Friday, December 30, 2011

Still Riding

December 30, 2011 Oceanside CA

   With Oceanside as my base I have been riding out to surrounding cities, Escondido, San Marcos, Encinitas, Carlsbad and making appointments rather than cold calls.  Hopefully I can cover all 18 cities in San Diego County in the next few weeks while I work full time painting houses here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I have arrived

Dec 8,

   Last night I rode into Oceanside CA my final destination.  It seems an Irony that I arrived on December 7th.  It did not occur to me until the night before last watching Pearl Harbor memorials on TV.
   I'm at the library so limited on my time but will catch up my blog here in the next couple of days.  I've kept a handwritten journal and will copy the entries.
  Total milage ridden is 3,550 miles + or - about 50 as my first odometer broke and the second one reset on me a couple of times.  I got one ride across the Newport Rhode Island bridge which prohibits bicycles.  Corrine was with me then and a big help in getting the ride as she made a sign and had her clown nose on.
    I'll be here in Oceanside for a week or two and hope to meet with fire and police in surrounding cities.
More soon...

December 6,   Julian CA, Rode 75 miles
     Good meeting with Octillo Wells fire, part of San Diego Coundy FD.   Octillo Wells does not look like it is big enough to be a town but the fire department is big as it covers part of the county.
     Rode by Salton sea.  It looks like the Great Salt Lake.  I took route 78 and rode from sea level to about 4500 feet.  It was a grueling ride into the night to reach a motel.  Spectacular vistas most of it.  Not a lot of traffic until late in the day.  I almost quit to sleep by the road but it was very windy and temperaturs at night were going into the teens at that elevation.

December 5,   still in Brawley CA (My day "off")

     I find that my mind seems to need more of a rest than my body.  It could be too that normally I go into what could be called depression during November and December.  One counselor called it a creative low or drawing back of the bow string for the next project.
     Ofthen on the road I have to give myself safety talks reminding myself out loud to be alert for the drunk and texting grivers.   When I find myself feeling comfortable in what I used to sonsider dangerous situations then I need a talk.
     Before this trip I was apalled at how bicyclists rountinely seemed to take the right of wasy and expect cars to look out and avoid them.   I don'''t want to be one of those cyclists.    I think bike lanes are suicide lanes            because they take you way out into traffic where right-turn lanes start.
Bikers should go right and cross the road as a pedestrian if necessary.
   Cyclists accustomed to taking the right of way will not do well on bike-friendly freeways where only shoulder riding is permitted.
    I'm writting about bike safety partly in response to the news that a young medical student was just killed in a bike lane in Salt Lake City, my home town.   On Martha's Vineyard I've seen cyclists use the overcrowded state roads when a paved bike path is available beside them.
   That said, for most of the day I just veged out but I made a trip to the Brawley fire deparetment and had a good meeting with the Fire Marshall.   Brawley is a small city of about 22,000 people.   Most small cities welcome the 60-Second training cards and rad monitors as the big cities "get all the money."

December 4,  Brawley CA, Rode 74 miles
     I left monitors inside the Hotville fire department.  It was open but nobody was there.
     It was not windy as forecast..   I made it to California today.  San Diego is just a stone's throw away but feels lkie the other side of the world.  Maybe it's because the ride is ending.
     In any case I'm pretty worn out.   I've been riding hard for the last five days because I don"t want to sleep in the desert.   The towns with motels are often more than 70 miles apart or I'd have to cut short the day because the next motel is a stretch.
     It's not that I don't like sleeping in the desert.  I'm worried about running into smugglers and bandidos.  The King County sheriff in Texas warned me not to travel near the borders as I have been doing.   The alternative of riding through northern NM and AZ was not possible due to cold weather.
    That said I'm heading north now.  At one point today the freeway ran right next to the Mexican border.   After I rode about 16 miles into California   a sign on the freeway ordered all bicycles to exit right in the middle of nowhere.  There was no legal way to continue on but I did anyway until I came to a frontage road about ten miles farther.  It was really the old highway before the freeway was built and in bad condition but rideable.  I was glad to finally get off the interstate.
   The scenery changed a lot today from Sahara-looking sandy desert to irrigated vegetable farms.  The weather was sunny and cool.   As bionic as I am at 61 I doubt that I could have handled hot days on this ride.   By hot I mean in the 80's.  At age 16 I used to ride when the temperature was as high as 105 degrees F in Iowa and not be bothered by it.
   It has been disappointing meeting so few police and fire fighters it these remote areas but I hope to make up for it when I get to the San Diego area.

December 3,  Yuma Arizona, Rode 42 miles
     I met with the Yuma Rural Metro Fire department at Station #2 and explained the monitors and 60-second cards to two firefighters.  
     I rode over  a small mountain pass about two miles of steep hill and three of moderate incline.  There was about ten miles of gradual incline before that.  It was nice to climb a mountain again.  I'm looking forwart to more mountains coming up soon.
   I rode by gigantic acreges of irrigated crops today.  I also passed gigantic feed lots with 10's of thousands of cows.   No wonder the EPA wanst to regulate cow farts, they want some of the income stream from the feed lots.  Another hidden tax the poor end up paying in higher food costs.

Really windy today.  I qw pretty tired and quit early because the  next motel is another 55 miles.  Sunny but chilly with a north wind.  Still it is great riding weather.  I don't think my body would take the heat if the day was hot.

   I friend in Salt Lake likened my trip to the "Odessy."  Yes I agree or at least I'd like to.

December 2,  (yesterday and today) Tacna Arizona, Rode 79 miles.
     Left monitors att Gilabend health department for police and fire.   Not a quality drop-off.
Almost no wind, a flat tire.   I found three weathered pennies in the desert.   I'm getting tired of the desert and long flat rides.

December 1, Gila Bend  AZ, Rode 58 miles

November 30,  Casa Grande AZ, Rode 73 miles

Dropped monitors at Casa Grande police department after talking to dispatcher.  I always try to get the dispatcher to refer me to an officer but none was available.

Wind assist to Casa Grande which means the wind was at my back pushing some.   It was a wind resist to to Gila Bend as it was blowing hard against me, gusting to 30mph + sometimes.   It was a hard ride but beautiful desert and mountains, lots of cactus.  I got to Interstate 8 and was relieved to see bike-friendly signs.  I had been worried that bikes might be prohibited and there was no other road.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Still catching up

November 17, Tatum New Mexico rt 380, rode 64 miles mostly flat terrain.
     The wind was gentle and not much of a help or hinderance.  I checked into the Sands Motel owned by Dan, a Vietnam vet and local cattle rancher and his wife.  It's a bright spot in what looks like a rural slum.  So much of America seems blighted and a lot of these tiny towns are really slums.  I don't mean the whole town is blighted  but it looks very third worldish in the sense there is wealth and poverty side by side.  The motel owner invited me to eat dinner at his place.  We ate a pig he had raised and it was very good.  I think rural folk are for the most part very resourceful and hard-working.

November 18,  took the day off as it was too windy to ride.

November 19,  I've mixed up the dates or forgot an entry.  I'm copying all this from notes I made on paper.

