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April Update

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Lisa and I spent our Spring Break in Los Angeles.  I cashed in my frequent flier miles to get a roundtrip Roomette on the Coach Starlight from Portland to LA.  Here’s a quick run down of our trip….

Portland Union Station

The Coast Starlight makes its way from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA.  Our train was to depart from Portland at 2:15 pm and arrive into LA at 9:00pm the next day.  Because Amtrak does not own most of the track it runs on, service delays are to be expected.  Such was the case with our trip.

Our roomette was small but comfortable.  The two seats facing each other turns into a single bed, and a single bunk bed is folded up above.  There is a little bit of room for some pieces of luggage, but for our larger packs there is a holding area close to the room.

Our Roommette

The roomette costs quite a bit more than just getting a standard coach seat.  But for the extra dough, you do get privacy and the chance to lay down flat on the bed.  You also get other perks as well….

– Afternoon wine and cheese tasting

– All meals.  That means breakfast, lunch and dinner.  With beverage and dessert.  The food was a pleasant surprise.  There was plenty of variety and everything tasted good.  Not gourmet fantastic, but certainly satisfying.  Service is in the dining car.  A few hours before meal time, our attendant would ask us what time we wanted to eat.  At that time, we would go to the dining car and we would be seated at a table for 4 with 2 other passengers.  Which was great to meet other people on board.  We met a couple taking the train across the country, and another fellow who had just quit his job to do a bunch of traveling.

– Parlor car.  Our own special lounge car for sightseeing.  Board games like Scrabble, Sorry and Checkers were available.  Pastries, juice and coffee too.


– Our ride down was beautiful.  We faced west, but we didn’t get to the Coastal part of the trip until evening fell.  This shot was taken in Oregon.  By the time we woke up the next morning near Sacramento, we were 3 hours behind schedule.  We didn’t arrive into LA until 1:30AM, more than 4 hours late.

Still, if you are in no rush like we were, it was a minor annoyance.  We had plenty of magazines and books to keep us occupied, as well as games and great scenery just outside.


Universal Studios, Terminator 3-D


Too many people to catch a glimpse of Will Ferrel

THE place to go for cheap eats– tomatoes 5 pounds for a dollar, a pint of strawberries for 50 cents, Mangos 3 for a Buck!

Once in LA, we played tourist.  We decided to forgo renting a car, and relied exclusively on public transportation.  Our hotels were very close to the bus lines and to the Metro Rail system, which we used to tour Universal Studios, City Walk, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   We took self-guided walking tours through Chinatown and El Pueblo de Historico Los Angeles.  We visited Japantown, strolled around the Fashion District, spent an afternoon at the Natural History Museum and Science Center.  We made it to Santa Monica and walked the Boardwalk to Venice Beach.  We attended a taping of the Showbiz Show with David Spade, caught the red carpet premiere of “Blades of Glory” at Mann’s Chinese Theater, and ate at the overrated “The Original Pantry”, where breakfast is more about quantity over quality.  It was a great trip without a car, and then it was time to head back home.

Enough with the text.  Here are the photos of our journey home…






We left LA at 10:15AM, and were supposed to arrive back in Portland at 3:40PM.  Instead, we were 5 hours behind schedule.  We expected it.  All in all a very relaxing and pleasurable trip, we are definitely train fans and we’ll do it again!

P.S.  I just bought another $600 car for my next Road Trip.  Destination:  Alaska

Date:  June-July 2007

Details to follow in my next post…

January 07′ Update

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Feliz Ano Nuevo!!

I start the new year where I left off–working as a Teacher’s Aide for Special Education kids. I’m still planning my adventures for the summer and fall; things are very much open, which is exciting. The only troublespot is finances. I’ll have to force myself to save most of my paycheck, but it is hard when my income barely covers the expenses. At any rate, Happy New Year to all and feel free to leave me a comment as to where I should go later this year!!

