7-1-03 DAY 2
We flew out yesterday, and started biking today. The conditions were pretty good. There are bike lanes in some of the towns out here and itís flat, so riding is pretty easy. We had some wind that made it difficult for a bit, but it wasn't that bad. I tried to call people at home, but I didnít reach anyone (grrr). We had a bad omen about 15 minutes after we started though: a flat tire (on my bike, of course)! When we stopped to fix it we saw a CO2 cartridge, which means someone else had a flat tire in the same spot. One of the most common phrases to describe the campground we are staying at is "it's seen better days." The owner reminds me of the guy who owns the restaurant ďChunkyísĒ in Boy Meets World, the bathrooms are outhouses, the buildings are rusted, and there isn't a real place for tent people, so we get this nice little square of grass in front of the office. I do have to give it marks though because there are rose bushes right next to out tents, and the showers are nice.
7-2-03 DAY 3
The biking wasn't very good today. I was caught by surprise in the morning with a hill that came from nowhere. We had 2 major hills after that one, too. I think I am beginning to see where the term "big sky country" comes from; it really does seem a little bit bigger out here. The last hill of the day ( number THREE) was HORRIBLE! I was stopping every 50 feet, I had to walk the bike part of the way, and there was a BRUTAL headwind to slow me down EVEN MORE. At some point on the hill, my mom said "I am starting to think this may not be such a good idea," and I had to stop myself from saying "STARTING to?! I have been thinking this for months now!" By the time we reached the top I was so tired I could barely talk (and besides, my mother always taught me that if you donít have anything nice to say then donít say anything at all, so I said nothing). Anyway, we are camping at the top of the hill. Now, picture this: a campsite that isnít even part of a campground that is close to a bathroom with running water, has a picnic table, is pretty hidden from the road, has trees to block the wind, electricity access, and relatively flat (not to mention itís free!). You are probably thinking "that sounds like it must be a really good site!" and you are right, except for one MAJOR drawback: ITíS ILLEGAL TO CAMP HERE! We are camping in a state park that has a very lovely "no camping" sign to add to itís decor. We thought that the site was so nice though that we decided to camp here anyway (besides, we are EXHAUSTED and not sure if we can go any farther). The problem though is that we are slightly paranoid that a park ranger is going to come and kick us out.. Well, I think I will go to sleep now, and pray I make it through the night without being evacuated.
EDIT: somewhere in my motherís part of this website, she says that I wasnít talking at the top of the third hill because I was mad at Dad for suggesting we keep going that day and get the hill out of the way. In all truth, I completely forgot he had been the one who suggested it. I was too busy thinking about why I was there in the first place.
DAY 4 7-3-03
Well, in the morning, I woke up before mom and dad did, so I packed up my tent. Dad laughed when he saw it was almost completely gone before he even came out of his tent. A little bit later, a park ranger DID come, but she didnít get too mad at us for camping. Later, at the bottom of the hill, we saw 2 places that would have been a good place to camp. Oops! Anyway, we got to Astoria. We did laundry, and had a nice break while we waited for the clothes. Then we got to a library and updated the web page. I was extremely ticked that comcast wasnít set up enough for me to get my email yet though (our email service just switched from AT&T to Comcast, and the switch isnít going as smoothly as I would like). Now, I am in a lousy campground that has major wind problems that keep trying to detach my tent from the ground. We had to drag a table from another site to put our stuff on. When I was flossing, the wire on my braces came loose, so we are going to have to find an orthodontist for that. Now I am gonna try to sleep, even though there is wind coming from all angles.
DAY 5 7-4-03
This has got to be one of the lousiest 4th of Julyís I can remember. I had a good breakfast, and got wax for my braces so the wire wonít drill a hole through my cheek.. We went to Ft. Clatsop for awhile, and there is a picture of Mom and I wearing big leather trapperís coats, with Dad in an army coat. I also wrote 2 postcards for a couple of my friends. Although this is all good, it was made up for in the afternoon. First, we went the wrong way for 1 Ĺ miles down a hill, so we had to go back up it (having to go up a hill unnecessarily is never something good). Then, later we came to a fork, and the map said we could take either way and it would work. We chose one and kept going. About an hour down that way, dad says "I think it was a good thing we chose this road", and 10 minutes later, the road turns to loose, big, moving gravel. It is nearly Impossible to bike through that stuff. When I first saw it, I turned around and asked dad "are you sure itís a good thing we came this way?" It took us an hour to get through that 2 mile stretch of road. At some point, my front pannier rack fell off slightly and interfered with my wheel. We had to stop and fix that, and then it was back to going down a hill that you canít even enjoy because if you go to fast you fall down and die (feeling slightly pessimistic today- donít mind the morbid thoughts). We got to a town called Seaside (real creative about town names out here, arenít they?). Anyway, we ate dinner, and found a campground that is packed full, so we donít even get a real site. We are also going to miss the fireworks because they are too far away to see, even though we can hear them fine (so they can keep us awake tonight)! Oh yea, there are these kids in an RV right next to us that keep coming around, and its driving me nuts! Well, I g2g go get something to eat, so buhbye! Happy 4th......
EDIT: When I mentioned a town called Seaside, I forgot to say that there is also a town we went through called Oceanside. Another town name that struck me as horribly boring is Pacific City.
DAY 5 7-5-03
We finally had a tailwind today. I got up a couple hills w/out straining AS MUCH. The big attraction here (at Cannon Beach) is the massive rock a little ways away from the mainland (but you can walk to it during low tide) called Haystack rock. I had seen pictures of it before I saw the real thing, and had thought "so what? Itís a rock, its not that special" but now that I have seen it I realize it is because of the size of it that its so Important. At the top of one of the hills we biked up, there was a bunch of people my age who were biking from Seattle to San Francisco. We talked for a little while, and they said they would be at the same campground as us. Well, we get to the campground, and they arenít there. We get all set up, eat dinner (it wasnít too good), and then the Seattle people showed up. At this point, I am just too tired, so I donít even bother with trying to talk to them. The reason the people were late is because one of the girls was too exhausted to keep going, so she bailed out. All I have to say is GOOD FOR HER! at least she had the choice of doing that. Wow this trip is starting to look like a REALLY bad idea. The first day, when we were putting the bikes together, I remember thinking ďok, this isnít going to be good. Oh well, when I do it again for real, I just wonít get on the plane. WAIT A MINUTE, THIS IS REAL, AND NOW Iím TRAPPED!Ē
DAY 7 7-6-03
Wow! Iím not in as lousy a mood as I have been lately. The road was mostly flat today, we got 39
miles, and Iím not as tired as usual. Not to say I donít want to go back home, believe me I DO,
but today I feel like I just might be able to stand being out here. We had breakfast at bakery, and
they had a fake fire-place right by our table (it was pretty cute). There was also something that
looked like it was a fish tank in a tv set, but after the fire, Iím not sure if they were real fish. I
think they were though, it would have been very hard to fake it that well. Mom had a fit about
tail-gating today, because she was inching along at 2.5 mi/h, and I canít go that slow without
falling over. It was all I could do to not yell out "IF YOU LET GO OF THE BRAKES EVERY
ONCE IN AWHILE IT WOULDNíT BE A PROBLEM!" but I decided not to test my luck. Oh
yes, how could I forget; I was injured many times today. First, I was tying my sweatshirt around
my waist tighter so that it wouldnít fall off, and my wheel turned and hit me in the knee, and
scratched it. Then, when dad stopped at a bike store to get a new spare innertube (he busted his
last night), as we were starting off my bike leaned away from me and I couldnít get my foot out of
the toe clip in time so the bike brought me down with it. It took me a few seconds to regain my
temper after that! At one point mom is said something like "its ok, things like that happen," and I
looked at her and said "not if your not on a bike for 4 hours every day," and kept moving. This
morning I called one of my friends because its her birthday, and told her about what has happened
and me getting sick of the trip. I was so glad to talk to her! I have figured out why I havenít been
happy AT ALL on this trip yet. The reason is that whenever I start to enjoy myself one of the
-a headwind picks up,
-a massive hill comes into sight,
-I wake up from my dream, or
-I get injured.
Well, tonight for camping we got to another state park, and the Seattle people are here again (but Iím not even going to bother with them). We got to choose our own site. We chose one w/ a tree that has a few huge roots sticking 4 feet off the ground, and my tent is underneath them. A few kids just went by saying "man, that is a cool place for a tent, I wish we were there," and when I told them it was my tent they're like "SWEET! YOU ARE SO LUCKY!" and I just laughed. The only problem is that I have hit my head a couple times getting out of the tent.
EDIT: that first injury I got with the wheel hitting my knee, I still have a scar from it almost a year later. Also something that I noticed throughout the trip which was kind of strange is that the days I felt the best (or felt best at the time I was writing in my journal) happened to be the days that had a lot of things go wrong. I still havenít figured out why, but almost all the days that I felt good were the days I had no reason to.
