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There’s No Shame in Walking Up Hills (and other thoughts)

Thursday, June 29th, 2006


Number of time dogs have chased me:  3 times

Number of dogs barking out to me from a passing vehicle:  5 timees

Number of flat tires:  0

Cost for bike repairs in Astoria:  $67.50

Number of cross-country cyclists encountered:  2 (going from west to east)

Mileage log:

Day 5:  53 hard miles

Day 6:  52 miles

Day 7:  Rest Day

Day 8:  42 miles

Day 9:  50 miles

Day 10:  37 miles

Day 11:  ??


It is now day 11, and hopefully biking as close to Florence, OR before 7pm rolls around.  I’m posting this entry one day early just in case I do not find a library tomorrow while en route. 

Thus far I’ve had my fair share of days high and low.  Sometimes discouraged at my progress (or lack thereof) because of my weight, the wind, or other conditions, and at other times inspired by others taking on the same journey and having the chance to go slow and see our beautiful coastline.

My ass sure is sore.  My arms and shoulders stiff.  Leg muscles sore as well.  And I think I’ve had a little sunburn.  But fortunately I have not had any hint of rain.  And while Portland was experiencing 100 plus degree days, I was in milder temperatures hovering around 80 degrees with a slight breeze.

I have considering stopping my ride to go back home, I won’t lie.  Sleeping on bare ground, freezing almost everynight while mosquitoes swarm around me can get old pretty quickly.  There is only so much PBJ that I can take. 

I’m still at a pace of 6-8 miles per hour, which is pretty slow compared to other cyclists who have passed me up with their fancy bikes.  Part of the reason why I’ve wanted to quit is because of my bicycle, which just isn’t cutting it.  I did get necessary repairs completed in Astoria, but when I ride I still have the sense that something is amiss.

The last few days have been enjoyable, as Lisa met up with me and acted as my sag wagon sherpa for a few days, so I didn’t have to carry all of my bags on my bike.  She’d meet up with me at the next camp, and I was able to pedal the miles faster and stronger than I have the previous days when I had all my bags.  It was great to have her along for a few days to give me company and someone (aside from myself) to talk to, as well as eat hot, cooked food every once in a while.  But now it’s back to carrying all my bags, and if I encounter a long, steep hill, I’ve resolved that there is no shame in walking, which I have already done many a time.

Other thoughts:

* The scariest part of my ride thus far has been the wind.  Riding along, all of a sudden a sudden gusts will come from out of nowhere and just about knock me over.  Scary because I become unbalanced and I definitely do not want to fall onto Highway 101 traffic.

* The hardest part of my riding has been the huge steep hills, but the wind has also led to many cursings and struggles.  I’m going as slow as it is already, but when I face a headwind that makes it feel like I’m pedaling but going nowhere, that’s when I want to just stop and hit the fast forward button.

* Craving Burgerville’s Strawberry Shortcake.  Haven’t seen one yet along my ride, but have seen plenty of Dairy Queens.

* Way to go Beaver Nation!  College Baseball Champs!

*  And what about them Trailblazers?  Finally we get rid of Telfair, I was not impressed with him and look forward to Brandon Roy and maybe LaMarcus Aldridge will turn out to be a good pick.

*  I’m treading water now, not too much more left to say with 3 minutes left on my public library internet watch clock.  So thanks again for your comments and emails, I do miss aspects of home (like no mosquitoes, lazing in front of a TV, being warm at night), but I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this ride and hope that I will soon find a place where I can finally upload some pictures!  So until next Friday, happy 4th of July!

First Days on the Road

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Currently in Westport, WA, with only 20 minutes to spare at this public library.  Here are the vital stats for the first few days of my bike journey…

Number of flat tires:  0

Number of logging trucks sweeping past me with those heavy gusts of wind:  too numerous to count.

Number of other cyclists encountered going north to south:  5

Number going south to north:  1

Also heard second hand about a Brit that started in Los Angeles.  All he’s had is wind and rain.  He’s continuing up to Canada, then biking ACROSS, then south to Florida where he hopes to finish in November–apparently, that’s when his health insurance ends and his plane ticket back to England begins.


Day 1, 30 easy miles

Day 2, 75 miles

Day 3, 63 miles

Day 4, 56 miles


This has been harder than I expected.  I haven’t really gone for any training rides since last summer’s Seattle to Portland (sorry Mike, can’t go with you this year), and I’ve never really cycled with a fully loaded rear and front rack.  Thus, my peddling is sluggish and I am still trying to get used to carrying all this weight.  Plus I need to make sure everything is in good balance, because everytime a big logging truck zooms past me, the wind they create can blow me off my bike if I’m not careful. 

