Today I'm trying to figure out how to make this computer work. Without a battery, the computer is the size of a video cassette. Setting up the web page won't be the problem, hitting only one key at a time will be though.
Date: 3/18/98 Jon
Our new website went online the other day. Pretty soon we'll be starting our trip! But in the mean time, there is a lot of preparations to do. This is over and above training for the ride. Over the next couple of months, we will introduce ourselves and explain our experience levels and some of the things we hope to accomplish with this trip and the website.
Hi! School happens to be canceled today. For everyday that is canceled now is one more day that I will miss at the end of the year. Oh well.
Today I'll tell you about our trip, but first I want to explain a few things about the web page. This was started as a way for me to communicate to people, mostly young girls, about my surroundings. I am a senior Girl Scout. This is my Gold Award project, the highest award in Girl Scouting. The name of my project is "Beyond your back door." My goal is to tell kids who don't get the chance to travel about the world that is out there. I figured the best way would be through the Internet. Anyway the rest of my family decided that my idea was cool, so from time to time they will probably be adding journals. The way that you can tell is by the initials following the date. I'm jo for Jodie, Todd my brother is td, my mom is ca for Carla, and my dad is jn for Jon.
Okay now about the trip. June 5th is my last day of school. That Saturday we're flying out of the Traverse City Airport, (I live in Gaylord, Mi.) From there we go to Chicago and then Portland Oregon. Our cousins will meet us there, and take us to Florence on the coast. We're going to follow the TransAmerica route through the states of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Virginia. We hope to reach Yorktown, VA by late August or early September. We're going to average 45 miles a day.
That about all for now!
Date: 3/19/98 Todd
Hello peoplez. This is Todd. I'm twelve, this will be my 4th major bike trip. More later! :-)
Hi, sorry it's taken so long to update this. Things have been kinda hectic around here lately.
The snow just recently melted in northern Michigan, and I have had minimal amount of time for training. I did manage to get in a 13.5 mile one though. I amazed myself at how much I could do after being in a knee brace for six weeks. I developed knee problems a few years ago, but I haven't had that much trouble riding until last year. This is one of the obstacles I have to overcome during this trip in order to make it. I stick only to positive thoughts and don't consider the "what ifs." I'll take it one day at a time.
My motto for this trip is a saying that my English teacher gave to the class. It goes, "The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds. Think Big Anyway." This is my biggest dream. I am not going to let people try to talk me out of it with negative thinking. I will make it.
On June 6th, we will fly out to Portland, Oregon. Our cousins are going to pick us up from the airport, and we'll spend the night at their place. The next morning they'll drive us out to a small town on the coast. Once we dip our tires into the water, like tradition, and say our goodbye and good lucks, we'll start our 4,000 mile journey to Yorktown, Virginia. This trip will take us three months and across eleven states, meeting many new friends along the way.
Once we get started, there will be a set daily schedule. Four a.m. will start our long day. It takes approximately two hours to break camp and be on the road. The first breakfast is sometime in those two hours. It is a very large pot of oatmeal. We like to ride 20 miles before our first stop. It never seem to work that way, though. About ten o'clock it's time for another meal. This one is either a cheap restaurant, another breakfast, or an early lunch. Lunch is about noon or one. It consists of a couple peanut butter sandwiches, maybe some fruit, and water. Water is with everything. Each of us drink close to two full bottles a day on average. Anywhere from three to six o'clock we're pulling into a campground. If it's early we might buy a pop and some sugary snacks, then we'll relax. If we're late though, we rush to set up everything and eat dinner. Almost everyday ends with a shower.
This is an interesting piece I found. It came from a book titled, "In and Out of Brecksville," by Dorcas Lavina Snow (Mrs. Snow is relative of my grandfather.) I understand that she wrote this book to get the history of the older families of Brecksville, Ohio. Mrs. Snow received this particular story from Geraldine Bourne Ruppersberg (daughter of Harley Bourne) out of her father's diary. So here is the story of a very early bike trip.
"On Decoration day, 1899, Will (brother of Harley, currently age 22) and I (Harley, age 19) started west on two new bicycles which were purchased from the George Worthington Co. When they learned what we planned to do they let us have the two bicycles for the price of one, $50.00. We wore knee pants with fancy wool socks which were knee length. Our only baggage was a couple of clean shirts and the tool bags.
