Archive for September, 2010

Day 42 – Vale, OR to Prairie City, OR

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Computer Stats:
Miles – 101.1
Avg. Speed – 12.8

100 miles! Our first “century” could not have come on a better day. Without internet for 2 days, finding a hotel with WIFI was our priority, and Unity, only 65 miles down the path wouldn’t suffice, so Prairie City it was. 101 miles through Eastern Oregon, crossing from Mountain time to Pacific, and finally leaving the high desert behind.

The sunrise in the east saw us off across the vast plains after a filling, but unsatisfying service station breakfast. My Mexican omlette on white bread was purely perfunctory, but fuel was in high demand as our next opportunity for nourishment was 70 miles away and across two mountain passes. Northward and Westward we pedaled, making good time through the cool morning air. The wind was calm, and the sun was gentle, and we cruised steadily past corn, cows and onions.

Eventually, the farms gave way to sagebrush, and once again we felt like we were riding across the surface of some brown moon. Up and down we flew along endlessly straight roads, and with the wind finally depressed, it felt like we were skipping across the asphalt. The day’s first mountain loomed large and brown in front of us, and when we reached the summit after five miles of swtichbacks, we were disappointed to see more endless desert. We’d been riding through deserts since Western Kansas, and the smell and atmosphere of a forest was like one of those well remembered childhood hideouts, where once you’ve grown up, you’re scared you’ll never get to see again.

Miles and miles and miles through nothing desert before finally we reached Unity, our lunchtime reprise. A quick sandwich and salad before we were on the road again, this time with the assurance from local hunters that trees were indeed not far away. Five miles on, a Westerly gust proved the huntsmen correct, as the reviving scent of pines wafted across the plains and brought us all to a halt. We took an entire minute to revel in the Christmas Tree air, and when we saddled up again our legs couldn’t carry us towards the forest fast enough.

Finally, finally, we began to creep our way into the forest as we rode past our first few Ponderosa Pines. Tall, straight and brooding, these behemoth trees are unlike anything we have back East. Although they’d only be undergrowth next to a Redwood, these trees are massive indeed and there presence around us seemed almost mystical after 2,000 miles of barren land. The scent in the forest from the pine needles was overpowering, and the deep shade cast by the trees added a sense of mystery to each bend in the road. Not knowing what’s around a corner is not only more fun than riding on open land, but it makes you feel like you’re moving forward.

The day was getting later, and despite gaining an hour of ride time, crossing into Pacific time, we were going to be racing the sunset once again. Two o’clock turned into three, and three into four, and the forest was coming alive with screeches and hoots. Our pace had a lopsided rhythm as it was slowly up for an hour and quickly down for fifteen minutes. Our legs were were growing weary and our brake pads were straining.

As the sun rotated out of the sky, the forest began to take on a honey glow. As we summited our last climb of the day, tree trunks turned from dark brown to black and the perfect shape of the pines against the sky broke just enough to reveal cookie cutter mountains set against a fiery sky in the distance. We descended into a river valley and as it was now dark, we arrived in Prairie City not a second too soon. We checked into the Prairie City Motel and had a quick diner with some great new found friends at the Oxbow Coffee House and Restaurant before we hit the hay and slept like logs!

We’ll arrive in Bend, our official 3,000 mile mark, on Friday, and have a few days to rest and recuperate before we make our sweeping Southward turn towards Los Angeles. The sea feels not so far away now, and the three of us are all very excited to bring you, via your screen, some amazing multimedia experiences.

Day 41 – Boise, ID to Vale, OR

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

As always, we’re encouraging all of our readers, fans and critics to chip in and help us raise $40,000 to train adults to PREVENT child sexual abuse. It doesn’t take millions of dollars to find a cure, and with each $10 that we raise, we can better protect 10 children from sexual abuse. Please join our ride, and tell your friends to do the same!