The good mood stayed with me until about 3 oíclock. Then I just crashed. Other than that, it was a pretty good day. It started out w/ a 600 foot climb, but the grade wasn't too bad so I didnít kill myself going up it. At the top, we got a really nice downhill. After the hill, there was this desert-like thing that showed up out of nowhere. It had a few trees here and there, but it was mostly sand. Also, when we got to Pacific City, we finally dipped our wheels in the Pacific, (mom has been wanting to do that because you canít say that it was a trip across the country unless you start AT the ocean) and we did laundry. While we were doing laundry, we got to use the Internet. I updated the website (see update ďthe first weekĒ), FINALLY got my email, and I got news from life at home because two of my friends were on instant messenger. I think it was somewhere around the time that I talked to them and realized I wouldnít be able to see them for 4 months (okay, okay, so maybe itís only 3 months and 3 weeks by now) that my good mood left. We biked a little bit farther, and then found a hotel (with much difficulty). My spirit was dampened even more when I heard that the only room available w/ 2 beds was on the 3rd floor, and there are no elevators. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get bikes up 2 flights of stairs, so we had to settle for a room on the first floor that had just 1 king-sized bed. That means that while mom and dad get a spacious, soft, REAL bed, I get the hard, cold, narrow, FAKE air mattress on the floor. Now, why my parents didnít think of locking the bikes downstairs and carrying just the panniers up Iím not entirely sure, but all I know is that I paid for it. At least I get a real pillow tonight. Usually I take my spare clothes and stuff them in a bag that Mom made and use that. O yea, mom and I got to see our favorite show, so Iím slightly happy about that. The hotel we got is really nice. it has a mini-kitchen, and (kind of) easy access to the beach. Well, I am going to sleep now, and pray I donít get stepped on in the morning (I am right underneath where my dad sleeps because there isnít any room anywhere else, so when he gets up he might forget Iím there and step on me).
We woke up and it was raining. We had a hill a little ways into the ride, but I don't remember details. We stopped at a really nice cafť for lunch. They had GREAT bread. As we walked into the cafť I was drenched from the rain and EVERYONE turned to look at me. Although I could be really embarrassed about this, I think it was kind of cool. Think about this: small restaurant, small sleepy town, not that much ever happens, so someone who no one knows walking in dripping wet is a kind of big event. That sounds like its straight from a movie! Moving on, we didnít see that much wildlife today. In the afternoon, there was this AWFUL hill that wasn't that steep, but went on and on and on. It also had these little things that ARE going downhill, but not steep enough to make you go any faster. They are REALLY ANNOYING. at the top, there was a farm stand that had raspberries, blackberries, and apples. The woman there was so nice! We talked with her for awhile, and she told us how one of her dreams is to open up a little place that hikers and bikers can rest at, and maybe camp overnight w/out having to pay or anything, and she would just have a little donation box set up. She also told us about how a racoon had been eating her chickens, and that she found out he was dead on the side of the road. Oh yea, she had a rabbit that had just given birth, so I got to hold one of the babies. It was about the size of a slightly over-grown mouse. Now we are at a campground that is pretty nice. It has a sign on the door of the office that says "guard dog on duty" and right inside the door there was a HUGE dog sprawled out dead asleep on the floor. I made friends with him pretty quickly. We got to our campsite, and I there was a HAMMOCK! I was sooooo happy! Happy feeling went away though when I set up my tent. The ground is really lousy here. It is lumpy, not level, and HARD AS A ROCK! I couldnít get my tent stakes 2 inches in because of how hard the ground was. My tent is also on a bit of a slope. Well, that is all I have to say about today.
WOW it was hot today!!! It was mostly flat ground, but we did have a couple long shallow hills. I
have decided that those aren't exactly my favorite thing. They do a LOT to you on the
psychological level, because it looks flat, you think you should be able to do it fine, and yet, YOU
CAN'T! It was a nice ride down though. We did see a large amount of road kill today too. First,
we saw a house cat, then a couple racoons, and a skunk. Then the other day we saw a vulture on
the road (dad had to get a picture of that) and a couple days ago we saw a dead cow in a pasture
(dad got a picture of that too).
speaking of animals, my hands are going to look like a lizard by the time this trip is over. My
biking gloves have mesh over the top, and then one big hole where it velcros shut. This means
that there will be a whole bunch of small dots on my hand that are tan, and then this one big spot
thatís tan too! You can also see EXACTLY where the glove starts on my wrist, and where the
fingers cut off.
Well, now we are at our 2nd hotel this week (YAY!) and I actually GET A BED this time!!!!!!!!!! I tried listening to the radio, but the only stations out here are classical and country. Well, now I am going to deal w/ postcards and my log book (I accidentally washed my pen with my clothes, but I donít think it leaked).
We had a pretty flat day. We finally fixed my braces too. We reached Corvallis and spent about 3 hours doing braces, lunch, and bike stores, so even though we got up pretty early, we didnít get as far as we would have liked. As a result, we had to rough it for camping. We are in a field off of a road that has had about 2 cars go by in the past three hours, and has a lot of burrs. There is a river, but it is really hard to get down to it. Dad says we might swim early in the morning if its not too cold and Iím conscious enough. Oh yea, in town dad used an "overly friendly atm." well, apparently the people arenít the only ones that are way too friendly out here. when the atm asks you if you want a receipt, the options are "no thank you" and "sure!" I donít know about you, but I canít take that much friendliness. Iím gonna sleep now, so bbye! PS: when I was going through an intersection today, the light turned yellow so I stopped, but I had to back up a little bit. Well, I didnít take my foot out of the toe clip, so I fell in front of about 20 drivers. I ended up with many scratches on my leg. I decided to walk my bike through that intersection!
Well, we didnít go swimming. We got up kinda early, and I was amazed at how fast it warmed up (I was boiling by 8:00!) . We had a HUGE breakfast in town, and we filled our water bottles there and I got to call one of my friends. There was HORRIBLE reception there though! I had to call her back about 5 times. Anyway, we were going to skip going into the town of Eugene completely but then we remembered that we needed camp stove fuel, so we took a two hour detour to get that (we had to stop at multiple stores- Wal mart was the only one that had some). Later, we came across someone else who was doing the trans-America route too while we were biking. We talked for a little bit, and then kept going. At dinner, he was in the same restaurant, so we shared a table. At this point, it was pretty late, and there isnít a campground for about 20 miles, and we have already gone 40. We went down the road a little bit to a park someone had told us about, but we couldnít get a campsite there. We turned around and went a couple miles, and we found an all-but-abandoned road that had a couple good spots on it, so that where I am now. Well, mom wants the IPAQ, so I have to go.
YAY! WE ARE AT A CAMPGROUND W/ RUNNING WATER, SHOWERS, and of all things, a teepee! I wanted to call a friend to tell her about the teepee, but it is too late at home. This time change thing is a pain! Anyway, about today: we only got 36 miles, but I felt exceptionally weak so it doesnít matter. We also got a nice view of Mckenzie Pass. There is SNOW! We have to start going over it tomorrow, and mom and I are terrified. Uncle Doug offered to bring our gear over the pass for us to make it a little bit easier, and I think we are taking him up on it. Uncle Doug lives pretty close by, so after we get over the pass we are going to stay there for awhile. This morning we stopped at a convenient store, and there was a really nice lady there. She was elderly, and we started talking because she had a dog that I became friends with. She recommended that we go to the sculpture gallery across the road, so I walked over there with her. She was paranoid about crossing the street, but she says a lot of people have been killed on that road. The sculpture place was amazing! Julie (the woman) was explaining a lot of things about them, and although I already knew most of what she said, I let her talk, because she was clearly burning to. She told us that she was a veteran from WW2, and she had some interesting stories. Then we had to leave. Now, at the teepee, we came across another biker (I am starting to get creeped out; a lot of the bikers we come across have stopped at the places we stopped, so they have heard about "the family that is biking across the country" before we even say anything) She also knows Luke, the guy who we ate dinner with the other night. She was apparently traveling with him for awhile, but they split up because they were going at such different speeds. Anyway, she is staying in the teepee with us tonight. her name is Dana. She is from Portland, Maine, so she knows a little bit about new Hampshire. Well, dinner is almost ready, so Iím going to go.
EDIT: just about EVERY biker we came across was from Maine, now that I think of it.
