not too excited about being on the road next to them as they fly buy. These coal truck drivers don't even bother to slow down. When a large truck goes by the turbulence sucks you back into the traffic lane. It is something I quickly get used to and brace for each time it happens.

The days ride ends with a nice uphill into Breaks Interstate Park, which straddles the Virginia, Kentucky state line. We got an awesome camp site pretty close to the Breaks Gorge overlook. I got my tent setup, showered and hit the pool for a refreshing swim.

In the evening the brew crew enjoyed a few beers and watched an amazing sunset over Breaks. It was an awesome day and I'm excited to be going into Kentucky tomorrow (little did I know back then....).

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Sunset over Breaks Gorge

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Kentucky

        
        

Day 14: Breaks Interstate Park to Pippa Passes Hostel - Damn trucks, heat and humidity

Saturday May 31, 1986, 70 miles (113 km) - Total so far: 749 miles (1,205 km)

                
The morning was pretty cool and I heard the day would be hot and humid so I took advantage. Gene and I headed out pretty early and headed to Elkhorn City for some food. The day started with a nice 3-4 mile downhill into Kentucky. Welcome to Kentucky, land of coal trucks and dogs I've been told.

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Ahhh, That's Kentucky!

At breakfast we discussed taking the alternate route, or sticking to the main trail. Some how we decided not to take the shorter alternate today and I wish we did. After a few miles in Kentucky I'm already sick of these coal trucks All these coal trucks have crazy names like "Coal Devil", and "Big Momma", drive like crazy too. The black soot is getting all my gear (and me) dirty.

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The Breaks section

As we ride into Kentucky, the weather just got hotter and hotter and it felt like I was riding in a furnace. The weather was hot, sunny, and humid with no clouds anywhere in sight. The ride was very hard today with some of the toughest mountain passes of the trip so far. The heat, trucks and traffic made this one of the worst cycling days. Road conditions here in Eastern Kentucky are bad news, rough and narrow. So far Kentucky is pretty dirty and depressing.

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Kentucky Roads....... kinda like Detroit.

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

The day ended at the AYH Hostel at Pippa Passes, which is very nice. The hostel was great with nice beds, showers and a kitchen.

This evening we all sat around a talked bout different things. I'm starting to get to know Diane a little better. Diane is from Iowa and is pretty short, as in 5'2' or so. Her bike looks funny, being so small with all the gear on it. She is a pretty good rider and has few complaints about the physical challenges of the daily rides. I think she is about 10-11 years older than me, and I *think* she is a nurse....? (Diane, correct me if I'm wrong here). Diane is very easy going, upbeat and is part of the nightly beer group. Diane seems to be riding with Clay most days.

It is funny how everyone has a different riding styles and schedules. Gene and I are up early, ride fast, Fred seems to take his time and arrive in camp really late, with everyone else somewhere in-between.

Tomorrow the plan is Booneville, with heat and humidity once again.

        
        

Day 15: Pippa Passes to Booneville - A great day.... NOT!

Saturday May 31, 1986, 70 miles (113 km) - Total so far: 749 miles (1,205 km)

                
Last night I sweat like a pig and didn't sleep well on the soft bed. I guess I've gotten used to sleeping with no padding at all. I don't think anybody slept well, as people were moving around all night. I wasn't looking forward to battling coal trucks and heat again today. I got up about 4am and told Gene I'm on the move so get out of the bag. Gene I guess, didn't like the idea of being out on his own so he flew out of bed and was ready to go.

We hit the restaurant and chocked down some food and got on the road. At 6am I could tell it was going to be the hottest day of the trip. We loaded up on water expecting a long hot day. It's was a pretty tough day, the 95 degree heat combined with coal trucks, coal dust, and those 20 or so steep long climbs. We ended up taking many cooling off breaks today, more than we usually do. I felt this was my worst day of the journey, the heat was just too much for me today.

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The Coal Trucks of Kentucky!

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

Gordon has graciously allowed me to use some of his Kentucky Trans Am pictures from 1982

Gene and I arrived at the Booneville Church Hostel and found out we had no water and no bathrooms as promised. The pastor was not very nice to us either. I'm not sure why they are treating us poorly? Isn't this a church? It already was a tough day on the road and I looked forward to a nice shower and a sleep indoors. It already was a day without a cold beer and now no shower or even toilets. Maybe the pastor is friends with the pastor guy in Damascus? I'm tired of Kentucky, can't wait to get out of here.

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Kentucky Scenery

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

Today Phil has not arrived at the church hostel and is believed to be missing. Clay, the BC group leader has notified the police, and he hasn't been found as of 10pm. I think he might have opted for a motel after a long hard day. He was last seen fixing a broken spoke on the route, according to Fred. Maybe someone in the BC group is a crazy serial killer and he or she is going to pick off riders one by one. Ok, maybe not..... I guess I watch too many movies.

I hope Phil is chilling in a nice air conditioned motel room, while we sit around here smelling up the place. ~

        
        

Day 16: Booneville to Berea - Calling all dogs, Halt !, a few showers, and all you can eat ....

Sunday June 1, 1986, 60 miles (97 km) - Total so far: 809 miles (1,302 km)

                
I woke up at 5am and was ready to get out of Booneville at day break. Gene rode with me today and we pickup some breakfast a little farther down the road. I'm certainly glad to be gone from Booneville

The days riding was great, with rolling hills and only one major climb. The terrain has definitely changed today to rolling hills. We are now in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky where there are many large ranches and grasslands. Somewhere along the way Gene and I met up with a TA cyclist named Steve. We all arrived in Berea at 11:30am and got a shower at the campground. I haven't had a shower in 1 1/2 hot, smelly days and I'm covered in coal dust.

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Kentucky Scenery

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

We talked Steve into going to lunch with us to Mario's all you can eat pizza for only $2.69. Mario's is famous in Berea for their all you can eat pizza and we just pigged out. We were unhappy that we couldn't have a cold beer for lunch because this is another one of those antiquated prohibition dry counties. We discussed the ride at lunch, each recounting the many dog incidents. I got chased by 20 or so dogs today and I used my halt until it was empty. Talk about running the gauntlet. We all enjoyed lunch and then Steve had to hit the road. We probably won't see Steve again as he is on the tighter schedule. I enjoyed riding with Steve and wish he'd be around few more days.

Back at the campground I took another shower, just to make-up for the shower I didn't get at the church hostel. The rest of the BC group straggled in and to the dismay of everyone it was a dry county. Talk about disappointment, you should have seen all their faces when I told them this was dry again tonight. It is very demoralizing thinking about a nice cold beer during the ride only to be denied. Brother Fred to the rescue, somehow Fred talked to the campground owner lady and he returned with 18 cold beers. Talk about a quick change in fortune! Brother Fred is the smooth talker of the group, and if any negotiations are involved he is the man.

Phil is still missing and has not called anyone to check in. Everyone had been worried because he is just "missing in action". I hope he hasn't thrown in the towel but just went off on his own.

I called home tonight and checked in with the family, so mom and dad could add another pin in the map. I also call my friend Matt, fellow hot rod buddy and roommate at college. I also talked to Matt's dad, he said they would come down and pick me up if I need it. They are like my second family, but no I wasn't in need of a return trip to Detroit just yet.

Tomorrow will be a day off, so I'll get some rest, do some laundry and checkout Berea College near by. Everything is going pretty well, still no flats, no broken spokes. I've been chased by a few dogs and yelled at by a few [censored for political correctness], run off the road many times by coal trucks, and covered in coal dust... but I'm still rolling and planning on being in Astoria.

[Author's Note:] I don't have any pictures of Kentucky, either I hated the state that much or I lost the roll. Pictures will return shortly.

        
        

Day 17: Berea to Berea - Rest day, sight seeing day

Monday June 2, 1986

                
I slept in to 8am this morning and it felt like noon. I guess I'm just used to getting up at 5:30am every day. A few of us went to the diner in town for some breakfast and I did some laundry after. During the laundry cycles I goofed around and checked out the town. The town is pretty neat and I'm glad to take a rest day and do some off bike exploring.

Back at camp Clay was busy calling the police, hospitals and everyone he can think of to find Phil. Today we are worried that something bad has happened to him. Maybe he got hit by a truck and is lying in the ditch somewhere. I hope he is ok. Phil would have enough sense to at least check in with BC. Well, maybe not.

Later that day we all walked into town and checked out the college and the sights. The walk seemed like about 3 miles each way, but it felt good to stretch my legs walking instead of riding. The college in quit nice and has history back to 1855. Since this is a dry county we had no options for getting a cold beer so we just headed back to the camp and see if there is any news about Phil.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Harrodsburg, about 60 miles or so away. Spent some time checking my bike, gear and getting everything organized. I'm happy the way my Cannondale panniers are working, and they are pretty waterproof.

Not much else to report today.

[Author's Not:] Gordon Hamachi has graciously allowed me to use some of his Kentucky Trans Am pictures from 1982. Please go back to the beginning of Kentucky to see pictures. ~

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Finally, the Appalachians come to an end!

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

        
        

Day 18: Berea to Harrodsburg - Rolling hills, no horses, more pizza, and Daniel Boone

Tuesday June 3, 1986, 55 miles (89 km) - Total so far: 864 miles (1,390 km)

                
The night and morning were very cool, but as the morning wore on it got hot and humid. This seems to be a normal pattern, cool mornings, heat and humidity by noon. I took a shower this morning just because I could. Gene and I hit the diner about 7am, while everyone else was still asleep.

Riding out of Berea the roads were pretty good and the traffic was light. We traveled through the rolling hills of the Kentucky Bluegrass country. I didn't see any horses.... where are the horses? I did see plenty of cows. The ride today was very enjoyable and went by pretty quick. I'm in really good condition and most days my legs feel like they are on cruise control. Gene and I played our first game of "catch up" in a few days and I out ran him with ease. Free lunch for me, once again.

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These don't look like horses.....

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

The traffic was heavy as we pulled into Harrodsburg Pizza Hut for lunch. I guess I have been eating a lot of pizza, but I like it. This was another dry county so no beer again tonight. We waited for the rest of the BC group to arrive while we looked around town.

Today we camped at Old Fort Harrod State Park, which has no camping but we had permission from the Mayor. In the park there is a replica of the fort from 1774. I explored the grounds and fort this afternoon.

Today is Rich's birthday (BC group), he invited everyone out to dinner to celebrate. We had a pretty good time and everyone seemed to be getting along pretty good. Phil is still missing and has been on everyone's mind.

During the evening the Mayor came by with a big jug of whiskey, we all sat around sipping whiskey and telling stories of the road. Later that evening we watched a dress rehearsal of "The Legend of Daniel Boone", which performs the show in the park. The play was pretty good .. for free.

        
        

Day 19: Harrodsburg to Bardstown - A buzz cut, an old tavern, and a 100 item salad bar!

Wednesday June 4, 1986, 55 miles (89 km) - Total so far: 919 miles (1,479 km)

                
I was sleeping when I heard Gene shaking my tent for me to get up, it was 5:30am. I've been really enjoying getting up early, and it's the best time of the day to ride. Normally, I wouldn't be so quick to get out of bed at home. On the road I'm very excited to get going, get on my bike and see something new. I've been on the road for almost 3 weeks and I'm extremely happy about how things are going.

I had the worst breakfast of the trip in Harrodsburg, at a chicken place (of all places). Sometimes breakfast can be real good or just plain real bad. I felt like........ wait a sec............

The weather was cloudy, hot, humid as Gene and I finished throwing up breakfast...... one more sec......... I rode most of today with Gene as usual and the ride was pretty uneventful. The ride was nice, with a stop at Lincoln Homestead State Park. We arrived in Bardstown at 1pm, and looked for a laundry place. I finally got everything washed and it's nice to be clean for a change.

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Kentucky scenery

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

Gene had his own list of things to do so I headed to McDonalds for lunch on my own (thank god for real food). Gene and I met back up and I noticed he got his hair cut, not just a hair cut but a buzz cut! Gene said he was tired of having a big mop on his head with all this humidity. Ha ha ha ha ha, I laughed, because he looked funny. Finally, getting all our things done Gene and I headed to My Old Kentucky Home SP to get came setup. Somehow I ended up camping for free, yeah, I'll take it.

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My Old Kentucky Home SP

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

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My Old kentucky Home

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

The BC group showed up and laughed at Gene's new hair cut, and I think Brother Fred was taking notes. Everyone was joking with Gene and everyone had some good laughs. I probably should have gotten a buzz cut to?

Bardstown is wet and had one of the oldest taverns in America, Talbott Tavern. So, while it rained we all departed for said tavern and proceeded to have a few refreshing cold beers. Above the tavern they have rooms for rent, Abe Lincoln, and Daniel Boone stayed there at one time. Jesse James was rumored to have put the bullet holes in the wall. The tavern has a colorful history dating back to the early 1700's.

For dinner we all went to Mario's for 100 item salad bar, it was great.

TODAY OVER 1000 MILES

[Author's Note] My log book says over 1000 miles, but the mileage on CGoB journal says on 919. I guess some days I wrote in my journal early in the day and didn't take into account mileage after arriving in camp.~~

        
        

Day 20: Bardstown to Hodgenville - Rain, rain rain, but yet another dry day....

Thursday June 5, 1986, 34 miles (55 km) - Total so far: 953 miles (1,534 km)

                
I woke up late today, about 8am and started getting ready to roll. The BC group was headed back into Bardstown for breakfast but I didn't go. I felt like riding on my own today so I headed toward Hodgenville alone. It was kind weird buzzing along in the early morning by myself. The terrain is rolling hills still and my speed averages between 15-18 mph. Did a little sightseeing at the Lincoln Birthplace.

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Lincoln Birthplace

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

The weather was cloudy, with off and on rain for the first couple of hours. I was about 2 miles from Hodgenville when a massive downpour started so I pedaled like mad to the nearest restaurant to wait it out. The restaurant was pretty nice, I had a burger, fries, coffee, and I was hungry because I skipped breakfast. I sat in the restaurant for 2 hours watching TV with some of the waitresses (business was slow). All the waitresses were pretty cool and asked me all kinds of questions about my journey so far. It seems I end up answering the same questions over and over. I should get some stuff printed with questions and answers so I can hand them out, ha ha ha.

While I sat in the restaurant Steve came in. Steve is the guy I rode with couple days ago and thought he'd be farther west by now. Steve, myself and all the waitresses all sat around talking until the rain stopped. Steve and I planned on staying at the County Park and invited all the waitresses to come by and keep us company.

The rain stopped and we did some sightseeing around town. While we were goofing around the BC group arrived as the weather was clearing. The first thing Gene said was...."is it dry"? ....Dry.... I said. Gene almost broke down crying. The BC group headed to the fair grounds for the night and Steve and I headed to the county park.

This evening a couple of the waitresses came by the park and we all sat around talking and enjoying the nice evening. I wonder what the BC group was doing tonight.....? I invited the girls to the Rough River Dam SP, tomorrows designated stop.

By this point in the journey I don't know what day, month, time, year or even state I'm in unless I'm writing in my log book. Funny how you lose all sense of time and days while on the road.

P.S. Phil is still missing. ~~

                
                

Note to Readers: Route Map

                        

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This map shows my route on the Trans America Trail

~

        
        

Day 21: Hodgenville to Rough River SP - Nice ride, a cool shower and a hacky sack

Friday June 6, 1986, 61 miles (98 km) - Total so far: 1,014 miles (1,632 km)

                
I slept out on the picnic table last night and so did Steve. I got eaten alive by the bugs, so I guess it was a mistake. We were up kinda late and I guess we didn't feel like putting up the tents. Steve and I headed out for breakfast and we didn't see anyone from the BC group all morning. They stayed on the other side of town at the fair grounds (I think).

The ride today was more the same here in Western Kentucky, rolling hills and grasslands. I see some Amish people for the first time today. They don't use any modern day conveniences like motorized vehicles. One Amish farmer stopped and talked to us as we took a shade break.

The weather was cloudy and cool most of the day, great for riding. I've been getting tired of the hot, humid 95 degree days. Sweat has been dripping down the back of my shorts, chapping my ass... literally chapping my ass. I have been wondering why all the cyclists I've been seeing lately have been applying some sort of powder (on their rear) on the side of the road. Finally, I asked one guy what the deal is with the powder he said it's for my chapped butt. Ok, next store I'm getting powder.

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Kentucky Tobacco Drying Shed

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

The ride was pretty good until about 8 miles out and the rain just poured on us. There was no cover so we just rode it out, arriving at Rough River SP soaking wet. We did do about 60 miles today but it seems to just fly by, as Steve and I cranked it out. I pulled into a covered shelter in the SP and got a few things dried out, while I took a nice hot shower. After sitting around for a couple hours the weather cleared and became very nice out. The BC group pulled in and said it rained most of the day for them.

This evening we met a couple of guys from California doing Hacky Sack. Fred, Sheryl, Steve and I tried our hand (or maybe I should say feet) at Hacky Sack we failed greatly. The SoCal guys were pretty funny, patiently trying to teach us some hacky basics.

Well, another day in Kentucky another dry county. Note to self: Don't cycle Kentucky ever again. I should be crossing the Ohio River in 2 days and I'll be in Illinois. I'm looking forward to moving out of this state.

Today Clay got me again. Clay told me the State Police found Phil in the ditch. Are you serious? NO, he got on a bus and returned home, called BC for a refund. Thanks Phil for making me worry about you for a week, you idiot.

Crossed into Central Time Zone today, gaining an hour. ~

        
        

Day 22: Rough River SP to Sebree - Fred the bootlegger and a BBQ

Saturday June 7, 1986, 78 miles (126 km) - Total so far: 1,092 miles (1,757 km)

                
Gene was shaking my tent at 5:30am so I got up and got things packed up. While I was packing Gene was patiently waiting for me to get ready when all of a sudden Gene freaked out and yelled... "WHERE'S MY WALLET??".... He somehow misplaced his wallet and over the next 30 minutes checked the whole campground then started to unpack all his stuff. Everyone else was sleeping, but Gene made enough noise to wake a hibernating bear. During the unpacking the nylon against nylon was enough to irritate all the members from the BC group and he got a few 4 letters words thrown at him. FINALLY, he found his wallet, stuffed at the bottom of his pannier in yesterday's pants. Poor Gene, another day in a dry county and he'll forget where he put his bike!

The day was hot, humid and sunny. I'm glad we got going early because hot afternoons are tough physically. The terrain is like deja'vu, rolling hills through tobacco country once again. We actually had a pretty good ride, passing thru many small towns with little population. We got to Sebree about 2pm and got some lunch, bad lunch at that.

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Kentucky Tobacco Country

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

Guess what? Another dry county and Gene is about to break down crying once again. The rest of the BC group arrived and we discussed our dilemma of another dry county. Somehow while inquiring about a cold beer I found out that the county just north was wet and there was a liquor store right on the county line, about 4 miles away. I'm told this is a common occurrence here in Kentucky, putting a store right at the county line.

While we decided it was not acceptable to go the night without a cold beer we decide that someone has to go (to the next county). Sheryl and Diane looked tired so the men stepped up and drew straws, and Fred was the short stick (no pun intended Fred). So, everyone anteed up, and Fred went on his way to the next county for beer. Fred, we figured would take like 3 hours, and we all sat around laughing about it as we setup camp. We shouldn't have been laughing because when Fred returned (about an hour), not only did he have a case of beer but IT WAS ON ICE! Fred took the big BC billy pot Sheryl was carrying and put 24 beers in it, covered them with ice and strapped it to his rack. These were the coldest and best tasting beers so far. Funny...Fred is lucky he didn't get robbed by 2 hillbillies in a pickup truck. Someone could have drove past him and swiped a beer.

Now that we had beer some food was in order. When we were discussing dinner a big church group showed-up at the park and started a big BBQ picnic. I bunch of ladies came over and invited us all to join in the BBQ as there was plenty of food. I asked the lady if anyone would be offended if we brought beer. Hell no, we're Catholic's the one lady said. This was funny because all across Appalachia I didn't see one Catholic Church. I am Catholic, or supposed to be anyway. I feel way more comfortable picnicking with the Catholics......

Big day tomorrow 90 miles or so, and going into Illinois, got to get some sleep. The city park was right next to the train tracks (go figure). During the night 5 trains went by and scared the crap out of me, and I didn't sleep very well. ~~~


Illinois

        
        

Day 23: Sebree KY to Golconda IL - Finally out of Kentucky - long hot day

Sunday June 8, 1986, 88 miles (142 km) - Total so far: 1,180 miles (1,899 km)

                
FINALLY! Kentucky is OVER!