October 2006 Update

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Hola people that have found their way back to my blog…due to a server crash at Bootsnall, my entries from August 17th until this point have been erased, which is really too bad, because I wrote quite a bit.  Alas, I just wanted everyone to know that my year off ended early in September when I ran out of money to continue my travels.  So after a short stint at Yahoo! Marketing in Hillsboro, I am now working for the school district as a Special Education Teacher Aide, which will allow me to have 2 weeks off in December, one week off in March, and 10 weeks off in the summer, at which time I plan to cycle across America on my 20 year old bike.  So that’s about it in a nutshell!!

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….

Temporary Setback

Thursday, July 27th, 2006


Number of flat tires: 0

Mileage Log….

Day 36: 65 miles

Day 37: 102 miles

Day 38: Rest Day

Day 39 (today): Rest Day

Tuesday, Day 37, was a bike day not to remember. I’ve done centuries before, and I’ve come out of them pretty good. But Tuesday’s ride had numerous factors that just contributed to a crappy ride.

Left at 7am. Leisurely ride along Highway 1 to Ventura and Oxnard. Stopped at Marine City Park in Ventura for yogurt and cereal. And spent about an hour at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center. Next thing I know it is 12pm, and I still have 75 miles to go. So I decide to haul ass. Unfortunately, between Oxnard and Malibu, I had horrible headwinds. Probably the worst I’ve had this whole trip, equaling my Day of Discouragement when I encountered the same on route to Point Reyes National Seashore.

Then, once in Malibu, and all the way down to just before Santa Monica, Suicide Bicycling was On. It had to be like 15 miles of riding along little or no shoulder and traffic barreling by me over the posted speed limit. The worst part was that cars were parked in my no shoulder area (it’s the beach, so that’s what you do), and therefore I had to swing out into the highway lane of traffic. Of course, drivers were not pleased. My prior 36 days of riding, I only had one instance of a near-miss Bicycle versus Car incident. On this 90 minute, 15 mile ride, I had 3. Freakin’ crazy ass close calls, the worst one being when I was zipping down the hill trying to stay in my shoulder. There are parked cars on the right. And the speeding traffic to my left. I check my mirror for just a split second, and when I look up towards the road in front of me, all of a sudden a car door opens and I see some lady’s foot stepping out. I yell “SHIT!!!”, but it would have been too late to do anything. I would have smashed right into the door, crashed through the rolled up window and gone flying straight ahead. Luckily I had maybe half a foot distance of space from where the car door reached out into my path. That was the scariest close call.

Then, a few miles later, some stupid minivan is parked facing the ocean, not paralleling it like all the other parked cars, and at the time I make my pass it decides to reverse out into my lane. Of course they didn’t see me, they can’t see Jack with all their blindspots. I slammed on what little brakes I had left and swerved around it. My last straw was some maintenance pick-up driving in reverse on the shoulder trying to return to a point he must have passed. Did he see me? Hell no. So goes another Brake/Swerve combination, out into the highway but fortunately I had no cars behind me.

Just craziness. Bicycle suicide. I wish I could upload the 2 pics I took of my riding shoulder. My nonexistant riding shoulder. It’s just frightful trying to ride with my fully loaded bike, trying to balance myself on a tiny white line when semis, city buses and damned yellow school buses are inches away passing you at 50 miles an hour. This left such a bad taste for getting to LA. Once I was close to Santa Monica, an official Los Angeles bike path began that is totally seperated from all the traffic. It was safe, easy riding all the way down to Redondo Beach, where my plan was to catch the Metro Rail (LA’s version of MAX) from the Redondo Beach station all the way to Norwalk, where I would then ride the last miles to my Auntie’s home.

Silly me, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find the Redondo Beach Metro Rail Green Line station. Boy, was I wrong. Soliciting directions from 5 different people, I had to ride another 5 miles along busy boulevards to this station that I thought would be close to the Redondo Beach bike path. Not. Totally frustrating. Then, when I finally boarded at 7pm, I had the great pleasure of riding with a guy who wanted to hook me up with a Trek bike for only $500 (normally over $2000), as it was obviously a hot item (i.e. stolen goods) and I was hoping that he wouldn’t ride with me all the way to the end of the line. He didn’t.

Once I arrived at the end of the line, it took me almost another hour to try and find my Aunt’s place. I was misdirected by the people I asked on how to get to Rosecrans Avenue, and I did an extra 30 minutes of unnecessary riding. It was 8:30pm and very very dark by the time I arrived to the front door step.