There were no paved roads in the country from Indiana to Chicago. As we crossed the Mississippi River at Clinton, we rented a row boat and paddled up the river taking turns getting out of the boat and swimming around it. On the way back we were followed by a boat and two men. Having been gone so long the owner thought we were stealing the boat.
It took 10 days to get across Iowa. Rain fell everyday and this on top of black dirt roads was not good for bikes.
One evening before dark we needed shelter, came to a wagon shed on a man's farm and he let us sleep in the granary on a pile of bags. In the night we were awakened by a noise. We sat up, ready with our revolvers. Soon heard a cow snort, trying to get the grain.
In Omaha, we had money on deposit at a bank. The night before we arrived, 15 cents was our cash on hand so we slept in a school house and in the morning bought some oatmeal. Tried to get work before leaving Omaha, but two skinny boys with bicycle pants on did not look too good for labor jobs.
In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains we crawled into a box car. The freight train had stopped for water. When the brakeman found out that we wanted a ride to Cheyenne, he said it would cost a dollar each. We only had $1.50 so he took that and told us not to let anyone see us, and he would tell us when to get off. It was night when we arrived. Walking along the board side walks we noticed a rickety hotel, but after investigation decided to sleep in the R.R. depot. Next morning funds were replenished at the bank, bought new tires, which lasted the rest of the journey.
The country was pretty rough from Cheyenne on and the ranches far apart. The wives of the ranchers always fed us wherever we stopped. We slept with the cowboys and their yarns were very interesting. One time our bicycles scared the cows and they started a stampede. It was quite a sight to see one hundred cattle on the run.
Going through the desert we had a flat tire, and a little later another one. Alas! We had left the patching kit where we mended the first one. So, we had to walk the rest of the 20 miles. It was dark and the air full of mosquitoes-they nearly ate us up. We made a big fire of sage brush and got in the smoke, but the devils bit us on the other side. Not much help so we pushed (and I mean pushed) on to the little town ahead. There was only one man there. Everyone else had gone to the mountains to get away from mosquitoes. This was Idaho.
We hopped a freight that took us to Oregon. Left our bikes outside the R.R. depot and looked for a place to get breakfast. Next thing we knew our bikes were stolen. The town people were all sympathetic and one man offered to pay our hotel bill. A detective suggested that we leave town for a while and the thieves might return.
We did this and a man hired us to stack had on a ranch, where we worked 11 days at $2.00 each, per day, with board and bunk furnished. I had trouble with a fellow who lived in the ranch house, I got a pitchfork jabbed in my hand, for which I gave the fellow a good licking.
One of the wheels was found and we had to ride on cow ponies to identify the wheel. The boy told on the other fellow so they went to jail for 30 days and we got our wheels back. They money received working at the range bought tickets on a train to Portland, Oregon. The bank there had money for us so we were in good shape financially again.
On the way to Roseburg where we were to visit father's cousins, (some of the Waite family). We went through pine forests where the trees were 200 feet tall. Frank Waite was said to be the richest rancher in Douglas County. His home was quite modern, had a Chinese cook, a lot of hired hands, big herds of cattle and a flock of 400 Angora goats.
Then we met the old folks, Morton and Philena. Their son, Douglas, was Superintendent of Schools and he gave us a teaching job. I taught 3 months and was paid $100.00 in gold. Soon after this my folks thought we should come home. I told the R.R. agent that I wanted to see all of the country possible, to sell me a ticket that would take the longest way, which it did.
4200 miles, nine days, $58.00 brought me back home. Will stayed there longer."
The long awaited time has arrived. We left the Pacific Coast this morning; well it was afternoon (4pm) by the time we got going.
Our flight out went as planned and we were picked up by our cousin, Carter, at 11am pacific time. The Bike Gallery bicycle shop had assembled our bikes and we rode them back to Carter's house. Dad stayed back to do a few touch up the bikes while the rest of us visited Oregon City. This is the end of the Oregon Trail. There was a nice museum set up to look like three covered wagons. Lisa, Carter's wife, cooked us our last homecooked meal of barbeque chicken and salmon. Having left our house at 4:30 a and gaining 3 hours, it turned out to be a long day.
This morning was slow to start. At 9:45, we were finally in the car on the way to Florence. The first campground is 17 miles from the starting point. We had good intentions of starting our ride 20 miles up the coast from Florence to make today longer. As time got later, we kept driving. By two pm we pulled into a day use beach seven miles north of Florence.
