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...