Computer Stats:
Miles – 51.87
Avg. Speed – 13.1

After a magnificent fruit- filled breakfast at Wonderful Wickes’ house, we were ready to head west again, and to our second-to-last state, Oregon! After saying a sad goodbye to the wonderful house, the beautiful view of the mountains, Tiffany- our newest friend, Tess the Corgi dog, and Olivier the singing cat, we packed our stuff up for the umpteenth time and made our way out of the traffic of downtown Boise to a little town called, Star,where our days ride would begin. It was a sad wave goodbye to the wonderful Wickes, however, it was also a motivational one- as she had also inspired us all to keep on pedaling 1500 miles to L.A.

The wind was, for the first time in a while, gentle and the temperature perfect for the ride. Despite the fact that the conditions were great, our bikes on the other hand, were not. Within the first 5 miles my back-wheel skewed into my frame- bringing me to a sudden stop, my back tire blew flat, and my chain slipped and fell off! Hardly the perfect start to the ride, but we managed to wind through the West Idaho farmlands for the next 10 or so miles without any problems, except for pulling over time after time to allow Potato trucks to pass by safely in fear of the flying spud hitting the head.

We stopped for lunch 10 miles from the border at Lucy’s Apple Cafe. A sandwich and salad to fill the tank and then back onto highway 26, the road that would take us all the way to our day’s destination, Vale. As we got closer to the border we started to notice a change to the usual farmland smell. The kind of smell that brings a tear to the eye. Suddenly, were were surrounded by onions! Red, brown, white, and green- onions were everywhere the eye could see. Laying all over the road, filled to the rim of every passing truck, growing from the soil of every mile of farm, bagged and stacked a mile high at every factory to the Oregon border. We left Idaho on the east side of the Snake River Bridge and were delighted to enter Oregon on the west.

In a new state but still riding in the high desert we were looking forward to the prospect of seeing trees. Unfortunately today wasn’t going to be that day as all East Oregon had to offer was more… high desert! We climbed up and over a few mountain range passes for maybe 5 miles at a time and had to also suffer a change of smell- from strong smelling onions to strong smelling landfill waste. Hardly the nicest smelling oxygen to inhale when climbing, but hey, you can’t always get what you want.

With the heat of the sun at its strongest of the day, at around 90f, we rolled into Vale – an old western town at the junction of two big roads that cut through Oregon to the south and to the north. We checked into an interesting motel that sported some seriously retro decor. Actually, retro is probably not the word. Maybe, unchanged and never- maintained original decor would fit best. The microwave from 1961 was still fully- functional and so was, just about, the shower that needed a professional plumber to turn on. The highlight of the room, however, was definitely the velvet artwork – especially the welcoming clowns above the bed. They gave the room a slightly murderous atmosphere that made us all sleep that little bit better.

A Guest Blog from our Boise Host!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

We’re in Prairie City, Oregon tonight, and after our first 100 mile ride across FIVE mountain passes, we’re all pretty exhausted. We’ve been without internet for two days now, so we’re a bit behind on the blog, but we’ll catch up tomorrow. Today, we wanted to share with you our first guest blog from Wickes MacColl, our Boise host. It was an absolute pleasure for us to stay at her house (and eat all of her ice cream…) and I’m sure you’ll enjoy her blog! Thanks Wickes!

Also, be sure and check out our video that we did with Roger at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise at the bottom of Wickes’ blog.

Last Monday night, I couldn’t remember their names. Was it Tyler who was riding from South Carolina and his friends? How long does it take to ride a bike from Pocatello to Boise; on what roads? Three male 20-somethings riding to promote awareness of child sexual abuse prevention, go figure.

My work at the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund allows me to spend day after day creating and coordinating efforts to strengthen families in order to prevent child abuse and neglect. It is good work and comes after almost thirty years as a classroom teacher and 6 as a youth and family camp director. I’ve also had my share of work in promoting and training in prevention of child sexual abuse. When folks hear the words “child sexual abuse,” their eyes drop, interest fades, and they even argue and deny this silent epidemic that experts report affects 1-4 girls and 1-6 boys by the time the become 18.

So it’s Monday again, and I will never forget their names. Yes, it was Tyler’s idea.

