Tag Archives: bicycle

Fast Food Cambria Style

Boni's Tacos always has bicycle parking

Despite what the Cambria visitor magazine says about fast food. Cambria does have fast food. It’s just fast food Cambria style.

Special thanks to Boni’s Tacos

Special thanks to Amanda Darling for a little video work.

Music by Brandon Follett

Here’s a link to The Bridge Street Inn website so you too can enjoy fast food Cambria style.
<a href=”http://bridgestreetinncambria.com”>http://bridgestreetinncambria.com</a>/

Highway 26 the Bicycle Tour from Boise, ID to Portland, OR

Eastern and Central Oregon at a long bicycle glance seem to have more cows then people and more people then fresh vegetables.  Highway 26 snakes through the flats of eastern Oregon, down and over the mountains passes of central Oregon and into the beautiful city of Portland.  The facts in this article are accurate.  The stories are thoughts inspired by the solo bicycle ride.  Just because your body moves as fast as a trotting cow doesn’t mean your mind slows down.

Surly Long Haul Truck accompanied by BOB Yak Trailer west Boise

Leaving the security of West Boise for the open road on the Surly Long Haul Truck accompanied  by BOB Yak Trailer

Oct 12
Boise to Vale
9:10AM to 5:10PM
72.5 miles

West Boise stomping grounds

I begin my journey at the Starbucks on McMillian and Eagle.  My parents live 2 miles away.  The bicycle ride idea came about while walking these 4 lane busy roads lined with box stores and nasty restaurants.  Before the move to my parent’s house, I had wandered the Pacific Coast, New Mexico desert, central Idaho, the Chugach Mountains, and Cape Cod.  This summer, when not working at the Flying M Garage coffee shop, I’d wander West Boise.  Everywhere I walked made no sense.  The West Boise desert has been swallowed by artificial greenery.  West Boise resembles the tree lined banks of the Boise River.  Imagine a person who enjoys the desert moving to Portland, where the new resident mows all the vegetation and chops down the trees. These desert loving home owners install sensors that detect precipitation.  When the alarm goes off, massive amounts of energy used to power a dome shell that roles over the sage brush, dirt and lava rock to protect the yard from the desert killing rain.  The desert lovers can’t get enough desert.  They petition to build more hydroelectric dams to power more and more dome shells to protect and build more acres of Portland desert.  This notion seems silly but that’s what has happened to West Boise.  Too little precipitation equals sprinklers that simulate rain, springs, and rivers.

In all my visits to Portland I’ve never seen a yard that looks like a desert.  This has become one of Portland’s selling points.  People who live in Portland are at least content with their climate and yards.

After having one last cup of Starbucks coffee, I take Eagle Road down to State Street (also called Highway 44).  A majority of State Street has wide shoulders.  Upon reaching Middleton I stop at the park for a water break and to take photos of the tank.


“Weapons in Parks” along with Marty Camberlango’s “What Energy Crises?”

This tank inspired a series of photos I took called “Weapons in Parks,” shown at the Flying M Coffee House where I used to work.  Back on the road I found out the park is infested with goat heads, thorns that eat tires alive.
Both the bicycle back tire and bob tire are flat.  I stop at the Shell gas station to change both flats.

Highway 26 all the way to PDX

About 4 miles after Middleton Highway 44 crosses Interstate 84,  I take a left on Farmway Road which intersects Highway 20/26.  This is the highway that I will pedal 457 miles all the way on to Portland.

Sharing the shoulder with the farm machinery

From Parma to Vale, bicycle riders share the shoulder with farm equipment.  At first it’s unnerving to hear the sound of a big combustion engine coming up slow and not pass.  To look over my shoulder means the bike will veer into the traffic lane.  All a person can do, accept the fact that there’s a massive tractor riding your ass and be patient.

Parma Moto Vu, the best place to camp in Parma, ID

When planning the trip the first stop I intended was to stop Parma. No, not the famed land of cheese in Italy – we’re still talking Idaho, here. Years ago I camped at the Parma Moto Vu, an old drive in theater that still shows a double feature on the weekends.  I contacted the owner and the theater closed for the season the last week in September.  Parma also has a park that offers camping and showers for $7.00.

On HI 26 there’s lots of cows and mono culture.