November 20,Hondo New Mexico, rode 124 miles, slept behinde roadside falling rock barrier.
     Met with Lea County Deputy and Roswell Police department.
I met Harry and Tom age 24 riding their bicycles around the world from England.  They were coming from SanFrancisco and had ridden 12,000 miles so far across China etc.  About fifty miles later I met another couple, Robbie and Monica who are riding their bicycles around the world and have a blog at:  You can also find them by  Googling "Robbie and Monica bicycling around the world."
  They were coming from Alaska heading for Guatamala and have been on the road since 2004 and ridden 43,000 miles (it might be kilometers)
     I rode late into the day because the wind was with me and tomorrow the forcast is for wind against me at 20-25 mph.  That is unrideable.

November 21, Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico, rode 26 miles.  Checked into motel at 9:30 am.  Beautiful calm morning but broke into big rain and windstorm shortly after I checked into the motel.  The ride today was all uphill but little wind.  I started about 5:30 am in order to beat the weather.

     . November 22, staying in a culvert near the White Sands Missle base entrance on route 70.  Rode 96 miles.
     Ice on the road at mountain pass about 7500 feet elevation.  Gave monitors to Ruidoso and Mescalero Apache fire, Tulerosa EMS,  Almagordo fire.  Long mountain climbs today.

November 23,  Deming New Mexico, rode 77 miles.  Left monitors for Las Cruces fire and police with the Chamber of Commerce. 
   I met Hector riding on Interstate Route 10 training for an 800 mile ride to Los Angeles.  He's a retired engineer.  While moste Interstate highways prohibit bicycles New Mexico does not and has signs at the on-ramps telling bicycles to "Use Shoulder Only."

November 24, Lordsburg New Mexico, Rode 65 miles, Left rad monitors at Deming State Police but no one to receive them.  Thanksgiving day.
    Wind at my back and road was fairly flat.  An elderly couple flagged me down on the freeway to change their flat (blowout) tire.  I had a bannanna split at the Dairy Queen for Thanksgiving dinner.
   Weather was beautiful all day til about 3:30 when a big storm blew in.  I got to a motel just as the rain started falling with air seeping out of my tires.

November 25,  Day off, weather storming with wind gusting out of the west at 40 mph.  No ride, no way!

November ????  I'm copying all this from scratch notes and have the days a little out of order but it's all pretty close.  Would not pass for an alabai.  My oldest daughter who is an audiologist says if I don't come home looking thin (vs. the fat I was before I left) they will know that I've been lying and just hanging out on a big vacation.

November 27,  Wilcox Arizona, rode 79 miles.  Met with Lordsburg police, met with Bowie AZ fire and left monitors at San Simon fire AZ nobody home.  I left monitors with Arizona Range News to pass on to police or fire, they said they'd like to do a story after Christmas.  The Range News is a weekly paper and did a story on our work three years ago.  I belive it is still on the Internet by searching "Nuclear Attack Kits Arizona Range News."  Wind at my back again today, very helpful..Police department, talked to dispatcher.
   A lot of long climbs but a very strong wind at my back got me to Tucson by about 3:30 pm.   Warm welcome by Dr. Orient and her mother Phyllis at the Physicians For Civil headquarters.  Big dinner.  Jeremy did some video taping.  This is the place  we worked out of three years ago handing out Nuclear Attack kits to nearly all of Arizona's towns and cities.  There are some videos of this at "roadman911" on YouTube.

November 27,

Catching up

November 11, Vernon Texas, Rode 28 miles
   Sick with stomach flu.

November 12, Still sick, laying out for the day (no riding).
November 13, Crowell Texas, rode 33 miles
  Met with Vernon Fire Department.  Fire captain drove me across town to meet with their HAZMAT.
Met with Crowell police & fire.
     Very hard day riding.  The terrain was flat but the wind was gusting to 35 mph.  I could only peddle about six mph against it.  I would even get off the bike and walk it just to rest.
    I sat down under a big old tree for lunch.  There was a huge bees nest in it so I had to move.  It was hot in the 80's so I ran out of water in spite of starting out with three quarts.
   It took as much time and effort to ride 33 miles into the wind as it did to ride 87 miles with the wind at my back.

November 14, Guthrie Texas, rode 64 miles
   Met with  Knox and King county judges in charge of emergency response,  King county has a population of only 350 people and is about 800 square miles in size. 
     Big scenery change from farm land to "Marlboro Country.

November 15, Dickens Texas, rode 34 miles
   Met with King County sheriff and Dickens County sheriff.  I too photos of Dickens county jail because it looks like it came right out of a Charles Dickens novel.  I thought it was a tourist museum at first.
     Big hills, it looks like the wild west out here.  For most of today's ride there was nobody in sight for as far as the eye could see.
     I slept under a bridge in Guthrie last night as there were no motels.  Today I was low on energy and feeling run down.  My appetite has not fully returned.  I ate a better lunch but have low energy because I have not been able to eat enough..    The town of Dickens has a population of about 300 people and Dickens county has about 2,400 people covering about 900 square miles.
   Summer weather today

  November 16,  Brownfield Texas, rode 105 miles
       Gave monitors to Texas Highway Patrol officer, to Crosbyton Sheriff and fire and Lorenzo police.  I almost quit the trip today but my energy came back and I'm finally over the flu bug and its effects.
     Sometimes the need to arrive at a motel before dark or dusk means I have to skip meeting with a police or fire department.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My day off

November 9,  Frederick OK, Rode 87 miles
  Met with Cordel Fire Chief and Witchata (sp?) County Emergency Manager Max Booth.  Also dropped off monitors at Rocky fire department through contact at the senior citizens center.
  Barry Diffendaffer (sp?) stopped on the highway to talk to me.  He's a local farmer about my age (61) who also bikes a lot.   I asked him what the round rolls of hay were and he said just another way to bail it.  For most of my life I've seen those round rolls of hay and never asked anyone what they were.
   Wind was at my back all day so I cruised most of the day at 20+ mph.  "Only" peddeled for 5 hours and 54 minutes.  Average speed for the day was 15mph.   It was a bit of a thrill cruising at 20mph.  If I peddled hard I could get my speed up to 25mph on the flat.    I pushed it all day long because it was fun and I wanted to break my old record whatever that was.  In the end I realized that I can get a lot more miles with a lot less effort just by riding fifty or 60 miles a day.   I lectured myself that riding into the wind should be just as much fun as riding with it if I have the right attitude.  Frankly I can see that riding with the wind all the time could get really old as it's hard to keep up with the peddles and it makes me want to ride even faster and peddle harder.
   I stopped at the County Health Dept. on my way into Frederick to see if they were interested in the rad monitors.  No.  I asked the receptionist if there were any "economical" motels in town?  She said, "I think they are both economical."  So I stopped at the first which is the Scottish Inn.
  The geography and scenery changed a lot today.  It's looking more like the southwest.  While I probably should not compare, the route that I have taken to cross the country has been much nicer than the one I took 44 years ago.  I have avoided riding across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa both because of the weather but also they are so flat with the same endless sort of scenery.  Not that I don't like cornfields but I've both biked them and I've seen them from train and bus at least 30 times (bike once).  I hope I've not spoken to soon but I've biked across New Mexico and Arizona before (43 and 42 years ago)  so I know what's ahead.  Also, three years ago I visted about 130 fire departments in AZ by car which required about 6,000 miles of driving throughout the state.  I've been to all the smaller cities and towns in AZ with the exception of Beaver Dam.  I look forward to revisiting those that I pass by again.