We started up Mckenzie pass today. we got about half way up. It was BY FAR our shortest distance yet (only 15 miles- thatís purely embarrassing!! On flat ground I can go that far in less than 1 Ĺ hours) . We found a campground that doesnít have electricity or anything, but it has tables and I think it has a bathroom. We were expecting to see Dana on our way up, but we think she passed us when we stopped at a rest-area like place. I am doing better on the hills; we got about 2000 feet in elevation today, and I didnít stop QUITE as often. I am getting a little bit nervous about what happens in the 2nd week of August. I have decided that is when Iím gonna leave if I do, because then I wonít miss very much of school. Iím gonna be in a win-win lose-lose situation though because if I stay it will be good because I will be able to tell people about things that happened, and I wonít have to listen to mom when she come back about all of the things she saw and wish I was there. If I went back home, I wouldnít miss any school, I would see my friends again, and I would be able to start at my new school on time. I reeeallllllly hate that I had to come here in the first place!! I have to go, battery is low on the IPAQ, bbye
YAY! WE ARE AT UNCLE DOUGS! WE GET REAL THINGS FOR A COUPLE DAYS!!!!! Anyway, we woke up kinda early, had breakfast, filled water at the spring, and kept going on the pass. We saw two cyclists with racing bikes go zipping by us, and then we saw them going back down about an hour later. Anyway, we got to the top at about 1:00, and got a picture of us under the sign that marks the pass. It took us about 45 minutes to get down the pass, and it was REAAALLLLLLLLLY nice w/ all that downhill, and I did a pretty good job of handling the bike. we did some shopping in the town of Sisters (there is a world-famous quilt show that is hosted in this town, and mom was so bummed that she missed it by only 2 days; it didnít help that there were still some signs up advertising it), and as I went back to my bike after one of the shops I saw Uncle Doug and Aunt Chris sitting with my parents. They offered us a ride to Bend, which we gladly accepted. Well, I get the short end of the stick again as far as bedding goes. My parents get a real bed, and I get to share the tent with my cousin. The good news though is that I get this nice, thick, unportable mattress pad to sleep on instead of the thermarest (which is about 1 Ĺ inches thick). I also got to have a shower, so I am all happy now. O yea, we have WASHING MACHINES!!! I am waiting for my pajamas to dry so I can SLEEP (it is pretty late now). While we are here we will be watching the Tour de France, because that is apparently the new Werme family thing to do, and my aunt and uncle really go to town for celebrating the tour. They look up restaurants from towns that the tour goes through or stops at, then choose a wine that is appropriate for that town, and make a meal that would match. The problem tonight is that they are stopping at an unheard of town called Gap and the only restaurants there are pizzerias, so we ordered pizza tonight. we wonít be getting anywhere for awhile, but I have to say that it is REALLY nice to look at a map of the whole state and see how far we have come (especially when the map of Oregon that my aunt and uncle have is larger than the dining room table- it makes it seem even farther!). I am going to go see if my pajamas are even remotely dry, and then when they finally are, I am going to SLEEEEEEP!!!!!!! GOOD NIGHT!
Ok, while I have been here, I have gone kayaking, went to seen Crater Lake, floated down the river on an inflatable island (that has a palm tree), and jumped off a bridge. I have actually been enjoying myself here, but now we have to leave day after tomorrow. That sucks!!! At least it isnít gonna be tomorrow, like we had planned. We also saw Legally blonde 2. It was really lousy without my friend Katie there to make fun of it (we are both blonde and enjoy every minute of it, so that movie would be perfect for us to see together). Oh yea, school starts: 8-27-03 I have about a month left for me to escape if I am gonna make it in time. I have to get out of here!!!!!!
EDIT: Ironically I wrote this on July 19th, and August 19th was the day that I went home.
Great! We are back on the road. I was feeling pretty good in the morning, and I went up a couple small hills w/out much of a problem. I also had a camelback (a big water bag that you wear like a backpack, but there is a mouthpiece that you can get the water from so it just like a really big water bottle that you donít have to stop riding to get a drink from) that Aunt Cheryl is lending to me, and Uncle Doug and his friend Bill rode with us to the campsite. During the ride I wasn't looking up too often, so I was surprised when I suddenly rode right into mom's bike really hard. She had apparently stopped to blow her nose, and I hit her rear pannier and fell over. I was amazed that I didnít end up w/ another cut or scrape from it, but all the luggage padded my fall. Anyway, we are now at campground in a canyon. No electricity, but we have come to expect that. Supposedly, we are gonna be in the desert for the next couple weeks, until we hit the Rockies. Mom thinks we will be out of Oregon in 6 days. I doubt it. At least our laundry will actually dry overnight now- that is the only good thing about being out here. Iím in a worse mood than usual today about the trip. Probably because the only time I have enjoyed myself on the trip was at uncle Doug's, and now we have left and we arenít gonna see anyone we recognized for the next 3 Ĺ months (wait a minute, itís 3 months and 1 week by now, isnít it? Even though that number keeps shrinking itís not shrinking fast enough!!!). Gotta sleep, battery low.
Today, we got out early, and got to Prineville at 10:00. That is the biggest town we will see for about 2 weeks. We had a late breakfast, and went to the grocery store. Then we left. It was reallllly hot today, so we stopped somewhere and swam with our clothes on. That kept us ok for about a Ĺ hour. We meant to get something like 79 miles today, and we only got 40. We are now roughing it off a logging road. Its pretty good except for the fact that bugs are horrible here. I am hoping it will cool down some soon, but Iím not sure. We have 2 passes to get over tomorrow, but one of them we are already half way up. I better not be on this trip for more than a month longer. Frankly, I donít want to be on it for any longer AT ALL. All that is between here and Yellowstone is desert and the Rockies, which makes for HORRIBLE riding. The only good thing that awaits me is the book that I got while we were in Bend, and I will be done reading it in less than a week I PROMISE YOU! Well, I have to "sleep" now (I donít stand a chance of falling asleep; its too hot, too light, and there is too much running through my head).
A rather eventful day. First, a cow was spooked by mom, so it ran across the road about 20 feet in front of me. we went a little farther, and we saw a whole herd of them off the side of the road. This was inside a national forest, so we decided they probably weren't supposed to be there. Then we saw another herd later on, along with a llama (oh yea, we passed a llama farm the other day- I got a good picture). We spooked those cows too, and the llama had this face that said"OOOO A STAMPEDE! I LOVE STAMPEDES! LETíS GO!!" that reminded me of Dori from Finding Nemo. We got to the top of Ochoco pass, and on the way down I got a flat rear tire. Dad was about 2 miles down the road at this time, so we had to flag down a driver to go tell him about it. About a Ĺ hour later, he got there, and all we had accomplished was getting the wheel off the bike, because we didnít have any tools that we needed. We fixed the flat, and went down the hill. Now, since this is the desert, we were out of water, so we stopped at a stream to refill (donít worry- we have a water filter). It was so hot I lay down in the stream because it wasnít deep enough to get me wet above my waist. Mom finds this hysterically funny. As for me, Iím surprised she didnít do it herself. Itís hot enough out here so that if there is ANY way at all to keep cool you should take it. We got to a gas station a hill after that, and we found a thermometer. We were amazed at what we found. It said it was 100 degrees out. That is the hottest its been even in these parts for a looong time. The cashier told us that we were "100 yards from hell." We got to the town of Mitchell (which is where we were foolish enough to think we would be able to reach yesterday) at 2:00. It was NOT what we were expecting. We think we are gonna find a real town, and instead we find ghost town. We found a nice cozy hotel, that has I think 9 rooms in it, and a kitten to greet you (I became friends with him very fast; his name is Joey) but the owner is really nice. When he greeted us he said we had just arrived ďin the middle of nowhereĒ so we havenít really decided where we are now because the first guy told us we were 100 yards from Hell. They both seem extremely accurate. Actually, this whole town reminds me of the twilight zone. It has the PERFECT setting for it: sleepy town, everyone is really friendly, there is a little hotel with an owner that really enjoys his work a little too much, and a whole bunch of run-down buildings. Well, Iím gonna enjoy the fan the hotel has in the lobby (no air conditioning, but we can deal- I think).
