Testing 1…2…3, Testing 1…2…3

Day 11: Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stop to Stop: Medora, ND to Glendive, ND

Underway: 8:30 am    Off Bike: 3:45 pm    Ride Time: 6:09 hrs.   Stayed At: Park
Miles Traveled: 69.4    Total Miles: 760.5 Weather: Partly Sunny, 70’s

First Things First: First overnight thunderstorm; First wet tent.

Mile to Mile: first came the lightning, then came the thunder (it sure sounds louder and more ominous in the hills and canyons) and then came the rain. Light at first and then heavier after each crack of thunder. It stormed steady from about 11 pm to 3 am. I would doze a little, hear a crack of thunder and check for leaks. Surprisingly my $29 Walmart tent held up amazingly well. I think I was lucky there was no wind though or I might be telling a different story. Even with over 2” of rain, nothing leaked in…from the top anyways.

The problem started in one corner. I noticed the foot of the sleeping bag was wet. Ohoh! I just thought it leaked a little around the zipper. Little did I know but my campsite was in the flood zone. A little later, I felt water in a different corner. And then, while feeling around my air mattress the bottom of the tent felt a little funny – kind of like a water bed. That’s not good! I finally forced myself up at about 5:30 am. I was still dry on the mattress – but all around the tent was 2” of water. I waded outside and carried all my bags up to the covered deck by the office and assessed the situation. Luckily, the place I had stored my bags that night happened to be above water by an inch so the only things wet in the tent were my sheet, the end of the sleeping bag and a couple stuff sacks. Plus the shirt, shorts and socks I had left out to dry were now wetter than when they were hung up.

I decided to hang out until 7 am when the office and laundry room opened even though it was light out and I could have been pedaling. The time came and no one showed up. I then realized that a guy the day before had told me it was mountain time here. Crap. My phone was still on MN time. Another hour to waste. I cleaned my bike, reorganized a little, put the tent on a table so it could dry, had cereal for breakfast and finally was able to get all my stuff dry. Three free coffees and a few quarters later, I packed up and was on my way.

The ride to Glendive made the nightmare of the night before fade quickly. Gentle rolling hills, beautiful scenery, a small wind assist and absolutely no traffic made for fast miles. I didn’t see one car for the first hour. – 16 miles with the whole road to myself. Even when I had to ride on the freeway for short distances, traffic was light. It was kind of amazing to, even though I was riding way over on the edge of an 8’ shoulder, almost all trucks and most cars still moved into the fast lane when passing. What a gift. Thank you all for that courtesy.

I was excited to pass into Montana – MONTANA – early afternoon. Amazing. I finally arrived in Glendive fairly early for a 70 mile day. I found the beautiful Jaycees Park, adjusted my brakes, cleaned and lubed the chain, adjusted some spokes to true the rear wheel a little, made dinner (oatmeal), set up the tent, filled water bottles, planned for tomorrow and collapsed into bed at about 9:30 pm. All in all, another great and somewhat bizarre day.



Happy National Donut Day

Day 10: Friday, June 5, 2015

Stop to Stop: Richardton to Medora, ND

Underway: 7:30 am Off Bike: 5:00 pm Ride Time: 6:03 hrs Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 72.5 Total Miles: 691.1 Weather: Sunny, SE breeze

First Things First: First time zone change – gained an hour – now on Mountain Time: First 5 mile + downhill –wheee!

Mile to Mile: After a steep climb up and out of the campground, I made good progress toward Medora. It was finally a warm day. It was supposed to be a pretty easy 60 mile day but I decided to stop before Medora to avoid the tourist rush on a Friday – just not feeling it. Well I found a spot to camp along a Forest Service road in some nice rocky scenery. After setting up though, it was hot and I didn’t have any phone service. Also, it got noisy after awhile – it sounded like a bunch of dirt bikes. To make a long story short I bailed on this campsite and headed toward Medora. By the way, the dirt bikes were a bunch of cows let loose to graze. On my way out they blocked the entire road.

The change in terrain here was amazing. As I exited the freeway by the Painted Rock Info Center, the Badlands of ND were just there. Like a mini Grand Canyon.

Thankfully, after my detours and adventures it was a quick 5+ mile coast down the freeway to Medora. I skipped the famous western musical – surprisingly today was the season opener – had a cheap buffet, found a decent campsite near the Missouri River, set up camp (again), took a shower and did some blogging to catch up. I’m planning a relatively short day to Beach, MT – can you believe it…Montana! Should be another great adventure – one day at a time. Happy National Donut Day (I did celebrate at the Donut Hole in Dickinson).