November 10, Still in Fredrick as it is my "day off."
  I never have said how much my bike weighs, or my pack weighs or I weigh.  My bike was so heavy that I did not want to know how much it was.  The same for my pack and me.    I know after the first four days of riding I lightend my pack by about 30 lbs.  I was carrying an incredible amount of junk.  I think I've lost about 15 pounds of body weight so me and the bike together are about 45 pounds lighter than when we started.  If I stay on the road I'll probably lose another ten pounds.   I look better and my back doesn't hurt any more when I get up in the morning.  Also my knees have stopped bothering me.  Before the trip I figured my kness likely would not hold out if the rest of me did.
   So I got a haircut today in Frederick and I went to visit the fire department.   I ended up spending three and a half hours at the fire department and was invited to eat lunch with some of the crew.  When I showed Chief Newman the training cards and rad monitors he asked me to show him how some old Civil Defense meters he had worked.  He and his crew there really liked the new SIRAD technology and the simplicity of it.  But all agreed in the end that the information in the 60-Second Nuclear Detonation training cards had more life-saving value than "techonology."   So much of the technology, radios, electronic meters, etc. that is out there is either too expensive to maintain, sitting on shelves, or nobody knows how to use it that it is functionally useless.
   I showed Chief Newman how to make a radioactive sample with a paper towel and vacuum cleaner.  That was a big hit with him and the crew.  They all realized that if the air they were breathing was that radioactive then we've been lied to that it is so dangerous.   The EPA and related agencies have use our fear to create nice jobs for themselves etc.
   Chief Newman was so interested in radiation monitoring that I got out the Kearny Fallout Meter and showed him how it worked and gave him the instructions for making one himself.  He says he plans to order the postage stamp-size monitors for the whole county as well as make some Kearny Fallout Meters or get scouts to make them.
  So when I got my haircut the lady cutting my hair who is 82 told me that her grandson-inlaw is the fire chief in Mantaou which I passed but did not stop at.   So I gave her a monitor/training card pack to give to him.  She wanted a monitor for herself and her husband who was the former fire chief but still works for the town.
   While Frederick looks about as rural as you can get it is ringed about by abandoned nuclear missile silos visible from the road and as close as two miles away.  It is also about 18 miles from the nearest military base.   It is also well-know that a lot of radioactive material is transported on local roads.  So interest in radiation is very high here and I've been made very welcome in town for as short of visit as I've made. 
   My ride is also serving as a new sort of credential as firefighters and police officers are impressed with my "feat."   I am too.  It's hard to belive I've ridden this far and I'm surprised that I even want to keep ridding.
   One of the firefighters who is 28 but in line to be chief someday, was explaining to me how he thought there were "two America's."   He said the people who live in Oklahoma City have no idea of rural OK life.   I might add to that that congress is not only out of touch with rural America they are disconnected from it.  It's amazing that the government pays millions of people for not working when there is so much work that needs doing all throughout America.
  I'm 15 miles from Texas and hope to stay in Crowell TX tomorrow night. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bad day in Blackrock

November 7,  Watonga OK
     Rode 61 miles, met with Guthrie police department and Kingfisher County Sheriff Dept.  Light showers, bike skidded off slippery road.  I hit soft ground and rolled so was not hurt.  Tornado warnings, sky looked dangerous.  I quit riding before the clouds poured rain.
   Had I not altered my route I would have been in the path of tornadoes and golf ball-size hail.  Sun came out about 2pm.   I was exhausted and took a nap in my hammock by the roadside.  It was warm except when the showers came.
    I eat a lot but it's still not enough. My gut is gone.  Riding curbs appetite.

November 8,  Clinton OK
    Rode 56 miles.  Met with Thomas police chief Buck Jones, Custer town clerk for fire department,  Emergency Management Director for Custer County, Clinton fire chief and battalion chief.
   They all seemed like exceptionally good meetings.  Either people are more interested in these parts or my presentation is getting better.  The Custer County Emergency Manager said he was interested in getting all of Oklahoma equipped with the rad monitors.
   This was the first day it was very cold.  I could see my breath.  It feels like winter here tonight.  I'm not getting south fast enough.   I'm altering my route so I get pushed by the wind rather than fight it.  When the wind blows from the south or east I ride west.  When it blows from the north or northwest I ride south.   I can't ride into a wind that is 20-30 mph gusting 40 but I can ride perpendicular to it.

   I hope my x-country ride can get a buzz going in the country about the new SIRAD monitoring technology and the 60-second nuclear training.    First responder leadership seems more open to being prepared for nuclear than they used to be.  The old attitude was "it's all over" if a nuke goes off.  Now they are aware of the possibility of nuclear terrorism and generally want to know more.

   Police chiefs, fire chief and sheriffs don't need to spend time training for nuclear they are already trained to handle disasters.  They only need to think about what they would do for nuclear and they can do that in the shower or while driving.  While the 60-Second training cards could get their departments through a nuclear event, it would be more effective if the first responders were also equipped with the SIRAD monitors.

   Because production is not sufficient to equip 2 million first responders in a timely way now it would be enough for even 10% or 20% of a department  to be carrying the monitors.  Even one monitor to a department would go a long way towards preventing panic in the jurisdiction.


November 1,2011
    Rode 70 miles.  Met with Springfield and Republic fire departments.  Got to meet with deputy chief at Springfield.
Average speed for the day was 9.8 mph.  Total peddle time was 7 hrs and ten minutes.  Approximate total miles to date is 1,748.
  I rode into interstate spaghetti by mistake and escaped by pushing the bike up an embankment and across a cemmetary.   Rode on a bike path through part of Springfield.  Did a TV interview with KY3

November 2,    Neosho OK, rode 42 miles.
     I quit early as a storm was moving in.
Took November 3 off

November 4, 2011  Claremore OK
   Rode 91 miles, met with police (emergency manager) for Waydotte tribe, Fairland fire department dropped off monitors no one available.,  OK Highway patrol at Vinita, I met Terry at a gas station and she volunteered to deliver monitors to people she knew in the Chelsea and Foyil fire departments.
   I got into an argument with an administrator at the OK Highway patrol who refused to take the rad monitors, said I had to give them to main office in OK City.  I told administrator that "it's because of people like you that the officers are not getting the monitors.  An officer came out and let me explain and demo the monitors and 60-Second training and thanked me for them.

November 5, Drumright OK, rode 76 miles
   Met with Tulsa fire department.  Very hilly and windy, 3 flats, bought two new tubes at Wal-Mart.  Bought a floor pump as my hand pump is too small and hard to fill tire with.  A lady took a picture of my bicycle.  Thorns are causing flats her.  KSL TV News Salt Lake City called me and said they want to do a story on my ride.

November 6, 2011 Guthrie OK, rode 52 miles.
   Dropped off monitors at Drumright fire (no one to receive them).  I met with Perkins fire department.
Wind was against me at 10-20 mph.  Mostly hills an no flat stretches.  Earthquakes 2 days in a row but I slept through them.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Monday October 31, 2011  Seymore Missouri, rode 57 miles
Met with Willow Springs Highway Patrol head quarters, Cabool police department and the Mountain Grove fire department.  Good reception from all three.  Everyone seems interested in the bike trip or that I'm on a bicycle.

