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Notes from the Road

August 10

Went for another training ride today. I think I will miss the cool, shady hills of the peninsula while riding the hot, flat roads of Wyoming and Nebraska.

1 - August 17
(start of ride)

The Pacific Ocean seemed much warmer up here than in San Francisco. We dipped our bike wheels into the salty brine of the Pacific with the hopes of dipping them again into the polluted Atlantic by New York City in six weeks.

Saw a guy on the side of the road, all alone, talking on his cell phone. As we rode past he looked at us and said, "It's for you."

RC Cola seems to be a favorite in rural western Oregon, though they don't have any moon pies.

2 - August 18

Preston started out using the trailer but soon discovered that was a mistake. Thank God for nice girlfriends like Aimee who will drive out to bring you your panniers! And dinner, too.

3 - August 19

Preston and Eric stopped at Subway for lunch and learned some valuable tips from their server for biking the open road -- what out for dogs and if one starts to follow you, throw your bicycle pump at it. Obviously not someone with a lot of experience on a bike -- what happens if you get a flat after using your pump to escape the vicious dogs?

4 - August 20

The kind locals of Marshall, OR lectured us on how the environmentalists cause forest fires by not letting the loggers clearcut and then let us fill our water bottles from the garden hose.

5 - August 21

When a kindly shopkeeper tells you to watch out for sticky brambles, make sure you heed his warning.

6 - August 22

The only way to follow an "easy" day that includes thunderstorms, riding in the rain, a flat tire and road rash is a nice hot tub.

7 - August 23

The best flat road for high speed riding is through the desert south of Murphy, Idaho, which has 60 people and two airports. But don't ever believe the distances people tell you -- that city 20 miles down the road is usually 40 or 50 miles.

8 - August 24

Notice to the citizens of Fairfield, ID on the courthouse door: All unidentified and unmarked llamas will be confiscated by the Bureau of Land Management if not removed by Thursday.

With a good tail wind, its a breeze to average 28 mph on the flats in Idaho.

The kindness of strangers lives on -- got a free, cold bottle of Gatorade in the middle of nowhere from a cool mountain biker (

9 - August 25

If you are camping in the middle of nowhere, make sure that there are no RVs within a half a mile because they are just like diesel submarines -- they run their generators all day and night just so they can watch tv.

What came first -- Picabo Street or Picabo, Idaho?

10 - August 26

In 87 miles, we only rode through one town, Arco. Arco is the first town ever powered by a nuclear reactor. But even that wasn't enough to keep it a thriving community -- it is ghost town.

11 - August 27

Came to a place where the road had been washed out -- hitched a ride in the back of a pickup truck (it even had trouble navigating what was left of the road).

12 - August 28

The only thing as gratifying as climbing up the 10,000 feet on the Continental Great Divide is getting to coast down the other side.

13 - August 29

The best day of the trip so far -- Tracy and Aimee came to visit. Also met up with John and Agata Field, who had been vacationing in Wisconsin. Learned that a large bale of hay weighs one ton, costs $80 and will feed a cow for about one year (assuming the cow can graze during the summer) -- it takes two bales to feed a horse.

14 - August 30

Had fun on our rest day driving around Riverton (everything was closed), playing in the 3 1/2 foot deep pool and going to Wal-Mart. Had breakfast with John and Agata before they continued their drive home to California. Riverton is the place to see and be seen.

15 - August 31

Stayed at a crazy hotel in Casper that was a cross between an old casino in Las Vegas and the Winchester Mystery House.

16 - September 1

Got lost on Country Road 27 and had to ride 18 miles on a dirt road.

17 - September 2

18 - September 3

19 - September 4

Eric bought two new tires from a bike store in Valentine called Yucca Dune ( Met a cool lady who competed in the Race Across America -- it was fun to talk with a real pro. Also talked with a young cowbay named Brady Hanks. Brady works on a ranch near Merriman, NE and passed along this tip -- calves are a good buy right now at $95 a head. Also learned that if you ever have a choice to be charged by a bull or a cow, pick the bull because he charges with his eyes closed while the cow keeps her eyes open. On Valentines Day you can mail you valentines to Valentine, NE and they will repostmark your letters for you.