Don’t Stop Now

Day 9: Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stop to Stop: Bismarck, ND to near Richardton, ND

Underway: 8:00 am    Off Bike: 5:15 pm    Ride Time: 6:47 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 84.5    Total Miles: 618.6    Weather: Overcast, cool, light NE wind

First Things First: First town – New Salem – with music piped through downtown (country of course): first hot chocolate and slushy in the same day.

Mile to Mile: My goal today was Glen Ullin, ND about 56 miles down the road – a nice gentle day. I got a great start fueled by breakfast ala Rachael of scrambled eggs with mushrooms and onions, toast, banana and strawberries. The real breakfast of champions. (Thanks for everything Rachael). The ride through downtown Bismarck went fast – it happened to be mostly downhill. In no time I was done with civilization and back into the wilds of ND. The countryside was beautiful. The riding was easy with easy ups and fast downs. The terrain changed gradually and I soon saw my first buttes in western ND – a taste of things to come in the badlands area ahead.

I am pleasantly surprised at how well my body has adapted to it’s new reality. The nightly leg cramps are gone, my shoulders and arms are getting stronger, my sore foot from before the trip is almost back to normal and the feeling in my fingers has started to return. Pretty good for an old guy.

With proper fuel and perfect riding conditions, I was in Glen Ullin way too early in the afternoon to stop now. So I had a snack and rested for a little while and decided to go onto Hebron – they have free camping in the town park. Well, conditions were even better with a little better wind assist so I recalculated and decided to aim for the Schnell Recreational Area near Richardton. The park is a BLM managed park with 6 huge campsites – only $5 per night. I was still flying – in a slushy fueled burst – at sometimes 20-25 mph on flat road right up to the park entrance. I figure the more miles I do under good conditions today, the less I have to do under poor conditions some other day. I was glad to be done and a lot closer to Medora, ND where there are some fun things to do and only a short hop to my next goal – Montana. Can you believe that? It seems like I just left yesterday. That must mean I’m having fun, right?






Day 8: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Stop to Stop: Hazelton, ND to Bismarck, ND

Underway: 8:30 am    Off Bike: 2:40 pm    Ride Time: 4:39 hrs    Stayed At: Home
Miles Traveled: 45.6      Total Miles:     Weather: Overcast with N wind, cool

First Things First: First time staying with a friend. First time washing clothes.

Mile to Mile: Today was a hard slog for several reasons it felt like I had the brakes on all day. First, I didn’t eat enough to give me the proper energy. Second, the route had me fighting serious cold headwinds at least half the day. Third, there were hills – lots of them – with few decent downhills as a reward. I had to pedal down some hills just to maintain momentum. It’s hard to enjoy the scenery when you’re just trying to get there.

I did meet another biker couple – Dave and Ann from the Pacific NW – early in the day. I looked up and they were out in front of me waiting on my side of the road. It’s such a rare event that most people make a special effort to connect. They are going cross country two weeks at a time supported by a friend driving a camper. If you want to do it, there is a way. They gave me some good trail info – take the gravel road out of New Salem (it’s beautiful) and the only restaurant in Richardton just closed. Good things to know.

My goal today was to get to the home of some friends from college of my daughter Sarah and her boy friend Jake – Rachael and Ryan – who lucky for me live in Bismark. It’s interesting to note that this is the biggest city I will go through – population 70,000 – until San Francisco. Crazy. I did not like the return to civilization though – at least riding through It. Lots of noise, traffic, trucks and impatient people. I survived but I will take the middle of no where any day.

It was a relief to finally get to Rachael and Ryan’s Spa and Resort fairly early in the afternoon. I can relax now. Oh wait…I have a few items on my to do list: write today’s blog, upload blogs x 8, upload pics, get adapter to upload pics, wash clothes, charge everything, shower, reorganize bags, plan tomorrow, plan next few days, check email, call Cindy, eat dinner, fix windscreen cook it, repack bags, buy groceries, check weather and sleep. With a lot of help from Rachael. She drove me around doing errands, let me use the washer dryer and even let me multitask while at dinner at Sickies Biker Bar (excellent dinner and lots of bikers – I’m sure I fit right in). Thanks for all the help and hospitality – it was fun to finally meet you.

I finally collapsed into a nice warm bed about 11:15 and didn’t wake up until 6:30 am when my phone beeped after receiving a text from Cindy. Thanks Dear, I was getting up anyway. Another day to remember on the road again.