   Today was open access divided highway almost all the way with pretty heavy traffic.   The semi's move over an entire lane for me even though I'm riding on the far edge of the break-down lane.   Cloudless day a little warmer than yesterday in the upper 60's.  I could not do this in summer heat.  I put a second pair of socks on this morning as my toes have been freezing every day.  Usually there is frost in the mornings now.
   I don't recommend x-country bicycling.  In other words don't try this at home.   I thought bicycling would be safer than trying to sail across the ocean in a dinghy, it's not.   A pick-up truck was driving in the break-down lane and I wasn't watching behind me, worse, I was on the phone.   The truck went around me but no more phone while riding.  
     On the two lane roads I have to watch what is coming from behind me all the time as well as what is coming at me.  If a car is coming from behind and one towards me I usually have to get off the road altogether.  For sure if they are trucks.   I get lazy and sloppy on the open access divided highway (looks like an interstate but is not).   I can just daydream all day long in the breakdown lane.   I'm trying to break the habit and keep an eye on what is coming behind me such as drunks and people texting.
     A pretty day though somewhat monotonous.  I try and notice the scenery and not focus on the unusual trash and road kill.   I could not help but notice that there are a lot of dead armadillos now along with the usual skunks, racoons and deer.   I'm also seeing dead turtles.  I saw my first dead fox today.  I passed a lot of what looked like dead wolves.  While I did not see the kitchen sink among the flotsom and jetsom I did see what looked like the faucet knob to one.
     The road is continuing to flatten out a more.   I know the road and scenery will change a lot soon.  I'm surprised to see a lot of cactus growing along the road.
     Since the towns are so far apart I'm making an effort to track down the police or fire stations so I meet with at least three a day.   I'll be off the divided highways pretty soon and probably get easier access to first responders.
   I know the east coast got plastered with snow but it's still just fall here and almost an Indian Summer.
A friend from the Washington D.C. area called me today to say the middle east is growing intensely unstable due to the assassination of Quedaffi (sp).  He said it is approaching the equivalent of the Balkins right before World War I.  It sounds like a powder keg.  
     One thing I've noticed over the last year is the rate of deterioration, even collapse of our nation's radiation monitoring systems.  Between the Nuclear War Survival Skills plan by the U.S. Department of Energy and the SIRAD radiation monitors by the Defense Department  we have technology on the shelf that would serve as an effective stop-gap to the collapse of national rad monitoring.
   I'd like to challenge any official that disputes this claim.  Our nation's radiation monitoring ability only exists on paper.  With all the hoopala about national security it is conceivable that some third world terrorist cell from say, Pakistan could plant three or four small nukes around the U.S. and take us out.  Not because of the blasts, but rather the panic it would cause would likely collapse the country.
   National or "Homeland" security is a fiction that only appears to take place at airports and entries to government buildings.
   This is the 21st century and our national security is built upon 19th century ideas.   So much for my rant.  I managed to check into a motel with a computer.  I could be eating and resting and soaking in the tub.


OCTOBER 30, 2011  - Willow Springs, rode 59 miles, wind against me 10-20 mph, hills all day long half mile to mile long hills but not too awfully steep   5 - 7% +or-.
Met with Van Buren Ambulance Co. this morning next to fire department.  Crew member took me to breakfast.  I demonstrated the SIRAD monitors and 60-second cards to three people.  Reception seemed good.
   Met Eddie today who grew up in a small Missouri town.  He's about 45 and said he was never interested in basket ball in high school because he was too busy poaching.   Really he said he tried mostly to get the game warden to chase him and would spend hours hunting him down then drive by and go down the road a ways and fire off his gun and then drive in difficult areas where the game warden couldn't follow.  He said he would tie fishing line in places where the game warden parked so he could tell how recently he'd been there.
   It was a very hard riding day because it was so windy against me and all hills.  I went up so many hills so slowly today I started to look for roadside treasures among the usual garbage people throw along the highway.  I found a  very nice hunting knife which I kept and a big crescent wrench which I put by a post where someone would be sure to find it.  I found a current driver license which I turned in to the highway patrol.  I tried to make a game out of spoting unusual things including insects.  A black widow crawled across my path.   It was a big one and had the red hour glass on its belly.  I left it alone.  The road today was all four lane divided highway, open access.  I had the breakdown lane all to myself which was nice but the road tends to be boring as it almost all looks the same.  I won't be on it much longer.
   Yesterday I played Russian Roulette with Amtrak, not the train but my trip.  I passed an Amtrak station in Poplar Bluffs and thought if there was a train within the next hour or two I'd just get on it and end my trip.  The train did not come until about midnight and three in the morning so I just rode off thinking I can do the same with a bus.    I thought about it for awhile and realized that I really want to continue with this ride and I don't want to end it.
   So far Grafton West VA, Ashland and Greenville Kentucky have requested the SIRAD monitors for their first responders.  This is actually a good response so far.   There will be more coming as some departments take several weeks even months to respond.  Grafton is ordering the monitors for all first responders in the entire county, about 500.  Greenville appears to be doing the same.


October 29, 2011 Van Buren Missouri, Rode 71 miles, sunny, 3 flats.
Met with Poplar Bluffs Highway Patrol, HP said would contact fire department.
Lots of hills, staying at Star Lite motel another antique that has not been altered since the 1950's.  Left monitors at Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department (no one there)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Oct 24, 2011-Arrived at Litchfield, KY which is the county seat after riding 50 miles.  Stayed at the Hatfield Inn (of McCoy fame)   Met with county Emergency Management Larry Holeman in the morning.  Interviewed at 2 newspapers.  Got a late start, hilly terrain and 20mph head winds.  Went to Embry's Bike store and got a new tire; threw away old one.  Dropped Safety Materials Kit to Cannyville Fire VFD and Rosine area Fire Dept.  Napped by side of road.  (No shoulder on road but scenic).  "Summer Day" warm.

TUES Oct 25 - Spent night in Beaver Dam, KY.  Rode 75 miles to Princeton, KY.  80 degrees, not too hilly or windy.  Met with 2 police chiefs and one fire chief.  Rockport Fire, Greenville Police and Fire, White Plains Fire and Dawson Springs Police.

WED Oct 26 - Paducah, KY.  Rode 53 miles from Princeton, KY.  Stopped at Possum Trot Fire Dept, Lyon County Fire Dept (talked to Chief Coleman), Eddyville Fire.  Excellent riding day except for downpour I got caught in about 4:30 pm.  Difficult shoulders part way, had to dodge 2 wide loads.  I checked into Motel 6, clerk said I should be in the news.  People are impressed with my ride...I am too!  Bought Glucosamine at Walgreens.  Right knee feels like it might get sore.  I use proper gear so I don't strain my knees by pushing too hard on the pedals.

THOUGHTS ON RIDING: A fantasy a couple of days ago as I passed a car lot, of buying a car and driving home.  This morning I felt like catching a bus home from Paducah.  Cross-country riding has occasional periods of discouragement.  I have to ask myself if I really want to go on.  I imagine ending the trip and see how that feels.  By mid afternoon I was feeling better about the ride and wanted it to continue.   Today was day 6 of riding and I was worn out.  Tomorrow is my day off. (Ride 6, off 1)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Local Kentucky news

  Amish men are being prosecuted and going to jail here for refusing to put warning placards on their vehicles which I believe are horse-drawn.  Jail terms are 3 to 5 days.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 21, 2011

   One flat, rode 67 miles, met with Lexington Fire Department.   Met Harvey in Winchester.  He flagged me down on the street.  He is 67 and has been biking for recreation for four years.  He biked ahead of me to show me a shortcut out of town that avoided the traffic. 
   In Kentucky they pronounce "air" as "are" or "car" without the "c".  Could not reach a motel so hung hammock under bridge near Laurenceburg.