See Tyler rest. 3,000 miles so far, now that translates into 30, 100 mile days or 60, 50 mile days. The trio needed rest and food!

But this wasn’t what they talked about. They talked about the journey and it’s connection to preventing child sexual abuse. They talked about awareness and fund raising. They talked about the people they have met and the places they passed through. They talked about how they could grow their initiative so others can take on the valuable work.

Landon, affectionately nicknamed, “Don” rides caboose as this trio of young, inspired men travel down the dusty, windy roads of our nation, heralding what many others lack courage to mention. “This is an adult responsibility; all adults need to learn how to prevent child sexual abuse, now. Prevention works!”

Landon also holds the video recorder; he is documenting the journey. Take a look at the Bob Dylan inspired video, found by clicking here. This is Landon’s work. He also writes, and from my point of view is the glue of this team.

See Landon connect. His reach is wide and his compassion endless. He was hungry too!

The threesome is incomplete without Mike. Mike loved my dog, a Welsh Corgi named Tess. And Oliver too, the ever meowing cat. He browsed through my library, selecting this book and that. He bought a New Yorker and praised the writers, the literary content. He’s a Scot. He’s a team player, an adventurer, wise and wonderfully friendly. His father (and sister and sister’s fiancé) are flying from the UK to meet him in San Francisco. His dad will ride the last miles of the journey with him.

There is so much more. One Boise outing took us to the Anne Frank Memorial Park. It’s a gem in the Boise downtown, walls of words spoken and written by the Earth’s great men, women and children, with a bronze lifelike Anne Frank sculpture at the center… looking through the window of her captivity to the free world outside.

Make injustice visible, Gandhi

Tyler’s got it. Remember, this journey was his idea and he has some things to say. It is a human right to be safe from sexual abuse. Children deserve our best efforts. He is so sure of it that he will ride 4,200 miles to show his commitment. He will talk to the press, the radio and TV, the mayor, the schoolteacher, the child advocacy center or anyone he can get to listen. He’s an intern with the South Carolina based organization named Darkness 2 Light.

Here’s a pitch for the program: Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children is a revolutionary evidence-based sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, and motivates them to courageous action. The Stewards of Children program is designed for organizations that serve children and youth, and any/all adults interested in protecting children.

We use this program in Idaho and bit by bit we are trying to educate our way into a cultural shift, so that no parent would think of leaving their child with anyone or anywhere that doesn’t explain how children are kept safe from sexual abuse.

And of course there is more to say. Tyler talks a lot! His words ring true but his courageous action is what caught my attention. I loved feeding these pilgrims. I was inspired by the clarity of their message. And off they went, not sure of the final impact of the ride. But very sure their lives were forever changed.

What an honor to be their bottle washer!

And to support them on the last miles of our great state, Idaho.
I will never forget their names nor what they brought to my life and work. Please join me in making an enormous $$$ contribution to Pedal for Prevention.

- Guest blogger, Wickes MacColl

A Ride From Twin Falls to Boise

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

An early rise with the sun, reminded me of the memories of the long lost school years. Mathias and Carl were up and getting ready to head off to school, and the boys and I were up and ready to be off to the local radio stations to talk about our trip, and the silent epidemic were riding to prevent.

When the radio interviews were over, we headed back to St. Luke’s, to once again, get some serious work done for our arrival to the California coast.

With a few hours of work under our belts, and with a well worked up appetite, the gracious ladies of St. Luke’s took us to a great Thai restaurant, where we had a few laughs, talked about how hard it is to crack the media, and of course chowed down some wonderful food.

It was time for us to catch our shuttle bus to Boise, and say our goodbyes again. It’s always hard to say goodbye to such great people, and I’ve learned that you can never have enough practice saying goodbye to people that you really like. It never really get easier.

Thank you everyone at St. Luke’s for making this another reason for this trip to be worth it!!!