I have been blessed with great weather, knock on wood.  I was scared about rain, but so far, so good.  I have been freezing at night though.  My flimsy sleeping bag from 15 years ago isn’t doing me much favor in the evening, especially the first night when the wind whipped and howled and found little crevices in my cocoon to chill me as I tried to fall asleep.  As a matter of fact, I woke up at 4am Tuesday morning, and wanted to get riding right away but I had no light.  So I “snoozed” in til 5am, and was on the road at 5:30.

There have been some times where I have been discouraged about my ride.  I suppose it comes down to my bike and how I’m feeling.  As far as my bike goes, yes, it is my 7th grade bike of 20 years ago, not fancy at all.  I didn’t think gearing would be an issue, but when 3 other cyclists whiz by me and I’m trying my hardest to keep up to their pace, it does come down to equipment, of which I am poorly set up.  My back brakes are virtually useless, my front ones are just about finished, and yes Mike, I read your comments, you are absolutely right about my bald tires.  I roadtripped with my Honda on poor tires, now I’m doing this with my bike.

I wish I could post pictures of my ride, but the library won’t allow me to ‘possible infect’ their computers, so maybe I’ll find web access in the next few days to update this entry.  The scenery has been incredible.  I’ve ridden past deer, coyotes, countless birds, and took a cheese and cracker snack break while watching two boating fly fishermen battle a 25 pounder than got away.  My pace is slow, maybe only 6-9 miles per hour, but my body is feeling it.  My leg muscles are very sore of course, but so are my hands and my arms.  There is pain when I lift up my arms, so I am trying to be consistent with my stretching after every stop I make. 

I’ve only used my tent once.  My first night I came across a church with a huge grassy meadow.  I knocked on the door and received permission to sleep there, under the stars in my sleeping bag.  Tuesday I used my tent, Wednesday I slept tent free, but tonight I’ll probably prop it up. 

You can tell that I’m trying to squeeze all my ramblings in before my minutes expire, nothing is much organized but I wanted to give an update on my ride.  My food diet has been PBJ, cheese, crackers, chocolate bars, bananas, cereal, tuna, and an occassional ‘splurge’ at a fast food joint.  All in all my first few days of riding have been pleasant and I am happy that I’ve had the chance to do this.  Whether or not my bike makes it completely to Mexico is another story, so I’ve changed my plans to ride at least until San Francisco and then decide from there if my bike is travel worthy for more abuse.  That’s all for now, I know I’m leaving a lot of details out but hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog again before next Friday.  Until then, send good thoughts my way about my bicycle’s health (and me too!)

PS  Go Beavs!  Win tonight and they go to the College World Series title game against North Carolina!!

Last Weekend Before the Two-Wheel Test

Friday, June 16th, 2006

Well, here I am back in Portland for my last weekend, which will be spent at a friend’s wedding and then a Sunday Father’s Day.  Then, Monday…. and the start of the two-wheel test of seeing how far my bicycle can go south via the Pacific Coast highway.

I’ve had somewhat a change of plans, as I just learned that another friend will be getting married in early August, and thus I’ll need to be home sooner than expected.  So, instead of starting my bike ride in Vancouver, BC and riding around to Victoria, I’ll be getting a ride to Anacortes, WA (just north of Seattle) and then catching the ferry to Victoria.  This will shave off about one week of my time. 

From Victoria, my route will follow the Washington Coast, across the Astoria bridge to Oregon, down 101 to California, and then hopefully all the way to Tijuana, Mexico where I hope to be able to say one or two phrases in Spanish, unless I’ve forgotten everything I learned by that time.

So, what exactly will I be riding?  Here are the pics!



1987 Open Road 12-speed road bike, purchased on sale from Montgomery Wards almost 20 years ago for $129.



I peeled off the stickers when I got it so that it wouldn’t look like a cheap store-bought bike.  I’ve replaced the seat, the rims and tires, added foot clips and a rear rack.



Last year I replaced the front brakes, and just yesterday added a front rack to hang 2 front panniers.


I’ll have 2 panniers (bike bags) in the front, 2 in the back, and on the back rack I hope to carry my sleeping bag and tent.  I’ll be camping at state parks for most of my ride, with a splurge at a motel in real inclement (think RAIN) weather, and will spend a few days at the half way point in San Francisco to recoup at my friends.

That is, if my bike even makes it.  I’ll be biking solo, averaging about 50-60 miles a day, and though I have a guidebook that basically traces the entire route, I have allowed 5-6 flex days where I can rest or modify my schedule to fit the weather patterns or whatever. 