October 22,  rode 47 miles.   Left rad monitors with Bardstown and Anderson County Fire.  No one to recieve them.  Good night under bridge.  Foggy in morning but clear up the hill.  Bridge at river bottom.  Second day with my new mirror.  It works well and cars seem to go around me at a greater distance.  The mirror stands out when approaching my bike from behind.  It's a truck  mirror and I mounted it forward so I can see what is coming from behind me at all times without moving my head.  Bicycle mirrors are too small and useless for safe long distance travel on bad roads.
   So many OMG moments riding.  I did not know that Kentucky was so beautiful.  Very distinct from other states.   While dogs try and chase me, cows are startled by me and run away if they are right near the road.
     Today a horse  called out to me (neighed) and galloped across a field to come over to me.  It had to have been an enchanted princes seeking her prince charming to end the enchantment.  I couldn't stay and I already have one at home anyway.  Stopped at Old Kentucky Motel in Bardstown and ate at the Stephen Foster restaurant (buffet) across the street.
  It was a very hilly, small hills, day and somewhat wearing.  I average 9.5 mph if there are not a lot of hills, 8.5 mph in hilly country and 6-7mph in mountains.

  October 23,  Rode 59 miles, staying at Litchefield motel.  Met with Elizabethtown police and two other fire departments.
   Cool and overcast but warmer than yesterday. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

update posts from my journal

  I don't carry or have easy access to the internet so I write out my days ride longhand.  Here are some that never got posted.

Wednesday Sept. 28 Middleton CN, Wesly Inn, Rode 56 miles

   Rough hills, short (1/4, 1/8th miles +or-) but very steep.  I hit 42 mph going down on one but had to walk up some.   It was a key day to determine if I could ride 50 miles in a day.  I filled tires to full pressure~80psi and sent about 35 lbs of excess baggage back to Salt Lake.
   In the first five days of "shakedown" ride the goal was to go slow and keep it to 25 miles/day as it was a steep learning or re-learning curve, adjusting bikes, sorting out gear, buying new gear.   Light rain first two days of ride, nice and cool, beautiful bike paths.  No insects but severe hayfever for a few days.  Meeting average of  three to five police and or fire departments per day.  I give explanation and demo the rad monitors with a smoke detector and explain the importance of the 60-Second nuke training cards.  I got to meet with Chief Admul of New London Fire Dept, very interested.  Some meetings don't seem good at all but I find out later the material got handed up to the right people and they responded well.

Thursday Sept 29, Rode 52 miles met with 3 fire stations (Waterbury and Meridian)  and one newspaper.
     I needed to see if I could ride 50 miles 2 days in a row.  Mile long hills of 7-12+% grade, grueling.  I hand no idea my body was capable of rejuvenating as it has (over the last year ).  I've been brainwashed to accept that we go into physical decline at age 60.
     Heavy downpours today gave me much relief as the rain cooled me nicely.  No rain gear, didn't need it, just got soaked.
     Staying alert and dodging cars is a challenge.  I had excellent meetings with Meridian and Waterbury fire departments.  Got motel at end of day and soaked in hot bath.  I had a hot meatball Subway sandwhich with everything on it for dinner.   I got lost a lot on back roads today.

October 9&10   Rode 53 miles on the 9th.  Crossed a 1600 ft mountain pass.  Grueling and crowded road with no shoulder but beautiful.   I often ride on grass or grave beside road when cars are coming.  Slept under a bridge crossing the river.   So much of my travel seems like riding through a post card.   But it looks like a lot of the territory never recovered from the crash of 1929.   Five-mile hills with 12% grade, up and up.  Took nap in the middle of theday

October 11, 2011, Grafton West Virginia, CRISLIP Motor Lodge.
     Even though I'll miss a good weather day of riding I'm taking today off.  Six days of riding and three of those through the Applachain Mountains has worn me out.   While I'm not pushing myself the road does that for me.  I try and quit riding by 5:30 pm but often thre is no place to stop until 6:30 pm.  I need to be on the road by 7:30 am as otherwise I lose daylight time.   I try to avoid riding at dawn or dusk but often get caught at those hours still riding.
     The bike trip is a surprise to me even though I had planned it for the last ten years - except on a Harley motorcycle.  A year ago I looked into joining a motorcycle club and was told that  I could not be a member if I had any affiliation with the police.  That helped to sour me on the idea of getting a motorcycle.  Though I'm sure plenty of clubs don't have that rule.  A friend of mine was in this particular club and I liked it a lot except of for the no police affiliation provision.
     Three months before I turned 60 (the year I was going to do this trip) I broke my foot.  I could not walk well for months but I could ride a bicycle.   I felt so much better ridding that I quit driving except for infrequent essentials and to prove I had not lost it for drunk driving ( I don't drink).   I found the bike riding a great relief from chronic depression.   At first I would put my bike on buses and trains a lot but gradually found myself just riding the longer distances.  I found I could set up an entire paint job with my bicycle alone.  I could easily carry a 6 foot step ladder and I made a simple trailer so I could tow a 36-foot extension ladder.   I just found myself losing weight and feeling younger as well as better the more I biked.
     Apart from bicycling, Civil Defense preparedness has been an avocation mine since I was a nuclear arms technician in the military forty years ago.   For years a dream of mine has been to take Civil Defense on the road.  I imagined doing that in a car or an RV though.  In 2009  I spent 5 weeks and drove 6,000 miles in Arizona outfitting and training almost every town and city Emergency Manager in the state with a special nuclear attack kit.   Not that it will be needed but if it ever is it will save many, many lives and do much to preserve local government.
   Normally I paint houses on Martha's Vineyard in the summer because it is much cooler there than Salt Lake.  This last summer I had a problem with persistant depression, possibly because work has been so slow and I'm used to doing a lot of physical labor every day.
     As it came time to return to Utah in the fall  I felt like I'd like to ride my bike back.  It was an absurd idea at first even though I'd ridden from New Jersey to California when I was 16, now I was 60.   I further reasoned in the absurd that if I enjoyed riding to Utah I would not want to stop there so I set San Diego as my destination.  Five of my adult children live there.  I also planned and still plan to quit the trip and hop on a bus any time I feel like it.  Though once I decide to quit the trip I will wait three days to see if I still want to quit it before I get on a bus.
   So my dream of a x-country trip and going on the road with the radiation monitors and CD training info collided with each other and I was off.   But not before I had adorned my bicycle with a dragon head and tail.  In fantasy my bike is really Frey's magic ship disguised as a bicycle.  The kids love it and wave at me often and I also wanted to impress my grandchildren with both the "ship" and mythical story behand it.  When I was eleven I found the dragon in a children's novel by Hilda Lewis called "The Ship That Flew."  I read it twice as a child and have since read it dozens of times as an adult and my children all grew up with it as well.
   So I aslo call this my "Kick the Can Trip" not kick-the-bucket.   The name comes from the old Twilight Zone episode where the folks in the nursing home all turn into children again by playing a magic game of kick the can.   I estimat I get a year younger for every 100 miles I ride.  So by the time I reach San Diego I will be 16 again.
     A few days before I left Martha's Vineyard for San Diego, Corinne saw the dragon and said she had a strange bicycle herself that her brother had made.  It looked like a Harley Sportster, the motorcycle in Easy Ridere ridden by Peter Fonda.
     Corinne said she wanted to ride with me for the first few days.  Then the trip got really serious because I really doubted I'd get far.  She really help the trip get off the ground and launch me towards San Diego.  (See her blog entry).
   I think another thing that set me on this trip was that whenever I road a bicycle during the last five years I would often pretend I was 16 and imagine myself riding across the country as a teenager.  I think I imagined it so many times that it became real.   Sometimes while I'm riding I'll even wonder if I'm still 16 and my whole life since then was just a dream.   I even find that I'll reach absent mindedly for the gear shifts on the frame where they were when I was 16.   They are not there now but on the handle bars.  It could be I'm just getting Altzheimers

October 13, 2011 (I turned 61 today)  rode~50 miles, speedometer broke.  stopped at Bridgport, Clarksburg and Greewood West Virgina fire departments today.

