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.

No comments:

Post a Comment