We packed up, dipped our tires in the ocean, and started on our journey to Virginia. For most of the way we rode in a valley. Parallel, on the left was a set of train tracks and on the right, Siuslaw River. A train passed sometime during the ride and blew his whistle. Immediately after, two kids poked their heads out the window and waved. We camped at a small start national forest campground on the Siuslaw River. We traveled a very short 24.15 miles. The weather was overcast with a little bit of rain.
Day: 2 Daily Mileage: 60 Total Mileage: 84.15 Stopping Point: Coburg, Or.
It rained most of last night. We waited in the tent to see if it would let up. It was past six o'clock and still raining when we crawled out. On top of getting up late, it was a slow morning. Nine o'clock we were on the rode.
This vegetation reminds me a lot of northern Michigan, where I live, though they get more rain here and it shows. The leaves look greener, and the plants covering the forest floor appear bigger. A short stringy moss covers most of the trees, but as we travel farther inland the moss is less and less. I saw a maple, or at least the leaves resembled maple. Anyway, the leaves are about twice the size of my hand.
Our first good climb of the trip, over the Coastal Range, was early this morning. Todd figures it was .9 miles. Just short of the top, there was a tunnel cutting through the mountain. Lights above the tunnel inform cars of bicyclist inside of it. We pressed a button to activate the light, turned on our rear flashers, and rode through two at a time. Once on the other side, temperatures warmed up greatly. The mist was gone and the rest of the day was pleasant.
Day: 3 Daily Mileage: 50.5 Total Mileage: 134.65 Stopping Point: Blue River, Or.
This was a bummer day. Things kept going wrong. We stopped twelve miles short of our original destination. It'll make tomorrow a really long day. We started out an hour after we planned, had lunch just after 20 miles, and Dad broke a spoke.
Early on we passed an eagle's nest. It was in the middle of a field on top of a telephone pole. There was a extra platform on the telephone pole specially made for the eagles to nest. There was one lone eagle perched on the outer rim. We stood near our bikes and just watched him and he watched us. About the time we were leaving, another eagle flew across the field and to the nest. Before she even landed, we could here chirps from within the nest. We figured it was the mother bring food for the young and the father standing guard, although you can never tell.
A mile down the road, we met up with a man traveling in the opposite direction. Though we never got his name, it was apparent he was from England because of his accent. We talked for awhile about were we, and he, had been and were going to. He was traveling with one woman (who caught up later.) The two of them had traveled the same route we are planned on taking and had started in March. They said Kansas was the friendliest state. As we were getting ready to move on, they told us there were two other guys close behind them. Five miles later we passed them. We only waved, but the second man raised his fist as if in victory. This simple motion said a whole lot. Not only was he congratulating us, but he understood why we are doing it. We know he will be thinking of us in the miles ahead and praying for our success. We also got the message of his trip and the great stories he has to tell.
Day: 4 Daily Mileage: 52.5 Total Milage:187.14 Stopping Point: Sisters, Or
It was early to rise this morning at 4 am. Our plans were to the start the hill and take most of the day climbing the 5,324 feet to McKenzie Pass. The hill was said to be 22 miles long and very steep. It rained the whole night before. I made breakfast in the rain, we took down tents in the rain, and then packed up in the same rain. By 6:30, we had had enough. We rode to the campground laundromat and spent two hours drying clothes, bagging miscellaneous items, and waiting.
After half a mile, Todd realized he had lost his sunglasses (like he needed them in the rain!) and we had to turn back around to find them.
At the Ranger's Station, at McKenzie Pass, we logged on-line. A five minute stop slowly turned into an hour. We talked to one of the rangers for quite awhile. She told us that McKenzie Pass was closed to cars, but she advised us to go around it.
It was noon when we started the 22 mile up hill climb. At a speed of 4 mph, it was near 6:30 when we reached the top. All I can remember is thinking, 'where is the end?' When you concentrate on something like that, it's really hard to observe and make note of you surroundings. I did notice the trees, though. As we climbed, the trees got scrawnier. They were all pine trees; the only leaves were on the small bushes.
After we passed the gate where the road was closed (11 miles up), the rain became more constant and the temperature dropped to below 40 degrees. It was very uncomfortable situation to be riding in. There was a very real possibility that we would get hypothermia. While we were riding, we were generating enough heat to stay warm. As
soon as we stopped, we got very cold. So we stopped for less and less time, even though we were very tired. We ate snacks on the bikes. We had our rain gear on top of polypropylene long underwear. We also put plastic bags inside shoes to keep our feet warmer.