The smell of shit
fills the nostrils.
Around the corner
a feedlot
the sight of cows
packed side by side
caked in mud and feces
makes the mind start to think,
Oh hamburger sandwiched between two buns with American cheese
The mouth starts to salivate
and yell, “Yum Yum Yum” at the stinky cows

Several small towns post signs that read “Drug Free Zone.”  I would have appreciated signs that read Vegetable Free Zone or Fair Trade Coffee Free Zone to save some disappointment and time looking for fresh veggies and a good cup of coffee.

Around 5PM I pedaled into Vale, OR.  Stay at the Vale Trails RV Park right off of HI 26.  For $10, I got clean bathrooms, showers, wifi and a grocery store within walking distance.  When I arrived, the bathroom was heated which made patching tubes enjoyable and I was lured into a peaceful sleep.  I awoke at 7AM freezing.  The weather report on the Ipod Touch read 31 degrees.  Need to get an early start because today there’s two passes.  While loading the gear I notice the back tire flat.  At this point my gloved fingers could barely move.  No way am I going to replace a flat in these temperatures.  I load up the rest of the gear and walk to the Starlite Café across town.  Vale and the Starlite Café are very proud of the fact that the Oregon Trail pioneers traveled through the area.  Inside the café murals depict the settlers and the buffalo. Manifest destiny was rather violent.  Unlike today’s travelers, eager to take photos and make an attempt, at least that, to leave nature the way they found it, travelers back then slaughtered nature.  For some reason seeing pictures of dead buffalo makes a person hungry for a buffalo burger.

I slowly eat the buffalo burger, waiting for the sun to hit the park bench across the street.  Around 9:30AM I’m basking in the morning sun working on the flat.

Oct 13
Vale to Brogan
10:30AM to 1:15PM
24.2 miles

By 10:30AM the tube has been patched and the bike is in working order.  On the way out of town I stop by the Bureau of Land Management.  There I pick up a free map showing Oregon campgrounds.  I pedal 22 miles to the small town of Brogan.  There’s a sign that reads “next gas stop 42 miles.” The campground map does not show any campgrounds between Brogan and Unity.  With the late start I decide it best not to attempt the 42 miles.  There’s a city park with water and a port-a-potty but no camp signs.  Private farm land borders each side of the highway.  I like the idea of guerilla camping but don’t like the idea of getting settled and then to have to unexpectedly move.

Surly Long Haul Truck and the Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL3

Brogan RV Park

I decide to stay at the Brogan RV Park.  The park has a rustic trailer park feel.  The manager can’t remember the password to the wifi.  I am invited into his trailer which acts as a residence and office.  On the modem there’s a password he can’t read because of the tiny print.  I can’t figure out the password but get the impression if I want hang out, pet his dog, smoke cigarettes, and listen to Metallica that would be fine.  Instead I choose to walk to the only store.  The shelves are lined with processed food.  There’s no clerk.

Brogan RV Park Club House

At the RV Park there’s a club house consisting of ashtrays, chairs, a pool table, and old hunting magazines.  For hours I read hunting magazines.    I decide the best way to kill a deer would involve buying a lot of acreage.  Then grow a certain type of foliage that attracts deer and a certain type of foliage that corrals the deer.  BAM SPLAT THUD  shoot the critter when it’s got a mouthful of fresh organic greens.  Now a lot of people don’t have disposable income to set up lunch program for a deer. Also keep in mind a person will need a large vehicle to transport a deer to the taxidermist.  I recommend to start on the cheap; with a bb gun and humming bird feeder.   Once you bag your trophy, you just need a shoe box, a bicycle or enough change for the bus to transport it to the taxidermist.

Oct 14
Brogan to Unity
8AM to 2PM
41.2 miles

Surly Long Haul Truck and the BOB Yak Trailer beautiful sunset on Highway 26

Heading out of Brogan

6 out of the 8 days pedaled over 1 to 2 passes a day

Straight out of Brogan the highway starts the climb to Brogan Hill elevation 3981 followed by Eldorado Pass elevation 4623. On the way to Unity I hear the large engine of some yet unknown gas guzzling machine come up slow.  I keep looking straight ahead, expecting the large piece of farm machinery to pass.  The large machine doesn’t pass.  Next to my side there’s a large flat bed Ford 350 truck, with a smiley sheep dog and a man wearing a large cowboy hat waving from the driver’s side.  He yells, “where are you going?  How’s the ride?”  I mumble panting, “Good.”  He wishes best of luck and hits the gas pedal leaving me in a cloud of diesel fumes.

