Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ronnie and his Bicycle

If I am going to do something I might as well blog about it!

 Actually, it began sometime after I got off of my friend Roger's Mountain Bike.
He was visiting the coast and brought two bikes with him and asked if I would like to take a ride out Big River Haul Road and back.


After sixteen miles round trip I said, "I like walking better".  My ass was sore and chapped.  My shoulders hurt.  My hands were sore.  I discovered I had to watch where I was "driving" all the time.  Up hill wasn't easy and downhill was scary.  No.  Walking and having time to smell the roses is more my speed.

So what happened between September and now?  Why am I thinking about riding a bike across the country.

I suppose part of the reason is discovering and following Janeen McCray's blog as she bicycled across the country.

Part of it is my wife is in Seattle taking care of her 95 year old mom.  So I'm, "Home Alone"!!

Part of it is I'm retired and have the time to try something like this.

Part of it is I have done several seven day backpacking trip these past couple years and have been surprised that even at 69

 I can still do such things.
(Telescope Peak last September)

Part of it is, all told, I have the perfect opportunity.

And part of it is, there are Spinning Bikes at the V.Star Community Center!!

So, it begins.

Lots of Googling around reading about "the trail", the equipment, the training.
Of course I downloaded a Kindle book ($9.99) about cross-country biking.
Note to self: Save my money for more important items, there are already blogs out there to read about cross-country biking.

So, anyway.  This blog is a place to put stuff; thoughts, links, photos, pre-trip jitters and observations.

I did try out the Spinning bike at the V. Star Center last Friday and rode 2 miles!

It's a start!



 Remember last Friday when I gave the Spinning Bike a try at the V. Starr Center and whipped out two miles?  Hah!  This morning I cranked out FIVE!

I'm well on my way with sore legs to prove it!  Actually, not bad but I do feel it.  Which is good.

All weekend I have had my mental ups and downs.  In the middle of the night I wake up with a start and think, "What are you, NUTS!!  But during the day I think, hey! just like McGee Pass...,

 one step after another, after another after another and eventually..., I make it!
(that's me over there on the left)

But the big boost this weekend was meeting this guy, Nathan Haley.

He was having a cup of tea in the Cookie Company.  I spotted his touring bike propped against the wall, saw him through the window and  "popped in" for a visit because it turned out he's British.  He is on his way to Tierra del Fuego, the tip of South America!!  He left Prudhoe Bay, Alaska last June!!  Now, here he was, passing through Fort Bragg!!  I had a million questions but didn't want to interrupt as he was busy catching up on his e-mail.  I kept my questions to a minimum, returned home and spent the rest of the afternoon reading his blog while he continued on south in the rain.


I have his website bookmarked and a couple others I have discovered.

What most impressed me?  He was "stealth camping" and had only paid for one campsite between Prudhoe Bay and Fort Bragg!!  Also, he cooks his own food rather than eating in restaurants.
He is on a budget and I know I definitely will be too.

So. No more foolish expenditures.
Gradually build up my exercises, walking, biking and swimming.
Start asking around and start checking E-bay and Craig's List for a bike.
Keep Googling around for more information.
Remember.  One step at a time!


Once you become interested in doing something different and start looking into it, suddenly there are all these people already doing what you want to do!  Like the parallel universes cosmologist talk about.  You are living your "regular" life and suddenly decide to take up woodworking.  Boom!  Here are all these woodworkers you suddenly discover and woodworking guilds and schools and blogs and tools.  Photography?  Again, all kinds of things to think about camera wise, classes, clubs, galleries.  Quilting?  Scuba diving?  Hiking?  You name it.  A whole new world opens up!

Anyway, I've become interested in the world of bicycle touring.  Suddenly I am dreaming, talking, Googling bicycle touring.  Suddenly, each time I walk into town, there's another one!!

Now I no longer just walk on by.  Now I stop and talk.  Where did you start?  Where are you going?
This guy is heading south.  Left Leggett this morning.  Heading for San Francisco.
Doing it on the cheap.  Bought a used bike and hit the road!
He highly recommends it.  He says, "Just do it!  You'll have fun."


Fort Bragg Cyclery



 E-gad!  What an experience I have had the last couple of days!

I had to visit San Francisco, one hundred and seventy miles, south of where I live.  On the way back home I stopped by REI in Santa Rosa to see what they have for bicycles.  There, amongst all their various models, they had the bike of my google dreams, the "Surly Long Haul Trucker"!  This was the very first time I laid eyes on one and actually touched it!  Impressive!!


We have our friends Jim and Michael over for dinner.  After Jim hears about my experience at REI offers me temporary use of his new Specialized Expedition bike, he thinks it would be a good idea for me to find out if I even like riding a bike!  :-)

Ah!  Friends!  It is amazing how things work out.  Maybe I can stay the course after all.


To Mackerricher Park.

 7.18 miles round trip.  58 minutes.

In the drizzle!  Oh yeah!!

No more "Spinning" on the Exercycle.  I'm gonna ride a real bike outdoors, like it's gonna be!