Got up early this morning and was excited about being in Illinois. Ate some quick breakfast and hit the road alone today. I guess Gene had too much fun at the BBQ because he was still sleeping. I knew the day was going to be hot as I was already sweating from the humidity at 6am.

The ride started out pretty flat but some rolling hills were also part of the deal. Took a short break in Elizabethtown for lunch but didn't stay long because it was going to be 95 degrees today. The day was long and difficult, and it didn't do much for my saddle sores. I put on powder about 8 times today. The terrain was flat, but with the heat, this was a very hard day. I crossed the Ohio River on a ferry boat, one just like Harsens Island ferry back home, it was only $1. I'm glad I didn't sleep in like everyone from the BC group, they got toasted in the hot afternoon sun.

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The Ohio River Crossing

Photo courtesy and copyright by Gordon Hamachi

Tonight I am spending the night in a church, it is nice to stay inside but there are no showers available. I'm getting pretty good at spit showers and this is the second or third day without a real shower. I'm glad to be inside where it is nice and cool. It's been one of those un-eventful days that not much really happened.

Today I'm finally out of Kentucky and thank God. Illinois will be a short 2 or 3 days then on to Missouri and the Ozarks. I'm thinking about taking a day off in Carbondale.

I'm pretty tired today and it's a wonder I still keep writing in this log book. I guess in 20 years when I'm old I'll want to have some memories of the trip. Tomorrow I'll be in Carbondale a few days, and I'll call home a see what is up.

[Author's Note] Funny, it is now 20 years later and this is the first time I've actually read my entire log book. I don't know why, but I did have enough sense to keep writing my daily log entries. Now that I am 40, I don't really consider myself old.

Gordon, thanks for the use of the Kentucky pictures.~

        
        

Day 24: Golconda to Carbondale - Huge storm, a motel and finally a real shower

Monday June 9, 1986, 66 miles (106 km) - Total so far: 1,246 miles (2,005 km)

                
Sleeping inside the church was great, with AC and no bugs for a change. Fred was up early (for a change) and rode with Gene and me today. The weather was pretty threatening when we departed and looked like we'd be riding in the rain once again today. We ended up taking a small shortcut near Goreville, and good thing because a massive storm hit as we approached the town.

In Goreville we sat in a café for about 2 hours waiting out the rain, when the rest of the BC group showed up. They ended up getting caught out in the storm and got totally soaked. Once the storm passed the 3 of us departed for Carbondale and the rest of the group took a break to drip off.

I ended up riding ahead of Gene and Fred just before Carbondale. I hope Fred isn't teaching Gene to ride slow. We reached Carbondale in early afternoon and Gene and I split a motel room. We sat around enjoying a cold beer waiting for the rest of the BC group, while talking about the day's events. I enjoyed riding with Fred, it was a nice change in our usual twosome of Gene and I. Maybe I can get Fred up early more often?

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What kind of crazy contraption is this? In 1986 these kinds of *bikes* were not very common. I met this guy on the road, he was going East on the TA and we talked breifly about his ride.

Everyone got settled in at the motel and we all went out for dinner and a nice restaurant. After dinner all of us walked around town, joking around as usual. Carbondale is a pretty neat college town, probably about the size of Port Huron at home. I'm looking forward to a day off, I need to get some things done, laundry, tight my head set on my bike, take a shower.

This is the first real motel I've stayed at on the trip so far. All other indoors accommodations have been churches or hostels. In 2 days I'll be able to see the big Mississippi River.

No problems with the bike, no flats yet, no broken spokes, and the tires look pretty good. Overall everyone in the BC group is doing well mechanically also, with minor stuff, like a flat or 2. Rich broke a spoke today and we'll fix that tomorrow, no problem.

I called home tonight and it was good to talk to everyone, in Michigan. Maybe I'll send out some postcards soon. Going to take another shower, since this is the first real shower in 4 days, then get some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

        
        

Day 25: Carbondale to Carbondale - A great time in Carbondale

Tuesday June 10, 1986

                
I slept in until 7:30am and took a long hot shower. Gene was up shortly there after and we were looking for some breakfast. We went next door and took our time eating today since we didn't have to really go anywhere. After breakfast we got our stuff ready to go into town and get our list of things done.

First stop of the day was to do some laundry. I washed everything I possibly could, and I stood in the laundry mat with just my shorts on. Once the clothes were cleaned and dried we went to the bike shop where Gene wanted some new shorts and some new tubes. My headset has been loose and I don't have a wrench big enough to tighten it so the bike shop tightened it for free. The guys in the bike shop were pretty cool, asking us about the trek so far and if we had any mechanical problems we needed fixed.

The weather today is pretty hot, about 92 degrees and humid. So far on this trip there have been no real comfortable days, it's either rainy or hot and humid. So with the warm weather and our stuff done we decided to get lunch at a pub. We had a sandwich and relaxed a little, while watching some TV.

After lunch we headed back to the motel where everyone else was checking their bikes, doing small maintenance and cleaning. Rich had broken a spoke yesterday and Clay was helping Rich make the change. Clay pretty much knew what he was doing so the rest of us supervised the job while knocking back a cold beer. Of course, if anyone needed my wrenching experience I was readily available.

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Diane checking her bike, Rich and Clay fixing broken spoke in Carbondale, beer assisted.

Checkout Clay's cool blue cycling shoes... and what is the deal with those shorts?

We all got carryout Pizza for dinner and it was good and cheap. Everyone was lounging around and Gene was getting restless so he talked me into go out on the town. We ended up at some pub having a beer and watching sports on TV, when all of a sudden we were surrounded by a whole bunch of girls. The whole thing was very funny, all these girls hanging all over me, stuffing their phone numbers in my pockets. The evening was great fun and somehow I left there with a pocket full of phone numbers and 2 garters. Maybe we should stay in Carbondale another day?

We headed back to the Motel in the wee hours of the morning. I didn't know what to do with the garters so I put one on my bike and one on Gene's. We decided not to tell any one else about how we came into possession of our Carbondale souvenirs..... especially Fred.

Fred's TA tour seems to be more like the Women across America tour, except he is seriously lacking in the "Women" part. Fred should start getting up early and hanging with the big boys. (that would be me and Gene, if you weren't paying attention)~

        
        

Day 26: Carbondale to Chester - Popeye and the Mighty Mississippi River

Wednesday June 11, 1986, 44 miles (71 km) - Total so far: 1,290 miles (2,076 km)

                
Gene and I got back to the motel about 1am and woke up at 5am. Gene convinced me to get up, get some breakfast and hit the road. We ate at the Denny's near by, and had the usual for breakfast. I wonder why I was up.... so soon after getting in late from last night??? I was pretty tired and was dragging when we departed Carbondale. I'd like to stay in Carbondale another night but the circus must continue westward.

It was damn hot, about 98 degrees and 120 percent humidity. The ride was uneventful, through flat farm country with an occasional roller or two and I finally saw the Mighty Mississippi for the first time. We rode the 44 miles to Chester in about 3 hours, arriving at 9:30am. Chester is located on the banks of the Mississippi and is a port town. Chester is also the home of Popeye, and there is a big bronze statue in town.

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Barge Traffic on the Might Mississippi

The rest of the BC group really took their time today, they ended up departing Carbondale after Gene and I arrived in Chester. They all arrived in early afternoon looking all worn from the sun and heat.

We were camping at the city park and there is a nice pool with nice showers. I ended up swimming for about 5 hours today to stay cool. We all sat around in evening talking and the beer group resumed our nightly ritual of a couple cold ones.

Fred has been checking out our Carbondale souvenirs, but hasn't asked about them yet. I'm not going to tell him anything..... yet.

I've been spending way too much money and a cutback is in order so I had sandwiches for lunch and dinner.~~


Missouri

        
        

Day 27: Chester to Farmington MO - The Ozarks start pretty tough

Friday June 13, 1986, 50 miles (80 km) - Total so far: 1,390 miles (2,237 km)

                
I finally crossed the Mighty Mississippi River into the state of Missouri today. Nobody else was up when I was ready to roll so I set out on my own today. I been felling like riding alone for a while and it worked out today since nobody was up early, including Gene. I grabbed some quick breakfast at the diner and someone paid my bill for me.

I crossed the Mississippi over a narrow bridge and stopped to take in the view. It is pretty neat to be at the Mississippi River and now headed into the west. I'll now be in my 4th state and plan on about 6 days of riding until Kansas. I've been expecting no flat terrain until Kansas so I'm expecting the hills. Missouri was flat for the first 15 miles then the Ozarks hit. The road ended up being very steep and pretty tough to ride today.

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The Mississippi River, on my way to the West

I rode the 48 miles to Farmington in about 4 hours and I arrived at 11am. I checked out the town and headed for the city pool. I swam and hung out for several hours before the BC group arrived in town. We all camped at the city park across from the prison. While setting up camp a couple other westbound riders, Vince and Angela came in and got setup for the night.

Fred came in later as usual and we had our usual post ride debriefing. Somehow I've been calling Fred, "Brother Fred", and I'm not sure how he got that nickname. Some of the other members of his BC group have been calling him "Steady Freddie", which is appropriate I guess. I had to tell Fred to get a shower at the pool because they were closing soon. Fred has this helmet that doesn't sit properly on his head, it always leans to one side. Fred told me he promised his mom he'd wear the helmet or he might not have brought it. I told him I got my 10,000th helmet lecture today and he laughed pretty good.

The weather was a perfect 79 degrees and sunny with low humidity. The evening was pretty good as we all sat around listening to Clay talk about the West. I have been looking forward to the west since the first day in Kentucky. Clay has a motto, 'The East is Neat, but the West is Best', he has been telling me (us) about the west. We also discussed if it was better to go W-E instead of E-W.

Tomorrow the plan is only to Centerville, about 50 miles away.~

        
        

Day 28: Farmington to Certerville - An irritating day on the TA

Friday June 13, 1986, 50 miles (80 km) - Total so far: 1,390 miles (2,237 km)

                
The night was very hot and muggy, the weather must have changed. Yesterday was a nice cool low humidity day so a weather front must have passed later yesterday evening. (I guess I should have been a weatherman) Camping in the park was noisy and I didn't get much sleep so I was up early. Vince and Angela also couldn't sleep so we all packed up and headed out on the road.

The terrain on the route today was rolling hills with some steep but short climbs. You either crawling uphill or speeding downhill, never any flat riding. The beginning of the Ozarks started with a bang, with some tough steep climbs right in the beginning of the day. We stopped at Johnson's Shut Ins State Park to do some sightseeing. Erosion created a spectacular cascading river with cutes and slide pools. I watched some kids goofing around in the water while I had a snack.

The three of us continued on our way to Centerville at which time we arrived at 11am. Vince and Angela were going to continue on to Eminence and wanted me to go with them. It was another 40 miles and I debated with myself the reasons to keep going to Eminence. I didn't go on to Eminence so we said our goodbyes and I headed out to look for lunch.

After eating a crappy lunch I was really regretting not continuing on with Vince and Angela to Eminence. Centerville is pretty boring with nothing to do, so I started to get really angry at myself. I thought about just going on but Gene, Rich and Sheryl finally arrived. We all sat around Centerville together bored to tears.

Fred arrived later on and was telling me about how he was swimming at Johnson's Shut Ins SP and how he had a great time. I probably should have hung back and rode with Fred today because Centerville is a real waste of time.

We all camped in the park behind the school, and bugs were the main feature. The evening was quiet and we all sat around talking about the west and what we were going to cycle thru. We continued our debate about E-W vs W-E. I'd rather go west, like the early settlers did, and plus I'd never really been in the Rockies.

Late into the night Bill from NC showed up and was making all kinds of noise getting setup. He is going E-W but on a rapid pace. I opened my tent and said hello, and he asked me if there was anything to eat anywhere I laughed and zipped back up.

[Author's Note:] This is one of those days that were just irritating, the never ending climbs, the muggy weather, and the small boring towns with nothing to do. It finally added up to just a really crappy day. I remember this day all to well, and to me it is one of the throw away days of the journey. I was so consumed by the day that I took zero pictures.

Disaster at Johnson's Shut Ins SP On Dec. 14, 2005, the upper Taum Sauk reservoir on Proffit Mountain breached, sending more than 1.3 billion gallons of water cascading down the mountain toward Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. Water rushed through the park, leaving a path of destruction from Highway N, through the campground, past the store, through the shut-ins and down the East Fork of the Black River.~ ~~

        
        

Day 29: Centerville to Eminence - The Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Saturday June 14, 1986, 40 miles (64 km) - Total so far: 1,430 miles (2,301 km)

                
The day was hot and I could feel it at 6am when I got up. Nobody else seemed interested in riding early so I packed up, hit the road and got some crappy Centerville breakfast. Today is flag day and someone in the restaurant gave me a small American Flag to fly on my bike.

I rode by myself all day and it was kinda nice for a change to be out alone. Goodbye Centerville, I won't be back. The route was very tough, with steep climbs going through the heart of the Ozarks. I cycled through part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. There are many rivers here in Missouri that are spring fed, and the current and Jack's Fork are 2 of them. I crossed the Current River and some tributaries of the Current today. The scenery reminds me a little of parts of Michigan, except with some big mountains.

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Entering....... Well, you can read

The day was only 40 miles and it was a pretty nice ride today, except for some occasional headwinds. I hope this isn't an indication of what's to come? I arrived in Eminence at 11am and stopped at the Dairy Queen for a well deserved chocolate shake. I met some people in town, and they asked me the usual questions.... "Where are you going?", "Where did you come from", "How tall are you?". I answered, 1. Crazy, 2. Mars, 3. Too tall to be a horse jockey. They all thought my answers were funny.

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The Current River near Owl's Bend Missouri

Note the Flag in the Handle bar bag for Flag Day, my Carbondale souviner on the seat post and my SS350 hat I never wore.

Apparently there is a cross country trail ride in progress and there are 2000 horsemen in town this weekend. I really hate country music so this whole scene is pretty funny to say the least. After the DQ I grabbed some lunch and decided on camping for the night.

I headed to the Circle B campground, right on the Jacks Fork River and got setup. I swam the rest of the day in the crystal clear river. Compared to yesterday, today was fabulous and I was enjoying the campground.

The BC group showed up at the campground and we all had a couple cold beers before walking into town for dinner. In town a live band was playing and a street dance going on, so we all joined in the festivities. The evening was pretty fun and everyone had a pretty good time, although, I'm pretty tired of hearing YEEE-HAAAA.

Eminence is a nice little town that comes alive 3 times a year for these horse trail rides. I wish I had rode on yesterday with Vince and Angela and then stayed an extra day here. Centerville was a waste, and I can never get that day back.

Today is 1 month on the Trans America Trail.... Yeeee HAAAAA !!!!!!!!!!!!! ~~

        
        

Day 30: Eminence to Houston - Ozarks finally come to an end

Sunday June 15, 1986, 42 miles (68 km) - Total so far: 1,472 miles (2,369 km)

                
I awoke at 5:30am, packed up and headed out on my own again today. The BC group all headed to eat but I headed out for Summersville. I've been enjoying the riding alone lately, as it is so quiet on the road in the early morning.

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The Current River

Today's route had some good 19 and 20 degree climbs which made the first 6 miles take about 45 minutes. (I'm not sure if the climbs were that steep, but this is what I wrote in my log book and it only took me 45 minutes? Damn, I was fast) The route flattened out after Summersville, to bearable rolling hills. I can see a drastic change in terrain and I'm probably out of the tough Ozarks from here on out. I'm kinda looking forward to some flat days, because the rollers are really getting monotonous and getting on my nerves. No, it isn't really that bad and I like Missouri better than Kentucky.

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The Current River, again

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You guessed it, the Current River again

I covered the short 42 miles today in just a few hours, arriving in Houston at 10am. Houston is a medium sized town so I did a little sightseeing and laundry before getting lunch. After a small lunch I headed out to look for the city park and pool.

The city park is the place to camp tonight, and while I write this I'm in the middle of a picnic. I was invited to join the picnic and have some BBQ and beer. Everyone here is very friendly and asked all the usual questions.... you know the ones right? The BC group all showed up together and joined in on the picnic. It is like these people planned this picnic just for us, and it seemed we were all the center of attention.

Fred and I had our usual 5 minute de-briefing today, and we toasted the end of the tough Ozarks with a cold beer, and some tasty BBQ chicken. I'm Finally out of the Ozarks and nearing the end of Missouri. I'm planning on being in Pittsburg Kansas June 18 (3 days).

Riding by myself I've had lots of time to think about things. I wonder about what's going on at home? I thought about the poor suckers landscaping. What my 3rd year of college is going to be like. My chosen college major, or lack of one. Am I missing any fun at home? Surely it can't be as much fun as I've been having. One thing about this journey, there is way too much down time and too much time to just think. Tons of crazy stuff goes through your head.

It was a very warm day and the city pool is looking good right now. So I'll head over and cool off.

[Continued later in the evening]

While I was at the pool I ran into Vince and Angela, which was very unexpected. They said the Ozarks were tougher than they anticipated. We may be on the same schedule for the next day or so.

Everything still operating perfect with the bike, still no flats, no broken spokes. One small problem, my toe right clip has a small crack in it and it will eventually break. I'll get a new one at first opportunity.~~~~~

        
        

Day 31: Houston to Marshfield - A Lazy Crazy Guy, a high dive, and a dugout

Monday June 16, 1986, 60 miles (97 km) - Total so far: 1,532 miles (2,466 km)

                
The weather was very hot and humid once again when I awoke at 6am. Nobody else was up and I didn't see Vince and Angela anywhere so I set out on my own again today. I figured I better eat a good breakfast as there aren't a lot of services before Hartville.

The route is rolling hills with a few short steep uphills. I've been trying to race down the downhill side to gain enough momentum to get up the other side of these roller coasters. It seems like these rollers will never end, and today I've been getting some SW winds that I'm not to happy about. I stopped in Hartville to tank up on water and take a short break.

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Missouri country

Just west of Hartville I stopped at Lazy Louie's Bike Camp to say hello. I've read a few things about the bike camp and I wanted to see it, but unfortunately, it wasn't in my schedule to stay the night. Lazy Louie came out and told me to get setup and he'd make some cold drinks. When I told Louie I wasn't staying the night he just about freaked out, and started cussing and swearing at me. I was kinda surprised and actually feared for my safety at this point. Just as I was getting ready to get the heck out of there, Clay, Diane, Fred, and Gene showed up. Clay told Louie he was the BC group leader and they weren't staying either. Louie then un-loaded a verbal barrage at Clay that caught him also by surprise. Clay had a few choice words for Louie then explained the situation.

I was not impressed the famous Lazy Louie Bike Camp or Lazy for that matter. He didn't have to get all bent out of shape because I didn't stay the night in his camp. We all departed Lazy' in route to Marshfield and hoped Crazy Louie didn't come after us with a shotgun. Clay, kidding, asked me what I did piss off Lazy Louie. I just said I wasn't staying the night in his camp and he unloaded on me. Maybe we should have had Fred be the point man at Lazy'? It all became a big laugh and we joked about it all the way to Marshfield.

I arrived in Marshfield around noon and headed directly to the pool to cool off. The pool was very nice with a high dive and good showers. I spent most of the afternoon lounging around the pool.

I was supposed to camp at the city park behind the baseball diamond but a game was going on so I just sat in the bleachers for a while. A second game was starting and they were short on officials so they asked me if I knew anything about baseball.....Indeed I did. I officiated the field for the entire game and handled it without any incidents. Good thing it went smoothly because I didn't want some kids dad clubbing me in the middle of the night because I called his kid out at first. Once the games were over I didn't really feel like setting up my tent so I just slept in the visitor's dugout. All in all it was a pretty fun day, and I even forgot about Crazy Louie.

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

[Author's Note:] I have read about people having very different experinces than my own at Lazy Louie's bike camp. I can honestly say that I feared for my safety. I was 20 years old and maybe I was being overly cautious. I was certainly gald to see the BC group show up. [Author's Note #2:] The crazy guy is no relation to the webmaster Neil Gunton.~

        
        

Day 32: Marshfield to Ash Grove - Ohhh the Humidity

Tuesday June 17, 1986, 49 miles (79 km) - Total so far: 1,581 miles (2,544 km)

                
I was awake a 5am this morning and all the BC members were up already. That is a trip first, all BC members up at one time. I received a few good natured jokes directed my way as I crawled out of the bag. Everyone waited for me to get packed up and we headed to the Western Café for breakfast.

We all got rolling about 6:30am and headed west towards Ash Grove. I could already feel the heat and humidity so early in the morning. I was drinking water so fast I ran out in about 20 miles into the day. Everyone in the BC group shared some water until I could reload. The days ride was easy rolling hills until just before Ash Grove when there were a few short, steep hills to climb.

