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End of Chapter 3, Beginning of Chapter 4

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Ha ha ha, of course!  Well, this totally sucks.  I just typed about 45 minutes worth of stuff and it just disappeared!  Apparently I needed to update my database or something, so it is all gone!  Well, like I said, that totally sucks.  So now I get to decide if I want to try and duplicate everything I just typed out, or take the easy way out and just fuhgetaboutit.  I suppose I could try a condensed version… (cue sound of moaning and groaning and F*&#! here).

Okay, so I’m back home now.  Returned late last week, hitching a ride with my folks.  But I had no time to rest or take it easy, because then it was off to a family reunion camping on the coast and a friend’s wedding in Eugene.  This weekend I’m off to Spokane, next weekend to another wedding, and the week after that on to Las Vegas, where I hope to make some money at the poker table to stave off those pesky creditors and bill collectors.  I won’t truly have any real time to spend in Portland until after Labor Day, and that is when I will embark on my next journey.  But before I get to that, here is one final look at my bicycle journey on the Pacific Coast…

Irrelevant stats and miscellaneous facts and figures!!

Number of flat tires:  ZERO.  Zilch, zippo, nada, nothing, none at all.  I truly cannot believe it.  Well, the fact that I am typing this out again deja-vu style, and the fact that yes, I never once had to change my tire.  I packed two innertubes and all the tools ready to go, and I was lucky to never use them. 

Total days gone:  37

Total rest days:  6

Total riding days:  31

Total miles:  1,728

Average miles per riding day:  55.75

Longest day:  My last day, 107 miles from Carpinteria State Beach near Santa Barbara down to Redondo Beach, plus the extra miles to get to the MetroLink station and the miles to get to my aunt’s home in Norwalk.

Shortest day:  My very first day of riding, from the Quincene Ranger Station to some church in Sequim, WA.  31 miles.

Fast Food Count:

Burger King:  6.  Can’t get enough of those value menu shakes!

McDonald’s:  6.  I love that new chicken snack wrap for $1.29, but I don’t think I can ever eat another greasy big breakfast again.

Dairy Queen:  3–those DQ ice cream sandwich bars are addictive!

Arctic Circle:  1 (in Newport, only 4 other locations in Oregon!)

Jack in the Box:  1

Carl’s Jr:  1 (in Piedmont for that $1.89 all you can eat pancake breakfast)

Taco Bell:  3

KFC:  1

Wendy’s:  Zero

In-N-Out:  Sadly, zero

Best burger:  The Habit Burger in Santa Barbara.  I think I found In-N-Out’s equal, and possibly even better for quality and value.  Check em out at

Buffets:  4–King’s Table, Sizzler, and two Chinese ones

Candybars:  Baby Ruth, Take 5, Hershey’s chocolate, and plain M&Ms (for my trail mix)

Cookies:  Hershey’s chocolate cookies, Reduced-fat Oreos (from a fellow camper in San Simeon), Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, Franz Bakery Chocolate Chip cookies, and a tub of mini chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joes (and my favorite)

Number of cans of tuna consumed:  8 or 9

Number of Cup O Noodles consumed:  6 or 7  

Favorite campsite:  Hard to pick!

Least favorite:  The Blair Witch spooky site that I forgot the name of.  Some other cyclist suggested it to me, and since the day was almost at the end I decided to give it a try.  It was off-the-beaten path and I thought I was the only one there.  As night fell, all of a sudden two people seemed to materialize from nowhere and it totally freaked me out.  I had little sleep that evening because all I kept thinking about was the Blair Witch Project.  Had I only cycled 10 more miles, I would have arrived to Bodega Dunes State Park with their sand and ants instead.

Number of sick days:  3–Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of my last riding days.  Presently my cough has gone and I feel back to 100%.

Drinkage:  Water and Gatorade (powder plus water).  An ocassional milkshake.  Not much soda pop. 

Best things that I was glad I brought on my bike tour and what other cyclist should consider:  my handlebar mirror, pocketknife, and sunblock!  Not to mention other semi-important things like water, food, bicycle, helmet, eyeglasses so that you can see, etc.

National Parks/Monuments visited:  4…Fort Clatsop National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, Redwoods National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore.

Number of rain days:  1.5.  Fortunately, I only had to ride through rain once for less that 15 minutes, just south of the Oregon-California border.  I had one full evening of steady rain at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, when my ill-fitted rainfly resulted in little puddles of water inside my tent.