A Photo Worthy Day

Day 7: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stop to Stop: Gackle, SD to Hazelton, SD

Underway: 7:45 am    Off Bike: 2:30 pm    Ride Time: 4.9 hrs    Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 63    Total Miles: 488.5    Weather: Hazy overcast, low 70’s, SE wind

First Things First: First complimentary breakfast at Jay’s Hunting Lodge (thanks Jay): First time not wanting the ride to end.

Mile to Mile: After a leisurely breakfast of oatmeal toast and coffee, I finally had to pull myself away and get on the road again. (I hope we get a chance to cross paths again someday, Jay – thanks for everything). No…no…no…don’t make me go. We finally said our good buys and I pulled away into the unknown again. I left with many great new memories, though, making it a little less painful.

You never know what the weather will do. When I checked last night, it was supposed to storm in the morning and afternoon and I was worried about getting caught out in the middle of no where. Well, this morning, the clouds parted, the rain headed farther north and I had beautiful light overcast, favorable winds and glorious scenery. The ride south and west out of Gackle was one of the bike rides I’ve ever had. It had everything – rolling green hills, hundreds of small ponds and lakes, thousands of ducks, song birds and hawks…and two cars passing me in an hour and a half. The only downside was all the times I had to stop and take pictures of something picture worthy.

After a fast 38 miles, I pulled into Napolean for lunch at the Rueben Café. The special happened to be a grilled chicken Cajun ranch sandwich with a pile of onion straws on top, fries and pickles. Amazing! Refueled and only 26 miles to go I made quick progress westward again and arrived at the Hazelton Town Park to camp. I had the luxury of time so I had a snack of cheese and crackers (cheese courtesy of Jay), a quick bike cleaning and another (really) hot shower. I’m camped under a park shelter with two picnic tables and plenty of room to keep the tent, bike and me dry if it happens to rain overnight. I only have a 38 mile day tomorrow to get to Sarah and Jakes college friends Ryan and Rachel’s house in Bismarck, ND. Should be another fun adventure. I can’t wait!



Wind Games

Day 6: Monday, June 1, 2015

Stop to Stop: Little Yellowstone Park to Gackle, SD

Underway: 7:30 am   Off Bike: 2:50 pm    Ride Time: 5:15 hrs    Stayed At: House
Miles Traveled: 65.2      Total Miles: 425.5      Weather: Partly cloudy, SSE wind, 75+

First Things First: First time having to backtrack to find something that blew off (the map) when a semi went by and I didn’t notice for a mile or so: First time staying at someone’s house I just met while in town.

Mile to Mile: After the coyotes woke me up this morning – a little creepy when you are alone – I actually made my first batch of outmeal, packed and headed for Gackle, ND about 60 miles straight west.. It was still cool and overcast with a SSE breeze giving me a little boost. The terrain is mostly flat with an occasional uphill to another plateau and lots of pothole lakes and ponds mixed in with thousands of acres of farmland. It’s stark but pretty in it’s own way. And lonesome. The only services on the main route were at a little coop store in the middle of no where.

With nothing else to occupy my mind – not even any interesting trash – I started playing games with the wind. She can be beautiful as she dances through the tall grass in ever changing patterns but she also has a dark side. She would try to tip me over with her 20 mph gusts. I would swerve and lean the other way to try to stay upright. It was a tie. I survived and the wind kept blowing to her hearts content. Although tiring, at least I got a little boost once in a while and it wasn’t a headwind. You know the wind is strong when there are white caps on the duck ponds.

I made it to Gackle, ate a hamburger combo and shake at the Tastee Freeze and went looking for a place to stay. There is the Honey Hub – a hostel for cyclists – but no one was there. Someone named Jason at Dani’s Bar supposedly puts people up but he isn’t around right now. There is an old RV Park but that just didn’t sound right. I lucked out though and chatted with a guy mowing the lawn next to the Tastee Freeze. To make a long story short, he invited me to camp out in air conditioned comfort for the night.

Jay lives in Fargo but has this house in Gackle as a hunting and fishing shack. The walls are covered with stuffed birds and deer, the shower is hot and the AC is cold. He fed me one of the best fried fish dinners I’ve ever had (Andy’s Seasoning – Red), we shared some great conversation and went on an amazing tour of the surrounding countryside (which changed my view of SD forever). Talk about amazing – thanks for the hospitality, fresh crappie dinner (and breakfast) and great stories. If you are ever going through Minneapolis, be sure to look us up. Another day to write home about on Mike’s Great Bike Adventure.