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Missouri countryside

I arrived in Ash Grove at 11am all covered in sweat. The weather was very hot and humid and we all lounged in the shade, sleeping. The City has a nice pool which I will hit as soon as they are open. I called home and then sent out a few postcards today.

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Yee of little words........

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Postcard #2... I carried this one for a couple of days as I forgot to mail it.

Fred finally asked me about the souvenirs from Carbondale, and I told him how we went out in Carbondale and got mobbed by girls. I really enjoy talking with Fred, he is funny without being funny (it is hard to explain). Fred owns a news bureau in Washington D.C. and is always checking in to make sure the news is still flowing.

I haven't rode much with Gene the last week or so as he has been getting a motel room for himself every other night or so. I guess he is running thin on the rustic camping. Everyone is the BC group seems to be getting along ok these days, which is good to see. Sheryl seems to be doing better after Clay helped her lighten her load.

[continued later in the evening]

I spent a couple hours at the pool staying cool. These city pools are coming in handy at the end of each day. After the pool and a shower I got some food for dinner and setup camp in the city park. The park wasn't too bad and it had restrooms.

Once dinner was done we all sat around the evening have a cold beer talking about Kansas and what to expect. Clay is still talking about Breckenridge for the 4th of July and asked me if I was still in. I reminded Clay that I was only supposed to travel with the BC group for 5 days and the 5 days expired about 26 days ago... Clay thought that was pretty funny and then opened another beer. He said "that" is the official policy of BC, but after Yorktown most of the official policies were abandoned. [BC group laughter]

Tomorrow is state number 5, KANSAS.~


Kansas

        
        

Day 33: Ash Grove to Pittsburg Kansas - Welcome to friendly Kansas and midway

Wednesday June 18, 1986, 71 miles (114 km) - Total so far: 1,652 miles (2,659 km)

                
Fred and I slept out on the picnic tables and the night was hot. Somehow I talked Fred into not setting up his tent and to try sleeping out in the open. I awoke at 5am and asked Fred if he wanted to go. Fred gave me the thumbs up as if to say he was coming but when he rolled over and went back asleep, I gave up. Gene spent the night is a cheap motel so I set out on my own at 5:30am.

It seems these Missouri roller coasters never end, and there were a few steep climbs before Pennsboro. Shortly before Pennsboro a pickup truck slowed and two guys were yelling at me. It startled me because it was pretty early in the morning and it was one of the first vehicles that passed me. It kinda shook me up, especially because I was riding alone. I stopped to take a break and make sure these idiots weren't coming back.

I've been thinking about my safety ever since the incident at Lazy Louie's Bike camp. During today's encounter I started to figure out what things I had onboard I could use as defensive weapons. I used all my Halt in Kentucky so I'll try to buy more. My tire pump isn't going to really stop anybody so that won't really do. I had a big Swiss Army knife but it didn't have locking blade so I didn't want to cut my own fingers off. The Camera, I figure I can swing it on the strap and that might work. I started to think about how I would handle it if two people jumped me (like these 2 idiots). I would have to make a debilitating blow to one of them first and then take my chances with the other. One on one is better odds, plus being tall and athletic I have some advantages. I made sure the camera was easily accessible and continued west.

In other news: The sun already was very hot early in the morning as it was like a rerun from yesterday. The day was so hot I could see the tar bubbling on the road. I made sure I had extra water onboard today as I had no riding partners.

While taking a shade break Gene rode up and we continued together into Kansas. We arrived in Pittsburg Kansas at 11am, and looked for some lunch. A local recommended Ken's for all you can eat lunch. Yeah, all you can eat is for me.

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Welcome to State #5. That's right, midway!

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This sign was on the Colorado side, but I wanted a picture of it because it was featured in Bicycling Magazine.

Today I finally got some new toe clips, which were badly needed as one was broken completely. This is the first problem with my bike that really wasn't that big a deal as I temporarily fixed it with strapping tape. I also tried getting some Halt but they were out.

I found the city pool and did some swimming and took a nice shower. After the pool I checked out the city park and decided a cheap motel would be a good idea. The stay in the motel was nice, a shower and a real bed for a change.

Sheryl and I decided to go out to the bar and talked Fred into coming. I guess Fred didn't want to miss out this time so it was easy to convince him to come along. We had a pretty good time and I got to spend some time with Sheryl, which I haven't really up to this point. We decided to take tomorrow off so we celebrated our 5th state into the wee hours of the morning.

[Author's Note:] I had no real incidents with people until the last couple of days here in Missouri. I started being more cautious, especially if I was riding alone. I was glad to be entering friendly Kansas. ~

        
        

Day 34: Pittsburg to Pittsburg - Layover day, and another "buzz" of a time

Thursday June 19, 1986

                
Today is a rest day so I slept in to 8am. I got some breakfast and then headed out for a little sightseeing (in Kansas?) and to find a place to do laundry. I took it really easy today, staying out of the sun as it is the usual hot and humid day.

I checked out of the motel and headed for the city park for the free camping with the BC group. I spent most of the day swimming and lounging around the city pool. Done swimming I decided to give my bike a good check-over, since this is probably the last decent bike shop for awhile. I cleaned and lubed the chain, tightened all my cables, check each spoke, and checked both tires for wear. Sheryl asked me about a few things on her bike so I did some adjustments and then trued her front wheel.

While working on Sheryl's bike Rich and Gene were asking me a few questions about maintenance and I showed them a few tips and tricks. Everyone seems to have some pretty good knowledge about the basic stuff, but not so much on the wheel and spoke part.

Fred returned to the park with a fresh new buzz cut and everyone thought this was hilarious. Fred had this big Momar Kadafi hair do (or hair don't), and he was ready for a new look. Fred took more kidding about the buzz cut than Gene did (when he got one). Fred looked like he just got ran over by one of those big lawn mowers we've been seeing on the roads. Fred, you look better without the Momar do.

The winds have been up and out of the SW the last few days, which are an omen of things to come I think. I'm planning on getting up early as possible to beat the heat and the hopefully the winds. I'd like to be off the road by noon here in Kansas.

Nothing much else happened today to report. Tomorrow will be about 60 miles to Chanute.

[Author's Note:]- I should not have taken a day off in Kansas, but saved the day for someplace in the Rockies, such as Breckenridge ('86 version of Breckenridge) , or Tetons. If I ever did this trip again I'd blow right thru Kansas as fast as possible.

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Welcome to...

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Gene in Kansas

~

        
        

Day 35: Pittsburg to Chanute - Hot, windy and boring

Friday June 20, 1986, 59 miles (95 km) - Total so far: 1,711 miles (2,754 km)

                
I over slept until 6am today and the BC group had already departed. They tried waking me up but I told them I'd meet them down the road. I knew I should have gotten up because it was already hot and I could feel a hint of wind from the west.

I rolled out of Pittsburg after quickly eating some breakfast at the local café. The roads were pretty straight and flat today. The route traveled north to just past Girard (146) so I had a nice SW tailwind for a while. Once I turned west on 146 I had the headwind, and it started to pickup as it got later in the morning. The route passed through ranching and corn fields today. Apparently the wheat fields are farther west.

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Excellent Kansas Scenery...?

I caught up to the BC group in Walnut while getting some stuff at a store. I stopped and got more water and some snacks, because I didn't think there any services until Chanute. We all left Walnut together and rode in a pace line to minimize the wind today. The day wasn't long at 59 miles but the wind added an extra element to zap your speed down to about 9 or 10 mph. Probably today is the flattest terrain since day 1 in Yorktown. There were a few little hills to contend with but nothing like the Ozarks

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More... Excellent Kansas Scenery.

I arrived in Chanute about 1pm today after a long, slow headwind filled day. I camped in the Santa Fe Park, just outside of town. I got setup and hit the pool right away to cool off. I'm really glad to have a pool today because most riding is done with out any shade or cover.

As it seems Kansas, has another confusing set of liquor laws and it seems most of the state is dry, but it can be different at the county and city levels (you figure it out?). You can buy 3.2 beer in most places for carry out only. To get a real drink you have to go to a private club. In restaurants you are allowed to bring your own drinks, they call it brown bagging it or something.

Headwinds made it a pretty tough day.

        
        

Day 36: Chanute to Eureka - Some late night YELLIN'

Saturday June 21, 1986, 65 miles (105 km) - Total so far: 1,776 miles (2,858 km)

                
Apparently I had some dreams last night, or I should probably say nightmares. Clay informed me this morning that I was screaming last night and I woke everybody up. STOP, STOP, STOP, I was yelling, according to Clay. Of course I didn't hear the end of it most of the day. Maybe I was yelling for the wind to stop? (Probably a more likely scenario)

We all were up early, (thanks to me, says Clay) and we hit the nearest diner for some quick food. We got on the road about 6am and headed directly west into the teeth of the wind. We travel thru the "Flint" part of Kansas today, but I didn't see a lot of Buicks, so probably no relation to Buick City (Flint Mich). The terrain was some rolling Flint Hills but mostly flat, with no escape from the sun. The wind really slowed my pace to about 9-10 mph until I headed North on 105. The weather was almost unbearable, 100 degrees and 200 percent humidity.

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Look familiar? Get used to it........

I took a short break in Toronto for a coke and checked out the sights near the reservoir. After Toronto I headed due west, back into the teeth of the wind again for another 20 miles into Eureka. I rode most of today alone but I regret not riding with someone to help break the wind.

I arrived in Eureka around noon and got some stuff to make sandwiches. I was coming out of the store and Gene rolled up, so we found a place to get out of the 99 degree heat and have a 3.2 beer. A shell of beer cost 25 cents, so we each drank a few beers. We cooled off then headed to the city park, tonight's camp.

While getting setup in the park, Clay was kidding around yelling STOP, STOP, STOP and everyone was giving me the business about last night. Everybody was joking and laughing about it and wanted me to setup my tent first. I tormented them by going to the pool first and taking a shower. While at the pool I could hear Clay yelling at me, STOP, STOP, STOP .. I spent a few hours cooling off at the pool, and I noticed everyone had their tents setup so I headed back.

When I got back to camp area I un-rolled my tent about 2 inches from Clay's and said I'm sleeping right here tonight. Clay didn't think it was so funny anymore, so I moved my tent... but warned him I could move it right back pretty easy. Clay is always joking around with everybody, especially after a few beers.

Big day tomorrow about 80 miles, better get some sleep. ~

        
        

Day 37: Eureka to Newton - The rain, the wind and another small Kansas town

Sunday June 22, 1986, 78 miles (126 km) - Total so far: 1,854 miles (2,984 km)

                
My tent was shaking so I knew it was time to get up. It was about 5:45am I got packed up and we all hit the café for breakfast. As soon as we all hit the road, the sky just opened up and it just poured. It was already steaming hot so I didn't really care, and continued on.

Head winds made the day extremely difficult, and I rode the first 16 miles in 2 hours. The terrain was a little hillier than yesterday as we are in the heart of the Kansas mountains, or the Flint Hills as the rest of the world calls them. Today is the first day I rode with Gene in a long time (for any distance), it was nice to have someone to beat into the wind with. The weather cleared about 11am and it started to get even hotter and the wind kicked up even higher. There was one long 40 mile stretch into Newton without any services or cover. That last 40 miles was almost unbearable, with the wind, the rain, the humidity, and the sun. It probably was some of the toughest 40 miles I've ever ridden on a bike.

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Kansas Scenery.. No, it isn't the same picture as yesterday.

Gene and I arrived in town and got some lunch and headed for the city park. Another night in Kansas, another city park to camp in. I was glad to see a pool to cool off in again today. Everyone was dead tired from the heat so most of us used the pool for a few hours. I always attract a lot of attention when I'm at the pool. I don't think these local girls see a lot of new guys in these small towns. I usually end up talking to all these girls and they all ask the same questions, "are you moving here?", "what school do you go to?", "how old are you?", "do you have a girlfriend?", blah blah blah. Of course, I mess with them and tell them all kinds of crazy stuff... Actually, it becomes a game and I look forward to meeting the girls in each town. It keeps my mind of the wind atleast.

After getting setup in the park we all decided to go get all you can eat Chinese. The dinner was pretty good but we were looking to have a beer. Newton is one of those crazy dry cities or counties or what ever, we couldn't get a beer anywhere. We walked thru town and Clay spotted an AmVets(?) Post so we went over and rang the bell. A little door opened and Clay said he was a Vietnam Vet, and we were looking to have a beer. This was a private club but Clay being a Veteran already kinda was a member, so they let us in, but not before signing some guest member log book. Gene was in heaven because he could get a Jack Daniels Black on the rocks. We really had a great time talking to all these old Veterans, and they wouldn't even let us pay. I think they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs. Many of these guys really reminded me of my Uncle Adam.

Tomorrow plans to be another long, hot, windy day, so I'll get some sleep now. G.N.~~

        
        

Day 38: Newton to Sterling - My lucky day!

Monday June 23, 1986, 78 miles (126 km) - Total so far: 1,932 miles (3,109 km)

                
Today I got up extra early and got moving to get some breakfast. Nobody else showed up at the diner so I headed out on my own. The weather was looking seriously threatening when I departed. I knew it was going to be one of those days....

Leaving Newton I traveled NW until the town of Hesston, where I turned due west. The wind was really blowing, and coming from SW to W today. Shortly after Hesston I could see huge bolts of lightning and a massive storm rolling across the plains. I was about half way to Buhler when I started to question why I left Hesston. There was no place to take any real cover as the storm approached, so I made a snap decision. I jumped into the ditch on the other side of the road near a drain bridge, got my rain gear on, covered up my Brooks and hoped for the best. The massive storm turned into a tornado and I watched it tear up the field just to the North of me. I held on to the bridge with one hand and my bike with the other, as the storm blew past me in a flurry.

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Another Storm in Tornado Alley

A short burst of rain dumped on me as I was thinking about getting rolling. A few more minutes the wind just stopped, I jumped on it and rode like crazy. I finally arrived in Buhler and stopped in a café to have some pie (I was hungry). The waitress said I was crazy to be out in the weather and that there was a tornado... yeah, no kidding lady, the damn thing just about blew right over me. It's not like I can just step on the gas and out run it (if anyone could out run it, it would be me)

The BC crew showed up at the café all soaking wet, but they waited in Hesston for the major part of the storm to pass. We all finally departed in light rain for the final 30 miles to Sterling. It was about 95 degrees so the rain actually felt pretty good, as it cooled me off. Shortly before Sterling the weather cleared up and the sun came out.

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Vu'ja-Day?

Arriving in Sterling my first priority was lunch, laundry, shower, pool, beer, not necessarily in that order. We camped at the city park once again, with a nice city pool. Lucky for us this was a dry city so we didn't get to have a beer. I guess it's my lucky day!

We all sat around the evening talking about the day, of course I told everyone I played chicken with the tornado and won.... (which I did)

[Author's Note:] - This was not my first encounter up close with a tornado. In 1984 while in High School a massive storm was brewing and then a tornado warning sounded. I grabbed my keys and ran to the parking lot, of course the teachers tried to stop me as I jumped in my 69 Camaro. I sped out of the lot burning rubber towards home, all to keep my car from getting damaged. As I was driving home a tornado was following me about 100 yards off to my right, making its way up the North Channel of the St. Clair River. I did what any 18 year old would do, I stepped on the gas. The tornado eventually crossed onto Harsen's Island and did all kinds of damage. I arrived home and my dad asked me if I was crazy and didn't I see the tornado.... Sound familiar? ~

        
        

Day 39: Sterling to Great Bend - My Michigan accent?

Tuesday June 24, 1986, 41 miles (66 km) - Total so far: 1,973 miles (3,175 km)

                
I took my time this morning getting going, and I hit the road without eating. Some locals said the road between Nickerson and Larned was all tore up for road construction. I detoured north off route to Great Bend instead of dealing with pilot cars and construction. The first café was about 32 miles away, I stopped for some breakfast.

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The tallest buildings in town

The wind wasn't too bad so I took my time today just cruising along. I arrived in Great Bend about noon. Great Bend is a bigger Kansas town, off the official BC route and they are not used to bikers. I did a little sightseeing around town, but that didn't take but about 5 minutes. The weather was hot, sunny and humid once again. I guess this is the normal Kansas summer weather.

I didn't have much to do today so I went to the bar to get out of the heat. The waitress told me I have a "Michigan accent" and said she knew I was from Michigan. (The fact I had Michigan written all over my clothes might have been the dead give away) I asked her about this "Michigan accent", because this is news to me, and we don't have any accent from Michigan unless you are from the U.P. (The U.P. is the Upper Peninsula) She was telling me a bunch of utility repairmen from Michigan came down after a large storm to help with repairs a few years ago. The local girls went crazy for the guys from Michigan and ended up marrying them all. I'm sure these girls would have gone crazy for any guy that showed up here. That's the last thing I need is to get married and stuck here in Kansas.

Anyway, the waitress asked me if I wanted to stay at her house for the night. I guess she liked my "Michigan accent".... the one I don't have. We arrived at her house and she ordered some carryout food for and we sat around eating and having a few beers. I spent the night in her spare room, on a waterbed (who has a spare room with a waterbed?). I'm not sure where the BC group is staying tonight because I didn't see any of them all day.

Tomorrow over to Ness City, straight, flat, windy and I'll catch up with the gang there.

        
        

Day 40: Great Bend to Ness City - Straight road, uphill, and the winds

Wednesday June 25, 1986, 67 miles (108 km) - Total so far: 2,040 miles (3,283 km)

                
I slept in until 6am because the bed was so comfortable. Sleeping in was a mistake because it was already hot and windy when I got rolling. It was about 70 miles to Ness City, all in a straight line. I swear I could see Ness City when I got on State Rd 96. This is probably the only state that you could stand on a picnic table and see where you'd be camping the next night.

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I can see where I camping, from 60 miles away

The road was flat, dry and boring most of the way. The route seemed flat but it has to be slightly uphill since Missouri because of the continental rise. I traveled just about due west all day, right into the 30 mph wind. The only things you can see are the silos off in the distance. I quickly learn that the cities are located at each cluster of silos. In each little town I stopped and took a shade break to get out of the searing sun. I didn't see or pass anyone in the BC group and the day seemed to drag on forever.

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I crossed paths with another famous trail

I arrived in Ness City about 1pm, got some lunch and headed for the bar. The city is like a ghost town, with a brick roadway. I'm really getting tire of Kansas. I sat in the bar with most of the local farmers drinking beer from rusty taps. I can't complain, it was only 25 cents for a shell and the place was air conditioned.

I hit the pool for a shower and a swim then headed to the city park for tonight's accommodations. Later in the day the BC group arrived and we all headed out for some food.

3 more days and I'll finally be in Colorado.

OVER 2000 TOTAL MILES TRAVELED

        
        

Day 41: Ness City to Scott City - Brutal headwind, another storm, and a newspaper

Thursday June 26, 1986, 57 miles (92 km) - Total so far: 2,097 miles (3,375 km)

                
Someone was shaking my tent pretty early, probably Gene, but I wasn't interested in getting up. I finally crawled out of the sack and found that everyone was gone, including Sheryl and Fred (usually the last to leave). I knew I way over slept and I'd have trouble with the winds. I quickly headed to the café and the BC group was just leaving. As they left they all joked with me about being the last one out of camp. In the café I sat at the counter and ate quickly to get rolling.

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Fred Berns, traveling in early morning Kansas

Look at the awesome scenery here.... Hey,I think I see a UFO?

The route today was straight and flat. Nothing as far as you can see in any direction except the silos. I quickly caught up the Fred, usually the slowest rider and last to arrive in camp each day. We watched a huge storm form to the NW of us and I thought about being in another tornado. Big bolts of lightning were lighting up the early morning sky and they were getting closer. Fred and I stopped to take a few pictures while we pondered what to do. Luckily for us the main part of the storm tracked off to the NE and away from us. The rain started and continued until we arrived in Scott City. I traveled with just my rain jacket on but was overheating because it was about 95 degrees before noon.

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Fred pulling over to checkout the storm

We caught up with the rest of the gang before Scott City, and I then took off because I wanted to be the first to arrive in town. Being the first to arrive in town would ensure that Clay didn't have any ammunition to kid me about being last out of camp today. The wind today, I would estimate was about 40 mph, from the SW and W, and traveling was done at about 8 mph today. 8 mph is about half of what my normal cruising speed is. The day was very long, hot and difficult. I arrived in Scott City at 12:30 and hit the BAR. (I emphasized BAR in my log book so I knew the day was tough)

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The sun was rising in the East and a big storm was brewing in the West

Check out what gear I'm in, the second lowest in the rear, my normal cruising gear was second from the bottom. Also not my hair blowing in the wind.