So that’s it in a nutshell, nothing too exciting, but it will be nice to be on the open road once again.  It was only 15 years ago almost to the day that I biked the Oregon Coast with a group of high school students, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Well, make that part 2. 

Before I head off, here’s a shout out to all my friends that I was able to see during my short time here, and if I didn’t see you, I’ll be back in less than 2 months so I’ll see you then!  Oh, and sorry I kicked your ass so bad at basketball last night Mike and Jonas 😀

The Truth Revealed, Responding to your Comments, & Prep for my Next Trip

Monday, June 12th, 2006

It sure is nice to be back home in America. Hot running water, sidewalks, Sweet Tomatoes, Oregon rain, drinkable tap water, $3.19 gallon for gas, the Portland JailBlazers back in the news, and a home cooked meal. Man oh man, despite our domestic problems and a huge to-do list of what needs to be fixed, I love our country (cue Patriotic Music and waving flag in the background as fireworks erupt to light up the sky).

Now that I’m oficially back, it’s time to get down to business: I’ve been without the Internet for the last 10 days, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do.




1. True: I did contemplate the volunteer opportunity at Finca Tatin. The opportunity was real, the place rocked, the food was fantastic and the jungle setting incredible–it would just require one month and getting used to mosquitoes sucking my blood every day. I passed.

2. True: while I was hanging out in Antigua, I did receive a job offer from Paxton to work in his little coffee garden shop. He laid it on thick and heavy and it was hard to say no, especially from a personality such as his. It was a cute little place and had I not other plans I already committed to in the US, I would have gladly taken the job.

3. True: I did visit the Church of Scientology, as my pictures proved, and even took them up on their offer of a free lunch (you know I can’t pass up free food!–in this case, BBQ burgers, hot dogs, potatoe salad, chips, melon, soda pop….)

4. Not True: I never once considered joining the organization to train in their program and recruit others in Central America. But you all figured that out, didn’t ya??? Where did I go wrong? The pictures didn’t work. My defense of the Church also fell on deaf ears. How about my friend Mike’s assessment and his jog down memory lane when I returned back from Morocco years ago with my discovery of the Muslim traditions?

 5.  True:  I have been gone for the last 10 days on a family trip.  Call it a vacation away from my extended vacation.  So I am now only getting to your emails and comments.  Here’s the quick run down….


After Finca Tatin, I did travel with Niklas and Aliscia to Antigua, I did hike up Volcan Pacaya, and I did hang out for a few days before catching a plane back to the US.  But I didn’t return home to Portland right away.  Nope.  Instead, I eased back into US culture in San Francisco with my friends from AmeriCorps.  Unfortunately, I was still suffering from my bouts of food poisoning, and got to know Dan and Ezra’s bathroom quite well.  It would actually take me 4 days of recovery in San Francisco to get me back to 80% health.  But during that time, I enjoyed watching cheesy movies; hanging out at UC Berekley; eating Italian, Mexican and Chinese food; relishing a burger, fries and shake at a Piedmont burger joint; stuffing myself silly at a Sizzler buffet after a few hours of trying to play basketball (and my body felt the aches and pains for 3 full days afterwards); and clogging up my arteries with our traditional breakfast spot, Ole’s, the famous grease spoon in Alameda.  In addition to all of that, we also found time to visit the San Francisco Church of Scientology, where I got my cool pictures and my free lunch. 


The Church!  Not located on the lake in San Pedro in Guatemala, but rather, in San Francisco right off Columbia.



Ezra and Dan finish off their food with some soda while a friendly Scientologist encourages them to come to her 7pm seminar on financial success.  Unfortunately, we were not able to make it.


Still sick, in recovery at Dan’s.  Left over pizza from the night before doesn’t sit so well in me. 



Decisions, decisions.  Should we go with the special edition “Cheaper by the Dozen” flick with Steve Martin or the romantic comedy “My Best Friend’s Wedding” with Julia Roberts?  How about NONE OF THE ABOVE.  We settle on a 1990 indie filmed RIGHT HERE IN ALAMEDA starring David Cassidy with appearances by Tommy Chong, Joyce Brothers and other BIG name stars! 



Immediately following our viewing of “X-Men:  The Last Stand,” we find this statue of the superhero “Many Hands Manny.”  Question:  If you had sucky superpowers such as the ability to eat 40 hot dogs in 5 minutes, wouldn’t you take the syrum to change you back into a normal human being?   These are very profound questions that I’m sure the Church of Scientology would not be able to answer.  