Westward Ho and a Rumble Strips

Day 5: Sunday, May 31, 2015

Stop to Stop: Fargo, North Dakota to little Yellowstone Campground near

Underway: 6:59 am   Off Bike: 5:10 pm   Ride Time: 6.00 hrs   Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 75.4     Total Miles: 362.9     Weather: Cloudy with SE Wind

First Things First: First buffet breakfast In Kindred, SD: First most of the day tailwind: First landmark tour (Standing Rock Hill at 1,480 elevation):First river bath (actually more of a quick scrub off – the water was freezing: First home cooked meal with my homemade cook kit.

Mile to Mile: today was meant to be. After another cold night (although I Slept like a rock) I got out of the sleeping bag by 6:15 am and on my bike by 6:59 am for a few mile jaunt to the nearest McDonalds for breakfast number one. After another quick stop at a 24 hour grocery nearby for the day’s essentials I finally headed south out of Fargo into a pretty stiff headwind. It didn’t help that my legs felt like lead weights after year days long trek but I soon got into a rhythm and started slogging down the road. I was motivated by thoughts of breakfast number two at a little café in Kindred, ND which, as luck would have it had a Special Sunday buffet special – what luck.

My second piece of luck was just after Kindred I finally turned due west (pretty much until I hit the Pacific Ocean). With a stiff SE wind now at my back I gained an extra 3-4 mph of steady speed and was flying the road. Traffic was light and most of the cars that passed me moved way over into the oncoming lane – thank you ND drivers. The biggest challenge was avoiding the nasty and nearly continuous rumble strip. When you hit it it sounds like your bike is going to explode. The shoulder was decent most of the way but randomly disappeared forcing me to ride in the lane.

On good days like today where your brain has a chance to wander (and not obsess about getting up the next steep hill or get through the next miles into the wind) the roadside trash takes on a new meaning. While looking for something valuable (wallets, money, bags of money) among the beer cans, pop bottles and other trash, other things tell a story. So far I have passed by a nice hand garden shear, a carpenters framing square, a Playboy Magazine and a horse shoe…wait what’s that about a Playboy magazine? (It’s still there as far as I know…really). The one thing I had to stop and check was a plain brown grocery bag in the middle off the road. What could it be. I even backtracked after agonizing about it. It was two dead pigeons – there is definitely a story there.

As I turned into the campground for the night, the stars aligned and the sun came out (maybe my wet clothes can dry tonight’s) and I found myself completely alone in a beautiful little right next to a babbling brook (little Yellowstone River). I wish someone (Cindy)was here to share it with. All is well in North Dakota.





Over Hill and Dale

Day 4: Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stop to Stop: Ferguson Falls to Fargo North Dakota

Underway: 7:45 am   Off Bike: 7:15 pm   Ride Time: 7:31 hrs   Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 88.3    Total Miles: 287.5     Weather: Sunny and Windy

First Things First: first 80+ mile day (not by choice – error in calculation: First (and probably only) roadkill carp – who knew carp could fly that far: First new state.Mile to Mile: When I woke this morning after a cold and windy night it was 39 degrees. Are we having fun yet? I survived but it was a challenge to stay warm.

At least day dawned bright and sunny – perfect biking weather except for the head winds again. My first stop was the Viking Café in town only about 15 minutes away – a good place to refuel and warm up a little. Highly recommended.

I met several people during the day – once before I left camp, one as I was leaving the restaurant and one lady who stopped in the middle of the road while I was having a snack. It’s always one of the highlights of a trip like this but I need to factor in social time or I may never get anywhere.

Today was an extra long day. I was running out of gas around 45 miles and thought I had “only” 25 0 miles to go. It turns out I miscalculated an I had 40 left – ugh. Luckily the shoulder got better, the terrain flattened out the beautiful but challenging rolling hills from the morning and I started heading more west which cut the headwind. Just think, I’m 1/10 of the way there – only 9/10 to go. It was a good day.

Of course, when I arrived at the city campground they were full – their tent sites are in danger of flooding so I am in an less than ideal RV site near the office and gazebo listening to loud annoying music coming from a grad party. Beggars can’t be choosers – at least the shower was amazing. And I needed it for sure.