We all stayed inside at the Scott City Athletic Rec Club, where they had a pool and nice showers. It will be good to stay inside out of the rain and not have to pack up a wet tent. Somebody from the local newspaper come over and interviewed us and took our picture for the paper. I spent the rest of the day eating, swimming and resting.

Still no mechanical troubles but my right had is starting loose feeling in the last 3 fingers.

                
                

I made the news, again!

Thursday June 26, 1986, 57 miles (92 km) - Total so far: 2,097 miles (3,375 km)

                        

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Diane, Clay, ME, Rich and Sheryl pictured above

        
        

Day 42: Scott City to Tribune - Finally nearing the end of Kansas

Friday June 27, 1986, 47 miles (76 km) - Total so far: 2,144 miles (3,450 km)

                
Today the wind was very mild at 5:45am, about 5mph. I departed the Athletic Club and rode non-stop all the way to Tribune. I rode hard early to avoid the expected winds. I was alone on the rode because the BC group was taking too long to get organized, including Gene.

The ride was not too bad wind and weather wise today. The route is still SR 96, still flat, hot and boring. This has got to be the most boring state I ever been to, thank god for Colorado tomorrow. There have been many unexpected surprises in Kansas, like the bugs, the winds, road conditions and even the food. I didn't expect the winds to be as harsh as they have been. Everything I've read about the people is true, everyone is very friendly and generous here in Kansas. The roads have seen better days, probably because of all the farm and truck traffic.

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You're kidding me, right? There's no wind here... ?

The wheat harvest is just getting complete and all the harvesters are heading north. A large convoy of 50 or so trucks passed me today. It is amazing to see all these combines lined up harvesting millions of acres of wheat. I've never seen anything like it. Not much to see in any direction except dusty farmlands. The lack of scenery has really been weighing on me the last couple of days. I'll be glad to get into the mountains in Colorado.

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Incredible scenery.... I can't take my eyes off it!

I arrived in Tribune pretty early, like 9:30am so I checked out the town, or lack of one. It seemed more like a ghost town and nobody was on the streets. I felt like I was in the twilight zone... where is everybody? I didn't have anything to do so I ate breakfast and then got some stuff together to mail home. Sent home more film, maps, and other useless things I didn't need.

The BC gang wandered in about noon while I was at the pool. Everyone was lying around in the shade trying to stay cool. Sheryl and I went to the grocery store, and I re-load on snacks and stuff to eat while on the road. Sheryl was telling me about some dissatisfaction in the BC group. Clay was doing a pretty good job as group leader as far as I can tell and I didn't think there way anything really to complain about. I think people are getting frustrated with the wind and conditions and that is part of it. No question this has been some of the toughest riding of the journey so far.

I always try to keep things upbeat and fun in camp, everyone has to put up with my shenanigans and joking around. No cause for displeasure for anything anyone has done or not done, especially directed at Clay. I get used as the neutral sounding board by all members of the BC group. Everyone asks my opinion and I say the same thing, I'm just here to do some cycling, see the county and enjoy a beer or 3.

Diane seems to be the coolest (as in cool headed) one of the gang, she is an excellent rider and never has any complaints. Diane is a funny girl, especially after a couple of beers. Diane is about 5 foot nothing tall, we look funny standing next to each other.

Tomorrow Colorado....YES! ~~


Colorado

        
        

Day 43: Tribune to Eads Colorado - Finally Colorado!

Saturday June 28, 1986, 57 miles (92 km) - Total so far: 2,201 miles (3,542 km)

                
Everyone was up early in anticipation of entering Colorado. There was an unusual buzz of excitement this morning as we all headed to the café. At 5:30am it was already windy, 20-25 mph from the west. I'm really tired of this wind, it's consciously been bothering me for about 10 days now.

We all departed together but then got all strung out because of different riding paces. Gene and I rolled all day together, taking turns blocking the wind. We haven't played a game of catch up in a long time and decided against it today because of the winds. It was a very hot day, 100 degrees with not one bit of cover for shade. The final miles up to Colorado state line were pretty much the same as the last 10 days.

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Good bye Kansas... it was fun

Gene and I finally made Colorado and stopped to take some pictures at the sign. We didn't stay long as we were roasting in the sun. It's was so hot we rode most of the morning without shirts today. Eastern Colorado is pretty much the same a Kansas, flat and boring. Where are the mountains? The terrain is definitely transitioning from farm lands to low scrub country. I'll be glad never to see dusty farms lands and wheat for a long time.

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Gene has arrived... in Colorado!

We arrived in Eads pretty early and went for some lunch. After lunch the rest of the BC group arrived and we headed to the city park for our overnight accommodations. Gene, Sheryl and I headed to the pool to cool off. We sat around it the shade for a couple hours before heading back to get camp setup. Eads is pretty small and boring so Clay, Gene, Diane and myself headed to the bar to have a cold beer. We sat around most of the afternoon joking about how brutal Kansas was. We met a bunch of locals and the owners of the bar, they were asking us all the usual questions. It was a pretty fun afternoon and then we all wobbled back to the park.

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Near Eads Colorado... Hey, I thought we were done with this crap?

We'll be on top of Hoosier Pass in 5 days, it is the highest elevation on the Trans America Trail at 11,542 feet. Then into Breckenridge for the 4th and a day off. Still no flats on the road, but the rear tire is almost worn through. I'm planning on buying a tire in Pueblo in a couple of days. I probably should have rotated the tires but I didn't really think about it. The front tire is still like new.

[Author's Note:] - Even with Kansas being flat as it is, this was some of the toughest riding I've ever done. ~

        
        

Day 44: Eads to Ordway - Desolate Territory

Sunday June 29, 1986, 44 miles (71 km) - Total so far: 2,245 miles (3,613 km)

                
Up early again today, 5am to beat the heat. I watched the sun rise over Eads after I departed town. The land has changed dramatically, no more wheat, and trees are popping up every 100 yards or so. Sagebrush is now everywhere and the land is getting hillier as I head west.

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Sunrise over Eads Colorado

The weather is still 100 degrees, sunny, and humid once again. The road has been running parallel to train tracks for many days now. I believe the trains transport the wheat and grains from the elevators (silos). There is more farm traffic here, a bunch of trucks with trailers loaded with combines headed East. Traffic is pretty lite most of the day except a convoy of trucks every couple of hours. Not much scenery all day today, but I can make out faint mountains in the distance.

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Convoy of farm equipment

I rolled all day by myself today. Pretty desolate country here in East Colorado, not much population. I did pass 2 small cities Haswell and Sugar City, nothing open today (Sunday). I rolled into Ordway at 11am. Today being Sunday nothing was open, except the bar, and good thing because I wasn't carrying any food. I had lunch and a beer at the bar and waited for the gang to arrive. The BC group took their time, so I headed over to the Ordway Hotel and checked in. The hotel has special biker rates, $3. The rooms didn't have any air conditioning and it was like a sauna. I guess I can't complain for $3.

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This was the longest train you ever seen

I showered up and headed back to the bar, where most of the BC group was just getting into their first beer. Not much to really do today except stay out of the heat, so we all sat around drinking until it was time to eat again.

Nothing much interesting happened today, just a tough hot day that took it's toll on everyone. I'm looking forward to getting into the Rockies, and seeing some snow capped peaks and feeling some dry mountain air. The humidity has almost been unbearable the last 2 weeks. Tomorrow in Pueblo I'm getting a new tire and another pair of shoes to wear around, maybe some Nikes. I'm getting tired of just wearing these cycling shoes all the time.

I almost forgot, today is Mom's birthday. I'll call home and wish Mom happy birthday.

Bedtime 9pm, I'm tired .

[Author's Note:] - Happy Birthday Mom.~~

        
        

Day 45: Ordway to Pueblo - My first flat tire, some new Nikes, and an old friend

Monday June 30, 1986, 51 miles (82 km) - Total so far: 2,296 miles (3,695 km)

                
I was sweating in the Ordway Roadhouse most of the night. I couldn't really sleep so I got up about 5am and got rolling. Gene was rustling about so he got up and we headed out for breakfast. Riding was very nice in the early morning, 70 degrees cool air for a change. We finally found a place to eat in Boone, and we had a nice talk with some of the locals there. I could tell it was going to be one of those 100 degree days as the day wore on.

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Moon over Miami? Not Hardly

We continued into rolling hills and scrub brush territory just before Pueblo. As we rolled into Pueblo I got my first flat, on the rear tire that is almost worn thru. I almost made it to the bike shop when it went flat. Damn it, another quarter mile and I would have had my new tire on. I basically coasted into the bike shop with the tire shredded to pieces. I bought a new tire, and another tube. The guys in the bike shop couldn't believe I didn't have any flats all the way from Virginia until just now. Gene got a few things while I was outside putting on my tire.... then off we went.

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Getting Closer.......

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Pueblo is a very large city and we stayed in the City Park Zoo. No kidding, we stayed in the Zoo. I think some people thought we were one of the attractions. Another small problem with the Zoo, it is infested with mosquitoes. The mosquitoes didn't make the 100 degree heat any easier. The day was pretty short and I need new shoes so I departed on my own to the mall to get out of mosquito hell.

I rode about 8 miles to a mall and had trouble finding size 13 shoes (what else is new). Finally I found a place that had some light weight Nike track shoes, which were perfect. The store guy said he's had them for a long time and can't sell them so he gave me half off sticker price. Yeah, excellent, half off is my style. On the return trip I ran into Steve, the guy I rode with in.... so long I can't remember (I'd check my log book but I mailed that part home). It was great to see Steve, we joked around a little bit then headed for the zoo.

We all sat around swatting mosquitoes most of the afternoon catching up with Steve. Finally, to keep from getting carried off by the bugs we departed for Don Carlos Mexican all you can eat. Yeah, all you can eat is for me! We spent a good couple of hours eating like pigs. I think they were glad when we finally left.

Tomorrow, Canon City and a lot closer to the mountains.~


Half Way Stats

        
Traveled in 6 States

2,300+ Miles pedaled, I rode the whole way.

0 Broken Spokes

1 Flat Tire. ¼ mile from the bike shop and a new rear tire.

1 Broken Toe Clip. Replaced in Pittsburg Kansas

1 New Pair of Nike Track Shoes

Many Cold Beers

72 roadside sandwiches (estimate)

        
        

Day 46: Pueblo to Royal Gorge - An optical delusion?

Tuesday July 1, 1986, 50 miles (80 km) - Total so far: 2,346 miles (3,776 km)

                
Gene and I got up at our usual early time, dark o'clock and headed to the diner. We ate some pretty good breakfast and headed out on US50 instead of official SR96. The guys in the bike shop recommended we take this route because of traffic and conditions. (Note: I've read that a rider from an Adventure Cycling group was killed a couple of years ago on this SR 96 stretch west of Pueblo. Also, another person riding with Adventure Cycling was just killed a couple days ago on the 30 yr anniversary tour from Seattle to Washington D.C.)

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The Arkansas river

The route is going steady uphill since Pueblo, and will continue until we reach Hoosier Pass at 11,542 ft. There is a stretch of road the looks like it's downhill, and we couldn't figure out why it was so tough pedaling. I kept looking at my bike to see if I was dragging anything. We stopped to survey the situation and at closer inspection determined the road is actually "uphill" not "downhill". It seems that there is an optical illusion with the mountains and perspective here. It's a very bizarre feeling, like vertigo. (it is funny because I've read other accounts of this same illusion here) Gene and I cranked out the miles to Canon City pretty quick so we did a little sightseeing in town then grabbed some lunch.

Right now I'm sitting at a picnic table in the City park at noon writing today's entry in this log book. Canon City is a rather large city with a lot of traffic and tourists. Gene and I sat in the shade for 2 or so hours taking a break and watching the dumb tourists. The rest of the BC group has followed the SR96 route and is still out. The SR96 route is about 15 miles longer with heavy traffic. I'm not sure why Clay didn't want to take the alternate route of US50. Maybe there is a BC policy about sticking to the route? The weather is about 90 degrees so far and the wind is out of the SE, 10-15 mph.

I'm sitting here in Canon City at elevation 5400 ft, and the air is already feeling thin. We'll be climbing steady for the next couple of days.

[writing continued later in the evening]

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Royal Gorge

The BC group arrived and we decided to continue another 8 miles, uphill to Royal Gorge. We climbed 2100 feet in 8 miles to the Whispering Pine C.G. What gem this is, an RV campground with no grass to tent on. Gene and I decide to take a side trip to the Gorge to see the views and the bridge. The trip was 4 miles uphill to the bridge but was worth the views and experience.

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After seeing the Gorge we all got cleaned up and headed out for something to eat. Of course I had to get the business about my new Nike track shoes from Clay. Clay shouldn't be talking about shoes.....

[Author's Note:] - I just received an email from Clay, the BC group leader, here is an excerpt:

"Reading it (this journal) makes me think all we did was ride hard and drink beer!"

Well, that is basically what we did. I'm thinking about changing my title to Ride Hard and Drink Beer! ?? Clay said he is going to send me some of his pictures, I'll post them up when they come. Maybe I'll get Clay, Diane and Fred to sign the guestbook and pass along some of their thoughts about the journey. ~~

        
        

Day 47: Royal Gorge to Fairplay - Snow Capped Rocky Mountains

Wednesday July 2, 1986, 68 miles (109 km) - Total so far: 2,414 miles (3,885 km)

                
I slept pretty good last night in the cool mountain air. I was up early and so was Fred so we got some breakfast and rolled out. The route was uphill for the first 45 miles with very steep climbs every now and them. The morning was pretty cold, even until 10am today. What a change, a few days ago we were sweating like crazy from the hot muggy weather in Kansas and Eastern Colorado.

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Colorado Morning

Today is the first day we could see snow capped mountains. As I crested a hill, the snow capped Rocky Mountains finally appeared off in the distance. I stopped to make a sandwich and wait for Fred to catch up. (Fred, this is that day you email me about) I had John Denver's Rocky Mountain High song running through my head. My parents played John Denver records over and over at home and I subconsciously knew all the words. I never really "listened" to the words or understood the meaning of the song until today. It was an unbelievable feeling standing there looking at the mountains.

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First view of the snow capped Rockies

Riding was very difficult with one stretch of 48 miles with NO services. I ran out of water 25 miles into the day and Fred loaned me some water (thanks Fred). Fred and I arrived in Hartsel at noon, after a long, tough morning. We took a break at the café and had some lunch.

Fred is a real character and is great to ride with. He is very enthusiastic and positive about pretty much everything. Fred is a guy that won't bring you down, even under the toughest conditions. He pretty much rode my pace today so I know he can crank it up when he wants to. It was a great day of riding with Fred.

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We climbed all the way up to 10,000 feet when we arrived in Fairplay. We stayed inside a community center for the night in town. The center was very nice, with good showers and restrooms.

I wanted to make sure my crank bearings were still operating smoothly so I carefully dismantled my cranks, and bottom bracket. I had all my parts and bearing carefully laid out on a cloth when some of the BC group started horsing around near me. Clay was goofing around and almost scattered my parts and bearing all over the place. I told him if he looses any of my parts they will end up missing from his bike before sunrise. I re-assembled the bottom bracket with nice new Phil Wood WP grease and finely adjusted the bearing tolerance. I made sure the lock ring was good and tight and made a mark on it so I could tell if it moved. Getting everything back in working order and tested I started horsing around myself.....

Tomorrow, Hoosier Pass 11,542 feet then into Breckenridge, where we are slated to stay at the Fireside Inn for 2 days.

[Author's Note:]- How many people would take apart their bottom bracket and repack bearings in the middle of nowhere? I was fearless back then.~~

                
                

The Big Race

                        
Little off subject, but my wife ran her first race today (July 2, 2006). Good Job LISA!

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Left to right: My Niece Aurora, Sister in-law Heather 4th place, Brother Dennis 1st place, Friend Brian 3rd place, Friend Anna 1st place, My wife Lisa 2nd place. I'm not pictured, 1st place cycling division. Cleaned-up in medals... good job gang.

        
        

Day 48: Fairplay to Breckenridge - Rocky Mountain High

Thursday July 3, 1986, 24 miles (39 km) - Total so far: 2,438 miles (3,924 km)

                

Hoosier Pass 11,542 feet

Continental Divide

The morning was pretty cold, about 40 degrees when I awoke. Fred and Gene were up so we rolled out together. The route wound around the mountains until a 4 mile uphill to Hoosier Pass. Climbing was easy and I dropped Fred and Gene shortly into the 4 mile push to the pass. Gene was having trouble with the altitude and Fred was riding slower than I can physically ride so I rode the last bit by myself.

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This is the way to the top of Hoosier Pass

I was the first to arrive on top at Hoosier, followed by Fred then Gene. What a feeling to be standing at the pass knowing we got here under our own power. Fred took the first picture of me at the sign . Thumbs up!. We took each others pictures until the rest of the group arrived. Looking out over the vast country gave me a victorious feeling of accomplishment

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Fred Berns Celebrates...

Fred, I was as surprised as you were when you arrived first. ha ha ha

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Fred took this picture of me. Thumbs up Fred!

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Gene at the top

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Clay and Diane reaching for the top

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Gene didn't have a camera so I took a few pictures for him.

Clay somehow lugged 2 bottles of chilled Champagne with him up the mountain to celebrate the accomplishment of climbing to 11,542 feet. Everyone was surprised when Clay pulled out the 2 bottles and started popping corks. Everyone had some Champagne, and that put us in a very festive mood. We really enjoyed our time at the pass savoring the moment.

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Ahhh, the Champagne Toast!

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The gang all together. Diane, Clay, Sheryl, Rich, Gene, Fred, Big Dave.

This photo was emailed to me from Clay a couple days ago.

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I had about 20 pictures taken of me here at the pass.

hey, checkout what gear my bike is still in.

We all departed for the final 11 mile downhill into Breckenridge. We arrived at the Fireside Inn shortly before noon. I spent most of the day wandering around town and checking things out. This is a pretty neat town, and a few people are here for the 4th of July. There is an art fair also going on in town over the next couple of days.

Clay knew of a good Mexican place, The Gold Pan, convinced me to go with him and Diane. I've never really had Mexican until this trip other than dad's tacos at home. I'm really starting to like some of the different Mexican foods.

What a great day today.

[Author's Note:] - This is one of my favorite days of this journey. I really enjoyed the climb up Hoosier and the feeling it gave me standing at the top.

        
        

Day 49: A parade, more Mexican food, and the Fireworks

Friday July 4, 1986

                
I slept in all the way to 6am this morning. I'm really used to getting up early after so many days on the road. Breakfast was included at the Fireside Inn and they let me eat all I wanted. I had a huge stack of pancakes covered in jelly and syrup.

Laundry was first priority so I headed a couple streets over and washed everything I could. Once laundry was done I went into town and watched a short street parade. The main attraction of the parade was the fire dept water fights. There were many people on had for the parade and art fair. After the parade was over I checked out the art fair then had a beer. I just relaxed and enjoyed the views most of the day here in Breckenridge. This is an awesome place to be and I'd really like to come back here some day and spend more time.

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1986 "Breck"

Photo from Clay

Clay and Diane were going back to the Gold Pan again for dinner and talked me into coming. We had that yesterday but Clay talked me into it using usual phrases like "come on, don't be a wimp". Ok, no wimps here, plus the food was good so the 3 of us went. While at the "Pan", the waitress mixed up our orders, I got Clay's chili rellenos and he got my enchiladas. We were about to dig in when Clay said to me "YOU GOT MY CHILI RELENOES!". The plates were so deep and covered with stuff I couldn't tell what I had in front of me. We switched plates, but not before we exchanged a few good natured verbal assaults at each other.

After dinner I hung out with Tammy and Debbie who worked at the Inn and they talked us into going to the fireworks over Dillion reservoir. We all need to get there somehow so another guy named Clay asked us if we wanted to go in his van. Clay was in town running a booth at the art fair for his dad, and had a large van we all fit in. We ended up giving him the nickname Young Clay because the 2 Clays were getting mixed up.

We all piled into the van including Tammy and Debbie and headed over to Dillion to see the fireworks. It really felt weird to ride in a car after 50 days on a bicycle. While driving Young Clay was playing BTO "Takin' Care of Business" on the stereo system and everyone was singing along. We had a great time and the fireworks were the best I've ever seen. The drive back to the inn was slow because there were so many people driving back into Breckenridge.