It just so happens it is five miles from my door to the end of the asphalt on the Haul Road!  Ten miles round trip.  Perfect for beginning training rides.

 North on the Pudding Creek Trestle Bridge.

 Scenic coast along the way.

 Invasive Ice Plant but pretty none the less.

Where the blacktop ends.  

What I learned on this ride:

Slow is good.

I was trying to go too fast during my previous seven mile rides.  I was getting sore and concerned about my ability to ride.  This time I used lower gears and took it easy.  In a couple of hours I knocked off ten miles with photos stops and a lunch stop.  In an eight hour day that's forty miles!
Slow is good and I've got time.

On the way home I stopped by Fort Bragg Cyclery and talked to Marc about the Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Twelve hundred bucks!  No pedals, no fenders, no racks, no kickstand.  Ouch.
I may have the time but do I have the money!


Friday afternoon ride to the end of the blacktop, again.  10.5 round trip.  Off shore breeze.

The realization strikes me.  I better stop putting miles on Jim's bike and get my own!

There she be!  The bike of my dreams, the Surly Long Haul Trucker!  I talked to Marc at Fort Bragg Cyclery and we are going to order the "Blacktacular" this coming Monday!  Of course it will need fenders, pedals, racks and panniers and, and, and..... !

All this and I have only ridden 50.5 miles.  E-gad!

Been having rain squalls today but there was a window of opportunity so I rode the five miles out to the end of the haul road and while riding back to town I watched another squall approach.

One mile from home I got soaked!  High winds, heavy rain, lightning, thunder and hail!
A perfect training ride!  I better look into rain gear!!

Feeling the need to get in a ride I decided to try riding to Caspar on the highway.


Wahoo!  Caspar.  Not all that far but a good experience against strong headwinds, narrow shoulders and last minute holiday shoppers.  Sure does sharpen one's concentration.

 In beautiful, downtown, Caspar. I stopped by the Caspar Inn to document where my Lolli and I first met.

Nothing left to do but enjoy the tailwind all the way back to Fort Bragg.
12.5 miles round trip and I didn't get wet!


 Look what the UPS man delivered to Fort Bragg Cyclery!

 Bike Shop assistant Jessie starts digging into the box.

 What's this?  Looks like a bicycle!

 Whoo Hoo. Nine rear gears!

 Three up front!

Shop owner Marc starts the assembly.

By golly, it's my Surly Long Haul Trucker, the bike of my dreams!!!
Drop handle bars, clipless pedals, 27 speeds.  A whole new animal to learn how to ride.
Whoot!  Whoot!


 Marc putting the finishing touches on my bike.  The fenders, pedals, computer in place.
Nothing left to do but pay the bill.  I whip out the plastic and Marc says, "Hold it!  Santa Claus already paid for the bike"!!  WHAT??

Yep, turns out my "baby brudder" done bought me the bike of my dreams!!!!
Holy Cats!  I am still pinching myself!!
Stay tuned!


First ride to the end of the Haul Road blacktop on my new LHT!


I went over to Fort Bragg Cyclery yesterday and spent some money.  I bought "competition" grade biking shorts, $90.00, leg warmers, $45.00 and a bicycle tire pump, $30.00.  Jeez, this stuff adds up!  In the afternoon I put on my new bike geek pants and went for a test ride even though the weather was very windy and unsettled.  I rode around the Fort Bragg streets continuing practicing "clipping in" and "clipping out".  Ten miles worth!  Twice I got rain and hailed on as micro storms ripped through town.  The bike shorts definitely improved the ass department.  The shorts and leg warmers are 75 percent nylon and 25 percent lycra.  I discovered they work like a scuba diver's wetsuit.  Though my legs got wet the heat of my legs warmed the water next to my skin and that was it.  Just like a wet suit, they kept me warm!  And they dry almost immediately because there is nothing to suck up the "juice" like cotton would.  Cool!  I mean, Warm!  I guess there is something to buying "special" clothing made for bike riding after all.

Also, I have been looking into the bike kick-stand situation.  There are the two legged motorcycle, lift up onto the stand, type and there is the regular kickstand type but I knew I had seen cross country bikers using some sort of bike brace that looked more interesting to me.  Marc, Jesse and Mike didn't know what I was talking about.  Last evening there was  an update from Nathan Haley, the guy biking from Prudhoe Bay to Tierra del Fuego.  He currently is in several feet of snow in Yosemite Valley!  Reading his update I remembered  he was the one using some sort of bike support for parking his bike.  I checked his equipment page and suggestions list and found it.  It is called Click Stand.  I ordered one.  Most of the time you can lean your bike against something but there are times when you can't and/or, are on uneven ground.  Click Stand seems like just the ticket.

Today I want to ride to Mendocino and back.  18 miles.  If I pack a lunch and take my time I shouldn't hurt myself too bad.  It is cool, 42 degrees and overcast.  Looks like it could snow!!


My first ride to Mendocino and back.  I added in a side trip to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and a stop at the Mendocino Art Center.