We stopped at the top and did the normal picture thing and changed clothes. The ones we had been riding in were wet and we were cold. I put most of my clothes on; I hope to never have to put on that many clothes this whole trip. I even had a hat, fleece socks, and two pairs of mittens on. We spent nearly an hour changing.
The ride down took hardly any time. Those last 14 miles we didn't stop. We coasted all the way, only we had to keep hitting the brakes to keep from going too fast. We were all cold and tired and hungry. It was even colder than the trip up because we weren't generating any heat by riding.
When we crossed over the top of the mountain (which is the Cascade Range), the weather suddenly changed. It became sunny and the sky was blue, even though it was still cold.
I was riding ahead of the group, at one point, and I saw a deer cross the road. She stood on the one side of the road with her mate and ate grass. I was maybe 25 yards from her when she noticed me. The two of them still didn't run, they just walked ten paces into the woods and stared as I rode by. I never pedaled or moved since the time I first saw her.
We were so miserable, that when we got into town, we got a motel and went out for pizza. But at the same time, we were thrilled to have made it over our first mountain range.
Day: 5 Daily Mileage: 50 Total Mileage: 237.14 Stopping Point: Prineville, Or.
A night in the hotel did us good. It was 8 o'clock when we got up. Wet things had been draped over everything. We brought in the lawn chairs to put the wet tents on. The bikes were covered with wet clothes and gear was on towels on the floor. We ate a continental breakfast and started to fill the empty panniers. Dad had to fix a brake pad. The rest of us packed up and Mom went shopping. It was 11:30 when we got on the road.
Today was a nice, easy day. It got hot midday. The map said there was a canyon called Deep Canyon. Well, it wasn't that deep, maybe a half a mile climb. After a few quick hills, we remanded in a river valley where it was nice and flat.
The scenery has really changed since McKenzie Pass. When everyone thinks of Oregon, they normally think of the "wet side." This is the area near the coast. The other side, though, is dry. The trees remind me of what I call "desert trees." They are shorter and mostly coniferous trees. They survive on little water and grow very slowly. There are also short bushy plants. We saw quite a few dried up stream beds. It's hard to notice that there was a flood, as the locals claim, a few days ago.
Day: 6 Daily Mileage: 40.7 Total Mileage: 277.84 Stopping Point: Mitchell, Or.
"This town is so small that they don't get the newspaper from Portland until the following day. I still don't know the score or who won in the Wings game last night. Even worse the games aren't on the radio out here." Todd.
More riding through hot, dry desert type vegetation. One good climb up to 4300 feet. We found the heart of America in Mitchell, OR, population 200. Life in the fast lane has not caught up here yet. Everyone knows everyone and pitches in to help others. We are camping in the city park for free. The general store, which has everything from groceries to plumbing supplies to stuff to vaccinate your cow with. They keep a guest book for bikers to sign as they go through. The owner was a nuclear physicist who traveled all over the world and got sick of it, so settled back here in his home town and is as happy as can be. This is what America is about. Carla
Day: 7; Daily Mileage: 43.3; Total Milage:321.14; Stopping Point: Dayville, Or.
Nothing major happened today. A lot of little things to report though.
We got moving on time, but then had to stop and figure out some things on the Internet. It got warm really fast. First off there was a steep, seven mile climb, but after it was all down hill. We passed a man touring on a recumbent while we were on the way down and he was on the way up. I waved to him, but we didn't stop to talk.
Later down the hill, we passed a man and a woman resting on the side of the road. I didn't notice it at first, but the man was running. The both of them had started out in Missoula (I assume the man before the woman.) They had met the night before in a hostel and were traveling in the same direction. So today they were sticking together for a while. They were heading to the coast and, time permitting, going to ride south at that point. They had just finished school in Missoula. What really amazed me was the fact that he was running. He could run 20 to 25 miles a day and pushed one of those jogger strollers.
We stopped at the John Day National Monument. This area used to be a rain forest millions of years ago. Fossils are on display of animals including Saber Tooth Tiger. Presently the area is the same desert vegetation.
Our stopping point was another small friendly town. The Presbyterian Church opened a hostel. Since they are right on the TransAmerica Trail, they have hosted thousands of bikers since 1976. The lady who takes care of the church is named Millie, and she lives behind the church. We knocked on Millie's door and she opened up the church for us. The church itself is very cozy with all of our gear in it. I don't suppose it has more than 25 or 30 members. Anyway, Millie insisted we bring our gear right inside and make ourselves at home. There is a nice kitchen that we cooked in and warm showers.