[Author's Note:] - This also was a very memorable day, and I really enjoyed my time in Breckenridge. Every time I go to a Mexican restaurant and I see chili rellenoes on the menu I think about the mix-up in 1986 at the Gold Pan with Clay.

I also wrote that there were many people in town for the 4th, but in reality there were probably less than 500. I recently returned to Breckenridge for the 4th of July and was highly disappointed in how that neat little town from 1986 has been destroyed by development and the masses of people. The Breckenridge I remember will never be the same.

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Breckenridge in 2003. What a mess.....

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That's me, Hiking near Breckenridge in 2003

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Lisa and me, Hiking near Breckenridge 2003

        
        

Day 50: Back on the bike

Saturday July 5, 1986, 51 miles (82 km) - Total so far: 2,489 miles (4,006 km)

                
I was up early as usual and ready to get back on the bike again. I ate all the pancakes I could stuff down my throat. Everyone was up early and we all headed out of Breckenridge together. I wish I could spend a 2 or 3 days in Breckenridge checking it out more but I got to roll on.

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Dillon resivoir

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There was a nice bike path all the way to Dillon that was a welcome change from traffic. Gene and I stopped near the town of Frisco and checked things out. Near I-70 the traffic and road conditions were horrible and I was glad it didn't last long. Riding today was pretty good otherwise, mostly downhill, in fact I think we dropped about 7300 feet into Kremmling.

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View towards Frisco Colorado

The downhill riding made the day go pretty quick today, and we arrived in Kremmling about noon. Kremmling is a real dump of a place, with not much going on. We did however get harassed by some moron locals, but a quick stop at the police station put an end to that. The police let us setup camp near the station so we would have any further problems.

We went to this dumpy diner for tonight's meal and it was the worst food and service we've encountered. The all you can eat salad bar didn't have enough stuff for 1 person, let alone 7 people. Gene got into an argument with the waitress and that was the highpoint of the meal. Gene wouldn't let anybody leave a tip and the waitress came running out of the diner screaming and yelling at Gene like a crazy person. Of course I thought this was hilarious, and I wish I had my camera. Good thing we are camping at the police station tonight.

What a real change from Breckenridge, and if wasn't all uphill I would have went back.

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Postcard sent home to my Mom and Dad

I indicated that I had my second flat in Pueblo. Really, the Pueblo flat was the first on the road. I got a flat in Kansas horsing around in camp. I got a flat from a "sticker" while riding on the grass around the tents.

        
        

Day 51: Kremmling to Walden - A cold morning and a Muddy Pass

Sunday July 6, 1986, 62 miles (100 km) - Total so far: 2,551 miles (4,105 km)

                

Muddy Pass 8,772'

Continental Divide (#2)

The night was very cold and I didn't want to get out of the sack this morning. It was about 45 degrees when Gene was shaking my tent at 7am. I got up and put on all my cold weather clothes, 2 t-shirts, a long sleeve t-shirt and sweat pants. We all headed to the restaurant to warm up and eat breakfast.

We all departed the restaurant about 8am headed NW to Walden. The rain started soon after we headed out, and it was very cold. I wore my rain coat most of the day and had bags over my feet to keep them dry. As the morning wore on the temperature started to rise and the rain finally stopped.

The route traveled through the high plateau, with plenty of scrub brush and not much else. I could see the snow capped mountains off in the distance most of the day. The ride was not too difficult and I rode most of the day with Clay, Diane, Fred and Gene. We crossed a continental divide at Muddy Pass, but it wasn't even noticeable. The pass just seemed like a bump in the road.

We arrived in Waldon about noon and I had lunch with the gang at the local diner. The town is pretty boring, not much to see or do here. We even have to camp in a rest area because there isn't any other options. The sun broke through and the sky cleared up in the afternoon and we poked around town a little bit. I'm pretty bored here and I really miss Breckenridge.

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Gene, Clowning around. I guess he bought that gear at a second hand store and was goofing around.

(Photo from Clay)

Colorado has been the best state so far, I'll be sorry to see it go tomorrow. I'm going to return to Colorado some day soon and do more exploring. I've really enjoyed the Rocky Mountains, the scenery, and the life style here.

[Author's Note:] - I really enjoyed Colorado in 1986 and to this day, it is one of my favorite places. My wife and I basically went on our first date in Telluride Colorado. We return to the Rockies at least once each summer to enjoy the incredible high mountain summers. Enjoy a few pictures of us recently in Colorado.

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This picture is up in Yankee Boy Basin at 13,500 feet. Lisa and I hiked up here in 38 degrees and rain. This is the same tent I used on the Trans America Trail.

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Me and Lisa hiking at Maroon Bells 2002

My trademark Detroit Tigers hat. I wore this hat even when they were the worst team in baseball.

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Me, enjoying the views and a Henry Weinhard's in Telluride Colorado 2004
Ummmm Tasty!

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Me in the New Sheridan Bar, Telluride Colorado

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Lisa hiking near Telluride Colorado


Wyoming

        
        

Day 52: Walden to Saratoga Wyoming - Finally, a Tail Wind

Monday July 7, 1986, 68 miles (109 km) - Total so far: 2,619 miles (4,215 km)

                

Wyoming

The night was very cold once again but I slept very well in my bag. I was awake at 5am but laid in the bag until 7am. Gene was shaking my tent like mad but I didn't feel like moving. I didn't want to leave Colorado, I wanted to turn around and head back to Breckenridge, or maybe over to Steamboat Springs. I pondered making a u-turn and staying in Colorado. I guess cooler thinking prevailed so I got out of the bag and packed up. I was the last out of camp, everyone was gone, including Fred and Sheryl.

I went to the diner and sat at the counter and ate quickly. I hit the road to nice sunny conditions today. The air was pretty dry and the temperature warmed up to about 80 degrees during the morning. It was a fabulous day of riding, it was downhill and with the wind for a change. I had a great tailwind for about 50 miles today, what a feeling. I cruised along at about 28 mph. I quickly caught up to the gang and left them in the dust, literally! The last 18 miles the wind had shifted to a direct headwind and it took some extra effort and time to reach Saratoga. I, of course was the first to arrive.

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Ahhh, Wyoming!

Today I crossed into Wyoming to very different scenery from Colorado. The roads are a little better and the traffic is very light. Not much in the way of services of cities, so I made sure I was fully supplied all day. We are camped 1 mile down a dirt road tonight. It is not the most ideal conditions here.

I called a made reservations at the Yellowstone snow lodge for July 16 and 17. I'm looking forward to Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. I have not been to either park and I'm told it will be a highlight of my trip. I'll be in Rawlins tomorrow and the Tetons on July 13. 38 Days left in the trip, and it doesn't seem long enough. I don't want this to end .

Bed time 8:30pm ~

        
        

Day 53: Saratoga to Rawlins - High Plateau Through Nowhere

Tuesday July 8, 1986, 42 miles (68 km) - Total so far: 2,661 miles (4,282 km)

                
The morning was pretty cold again at 5:30am. I was shaking Gene's tent instead of him shaking mine, and finally he got up. We skipped breakfast and hit the road before the wind wound up.

The route went through nowhere to Rawlins. We rode on I-80 for about 13 miles, as there are no other roads to take here in Wyoming. The terrain was pretty flat, we didn't do much up or down on the high plateau. The wind was pretty light until 11am when started to gust up to 40-45 mph. A storm blew into the area and dumped some rain but quickly moved away.

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The moon?

I got a flat tire about 5 miles outside of Rawlins. I ran over some glass from a broken bottle I didn't see until the last second. I didn't want to swerve and get taken out by a car so I rolled over it. Gene waited while I did a quick tube change. I didn't bother patching it since I've had pretty good luck with flats. We have been running into more and more riders headed East on the TA Trail.

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Yes, I think it is the Moon!

Gene and I arrived in Rawlins when the wind started to blow so we took a tour of the penitentiary. The tour guide was more interested in hearing about our journey then telling us about the prison. We had a pretty good time and it was fun to see. Rawlins seems to be a dying town, as all the mines have dried or closed up. I camped with the gang at the RV World CG, and I wouldn't recommend it.

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That's better.

Some members of the BC group have been considering asking for rides because of the winds. Most of the BC members have been getting on the road a couple ours after I do and have to battle the winds. I won't ask for a ride, ever. I come this far under my own power and I don't want to start taking the easy way out. Worst case I'll camp on the side of the road until the wind dies down. I'm planning on a 5am get up tomorrow and Gene has his clock set. We'll try to beat the winds again.

Bed time 9pm ~

                
                

Mackinac Island: Mountain Biking - July 6-9, 2006

                        
Enjoy a few pictures from our mountain biking on Mackinac Island, Michigan, July 6-9, 2006.

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Lisa at the harbor overlook

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Lisa ripping up the single track. There are miles and miles of trails like this on Mackinac Island, and you won't see a tourist either. Not many people know about them, so shhhh, don't tell anyone.... not even the local mt bike club.

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Taking in the view on "Chief Pontiac's Trail". The Mackinac Bridge is in the background

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Lisa on "Chief Pontiac's Trail" looking SE towards Round Island

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View from the highest point on the Island

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The bridge on a hazy day

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The Tiki Bar at the Chippewa Hotel, our favorite post ride destination.

        
        

Day 54: Rawlins to Lander - Ma's Boarding House

Wednesday July 9, 1986, 135 miles (217 km) - Total so far: 2,796 miles (4,500 km)

                

Muddy Gap 6,250'

Continental Divide (#3)

Continental Divide (#4)

Gene and I got up early and headed out to breakfast under gloomy weather, cold, windy and rainy. We ate a quick breakfast and hit the road to get some miles in ahead of the stronger anticipated winds. It route was mostly an uphill grade and against the wind.

Shortly into the ride the rain started, then the hail, then the gusty winds. Big chunks of hail dropped on us for about 30 or so minutes. I finally wore my hat, I used it to keep the hail from stinging me in the face. We rode over Muddy Gap at 6,250 before the storm passed. The road was full of dime sized hail balls and slush after dumping on us. The wind was blowing me all over the road, good thing traffic was pretty light on the route. I also crossed the continental divide two more times today.

Gene and I arrived in Jeffery City and found out a tornado just touched down in town just before we pulled in. We didn't actually see said tornado, so maybe the people were a little mixed up with the high winds. The city is a mine city that is pretty much closed up, and I wasn't too hip on spending the night. I was supposed to stay in a church with the BC gang but nothing looked very inviting. I decided to head to Lander, about 60 more miles and take a day off there. Gene tried to dissuade me from going but the thought of another boring, closed up town was enough to make me push on.

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Near Lander Wyoming

The terrain to Lander was pretty much the same, uphill and against the wind. The ride up to Lander was pretty tough with the wind but worth the extra effort. Upon arriving in Lander I headed right for the laundry place and started getting stuff cleaned. While at the laundry place I found a flyer for "Ma's Boarding House", biker hostel for $6.50 with Breakfast. Once Laundry was done I headed to Ma's to check it out.

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Upon my arrival at Ma's a couple other cyclists came out and greeted me, Steve and Stewart from Houston Texas. They asked me how many miles I rode and where I came from today. I told them Rawlins, 135 miles away. The Texas guys were impressed I rode that far in this wind and started calling me "animal", then animal got turned into "Manimal".

Ma's Boarding House is a working ranch in here in Lander and sleeping is done in ranch bunkhouse with many of the ranch hands. Ma asked me if I had anything to eat after my big day, she then told me to go eat with the ranch hands. I sat at a very large table with about 15 ranch hands, most didn't speak English. Ma told me to dig in and eat as much as I wanted. Ma made sure I felt comfortable with all the cowboys.

This has to be the neatest place I've stayed at so far. I'm glad I made the extra effort to make Lander today. Tomorrow I'm planning on taking the day off and seeing the sinks with the Texas guys.

[Author's Note:] - I'd like to hear if anyone else has stayed at Ma's Boarding House in Lander. Is it still open? This was my favorite hostel on the whole Trans America Trail, and I got to experience a real working ranch. ~

                
                

Ma's Boarding House

                        
I found the flyer for Ma's Boarding House stuck in a bundle of maps I mailed home. I have a bunch of things in a box that I sent home that have been untouched or looked at since I returned home in August 1986.

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Day 55: Lander to Sinks to Lander - A day on the ranch

Thursday July 10, 1986, 15 miles (24 km) - Total so far: 2,811 miles (4,524 km)

                
I got up early with all the cowboys and headed for breakfast in the main house at Ma's. I ate all kinds of stuff eggs, steak, potatoes, home made granola. I ate so much I couldn't move for an hour. I spent the morning just goofing around the ranch with Steve and Stewart from Texas.

We decided to checkout the 'sinks', the disappearing river about 8 miles away. We took our time riding over as it was all uphill. The river just disappears into the ground and comes up about 500 yards away. It was nothing really special, it was pretty much a waste of time, and it did kill a couple of hours. We left the sinks and decided to have some lunch in town.

We sat around the bar eating a sandwich and had a few beers talking about or trips so far. The Texas guys started in Boston and are following the Trans America Trail until Missoula, and then they are headed north to Glacier, Banff, Jasper, west to Prince Rupert, down the west coast, finally, East back to Houston. I think they started about the same time as I did, but will be on the road probably another 3 months or so. We bombed around town for a little while before heading back to Ma's. I seen Fred in town and he said the BC gang were all staying in the motel tonight. We tried talking them into coming over to Ma's Boarding House tonight.

Back at Ma's, Steve was planning to go on one of Ma's overnight back country horse trips into the Wind River Range. Apparently he had the hots for the girl leading trip or she played him. I don't think Stew was going, he didn't want to be the third wheel. I was tight on money so I didn't go on the horse trip either. We were all sitting around Ma's when other bikers came in all complaining about the wind. Everyone was bitching and moaning until Steve told them I did 135 miles in the same wind yesterday. Yeah, take that! Everyone started calling me Wildman ..

We all ate dinner with the ranch hands again this evening. I've really enjoyed Ma's Boarding House, I wish I could stay longer but I got to head west.

[Author's Note:]- I didn't think to take any pictures at Ma's. I included a post card the the Texas guys sent me on sept 29, 1986 on their way down the west coast. I was at school and I was envious they were still on the road. Stay tuned, the Texas guys will be a key part of the journey. I saved all this stuff from my Trans America trip in a big box, it's essentially the way I left it in 1986. It really has been like a time capsule of memories.~

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Note the reference to "The Coach". You'll find out more about "The Coach" soon.

        
        

Day 56: Lander to Dubois - The Wind River Area - Hey, it's windy here

Friday July 11, 1986, 76 miles (122 km) - Total so far: 2,887 miles (4,646 km)

                
I got up early with all the ranch hands and ate breakfast. The morning was cold and windy, with gusts up 45 mph. I said good bye to Stewart and planned on meeting up down the road. I told them I'd be at Yellowstone Snow Lodge July 16-17. I thanked everyone at Ma's for a great stay and hit the road. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Shortly after leaving Lander I ran into the BC group and then rode with Gene most of the way. Gene indicated some dissention in the ranks was heating up. He said a couple members very voicing their dissatisfaction with the daily mileages or schedules, and things were tense last couple of nights. I told Gene I knew things were coming to a head and that's why I rode on to Lander alone 2 days ago.

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Plateau turns to Mountains

The wind was very fierce today, a 400 mph headwind so I was glad to have a riding partner. The route also was steady uphill all day as we are going over Togwottee Pass at 9,658 feet tomorrow. Riding was very slow at 6-7 mph maximum, which made a long day in the saddle. There was 7 miles of road construction which we had to ride behind the pilot car as far as we could then get off the road until the traffic cleared. Gene and I struggled into Dubois at 2pm pretty beat from the conditions. Dubois is a nice little town, when the wind isn't blowing 400 mph.

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Uphill and Against the Wind. These days in the Wind River part of Wyoming were the inspiration for my title.

We checked out the town and had some lunch and a beer to wait for the rest of the gang. Rich and Sheryl arrived in the back of a pickup truck, unable to ride in the winds. I told Gene I'm not taking any rides, ever. We made an agreement, we wouldn't take the easy way out. Finally everyone else struggled into town and we all headed to the Circle Up CG for the night. The CG is pretty nice, good showers and facilities. This though, is the first time I had to pay for a shower.

The scenery is definitely changing from the high plateau desert to mountains in a hurry. The weather stayed cool, about 50 degrees all day. We'll probably have cooler weather until we get into the high desert in Eastern Oregon. The cooler weather and drier air has been a welcome change from the heat of the plains.

Bed time 9pm, and it is cold . Brrrrrr.

[Author's Note:] - Taking a ride because I was tired was not an option for me, I never once considered taking a ride. Everyone has to do what best for themselves, someone else taking a ride is not my concern.

        
        

Day 57: Dubois to Moran Jct. KOA - Togwotee Pass and the Tetons

Saturday July 12, 1986, 51 miles (82 km) - Total so far: 2,938 miles (4,728 km)

                

Togwotee Pass 9,658' - Continental Divide

The night was damn cold, 27 degrees as I found out in the café. I got up early to try once again to beat the winds. Everyone else was up early and we all ate together for a change. I guess everyone was worried about the climb over Togwotee Pass.

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On the climb up to 9,658' and Togwotee Pass

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As we all departed the winds seemed pretty light, probably because we were finally in the trees again. The route traveled all up for 31 miles to the top of the pass. Togwotee Pass is the second highest pass on the Trans America Trail at 9,658'. Climbing was pretty easy except for the last 5 miles. The weather was a perfect sunny 30 degrees as we climbed to the pass. I wore just about every article of clothing I was carrying to stay warm. At the top of the pass we all took a break and enjoyed the views and the success of the climb.

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Diane's bike leaning on the sign.... where is Diane? She always made herself invisible when the camera came out. Hey, what's the deal with that fancy seat cover? Can I use that pot for a helmet so I don't get any more lectures?

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At the pass taking in the scenery

Departing the pass it was all downhill to the Moran Junction KOA. We all sped along at a pretty good clip because of the downhill grade and lack on any real headwind. We stopped at Togwotee Lodge for lunch and met up with the Eastbound BC group. It was pretty neat to meet another BC group and see what they look like and hear their stories. I think they are going the wrong way, as I would not want to be looking forward to Kansas, and Kentucky.

Continuing west to Moran Junction the Teton Range has come into full view. What a spectacular view while riding towards them. I'd rank this the best scenery of the trip so far.

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The Tetons come into view for the first time... Awesome!

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WOW!

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Clay and Diane trying to get away.... Don't worry, I'll pass you shortly.

(click on the picture to enlarge it. You can see Clay and Diane)

Tonight's accommodations are at the KOA. The place was loud with too many little brat kids running around. I don't really care for kids. After dinner we all sat around drinking Henry Weinhard's beer and looking at the Tetons. Awesome day on the TA!

[Author's Note:] - This was one of my favorite riding days on the journey. The scenery was amazing, and it still gives me chills thinking about the moment the Tetons first came into view. The next few days the pictures are unbelievable. ~~

        
        

Day 58: Moran Jct KOA to Jackson - Teton National Park

Sunday July 13, 1986, 50 miles (80 km) - Total so far: 2,988 miles (4,809 km)

                

Teton National Park

The night was again cold, under 30 degrees. I climbed out of the tent pretty early and found frost on my bike. I took a 15 minute shower to thaw out before heading out. Most of the BC gang was also up, as everyone was excited to get into the Teton National Park today.

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Early morning at the East entrance to Teton National Park

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Awesome views!

I headed out on my own initially and rode slow until Rich, Sheryl caught up. I was taking my time just looking at the scenery. Riding was easy mostly downhill into the National Park with no wind to speak of. The morning weather was little cold but the sun came out and warmed things up by 8am. I rode with Rich and Sheryl most of the morning, we took out time stopping just too take in the views and some pictures. I got some great shots of me with the Tetons in the background. It was great to ride with Rich and Sheryl for a change, as I haven't for a long time because of their pace.

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The signature picture

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Action shot

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Enough pictures already... hey, where you going?

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Rich and Sheryl up ahead

Finally the rest of the gang showed up and we headed to Signal Mountain area and ate breakfast at the lodge restaurant. The restaurant had some big windows with awesome views of the Teton Mountains. I had some big huge Belgian waffles covered with jelly, syrup and whipped cream. We all departed south toward Jackson on the Jenny Lake Loop.

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Nice!

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I stopped many times with Fred and Gene to take pictures while on the Jenny Lake Loop. The road goes right up to the mountains for some impressive views. The Teton Mountains just rise up out of the ground and go straight up, I've never seen anything like it. The low lying area to the east is called Jackson Hole. We all arrived in Jackson about 1pm and headed to a campground just out of town.