The main street of Unity has a fairly large convenience store with free wifi.  I stop in to look for organic chocolate milk.  No organic section to be found, however a great selection of processed food.  The attendant, a very friendly lady, asks where I am going.  I told her I was headed up the road to the campground.  Her face suddenly took on the look of a concerned mother.  She whispers, “the bears and cougars have taken over the forest around Unity.”  She made it sound like the wild wild west.  Outside the safety of the stockade, bandit bears and native American cougars will tear the god fearing apart.  Her advice: camp behind the hotel for $10.  I thought this was reasonable when it came to my safety.  The rest of the afternoon I sat out front of the convenience store enjoying the sun and wifi.  When there weren’t customers buying snacks or trucks to fuel, the attendant would hang out and smoke.

In the morning I went to the Unity Cafe.  The bar has an oval shape in the middle.  The bartender has some sort of a branding iron that elegantly becomes a long prosthetic limb used to push drinks out to the customers.  Pasted onto a large hot sauce bottle is a small breakfast menu.  Their specialty seems to be biscuits, gravy, sausage, and eggs.  A couple bellies up to the bar to start their day off with a cup of coffee.  The woman loudly proclaims that everyday bad people are murdering and raping the good people.  My first thought, SHIT where the hell am I!!  Unity has murdering bears and cougars but also murdering people!  Unity really needs a closed gated community.  I haven’t felt this type of fear since hanging out with a particular couple at the Spaghetti Factory, where, while I was innocently enjoying a plate of spaghetti, I was informed that terrorists want to kill me.    I started to look around paranoid, more slowly slurping noodles.  I wondered if it’s a smart idea to hang out with this Fox news loving couple.  Out of all my friends, why is it that they seem to be the only ones constantly targeted by terrorists?  I think they only date on terrorist level code green days.

“It’s a sunny day today, honey and it’s code green!”

I notice the woman’s eyes at the bar not looking at me but turned towards the TV airing CNN news.  Thank god the killers and rapists are only in the TV.  I have heard similar talk from people who live in all white middle class suburban communities.   I ask them when was the last time someone has been raped or murdered on their street.  As of yet I have never met a person who’s neighborhood post traumatic stress disorder has been related to actual trauma.  Rather, they seem to purposefully invite the terrorists, killers and rapists into their living rooms and bedrooms via the television.

My Mind’s Been Abused

open up the curtains
take in the sun
warm a cup of coffee
sit on the couch
turn on the TV
let’s have a
entertaining romp
of car bombs,
murder and rape

clean up the mess
give a thank you squeeze
spoon into the night
lay on the bed
turn on the TV
let’s have a
entertaining romp
of car bombs,
murder and rape

wipe your dirty ass
take a heavy sigh
light a scented candle
relax on the toilet
turn on the smart phone
let’s have a
entertaining romp
of car bombs,
murder and rape

Everything that scares
lives in your head
lives in your head
fox news says
don’t trust your neighbor,
barely trust your friend
remember Jesus only died
for your sins
good citizens
it’s best to be mindless
and contained
lock your doors
and just be scared
scared shitless
with a good
entertaining romp
of car bombs,
murder and rape

Oct 15
Unity to Clyde Holliday State Park
8:10AM to 5:15PM
56.5 miles

Around the Bates, OR area there’s the Austin House Cafe & Country Store.  They serve up some delicious huckleberry ice cream.  They are hunter friendly and bicycle friendly.  A bicycle rider can camp for $5.00.

Highway 26 running through John Day Valley is smooth with wide shoulders.  John Day has grocery stores with fresh fruit.  Apples travel well if carefully packed.

Clyde Holliday State Park on the Highway 26 with the Surly Long Haul Truck accompanied by BOB Yak Trailer

Clyde Holliday State Park has a $5.00 hiker/biker site waiting, as if exclusively for me.  Still no other bicycle riders.  Unlike the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route that still attracts bicycle riders from around the world in October, Highway 26 hasn’t developed much of an October following.  I spent another evening day dreaming and listening to This American Life.