Ok: we woke up at 5 am, had breakfast at 5:30, and were on the road by 6!!! We started out w/ a climb that mom says was really horrible, but I think we have had worse. The downhill was realllllllly long though! It wasnít too steep, and it stretched over about 20 miles. That has got to be the only tiring downhill I have ever seen. It wasnít that great though because some parts were flat an others were uphill too. I am completely amazed at how many cows on the side of the road we have seen. They arenít fenced in either. Today wasnít quite as hot, but still not too happy. We got to Dayville around 1 p.m., and we were exhausted by then, so we stop to get a snack. The guy told us about a restaurant right next door that we could have lunch in, so we went over. The first thing we see is a "no minors on these premises" sign, so we got the food to go. When we went back to the store, the guy who recommended the place sounded surprised that I was a minor. Anyway, we spent about 2 hours lying down in the park, and I finished the main part of my book, so Iím now working on the epilogue part. (Notice it took me only 3 days, and not even a full week as I predicted) We had decided that if we were up to it at 4, we would press on another 20 miles to Mount Vernon (a mostly flat ride, but some uphills), and if not, we would stay in the church on the other side of the road (it had a stove, Internet, and a whole bunch of things that are good for bikers). Well, at the end of our break we felt a lot better, so we decided to go the 20 miles more. We had a tailwind, so I was going pretty fast (11.5 mph most of the time, which considering that we are weighed down with 80 lb. Of gear each is pretty good), but mom wasnít feeling as well. We stopped at a stream to get wet, but it was a steep bank, so I went down for her and brought back her scarf wet. While I was there, I wet myself down some, even though I saw a lot of crawfish in the water. Well, I didnít lie down in this one like I did the other one, although dad did get in. We finally got to Mount Vernon, so we ate dinner at a restaurant, and took a hotel. The room is kinda small and so is my bed, but I am by the air conditioner so I am happy. I also got to take a real shower, so Iím happy for that too. Well, Iím REALLY tired, so Iím gonna go to sleep (is 10 p.m. already)
I woke up, and I was in a comfortable bed, and it was cold enough to use the covers. Then, mom came and said that she and dad were going to breakfast, and I had the option of take-out and sleeping while they ate. I chose sleep. Then as we were packing, we saw a pair of cyclists, so we talked with them for awhile. They are from northern Maine, and the woman's name was Karen, but Iím not sure what the guyís name was. While my parents talked, I packed. I was ready long before they were even done talking. Anyway, the couple took our picture, (and got one of my mesh-print on my hands) and got going. We left, and we got to John Day around noon. We had lunch, went to the gift shop (I got a pair of blue opal earrings) then we went and had ice cream. We got going, and I started to feeling kind of sick to my stomach, so when I finally got mom to stop long enough to tell her (this is the first day on the trip that she is actually going faster than I am, and itís the only day I donít want her to), I rested for a bit. We happened to be next to a group of horses, so I went to pet them. There was one horse that was really friendly. If he is used for teaching little kids to ride, I wouldnít be surprised. I petted him for awhile, and he kept looking around me to see if I had carrots. After awhile I just pulled up some grass and gave it to him. When I felt better, we kept going. We had a pretty hard pass to get over: 6% grade, and a couple shallow downhills that donít make you go any faster. When we FINALLY got to the top, we found a campground. I was expecting running water and showers, but found outhouses, a hand water-pump, and no showers. I ended up using the camelback to shower. IT WAS FREEZING! I washed up, and then as I was finishing, I noticed that there was a brilliant sunset, so I tried to hurry to get out of the woods, but when I did there was just more trees to block it. Mom isnít really in a good mood, but we are managing. Its pretty dark, and relatively cool, so I think I will go to sleep now.
Well, I got up pretty easily this morning, and had breakfast. During that, mom told us about an idea that when we get to Missoula, we rent a car, DRIVE to Yellowstone, see what there is to see, go back to Missoula, and just go straight to great falls. It will knock out about 500 miles in the trip, including the big nasty climb that we have all been fearing. I hope we do it. I was packed up before my parents, and we started out with a downhill into Austin Junction (a town that consists of one building). while we were there, we saw 2 deer cross the road. We got going, and had 2 1000 ft passes to get over. The first one tired me out a lot, and the down hills was pretty bad. At the top of that though, I saw 2 more deer off in the woods. About Ĺ way up the 2nd one, we were caught in a rainstorm. We stopped biking and stayed there for about an hour to wait for the rain to let up, but it didnít really until we had started going again. once we go to the bottom, we had a 20 mile ride on almost flat ground into baker city, where we were planning to take a rest day. I was kind of anxious to get there, so I was going fast. About 5 miles out of town, I got ANOTHER flat tire. We put the new innertube on, and pumped it back up. Well, it wouldnít pump back up. We donít know what went wrong, but we had to re-do the tire with a BRAND NEW inner tube, and luckily that worked. I was able to go a lot easier after that. We finally got to town, and are now at a bed and breakfast that we found out about when we were in Dayville. (Remember the guy that was surprised I was a minor? Well, he runs the place) I found out that during the rain, my log book got soaked, so I have copied it down to the IPAQ. I also got to have a shower (after all the mud from the rain this was VERY welcome). Well, Iím gonna go to bed, and tomorrow we will stay in baker city (its really nice here) for a rest day. Goodnight!
I woke up late, had a great breakfast, and got to do laundry. We went to the library, so I updated the web page (see update ďUncle Doug's to July 26"), and got my email. One of my friends sent me one telling me to call her, but when I tried she didnít pick up. I also found out that she sold one of her goats, so I have to find out why she did that. Later, mom and I went "shopping" at really lousy stores. One of the stores was selling back-to-school stuff, and mom was like "hey at least you donít have to worry about that yet!" like it the best thing in the world. I find that absolutely hilarious. For lunch, we went into a cafť, and they were actually playing music I recognized (that hasnít happened AT ALL since we have been out here! All the music is either country or classical!)!!!!!! The problem is that they only played a couple good songs. but the rest were the ones that I donít like (just my luck). We donít get to stay in a room tonight at the bed and breakfast because they are all full, so we are camped out in the yard. I might be able to get a real pillow though. O yea, I also got to see an episode of 7th heaven that I actually havenít seen!!!! Once again, I narrowly miss Alias by one night (that is my favorite show, and whenever we have access to a T.V. It is either a Saturday or a Monday, and Alias is on Sunday). Well, we are planning another early morning tomorrow, so I should probably get to bed.
I was so close to telling mom I want to go home, but she was distracted with dishes. Then I went to the bathroom, came back, and she was washing up. I really hope I get to tell her tonight. Anyway, about the day: we got up around 6, and had a really good breakfast that I am not sure what the name is, but tastes a lot like something my dad used to make. The guy (Steve) had what I think was real maple syrup. If he can get that out here, he has earned my respect. Well, we were planning on trying to get to the town Halfway (once again, a depressingly un-creative name. Itís called that because it is halfway down the walls of the deepest river canyon in the country) today, but we were too tired. We stopped in Richland. It was pretty hot today, so we stopped to swim twice in Powder River. We are now camped in the town park, which has soft ground, green grass, and clovers (the soft ground is especially nice because it means that I can actually get my tent stakes all the way into the ground, and I wonít have to worry that one will come out and the whole thing will collapse on me). It also has a swing and merry-go-round. We stopped at the Oregon trail interpretive site this morning, and it pretty much confirmed what I have always thought: people must have had to either be crazy or down-right desperate to come on the Oregon trail. Oh yea, I finished my book today completely; I think I might read it again. Well, that is pretty much all there is to say about today that I can think of; within the next 2 days we are going to get into Idaho and the mountain time zone. Mom was saying how it would help me be able to call people, but I know it wonít. We arenít running on clocks out here, we are running on the sun, and that isnít changing much just because we go 50 miles. She also said that when we get to Missoula it will change again, so that will really help, and I thought "not for long, because Iím leaving pretty soon after Missoula." Well Iím going to go try to talk to mom about going home, wish me luck, Iím gonna need it.
EDIT: at the time I found it incredibly suspicious that we would cross an entire time zone in 2 weeks, and it turns out that it was for good reason. The boarder between the Pacific time zone and Mountain time zone does this strange loop thing, so we went into the mountain time zone for a little bit, then back into the Pacific time zone, and then into Mountain for good.
Im GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME Iím GOING HOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I first talked to her I thought that it went wrong because even though she has been saying we will probably only get to St. Louis lately and not all the way across the country, she retaliated and said "well I am going to Virginia, so youíll be living w/ one parent for awhile, with no ride anywhere, you might not like it" then other things were said, but I canít really remember what. All I know is that I thought I had lost, and that all that had come of it was mom getting mad (and she was unusually cranky for the rest of the night). I remember that I ended the conversation with "you've already taken my summer away, donít take away school". When we had breakfast the next morning, mom said "donít you have something you want to ask your father?" (part of the conversation that I canít remember very well included me asking dad about the possibility of me going home with him. Little did she know that I had already talked to him a little bit about it) Well, he said that it might be a good idea, and that it would make it a little bit easier for him because I could walk Ella (our dog). Then, (hereís the good part) mom said "well, since its ok with him, I am inclined to say yes" (that being a direct quote) so the deal is now that when we get to Great Falls, we see if there is a ticket left on dads plane, and if not I fly alone. When we get there, I have a week to get ready for school. Anyway, about today:
After my glorious breakfast, we had a 1500 pass. It took us a couple hours, and it was HORRIBLE! (not that I noticed, I was still to happy) it was pretty steep, and really hot. When we finally got over, we had a mostly downhill into town. We spent some time there, mom went antiquing, and I would have gone to the library but it was closed. We also sent a box of things home, and I sent a friend a post-card telling her about the new plan. Then we got started again. We had a STRONG headwind, but we were still going pretty fast. We got to the area that we had heard got a mudslide a little while ago, and we had to be escorted through the area along w/ a bunch of cars. It was really dusty w/ all the cars pulling the dirt up, and the river doesnít look so great either. Well, we got through, and then we found an RV park that is letting us use there grassy area. SOFT GROUND AGAIN!!!I am waiting for mom to get done w/ her shower so I can get one. Iím also gonna see if I can find a phone to tell my friend I am coming home. :-D
Well, we woke up at 4:30, had oatmeal, and were on the road by 6. We had to get out of the
canyon today, and it was NASTY! the hill was 2000 feet up, and it was really hot. We stopped 3
times to swim, and that brook is the coldest one we has seen so far on the trip. One of the times
we stopped we were right underneath a short-but-powerful waterfall, so it had been scooped out
pretty deep. Then we took a longer break later in the day, and that helped a lot. When we finally
got to the top, we had a nice downhill just about all the way into town. We stopped at a store,
and I stopped to pet a little dog that was black, had curly fur, and was a little to people-crazed. It
reminded me of Ella a lot. Then we found a park to sleep in, and we went out to dinner. When I
found out we werenít gonna have showers tonight, I was soooooooooo mad! Well, besides
getting out of the canyon today, we got into Idaho, and switched time zones. I guess I will say a
little bit about Oregon:
It has part of just about every climate you can imagine; it just about rolls the whole country together into one state. It has farmland, ocean, mountains, desert, areas w/ far too much green stuff, and then there were parts that I was almost able to fool myself into thinking was New Hampshire. It is also a lot bigger than it looks. We have been on this trip almost a whole month now, and we are just barely getting out of it. One month ago exactly (down to the hour) I was watching Alias, dreading the next 4 months because the flight out to Oregon was the day after. Now, I canít wait for the next 3 weeks (big jump from 3 months, wouldnít you say?) to be over so I can get back home, and do everything that I have been wanting to do all summer, with my friends. I have been thinking, how much good has come out of this trip for me? Pretty much the only times I have enjoyed myself was during the rest days and when we stopped in Bend. Donít get me wrong, I am extremely grateful that I am going home for school, but I canít stop thinking about everything I didnít get to do this summer. Mom say we might take another rest day in 3 or 4 days, and I sure hope so. It is really not fun out here. If you ever do see me smiling, it is either because I am imagining what it will be, would be, could be, did or was happening at home.
