Timeline Part 1

So below are my personal journal entries.  I think in run on sentences and tangents and have left all of them in.  Some of my grammar has been checked but not much.  I have purposely left things out to leave room for the film – to tell them in full color.  

This is our first week – I will post the next few in the coming days.  Transitioning back to a ‘normal’ life is not always smooth.

Thanks – 

Pearson (thursday 10.9.08. 8pm, new york)





Day 1 {Tuesday}

Newport, Oregon {Pacific Ocean} to Sweet home, Oregon

85 miles

Wake up 3:45 am – drive to Pacific coast, we soaked our tires at sunrise and road due east to the beginning of United States Route 20.

The first mile of route 20 is up hill, our energy and mood was exceptionally high, the cameras were rolling and the wheels were spinning all with hopes and thoughts of an incredible adventure.

The first 50 miles through the Cascade’s beautiful knolls opened me up comfortably.  At lunch we gave an interview for the Corvallis paper and then it was off to Sweet Home.

Along the way we saw three controlled burn forest fires & Julia got dusted with hideous cow dust.  Our skin baked in the sun and our rumps wore raw in our saddles but it was a beautiful first day.

Today is also my 30th birthday! So the team treated me to an ultra spicy Thai dinner & a dq blizzard.  Before this trip I had never had a blizzard, as I am lactose intolerant or as Julia would tell you, afraid of dairy.  My brain, body and taste buds aligned nicely so I could enjoy that creamy cold sugar delight.


At a gas station when I was putting air in the tires we obliged the gas station attendant’s cell phone photos of the Empire State building that he’d taken while a chaperone for his son’s school trip to our home city.  He did go on to say that his cell phone was as sophisticated a camera as Julia’s hdv – the one she was filming this scene with.  Some people say some incredible things.



Day 2 {Wednesday}

Sweet Home, Oregon to Bend, Oregon

97 miles

6500 feet of elevation

Being sore from a week of driving west and the subsequent van lag associated with that, not to mention a day of running around making final preparations and giving a speech in Eugene add another day riding 85 miles makes day 2 perhaps the hardest of our trip.

It was 40+ miles of climbing.  Unexpected too!  The meandering roads tricked us into thinking we were near the summit when actually we were miles from it.  The grade kept getting worse (2% to 4.5% to 6% to 7% to 9%).  Tack on the heat of the day and we were in serious trouble.

Pete and I got separated, our bodies responding differently to the elevation, heat and riding. 

When I was above the 6500 feet mark, cutting through the high desert the spectacular sunset lit up the sky behind the three sisters of the cascades capping off a truly special and unforgettable day for me.


We needed to reach Bend, in time for a scheduled interview on the evening news.  Sadly on our way into town a local resident and well-known cyclist Keith Moon was struck and killed by a car while cycling in the municipal bicycle lane.  He was not wearing his helmet at the time – which of course is ironic.  

The interview took place the next morning.  I am saddened by Keith’s tragic and unnecessary death.  As the evidence has come out his helmet may have saved him, but its really the woman driving the SUV, if she hadn’t hit him he may still be out riding as you read this…months later.


I ran into a fella riding his bike and struggling with about 150 pounds of gear up Tombstone Pass.  I stopped to talk to him and he quilted me into helping him carry the heavier of his bags on my back for a few miles.  Thankfully Julia and Meghan drove by, saw me straining under the weight and stopped to help me unload.  We put his bike on the roof and they drove him to the campsite he was trying to reach.  He was rather opportunistic and didn’t have an issue getting us to oblige him despite our mission and goals.


Our waiter at dinner had an uncanny knack for working the word killer into almost every sentence.  For example, “Could I have some ranch dressing?” “Killer.”



Day 3 {Thursday}

Bend, OR

0 miles – day off!

We gave two interviews today, about the long bike back mission and film for the local television news and radio.

We went to the Deschutes Brewery and had an awesome tour and delicious free beer.

Needing my bike to stop skipping gears under the pressure of my cranks I found Hutch’s Bicycle shop – the good folks there repaired my bike for free and gifted me with a water bottle, albeit a slightly used one.