Just an awful Tuesday of riding. And to cap everything off, I have a new temporary setback.

I’m sick. It started Sunday night with a cough, and now it’s developed into a persistent cough with headache, slight fever, hurts-when-I swallow, plugged up, and just overall feeling of misery. The worst part about this is that yesterday I was fed all the best foods that my body has lacked over the past month of riding. Good soup. Sweet and sour meatballs. Roasted chicken. Noodles. Filippino desserts. All for naught. Because I can’t freaking TASTE nor SMELL anything!!

So it is a day of rest for me. No Knott’s Berry Farm or checking out other amusement park rides. It’s about getting back to health so I can complete my last 120 miles.

So that’s my story for now. It is sooo hot down here, apparently the last week has just been brutal. I should know. The Sunday afternoon and Monday rides were the hottest I’ve ever ridden my entire life. And I wouldn’t want to do it again. I was inland, away from the coast. No wind. Just hot sun baking and burning me. I felt like I was under a heat lamp. And going up those hills….so difficult, so SLOW. Dizzy. Weak. Tired leg muscles. Running out of the water. The water I did have was like boiling. Are my tires going to pop because it is so hot? Or maybe just melt into the pavement? Where are the freaking clouds? I need clouds to cover up that Sun! Why is there no breeze? When will this freaking climb END??? Am I sweating? I need to be sweating, cause if I’m no longer sweating, then I may have a heat stroke. Or heat exhaustion…what is the difference again? Why can’t I get this song out of my head….”The Long And Winding Road…da dah, da dah,” by the Beatles? Where is the shade?? Why isn’t there any shade?? Why did I take this stupid Alternate Scenic Route? I’m so HOT! I hate how hot it is. Should I stop and put on more sunblock? No, can’t stop, must keep going, inch by inch. But it is too hard. Must stop and walk my bike….

So that’s how I felt riding through the hot summer sun. Now at least I am on the coast with some breezes. I just wish I could taste the food I’m eating. I had 8 Famous Amos cookies with milk last night. And couldn’t taste even ONE. But I kept eating and eating, hoping that I would have a breakthrough. Nope. Strange how my body has reacted. I’m always so hungry, my body is used to burning so many calories. And now I’m inactive. Hopefully only for a few days though.

This is the part of my blog where I start rambling on other tangents and far off subjects, but I’ll spare you nonsense and just stop here. For now anyways.

“The Alternate Route is Not Recommended in July or August, When Temperatures Soar Into the Hundreds” (or how I got my ass kicked)

Monday, July 24th, 2006

Monday afternoon, Santa Barbara library. Can’t believe that it was exactly 5 weeks ago when I started this Pacific Coast Bicycle trip. I have been so lucky so far as far as equipment, weather, traffic, etc. I am nearing the end of my journey, but first I will take a few days to play tourist in Southern California. Here are the latest up to date stats:

Mileage Log

Day 23: 65 miles, overnight at some campground that spooked the bejeezus out of me. Long story short, think of the Blair Witch Project and you’ll know how much sleep I managed on this night.

Day 24: 60 miles, overnight at Sam Taylor State Park

Day 25: 35 miles with an ugly 5 miles along Lombard and Van Ness, San Francisco, when I took a wrong turn trying to find the BART station. Overnight in Piedmont with my buddy Dan and his girlfriend Kathleen.

Day 26: Rest Day. Was going to check out the coasters at Six Flags Marine World, but in the end just hung out and had my first experience of eating Ethiopian food when Dan, Ezra and I had dinner Friday night.

Day 27: Rest Day. All U Can Eat pancakes at Carl’s JR for only $1.19 with purchase of any drink!! We all had our fill after 5 pancakes. Later we did random acts of kindness by passing out free cookies to people on the street and getting reactions such as “You guys are great!” to “Okay, what are you selling? Are you with Scientology?” to “I don’t accept food from strangers.” It was a total kick. Later we watched our favorite model Derek Zoolander in his breakthrough hit, and finished the evening by crashing at Ezra’s and getting my fill of wrestling.