Jackson is a neat little town like Breckenridge only larger. After getting camp setup Clay, Diane, Fred and I went into town to check things out. We stopped in at the Cowboy Bar and had something to eat a few cold ones. You sit at the bar in saddles, we all sat there joking about the them. Fred was the funniest sitting there and Clay zeroed on him for the target of harassment. All Fred needed was a cowboy hat and he was all set. Also in the bar, the actual bar itself are about 2,000 1921 silver dollars. They are all inset in the bar in a circle pattern. Jackson was also the setting for the Clint Eastwood movie "Any Which Way You Can".

Tomorrow do some laundry, sightseeing and hanging out in town.

[Author's Note:] - The Teton National Park is AWESOME. This is another day I remember like it was yesterday. Great riding, great scenery, and a great time with friends. More awesome pictures tomorrow.~

        
        

Day 59: Jackson to Jackson - The "Coach"

Monday July 14, 1986

                
Sleeping overnight was warm for a change. I slept in until 7:45 am this morning. The weather was a perfect 60 degrees and sunny as I got going. I left for town to get some breakfast and I ran into Gene, and the guys from Texas. We all went to Bubba's restaurant together and had a pretty good time catching up. Upon leaving the restaurant a little kid came up to Gene and asked him if he was the Coach of all of us. "The Coach"? Gene didn't know what to say. One of the Texas guys said he was the US Olympic Cycling Coach and we were doing a training ride across the country. It was all pretty amusing and from then on Gene was called "Coach".

The day was spent goofing around town and I finally got to do some laundry. A few of us hit the cowboy bar again and a couple other places in town. It was a pretty good day not doing much, taking in the sights. Steve and Stewart headed to the Teton Village so I'll probably see them up the road.

Fred is talking about going to Cody Wyoming to see a rodeo or something. I'm not sure if he is serious or not yet, it's far off route.

I mailed home a bunch of stuff, maps, film and other crap. I also called to check in with the family today. Tomorrow it's up to Colter Bay, only about 45 miles away.

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Day 60: Jackson to Colter Bay - Hidden Falls

Tuesday July 15, 1986, 42 miles (68 km) - Total so far: 3,030 miles (4,876 km)

                
The morning was cold but the sun warmed things up in a quickly. I was in no hurry as Colter Bay is only about 40 miles away. Gene and I took our time eating and savoring the last minutes in Jackson. The ride North out of Jackson is all uphill out of Jackson Hole. I rode the Jenny Lake loop again to see the Tetons up close one more time. There was no traffic on the Jenny Lake loop, and good thing because I was going the wrong way on a one way road. The loop did have a nice shoulder and the speed limit was only 35 so it really wouldn't have been a problem.

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I stopped many times just to take in the views. At Jenny Lake I took my time goofing around and then decided to take a 6 mile hike up to hidden falls. The hike went around Jenny Lake then up into the Teton Mountains. At the falls there was a group doing mountaineering training, and I listened in for a while. Someone also said a bear was in the area, so I was careful returning on the trail. Once back at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station I took a few pictures and sat around for awhile before departing for Colter Bay.

I rode on up to Colter Bay just as a huge storm was blowing in. Gene waved me down and offered to let me sleep in the cabin he rented. The cabin was huge with 2 beds and a nice view. I took him up on the offer and pulled my bike right in. After getting cleaned up Gene and I headed to the lodge bar to watch the storm on the mountains. We sat at the bar and Gene drank his usual Jack Daniels Black, and somehow I got talked into sipping Yukon Jack.

The storm blew through pretty fast and then the sun partly returned for a nice evening. The rest of the BC gang took up residence at the campground near by. Gene and I ate in the lodge dinning room and we didn't see the rest of the gang anywhere. After dinner I sat on the porch at the cabin talking with Gene and taking in the views. I walked around a little around 10pm and the night was cold.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day into Yellowstone and old faithful area, about 70 miles. The route will be over Craig's Pass at 8261 and 2 other Continental Divide Passes. I'd like to get rolling early before all the RV idiots are on the road.

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Lisa and Me at Hidden Falls a couple years ago

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Day 61: Colter Bay to Old Faithful - Hail to the Victors

Wednesday July 16, 1986, 68 miles (109 km) - Total so far: 3,098 miles (4,986 km)

                

Yellowstone National Park

Craig Pass 8,261'

The morning was pretty cold, and I'm glad Gene invited me to stay in his cabin last night. We grabbed some quick breakfast and headed north to Old Faithful in Yellowstone. We departed to a very colorful sunrise reflecting off the clouds and mountains. The road was not too bad and traffic was light until we reached Yellowstone.

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Early morning departure from Teton NP

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Note the Elk in the picture.

Around 11am it started to rain off and on and the wind picked up. We crossed the first 2 continental divides in rainy, sunny, rainy conditions. The weather couldn't decide what it wanted to do. After the second continental divide the traffic was getting heavy and I could see a storm blowing in from the west. The temperature was dropping when Gene and I decided we better get to the snow lodge before things got worse.

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Yellowstone south entrance

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1 of 3 Continental Divides before Old Faithful

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2 of 3 continental divides before Old Faithful

By the time we reached the top of Craig Pass a massive storm hit, hail and freezing rain. I had my full rain suite on but I was still freezing. It was too dangerous to ride during the hail so we took shelter under a little roof covering the sign on top of Craig Pass. Gene and I watched hail balls bounce off the roadway, we looked at each other and laughed. The hail finally ended and the freezing rain took over, covering the road with 3 inches of slush.

While taking cover a Japanese tour group stopped to take pictures of the sign, the one we were taking cover under. When the tourists came off the bus to take a picture Gene and I went to the other side of the sign as not to ruin the picture. When we went to the other side of the sign they would motion to us to move back in front to be in the picture. It seems that they wanted us to be in the pictures, and I'm not sure why.

The storm passed and Gene and I departed Craig Pass cautiously downhill to old Faithful Area. The slush was about 3 to 4 inches thick and it felt weird to be in this storm. I was freezing cold as we descended down the pass, and my fingers were numb. We arrived at the snow lodge wet, cold and glad to be staying indoors. The snow Lodge was pretty nice for only $29.

Tomorrow will be a day off here to checkout the sights. I think Fred went to Cody today and he'll meet up with us here tomorrow.

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Me at Yellowstone Lake a couple years ago.

        
        

Day 62: Old Faithful - Rest Day

Thursday July 17, 1986

                
I slept all the way in until 7am when Gene and I went for breakfast downstairs. The weather was perfect 75 degrees and sunny. I spent most of the morning walking around looking at the thermal features in the Old Faithful area. The crowds are pretty heavy with everyone coming to see the Old Faithful Geyser.

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Ye Old' Faithful

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ditto

After lunch I sat on the veranda at the Old Faithful Inn, drinking a few beers and watching the Geyser. Clay, Diane and Gene also joined me for much of the afternoon. I didn't do much walking around in the afternoon because of too many tourists and kids, what a pain in the ass.

Tomorrow I'll be in Montana and Missoula in 7 days or so. I'll be glad to leave the tourist and RV haven of Yellowstone NP.

Not much else to report on a rest day.

[Author's Note:] - I didn't record if Fred returned from Cody or not, and I can't remember when he did. Fred, do you remember?

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This and all the pictures below are in the Old Faithful Area and were taken on our trip in Sept 04

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Thats me outside the Old Faithful Inn and the veranda I sat on most of the afternoon in 1986.

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the Inn. Lisa was freaked out by the red door. No big deal, my first house had a red door.


Montana

        
        

Day 63: Old Faithful to Quake Lake Montana - Big Sky Country

Friday July 18, 1986, 61 miles (98 km) - Total so far: 3,159 miles (5,084 km)

                

Montana

Gene and I were up at 6am so we went downstairs to the restaurant to eat breakfast. The morning was cold so I wore pants and a long sleeve shirt. When we were getting ready to depart the rest of the BC gang showed up for breakfast. Clay was carrying his purse as usual. Clay carries his handlebar bag everywhere he goes, I think he is surgically attached to it. It is hilarious to see Clay walking around in his blue shoes carrying his handlebar bag. (Sorry Clay, this is what I wrote in 1986 ha ha ha)

We departed and headed toward Norris Geyser basin and the west exit at West Yellowstone. The sun flickered on and off until 9am when the rain started. The rain was just a sprinkle so it didn't really bother me at all. What did bother me was the 30 something degree temperatures. I wore socks on my hands to keep them warm.

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The route was mostly downhill all the way to Montana. We finally reached West Yellowstone and went to a café to warm up for an hour or so. I finally did some laundry in West Yellowstone and it felt good to have clean stuff again. The ride into Montana and the Quake Lake area was tough riding into the wind. Gene and I arrived at the Slide Inn Campground right when a storm hit. The wind picked up and freezing rain fell for about an hour or so while we waited under cover.

Once the storm passed through the sun came out and it was a perfect warm day. It is amazing how quickly the weather changes out here. Gene and I got camp setup and the rest of the BC group finally rolled in.

I guess tempers are heating up once again in the BC group. I'm still not sure what is the problem people are having, and I try to stay out of it. Gene isolates himself from everything and is pretty flexible, from what I can tell. Sometimes the conditions can play tricks on you out here, and you have a lot of time to just "think". Everyday I can keep riding is a pretty darn good day and I've been having a great time.

Why do I keep writing this garbage? I won't care about this stuff once I'm back in college.

P.S. only 27 days left.

[Author's Note:] - I'm already thinking about when I have to go home. At this point I always had a metal note of "how many more days I had left" until Portland. Somewhere along the way I calculated when I'd be in Portland and purchased a plane ticket to Detroit.

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Norris Geyser Basin from my 04 Yellowstone Trip

(this and all pictures below are from 2004 trip)

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Day 64: Quake Lake to Virginia City - Party Time

Saturday July 19, 1986, 58 miles (93 km) - Total so far: 3,217 miles (5,177 km)

                
The night was pretty cold, 29 degrees as I'm told. I crawled out of sack to frost on the tent and my bike. I wore just about every article of clothing I was carrying this morning. I left camp at 7:30am and met up with Steve and Stew at the City Café.

Riding was very cold until the sun came into view starting to warm things up nicely. The route was mostly downhill until Ennis with very light traffic. We took our time today, stopping to take pictures and take it easy. The guys from Texas seem to have a much slower riding pace than I'm used to. After Ennis there was a 10 mile grade that took a little time and then a 5 mile downhill right into Virginia City.

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Madison Range looking East

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We all pulled into Virginia City and immediately looked for something to eat. The Texas guys found a trailer selling Mexican food so we stopped for lunch. We all got out lunch and sat down on the picnic table to watch the tourists. While eating lunch, 2 girls, (Stacey and Jenny) working in the city for the summer joined us at the table. We then spotted a Japanese guy fully loaded, and we waved him over to see where he was going, etc, etc. His name is Shinobu Nakamura, and he is riding around the world. He had all kinds of stuff on his bike, and we took a few moments looking at each others bikes. I had Stew take a picture of us before he departed.

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Shinobu Nakamura from Japan, riding around the world. I could have used Lisa's help here communicating.

After a couple hours hanging around town with Stacey and Jenny they invited us to stay in their apartment for the night. We got cleaned up and headed out on the town for the evening. While out on the town I reached into my pocket and pulled out a bunch of phone numbers, from the girls in Carbondale Illinois, this was the first time I wore my jeans since then. We spent most of the night going from apartment to apartment partying college style. The night was very entertaining we all had a great time staying up late, drinking way too many beers.

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Stacey, Steve, Stewart, Jenny (on the floor), and Me

The sweatshirt is an airbrush of the route the Texas guys are following

        
        

Day 65: Virginia City to Dillon - A hang-over of a day

Sunday July 20, 1986, 58 miles (93 km) - Total so far: 3,275 miles (5,271 km)

                
We (Steve, Stew and I) woke up late, 8am after only a few hours sleep. We went out to breakfast with Jenny, Sue and Lil to the local place. Of course the girls knew everyone in the café and they wouldn't take our money. We sat around the café until 9:45 am because we weren't much interested in riding any distance.

Most of the girls went to University of Montana in Missoula and were on summer break. They knew some friends in Missoula that were renting a big house for summer semester and said they'd call ahead and tell them we were coming. Cool, I guess we are hooked-up in Missoula and some of the girls planned on driving up to hang out with us.

Well we had a good time in Virginia City, we made some new friends, got a hook-up in Missoula.... but it was time to roll. Steve, Stewart and I slowly rolled out of V.C., all with hangovers and shaky legs. We had a slight headwind so we rode in a pace line initially, but being sandwiched between two hung over Texans made me nervous. Exactly 14 miles out of town on a steep grade Stewart and I both broke spokes at EXACTLY the same time. I heard a big loud BING and then Stew said ahhhhh, guess what? I said ditto.

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Stewart making way... Slowly making way...

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Steve from Texas, I mean Flash, because he was only slightly faster than Stewart....

We couldn't believe our luck, 2 broken spokes, 2 different bikes, exact same moment. I got my freewheel off and spoke changed before Stewart had his rear wheel off his bike. Stewart had trouble with his freewheel and we couldn't budge it, even with my wrench. We were at the end of somebody's driveway and right at that moment the owner drove up and asked if we needed any tools. I asked if they had a big vice, he did, so we walked our junk up the driveway to the garage. I took over the operation from the two amateur Texans because they didn't understand how I was going to use the vice. I used the wheel for leverage by putting the cog tool in the vice, clamping the wheel on the cog tool with the skewer and turning the wheel counter-clockwise (old bike shop trick). Bingo the freewheel was loose and I quickly got everything back in working order. We finally departed after 2 hours of goofing around with Stewart's bike.

We finally reached Dillon at 4:30pm and headed right for the Mexican place to eat. I guess riding with 2 guys from Texas means eating a lot of Mexican food. After getting the much need food and water we setup camp in the KOA for $3.50 each. We also camped with the BC group and the US West BC group. We all sat around the evening telling stories of the road.

It was a pretty good day, even with a hangover and the broken spokes.

[Author's Note:] - I can remember this day like it was 20 minutes ago. I can still picture us 3 guys on the side of the road laughing and joking trying to get that freewheel off Stewart's wheel.

        
        

Day 66: Dillon to Wisdom - Side trip to Bannack

Monday July 21, 1986, 75 miles (121 km) - Total so far: 3,350 miles (5,391 km)

                
We left camp (Steve, Stewart, Gene and I) and hit the restaurant before the rest of the BC group was even up. After an entertaining time at breakfast we departed together. The route traveled over 2 mountain passes, Badger Pass 6,760' and Big Hole Pass 7,360', so we got rolling. The terrain wasn't too bad and the passes seemed like a bump in the road compared to what we've been over already.

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The Coach on the open road

On the descent a few miles past Badger Pass we turned off on a dirt road and headed to Bannack, and official ghost town. Bannack is Montana's first territorial capital. The route also follows the early stage coach trail that linked Bannack and Virginia City. We took the dirt road for 4 miles, eating each others dust before finally arriving in the ghost town. We took a couple hours wandering around town taking our time seeing the sights and taking pictures. The rest of the BC group finally showed up and we all took a break under some nice shade trees.

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The streets of Bannack

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Rich and Sheryl under the tree in Bannack

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We departed Bannack under perfectly sunny skies and increasing temperatures. I can see snow capped mountains off in the distance as I ride again today. The scenery has been pretty good for the last week or so. We arrived in Jackson and the Texas guys talked me into going on to Wisdom. Wisdom was 18 more miles but worth the extra effort on a day without any headwind. Steve, Stewart, Gene and myself pulled into town at 4:30pm.

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We camped in the American Legion Park just out of town. The camp area was nothing but a field with no shade or cover. The afternoon was blistering hot and the camp was mosquito infested. We all ended up wearing our rain gear while setting up camp because the mosquitoes were so thick. We didn't do much, just sitting around have a few beers in town.

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Wisdom Montana, 100 degrees and 100% mosquitoes

Steve and Stewart from Houston Texas

Steve, Stewart and I are going to make a run to Missoula tomorrow, about 125 miles away. We are going to spend a couple or three days sightseeing with the girls we met in Virginia City. Gene said he might come along just for the extra day off in town. The BC group is scheduled to be there in Missoula in 2 days. I'll probably meet back up with the gang in a few days then continue the TA. The guys from Texas want me go north from Missoula with them, up to Glacier, and then to Canadian Rockies. I'm seriously thinking about going, but I'm going to have to check my money and time situation. I need to be back home for registration of classes or I'll be out of luck.

        
        

Day 67: Wisdom to Missoula - The Coup deta

Tuesday July 22, 1986, 122 miles (196 km) - Total so far: 3,472 miles (5,588 km)

                

Chief Joseph Pass 7,241'

Lost Trail Pass 5,233'

We were all up early and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. The weather was absolutely perfect so we didn't dilly dally during breakfast. We planned on going all the way to Missoula, about 125 miles so we needed plenty of time. The day started out pretty good, climbing up to Chief Joseph Pass and 7,241.

While we were riding up the pass, Steve pulled out a stereo system, one speaker in front, one speaker in the rear. A ZZ Top tape was jamming on the stereo system as we slowly made our way up the pass. (who needs ipod?) Steve and Stewart were carrying so much stuff you wouldn't believe it. I think these guys have almost double the gear I'm carrying, maybe that's why they are slow. Steve has a big wind sock dandling behind his bike. They have heavy bikes, full thermarests, a stereo system, a gun, kitchen sink the works.

We finally made it to the top of the pass and stopped for a break and pictures. While at the pass Rich and Sheryl showed up. I was pretty surprised to see them, early in the morning and ahead of everyone else. Last night I guess there was an attempted coup in the BC group. I didn't camp with the BC group last night so I'm not sure what happened.

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The infamous Chief Joseph Pass

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Gene was cursing the pass because it was so long and tough.

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The "bandits"........and that's Steve with the babushka.

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Rich, dude, put some clothes on please!

We all departed Chief Joseph Pass and headed down an awesome descent, the best of the trip. The guys from Texas descended fast and crazy, and I was right behind them. These guys are flat out nuts on the downhill. At the bottom of the descent we entered Idaho for about 50 yards then right back into Montana climbing up to 5,233' Lost Trail Pass.

We stopped at a place for lunch along the road, and spent a couple hours relaxing. We were all getting ready to depart when Clay and the rest of the gang all rolled up. An argument ensued, and words were exchanged between Rich, Sheryl and Clay. Rich and Sheryl indicated that they were riding on to Missoula, and that they were done with the group. Clay then asked me what I had to do with the situation. I kinda got stuck in the middle of it when Rich and Sheryl caught up to me on the top of the pass. I really hoped that cooler heads would prevail, that they would change their minds and not go on to Missoula.

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I departed for Missoula with Steve, Stewart, Gene, Rich and Sheryl. The grade was downhill most of the way to Missoula and the traffic was light. Along the way Gene told me he also is leaving the group in Missoula and those were his intentions all along. I'm not sure what's going to happen to the BC group in Missoula.

It was a long day getting into Missoula but it was a great feeling when I arrived. Steve, Stewart and I stayed in the hostel for $4.50. Gene, Rich and Sheryl stayed in a motel down the street. Gene met Steve, Stew and myself at Godfathers Pizza for all you can eat. I made plans to meet up with Gene tomorrow and say goodbye. I'm really going to miss Gene, we had some great times on the road. Now, I'll have to figure out what I'll be doing in the coming days.

[Author's Note:] - I hated to see this happen to the BC group, and I still to this day, don't know why Rich and Sheryl were so upset with the situation.

                
                

Note: Thumbnail and Slideshow features

                        
To see a Thumbnail of all the pictures click "thumbnails" in the menu at the top. To see a full screen Slideshow, click "slideshow" in the menu bar at the top. These are excellent new features just added to the website.
        
        

Day 68: Missoula to 520 South - "Get a List and Keep Planning"

Thursday July 24, 1986

                
I slept in until 8am today, a little tired from yesterday. Sleeping in a bed was nice for a change. I headed out for breakfast with Steve and Stew then we hit a much needed laundry place. It's been a few days since I've had clean clothes so I washed everything possible. After the laundry was done I headed over to the BC office to check it out, and meet up with Gene.

Coach (Gene) is leaving the group and taking a direct route by himself to complete the coast to coast journey. I try to dissuade him from leaving, just like he did for me way back in the east. I used all the same rationalizations he used on me to try to get him to change his mind. I didn't want him to leave, but he had his mind made up he was going alone to Seattle. We laughed at how things have changed, and he made me promise I'd finish the journey I started 67 days ago. We said goodbye for the last time, and I watched him pedal off in the distance.