Taking it easy with stops for lunch and gawking really helped.  25 miles round trip.  Got to say I don't feel as wrecked as I thought I might. I have also become a firm believer in biking shorts!

Onward peeps, into our new year!!  Whoot!  Whoot!


January 2nd, 2011 and a beautiful day for a ride out the Haul Road.  This is the view from the Pudding Creek Trestle.

I rode north to Cleone to give the Mill Creek Hill a try as recommended by Stan.
The "up" part I noted in red.  Only .4595 mile with a gain of 102 feet.  I had to use my granny granny!
This is nothing compared to what's in my future but hey.  Gotta start somewhere.
The map and information is from
a very useful site.

A question from my brother:
"Do you have a rear view mirror?
Not yet.
  I hear pro and con.  The con is..., handlebar mirrors vibrate and are prone to breaking when the bike falls over.  Helmet mirrors are not recommended by the helmet makers as they can snap off in a crash and cause damage to one's face or eyes!  There are mirrors made that attach to glasses but I have not tried one and again, it could cause more damage if I hit the ground.  Being an old fart I find it hard to turn around and look behind me while riding.  I am not as flexible as I used to be but my friend Stan, who recommends NO MIRROR, say to keep practicing and stretching and get to where I can comfortably turn and look without wobbling, "That's the safest way".  Me?  I like to know if someone is zooming up on me without having to turn and look every couple of minutes, or less.  Stan also said, 'Ears are very important, no Zune or ear plugs!  Practice listening'".
The jury is still out.


Ah!  Mendocino!

My second round trip to Mendo.  On the way back I stopped at the duck pond near Caspar.  This calf wandered over showing great interest in the tangerine I was eating.

Back in Fort Bragg, at Fort Bragg Cyclery Jessie said, "What?  Your riding to Mendo and back without a flat tire kit?".
I now have a spare tube, tire irons and a patch kit!


 I decided to buy a helmet mirror.

I went out the Haul Road to give it a try.  I think it is an improvement in safety but I will need to be careful with it when the helmet is off my head; Looks like it would be easy to damage although there is a button for removal.  We'll see.

While I'm checking out my concerns the Whales head south!  See the whale breath and back of one?
Click to "embiggenate".
Lots of them going south this time of year.

By the way I have ordered my racks and panniers!!
Tubus Duo and Cargo racks and Lone Peak panniers, front, rear and handlebar!

Whoot!  Whoot!


Clickstand arrived!


Light weight aluminum tubing that clicks together like a folding tent pole.

And elastic cords that I clip together on the handlebar between the shifter cables and the brake levers.

The cords stretched over the brake levers (both brakes).

Click-Stand in place!
Bike stands as stable as a camera tripod!  You couldn't do this on soft ground with a regular bicycle kickstand.
I will carry the Click-Stand in the handlebar bag for use when there is nothing suitable to lean the bike against.


Here's my new Click-Stand in operation.  Try this with a regular kick stand!!  NOT!

I carried the bike down to the beach and back.  No riding in the salt and sand for this bike!

I added up my total training miles since I started riding a bike December 11, 2010.  
227 miles.  
That would have taken me to Crescent City.  Almost the Oregon border!


I'm just starting to cut my teeth on this one.  Four miles out there is a 16% grade for what seems like a quarter of a mile, probably less but, oof!  The first time I tried it I didn't make it.  The second time I tried it I made it with only two rest stops.  Now my bike is in the shop for it's 100 mile check-up (actually 152 mile check-up, I hated to let it go!) but when I get it back I am ready to give ol' Sherwood another try.  It is a perfect, less traveled, two lane road.
I plan to be able to ride out twenty miles, camp overnight and ride back with-in a month or so.  

My Tubus Duo and Cargo racks should arrive tomorrow.  The Lone Peak rear panniers are on backorder so it may be another week or two before they show up.

By the way, my Long Haul Trucker made the front page of the Click-Stand blog!!


 I gave Sherwood Road another try and this time I "kicked it"!!

 All the way to the second gate!

 Right past the 12% sign!
Although I had to stop and rest three times!!

Out past the end of the blacktop and two miles into the dirt!
Whoot!  Whoot!
14 miles round trip and I don't feel bad!

PS. My pannier racks arrived!!  Got 'em bolted on!


Tune up!

 Actually, ready for dye to be injected for an abdomen/pelvic scan.
We're looking to see if my prostate cancer has spread.

A couple of trips through the donut hole (cat scanner) and I was done.  Next..., February 8th, a prostate biopsy.  There will be no photos!  I promise!

 Meanwhile, my Tubus Pannier Racks have arrived!!  I installed them last night!
I also bought a bike cable and lock and some fingerless biking gloves.

Tomorrow, off to Glen Blair and beyond!  Stay tuned!


Saturday and Sunday morning I usually fly radio controlled airplanes at the Fort Bragg Fog Buster's flying field out Little Valley Road.  Yesterday I decided to ride my bike to the flying field via logging roads.

Some, lifting, stretching and bending is required!  :-)

My route crossed Pudding Creek several times.