So there you have it.  While I was trying to plant the seeds of joining the Church, I was actually in San Francisco loading up on carbs and weight, and then quickly losing those pounds as I sat on the toilet every hour getting readjusted to a new American food strain.  All in all though, I think I gained back 5 pounds of what I lost in Guatemala with all the food I ate in SF. 




I flew home from San Francisco for just a few days to hang low in Portland, hence my made-up story about going off to join the program in Guatemala.  I needed some time alone to unpack, SLEEP, eat, catch up on emails and bills, and then 4 days later I was off on a little vacation with my family down to Sunriver and to Reno for some gaming action.



View from Lava Butte, just south of Bend, OR. 



Hiking in the Lava Tube Cave.  Dad, Mom, my brother and his girlfriend, Hong.



Benham Falls with my mom.



Dad casts his line into Paulina Lake for an afternoon of none-biting trout…..



…while I take my mom on a hike up to the crater.  But we are forced to turn back when the ice and snow is just a little too much to traverse.



Rafting on the Deschuttes River.



Taking a break and watching the Native American Dance performance at Mills Park in Carson City, NV for their Carson City Rendevouz Days. 



Checking out the ol’ western town of Virginia City.



My bro and I ham it up for the camera.


We stayed 5 days in Sunriver, 4 in Reno, and 1 long day driving back.  Don’t even ask how I fared with gambling, let’s just say that I’ll definitely need to find a job sooner than later (if I only had 25 cents more I KNOW I would have hit that 10 million dollar Wheel of Fortune jackpot…well, maybe).  But Reno isn’t about gambling and lady luck now, is it?  No, not at all.  Reno is about the BUFFETS!  Gourmet galore!  Combined with the food from San Francisco, my few days back in Portland, and my family trip, and I have gained back a total of 11 pounds!  So only 7 more to go before I reach my pre-Guatemala weight of 5 months ago.



I’m back home for 5 days to prep my bike for my next trip, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to see many friends or hang out to discuss the role of Scientology in our US political system.  This Saturday and Sunday I’ll be attending a 2-day wedding event for my good friend Amy and her awesome fiance Reto–what is so cool is that they orginally met in Antigua, Guatemala while learning Spanish.  So I got them a little something from Guatemala so that they don’t forget where they met!  Then, next Monday I’ll be hitching a ride up to BC, Canada to start the next leg of my year off.  Check back on Friday for details on this trip, and then every Friday thereafter for my updates on the road.  One thing I have learned is that when I was in Central America, Internet cafes were pretty prevalent and cheap.  Trying to find internet on my trip to Sunriver and Reno was like pulling teeth from a bear–impossible.  And when I did find it, like at the hotel, they were charging $12-$25 per hour!  I suppose I know what business to get into when I get back.  At any rate, I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to find some access when I’m on the road, and hence my Friday weekly updates from here on out.  That’s it for today, hopefully I’ll be able to see some of you this week before I take off, but if I don’t, I should be back in mid-August with 10 more pounds lost, darker skin, and longer hair and my full grown beard and mustache (yeah yeah, laugh it up). 

My Announcement: Restoring, Nurturing and Renewing the Spirit

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Quick update for this week, as I have just a few minutes to use this very expensive Internet connection here in Flores.  I must say that I am not surprised by the comments I have received publicly and privately about my decision to continue on with my travels in an un-Edwin-like, unconventional way.  I am not hurt nor offended by the lack of support from friends and family because Geoff, Francios and others in my sect warned me about revealing the truth all at once.  It matters to me, but I do not take it personally, because I know what I am doing and I am content with my decision.  And to reiterate, I have not been brainwashed or sucked into a cult.  I am still me, with my own mind and my own take on life.  I have just decided to accept more tolerance and an open mind for a different way of living.  We are driven by a modern society that values work for money for living.  And with that we lose faith and lose sight of what we really want in life.  We get sucked into an endless cycle of a zombie-like trance, living the day to day in order to pay the bills, put food on the table and a roof over our head.

We are all different, our own minds, own values, own ideals and beliefs for how to live one’s life.  I have chosen a different path than the one I have accustomed myself to for the last 5 years of waking up every week to work my 40 hours, sit in the commute, pay my taxes and go out ocassionally for fun.  I chose a path where I do not trade off my spiritual side for profit.  I chose to positively affect the world around me through creating meaningful relationships and connections on a human, one-on-one level.  I don’t suspect that many of you will understand this, but it is my hope that by the end of 2006 you will all share in my passion for the life that discovered me through Scientology.

Tom and John Travolta may be punchlines for this misunderstaood way of living, but I am honest when I say that our intentions are true of heart and we only want to help people achieve all that they are capable of.  I have chronically been an underachiever with my life, always flying below the radar and doing just enough, but now I seek a greater maximum return of my potential through unlocking those obstacles that hold me back and keep me from being the best that I can be.  Well, no longer.