20 - September 5

No matter how much of a cowbay you are on a bike, don't take the cowboy trail -- it is supposed to be a 300 mile bike trail that runs through Iowa, but they forgot to pave it.

21 - September 6

While stopping to buy a Gatorade, Eric and Preston scored a lunch invitation -- they joined Burt, his wife and four kids for club sandwiches. Eric and Preston have met the nicest people in Nebraska.

22 - September 7

Iowa has the worst highways for riding because there are no shoulders -- but the best country roads because there are no cars. Eric and Preston have had to change their course a little bit in order to ride on the country roads.

23 - September 8

24 - September 9

Made friends with Shane and Brent, two construction workers who build pole barns and other farm buildings in the middle of Iowa, when they stopped for lunch. Veggie burgers in Iowa are made of 100% pure beef.

25 - September 10

Our longest day of riding -- not distance but time wise. We need a rest day to let our legs recover and then pick up our riding pace! Parnell may not be a large town, but it has good beer and pizza at the local bar (run by an ex-IBM engineer).

26 - September 11

Rest Day - You have to sign a two page contract/waiver at the Muscatine local library to use its computers, though they do have fast Internet access.

27 - September 12

Riding in the rain sucks, sucks, sucks!!! I will never, never, never do it again.

28 - September 13

Rest Day - Tracy arrived late last night. We were going to ride today and take a rest day tomorrow, but it was raining so decided to rest today. We drove into Chicago to visit the Adler Planetarium. Chicago is a beautiful city -- too bad its so hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

29 - September 14

Once again, thanks to the kindness of strangers. At the end of his ride, Eric got a screw in his reat tire. A fellow cyclist, Dan, came to the rescue -- he literally gave Eric the tire off his bike.

30 - September 15

Locals seem to dislike driving on busy freeways as much as cyclists -- they give great advice on the most scenic, deserted routes. Ate dinner at an Amish restaurant -- lots of good home cooking.

31 - September 16

Indiana has slow time and Ohio has fast time -- even though Indiana is in the Eastern time zone, it doesn't observe daylight savings so it is one hour earlier in Indiana than Ohio. Amish kids are really nice to bike riders. We left this morning at the same time the kids were walking or riding to school and were greeted with many waves and smiles.

32 - September 17

We had an awesome first 50 miles on the country roads of Ohio. Ohio has an amazing grid of NSEW paved roads that make it easy to get anywhere without the highway.

33 - September 18

When you have to wake up early, be sure you know how to set your alarm clock properly. We got a late start this morning because the alarm didn't got off. Cleveland was really nice along the water and not so nice away from the water -- lots of traffic and pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. Eric saw his third Great Lake -- Lake Eerie.

34 - September 19

Rest Day - lots of rain from the hurricane passing through

35 - September 20

Met up with Preston's mom, Peg, and aunt, Barb, so we no longer have to carry our gear as we ride. We ate dinner at a very nice, old school restaurant -- but what some people would call ambience, Preston calls a "stuffy, old ship where you can't see what the hell you are eating."

36 - September 21

Bed and breakfasts are the way to go -- you get to stay in a real house and have someone cook you breakfast, too. Barb bought an old rusted bucket with holes in the bottom for $2.50 -- was told later it is worth $60.

37 - September 22

Peg and Barb are having fun visiting the local thrift shop. They found one store where everything you could stuff in a bag was only $1. The back of the car is filling up fast -- soon there won't be room for us.

38 - September 23

Next time you ride your bike through Pennsylvania, don't take Route Y -- there are lots of cars and trucks and no shoulder. This is a sorry excuse for a bike route, we should have tried NY state. Only two more days of riding!

39 - September 24

New York state roads are great (nice pavement and wide shoulders) but what is up with all these hills? Only 30 miles into New York City.

40 - September 25

NEW YORK CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

41 - September 26

42 - September 27

43 - September 28