   Good riding weather until about 2:30 pm.  Heavy showers on and off for three hours until I reache a small off-the-beaten-track motel.  It looks like the town time for got.  The Motel was built in 1953 and not a thing has been changed on it since.
   I left Grafton about 7:30 am but dropped my camera right outside of town.   I rode 15 miles before I realized I had dropped it.   I hitched a ride back to pick it pu and my ride took me both ways.  He was a 20 year-old unemployed oil rig worker.  I saw him at a gas pump and offered him 20 dollars to taking back to look for my camera.   He confided in me later that it was good I gave him the $20 because he had planned to steal the gas and just drive away from the pump as he had no cash.  I gave him a little more cash and gas after I found my camera.
   Thirty miles of my ride today was on "Open Access" highway built like an interstate freeway.  That is to say it is graded at not more than a 7% grade.  It had a very good shoulder to ride on but it was part of a 66 mile stretch of rode that I biked that even the locals say is the "most boring highway."   Like an interstate all the scenery looks the same so it was like riding up the same hill all day long.   I'd ride 15 minutes to and hour up then two to six minutes down, then 15 min. to an hour back up and minutes down. It was one of the worst sections of road ever and I felt like quitting the trip by the time I got to the end of that road.

oops! back to:  October 7, 2011    Rode 77 miles (pretty flat) staying at Red Roof Inn in Williams Port Maryland. 

   Outrageously beautiful riding country.  I interviewed at the Carlisle Sentinal newspaper but don't think they did a story.   I lot of children wave or call out to me on the bike because of the dragon, some adults too.  I'm amazed at my ability to ride.  Of course if I kick off from a heart attack or some other strain related demise it means I was wrong about everything.  My wife says I'm wrong about everything anyway so she'll be right for once if that happens.  She says I seem like a madman and I thought of Mick Jaggers Loonatik song and told her that maybe it's a madman she needs to be married to...don't try to change me....

Jumping to October 15th 2011 Mt. Alto West VA   rode 60 miles down the Ohio river, breath taking.

     I attended, accidentally, a pancake breakfast at the Ohio Hocking  fire department.   I gave them the CD info and monitors and was invited to eat.  Also met with Belpre Ohio fire department and spent the night on a hill side by the road in a hammock.

October 16, 2011 Rode 61 miles and visited 3 fire depatments and one police department.
     I feel like I'm chasing summer down the Ohio river.  It seemed like a summer day as a lot of hay is being cut and it's warm and sunny.  The leaves are not as changed as further north.   Found a cheap motel, bad shoulder for riding.   My neck is sore from turning it to look in my rear view mirror.  I'm going to put on a new mirror so I don't have to turn my head

  I'm runnin out of library time and still have more entries to copy in, will have to do it another day.

  To date: October 20, 2011 I think.  I've visited a total of 69 police and fire departments.  All but about four of those were actual personal contacts.  At a few small fire departments I left the material stuck in the door.
Here is a partial or full list of towns I met and trained someone on the rad monitors, if there is time:

In MA:  Bourne State Police, Warehame EMS, Wareham Fire, Marion Police, Mattapoisett Police, New Bedford Police, Portsmouth fire

In Rhode Island: RI State Police, North Kingston Fire, Naragansett Fire, Cross Mills Fire, Stonington Police

In CN:  Mystic Fire, Poquonnock Bridge Fire, New London Fire, name not ledgible, Oswegatchie Fire, Haddam Fire,  Parker Hose Co. Fire, Waterbury Fire, Southbury Fire,

In New York: Carmel Police, Mahopac Fire, Mohegan Fuire, Cortlandt Fire, Florida Fire

In New Jersey:  Hope State Police, Belvidere Fire

In PA:  Carlisele Fire, Notrh Middleton Township Fire, PENDOT Lebonon, Northampton County Emergency Management

In West Virgina:  Martinsburg fire, Fredrick County Fire, Capon Bridge Police, Agusta Fire, Burlington Fire, Fellowshipville Fire, Grafton Fire, Clarksburg Fire, Greewood Fire, Flatrock Fire (NA), Point Pleasant Police, Valley Fire, Ohio River Road Fire (NA)

In Kentucky:  Ashland Police, Ashland Fire, Carter County EMS, Hayes Crossing-Haldeman Fire, Moorhead Police,  Moorehead Fire, Owingsville Police,  Montgomry County Fire, Winchester City Fire*, Clark County Fire*, Scott County Fire*,
*firefighters requested extra rad monitor kits to distribute to these outlying counties

In Ohio: Belpre Fire, Little Hocking Fire

Friday October 14, 2011 Rode 40 miles (three flats) to Parkersburg West Virginia.  Rain shower in the afternoon but mostly good riding weather.  I need to remember to mail tip to Theron at the Greenwood Motel.  When I got there the owner, Doris, said she did not accept credit cards.  I told her I did not have enough cash on me to stay there.  She asked me if I would just send her a check when I got home.  I told her I had checks and paid her with a check.

October 17, 2011 Monday  Olive Hill Kentucky, Rode 55 miles.

   Boyd County EMS was the first government agency to reject the rad monitors and 60-Second trainin.  The supervisor said that "Emergency Management" takes care of that."  I met with Ashland Fire and Police .  Last night I slept under a bridge on route 60.
   Two wide loads passed me today.  I got off the road for mobile home because I saw it coming.  The other, a bulldozer, had to go around me as I was not looking.  I try to always know what is coming behind me.  Kentucky hills are not so hard to ride as the mountains of West Virginia.  Today's hills would have seemed like long one's at the beginning of this trip but  are bumps in comparison to the mountains I went over last week.  A lot of loose dogs in Kentucky and some try to chase me.  If they get close I give them a blast on my air horn and they stop.
   The grasshoppers in Kentucy are twice as big as the grass hoppers in previous states.   I try not to run over them.

   October 18, 2011 Mt. Sterling Kentucky, rode 57 miles.