Weirdest people encountered:  The world-travelin’ dude at Maccaricher State Beach, north of Fort Brag.  The guy sounded just like Cheech and I’m sure he’s smoked everything known to man.


So there you have it.  My ride has come to an end, 100 miles prematurely.  And now I am back in Portland, albeit for only a couple more days.

At this point I am feeling pretty tired and out-of-sorts.  I feel a bit displaced and mal-adjusted.  For the last month and a half all I have known was my world on the bicycle.  Waking up each morning before 6am.  Riding all day.  Riding into camp before 7pm to set up my tent and have my dinner before nightfall.  And then repeating the next day.  I can’t tell you how incredible it was.  How free, liberating, exciting and how alive it felt.  Yeah, I miss it.  I feel like getting back on my bike to do my last 100 miles to the Mexican border, or maybe cycling across the U.S.  But alas, I am back home.  And flat broke.  No dinero.  Money is all gone.  And thus, with regret, I am forced to reveal the next part of my journey, Chapter 4 of my year off.

Getting a job.

Hopefully sometime after Labor Day, when my health insurance runs out and I when my bills are all due.  I didn’t quite make it a whole year off, but I intend to work just enough to save just enough so that I can fulfill my original plan of winding up my travels in SE Asia, to visit Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.  Maybe in December, if I can save enough.

So there you have it, I am back in the employment hunt.  And thus far, have generated some pretty cool possibilities!!!!  Check these out:

#1, as advertised in the 08/06/06 Sunday Oregonian…”Oregon Funderal Service is looking for quality people for full time positions for removal and transportation of deceased.  Good driving record, professional dress, heavy lifting and work flexibility a must…”

#2, as advertised on Craigslist…”Breakfast Attendant:  To include, setup and tear down of breakfast line items. To make sure all items are well stocked and presentation pleaseing to the eye. Must posses multi tasking skills as well as customer service skills.”

#3, from Washington County jobs:  Mosquito Control (i.e. kill mosquitos!)

So here are just some of the many kinds of positions that I can apply for, in addition to maybe holding up those Clearance Liquidation signs on the corners of busy intersections.  I think I’d be good at that, I have a bit of flair and can really get into the whole swinging the signs thing.  Or maybe I’ll sign up to work at Walmart to see if conditions are as bad as the lawsuits claim.  I can see myself helping customers in the shoe department, sure, or maybe handing out shopping carts and baskets and saying “Welcome to Walmart.”

So that’s that.  I need to get to bed now.  I’ll update my blog every Friday as I can with the latest and greatest of my job hunt.  If you see any other cool jobs out there, please email them to me and I’ll post them here.

And two last items–big birthday shouts to Lisa the Science Teacher and to Mike aka Boneprone, celebrating their respective 33rd and 32nd birthdays this weekend.  Go’night!



The Photo Post: San Francisco to Redondo Beach

Friday, August 4th, 2006

And here are a few of the many photos I took on my final 2 weeks of riding.  There is a void between Brookings and San Francisco, when my camera broke, but fortunately Ezra was able to work some magic in San Francisco to get it back in good order.

This weekend will bring me back to Portland, just in time for a friend’s wedding and a big family camping reunion.  My next scheduled blog post will be for next Wednesday, when I’ll have all the final irrelevant stats, figures and thoughts regarding my bicycle trip.  Again, the ride was awesome and hopefully this pics will give you a little glimpse of what I saw and experienced.  So check back next Wednesday for more, and to be amazed, stupified and mesmerized by my announcement of my next big adventure!  Peace out!



Bicycles in tow, Ezra, Dan and I wait for the BART after an intense afternoon session of basketball.

The tip from the guy on the motorcycle brought me to this mountain biking trail….

…and these killer views of the beach town of Pacifica…

…and views further south.

Looking north towards Highway 1 and the signs give you all you need to know

Point Pigeon Lighthouse (I think), south of Half Moon Bay State Park.

Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk…took a spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl, a swing on the SeaDragon, an escape in the Haunted Mine, and two thrilling rides on the wooden rollercoaster the Giant Dipper.

No room for these treats (they were also selling deep fried Oreo cookies….deep fried? Yep)

The 45 mile ride from Santa Cruz to Monterey brought me flying by numerous fields of strawberries, where the sweet berry smell permeated all my senses.

Directional sign at the end of another strawberry field.

Early morning riding from Monterey to Big Sur. This is where I had my breakfast.

And continued through the thick fog, praying that the cars behind me would see my little flashing red light in time to NOT hit or swipe me.