I can’t wait to get home back to Portland to share with my enthusiasm, but first I must complete my training here and improve my Spanish.  And this is my announcement.  I plan on staying for the rest of 2006, and returning back to Portland at the start of the New Year.  A new, improved New Year with a new, improved Edwin.  I can only imagine the possibilities of where Scientology can take me, and I am truly excited for the future.

But first things first.

Yeah, okay, I admit it, you all called my bluff.  Horrible poker face, no wonder I never win.  Suppose you all know me all too well.  I was hoping that I could pull the wool over yer eyes for at least another week…maybe convince 5% of you that I am for real.  I mean, come on, I had actual pictures of the Scientology Center!  Doesn’t that count for anything?? 

So there you have it.  I’m lying, cheating, faking, BS’ing, etc. etc.  The truth is, I’ve been home for almost one week.  Laying low, to acclimate myself back to eating full meals, flushing toilet paper in the toilet, and not filtering my water from the tap.  And catching up on my sleep, cause you know about that severe jet lag from traveling all the way from Guatemala!

But don’t try to contact me now, no, not this week.  Cause I’m back on the road.  A short, 10-day trip with my family down to Central Oregon, Nothern California and Nevada.  Then it’s back for a few days in Portland as I ready my bike for my trip down the coast from Canada to Mexico.  My best case scenario is to be back in Portland in mid-August, at least for 2 months.  Maybe I’ll find a survival job in that timeframe.  But this is my year off from doing the work thing, so then again, maybe not.  I hope to head off to Thailand and Vietnam later in the fall, so you just might see me at a highway onramp or off-ramp asking for donations to supplement what is left of my meager savings. 

So there you have it.  Yes, I am technically back in Portland, but out on the road as you read this.  I’ll be back next week for a few days to catch up with friends and show off my long, curly perm-like hair-do’, and then it’s back off my butt and onto my bike saddle for the ride.  I lost almost 20 pounds in Guatemala, but have easily gained 5 back from Nestle, Dreyer’s, Sweet Tomatoes and Baja Fresh.  Ah, it’s great to be back in America.  Unfortunately, I fooled no one with my tale of Tom and John.  But you knew that already.  So have a nice week everyone, I’ll be seein’ y’all later!

Continuing the Journey

Friday, June 2nd, 2006

I don’t want to get on a soapbox and start telling the world what I’ve learned.  And I don’t want to use this blog as an advertising medium to celebrate my newly discovered ideas of living.  But I will admit that it is hard to contain my excitement and my feelings for the last week of training that I have been involved in.  I have been exposed to wonderful people and a cause that has inspired me to continue with my journey on another level.  My whole perspective on life and my worldview has changed for the better, and in the next few months I hope to share some of these teachings and my new experiences with you.  I’m probably not the best person to convince another to try something out, as evaluation and choices come down to the individual.  Changes come from within.  That’s all I’ll say for now about the positive changes that I have experienced.

The last week I have been learning, questioning, discovering and healing with new friends and mentors.  My learning will never be finished, but the next step of my journey will take me back to the Peten area of Guatemala, where I will spend a month or two to find and encourage new members to learn more about our program and then bring them back to San Pedro for further instruction.  I will be living with a fellow from Canada, Francios, who grew up just outside of Montreal.  We’ll be leaving this Sunday.  There is very limited access to Internet where I’ll be stationed, but we will pass through Poptun on Monday, so I’ll provide another update at that time.  But for now, please enjoy the following pictures that were taken this past week at the training center in San Pedro, housed in an old colonial style building just a short walk to the lake’s edge.



We have 3 levels of space–one for our meetings (the public face), one for operations (behind the scenes admin stuff), and an upper level for housing our new members.



Front entrance.



We sell our books in English and Spanish.  Over 20 million copies have been sold worldwide.



We also have our own newspaper publication we can hand out to the public in the capital city and other gringo trail hotspots.  We have these in German, English, Spanish and Chinese.  We talk to locals and international travelers alike.  Since my Spanish is still pretty rough, I’ll be shadowing Francios for a little while and helping where I can.  Our aim is to introduce Scientology and be available for people who have questions or misconceptions on what they may have heard from the media.  The true heart of our program is to help people live better, fulfilling lives. 

Please do email me privately or via the public comments section if you’d like to learn more about deepening and freeing your mind to our understanding of the world and our place within.

Finally, depending on my Internet access, please do check back on Monday for an important announcement regarding my plans for the future with the organization.  Happy June everyone!