At the flying field I set up my mini-helicopter and transmitter!  The only "plane" I have that would fit in my backpack!

I arrived at the field at 11:30 and most of the guys we're leaving but a few stayed a while longer.  It was an absolutely beautiful flying day.

I had a sandwich and locked the gate on my way out.

A nice ride back home.

24.45 miles round trip.  Some up and down hills to build my strength.


Ain't it the truth!

Going down was a breeze.  It was up that hurt!
I'm not ready for mountains yet!!


My first thirty miler!!
I asked Stan at Down Home Foods to recommend a nice thirty mile bike ride.  And, there it is!!  Down to Mendocino, east on Little Lake Road, back on Caspar Creek 409 road and home.  30.5 miles!!  Perfect!

 Here's the sign at the intersection of Little Lake and  Caspar Creek.

 Parked in the Pygmy!

When I got home Marc at Fort Bragg Cyclery had left a message, "You panniers have arrived.".
Oh boy!  Oh boy!
Now to figure out where my "stuff" will go.


I filled my panniers with what I normally take on a seven day backpacking trip plus bike stuff;  tool kit, spare tube, patch kit.  A total of 34 extra pounds.
I only rode the basic ten miles up the Haul Road and back.  Against the wind at 6 mph and back at 11 mph.
I'm going to have to "man up" a bit more for the hills in my future but I figure I have about three months before blast off, lift off...., push off?


Here's a chart of my work outs.
So far "this year" I have swam 12 miles, walked 40 and biked 177.
Pretty good for an old fart!


Could it be me?

Yeah!  I decided to try Sherwood Road again only this time with full panniers for an overnight bike trip!

 At the second gate I had to unload the bike to squeeze it through.

There were about five hills where I had to get off and push the bike.  I went through my bottles of water quite quickly and decided I better top off when I had the chance using my water filter pump.

 And then I arrived at the sticky stuff!

 Clay and water do mix!  I had discovered why Sherwood Road is closed until May!
Not only could I not walk through this I couldn't push my bike through it either.  End of my eastward progress.
I only made it to the five mile mark on the above map.  That map starts where the blacktop ends.

 I turned around and found a reasonably flat spot to set up camp.
I had gone a total of nine miles and 950 feet up.

 A beautiful evening over the Pacific.

 In the morning I discovered my down sleeping bag leaked and feathered me!!
(Listening to Weekend Edition on my Zune.)

 Folks seem to like saving dump fees by tossing their trash in the woods.  I made a nice cooking area out of this radiator!  The infamous Bubble Butt doing the cooking duties, tea and oatmeal.

 Here's a shot with my zoom cranked out to max.  I think that is the Weller House water tower in the near-middle of this shot.  My GPS said I was 5.5 miles from the coast as the Raven flies!

 Heading back to town I found this small creek and topped off my water bottles, again.

 There is quite a bit of water around this time of year but during the summer, forget it!

I finished my weekend adventure with a ride out the Haul Road and back.
32.28 miles total for two days.


Five days since my big weekend/campout "test".  I have only ridden 30 miles since then.  I went into a slump where I had no big desire to get on the bike and ride.  I felt quite bummed about that fact until I realized just how much work that weekend was and how I have only been riding a bike for less than two months!  I have been expecting too much too soon and my body just isn't up to it, yet.  I need to settle down, just do the miles and "gradually" build up my strength and endurance.
I know that.  It's just that I forgot "that"!


I did twelve miles on the bike yesterday.  Just took it easy and pumped up only a couple of hills.  I am able to go up some hills in higher gears than I use to when I started out.  My legs are getting stronger but it is slow going.  I am also spending more time in the "drops", the lower handle bars.  Using the drops definitely adds power and less wind resistance.  Of course it is harder on the arm and neck muscles but they too are getting better, slowly.


I stopped by Mackerricher's State Park Gray Whale display during yesterday's bike ride.  Impressive.

I see the hiker/biker fee is $5.00 per night.


I had another appointment with the VA at Fort Miley in San Francisco.  This time I took my bike and rode across the Golden Gate bridge, first on the east side and then on the west!

 I got to see aspects of the Golden Gate Bridge regular car commuters never get to see like, the underside!!

And to be able to stop and watch sail boats from on high!

From the San Francisco side looking back to the north.

The view north at the low point of the suspension cable in the middle, east side!

Perfect weather!

Again looking north from under the south end.

And from Fort Miley in the evening.

The following morning it was time for my Fleet enema...,

And my prostate biopsy.  Oh boy!  No more bike riding for a couple of days.
There is talk of starting beam radiation during the month of March.
We'll see.
All part of my 70th Adventure!!