I have been on this trip for a month exactly now. All day I have been looking at the clock thinking
about what I was doing at that time a month ago. Anyway, our alarm didnít work today, so we
slept in. we had a couple hills today, and the heat was as nasty as ever. We either went swimming
2 or 3 times today, but I canít remember. Oh yea, last night, mom decided to hug me because I
was (unsurprisingly) looking upset. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her I was on the
wrong side of the country. the she said "hey, even you said you were starting to like it" and I
corrected her"BETTER, I am starting to like it BETTER" then she mentioned how I should be
happy that Iím going home sooner, but I replied "yea, but I can never get my summer back" and
she said I can never get this trip back either. I NEVER WANTED IT!!!!!!! IF I GO HOME AND
MAGICALLY HAVE NO TRACE OF THE EFFECTS OF THIS TRIP I WOULD BE
PERFECTLY OK WITH IT!!!!!!!
we were going along the road today, and this little black cocker spaniel came up to us. We couldnít read his collar because it was so worn out, so we donít know if he was lost or not. We tried to lead him to the nearest house, but mom went farther and the dog followed her instead. In the end, he went down to a river and we just left. Tonight, we are in a hotel w/ a bunch of pictures from the movie Cinderella. Its gonna drive me crazy. Well, I have 3 more weeks until I am free, and Iím not sure I can stand it. I think the next time I get to update the website, Iím gonna forget the happy-cheeriness and just write that I have been pretty much lying most of the way through it, and then say what I really think. I also REALLY need to send and email to everyone saying Iím gonna be home earlier.
I could barely wake up this morning. When I did, I found my clothes still wet from washing. It was also pretty cold (for once!!!!). I put on my black shorts and blue shirt, and then my pants and sweatshirt over that. We had breakfast and then got going even though it was still cold, and our clothes were still wet. I took the extra clothing off in about a Ĺ hour, and we had a nice downhill. Even though the day started out really cold, it got to be one of our hottest. We stopped at a library in Riggins and updated the web page (see ďAs of August 1stĒ), and yes, I did give up the happy-cheeriness. I also got to send an email to my friends explaining that I was gonna be home. Afer we left the library, it was about 106 degrees out (dad got a new thermometer, so we donít have to listen to the weathers numbers as much. We have learned that they are horribly unreliable). We stopped for dinner at this small little restaurant w/ bad service. I decided to wet down my shirt in the sink (since there wasnít a convenient stream nearby), but I was apparently taking too much time. Later, I was waiting outside for mom (remember that- I was waiting for her, not the other way around) and she came out and saw me sitting by the building and flipped out. She started ranting about how I took too much time at the last stream so that by the time we left she was dry, and that if Iím not filling up any water thing, I should be moving. I just okayed my way through it. There was something in there about if I am going to be so slow I can ďfix my own damn flatsĒ (and that a direct quote). Now, if we are going to be talking like this, may I JUST point out that SHE is usually the slow one, and I would like to see how SHE would like it if it was HER that got flat tires every 3 days. Anyway, we are now sleeping at a lousy campground like the one we had in our first canyon; Itís a self-pay thing, they provide you w/ a picnic table and a really bad spot for a tent. We decided that its too hot for a tent anyway. we have each claimed a picnic table for ourselves. I chose one away from the other two, so I don't have to talk to them/her. Iím not sure I can survive the next 3 weeks, and after I go home, who knows what I will get? Itís still going to be different from usual because Mom is staying out here. Well, I will worry about that when I get there.
At about 10:30 last night, a really loud truck came through, and went around (and around, and around, and around AGAIN) the campground looking for a spot WITH his high-beams on. He stopped once, but they either didnít like what they saw, or that was the table dad was sleeping on. Then they got back in the car, and started going around again. Then they stopped in front of my table. I sat up, but they didnít see me until they had already stopped and gotten out again (did I mention that the high-beams were aimed RIGHT AT ME?!?!). Then, they got back in, and it took them about 10 minutes to back their truck into a spot. They were really loud about it, and I wasnít exactly on good terms with the high-beams. Anyway, after the moron quieted down, I fell asleep. I got up, didnít have breakfast, dealt w/ more crap from mom abut taking too long (even though Dad talked to her about the rationalness -and I donít care if thatís a real word or not- of yelling at me for taking so much time when she does it far more than I do), and then we left the campground before the moron woke up. We had decided that we were going to only go 10 miles to the town White Bird, even though the place we wanted to have our rest day at was Grangeville. Well, we got to White Bird, and saw a sign saying "shuttle service hereĒ so we got a ride from the "shuttle" (it was really a pick-up truck) to the top of the hill. Then we went down the hill, and found we had 5 miles left into town. We got there, and ate at a really bad cafť (Mom was so unimpressed that she sent her food back and got something else). Anyway, we went looking for hotels, but they were just about all full except for smoking rooms. When we had given up and were looking for a park, dad saw a bed and breakfast. It has a living room, kitchen, 2 BEDROOMS, and a stereo. The bed is comfortable, and its not in the same room as my parents (that always bothers me about hotels) so as far as I am concerned, this place is great. We rented a couple movies too. Mom has been saying how she is mad at me for making her sit through legally blonde 2 (which really is the kind of movie you canít enjoy unless there is someone there to make fun of it with, which of course THERE WASNíT), so I think she decided to get some payback by renting ďthe hot chickĒ for me when I wasnít there with her at the rental place. Of course, just my luck, the VCR broke after I watched that, so I couldnít watch the other movies, which looked like they would be better.
EDIT: I finally saw the second movie we rented when we were there a couple weeks ago, and it was just as horrible as the first one. However, the movie that Mom had rented for herself and didnít get to see was also on T.V. a while ago, and it was pretty good.
Breakfast wasnít really great. It was this parfait thing. I got a new calling card, but when I tried calling a couple of my friends, neither of them were home. I havenít made direct contact w/ anyone from home in weeks. I found an atlas in our room, and first I mapped out in mind where we have gone, then where we are going, and then what was at home. I spend a lot of time playing ďwhat ifĒ out here. What other options do I have? When I went to the library yesterday I managed to escape the librarian and was on the computer for longer than the time limit, so I got to go to all of the websites that I like to go to when life is normal. The stereo here has exactly 2 stations: country (as always) and what I think is NPR (which plays classical often enough, so it has filled the requirement of the 2 usual stations). I swear from this trip alone I am gonna end up w/ sun spots on my skin when I get older. WE use loads of sun screen, but it just doesnít o enough. One of Momís excuses for why she wasnít wrong in bringing me out here is that a lot of kids my age travel, like my cousin Charlie went to Japan this year, and one of my old friends that I have barely talked to in 3 years went to Europe. Well, Charlie brought along a couple friends w/ him, and I am not like that friend who went to Europe, or anyone else she can think of. Besides, they all went to one place and STAYED there, and got used to the other people around them. For us the people change every day, and we have to keep moving. The best summer of my life was spent keeping busy w/ friends, and doing a bunch of small things, not one big thing. Well, the IPAQ needs charging, so I should go.