Day 28: Rest Day. Well, kind of. We went to the flea market to find me some basketball shoes. And then played basketball with Ezra’s crew from 4pm-7pm. Topped off by a great buffet at Sizzler Steakhouse, and finally getting to bed at 2:30am. Not exactly the best way to get a good night’s sleep when resuming a bike ride.

Day 29: 35 “easy miles”. I left a little late, at 2:15pm from Ezra’s. Rode with Dan to the Lake Merrit BART station. It was Clean Air Day so all transit was free. I rode the BART to Daly City, and then cycled back to Highway 1. And then WHOA!!! What is this??? Highway 1 is closed at Devil’s Slide? And there is a 40 mile detour?? With the greatest luck, a guy on a motorcycle warned me about the closure and gave me perfect directions for a mountain biking trail that allowed me to bypass the 40 mile detour. It was a beautiful trail, and even though I had to walk my bike in many places, I was able to get back onto highway 1 after 2 hours and barely made it to my campground at Half Moon Beach State Park before dark.

Day 30: 58 miles, overnight in Santa Cruz. I cycled as fast as I could so I could soak up some fun in Santa Cruz, and did I ever. Boardwalk and amusement rides, I rode the SeaDragon, Tilt ! Whirl, Haunted House and the Giant Dipper Rollarcoaster not once, but Two Times! Classic wooden coaster that I have to rank among my top 5 coasters I’ve ever ridden (X at Six Flags Magic Mountain is still tops!)

Day 31: 45 miles, overnight in Monterey.

Day 32: 62 miles, overnight at Kirk Creek Campground where all the crazy raccoons were.

Day 33: 40 miles, good day’s ride to San Simeon where I spent some time at the Hearst Castle and overnight at San Simeon State Park.

Day 34: 40 miles, San Simeon to San Luis Obispo (SLO). I managed to find George’s home and crashed there in his backyard.

Day 35: (yesterday). 60 miles. But I went ahead and volunteered at the SLO Triathlon and didn’t leave until 12:30. So it was a lot of hard riding until I got to my campground in Lompoc.

Day 36: Today—50 miles so far, and did I ever get my assed kicked. I decided to take the alternate route, up San Marcos pass mid day with temperatures well above 100. Running out of water, feeling dizzy and weak and scared of cramping up, I pulled over at a turnout and rested in the shade for 45 minutes. Had I not done that, I’m sure I would have passed out. That climb was just brutal and the Sun was just baking and burning me. Totally sucked, and I cursed the whole way up. So freaking HOT HOT HOT!

But now I’m back to better conditions, and my internet time is up, so until next time!

Tomorrow is another big day–95 miles to Redondo Beach, where I hope to catch the Metro Rail to Norwalk and stay with relatives for a few days to rest. Okay, now I’m leaving, so have a nice week everyone!

15 minutes….

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

It’s Saturday afternoon here at the Morro Bay public library and I have just 15 minutes to whip out a post. The pressure’s on! And so is the heat….106 degrees inland from where I am, and where I will be tomorrow afternoon. With the heat reflected off the pavement and with only 3 small towns sandwiched in between 2 big hills and no coastal breeze, tomorrow doesn’t look pretty.

My last official post was almost 2 weeks ago, the last 2 just being filler stuff to keep y’all happy. I’m taking a short rest here in Morro Bay because I just stuffed myself silly at a Chinese buffet–yep, big plate of salad, followed by fried banannas, eggroll, szechuen chicken, cashew nut chicken, fried rice, fried fish, fried wonton, fried onion rings, beef brocolli, fried sweet potato, fried chinese donut….notice a trend here? But I did cap off my gluttonous feast with honeydew, orange wedges, 2 brownies and 3 ice cream cones. And water. Yep, can’t forget that water, especially since I’ll be sweating sweating sweating for the rest of the day and tomorrow. I met up with another bicyclist yesterday who is from San Luis Obispo and he offered me a place to crash for this evening, so I only have about 20 miles to go before I get to SLO. Tomorrow is the SLO triathlon. Swimming, bicycling, and running. Let’s see….I have my bicycle. I have swim trunks. Running shoes? Don’t have those, but people run barefoot in Africa, so why can’t I??