Still not riding my bike!
Still learning things.
I learned it is fairly easy to get excited about doing an adventure.
It is really exciting to study various bikes and finally decide on one and then actually end up with it with the help of a generous brother.  Googling racks and panniers and picking out the ones I want and waiting for them to arrive.  Very exciting.  The newness of riding a bike with clipless pedals, drop handlebars, the strangeness but comfort of chamois riding pants, biking gloves.  Fun stuff but then....,
Discovering that miles don't come as easy as they did when I was a kid.
Discovering how dangerous riding the highway is.
How heavy a loaded bike is.
How up and up and up a hill is.
How "fear and trepidation" piles up in the middle of the night, "I can't do it".
How it is raining and windy and there is talk of 40 "beam radiation" treatments to my prostate.
How I have lost my way, my edge, my enthusiasm.
I am in the world of can't, shouldn't, and doubt.
I hear people say, "Hey!  There's the guy who is going to ride across the country!"
Who me?  Me and my big mouth.  I want to run and hide.

I guess this is all part of Ronnie's 70th Adventure.

I will be so glad when all this "what and if" finally comes to an end on that still undetermined day and all that's left is....,
what is.


I started swimming at our new pool a little over a year ago.  I could initially only do two laps before I was whipped!  But I stuck with it and increased a few laps week by week.  Since January of this year I am swimming one mile each week day morning!  Of course, once I got comfortable doing the mile, I started timing myself.  Early on I was coming in at around 49 ~ 50 minutes for the mile.  I then started mixing in some faster laps and got it down to 43 minutes.  This morning, starting slow for ten laps and fast for 26 I set my personal best at 37 minutes!!  This gives me hope that my biking ability will improve too,  over time.  

Speaking of biking, I'm finally getting back into it after my week of sloth!


The question is, when will I be able to do it!

I should have a better idea after a visit with my urologist this coming Monday.

Meanwhile I am cranking out 15 miles a day!  Tomorrow I will have put five hundred miles on my Surly Long Haul Trucker!!

Whoot Whoot!


Gmaps Pedometer is a cool website where you can "click" your ride route and it will show how many miles you have gone, the elevation along the way and even the calories consumed!
Above is Tuesday's ride out the A&W Haul Road.
It shows negative values in the graph because my starting point was higher than the Noyo River

This is yesterday's ride out Oak Street / Sherwood Road.

Give it a try at Gmaps Pedometer.


 I got the results of my various prostate cancer tests.  All negative!  Therefore, no beam radiation treatments!!
I'm good to get back to my training regime!

Sunday I zeroed my altimeter at the corner of Franklin and Oak and rode east up into the hills to the Company Ranch road.  Highest elevation gain noted on the bike computer was 669 feet.
Pretty good workout!

Latest additions to the bike; a handlebar extender and a headlight.  I needed the extender to get the light above the handlebar bag.

It has a steady light for night riding or strobe flash for daytime.
Good idea!


PB&J at Friendship Park in Mendocino.  I have been riding twenty miles each day this week.  Mendo just happens to be a nice round ten miles away!

Now that the radiation treatment for my prostate has been shelved my mind is back on business!!  Currently thinking is, I will ride from Fort Bragg to Astoria, Oregon.  By the time I get to Astoria I will know if I am cut out for bicycle touring and camping.  If I am burnt out and sick of bike riding I can continue north to my relatives in the Seattle area, give that damn bike back to my brother and call it good enough.  But, if I am loving it I can ride MY bike east on the TransAmerica Bike route and "go for it"!

So, with that in mind..., when could I leave?

Originally I thought it would be cool to leave on my 70th birthday, April 10th.

But April IS cool, and rainy, and windy.  April showers and all that.

May.  Now May has flowers and all that!!  Much more reasonable.

From what I have read, most folks riding from Astoria to Yorktown, Virginia like to leave in June.  Late enough for the passes to be free of snow but early enough to get through the Midwest before it gets real hot.

Figuring thirty miles per day, six hundred miles to Astoria, a few rest days tossed in and I'm looking at twenty-four days of riding north.  Counting back from June that works out to a departure somewhere around the 7th of May.

Oh yeah, one other thing has been on my mind.....

That "lump" between here and Leggett!
I know.  I know!  I need to get used to lumps but this one happens very early in the ride!  Oh boy!


My wife bought me rain gear for my 70th birthday!  That's not me in the photo by the way but that's what the jacket, pants and helmet cover look like.  Made in Oregon by folks who should know rain.

Here is the current weather radar image and forecast:
"Breezy...rain. Rain may be heavy at times in the afternoon. Highs 49 to 59. Southeast wind 15 to 25 mph. Gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon."
I couldn't ask for a better testing day.

All that remains is to see if curiosity will  overcome common sense!
That's the trouble with getting older.  :o)


I rode fifteen miles in the storm!  It was a real test of  the new rain gear and panniers!
The rain gear worked perfectly.  I stayed dry and didn't get too hot on some of the up-hill pushes.
I had filled each pannier with sweatshirts and t-shirts to also check their water resistance.  When I got home I discovered some of the clothing in each bag did get some damp spots.  I am going to have to use garbage liner bags for the items I want to stay dry.  Either that or buy rain covers.   I didn't have waterproof gloves or shoe covers so my hands and feet were wet all the time but not cold with this 49 degree day.  I should invest in waterproof gloves and shoe covers.

All in all I am very pleased.  Returning home I fought a headwind of rain with gusts to twenty mph and my body stayed warm and dry.  Thanks Lolli!!