When our shuttle bus arrived, we all were surprised to see such a packed transit, and we knew this was going to be a story to tell. After pushing our bikes and bags into a stuffed cargo trailer, we hoped on the bus to find only two seats left. Tyler quickly called shotgun, for the passenger seat next to the driver. Mike had already found his seat in the back of the bus, next to a quirky kid, and I had the lovely opportunity to sit next to a 100 year old man, who looked like he was on his last leg of his ‘trip’, and would also frequently turn and stare at me for a couple of seconds, like he was trying to make sure I was a real person, or something, before turning away. The first 45 minutes of him doing this was amusing, but then on afterwords it became slightly bizarre.

We arrived in Boise, and saw our first tall building for weeks, before being the last guys to exit the shuttle. Getting our bikes off the cargo wasn’t so much a problem this time around, because that was the only thing left. Tyler said goodbye to his friend, the wonderful driver, and we were off to find our next location of stay.

We found our new lovely home, thanks to Wickes ( our beautiful host ), in a blissful neighborhood. It felt like I was in North Carolina again. Wickes’s comfortable home was right next to a huge red mountain that shimmers during the sunset, thanks to a river’s reflection, which runs right next to her east coast inspired decor home.

It was a true blessing to arrive in such a home, and Wickes is such a great women. The guys and I easily warmed up to her, and she easily did as well. It was like we’ve known each other for years. During our delicious, fresh, and colorful dinner, surrounded by floral curtains and table cloth, with fresh picked pink roses from the garden, the conversation was a easy going breezey, just like the atmosphere that hugged us.

A great cup of coffee along with great conversations, and a full moon rising over the mountains, ended the restful night. Snug in our plush beds, with the windows open to hear the howling wind, we fell asleep. I know that we were excited for this weekend and spending our time here.


Day 40 – Burley, ID to Twin Falls, ID

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Computer Stats:
Miles – 38.83
Avg. Speed- 11.1

After such a eventful day, from Pocatello to Burley, waking up the next morning was a struggle. We all were moving at such a slow pace, like we were just waking up from the dead. The white light from the sun streaming through the window, was surely no indicator that I was dying, for I could feel every ache in my body. Knowing that today wasn’t going to be a long ride into Twin Falls, and that we had a nice break ahead of us, the motivation set in, as we packed our things and hit the Frontage Road next to the tiny interstate.

The ride seemed to go by quickly because I have mastered the art of letting my thoughts go into a make believe world called my mind. I’ve learned to forget about all the ache’s, pain’s, and time. The desolate lands, and sage brush, had no impact of my imagination. Before I knew it we were heading over a beautiful canyon (where Evel Knievel dared to jump, but failed.), called Snake River Canyon. It’s the pride of Twin Falls.

Our destination was in sight, and we rolled into St. Luke’s, with a wonderful greeting staff of, at least fifteen. Everyone was smiling with excitement as we dismounted our bikes and began to introduce ourselves. Already feeling so comfortable, the boys and I walked into a lobby full of food! It’s like everyone always knows what’s on our minds. With our hands, mouths, and bellies, stuffed with sandwiches, we led our gleeful souls with conversations of getting to know the friendly staff. I was happy to be in Twin Falls.

I must add that it is a great feeling when you arrive at a place with a blissful entourage waiting for you. It makes you feel that what you’re doing really does matter. It’s kind of a big positive booster. Makes you want to get back on your saddle and ride some more. Thank you all!! The words of encouragement really do help, whether you’re able to see it or not. It’s what keeps us going everyday.

After a couple of hours at the center, and getting much needed work done, We we’re off to our lovely home, with a lovely family, thanks to our host, Dr. Ressee. Settled at the edge of a potato field, the beautiful home was such a wonderful place to settle down. It’s  a good feeling when you can be around a great family, in a great home, with wonderful kids, pets, and food. You don’t really understand how much these things mean to you, until they’re not there anymore. I guess it’s like that with a lot of things.

After getting a tour of the house, thanks to Dr. Ressee, and getting a tour of what was the great imaginary world of Meerkat Manor ( a 5×5 feet of mud houses, bridges, and tunnels), thanks to Dr. Ressee’s son’s, Mathias, and Carl, we all settled down in the basement to watch a movie, eat gooey brownies, and fall asleep.