ITíS A MIRACLE!!! THE TEMPERATURE WAS IN THE 70S TODAY!!!!!!!!! It was kinda scary because I was shivering, and it was 71 degrees. That is when u know u have been in heat waaaay too long. Anyway, it was mostly downhill today. We have been going along Clearwater River today, but we didnít have to swim (it would have been really easy to, but for once we donít have a motive!). We reached Lowell, which is the last civilization for 65 miles. The town sign is hysterical because it is carved to say ďpopulation 31" but they have spray-painted an x over it and changed it to say ďpopulation 29".We are staying at this awesome place that gave us a cabin. The cabin has 3 queen-sized beds, but then there is a loft that has a twin which is more comfortable, so I am taking that one. it also has a pool w/ 3 hot tubs. I decided to go and enjoy them. While I was there I met a girl named Ellen. She is from Washington, and we spent a lot of time in the hot tub avoiding her brother and all the little kids around that kept yelling "ATTACK!" and then doing a cannonball, whether in deep water or in the hot tub. Ellen talks about random things our of the blue, but itís kind of cool. I think I would be friends w/ her if she was back home. It was great because she is the first person I have been able to talk to on this trip that is my age, except for my cousin JJ. Even though there is a restaurant here, we are cooking our own food tonight because we start going up Lolo pass tomorrow and we want to lighten our load. We are three or four days away from Missoula, and when we get there we go to Yellowstone, then not too long until Great Falls, and then Iím GOING' HOME! The cabin we are in has a TV, and itís Sunday. This means I GET TO SEE ALIAS AGAIN!!!!!!! :-) I broke the curse, I didnít miss it by ONE DAY! Well, Iím gonna brush my hair, wait for dinner, figure out how the tv schedule is out here, and watch my show (unless the decide to play something different, which is entirely possible because it is between seasons).
I got to watch Alias. Anyway, we woke up at 630, and had the last of the granola. We left the campsite at 8 or so. This has got to be the nicest day of riding that we have had the whole trip. It wasnít too hot (but we still took a swim), was relatively flat, and wasnít hindered w/ rain or wind. The problem is that mom ran out of energy around 1, so we stopped for awhile and she slept on the side of the road (she didnít even bother letting her air mattress inflate AT ALL). We are now camped off a small road that gives us water access. When I was doing laundry (no, we are not near a laundry mat, I was just cleaning my clothes with water from the river like usual), I knocked the detergent off the rock I was sitting on, so it almost floated downstream. I caught it, but my pajamas got a little wet. Oh yea, mom is in a slightly better mood today, so that is good. We are about 2 days from Missoula I think, but I may be wrong. I think tomorrow is Lolo pass, so we are gonna have a hard time w/ that. Well, its getting dark, so Iím going to sleep. Good night.
Wow it was an eventful day! We decided that we should sleep in so that mom would be better today, and she was. when I went for breakfast, she made a pass at me about not taking down my tent fast enough, so I went back and was finished packing up 15 minutes before she was. Anyway, we must have slept reallllly soundly, because when we had gone about 1000 ft up the road, we saw a completely smashed guardrail, and a trailer or something had rolled down a hill off the road When I went by the people were busy estimating what happened, but then when dad went by he learned that it happened at midnight, and the driver had died. That made me feel guilty in a way. Think about it: while I was very merrily sleeping, a poor lady was dying not 1/4 of a mile away. about 3 miles into the day, we saw a sign that says "safety break 1/4 mile ahead. Serving coffee, bikers welcome!" now, how could we pass up that? It was run by the Disabled American Veterans and it was a community service thing, so everything was free. All you had to do (and only if you chose to) is make a donation. The day went on, and we got to Powell. there was a pretty nice restaurant there, so thatís where we had lunch. Apparently dad met Ellen, the girl I talked to a couple days ago, and he sent her in my direction. I think I saw her from behind, but I didnít recognize her. There was a little kid sitting on a bench outside the door when I went to fill my camelback. He asked me what the camelback was, so I explained it to him. Then in the bathroom I met a motorcyclist that is going to the huge meet that we have been hearing about for a loooooooong time, and just about every motorcyclist in the western side of the country is going to it. I told her about motorcycle weekend in New Hampshire and how they take over the state, but she had never heard about it. Anyway, we left Powell to meet the nasty part of Lolo pass. It started to rain, and I could hear thunder in the distance. I decide to get all of my stuff into my waterproof bags (technically they are always supposed to be in them, but sometimes I just put my stuff loosely in the panniers), so I stopped at a pullout with a historical sign. I got everything on my bike into something waterproof, and then read the sign. it said that Lewis and Clark had been caught in a lightning storm coming through Lolo pass too! I waited for my parents under a tree, and a truck stopped to read the sign. I got up and when he rolled down his window I went up to him and said "ironic huh?" and he started laughing. Then he asked me if I was Lewis or Clark, and I told him I hadnít decided yet. Anyway, after the rain let up some, I continued on. Later on, I had stopped for a break and a car came out of a road right in front of me and asks if Iím alright. I said yes, and he kept going. Later, he was coming the other way, and he stopped to make sure I was alright again. Then he stopped to talk w/ my parents at a pullout. Apparently he used to do some biking. He was also a bit of a modern hippie. He had bumper stickers that said things like "free Tibet" and "wage peace" and others had native American Images on them. I think he was coming back from a sort of Indian powwow. He was saying how we missed the Sundance by about a week. He was really exited because this year there were more women than men that did piercing, and most of them were over 70 years old. He seemed really surprised when I told him I was 13. He started the whole "oh youíll remember this all your life" speech with "come on now, a 13-year-oldís mind isnít cut out for this kind of thing. Wait until she is 30 or something" which Immediately earned my respect (he is the only adult I have seen so far that understands this. All the others have said ďThink of all the things youíll see!Ē or ďYouíll remember this all our life!Ē the closest thing that most of them have come to saying anything intelligent is ďyouíll appreciate this a lot more when your olderĒ but none of them have realized that if thatís the case then I should wait until Iím older). He then went to his car and came back with a string of red and black beads. He said they were from Tibet, an he was giving them to me. He insisted on putting them on me himself, so I took off my helmet and let him. He also gave us his home address (which is near Great Falls) in case we decided to stop in there when we get to the area. He then went back into his car, and came back with a necklace with an Image of "Blessed Martin" on it holding a cross. on the back it says "Blessed Martin pray for us". he told me it would protect me from trucks that pass me by (trucks are EVIL to bikers- they create a draft of air that comes close to knocking us over, or they donít give us enough space and run us off the road -at which point I get a flat tire-), and that he had had it since he was 12. This blew my mind. Something he had in his possession since childhood, and seemed to care about to SOME extent, and he gave it away w/out a second thought. Once again, he went into his car and came back with a bracelet. He told me he was giving it to me because I was "awesome," and "pretty darn good-looking too" as a side note. When he left, we continued up the hill, me with 3 pieces of jewelry I didnít have earlier. We finally reached the top, and the top marked a couple other things too: the time change and the Montana state boarder. We had a downhill (in slightly less rain than we had going up), and got to Lolo hot springs. That was actually a resort and we didnít have enough money so we went to the RV park on the other side of the road, which had tepees again. These weren't as good as the last teepee we had, because they were smaller and they had bark mulch floors instead of carpets (whose idea was it to have people sleep on bark mulch? The people running that place canít be that clueless, can they?). Oh yea, I fell today. I was trying to bike over a drainage pipe in the campground but I was going too slow, so it caught my rear wheel. As usual, my bike leaned away from me and my toe clip brought me down with it. I have fallen over many times this way. Well, Iím going to go sleep now. Good bye, tomorrow we reach Missoula!!
This has got to be one of the coldest nights we have had on the trip. I was wearing :
2 pairs of socks
My black bike shorts
Long pants ON TOP OF the shorts
My moms hat.
One would thinks this would be enough to be warm, but it wasnít. I was still cold until I got in my sleeping bag, then I took off A COUPLE of the things. Well, we slept in and had breakfast at the restaurant across the street. We had a GREAT biking day. It was slightly downhill, tailwind, and not blithering hot. I was going about 13 mph AVERAGE until the end, because we got a couple small hills, and the wind shifted. We got to Missoula, and got a hotel room. My stomach hurt for part of the day but when I finally got some Motrin it was gone in about a Ĺ hour. We had pizza for dinner, and it was pretty good. I am in an unusually good mood right now because I got a radio station that plays real music. I heard 3 of my favorite songs, which is a lot considering there have been maybe 3 times I so much as heard music I RECOGNIZED, much less liked on this trip. May I just say, I am in heaven compared to the past month? Tomorrow mom and I are going to the local mall to get back-to-school clothes, and then we are going to mail them home. Oh yea, I also got more earrings. one of the pairs is pewter roses, and the other pair is garnet. There really pretty. Well, Iím going to see if I can find something on tv now (we have a channel guide, itís a miracle! Just about none of the hotels we have stayed in tell us what channel is which). the day after tomorrow we go to Yellowstone, and we will spend 2 days there, then come back and go to great falls, and then Iím GOING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!
We spent the day in Missoula. We had breakfast and then went to adventure bicycling (the headquarters of the company that makes the maps that we have been using) and TRIED to use their computer. I have now decided that I hate macintosh keyboards, and they should all be cast into a great fire. I spent a long, long, LONG time writing an email to someone, and then I hit a couple keys and it was all GONE! I decided I wouldnít even try updating the website after that. Then mom and I went shopping. I have real clothes to wear again, so I donít have to wear biking clothes while in Missoula and Yellowstone!!!!! (yay!!!!!). We went to an internet cafť, and the computers were awesome!!! They had windows XP, broadband internet, instant messenger, Pentium 4, it was beautiful I tell you, better than my computer at home (but mine is getting kind of old, so thatís no surprise). I got on instant messenger and talked to 2 of my friends. O yea, we finally have cell phone service here, so I called another one of my friends. She hadnít heard about me coming home yet, so I got to tell her. Unfortunately, I didnít get to finish updates on the web site. We might have problems getting to Yellowstone, because just about all of the cars in town have been rented out, so we have to wait a couple days to get a car. Oh well, Missoula is a great place anyway.