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The Coach visits the Cookie lady

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The Coach entering the Rockies

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Gene, clowning around as usual

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I can hear Gene shouting "Get a List and Keep Planning!"

Gene never really explained to me why he wanted to leave, I think he had enough of everything and was ready for it to end. He decided to take the direct, quickest route to Seattle and cut off 2 weeks from the trip. I'll really miss The Coach, we rode many miles and experienced the best of times together on the road. Gene and I talked about all kinds of things over the last 67 days, mostly about travel, and how to live a great life. Gene has a list of things he wanted to do before he died, but he never would tell me the things on the list. Many times while we rode together, Gene would just blurt out "get a list together and keep planning". I always had some plan or some crazy idea we discussed when there was nothing better to talk about. We had some great conversations and he made me realize I should be thinking BIG, just like the Trans America Trail.

Now that Gene is leaving and the BC group is breaking apart I'm going to be on my own unless I go with the Texas guys north to Glacier. I met back up the Steve and Stew and we headed to 520 South, to see what kind of hook-up we had. We arrived at 520 South and Jenny, Mary Kay, Mary Beth, Mary H., and Mary B. It was funny because the only name I needed to remember was "Mary". They were anxiously awaiting our arrival and had a big party that evening for us... ok, the party was actually their graduation party. We helped out getting everything ready, including picking up the ½ barrel keg of beer. This was the first time I rode in a car in 68 days and it felt very strange, like vertigo almost.

The party went on to the wee hours of 4am, at which time Stew passed out on the washer and dryer. I found a place on the floor and crashed with a bunch of other people. It was one hell of a night......

[Author's Note:] - Most of my adult life has been influenced by Gene and the conversations we had during those 66 days in 1986. I do have a list and it is private, just like Gene told me it should be. I haven't talked to Gene or heard from him in many years, he is always off on some adventure in a remote part of the world.

        
        

Day 69: 520 South to 520 South - Sightseeing around Missoula

Thursday July 24, 1986

                
After the party last night I was in no condition to go anywhere on a bike. We all slept in until 9am when we were awakened by Mary H. cooking French toast. People were lying all over the place, casualties of the party last night. Stewart pulled himself off the washer and dryer and stumbled his way into the kitchen. Everyone had a good laugh at his appliance hair, and on his forehead it said "Kenmore" in backwards letters. After breakfast we laid around for a couple hours recovering from the festivities. Mary Kay took me on a tour of the city in her car. We stopped by a travel agent and I purchased my plane ticket for August 14th, departing Portland for Detroit. I made my decision I'd complete the Trans America Trail in Astoria and then ride into Portland to fly home. I decided not to go north to Glacier with Steve and Stew, I just didn't have the time and money.

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Mary Kay getting loaded up for her return to Seattle.

While leaving the travel agent I seen Clay couple blocks away and I ran after him. He wasn't sure what and who will be left of his BC group. He said Fred flew home to take care of some urgent business and he'd be back shortly. Sheryl has decided to leave the group and her plans are unknown, and Rich was unsure what he was doing. I wanted to make sure Clay didn't think I was part of that mess a couple of days ago. Clay said he should have had me complete a BC group evaluation, since I was more of a group member then some of the members. Clay told me where they were staying and their potential itinerary, so maybe we'll see each other down the road. Incase I didn't see him again we shook hands and I thanked him for everything.

After talking with Clay, Mary Kay and I drove around see the sights before returning to 520 South. She talked me into staying another night and hanging out with everyone. We sat around all night playing cards, Hearts, which I'm the king of by the way (thanks to mom). I told the guys I'd be going alone on the final leg on the Trans Am. I just didn't have the money or time to go with them.

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Steve from Houston TX, checking his afterburner at 520 South

Being here is Missoula is bittersweet, Gene was on his way home, the rest of the gang was in turmoil.... but I also had a great time at 520 South with the girls and the Texans. I made the decision to leave Missoula tomorrow and head into Idaho on my own. A decision I might regret?

[Author's Note:] - I did question my decision, was I right or wrong? Keep reading to find out. I guess I did log where I purchased my plane ticket, here in Missoula.


Idaho

        
        

Day 70: 520 South to Lowell Idaho - On my own for the first time since Yorktown

Friday July 25, 1986, 130 miles (209 km) - Total so far: 3,602 miles (5,797 km)

                

Idaho

Lolo Summit 5,235'

I woke up at 6am and reluctantly got ready to get back on the road again. I didn't feel very enthusiastic about riding without my friends. Mary Kay got up early to say goodbye and tried talking me into staying another day. She cooked some breakfast while I said goodbye to Steve and Stew. I had to wake the bums up just to say goodbye, ha ha. It was really hard leaving everyone and I was mad that I had to do it. I've had some great times with everyone, not only here at 520 South but with everyone in the BC group as well. It felt like day 1 all over again in Yorktown.

I said my final goodbye to Mary Kay in the driveway and rode off alone. I got down the street towards malfunction junction and looked back. I left Missoula on my own and headed into Idaho and the road unknown. It felt weird not having anyone to ride with and talk to, but I got used to it real quick. As I pedaled into Idaho I started remembering all the fun times I had with everyone, with Gene riding in the early morning, having a beer with Clay and Diane, my nightly de-briefings with Brother Fred, the camaraderie of riding with Steve and Stew, the fun with all the UM girls.

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Top of Lolo Summit, and into Idaho

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it says bicycles should stay off the road

Finally, I rode up over Lolo Summit 5,235' into Idaho then a nice decent into the Lochsa River area. The riding was pretty good with a downhill grade most of the day. For the first day I didn't have any plans on where I was camping tonight. I just rode out and made it up as I went along today. I stopped at a lodge along the Lochsa River and had the "Lochsa Burger" with fries. Everyone in the lodge was staring at me like I was from Mars or something. I stopped at a campground but there were no showers so I pressed on another 25 miles to Lowell.

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Looking west from Lolo Summit

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Idaho

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Lochsa River

I got into Lowell at 7:30pm, after 130 miles of riding. I pulled into the private campground and got setup. The owner said the restaurant was open until 10, so I got a 16oz beer and sat in camp relaxing. I felt really weird having a beer without the beer gang, and all the joking around that went with it. Nobody in the campground seemed interested in talking to me so I got some food and hit the sack.

        
        

Day 71: Lowell to Riggins - Join the parade

Saturday July 26, 1986, 100 miles (161 km) - Total so far: 3,702 miles (5,958 km)

                
I got up and hit the campground restaurant for breakfast. I ate in a hurry and then got packed up to get on the road ahead of the trucks. The weather was very nice, sunny and warm, 85 degrees. I breezed along on good conditions up to Kooskia. When I arrived in Kooskia a parade was in progress and I was in the tail end of it.

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Idaho scenery

The Kooskia days is a summer time festival/carnival just like the Pickerel Tournament at home. I ended up being in the parade with my bike. The road was closed for the parade but someone directing traffic asked me if I wanted to be in the parade. I did some housekeeping on my bike and put up my American flag I was carrying from Flag Day and was directed into the procession. The director sent word to the announcer that I rode all the way from Virginia, and it was announced as I brought up the rear. Everyone was cheering and clapping as I rode by, it was pretty neat to be part of their summer celebration. (I wish I had pictures of me in the parade)

After the parade I took some time in town to relax and eat some lunch. Many people came up to me and asked the usual 20 questions. I enjoyed talking to someone for a change, so I joked around and had a good time with everyone. Someone bought me some lunch, good old' fashioned carnival food. It seems like this was the first time I talked to anybody in weeks, but in reality it's only been couple of days. I was warned of the killer climb to the west.

The climb out of Kooskia was just a warm up for Whitebird Hill. The climb up Whitebird was a long, hard killer that burned my legs to the maximum. I've still not walked any hills and I'm not planning to start. The payoff to the climb was an awesome 7% downhill for 9 miles. I flew down the backside like I had wings, using some of the aerodynamics I learned from the crazy Texans, Steve and Stew. Once I got to Whitebird things didn't look very interesting so I went on the Riggins making the day 100 miles.

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Whitebird Hill

[Author's Note:] - It sure would have been helpful to have an elevation chart of the route back then, not just the un-readable isobars on the maps. Does the current ACA Trans America maps have elevation charts? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

        
        

Day 72: Riggins to Riggins - Salmon River float trip

Sunday July 27, 1986

                
Riding hard the last 2 days was enough for me to take a rest day. Besides, I got a free raft trip from a guide I met last night in the bar. He offered me a trip because things were slow and sometimes it helps to even out the paddlers. I was kinda worried about my stuff, (my wallet and camera) but the girl at the outfitter took care of it in the office for me. The raft trip was 2.5 hours on the Salmon River. The river was pretty lame but it was a nice time goofing around on the water, especially for free.

The weather was a perfect 82 degrees and sunny today, after the raft trip I sat in the bar and watched some baseball on TV. I haven't seen hardly any baseball in 2 months, and I've been wondering about the Tigers. (yeah baby, the TIGERS, best team in baseball right now!) The rest of the day I just walked around a little bit and just relaxed with nobody really to talk to or much to do here in Riggins.

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I've been pretty bored since Missoula, maybe I should have rode with Clay and the rest of the survivors from the Missoula Massacre. I guess Rich and Sheryl went home, so that leaves just Fred, Diane, Clay. That would have been a fun small group to be part of. I wonder who is carrying all the group gear? It probably got ditched in Missoula.

[Author's Note:] - I was wrong about Rich and Sheryl as noted above. Stay tuned for more on them.

        
        

Day 73: Riggins to Hells Canyon - Idaho Oregon state line

Monday July 28, 1986, 112 miles (180 km) - Total so far: 3,814 miles (6,138 km)

                
I got up late this morning, 8am and got packed up and hit the café by 9am. I not used to sleeping in this late, and with nobody shaking my tent sometimes I have no motivation to get up. The morning weather was sunny and hot once again, and I probably should have gotten up early. I ate some fast breakfast and rolled out by 9:15am.

The route was mostly uphill and against the wind until New Meadows. I rode by myself most of the day until a caught up to 3 from Georgia going West. They were stopping in Cambridge but I pushed on to Hells Canyon. I reached the canyon at about 8:30pm and descended into the gorge. The gorge was extremely hot, even for late in the evening, I guess that's why it's called 'Hells Canyon'. I reached the campground and met up with a Dutchman riding the TA. Camping was a dollar and the showers were good so it worked out good.

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Hot Baby, Hot!

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The canyon

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The day was pretty tough and long, 112 miles. Traffic and roads were pretty good and traffic was light so I had no problems with the long day.

I spent some time today thinking about my decision to go alone the last leg of the Trans America Trail. I've been wondering what Clay and the remaining gang is up to and where they are. I probably should have rolled out of Missoula with them, it's pretty boring alone on the trail. I really wish I had the time and money to go with Steve and Stew, because Glacier and Canadian Rockies would have been awesome.

Tomorrow I'm planning on getting to Baker Oregon, about 85 miles away. I'll have some climbing to do once I leave Hells Canyon.

[Author's Note:] - Sorry about the delay in posting, but my job is getting in the way of me having fun. Also, it's really hard to believe I will only pedal 805 more miles.


Oregon - 10th and Final State

        
        

Day 74: Hells Canyon to Baker City - One Hell of a day

Tuesday July 29, 1986, 82 miles (132 km) - Total so far: 3,896 miles (6,270 km)

                

Oregon

I woke up late again today, damn it, I hate when that happens on a sunny, warm day. I rolled out of the sack from a sound sleep at 9am. The sun was already on the side of the canyon and a light wind was blowing.

Henk, the Dutch guys was already gone, thanks for waking me up .. The route was mostly uphill, and a nice climb right off the bat from the canyon floor into Oregon. The sun was extremely hot and the wind was blowing right in my face all day. Road construction was a real pain in the ass, and I was tired of the dusty conditions. I stopped many times for rest, and I just couldn't seem to find my cruising rhythm. The ride was pretty much up hill all the way to the top of Flagstaff Hill, 4,700'. The downhill part of Flagstaff Hill to Baker was a disappointing slight to none. My riding speed today was about 9mph, about half speed I used to ride with the Coach.

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Eastern Oregon

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I suffered most of the day, and this was one of the toughest days of the journey. These high mile days and heat are really starting to wear me out. My tired body is telling me to slow down. I start taking some lower mileage days soon, but well see.

I'm camped in the Mountain View CG which has a nice hiker/biker area and showers for $3.50 a night. Nobody seemed interested in talking so I'm just drinking a beer on my own and writing this log entry.

Thank God Today is OVER. Today is the 10th and final state, Oregon.

[Author's Note:] - This was one of the toughest days on the whole TA for me. I really had zero energy most of the day, and the uphill, against the wind conditions were brutal.

                
                

Stayin' Cool - Michigan Style

                        
07/28/06 Last night Lisa and I cooled off.... in the middle channel of the St. Clair River. The St. Clair River is part of the Great Lakes Seaway, connecting Lakes Huron and Erie.

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Cooling off on a 90+ degree night

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Sunset over the St. Clair Flats

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Dickenson Island to the right, in the St. Clair Flats

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Sweeeet!

        
        

Day 75: Baker City to Mount Vernon - Hot, headwind kinda day

Wednesday July 30, 1986, 89 miles (143 km) - Total so far: 3,985 miles (6,413 km)

                

Summit 4,500'

Summit 4,900'

Summit Tipton 5,124'

Dixie Summit 5,277'

The Weather was hot and sunny, just like the past month. I got up late again, I guess I'm getting lazy without nobody to ride with. I got packed up in about 15 minutes and headed to the Red, White and Blue Café. I had pancakes for $1 and coffee for 10 cents. I took my time eating because I decided I need to go to the bank and post office when they opened.

I finally departed to a roller coaster ride with light traffic. The route took me over 4 summits today, 4,500' summit, 4,900' summit, Tipton Summit 5,124' and Dixie Summit 5,277'. The 8 miles up Dixie Summit was brutal in the heat and was heavy with truck traffic. The wind was directly in my face most of the day. I planned on camping in John Day but the park was trashed so I wasn't interested in staying. Near Mount Vernon Clyde Holliday state Park has hiker biker area so I rode on. The SP was nice, good camping, showers and only 1 mile from town.

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My bike and gear has held up pretty well, no major problems since Stew and I broke spokes in Montana. The rear tire is starting to show threads and will probably not last long. I might swap it out with my folding tire because I don't have the money for a new one and I'm not far from the Astoria. My right hand has some serious nerve damage, I can't use the last 3 fingers on my right hand and I can barely hold a fork.

I'm planning on being at the Pacific Coast in 7 days, and this trip is quickly coming to a conclusion. Yorktown seems like so long ago now. In fact everything in the east seems such a long time since I was there. I still remember how nervous I was on day 1 and now I'm almost done with the Trans Am Trail. I getting excited to get to the ocean, but also means the end of the road soon.

Today was another high mileage day in hot, sunny weather. I forgot I was trying to slow down. I have 2 weeks to get to Portland.

[Author's Note:] - only 634 more miles left in the journey.

        
        

Day 76: Mount Vernon to Mitchell - Another late start...

Thursday July 31, 1986, 63 miles (101 km) - Total so far: 4,048 miles (6,515 km)

                

Keyes Creek Summit 4,357'

The day was hot and sunny, so what else is new. I got another late start again, and I'm not sure why I'm so un-motivated to get up. Another late start was bad because of the heat, but I headed off for some breakfast and got rolling a quickly as possible. I had another nice inexpensive breakfast today here in Mount Vernon. It seems breakfast is pretty cheap in this state.

The route traveled downhill 23 miles to Dayville and then started to climb through the Fossil Beds and Picture Gorge up to Keyes Creek Summit at 4,357'. The 8 mile ride up to Keyes Creek Summit was all crushed gravel and road construction. Headwinds and road construction made travel slightly harder than it should have been. The downhill side of the summit was awesome, coasting all the way into Mitchell. The route traveled through rolling sage country just like in Wyoming. The ride was nice and the traffic was light most of the day. I arrived in Mitchell at 4pm and checked into the Oregon AYH Hostel, $6.25 for the night.

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I took this picture taking a shade break during the road construction.

After checking in to the hostel I cleaned up and headed next door to the café for dinner. Not much going on in town here. I'm pretty bored here to say the least.

I wonder where everyone is today? Steve end Stew? Gene? Clay and the remaining gang? I sure I'm days ahead of the BC group after all the high mileage days lately. I haven't passed any cyclists since Hells Canyon. I guess I won't see any until the coast. I'll probably ride hard until the coast then take my time going to Astoria and enjoy the scenery then.

I changed my rear tire and put on the folding spare. The other tire was showing cords and it was ready to wear through. I've still only have 2 flats on the road, so I guess I'm pretty lucky.

        
        

Day 77: Mitchell to Prineville - Central Oregon

Friday August 1, 1986, 47 miles (76 km) - Total so far: 4,095 miles (6,590 km)

                

Ochoco Pass 4,720'

Pacific Coast Countdown - 4 Days

You guessed it, the weather was hot and sunny once again today. I got up early for a change and got on the road after a stop at the local café. I knew the day was going to be tough and the early riding started out all uphill, with a nasty headwind no less. I'm not sure why I'm so lucky to have a headwind everyday?

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Today is yet another mountain pass, Ochoco Pass at elevation 4,720'. The pass has an uphill that just won't quit. Riding otherwise was not too bad and road construction was coming to an end. Finally a short day today, only 47 miles, this got me into Prineville about noon. Once in town I hit one of the local taverns and had a nice cold beer and some lunch. I plan to ride shorter days from now on.

I'm camping in the city park this evening, which will be big fun I'm sure. Today is August 1st and the 77th day on the road. I can't believe I'll be on the Pacific Coast in 4 days (Tuesday). I'm so close to completing the Trans America Trail I can smell it.... Or maybe that is my socks I smell?

Writing in this log book is a bunch of bull, it's always never up to date. Why am I wasting my time writing this?

4 Days to Coast
4,200 Miles Traveled
13 Days to Portland

[Author's Note:]- The last few days have been pretty boring aren't they? Better stuff coming soon. (if anybody is still reading, ha ha)

        
        

Day 78: Prineville to Sisters - A hair cut and the county fair

Saturday August 2, 1986, 40 miles (64 km) - Total so far: 4,135 miles (6,655 km)

                

Coast Countdown 3 Days

The morning was cold sleeping on the picnic table. The cool weather was a surprise as it's been nothing but sweltering hot last month or so. I was excited to ride in so cool weather so I packed up in a hurry and hit Barrs Café for breakfast.

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The morning ride was nice and cool, but the route was mostly uphill and with a headwind all the way to Sisters. As the morning wore on the weather turned to it's normal hot and sunny that I've been used to. The ride went by pretty quick and I got to Sisters at 10am.

I did some sightseeing in the small town and was relaxing on a bench when I met a girl named Gayle. Gayle works at the local hair salon and was just doing some shopping on her day off. We hit it off pretty well and she offered to take me sightseeing around town. We spent an hour or so just sightseeing and talking before she took me to the salon for a hair cut. The salon was closed because it was a Saturday but she opened up and gave me a free cut. I got a fresh hair cut and a bunch of shampoo samples to take on the road.

While in the salon Gayle said she wanted to go to the County fair in Prineville and asked me if I wanted to go. I didn't have much else to do, especially not with any other good looking girls so I enthusiastically agreed. We locked up my bike in the salon and headed to the County Fair in Prineville. The time flew by as we had a great time at the fair. We spent the night in the beer tent listening to the band and enjoying a cold beer.

        
        

Day 79: Sisters to Blue River - McKenzie Pass

Sunday August 3, 1986, 54 miles (87 km) - Total so far: 4,189 miles (6,742 km)

                

McKenzie Pass 5,324'

Coast Countdown - 2 Days

The night was warm and I slept well. I packed up, ate and was rolling by 8am. I'd like to stay another day and hang out with Gayle but I'm ready to get to the coast. Today McKenzie Pass is on the menu, a climb up to 5,324'.

The climb to the pass was gradual and easy, by which I was surprised. I rode through the lava river and vast lava fields before reaching the observatory at the pass. There is lava fields that stretch in every direction, some as far as you can see, it's quite a sight. I met some people at the observatory and they asked me all the usual questions. They couldn't believe I rode all the way from Yorktown Virginia. I hung out at the observatory for an hour or so just soaking up the scenery. I've never seen anything like these lava fields before.

