We've been off the bikes for a few weeks now, staying with and visiting friends in Portland and Seattle, and letting Sarah's poor hands rest a bit. We have not been idle, however, visiting the Oregon coast twice, hiking in the Cascades and on Mount Rainier, and doing one day of biking (Portland to Kelso/Longview, WA).
Perhaps to Sarah's chagrin, staying with friends has given me access to high-speed internet, first at Gabe's and now at Marti and Charlie's. It's nice to be a little caught up, but I think it will be even nicer to be on the move again, happily oblivious.
At any rate, here's an e-mail our friend Fightin' J sent to me (I can't for the life of me imagine why):
Bear downs 36 beers, passes out at campground
Rainier, not Busch, the beverage of choice for thirsty black bear
The Associated Press
Updated: 7:26 a.m. ET Aug. 19, 2004
BAKER LAKE, Wash. - When state Fish and Wildlife agents recently found a black bear passed
...but they were all in Washington. No mountains in Montana for us. Go figure!
Sherman Pass? Oh yeah.
Wauconda Pass? Maybe. No, seriously, we did it.
Loup-Loup Pass? It has a silly name.
Washington Pass, you ain't so tough!
Rainy Pass...was okay.
And here's my favorite picture of Sarah from the entire trip so far:
She's such a beauty.
Oh my word, western Montana was quite a shocker after the flat, flat, shadeless nothing of the great plains stretching out from the windows of the train forever. Yes, we took a train over North Dakota and Eastern Montana in favor of biking through the mountains and getting to Portland in time for our good buddies Gwyn and Frunch's wedding. After a sleepless night at the train station surrounded by 25 high school students from South Dakota on a Lutheran church service trip who could not stop screaming and/or running around lest they should fall asleep, we found ourselves boarding the train at 5:00 am and, with a pitying look, the conductor motioned us to the same car as the church group. So we escaped to the dining car and watched the sun rise over the plains. As the day continued, the sun blazed down on the nothingness around us and that's how the scenery remained for many, many hours--until we reached western Montana. It was amazing--one moment there was the same treeless
Here's two apologies, just to kick things off:
Golly, I'm really sorry about those two audio posts. Listening to ten solid minutes of directionless blabber from exhausted bikers is too much to ask of our friends and family, and it won't happen again.
Also, I'm really sorry that our updates have been ...well, nonexistent. It's sometimes hard on the bike to find cellphone reception, or computer access, but we'll work harder at keeping this blog up to date. Also, as Sarah points out, we're often having too much fun, and forget about things.
Please forgive us.
Since we left Minneapolis, over a month ago, we've covered a lot of ground, met a lot of great people, and even had a few adventures. Here's a brief synopsis, with highlights:
Minnesota was, on average, pretty flat. We had mostly sunny weather, except for one night when we camped next to the Rum River in the town of Milaca. Right in the floodplain. We were woken in the wee h
We've had some good times in Minneapolis! We went to a treehouse exhibit in the University of Minneapolis Arboteum that was cool...kind of hit-or-miss, but there were three really cool ones:
a bona-fide walk-in birdsnest--is this what TMBG had in mind?
TreeMan was my personal fave. You could walk up into his head!
The Sugar Maple Ship would have been neater if you could climb around in it, but hey...
We also went to the Walker Art Museum sculpture garden, and played 10 holes of mini-golf, each hole designed by an artist or team of artists. If you are in the Twin Cities any time soon, I highly recommend the experience. Get this! One of the photos on the Walker's website featured my high-school friend Karl Frankowski!!! He's famous!
Karl Frankowski, goin' to town!
We also watched fireworks from the Stone Arch Bridge, but I couldn't find any neat pictures of that. So much for our last hit of big-city culture until Fargo ND! Scratch
Mister Fatface looking for adventure
Missus Fatface is equally beefy-cheeked!
The Force is strong with these tires...
The Mighty Adventure Begins!
Well, here we are--all the way to Minneapolis, Minnesota relaxing with Areca and Karl for the 4th of July weekend. Yay for friends! We've been visiting fools, dashing about the midwest with the great pleasure of a few days with Andy's grandmother and her Swedish guests, Ulla and Torbjorn, before coming here. Unfortunately, I've been having some knee troubles and we had to take a couple of rest days. Fortunately, the Swedes were both knee doctors and gave me a full examination which, to my relief, revealed simply that my patella is jumping its groove and causing inflammation. All this means is that I need to beef up my quads, which I am indeed in the process of doing!