Day: 8; Daily Mileage: 55.75; Total Mileage: 376.9; Stopping Point: Dixie Summit;
We got out of the church at 7:30 on Sunday. It was a steady climb most of the day with a steep hill right into Dixie Summit.
About 20 miles into the day we met two bikers. It was a lady riding with her father. Todd and I were ahead, so we stopped and talked. After a few minutes my parents came. We must have talked for 20 minutes. They were surprised that Todd and I planned to ride across the country. We gave each other the normal advise and then talked about our trips. They started out in Virginia in May. Nancy (I think that was the lady's name) brought out a computer that was smaller than mine. She has also been keeping journals and posting them on line. If you would like to read out her trip the address is http://home.earthlink.net/~thomsonb/biketrip.html
One of the times Todd and I pulled away from our parents, we saw a coyote. I was looking behind me at the time, but Todd called me back to attention in time to catch a really good glimpse of him. The coyote was one of the neater forms of wildlife we have seen. Whitetail Deer are all over this area and we frequently see them. There is also a small groundhog type animal that we often see.
Day: 9; Daily Mileage: 61; Total Mileage: 437.9; Stopping Point: Baker City
Today started off with a little rain. We had a few seven mile hills to climb right at the beginning so the rain didn't matter much. After two uphills we had a nice downhill and tailwind for the rest of the day. It was a easy, laid back day.
My friends have been saying I was crazy since we first announced the trip. You expect that from people. Then, once you're on the road, you expect people to stare at you and even stop to talk. But you know you're really crazy when even the cows stare. East of the Cascade Mountains people raise beef cattle. Everywhere you look there is barbed wire fences. When we see cattle often they will look up from their grass and watch us ride by. Their heads slowly follow our bikes.
Dogs are the other farm animal we see a lot of. Whenever they're not rounding up cattle, I think they try to round up bicyclers. A few days ago one got worked up enough that he put on a full speed chase. He grabbed onto my back pannier and had to be called off by his owner. His grip was strong enough that he pulled my almost to a complete stop. There is a nice hole in my pannier from his teeth.
Day: 10; Daily Mileage: ; Total Mileage: ; Stopping Point: Halfway, OR
Last night I was sitting in the Laudryroom writing my journal because of the outlet. By the time I came out, various things had happened.
First, another family moved into the campsite next to us. It was two teachers and their 17 year old daughter. We spent quite a while talking to them especially after the storm came up. The storm was the second thing that happened. Mom had been trying to cook for half an hour in the wind and nothing was happening. I asked the lady to open up the Laudryroom for us to cook in. We sat around on the floor and ate spaghetti, while the other family hung out in the camp store. About nine o'clock, after the store closed, the father came over and we talked some more. He and his wife have been touring for 20 years, that's what I gathered at least. It really amazed me, some of the trips that they've taken. The ones that he mentioned totaled many thousands of miles. I spent less time talking to the daughter, but the one thing that sticks out in my mind is her shaved head. This is only her second tour and her first they averaged 114 miles a day. They are traveling much faster than we are, but they aren't cooking any of their food. Delis are lunch and sometimes dinner or they will run into a store and eat everything they buy. Breakfast, I would assume, are bakeries.
The one word that sticks out in my head when describing today is wind. Wind from every direction. We started out at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at the top of a steep hill. The wind happened to be blowing straight at us no matter which way we turned. Mom and Dad walked up most of the hill. Todd and I put it into Granny Gear the whole way up, but it was worth it. That is one of the greatest places to visit. If you're ever out in Oregon, it's a must see. They have constructed figures of people on the trail. Each on has something to say about the tragedy on the trail. If you choose to hike 1 1/4 miles, which we didn't, there is original wagon ruts made by wagons on the Oregon Trail.
Shortly after we got back on the road came what Todd considers the best part of today. We came around a bend and there were cattle walking across the road. We stopped and watched a four or more men on horses and two dogs herded the cattle out of one pasture through a gate, across the road, and down another road.
I know I mentioned the wind before, but I'm going to say it again. It was strong. It shifted around all day. When it was behind us, I was going up a gradual hill, coasting at 15 miles an hour. Then it would shift in front of us and we would almost stop dead. During cross winds from the sides, we would lean into it with all our might. It was a very exhausting.