Ok, we got a car, and are now at Yellowstone. The web page is still un-edited, so I will have to do that when we get back to Missoula. we left our bikes at Adventure Biking, and took all of our gear. I brought my new clothes so that I donít have to go around Yellowstone in biking clothes (its amazing! I look... NORMAL!).
Wow we did a lot today. Since we are only spending 2 days in Yellowstone, we are getting everything done as fast as possible. Today we saw old faithful, morning glory, spasmodic, (that was really cool) saw mill (that one was mean, it splashed me), Anenome (that was cool; first it filled w/ water, then erupted, and AS SOON as it was done, it drained out. It was like "see, I did a trick! Iím going home now! Elvis has left the building), the paint pots, one of the lion cluster cones erupt, grand prismatic, sapphire (that was AWESOME!!! IT WAS A REALLY DEEP SHADE OF BLUE AND I SWEAR, YOU CANíT GET THAT COLOR ON FILM, ITS JUST NOT POSSIBLE!!!) , emerald, fountain geyser, and a fumerole. We saw a bunch of elk on the way in, so that was cool. Every restaurant we have been in so far has had really lousy music playing. It STINKS!!!!!! the good thing is that whenever my parents force me to spend 45 minutes eating at a restaurant with bad music, I earn more time with control over the radio on the way back to Missoula. Oh yea, we guess itís about 5 days at the most from Missoula to Great falls, so that means it we leave the 12th, we will get there the 17th, and things will time perfectly, maybe even ahead of schedule. Iím GOING HOME IN 9 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (victory dance is done)
We finished up Yellowstone. The 2nd day wasnít nearly as exiting. Then we drove back. We got
stuck in the town of Butte, and went in circles for ages. We got back to Missoula around 10:30,
and I just collapsed. Today I went to the Internet cafť, and finally updated the website. I got to
talk to more people on instant messenger, There is really bad smoke from the forest fires in town,
and a piece of ash got in my eye earlier. I am really tired! There is nothing in my mind to write
here. We leave Missoula tomorrow. 8 days until I get home. Ok so far my plan for home is to:
Fix my computer (I shudder to think what has happened to it w/ the house-sitterís son using it)
Somehow visit all of my friends
Put my bike together after taking it apart from shipping it home
Listen to radio non-stop
Get school stuff
Go to the orthodontist
And probably a bunch of other things, but right now I have to have a shower, so buhbye!
I think we cross the continental divide tomorrow or the day after. We left Missoula today, and we had A LOT OF smoke from the forest fires. Mom was having serious issues w/ athsma from it, and I was feeling unusually tired. We had mostly slight uphill today, and it got hot later in the day. We stopped to talk to another biker, who told us to sleep at a particular campground. When we got there, I was ahead of my parents, so I checked the place out. When I got back, my parents had gone ahead of me even though we had decided to spend the night there. I flagged down a driver and asked him if he had seen them from that direction, and he said no, but he said he would tell them to wait for me if he saw them. I kept going, and caught up to them pretty easily. We had lunch in a cafť, and from there I called a friend. I FINALLY made contact, but she was just going out the door to a 4h meeting. She said she would call me back, but of course, WE DONíT HAVE CELL PHONE RECEPTION OUT HERE!!!!!!!!!! Grrrrr I neeeeeed to talk to her soooo bad!!!!!! Anyway, I canít believe Iím so close to home!!!!!!!!!! We are camping in a REAL ghost town today called Ovando (everything is closed- although there is apparently an inn that is open, but u couldnít tell by looking at it!), and we are staying on the front lawn of the museum. Some other bikers just came from the inn and had a nice little chat w/ us. Their names are Mark and Carren. Apparently they are from Maine, so they are as surprised by the weather out here as we are. We might be at the same campground as them tomorrow night. We got over 50 miles today, so at this rate we will be in great falls in 4 days instead of 5. Then again, I may be just being hopeful. 7 DAYS UNTIL IíM HOME!!!!!!!
Ok, it turns out that there was some life in Ovando. The store and bait shop opened up in the morning (itís insane out here- even the smallest towns have bait shops). The store had 3 dogs running around it, so I became friends with those. Before we went to bed last night, the mayor came over and talked to us. I think he was a bit mentally impaired, because he was talking slow, and not really saying anything bright. He was kind of like Forrest Gump, except he wasnít caught up in a couple hundred major historic moments. Later he brought his horse over. I asked him how many hands the horse was (for people who donít know much about horses, hands are a way of measuring how tall a horse is- one hand is 4 inches), because it looked pretty short, and I think he made a reply, but Iím not sure. Later he said the horse was only 3 years old, and my guess is it was 12-13 hands. So anyway, we didnít get very far today. We got to the town of Lincoln (home of the unabomber) around 2:30, and had a late lunch. We stayed awhile in Lincoln, and mom got some visine. It was VERY welcome w/ all the smoke in the air. The first store we tried was sold out! We are now at a lousy state forest campground that is RV-oriented, so the ground is mostly gravel. Luckily, we found a site w/ enough grassy area on the side to put our tents up. It also has river access. I went down and washed my clothes. I might go for a swim a little bit later. Apparently there is a fire pretty close to our campground, so there is pretty bad smoke here. We might even see a glow tonight, but I doubt it. The sunset was really strange because it was fuzzed up from the smoke in the air instead of just clouds. Oh yea, the people we met in Ovando that were staying in the inn, Carren and Mark, are here. Carren has a tent almost exactly like mine, but its green. I think Iím out of things to say, except for... (take a guess) 6 DAYS UNTIL I GO HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!
we invited Carren and Mark to breakfast w/ us this morning. They were out of the campground
before us again, but we met up with them in Augusta, where we are staying tonight. Anyway,
after that, we had a Ĺ mile long ride on gravel to get back to the road (I forgot to mention that
yesterday-there is a horrible road going into the campground designed to cause misery to bikers),
but after that it wasnít that bad. We had a headwind, but the grade going up to the pass was really
shallow. There was only one part at the end that was even slightly steep, and that was only 5%.
we got to the top, and dad took a picture of mom and me underneath the sign that said "Rogers
pass, continental divide". After that we had a BEAUTIFUL 7% grade downhill for 3 miles. Itís a
shame, because that was the only really good part of the whole down hill. The rest was so shallow
you could barely tell it was there. At about 2:00, we got to a little restaurant out in the middle of
nowhere, and my suspicions were confirmed: we are taking a 20 mile detour that is completely
unnecessary. For a while, the road signs have been saying we are a lot closer to Great Falls than
the map has been saying, so we got to the restaurant (which happens to be at a junction) and I see
a sign that says "Great Falls straight, Augusta left" and I knew we went though Augusta. Well,
while we ate we debated this, and we decided to go through Augusta anyway. There was a man at
the place that came over and talked with us for awhile he was saying how Montana is 20 years
behind the rest of the country, and that there are still schools w/ one teacher and 12 grades, and
things like that. after we ate we went out and turned left and had a nice 20 miles stretch of
NOTHING! It was rolling hills, this nice brownish color of fields for miles around, and this one
patch that was green because of irrigation. By the time we got to Augusta, I was a couple miles
ahead of my parents. I waited for them in a store. When we came out of the store, Mark and
Carren were there. They told us they were staying in the hotel in town, so we decided to stay
there too. Its kind of like the one in Mitchell; the rooms have just beds, a table, and a sink, and the
bathroom and showers are separate and used bye everyone. I am going to have to sleep in my bike
shorts because I left my pajamas outside on my bike and I donít feel like digging for them, but I
can manage. Its pretty hot out tonight. We are trying to let the room cool off, but it is taking
forever. We are probably going to wake up freezing. Oh well. We will probably make it to Great
Falls tomorrow, and we have 3 towns between here an there. That is the most we have had since
the other side of the cascades I think!!!!!!! Now, say this with me this time: Iím GOING HOME
IN 5 DAYS!!!!!!!!!! I can not tell you how strange a thought that is to me!!!! My course of action
is just about entirely planned out already:
Let Ella (the dog) finish swooning over me
Sleep in until noon EST
Listen to radio while using computer (or fixing whatever damage has been done to the computer)
Call everyone I know
Get the stuff that I put in the attic for safe-keeping (I donít trust the house-sitters son that is living in my room)
Go downstairs and deal with all the mail we have, and unpack whatever we sent home
Wash my new clothes
Eat a real meal (or maybe something from the microwave- I havenít had access to a microwave in awhile either)
Wake up at 11 EST
Undo any damage done by the person living in my room while I am out here
Go to Staples sometime during the day and get school supplies
Watch something utterly pointless on tv
wake up 10:30 EST
Go to one of my friendís house
Drag friend back to my house
Improvise for the rest of the day
Wake up 9:30 EST
And whatever I happen to feel like doing from there by out. Can you tell I have been thinking about this for awhile?