You meet the nicest people!
Monday I did another test ride wearing my rain gear.  I stopped by Fort Bragg Cyclery to show off my new duds and happened upon a family traveling from San Diego to Portland; Johnnie, Patti and Sequoia, their fourteen year old daughter!  They were in the shop getting their bikes tuned up while hunkered down in a motel because of the rain.  One thing led to another and my wife and I offered them accommodations in Lolli's Fabric Studio.  Last evening we had them over for dinner and we got to talk about serendipity and life in general!!  Great fun.

This morning I am joining them in their northward ride as far as Union Landing State Park.  Only twenty miles but it will be a good test of my rain gear and overnight camping abilities in the rain.  (Rain showers are predicted all day and into the night.)  Along the way there are a few places I expect I will have to get off my bike and push.  I am very curious to find out.  This will be a wee test of the real thing!!
Stay tuned!


We are on the Haul Road by 10:30 AM.  Johnnie just ahead of me, Patti and Sequoia in the distance!

At MacKerricher State Park we re-join HWY 1, the day becoming nicer than expected.

Soon we meet a fellow traveler.  He too is travelling with a B.O.B like Johnnie and Patti's.

He too, like us, has to push up some of the hills.

When we arrive in the wee town of West Port another northbound traveler shows up.  Raimo Laosma from Estonia!  He is traveling light, stealth camps, and only eats nuts and fruit; no cooking or restaurants. He is averaging 80 to 100 miles per day with 10,000 miles already under his belt!!  His goal is to ride around the world in one year!  He is heading for Anchorage, Alaska where he will catch a flight to Russia and then ride home!  Here's his webpage.

We enjoy lunch at the Westport park.

Later in the day a stop for a "Victory Pose" after climbing out of another "drainage".
See those pointed rocks or "sea stacks" visible to the right, above my bike?  That is where HWY One turns inland.

We arrive at the Union Landing Camp Ground but it is only 2:30 in the afternoon.  The weather is starting to look threatening and camping on the  exposed bluff above the ocean isn't appealing.  Even though I have completed the twenty miles I "expected" to ride I decide to "press on" with the group, especially since they had not attempted "stealth camping" and want my "expertise" since the next official campground will not be until Standish Hickey State Park more than twenty miles away.

Up into the coastal hills we go with the first hill, Rockport Hill,  a 780 footer in 2.8 miles!  The higher we climb the colder it gets.  Rain starts and by the time we reach the top it is sleeting and hailing!!  Then a fast zoom down to almost sea level freezing hands and feet!

Soon I spot a side road that looked "possible".  Dragging our bike under the closed gate we ride out a ways and find a wide enough area to pitch our tents on the soggy ground beside the logging road.

Once set up we go for a walk and discover....,

 A room with a view!!!
Picnic table, fire ring, portable toilet and..., late afternoon Sunshine!!

 It doesn't take long to return to our original camp site, take down the tents and move to our new location!!


An amazing place!

And to top it off, a teenager who likes to cook!!!

During the night the rain returned so it was damp packing in the morning.

 Back at the highway Sequoia cleans her brake rims.  What an incredible teenager.

Our parting photo opportunity.  They heading towards the infamous Leggett Hill and me returning to Fort Bragg.
What a fun and interesting time we had.

Into the rain we all go.

Strong headwinds and mixed weather all the way for me.

I stop for pizza in West Port and soon after my right knee started acting up.  With twelve miles to go I  have to push my bike up the last few remaining "drainages".
 A warm "dry" house, a loving wife and a bottle of ibuprofen is a perfect end to my "wee journey".
58 miles round trip.

So, what did I learn?
  • My new rain suit works beautifully.  Open up the pit zips when working up hill and zip close when zooming down.
  • I need a new tent!  My lightweight backpacking tent just doesn't cut it.
  • I need to seam-seal my panniers.  They leak.
  • My butt is broken in!  I had no discomfort in that regard!!
  • My shoulders didn't get sore.
  • I was surprised my knee became painful.  I not sure if it is a real problem or if I could have "ridden" through it.
  • My Long Haul Trucker performed perfectly.
  • You meet really interesting people on bikes!!
Overall, I learned it is a whole lot easier to be actually traveling by bike than sitting home thinking about it.  Especially if you are a worrier and fretter like I am!!


Almost a week gone "bye" and I have ridden my bike 2 miles, swam half a mile and walked six.  Way off the mark!  My sore knee has kept me off the bike, rain has foiled my morning walks and forgetting my goggles contributed to my lack of swimming but overall, I have been a slug!  Like this morning for instance.  I woke at 5:40 for my morning walk and swim.  Rain was pounding on the windows.  "Ahh!  Perfect!"  I rolled over and went right back to sleep!!

Feeling guilty and thinking about it I realize I have never been an athlete.  No baseball, basketball, track and especially no football for me.  I have always been more of an, "Observer, by nature".  The artistic type;, skinny, a wearer of glasses, a book reader, potential accordion player (that failed).  I have never really developed a deep "need" to accomplish anything and when things start getting tough, give me an excuse to wimp out and I'm there!  This past week my dilettantism has brightly shone forth!