Unlike Highway 1 on Highway 26 there’s no Bill and his Iron Buffalo to keep you company

Clyde Holliday State Park to Mitchell
7:40AM to 6:30PM
67.2 miles

Blow out on the Highway 26 Surly Long Haul Truck accompanied  by BOB Yak Trailer

Flat outside of Clyde Holliday State Park

The town of Dayville has a charming park with water and bathrooms.  Inside the men’s bathroom there are cut flowers.   Also, there are actually mirrors on the inside of the bathroom door stalls.  It humbles an individual to watch oneself shit — and can also be fun.

The Dayville Cafe takes pride in their quality of food.  It was actually my first, and I hoped not my last, experience of this sort in a small town on Highway 26.  The cafe proudly advertises Painted Hills Natural Beef.  A husband and wife run the cafe.  After ordering a meal, the Mrs. asks guests to pay.  That way a guest can immediately leave when finished.  Smart when there’s only one person who cashiers, busses, and serves.

Between Dayville and Mitchell, a nail blows out the back tire.  The inner tube has been shredded.  The narrow John Day Canyon doesn’t always have enough shoulder space to change the tire.  I walk till I find a spot to comfortably change the flat. The Mike Seeger song Whoopin’ Up Cattle performed by The Charles Potts Magical Windmill Band captures the mood. “Nothing to do but flip the bird. Look up in the sky and yell curse words.”

Up till now I had been a good judge of determining distance.  With two tire flats and the slow 39 mile uphill climb, I watched the sun start to drop below the horizon on the 6 mile 6% grade downhill into Mitchell.

Mitchell, OR

Oregon Hotel has one hostel room

The reward after a long bike ride was the Oregon Hotel.

Next to the hotel there’s the Little Pine Cafe and Lodge.   I walk through the door and am quickly greeted by a young woman.   This is the first woman I have seen of child bearing age in a Highway 26 small town.  The future for towns like Brogan, Mitchell and Unity look bleak.  These towns are soon to become dependent on sperm banks, mail order brides or Gods’ miracle sperm that can jump start an old women’s womb.   I ask, “What are you doing in Mitchell?”  She explains, “Collecting bottle caps for an art project.”  I didn’t see an art gallery in Mitchell.  Maybe she’s an artist from San Francisco who makes country art for the city folk.  This is a good lead in to mention Erik Behnke, one of my favorite Alaskan artists.  His unusual take on Alaskan wildlife has started to make an impact on the art scene in the lower 48.  Check out Brown Bear Products.

Oct 16
Mitchell to Prineville
9:45AM to 4PM
47.3 miles

Ochoco Reservoir Camp closed.  The camp has a large day use area with running water and bathrooms.   Lots of people boat and enjoy the picnic area.  I head to the RV Park in Prineville.  Made camp before sundown. The temperature drops.  Instead of doing the nightly thing of being layered and huddling in my sleeping bag, I head out on the town.  Prineville has some delicious Mexican Food and a movie theater.  I watched the new Wall Street movie.

The next morning the tent was frozen.  Most RV parks have heated bathrooms. A breakfast consisting of an apple, dried fruit, and cliff bar I enjoy in warmth.

Surly Long Haul Truck and frozen Big Anges tent

Oct 17
Prineville to Madras
10AM to 1:30PM
29.4 miles

This day, I decide to give my body a break.  Madras really felt like the end of the Highway 26 adventure.  The next day I camp in the Cascades on Mt. Hood, then it’s a short ride into Portland.  Madras has the type of coffee shop I have been longing for since leaving Boise, ID.  The Great Earth Cafe serves fair trade coffee.  I find the first menu since Boise where everything sounds delicious.  Young and healthy appearing people frequent the coffee shop.  I spend the night in a hotel, managed by a friendly couple.  It wasn’t easy finding the right hotel.  Madras has two main one way streets.  Having got to the end of the north running road I didn’t feel like going down the south running road.  Later I found out I missed the opportunity to stay in the Historic Madras Hotel.