Okay, I’m not going to do the triathlon, I have a 60 mile day tomorrow (again, in the inland 106 degree heat!), but I might look at volunteering cause I’d get a free t-shirt, water bottle and lunch BBQ–hard to pass up on that free food!

The last 3 days have been spent cycling Big Sur of highway 1. Just absolutely beautiful, but also many scary sections of cycling. Especially early in the morning when the fog stayed thick and it was almost impossible to see 100 feet in front of you. So I had my little bicycle blinker on and prayed that cars wouldn’t be going so fast that they wouldn’t see me in time. Actually, it wasn’t so much the cars I was worried about, it was the Fast & The Furious Tokyo Drift motorcycle speed demons that gave me the most worries. These weren’t the weekend Harley Davidson crew (although there were plenty of those too), these were the guys and gals with super turbo charged Kawasakis and motor Jets that scream around the curves in excess speeds, and they travel in packs of 6 or 8 and you can here them miles away. Great weekend to choose to ride Big Sur, since up north in Monterey is the US Motorcycle Racing championship or something like that. I’m still over 200 miles away from the great smog of Los Angeles, but I hope to be there by Wednesday and hopefully then I’ll be able to find another library that can offer Internet to update this blog.

But before I go, have to tell the story of the Racoons. Kirk Creek Campground, Thursday night, hiker biker site. There were 7 of us altogether. Full campground. And the nastiest breed of racoon ever engineered. Normally I just sleep out under the stars in my sleeping bag, either on the ground or on a picnic table. But on this night, after I saw a racoon swagger on over to my sleeping bag and sniff at my pillow, I decided to take no chances and promptly put up my tent. I sooo hate racoons. The next morning, much to my chargrin, one of my panniers suddenly had a tiny series of holes that those food morongers created. It could have been worse though…I spoke with a regular camper who said that 3 racoons actually got into his CAR and created a mess in there. So, to end my little tale, the message is that if you find yourself camping at Kirk Creek campground in the Big Sur area (sweet campground too by the way, I was just a few feet from the bluff’s edge of the ocean waves), Beware of those Racoons!!!

Okay, I’m outta here, hopefully with lots and lots of water for tomorrow’s ride and I hope to update again soon. Enjoy the weekend!

Photo Journal

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Here are some of my pics from my Washington and Oregon portion of the trip. I was able to get my camera fixed in San Francisco, but I have nothing to show for 10 days of riding, especially my proof that Bigfoot exists…


Day 1, bicycle is loaded and ready to go! It took my a good day and a half to get used to balancing my load and pedaling all the extra weight.


Morning snack break by a small river. It is here where I watched two fishermen in a boat snag a big fish, only to have it get away. And where I also spent some time talking with a hobo who likes to hop trains and almost took one all the way to Alaska.


Washington coastline.


Near Kalaloch Campground, Washington.


Afternoon snack break at the Lake Quinault Lodge.

Ferry ride from Ocean Shores to Westport at Grays Harbor Bay.


Sheet iron art in Raymond, WA.


Ah, the good ol’ days of gas prices (this station was closed, probably at least the past 2 years)


Crossing from Washington into Oregon on the 4.2 mile Astoria Bridge.


View from the top span.


Familiar scene near Cannon Beach.


On the way to Tillamook.


Another view.


Cape Meares Lighthouse.


An overview of my route through Pacific City via the 3 Capes Scenic Loop.


View from the Sea Lions Caves. At $8, I found it a bit steep to pay to look at sea lions.


Oregon Dunes at Jessie Honeyman State Park, just south of Florence.


A little Oregon history, near Reedsport.


Mingus Park, Coos Bay.


Tip of Cape Arago State Park, near Charleston.


Shore Acres State Park and the beautiful Botanical Gardens.


Riding from Sunset Bay State Park to Humbug Mountain State Park, south of Port Orford.


Typical roadside view on Highway 101, heading south between Port Orford and Brookings.


Coastal landscapes galore.


I hate raccoons! This one was real once (photo taken at the Gold Beach Jerry’s Rogue River Jet Museum…$89 for a roundtrip ride, um, not on my budget this time around).


Final picture before my camera conked out.