Still, I'm thinking, "Hey I can bounce back".  In fact I'm going to try later today or maybe tomorrow.  :-)

My "Hubba" tent arrived today.  Note to self: Hubba Hubba = two person tent.  Hubba = one person tent.

Anyway, I'm running out of excuses!  Ronnie's 70th Adventure draws near or, maybe, I'm already living it!!


Setting up my Hubba!

Hubba with rain fly.
That's my 95 year old mother-in-law being entertained by my activity!
She has dementia so it is all new to her and, me too!

I did get in a few short rides lately.  Not long rides, I'm still testing my knee.  

Meanwhile, I did the easy thing and bought a few more items!  I decided that Bubble Butt is going to have to stay home.  Bubble Butt is my Seva 123 white gas stove.  It started shooting flame out the vent in the filler cap when I used it during the recent overnight campout.  Besides, Bubble Butt is heavy.  Made of brass.  Good for a lifetime but no, he's not going.  

I ordered a MSR Whisperlight International for cooking duties.  And, while I am at it, I stepped up from my backpacking "one pot does all concept" to the Snow Peak Hybrid cooking pot with lid and bowl.  I will now be able to expand breakfast beyond oatmeal to possibly fried eggs and even a pancake!

I also ordered the Pacific Coast Map, "Section One" from Adventure Cycling Association.  That is their suggested route from Astoria, Oregon to Canada.  Current thinking being I will "just" ride from Fort Bragg to the Seattle area.

My wife and I are trading caretaking duties of her 95 year old mother and I'm feeling too many months away on a road might not be a good idea at this time.  Another thing bugging me is the fact I take quite a few pills and I  haven't figured out the reordering and delivery process while on the road.

Just basically more mental sniveling.  More pre-trip "concerns".

Only six more weeks of fretting until I'm outta here!  I'm sure you all are getting as tired of this as I am.


I was forty five years old at the time and my bike was a '74 Harley/Davidson Super Glide.
Rode it from L.A. to Lewistown, Montana and back through heat, rain, hail and snow.  I "stealth" camped beside it each night.  What a great adventure that was.

Now I'm older and....., ahem, wiser?


 It was discovered in the fourth grade I could not see the blackboard.  So, I must have been riding blind!

Still no glasses!  My baby brudder hanging around.

Ah!  wearing glasses and the traditional, first day going to school, photo.

Getting serious about this bicycling thing, it appears.

We lived on our bikes in those days.

Until I flipped over the handle bars!

I had forgotten how many bike related photos there are in this old photo album.


Hooray Hooray
The First of May
Northbound Pedalling
 will start that Day!

That's my plan!
Things are coming together. My knee pain has subsided.

The VA pharmacy will send me enough pills to cover my trip.  Prostate pills, blood pressure pills, anemia pills, osteoporosis pills, the basic medications one acquires as one gets older.  Anyway, that concern has been taken care of.

I ordered a second pair of biking shorts.  I figure I'll wear one while the other is drying.
I have a tupperware bin I am tossing everything in that I want to take on the trip, those items that come to mind during these few remaining weeks.  Then, when it is almost time to leave I will see how much I can pare back!!

Today, during my training ride, I met a couple of  guys bike/camping their way from Canada to Mexico.  Lolli and I invited them to stay the night in Lolli's studio and have dinner with us.  I'm looking forward to hearing their suggestions for food along the way.  For some reason I am quite concerned about camping food.  I had no trouble figuring out my food for seven day backpacking trips but this shopping and camping on the fly is new to me.

My birthday is Sunday and I plan to celebrate the Sevens.  I want to walk seven miles in the morning, swim 70 laps in the afternoon and have 1,007 miles on the bike.  If there is anything left of me by evening Lolli will take me out to dinner at...., 7:00!!

Lolli and her mom return to Seattle April 12 and I will return to my full training program, whatever that is!

I have decided to look at this upcoming trip as camping trip on a bicycle.  Take it easy and explore along the route.  The Canadian border being my eventual goal or, maybe turn east at Astoria, Oregon.  I'm still thinking about it.  Old Highway 30 sounds mighty interesting according to the various journals I have read via CGOB
Anyway,30 days and counting!


 Up at 5:40 for a seven mile walk out the Ten Mile Haul Road and back.

My Garmin documented my walk; seven miles at 3.3 mph.  Two hours and eight minutes.

Then off to the Fort Bragg Fog Busters radio controlled model airplane flying field where I hand launched and caught my flying wing seven consecutive times!

Then flew my Flying King for... wait for it...,
 Seven minutes!!!  :o)

 I love this plane with its seven foot wingspan.

 Next, the V Starr swimming pool where I swam seventy laps in one and a half hours!  (Actually 140 laps the way they count laps at this pool!)

I wasn't sure I could do that having never swam more than forty before but hey!  I did it!

 To round everything out I added seven miles to my bike's total mileage.