Just Ducky

Day 3: Friday, May 29, 2015

Stop to Stop: Melrose, MN to Delagoon Campground in Fergus Falls, MN

Underway: 6:45 am   Off Bike: 0:00 pm    Ride Time: 6:35 hrs   Stayed At: Campsite
Miles Traveled: 78.8    Total Miles: 199.2     Weather: Windy and Rainy

First Things First: First rain of the trip: First restaurant meal: First 70+ mile day: First time meeting another cross country biker.

Mile to Mile: The day started off almost perfect – no wind, cool and lightly overcast. Except for a few sprinkles that woke me up at 6:00 am all was good to go. Except for the forecast of a 90% chance of rain. The radar looked like I might miss most of it and for the first 20+ miles they were right. Just after I met my first cross country biker (Neil Harris) it started to rain, lightly at first. Neil was from Europe traveling 4,000 miles from Seattle to Boston raising money for Doctors Without Borders among other charities. It was nice to visit with him and hear his stories and adventures including 8-9 days of horrible headwinds coming across Montana. He has a schedule to keep so he tries to make 80+ miles per day. Of course, those headwinds for him would be nice tailwinds for me – hopefully that weather pattern holds for awhile longer.

Back to the cold, wind rain again. It wasn’t a deluge but when you are riding 10-15 mph into it you get wet. My rain gear worked okay but I still got wet. At least Ducky liked it. As long as I kept working my body generated enough heat to keep me warm. Stopping was not fun. And, after the rain stopped a 15-20 mph headwind built in and made the last 20 miles a test of my sanity. For parts of it unprotected at all from the wind I was traveling at a painful 6-8 mph. (Faster than we traveled on our boat trip but I didn’t have to pedal then – Boris did all the word). There was probably a good reason I only saw 6 people on the trail in 79 miles. Sadly, the traill ends here in Fergus Falls so it is back on the road again.

The highlight of the day, after meeting Neil, was the Big Breakfast of plate size pancakes, eggs, bacon and bottomless cup of hot coffee at Jan’s Place in Alexandria. A wonderful break from the rain and wind and the fuel to inspire the next 30 miles. Just think – I’m 1/15 of the way done.did I mention there is a frost warning tonight – yikes. Who thought this was a good idea again?




Best Laid Plans

Day 2: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stop to Stop: Stanley Eddy Park to Sauk River Park in Melrose, MN

Underway: 7:45 am   Off Bike: 4:00 pm   Ride Time: 5:15 hrs   Stayed At: Pay Campsite
Miles Traveled: 65.3   Total Miles: 120.4    Weather: Sunny and Windy

First Things First: First time someone asked me where I was going: first time spending money – $0.75 for a cold root beer and $9 for my campsite: Passed my first 100 mile mark on a gravel road somewhere.

Mile to Mile: I have been planning for months to stay at a free campsite in St. Joseph, MN. It seemed like a nice spot to aim for right on the Paul Bunyan Trail and I like free too. Well I ended up getting into town before noon – way too early to stop especially with wind assist. So I changed plans on the fly and made great progress heading towards Fargo, ND.

My first night camping was a little uncomfortable. Between the very loud owls owling, the squirrels chirping and the dogs barking, sleep was a bit of a challenge. Also the campsite was sloped a little so every time I moved at night I slid a little farther down hill. I did finally sleep but hopefully tonight is better.

My biggest challenge today was the 20 miles of gravel roads I ended up plowing along. It turns out a bunch of roads are being redone – every one of them on my Google supplied route. Some were okay while others were serious washboard surfaces requiring lots of concentration and luck to navigate while others were so soft it was like riding on ice. I never wiped out but not for lack of trying. At least a serious tailwind helped me out for part of it or I may have given up part way through.

The big payoff came when I got to the Paul Bunyan Trail – now that was well worth the effort getting there. Flat level pavement with no cars, great scenery, bike friendly little towns, strong sometimes helpful wind and only two rollerbladers on the entire 27 mile journey. What more could you ask for. The only real excitement was the near crash with a deer crossing the trail but we missed each other by 15 feet or so.

I am typing this on a beautiful, breezy evening right next to the Sauk River with a kids baseball game going on nearby. I’m clean, tired and full (and only a little lonesome) – life is good.



On the Road Again

Day 1: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stop to Stop: Mound, MN to Stanley Eddy Memorial Park near French River, MN

Underway: 10:00 am   Off Bike: 3:55 pm   Ride Time: 4:22 hrs   Stayed At: Free Campsite
Miles Traveled: 55.1    Total Miles: 55.1     Weather: Sunny and warm

First Things First: First system failure – rear panniers fell off 30 seconds from home. My heal bumped them because I put them on the wrong sides –easy fix thankfully: First wild animal – a doe deer on the Dakota Rail Trail: First dog race – I won: First free campsite: First tail wind – one of many I hope.