    Today I made nine drop-offs.  I met with the Moorhead fire chief, the Moorhead Police Chief and the assistant Police Chief of Owingsville.  I also met with some young volunteer firefighters, one of whom  asked for four additonal packs to give out to surrounding counties.
     Kentucky seems like the friendliest state I've been in so far except for the dogs.  Cows are startled by a man on a bicycle.
     There are so many dead and mummified animals on or along the highway.  States should offer a bounty on them so citzens will clean them up.  They have to be a health hazard.  Among racoons, skunks, hedgehogs and possums have been a lot of deer and even a cow.  Numersous birds, squirls, ssnakes and everthing but people so far.  I'm staying at Day's Inn and probably will take the next two days off as the last six riding have been hard and "wicked" wind and rain is forecast for the next two days.
   My first speedometer broke and my second one has gone on the blink and reset a couple of times so I have to estimate my total milage to this point at about 965 miles.  I liked the old mechanical odometers better as they only gave total milage and nothing could go wrong with them.   My average speed is usually 8.5 or 9.5 miles per hour and I actually peddle a total of six or seven hours +or- each day.
   Today I was too tired to eat dinner and fell asleep in the bath tub even though the water had drained out.  I crawled in bed at about 7:30 pm and slept til 2:30 am at which time I got up and ate dinner at a nearby Waffel house.

October 20, 2011 

  Today and yesterday have been rest days.  I really wanted to keep riding but I already rode for six days and the weather is awful with wind and rain.  I was also more tired than I realized.  Yesterday I could tell I was pretty worn out.  I feel like that by tomorrow I will be rested up and ready to ride the next 350 miles.
   I want to digress back to Owingsville where I met with Assistant Police Chief John Sutherland for over an hour.   He had tried to get a government grant for a radiation monitor but was unable to.  He has a keen interest in science and could just as easily be a college professor as a police officer.  He was so interested in the SIRAD radiation monitors and civil defense information that I got out one of the Kearny Fallout Meters I carry and demonstrated it for him.  He said he was "blown" away by it and I gave him one along with instructions on how to make his own radioactive sources from smoke detectors or radon to test it with.  Asst. Chief Sutherland  is so community minded that he will in realty be the radiation "officer" for his area even the county probably.   There are only five police officers in Owingsville and it is a very rural area.  At the same time few if any of the small or rural fire and police departments have any radiation monitoring devices.
   I'm also distributing free Kearny Fallout Meters which are now arguably the best radiation meters available for nuclear  disaster since the electronic meters distributed for that by the government are for the most part no longer working because jurisdictions do not have funds to maintain them nor can they keep people trained on them.
   The 60-Second training cards and application for free monitors all point to the websight where some of the best government CD info is available.
   Nuclear is an unlikely disaster but if it occurs the government CD info costs nothing and will save many lives.
   While this trip is more "fun" than I ever imagined it could be, I still reserve the right to quit it at any time for any reason.  If circumstances warrent I may even take it beyond San Diego.  My biggest anxiety now is that the journy will be over too soon.   At 61 the ride itself is the destination, not San Diego.
   Safety is my biggest concern along with defensive riding.   A state highway worker gave me a longsleeve  yellow T-shirt with reflective tape on it.  It's even better than my reflective vest.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Coco update

Am happy to see so much in print and somewhat ashamed of myself for taking so long to sit and write anything myself. I have kept in touch with the dragon man who I left in Mystic CT (because my 17 year old is 17) and he has kept me abreast of his adventures, so I feel like I am still on the road with him at times. It helps me to think that at some point I may be able to join him again because the freedom of the road got to me. My Easy Rider bike was a joy to ride except on the really long hills which, according to Steve's accounts, paled in comparison to those of PA. Four days into the trip, I marveled at the muscles in my upper thigh which I didn't even know existed, from pulling up on the pedal to get extra torque as opposed to simply pushing down. Then again it could've been those gadgets and boxes of crackers from Ocean State Job Lot (thanks for that buddy). When I got back, I felt like a million bucks and was completely inspired, so I've continued to ride everywhere I go on Island because not only have I gained a new perspective on life itself, I think it helps me feel connected. I now have a renewed faith in myself as a 54 year old performance artist, capable of taking on new challenges which I had begun to talk myself out of. Namely putting together more physically demanding shows that speak to domestic violence, sexual abuse and the treatment of autism using Voice Movement Therapy (which is based in circular motion). Submitted as part of my Local Cultural Council grant application, a copy of the scrapbook I put together, complete with the photo recently submitted to the MV Times of the two of us on the front of the Narragansett Fire truck, holding up a copy of the Times which should be published in the paper soon (which I think brings Steve up to 6 current newspaper mentions, critical for attracting sponsorship). It got me thinking of how wonderful it was to be a part of it all. Though I wish I was still on the road with the Dragon man I certainly don't regret not sleeping under any bridges and for now have to be content with filling his requests over the phone (i.e. Janis Joplin's Bobby McGee) into the void of a message machine. May the wind be at your back!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Saturday, October 15, 2011 - Steve is now camped out in the woods on the west side of the road on route 2, 2 miles south of Mont Alto, West Virginia. His cell phone reception is limited at best. He sounded tired.  posted by Linda 

Monday, October 10, 2011


Oct 9th-Rode 53 miles! Crossed 1600' mountain peak over the Shenandoah, Appalachian  and Alleghany mountains.  The roads are packed with "Leaf-Lookers".  Bad side road shoulders, but still looks like I'm riding through a postcard.

Slept under a bridge last night.  Today much less traffic; Although still beautiful country, the towns look like they never recovered from the crash of 1929.  Hmmm....

I thought the 1600 foot peak was high, until I pedaled up the highest road in Maryland...3,000 feet up!  (Cheat Mountain) Felt like 5 miles up and 5 miles down...actually it was!  Going up at 3mph, going down at 30mph!  Steep up and steep down.  Crossed into the same 3 states 6 times.  Had to take naps in the middle of the day to make it though.

I decided to quit the ride as I stayed under the bridge last night, but changed my mind this morning.  I don't know how to describe going back in time; farms, mountains, huge trees, forests....truly amazing.

A chipmunk scurried out of the way as I sped down the shoulder, and scolded me as I rode by!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I'm sleeping on a very steep, rocky bank in a hammock on the south side of Route 50; 33.95 miles west Winchester, WV. (From the first Burger King as you hit Winchester from the North)

Into the mountains now, I rode 69 miles today.  These are 9% grade (whew!) up for 2 miles, down for 2 miles, etc.  Very dangerous traffic on Route 50.  Spending a lot of time on the grassy shoulders.

Good responses from law, police and fire departments. I'm meeting with 3 or 4 every day, so I have a consistant plan.

This makes 2 weeks on the road so far.  Keep watching for more updates.   posted by Kris for Steve

FYI to yardsale fans - route 11 south from Carlisle, PA  to Winchester,  VA  you will find yard sale alley on Fridays as well as Saturdays and Sundays!  Lots of churches too.  Preponderance of fresh cut hay gives a feeling summer rather than fall.  Sunny weather, high of 70 degrees, good  biking temperature.

posted by Linda for Steve

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Harrisburg PA

Rode 69 miles today, one flat.