I got to blow out seven candles at both dinner parties with friends Friday and Saturday night.
Tonight Lolli is taking me to V Canto's for dinner at...., Seven!

And to wrap it up I may stop by the Tip Top with my friend Ed to have a 
Seven and Seven..., just because!

I'm also celebrating my prostate cancer going into remission after seven years!

Thanks to all my Facebook friends for your best wishes and to Ed McKinley for "babysitting" Lolli's elderly mom so Lolli and I could go out to dinner tonight!

This has been a fun and amazing Seventieth Birthday.


For my bike trip I'm taking my Kindle.  I will have a lot of books with me in a device that weighs 11 ounces.  Note: A 500 page paperback novel weighs 8 ounces!

Android cell phone weighs 4 ounces.  I plan to post Facebook updates from it as my trip progresses.  It also takes photos and will even do a phone call!!

Alas, I can't do without a "real" camera that has a tripod mounting hole.  My camera weighs 8 ounces.

All this consumes power and I'm sure there are outlets along the way but...., check it out!!!

My brother gave me something pretty cool for my birthday.  It is a GOALzero solar panel that will keep my Kindle, Android and camera powered.  1 pound 4 ounces.

Will 2 pounds and 13 ounces of technology be worth its weight?  I guess I will find out!!

Lolli thinks I'm nuts.  She calls it, "Lasers in the Jungle."


I gave the GoalZero a try during a fifteen mile ride yesterday.  It charged four eneloop AA batteries.  Nice to know it is possible but I think I will do most of the charging during lunch breaks and keep GoalZero packed away.  It folds to one third the size in the photo.

Another addition to the "Command Center".  My Garmin GPS handlebar mount arrived.  This too will not be used all the time but I believe it will come in handy when looking for stores, libraries or campgrounds.

Of course, cell phones can be charged while visiting a store, library or campground.  Double A batteries can be purchased almost anywhere. Directions to stores, libraries and campgrounds can be found by just asking.

 But that's not the way guys do it when high tech is around!!


Thirty percent chance of rain Saturday, eighty percent Sunday.  Should I go or should I skip it.  After sufficient mental gymnastics I decided to go!  Besides, how can I test my new tent if it isn't raining?
I decided to ride twenty miles north on HWY 1 to the Union Landing campground.
I have always loved this tunnel of Cypress north of Fort Bragg.  Driving in a car there is no place to pull over to take a photograph but riding a bike, no problem!

Upon reaching the campground it is a gray and dismal day. 

 Light, relentless, wetting, drizzle but the hiker/biker tent sites are only three dollars! 

Gazing out over the fog cloaked sea while my tea water heats.

Sunday return. 
The Hubba tent worked great and kept me and my stuff dry.  The silicon coating I gave the panniers helped a lot.  The Whisperlite stove did fine.  I read my Kindle but have decided I will not take it on my "Adventure".  I will take one novel and trade it for another at book stores along the way, or give it away when I finish it and buy another one.  That way I will also get to meet book store owners!  Also no worries about breaking the Kindle.

The temperature is perfect for riding.  A steady 55 degrees, no wind.  The drizzle has everything bursting with Spring.

During this weekend I met three sets of bike touring folks.

Saturday afternoon a guy riding from Canada to San Diego.  He is riding a 54 inch Long Haul Trucker just like mine only his is blue.  He also has a Hubba tent and a MSR stove.  He said he has been using regular pump gas from gas stations and the stove works just fine.

Sunday, the couple in this photo.  They are carrying seventy pounds of gear, each!!!  (But they're young!)  They left San Francisco and are heading for Maine!!!  Currently they heading for Portland and then east!

And finally, a single German girl.  She is riding from San Francisco to Canada.

 Bike touring season is under way!  It is comforting to know that I am not the only one heading north!!  (Recommended bike touring of the Pacific Coast is to ride north to south because of the prevailing wind.)

This weekend ride went better than I expected and my hamstring kept its thoughts to itself!  :o)


 I asked my doc how many of my pill prescriptions would I have to keep taking during my bike ride.
His answer, "All of them!".
So, I spent the evening piling up six weeks worth!
The top left mix of pills fits into one pill bottle.  The top right, Calcuim + D (two per day) fits into a second pill bottle.  Just below is a one week pill box into which I will sort pills week by week.
Below that are two types of pills that need to be in blister packs because of moisture.

I made a special label to help me remember what and when.

Total weight 11 ounces.
It's hell to get old.


I'm hitting the road for Canada tomorrow morning, May First!!  Finally!!
I have put 1,235 miles on my Long Haul Trucker since December 24th, 2010.  The guys at Fort Bragg Cyclery did a tune-up on it this week and it is ready to roll.  The panniers are packed.  I have two days worth of food on board to get me to Standish Hickey and an opportunity to resupply.  All up weight, including me in the saddle?  250 pounds.

I will try to update this blog via libraries and wi-fi cafes, now and then,
and Facebook with my Android.  I won't know what really works until I'm out there doing it and...,
I be doing it starting tomorrow!!!!