Hutch’s was also our meeting point with Jeff Evans a local cyclist who heard about our project and was also recently clobbered by a car, shattering his tibia.  Jeff and I have some commonalities; overcoming pain and a deep love for cycling, we instantly got close.

Along with Jeff’s wife Patti and daughter they took us out to an awesome dinner and gifted us two incredible bottles of wine, one to celebrate Julia’s and I first year of marriage and another to uncork at the termination of our journey.



Day 4 {Friday}

Bend, Oregon to Riley, Oregon

118 miles

Well, the unexpected high desert almost ate us alive.  The thermometer relentlessly rose to 114 degrees.  As we rode into the desert nothingness the winds shifted into our faces, slowing our roll from 19 mph to 12mph for the rest of the day.  It was a nine-hour ride; our skin became leather and the water in our bottles boiling, instead of cooling our bodies.


Our lunch stop was in a town called Brothers, population 10.  The only building in town was a combination saloon, jail, a post office and general store.  The four of us had a picnic.

A vulture followed Pete and I along a telephone wire for a few hours, circling overhead wishing our deaths.  The road became a line-less gravel highway with endless vista’s of brunt earth and liquid heat reflecting over the soft loose stone for miles, a remarkable and unforgettable experience. 

The sun gave way to another surreal setting as we ended in Riley – a town that consisted of a single pump gas station that housed a general store and taxidermy shop. 

Today was my first post accident century plus ride.



Day 5 {Saturday}

Riley, Oregon to Juntura, Oregon

The wind picked up, according to NOAA 17 mph west, to southwest, which means in our faces.  Which also means we had to pedal twice as hard to go the same distance.  If yesterday was painful, today is an iron maiden.  The heat even hotter, the road far crueler, more stones, more glass, more pop bottles full of urine and chew spit, more dead carcasses and more SUV’s grazing us over the white line.

I fell for the first time today.  Pete made me laugh which caused me to lose control and get caught in the loose stones.  Oh and I also got my first flat today.  The stiffness of the fresh Vittoria tire made it almost impossible to remove it from the rim to get to the blown tube.  As I worked, the 113-degree sun burned my right leg.  Having changed dozen’s of tires, I was shocked at how long this was taking me causing me to get even more upset.

As we rode further into the nothingness, we reach the foot of Stinking Water pass.  So beautiful, it was a series of considerable climbs that gave way to incredible descending and a wonderful panoramic of the desert floor.  I will go back there someday.


Richard – a bike a shop owner with more fingers than teeth, had never seen a carbon bike before and was not at all impressed.  His shop had an amalgam of old mass produced junkers with florescent paint jobs and abandoned bicycle-esq type creations.  He showed me his project bike, which I think I’ll refrain from describing for you – we can all wait for its grand unveiling together! 

On the other hand he did show me a 1972 Raleigh with all original parts (I think tubes and tires too!) told me for $300 it was mine.  He did have some old school aero bars, which I considered buying from him, well only for about 14 seconds.



Day 6 {Sunday}

Juntura Oregon, to Vale Oregon

85 miles.

Well we didn’t actually make it Juntura last night, so we had to make up some miles today.  We opened nicely with some incredible descents I was pumped and rolling, reckless and free.  I was spinning at 24 to 27 mph, the wind giving me some love for once.

There were a few nasty climbs, but nothing like Wednesday.  Once we reached Juntura I had to switch tapes on my helmet camera, so Pete took off into the desert, alone.  He was pumped because today we were following the Snake River all the way to Vale, so he felt more secure.

When I left, I became instantly aware of the serene loneliness of 108 degrees heat, the volcanic buttes and left over burnt earth.  The wind was in my face again and draining my fresh legs and good mood.

When I reached Pete, he had gone through the three liters of water in his Camelbak and was feeling the terror of his first ever bonk.  I feared water intoxication as he quivered from the lack of sugar in his system and the over heating.  When the van caught up, we got him inside and cooled him down.  He took a few miles off and joined me later on down the road when the sun was far lower in the sky.