   Big change in scenery, brown cornfields, stone barns and houses, very neat farms.  There were a lot of Amish or Menonnites, ladies with long dresses and bonnets, men all dressed the same with big beards. The road was pretty flat most of the day which is way I got so many miles (many for me).  The last ten miles west of Harrisburg started getting really steep.
   I gave out five of the SIRAD monitor packs, one to a Lebonon police officer.  The Martha's Vineyard Times article serves as instant identification.  In the past it was hard to explain who I was and what I was doing.  
   I was on the road by 7:30  this morning.  My tire patch held all day.  I think it's my first successful patch.   I get strange flash backs  now that I'm 60.  The feelings of first learning to ride a bicycle came back to me for a few moments today.  It's nice to simply be able to feel.  My experience with depression is not bad or dark feelings, it's mostly no feelings at all.  I don't know if this riding will delay or eliminate seasonal depression but I'll find out soon.
   A small fox was startled when I rode by it.  That was the first fox ever that I think I've seen in the wild.  I rode too many miles on expressways today and almost got lost in the spaghetti.   For the next week at least I should be off the expressways.  I'm starting to nod off as I write this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reading PA

   I think I rode 50 miles today.  My speedometer stoped working for a couple of days then started working again today about noon.  All the rain may have something to do with it.
   Got a late start this morning, on the road at 9:00 am.   I felt like I had cheated myself out of two hours of riding.  I hope from now on I can be on the road by 7:00 am.  There is not a lot of riding time as I need to quit about six because it starts getting dark.  I take about two hours of breaks  so that leaves nine hours of peddling.  I don't peddle down hills so I get extra breaks there.
   A big screw punctured my rear tire.  The tires blow up so hard it makes them more susceptible to puncture I think.  I had no success patching the tire and substituted a spare.  I don't think I've successfully patched a tire yet.
   Occasionally I reach for the gear shift on the bike frame rather than the handle bars where it is. 
The last time I had a gear shift on the fram was over 40 years ago.  I'm either forgetting I'm 60 or just forgetting, which is not good.
   I stopped at the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown PA but did not get to talk with a reporter.  I really need to call in advance and send an email with a press release but I don't have time for that.  Typically it takes me about five newspaper contacts to get one story.
   It was pretty flat riding today compared to Conneticut and New York state.   However I'm coming up on the Appalachan mountains and I feel like I'm getting ready to climb Mt. Everest. 
   I was looking at the shadow of my bike today, a dragon with a tail.  For a moment I imagined that I was the hero in my own adventure.    I'm surprised I made it this far and I'm also surprised how much I like riding.  I thought I'd only be riding about 6 hours a day but find I can comfortably ride 9.   When I was sixteen I typically rode eleven and twelve hour days while crossing the country.  It was also summer then and light much longer.
  This morning a cyclist asked me where I was headed and he showed me a bike path that  was about five miles in my route.   I love riding along the rivers and through all the farm land.  Rivers are all very high and near flooding it seems.  Weather was clear and warmed up to 70 today.  A few days of this is forcast ahead.
   I was going to camp out tonight but had tire trouble right as it started to get dark.  I lost my daylight window to find a camp site (tree to hang my hammock in)  so I stayed at a Holliday Inn where this computer is.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Notes from the road

   I'm here in Bangor PA where the town has no copy machine.  I can imagine there are no radiation montiors for police or firefighters as well.  I got a new donation of SIRAD credit card-size rad monitors from the scientist who invented them, Dr. Gordhan Patel.
   I've ridden about 350 miles so far and am taking yesterday and today "off."  My day(s) are filled with meetings with public officials and huddles to get PA outfitted with the rad monitors.   PA is special because the former Governor of PA, Tom Ridge, helped fund the technolgy when he was head of Homeland Security.
   Apart from that the grind of riding has not been a grind at all.  I've been able to ride 50 miles a day four days in a row through some very hilly country.   The hills in Conniticut were so steep I could hit 42 mph going down.  I decided to not let the bike go over 30 mph even though I hate putting on the brakes going down what was so much work to get up.
  A lot of rainy days but a relief from the heat of riding.    Some of the down pours were refreshing.  I never could have made it up the hills without the rain as I would have over heated I think.
   After four days of riding I went through my gear and shipped about 35 lbs of extra weight back home.   It was crazy to carry so much excess baggage.
   Coco rode with me to Mystic Connecticut and I doubt I could have got the trip off the ground without her help.  She's and athletic trainer besides being a clown.  She showed me stretching exercises.  But most helpful were the breathing techniques for riding up hills.   Using the abdominal muscles to help expel air makes the lungs much more effective and improved my ability to handle hill.
    Coco did like to shop though and would come out of a store with all sorts of "handy" gadgets and food.   I ended up carrying all of it and had to finally put my foot down on the fourth of fifth bag of exotic crackers.   I'm going to let her blog her own experience riding her "Easy Rider" bicycle.  She got lots of looks and thumbs up etc. from bikers.  My bike with the dragon on it gets lots of looks and comments from children and teenage girls.  Some adults comment favorably, even shout them from cars.   I like the dragon as it helps remind me that the trip is mainly an adventure and not take myself too seriously.
   When I biked across the county at age sixteen the destination was California and the goal was to ride as many miles as possible every day.   Now at 60, the road itself is the destination and the goal is to simply ride and not over do it.   Originally I'd planned to ride to Utah but I reasoned that if I liked riding to Utah I would not want to stop so I chose Sandiego where five of my adult children are living.
   I may quit riding anytime if I feel like it, though I've committed myself to wait three more days after deciding to end the trip to see if I really want to end it.   I may also get to CA and decide to ride back to Utah.
   Riding is nothing like I imagined it might be.  I joke about going into samahdi (the bliss-like trance of the yogis) while riding.  There are, however, such spectacular vistas and byways  they induce a state of profound meditation if the traffic is not too bad.
  There are some pretty scary streches of road and on the Palisades highway through the mountains of New York I often rode on the grass next to the road.  I try to always know what is coming up behind me and watch to see if they are giving me room as well as be alert to drunks.
   For convenience I spent the first week in motels but started camping out in Bear Mountain NY state park.  In New Jersey  I realized I didn't have my rain tarp and was riding late (in the rain) hoping to find a motel.   A man stopped ahead of me on a bridge and got out and told me that I could sleep under the bridge we were on as it was an old railroad bridge and dry underneath.  He pointed to a road that led under the bridge.   He said the next motel was ten miles.  It was dark cold and wet so I took him up on the offer.
   The man who stopped said he was surprised because he'd thought I was a kid.  I explained to him that I was trying to be.   Besides "First Responder Ride" I call this my "Kick the Can Ride" as in the old Twilight Zone where the folks at the nursing home turn young again by playing kick the can.  I figure for every hundred miles I ride I get a year younger.  So by the time I reach San Diego I'll be 16 again.
   John Stevens at Martha's Vineyard Cycle Works says he watches people who ride bikes get younger.
It's really true it does make you younger. 
   We my time on the computer at the Bangor PA library is expiring.  More to come next post I hope...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Still getting adjusted to the ride...taking it carefully: about 25 miles per day (100 miles so far!)  Had to hitch-hike over a big bridge today.  It was a turnpike that only allowed cars.  Yikes.   Averaging maybe 3 fire and police stations a day.  Doing good so far.    ~Steve

Saturday, September 24, 2011


We made 50 miles on the first 2 days of riding (at half-speed) coming into New Bedford, MA about 4:00 pm today.

We've already met with 6 police and fire departments since leaving on Friday, and we got great press attention and many photos of our bikes which will be published Thurs Sept 29th in the Martha's Vineyard Times.

Keep watching for our updates!  Steve on the Road

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Get ready cause here we come!

Vroom vroom! Coco, xoxo
-Posted by Coco

CRAZY TIME - Getting Ready to Ride!

Starting to pull everything together for a blast off date of this coming Friday!   Watch the papers for our press release. A truly great community story.  Watch here for updates.