Oct 18
Madras to Government Camp
7AM to 4PM
65 miles

Surly Long Haul Truck accompanied by BOB Yak Trailer with Mount Hood in the distance

Mt. Hood in the distance

The 65 mile route will be another long day of mostly uphill.  I pedal North West towards Mt. Hood in the far off distance.  I quickly lose sight of Mt. Hood and the sun when I enter Crooked River Canyon.  The temperature dramatically drops.  Between the speed of the downhill descent and the loss of sun, my fingers start to become useless.  I have to pull over to put on winter gloves otherwise I’d have to walk through the canyon.  A digital sign in the canyon reads 33 degrees.

Still Creek Camp located 1 mile East of Government Camp closes in early fall.  Government Camp did not have an RV park.  It’s lonely camping in an empty campground.  I don’t find peace in the solitude.  The wood was too wet to burn.  Too cold to write or read.  It’s 6PM, I lay in the sleeping bag and hope to fall asleep before running out of This American Life podcasts.

Oct 19
Government Camp to PDX
9:45 AM to 2PM
58.6 miles

I start the 58 mile ride into Portland at the Huckleberry Inn.  I was craving the huckleberry pie.  I love to hunt Idaho huckleberries and Alaskan blueberries.  Not being one to start the day with sweets, however, I first order the mushroom omelet.  I quickly remember why omelets are the perfect date or friend food.  This omelet was so big it could have fed two average size adults, a newly weaned baby, and a miniature dachshund.  The size of this omelet made me nervous.  Usually the notion of quality comes into play with large food items like a huge iceberg salad or a monstrous rice burrito.  Thank goodness the omelet was loaded with cheese and sautéed mushrooms. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the omelet and there was no room in the belly for huckleberry pie.

I start the day out using the Google Bicycle route.  The bicycle route kept taking me off highway 26 then back onto highway 26.  I decide to stay on Highway 26 until  Boring.  When I pedal through Sandy, a large car pulls over in front of me.  A man jumps out and motions me to stop.  He wants to know if I’m the guy who had the flat outside of John Day, 273 miles west.  I told him that was probably me.  At this moment he found me very inspiring.  He couldn’t believe I made it all the way from John Day to Sandy.  He then grabs his belly and jokes about how he could never ride his bicycle through the desert and mountains.  I tell him fitness has little to do with bicycle touring.  It’s all about the mental attitude and bicycle gearing.  He doesn’t seem convinced so I switch subjects.  I notice on the back of his car the fish symbol above the tail light.

I say check this out, “Christians believe they are born into sin and it’s their nature to sin.  If that is the case why do only a small group of Christians ride in horse drawn buggies or missionary around on bicycles.  You seem like a nice guy but I bet even you don’t always break for squirrels.    It’s too easy to drive and sin at the same time.  The bigger the vehicle the more room there is to sin (orgies and blow in limos).  Only in the sinless land of heaven will Christians be able to drive vehicles responsibly.  In the meantime Christians should ride bicycles because it’s hard to sin on a bicycle and they will be setting a good example for the gentiles.

Case in point:

Who has been involved in a bicycle drive by shooting?
When has a non-married couple lost their virginity on a bicycle?
Serial killers and the mafia don’t transport bodies on bicycles.
Who has ever heard of a person being raped on a bicycle?
Never seen a bicycle rider pedal with a 40oz then toss it in the bushes.
How many Lucky Strikes can a pedaler smoke going over a mountain pass?
Never seen a bicycle rider eat french fries then toss the wrapper in the bushes.
Never heard of a bicycle rider snorting coke off a bike seat.
How much genetically engineered corn can a pedaler hall.
The Nazi blitzkrieg wouldn’t have happened on bicycles.
Never heard of a bicycle towing nuclear missiles.

I think the man from Sandy will start bicycle riding.

Springwater Corridor Trail

In Boring I pick up the Springwater Corridor Trail.  From there the trail takes me almost to the front door of Doug and Daniel’s house; the inauguration of an adventuresome month and half of hanging out on Alberta Street, playing music, job searching, and visiting friends in Portland.

Average Betty inspires Girdwood Alaska Backpackers Inn adventure

Average Betty eats Macaroni and Cheese

Average Betty eats Macaroni and Cheese. Click photo to watch episode.