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riding to the top of McKenzie Pass

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Looking south towards the 3 sisters

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Mt Washington

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The observatory at the top of McKenzie Pass

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Looks like Kona? Very similar to aa (pronounced ah-ah) lava in Hawaii. If you've ever tried walking on aa lava, you'd go ah ah ah ah.... because it would tear your feet to shreds in about 1/8 mile. (I know, believe me)

To the south I could see the 3 sisters, they are 3 dormant volcanoes all over 10,000 feet from sea level. To the north I could see Mt. Washington, Mt. Hood and Mt Jefferson. The Pacific Crest Trail also crossed the TA at McKenzie Pass.

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The downhill side of McKenzie headed west

McKenzie Pass was the last major mountain pass of the Trans America Trail. The trip is fast coming to an end. So many miles traveled, it's still hard to believe I will be on the coast in 2 days. I guess, like all great things, it must come to an end sooner or later. The post trip blues are already starting to set in. I made so many good friends on this trip, and I'm afraid I'll probably never see any of them ever again.

[Author's Note:] - I remember this day very well, I remember the feeling I had getting closer and closer to the Pacific Ocean. I was stuck in my own personal Hell, because getting to the Pacific meant the trip would end soon. It's really hard to explain that feeling.

Speaking of Hawaii, enjoy a few pics from 2005...

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Speaking of Kona, me in 2005. Anyone know the actual location?

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Hawaii Volcanos NP, 2005

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Me and Sean, drinking the rail in Kona.

(Sean, this one's for you buddy)

        
        

Day 80: Blue River to Eugene - One day to Pacific Coast

Monday August 4, 1986, 63 miles (101 km) - Total so far: 4,252 miles (6,843 km)

                

Coast Countdown - 1 Day!

The morning was cold when I awoke a 6am. I was looking forward to a nice day of riding into Eugene. I got packed up and headed for the café 9 miles away. I ate slow hoping it would warm up a little. What a change of conditions in the Cascades from the dry, hot high desert of Eastern Oregon.

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I rolled out of the café with perfect sunny weather. The route was downhill (mostly) into Springfield. As the morning wore on the day warmed up to a warm 85 degrees. The ride was pretty good and I rolled into Eugene at noon and pulled into McDonalds for lunch. After lunch I tooled around town checking out the sights and things to do. While goofing around I discovered that camping is no longer allowed in Armitage SP. Bummer deal because that was my designated camping location for the night. Now what?

I sat around town contemplating my options when I met some local cyclists who recommended an inexpensive motel up the road. The locals didn't even care I wasn't wearing the requisite cycling clothes or helmet. They could tell by the condition of my gear and clothes that I've ridden a long way. We ended up talking for an hour or so sitting in the shade.

I finally headed up the road to find the motel. I checked in and they only charged me $19 for the night. I spent the evening in agony thinking about the end of the road. Tomorrow is the big day, I'll be at the coast..... Then what?

        
        

Day 81: Eugene to Florence - COAST to COAST

Tuesday August 5, 1986, 65 miles (105 km) - Total so far: 4,317 miles (6,948 km)

                
Sleeping in the motel was nice with a good bed TV and showers. It felt good to sleep in a real bed for a change, as I've been sleeping on just a ¼" foam backpacker's pad I bought Kentucky somewhere. The morning was cold when I walked across the street to the I.H.O.P at 5am today.

This was the day I was looking forward to for 80 days. I was excited about getting to the coast so I ate quickly and got rolling. I considered today the end of the journey, completing the coast to coast ride. I've already done the Oregon Coast so it wasn't going to be anything new.

The route wound over the Coast Range with no major climbs, just a few short hills. As I got closer I could start to smell the ocean and I could feel the ocean air. I was so excited I was pedaling as fast as I could. I finally came up over a short rise in the road and then I could see the Pacific Ocean, all shrouded in fog. I pulled into Florence at 11am to heavy fog and 30 degree temperature difference.

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There it is, the Pacific

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It was a great feeling to finally be on the coast. I can't believe I made the journey and it's over already. I looked around for the brass band and welcome party but there wasn't any. I couldn't even find anyone to take my picture in town. In Florence I ate some lunch then headed out to find somewhere to get on the beach. I headed north as the fog was starting to burn off. As I rode north the blue Pacific can into view, and what a sight it was.

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Yeah, there is the Blue Pacific finally!

I got down to the beach and sat on a big driftwood log just taking in the scenery and the feelings. I sat on the log thinking about the whole journey, and some of the fun times I had. I thought about Yorktown and how long ago that seems, about Damascus and the fun time with the BC group, about Fred getting beer in Kentucky, about how boring Kansas was, about Breckenridge and what a great time I had there, about the Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks and how awesome it is, about the girls in Virginia City and Missoula, and the feelings of completing the journey. I thought about everyone I rode with, Gene, Fred, Clay, Diane, Rich, Sheryl, all from the BC group, the Texas Guys Steve and Stew. I wondered where everyone was and how things were going for them. Pretty much the whole journey flashed before me as I sat on the beach.

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I didn't have any champagne celebration or anything, and I wondered what Clay had cooked up for when they reach the coast. I thought about Hoosier Pass when he lugged 2 bottles all the way up the pass and the fun time we had there.

While sitting on the beach, someone finally came up to me and asked about my trip. We talked for a moment and he agreed to take my picture, dipping my wheels in the ocean. I pushed my bike through the sand and reached the surf, dipping my tires in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

Official Stats

2 Flat Tires

2 Broken Spokes

2 Tires

4,500 Miles

1 Sore Ass!

[Author's Note:] - I didn't really have a sore ass, I had my trusty Brooks saddle. I just thought it be funny to say that because everyone couldn't understand how a leather saddle can be so comfortable.

Just because this is the end of the journey, doesn't mean it's the end of the trip. Stay tuned for un-expected things to happen....????

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Day 82: Florence to Beverly Beach SP

Wednesday August 6, 1986, 60 miles (97 km) - Total so far: 4,377 miles (7,044 km)

                
The coast is cold and windy, with a steady NW breeze. Most of the day was foggy and cold and I could hardy see the ocean. I took my time today just relaxing and see the sights. I stopped at the sea lion caves and took a break. I ended up talking to a whole bunch of tourists and had a nice time. Many people were amazed I rode all the way from Yorktown Virginia. (this is where I said my journey was "Uphill and Against the Wind" to the elderly couple asking me all kinds of questions)

I left the sea lion caves and took my time riding because I wanted to go nowhere in a hurry. I stopped in Newport and had some lunch at McDonalds. While eating lunch I wrote out a few postcards and got them mailed out.

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This is one of those postcards I wrote home from Newport. This one was to Tom, the owner of the bike shop I worked at when I was 13.

I departed Newport and arrived in Beverly Beach SP and got setup with all the other bikers. There are tons of people touring the coast but they are all going south.

I sat around most of the day just relaxing and thinking about where my life is headed. I'll be back in college and back to reality in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if I'm in the right major program and I've been thinking about making some changes.

I'm going to take my time and spend some days off on the coast. I don't have to be in Portland until the 14th for my flight home.

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These pictures from the Oregon Coast are from a recent trip, 2003(?). I didn't take any further pictures until Astoria.

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Me and Lisa, 2003, just North of Florence Oregon

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Day 83: Beverly Beach to Cape Lookout SP

Thursday August 7, 1986, 60 miles (97 km) - Total so far: 4,437 miles (7,141 km)

                
The morning was chilly and the fog was thick as pea soup. The weather cleared to warm and sunny for about 8 hours. I traveled north to Cape Lookout, the coast route took me over 2 good climbs, no sweat, and the climbs were nothing. I really enjoyed the ride despite the headwind, and finally the weather was perfect.

I met many other cyclists on the coast, they were all going south. I never really got to ride with anybody, just a quick talk on the side of the road. The coast is an awesome place to bike tour, fabulous scenery and friendly people.

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Oregon Coast from 2003

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I arrived in Cape Lookout State Park and got setup in the hiker biker area. I didn't do much, rode around the park and had a beer or two with some other cyclists. I've got to start thinking about getting my bike packed up when I get to Portland. I'll have to look for a bike shop to get a box when I get into town.

[Author's Note:] - I have a few more days to ride. When I'm done, I'm going to write an epilogue +20, where I will have a few interesting things to say about riding the Trans America Trail.

        
        

Day 84: Cape Lookout SP to Cannon Beach - A surprise reunion with friends

Friday August 8, 1986, 57 miles (92 km) - Total so far: 4,494 miles (7,232 km)

                
I slept in to 9am, it felt really good just to take my time in the morning. I packed up and stopped in the café for breakfast, taking my time, no hurry today. I decided it was time for some clean clothes so after breakfast I hit the Laundromat. All the machines were taken up by a bunch of stupid people so I sat outside waiting. About an hour went by before I just decided to go on the Cannon City. I headed out and stopped at another laundromat about 40 miles up the road in Manzanita.

I was just getting finished when I saw Diane from the BC group zoom by. I didn't see Clay anywhere and I wondered if she ended up riding alone from Missoula. I loaded all my junk on my bike in a hurry and sped off to catch up to her. Diane was riding like she had afterburners on but I caught up easily. She was surprised to see me (as I was surprised to see her), we talked for some time. After awhile Clay rolled up and we all spent some time catching up. Apparently, along with Fred, they are what's left of the BC group. Fred was cold so he rode back over the coast range and decided to ride up the valley to Astoria.

I was excited to meet up with Clay, Diane and wished Fred was with them. We rode another 16 miles north to Cannon Beach and got camp setup. We spent most of the evening telling our experiences since Missoula. Clay said they "heard" all about me all along the route from Missoula to Florence. I was always 2-3 days ahead of them and Clay knew I was putting in some big mile days. The 3 of us sat around drinking Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve.

Tomorrow I'll ride on the Astoria with Clay and Diane, officially completing the Trans America Trail at the Maritime Museum. Clay has invited me to ride on to his home in Newberg, just outside of Portland.

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[Author's Note:]- The Oregon Coast has some of the best scenery of the whole Trans America Trail. In 1987 I rode from Seattle to San Francisco, along the coast route.

        
        

Day 85: Cannon Beach to Astoria - The official end of the Trans America Trail

Saturday August 9, 1986, 27 miles (43 km) - Total so far: 4,521 miles (7,276 km)

                

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Me, Diane and Clay


The official end of the Trans America Trail, Astoria Maritime Museum. I rode with Clay and Diane all the way into Astoria. The weather is cold and foggy as usual most of the morning. We stopped at the city of Astoria sign for a group picture. Brother Fred met up with us here in Astoria, in town. We all headed to the Maritime Museum for some final pictures. I climbed to the top of the anchor on some prodding from Clay..... Once I got to the top, everyone chimed in, and here is how it went:

Clay: Ahhh, Dave......
Dave:(on top of the Anchor) Ahhhh, What?
Clay: Try not to look like you're terrified to death up there, for god's sake!
Clay: (insert Clay laughing here)
Fred: DAVE! CHECK HER OUT!
Fred: (insert Fred checking out some girl here)
Dave: Where????? Fred, I'm a little busy up here trying not to kill myself....
Diane: Dave.... be careful up there
Dave: ahhhh, OK...... Take the damn picture already!.
Clay: "Camera Click", OK, I got it, now get down before you fall and we have take you to the hospital.
Dave: (Insert me climbing down here)
Clay: That was a dumb idea you had, you coulda got hurt!
Clay: (insert Clay laughing here)
Dave: Yeah, thanks a lot......
Fred: Did you see her????
Dave: ..............

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The "Anchor", and the end of the Trans America Trail.

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The end of the Trail..........

The Columbia River and the bridge to Washington State in the background


I celebrated the end of the journey with Clay, Diane, and Fred. We are the remaining BC gang, E-W 1986.

[Authors Note:] - A few years ago my wife and I were in Astoria, we stopped at the Anchor so I could relive some memories. I planned on climbing the anchor again for a picture, but once I got there, Lisa decided it was a little too risky .. so, I had to stand on the side, like all the rest of the tourists... damn it! (see pic below)

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2003 - I wasn't allowed to climb to the top again.

        
        

Day 86: Astoria to Newberg - My cycling attire isn't proper!

Sunday August 10, 1986, 120 miles (193 km) - Total so far: 4,641 miles (7,469 km)

                

Final Riding Day

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Astoria, looking across the Columbia River to Washington.

We all departed down the Columbia River towards Newberg. I rode with Clay, Diane, and Fred about half the way. Somewhere outside of Portland and bunch of cyclists were stopped for a break. I stopped and asked them for some route suggestions to get to Newberg. One guy kept telling me I was 100 miles or more from the coast (I didn't want to go to the coast) and that I was lost (I was not lost), and another guy was helmet lecturing me, another guy was making fun of my cycling attire.

The arrogant cycling team left and I followed, keeping up on my fully loaded bike. Just down the road the route turned to a nice long uphill, which the weekend cycling team couldn't handle. I passed them, one by one. (Insert my verbal assault and heckling here) I looked back at the top and Team Arrogant wasn't even close.......

Finally, the days travels bring me to the home of Clayton, the BC Group leader, in Newberg Oregon.

It's over.

[Author's Note:] - This log entry was mostly censored.

        
        

Day 87-90: Newberg Oregon - Final days

Monday August 11, 1986

                

August 11-14, 1986

I spent 3 days in Newberg, at Clay's house waiting for my flight on the 14th. Clay took us to the bike shop and we all got boxes to pack up our bikes. We spent some time sightseeing around Portland and just relaxing.

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Clay, still have this?

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Diane says... "I think I'm staying "

What?

When it came time to go, we all said our goodbyes. Clay took us all to the airport and dumped us off, Fred on the 13th and me on the 14th.

I got to the airport and there was a short delay in the flight. I was standing around and ended-up talking to the pilot of the flight as we waited for our plane to arrive. I told him about my trip and we talked for about 20 minutes. Finally the plane arrived and we all boarded. The plane was ready to go when the stewardess (flight attendant) came to me and said the Captain wanted me to sit in first class. I grabbed my stuff and moved up to the first class section. The door was open to the cockpit and the captain leaned over, looking back, grinning, gave me the "thumbs up". I flashed back "thumbs up".

During the flight back to Detroit I just looked out the window at the ground and scenery. The whole journey flashed before me in my mind. So many miles, so many people, so many friends.

"Thumbs up" from the pilot was a fitting end.


Epilogue +20: Final Thoughts

        
Has it really been 20 years? Where did the time go?

I haven't consciously thought about the Trans America Trail in many years, but this year was different. Shortly into the new year, sadly Tom Crocker the owner of the bike shop I worked in as a kid passed away. In the days after the funeral somehow I inherited all the stuff from the old bike shop, the tools, the parts, the stands, the benches. I spent an afternoon just looking at all the stuff, reminiscing about those days working in the shop. All the memories and events leading me to ride the Trans America Trail came flooding back. I started to realize that the Trans America Trail has been part of my life for 26 years, either consciously or unconsciously.

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As I relived the journey all over again this year, I realized the Trans America Trail was about the journey, not the destination. The trip was not really about the bike at all, or even the goal to ride coast to coast, but about everyone and everything in-between. The trip was really about the experience, the people, the friends, and the memories along the way. I was excited to get to the coast at Florence, but without any friends to celebrate it with made it really no big deal. For me, the real end of the journey was in Astoria, reuniting and celebrating with my friends, Clay, Diane, and Fred.

I made many decisions about life in those 90 days in 1986. I was never cut out for the traditional beaten path of life that everyone else just seems to blindly follow. I've never really had a lot of stuff, thinking the next adventure was always right around the corner. While all my friends were getting married and having kids I was still goofing around like a kid. Gene had a great outlook on life back then, a creed, and his influence just confirmed what I already knew about myself. Unconsciously, still to this day, I live by Gene's creed.

I know that reliving the journey all over again 20 years later pulled forward the fun times, and dulled the physical and metal agonies of the road. I did experience the highs and lows all over again in my mind, some days I was bored to tears and didn't want to write, some days I was so excited I couldn't wait to get to it. I experienced the whole gamete of emotions, including the anguish of the end of the road.

Even though I don't consciously think about the journey, I have many daily reminders. My right hand has nerve damage from the constant vibration on the road, when I use the mouse and keyboard I feel every inch of the trail. When I use my lock I remember my Uncle Adam and his visit just before my departure. When I go to a Mexican restaurant and I see Chilli Rellenos on the menu, I think of that time in Breckenridge and the mix-up with Clay. When I hear BTO "Takin' Care of Business", I think of the fireworks in Breckenridge with the gang. Having a Henry Weinhard's beer makes me grin and think back the 1986. (we can't get Henry's in Michigan... Lisa's favorite beer) When I hear ZZ Top on the radio I think about climbing Chief Joseph Pass with Steve and Stew, blasting the tiny speakers. Whenever my beer glass sticks to the bar napkin I think about the salt trick my grandpa showed me in Yorktown. Many other small things will briefly take me back to the road.

The Trans America Trail was a life altering experience for me, and it can't ever be changed, erased or forgotten. If anyone has the opportunity to ride the Trans America Trail I highly recommend it, but remember, sometimes it's not all fun and games.

Finally,

My wife Lisa and I had the opportunity to visit Tom during the holidays, a few short days before his death. He was excited to see me and we talked a little about cycling. He couldn't get around easy but he jumped out of his chair and went into the back bedroom and pulled out the picture of me in the Tetons. I said "I kicked Herbie's ass" .....Tom was grinning from ear to ear, and I took that as his acknowledgment...... finally.

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Live Life Now..........


Where are we now?

        

Fred

I lost track of Fred about 18 years ago, but with the help of the internet I found him in Colorado. Fred enjoyed Colorado so much he moved there from Washington D.C. We have email back and forth several times in the last 3 months. Apparently, I inspired Fred to get a new carbon fiber bike and ride the Famous "Triple ByPass" in Colorado. Fred is an author and motivational speaker.

[Update] - Lisa and I will be in Rocky Mountain NP in September, we plan to meet up with Fred and his family.

Clay and Diane

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Diane and Clay.... Seasons Greetings, 1987!

I also lost track of Clay and Diane about 18 years ago. Lisa and I tried finding Clay in Portland in 2003 without success. After contacting Fred, he indicated that Clay and Diane were now married, have a son, and live in Iowa. I then used the internet to find them, they own and operate a bakery in a small town in Iowa.

I called the bakery and Diane answered the phone, I said "it's Dave from Michigan".... Diane said "WHO?" .. ha ha ha. She was very surprised it was me. I ended up talking to Clay for about an hour, as Diane was waiting on customers. Their voices and everything were exactly the same as I remember them.

They now ride recumbent bikes.....What the _____?????

Gene, the Coach

I haven't heard from Gene in many years, and never really expected to. I received a book and a note from him about 18 years ago, and we talked once or twice on the phone. Gene is usually in some remote part of the world or on some trip somewhere.

Gene was a great riding partner and friend from that summer of 1986. I wish he finished up with us in Astoria.

Stew and Steve from Texas

I've been in constant contact with Stew over the years. We've email back and forth many times. We've also been on many trips together, skiing out west, Tahoe, Park City, Taos NM, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, and Salt Lake City. We've had some great times together skiing.

I haven't really talked to Steve in the last 18 or so years, he is busy with stresses of domestic life I guess.

Mary Kay

from 520 South in Missoula

In 1987 I spent a few days with Mary Kay in Seattle before riding the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, and the west coast to San Francisco. I had a great time with Mary Kay, but lost track of her after a few years of corresponding (she probably got married). I never kept in contact with any other girl from Virginia City or 520 South.

Rich

Whereabouts unknown. Rich completed his trip in Florence Oregon with the BC group. I thought he returned home from Missoula.

Sheryl

Whereabouts unknown. Sheryl left the BC group in Missoula and continued on with a brother and sister team. Unknown if she ever completed the journey. I thought she also went home in Missoula.

ME

I graduated from college in 1988, and worked for the Ford Motor Company. After a few years working for the man, I decided to start my own company. I founded an ISP in 1995, which now is a local and long distance telephone company.

I met Lisa because of a bike ride called the "Zoo-de-Mackinac". Our first date was a climb up to Mt Sneffels, 14,150' near Telluride Colorado. We married in 2004 on a beach in Maui, Hawaii after dating for 5 years. We travel and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, especially in the mountains of Colorado and the west. We spend a good part of Michigan winter in our West Maui home on Ka'anapali beach. We live by Gene's creed!

Aloha, and Mahalo (Thank You) for riding along.

Dave T.

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North Shore of West Maui

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That's me, 2008 in Colorado, with my wife Lisa

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Hiking in Colorado 2008

        
        

My Official Cookie House Picture

                
Thanks to Joe & Susan Bousquet, I now have a copy of my official Cookie Lady Polaroid. It is in surprisingly good condition. I'm in picture with all the members of the BC group.

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Official Cookie lady picture in her scrapbook.

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How many people have 2 pictures in one trip?