Today, which should have been such a good day since it is my last day of biking( :-D ), turned out horrible. We had breakfast at a small restaurant with a really creepy waitress, and then got a late start, so it was pretty hot. I was going pretty fast at first, but then we stopped to talk to some other cyclists. They had started in New York, and were finishing in Portland. They seemed friendly enough, but they were entirely in-sensitive as to why I would want to go home. At one point, the guy asked me what grade I would be going into, and I said 8th, but then he said "hey, go all the way, the school isnít going anywhere!" and I didnít think of this until later, but either is the country! As for school, I really need to start at the beginning of the year because if I donít I will be marked as ďthe new personĒ and I have donít that before, and have NO DESIRE to do that again. Anyway, by the time we had finished talking to them, a headwind had picked up. We got to Fort Shaw, and find that it is a pretty un-useful town considering it had 200 people population. I think the next town was worse, but I canít really remember. On our way into Vaughn (the third town of the day :-D), I got ahead of mom, and guess what? SHE, the one with the indestructible tires, got a flat (ABOUT TIME!!!!). Mom finally rolled into Vaughn after I waited for an hour or so in a store, and less than a mile after we left town the tube failed. We pumped it up and she decided to try to keep going. We got about 1000 feet. We stop, change the innertube, and keep going, I think we actually got 3 miles that time. Then, the tube failed AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! This time I was ahead again, so I went back. When I got there, mom and dad had decided that dad and I would keep going to Great Falls, and mom would try to hitch a ride. So we finally got to Great Falls. I should be thrilled, right? Well, the part of town I have seen so far is down-right depressing. It is a pretty run-down looking town. Most of the places we saw were industrial looking, or truck stops. I really hope it gets better as you get deeper. Dad found a hotel, and I went to the room to wait for them to get back. After about an hour, dad came back with an inner-tube, but when he found I hadnít heard from mom he didnít sound too happy (you should have heard him when the desk lady asked "how are you today?" in a happy-cheery voice. Lets just say she regretted it.). I waited for a while longer, and mom got here in and even worse mood. Apparently she hitched with a van-full of Spanish/Indian people that were carrying a trailer with 4-wheelers, so she put her bike in with those. Somewhere around here, dad had stopped at a truck stop to use the phone to call mom , but at the same time a trucker pulled in and asked how he was (wrong day to have so many people ask that question!). Dad told him the long sad story, and the trucker offered to drive dad back to the bar that we left mom at (her bike gave up right when we were passing a bar that was placed in the middle of nowhere. Why there was a bar there, I have no idea. However, it was a sign of population, so I didnít complain). Of course, she had gone with the Spanish people so she wasnít there. We called dad on his cell phone and told him to come back. Oh yes, about this hotel: we can only stay for one night. Next night is all booked, so unless there is a cancellation, we will be chucked out tomorrow. Dad is working on the tire right now, and he just took the innertube and submerged it in water, and it was very soon clear of why the tube went flat. There must have been 20 holes in that thing, and I am not lying!!!!!!!!!it would have been down-right Impossible to patch it, I donít think we have enough patches. Let that be a lesson: do not get inner-tubes made in Taiwan (If anyone has seen ďArmageddonĒ there is a great line in there with the Russian guy trying to fix the shuttle so they can get off the asteroid and he says something about ďAmerican components, Russian components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!!Ē That just came into my head, feel free to ignore it). Well, Iím not sure how we plan to spend our time in Great Falls, but it will involve taking bikes apart and putting in boxes, giving mom all the useful equipment, many trips to the post office, and if I get my way, sleeping in. Hey, I almost forgot: I GO HOME IN 4 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, I guess this is my last entry, unless I do an epilogue when I get home. We have been in
Great Falls for 3 days now. I canít for the life of me remember what we did the first day, except
for I called one of my friends and talked for 1 Ĺ hours. It was SOOOO good to talk to her!
Today wasnít exactly fun. We went to pack up the bikes, and had a pretty lousy time doing that,
although I think it went smoother this time than the last. Usually the only part of the trip I enjoy is
the rest days, but frankly I hate these rest days more than the riding. in 26 hours I will be home,
and I canít even be exited because of bad reports around home (looooong story. Basically, our
house-sitter has gone bad). There is probably going to be something drastically wrong with home
and school because I have wanted both of them so badly for so long, so they are going to prove
me wrong and give me yet MORE hell. GRRRRRRRRR why didnít I tell mom I wanted to stay
home this summer instead of coming on this god-awful screwed-up trip? There is so much I could
have been doing that falls under the category of enjoying myself, and yet I find myself boiling in
hell with a screwed-up tan line on my hand as a memento. So, could someone please tell me 5
GOOD reasons that is was the right thing for me to come out here? I Donít care how many
people give me the
"oh but you will remember this trip for the rest of your life,Ē
ďitís so amazing that your doing this,Ē
ď think of all the things you'll see,Ē
ďyouíll appreciate this more when your older,Ē
ďthis will look really good on a college application"
and all the crap like that, I want my summer back!!!!!!!!!! (Iím not joking about lots of people making the college application comment; Iíve heard that one many times) O yea, I donít care if mom says " you can never get this trip back either" because frankly I donít want it. I never did want it, and if Iíll appreciate it more when Iím older, I should do it when Iím old. Iím sick of getting adults opinion, because they are all the same (or they vary very slightly, as I demonstrated with the list of common remarks above. Out of all the people we have come across I would have to say that 90% of them have said at least one of the things I listed). When I get back home, I am not even sure if I will tell anyone at my new school about this. Why bother, when I can just keep it with people from my old school, and all it would get me is a long story to explain whenever I meet someone new? I go home tomorrow, and I donít even stand a chance of even being able to BEGIN to forget the trip for another 2 months because mom isnít coming back so it will still be different. Then we have to get back into a real routine in the real world, and then it will be up to time and mom stopping all of the boasting that she will un-questionably be doing. This puts me in a royal mess, now doesnít it? Now a message to everyone who reads this: This is the end and I am thankful. Itís a shame I have had such a lousy few days because then I might have been able to enjoy my departure from here. There is very little worth seeing out here. Coastal Oregon is nice, Idaho had some good scenery, and Bend and Missoula were good, but the rest is hills, heat, desert, and forest fires when there isnít even any forest to burn. Even if I am wrong it doesnít matter because this is what I have seen, so this is what I know. Good luck convincing me otherwise.
EPILOGUE: I lucked out BIG. I got home, got to do all the things I wanted to do (in fact, some
of them I did immediately after I got home, even thought it was 1:30 A.M. eastern time and 11:30
PM mountain time) and then started at a new school a week later. I am very glad I came home
early because those first few months have great memories for me, and I made a lot of friends. In
fact, this year of school has been great, and I donít think it would have been nearly as good if I
had started in the middle of the year. Also, the house-sitter wasnít such a big thing to worry about
because before we got back she put the house in perfect condition, left a note, and we havenít
heard from her since. My computer didnít fare so well, but none of the damage was irreparable.
On the first day of school my reading teacher made a comment about bicycle-touring, and I joined in the conversation. However, this happened to be the WORST teacher to say something like that too because she has done a fair amount cycling herself, and she started this big conversation with me in front of the entire class (most of it was the standard comments I have already listed in the above journal). I decided to keep quiet about the bike trip after that until the 4th quarter, where I decided to write something about it for Language Arts. I was extremely tempted earlier in the year to mention it when my algebra teacher gave us a word problem about a cyclist going from Boston to St. Louis, at which point she started talking about how crazy my reading teacher was because she has done some touring herself. I decided not to say anything in class, but I did later tell my reading teacher that the algebra teacher was making fun of her.
While mom was still gone she kept sending postcards with small phrases in them like ďIím really glad I stayed out here and got to see (insert landmark here).Ē What this sounds like to me is that unless she was trying to make me feel guilty for leaving, she would have said ďIt was really cool, Iím glad I saw itĒ instead of pointing out that she had to stay there in order to see it even though her leaving was never a question. It doesnít matter anyway because I sent her an email doing the exact same thing in retaliation, and I think I won the battle of the not-so-subtleties (At this point I would also like to point out that in her continued web page after dad and I left, she was saying things pretty often that sounded like she was homesick). When she did get home, she had many stories about what she had seen just as I predicted, but instead of thinking that I would have liked to see some of what I missed I just thanked God that it wasnít me who had to chase the bobcat away. Bascally, most of the things I was worrying about didnít turn out as bad as I thought, and everything I was expecting to be good was great. The bike trip is slowly fading into memory, but as everyone said, I will remember it forever. Iím still waiting for the other popular comments to come true, however (Iím planning on putting the ďcollege applicationĒ one to the test in a few years). The tan print of my biking glove was almost completely gone within a month of being home, and this year even for short rides Iím afraid to use the gloves in case the sun comes out. Other then small things like this, the bike trip is finally over.
Thank you and have a nice day.
Last updated October 15th, 2007