To tell you honestly about today you need to picture part of this country with no actual town for over 60 miles, all empty useless land.  Route 20 is cut through mountains that look liked those photographed from Mars, all orange, jagged, rocky and full of nothingness.  It was brutally hot and unforgiving but, private and spiritual. I was alone with the earth.

Onions are the main crops in Vale – apparently between Vale and parts of Idaho 20,000 acres of onions are grown.



Day 7 {Monday}

Vale, Oregon to Boise, Idaho

86 miles

Well we stayed in particularly old motor lodge.  Lacking an Internet line or a clean shower, but did feature a small working fridge that kept my soymilk and icepacks cold.  Julia and I got up early, she took a walk and I went for coffee.  The locals were particularly curious of my clothing – which yielded much wasted time on uncomfortable small talk, I think people sometimes forget that people are humans and not alien specimens that require probing and inquisition, to understand them.  Sometimes I dig that awkward attention; at least it affords me the chance to talk about the mission and why we’re there making this film.

When we rode out town, Pete lost control and swerved into the road. directly in front of rancher.  The white stetson’d hat cowboy had no trouble yelling at Pete about how important it is to stay tight to the side of the road.  It was a touching moment seeing this good ole boy, driving a pickup with a gun rack, telling big brother Pete how not to “git his-self kilt.”  Yeehaw!

We stopped in Nyssa Oregon, directly on the border of Idaho and on the banks of the Snake River, to speak with a chamber of commerce representative and learn about the town’s slow introduction of bicycle lanes.

Then I got a flat.  I was able to fix it quickly, eat a PBJ and get out of Oregon

Pete and I had good wind, so we rode together for most of the day at 23 mph and sometimes a lot faster, which was great for me.  Speed is one thing I strive for, even when climbing, I love it, I love the way my bike sings.  The carbon whistle of this machine is one of a kind.


Ok so it was still ridiculously hot today, we had to detour a little and got separated from the chase van.  I was still concerned about Pete’s low sugar so we stopped often to get more food in him.  At one stop a Schwan’s truck pulled up and an obese man stepped out and told us how badly he missed his bike and cycling in general.  He told us of all the century rides he used to take up the buttes in and around the truly beautiful setting that surrounds Boise.  He reached in his truck and handed us ice cream sandwiches, ice cream.  Well, I ate Pete’s too!

Ok the Macaroni grille.  So one of our supporters is the Macaroni Grille.  They gave an allowance to spend at their restaurants around the country.  Boise is our first chance to take advantage of their generous support.  The four of us ordered what we wanted and as the food came to our table there was asparagus on Meghan’s plate.  She loathes asparagus something she told our waiter during the ordering I of course forked all that green goodness before the plate was taken away.  When her steak returned, green veggie free, it was obviously over cooked. so back to the kitchen it went. {Please bare in mind all four of us has made our livings at one time or another in a restaurant – Pete; a chef, Meghan an expeditor, Julia and I both servers} On try three the steak was gravely undercooked.  Since the M. Grille has an open kitchen we heard the plate the thrice, returned dish explode and some yelling.  The manager delivered the fourth properly cooked steak and offered us free desert and coffee.  It was hilarious! Meghan is not that particular, it was just a rather enjoyable interaction that I felt worthy of writing about.



Day 8

Boise, Idaho


0 miles – off day 2!


So no miles today, but a need to have my bike worked on again rose.  My wheels have slightly worn out of true after putting over 1000 miles on this bike since becoming mine in July, anyway it needed a good overhaul. 

I found Pederson’s Bike shop and the wrench there; Michael Wiser hooked both bikes up with a full tune up.  Michael is a young pro-wrench that has a bright future in the bike world.  Not to mention a decent racing record.  The shop is truly lucky to have his skills, and he deserves a stiff raise.

Our hotel had a gas grille so big brother/master grill man Pete fired some burgers, corn on the cob and Idaho taters – too much food, but a ton of fun.

Julia and Meghan convinced me to get out my guitar and join big brother Pete for a few jams, it felt good to feels the vibrations of my guitar against my chest, it has been a few weeks since I made music so this was a special sunset treat.

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