Mile to Mile: Finally after months of planning, stress, worry and excitement, I left home headed west toward San Francisco, CA. After a short false start (see above) I headed down the road with Cindy in the lead as usual. The first 20+ miles was a perfect way to start this adventure – no cars, lots of shade and Cindy came along for the first 9 miles to see me off – at least until dinner when she met me again at my campsite. And brought dinner – meat loaf, baked potato, scalloped corn and other treats. Thank you dear. Amazing.

The trip north to Stanley Eddy Park (reminds me of someone we spent many wonderful hours with on our boat trip – get it Eddy?) was uneventful until the last 5 miles of gravel road mixed in with short steep hills. It just so happens that the park is the highest point in Wright County. But’s it’s free right? My campsite is primitive with lots of trees, a picnic table and more than a few flies and other bugs. We had a great dinner and icees for desert. Cindy even brought me good water from home to fill my water bottles.

Everything worked very smoothly – especially for a first day. It was definitely a photo worthy day. I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully fair weather and favorable winds.



Prologue – Mike’s Great Bike Adventure

Another great (and slightly crazy) adventure will soon be underway. One of my bucket list items is to ride bike across the country. Hell if I know why but this idea has haunted me since I first tried it in 1976 by participating in the Bikecentennial – a 4,229 mile bike route from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. I made it across Oregon before getting home sick and going home. I’ve regretted that decision ever since.

Until recently, Cindy and I were still trying to figure out what to do with the next 30 years of our lives after our Great Loop trip and RV adventure out west. When I dropped the idea of riding bike across the country on Cindy a couple months ago it was still snowing out and we had a hard time getting motivated to go for our daily walk. I’d like to say she jumped on the idea enthusiastically but actually she laughed hysterically. -  I think she almost had tears in her eyes. Surprisingly, though, she didn’t say no (or hell no) or call the psych ward. She actually listened to the idea. By the time negotiations were complete the new adventure morphed into a 2,800 mile journey that would start at home and stretch across Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Oregon before heading down the coast to visit Jessica and Andrew in San Francisco, California. Just think how cool it will be to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge after riding half way across the country. Half of a bucket list adventure is better than no adventure at all right?

The trip will include the following legs starting in Mound, MN and ending in San Francisco, California in late July.

Mound, MN to Albany, MN (91 mi.)
Albany, MN to Fargo, ND (149 mi.)
Fargo, ND to Dickinson, ND (351 mi.)
Dickinson, ND to Great Falls, MT (499 mi.)
Great Falls, MT to Missoula, MT (168 mi.)
Missoula, MT to Baker City, OR (419 mi.)
Baker City, OR to Eugene, OR (333 mi.)
Eugene, OR to Crescent City, CA (473 mi.)
Crescent City, CA to San Francisco, CA (412 mi.)

Lots of obstacles had to be overcome including getting a different bike for Cindy, making or buying the necessary bike touring gear, training, getting in better shape and ignoring all the reasons a trip like this is crazy. Even though I have no doubt Cindy thought I was insane, she started making lists, worrying about everything on the list and threw herself into training. One major concern she had was whether her knees would be able to handle the stress of a trip like this. We were hoping they would get better and stronger with the training. But after lots of hours on the stationary bike and some long road trips, it was clear that, although she could probably handle the physical part of the trip if we limited mileage to 40 or 50 miles a day, she would be in pain most of the time. That is definitely not worth it.

This was a huge obstacle for me too. I was looking forward to sharing this adventure together. Surprisingly, the hardest part of this type of trip is the mental part of it – getting up everyday and pedaling some more even if you’re bored or cold or wet or lonesome. Two people suffering together is a lot more fun.

As I write this prologue, Cindy is staying home and actually ended up getting a job as a call center nurse at the University of Minnesota. The good thing is it will only be a few days a week with normal hours and no unpaid overtime (and no doctors) – the bad thing is a long commute again. She will no doubt stay busy working, taking care of the house, watching out for the Grandmas and, hopefully, sending out care packages so I have something exciting to look forward to along the way while I try to pedal my way to the Pacific Ocean and a reunion sometime in late July in San Francisco.  I can’t wait. Wish us luck.  Mike and Cindy