Beef them quads!
So our morning of departure dawned looking a bit forboding weather-wise. It began to rain as soon as we mount
Well,after 6 days of intensive packing, cleaning, socializing like fiends, and eating nasty nasty refrigerator remnants we're ALMOST ready to go...Our apartment is super echoey and spooky and the sunny crisp day outside is just asking for a couple of biking fools to hop on out and bust their hineys for a few months.
The ASAP (Ali-Sarah-Andy-Paul) crew; socializing fiends
This week included a car breakdown at an intersection on the railroad tracks, a leaky air mattress (our bed since our mattress has been gone) that demanded to be refilled every 4 hours all through the night, a popped bike inner tube and tire destroyed by glass shards, not much sleep, LOTS of fun, and much stinkiness on our parts as we schlepped all manner of whatnots out of our house--how can two people accumulate so much poop, you ask? WE DON'T HAVE A FREAKING CLUE! But it happens.
The leaky bed in the messy room
We're REALLY going to miss our little apartment on the lake. It's bee
Two big developments in Operation: Outta Dodge:
After a positive flurry of tinkering and a few minor purchases, both of our bikes are about ready for the trip. New shifters for Sarah, bike racks, bike computers, and handlebar bags and panniers are attached and ready for action.
Also, we talked with our landlady Gretchen last night, and dropped the bomb that May would be our last month in the apartment. Hot damn, now we gotta go!
Yesterday I filled my panniers, front and back, with maybe eighty pounds of books from our shelves, and went on a joyride around town. It was great. Not so much extra work as I thought it was going to be, although I felt it in my arms afterwards. I went just under 13 miles in just over an hour, which I didn't think was too bad for a test run. If we can hold to an average speed in the twelve to thirteen mph range on the trip, we'll be on the bikes for maybe five or six hours a day, and be able to take it with some degree of leisure. This, aft
What a gorgeous freakin’ day! Sunny and warm, with everything greening thanks to last night’s rain. One can’t help but be reminded of the classic, epic Onion headline: Area Students Prepare Breasts for Increased Springtime Display. I feel happy about not working today, and will soon be applying for my unemployment-check-mandated two weekly jobs. When I get home, I will work on Sarah’s bike. When she gets home, we will go on a run. Then I will take her out on a date. There is the possibility of beer and nachos, as well as a movie. Make that the Strong Possibility.
My bike-trip-related cold feet of the last week are slowly warming, due mostly to Mom’s revelation that she regrets not having done more adventures in her youth, and to the realization that due to Jane’s poor health, our apartment may cease to be such a steal sometime soon. Also, despite the lure of science-teacher jobs in McFarland, and the Russ Feingold Senate Campaign, this is a good opportunity to skip town.
So Spalding Gray is dead. He went missing on the tenth of January, and this weekend they pulled him from the East River. He’d been suicidal since a car accident in Ireland, and actually had attempted suicide twice in the last two (?) years.
I had read that he was missing, but stories about someone being “missing” always imply conspiracy theories: Gray emptied a secret savings account, paid cash at the airport using expensive, flawlessly crafted fake ID, and will live out the rest of his days on a beach in Thailand/The Philippines/St. Thomas/El Salvador; Gray started walking North to one of those semi-mythical chunks of Canada the size of Ireland which have never been mapped; Gray grew a beard and will finish his days as a car mechanic named Stevens in Kentucky; Gray is living with the Apes in the heart of the African jungle primeval. Or maybe he just walked out on a New York City bridge one night in January, and no one saw him jump. Articles said he was ID’d via x-rays and den
So I was having a dream last night that me and Joe and Derek were hanging out outside my Parents' house, and we were making too much noise and my Dad yelled at us and then we went to somebody's girlfriend's house, when I was jolted awake by the sound of all the windows in the house rattling in their frames. It woke up Sarah, too. We were thinking, earthquake? Airplane crash? Atomic bomb? We heard sirens a few minutes after, and went back to bed, thinking that if there was a problem it was in good hands, and anyways we weren't in immediate danger and even if we were, there wasn't much to do about it. It turns out that what woke us was a house exploding over a mile away:
Crazy stuff. Kind of sobering to realize that your house can up and explode on you.