But ah, once the sun burns off that fog, just beautiful.

I took 2 hours out of my bike ride to hike to a viewpoint and to these waterfalls.

Big Sur

 And more views from the road.

My favorite pic.

A ride break after cycling 2 big hills, overlooking the Pacific coastline.

My bicycling campsite at Kirk Creek Campground, home to the Rabid, Demented Raccoons of a New Genetic Breed.

Sharing the evening with fellow bicyclists from California.

Click on the picture to make it bigger and you can see the road that I had just cycled.

Pumped up as I have conquered the last of the big hills on the Big Sur coastline.

Cambria…pancake feed?? I’m soo there!

I ate a total of 7 pancakes.

Morro Bay, CA.

Public Service announcement, so take it seriously!!

Traffic control during the bicycle portion of the San Luis Obispo Triathlon. My 6 hours of volunteering netted me a free t-shirt, a free bag lunch, and a darker tone because I failed to put on my sunblock.

Another public service announcement.

Danish town Solvang, CA. It was the highlight on the freakin’ Alternate Route that totally kicked my ass.

11:30am. About to blackout from heat exhaustion or heat stroke because the sun is sooo damned HOT, I have no shade, no breeze, and I’m going up a 4-mile climb to 2600 feet. Luckily I found this little viewpoint pull out where there was shade that I could recoup for almost 45 minutes before I continued on.

Looking back on that dang Alternate Route that kicked my ass. I have maybe 1 mile more to go before I reach the summit and a nice 7-mile descent.

Santa Barbara bicycle path.

Los Angeles city limits and my last day of riding. And after the 3 close calls of near-miss accidents between my bicycle and various automobiles, it truly would have been my LAST day of riding.

Hey LOOK! That’s my riding shoulder from Malibu to Santa Monica. On Highway 1. With cars parked on my right, and zooming highway traffic on my left trying to get around me. This is the section I will NEVER EVER FREAKING EVER ride in my entire life again.

The street scene at Venice Beach, CA.

Los Angeles bicycle-only path.

Posing on the sandy bike path near Hermosa Beach, CA.

Riding the Metro Link rail from Redondo Beach to Norwalk.

And after finding my Aunt’s home around 8:30, I finally pig out on some home cooking!

My rest day at the video arcade with my bro.

The FIVE-Minute Update

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

At the library, 5 minutes left on my time….quick story, my ride is all over. Went to the Doc on Monday and although I didn’t have walking pneumonia like I thought I did, my relentless cough and how crappy I felt resulted in my disqualification from the race to the Mexican border. No, I wasn’t pulling a Landis doping thing!

It was a no-brainer. After my lousy suicide ride last week on Tuesday, and after some bicyclist was killed a few days later on the road to Mexico, I figure that this is good enough for me! I’m just glad I wasn’t riding when Mel Gibson was trying to drive the Malibu Highway 1, since that is not the type of 15 minutes of fame I was looking for (but I must say those lost Bigfoot pictures would have yielded me more than 15!)

So big deal I didn’t make it to Mexico, I was also influenced by other bicyclists that have done that last 100 mile portion and they say it is nothing special. Especially since you can’t ride through the Camp Pendleton Marine base anymore, not after 9/11. So apparently you are diverted onto I-5, and that’s not exactly my idea of a relaxing bike ride. But I did just hear back from Kyle, the guy from Washington, and he made it to the border last Friday. I’ll get the story straight from him to hear how the last 100 miles went for him.

At any rate, the saying goes that it’s about the journey, and not the destination, right? Okay, I can buy that and I can live with my decision. I’m feeling better now and will be returning back to Portland very soon. Good ol’ mom and dad weren’t too happy about my state of health, so they have driven down from Portland to bring me home. I suppose it’s also a good excuse to visit with all the relatives down here, and I have many! So yeah, that’s it for me. I’m feeling good and I am very happy that I did this ride, it did go by very fast and my memories of my days on the road have merged into many, many episodes. The Pacific coast is simply incredible, and I thank the bicycle Gods and Goddesses that my brakes, tires, and 19-year old bicycle held up to the 1,752 miles I put on it. So this portion of my adventure is come to a close, but not my blog.

Please check back here on Friday when I will have uploaded photos from my last 2 weeks on the road, a photo journal from San Francisco down to my (unbeknownst to me) final stop in Redondo Beach. If I were to do another bicycling trip, I think I’d have to pick Ireland for my next go around….