If you’re a fan of iced tea, Betty has some exciting news! Average Betty has teamed up with Tazo Tea and Edelman PR to give three lucky AverageBetty.com readers a sweet Tazo Iced Tea Kit! This cool Kit includes a large glass pitcher, an assortment of fine Tazo Teas, a bottle of raw agave sugar, and a Tazo Tea recipe book! Would you like to win one of these awesome Tazo Tea Kits?

1. In the Average Betty comment section, describe your perfect glass of iced tea. Is it sweetened? Unsweetened? Black tea? Green tea? Flavored? Lemon? Straw? Ice?
2. Next, describe the perfect sandwich to go with your perfect glass of iced tea. Is it turkey or tofu? What kind of bread? Don’t forget the condiments…
3. For bonus points, describe where you are enjoying this perfect combination of ice cold tea and sandwich nirvana. Are you at the beach or on your couch at home?
To enter the contest CLICK HERE

Here is GABI’s favorite iced tea and sandwich combination, enjoyed on the balcony at Girdwood Alaska Backpackers Inn, of course!

Bicycle riding and Blueberry eating

Bicycle riding and Blueberry eating

Pick blueberries along the bicycle path towards Alyeska Resort. The blueberries make a delicious unsweetened iced tea.

Salmon fishing 35ft away from GABI

Salmon fishing 35ft away from GABI

35ft from the hostel, a salmon is caught in Glacier River. Throw it on the grill to become an Asian Grilled Salmon Sandwich.

Enjoying the 2nd story GABI deck

Enjoy the 2nd story GABI deck

view from balcony at Girdwood Alaska Backpackers Inn

view from balcony at Girdwood Alaska Backpackers Inn

Sit in a big comfy chair on the second story deck that overlooks the Turnagain Arm. Enjoy views of snow peaked mountains, the calm peaceful water, watch bald eagles fly and make plans for another Average Betty inspired Girdwood, Alaska adventure.

Tazo Tea will be a nice compliment to an all ready beautiful hostel.

Tazo Tea will be a nice complement to an already beautiful hostel.

Wild Strawberries along Bird Point pathway not far from Girdwood Alaska Backpackers Inn

wild strawberries girdwood alaska

Strawberry patch found just a short walk from GABI by the railroad crossing along the Girdwood to Bird Point pathway. Looks like bears and humans ate the majority of berries. There are still a couple left but not enough to bring your favorite berry bucket or make a strawberry pie.

rail road crossing girdwood alaska

California Coast: Averaging 2 Miles a Day

2nd California Coast bicycle ride
January to April 2009
Santa Cruz to San Diego to Santa Monica
230 miles

Our first cycling tour of the California coast (October 2008, 575 miles, 24 days), we focused on camping in nature and enjoying a love affair with simplicity. There is nothing more gratifying to know that essentially all a person needs to explore America can be transported by bicycle. Like any relationship, this infatuation matures. These new feelings led us to want more than bicycle love. In relationships with people, this might translate to choosing the company of friends instead of constantly making out.

Instead of experiencing California by rubbing ourselves day after day on a leather bike seat, firmly gripping the handle bars, enjoying the motion of legs pumping up and down, and the wind blowing through our hair as we reach downhill speeds of close to 30 mph, we chose to broaden our bicycle relationship and share our bicycle love with the coastal people.

From Love Apple Farm in Ben Lomond, California, we pedaled 7 downhill miles to Santa Cruz. Through the touring cyclist network, WarmShowers, we met Anne who took us foraging for fruit. In January, Santa Cruz had an abundance of apples and oranges. Anne had as many interesting stories to tell. We would just kick back and eat fruit while petting the dogs. At one point she mentioned her dog ate her dad’s ashes. If I’d had a ouija board, I would have loved to meet him.

foraging for oranges with Anne in Santa Cruz

We met up with Doug whom we’d befriended on our first coastal tour. He took us to his favorite place to play cribbage. It is a beautiful spot that overlooks the Pacific and sunbathing Californians. Doug wasn’t playing his best. I suppose it might have to do with losing part of his finger in a sailing accident the day before in the San Francisco Bay.

sunny afternoon cribbage with Doug in Santa Cruz, whom we met on our 1st California coast bike ride

In Monterey, an evening at Paulo’s consisted of a plethora of ice cream choices, grappa, and Scrabble. Paulo, a native Italian, enjoys the challenge of playing Scrabble in English. Once again, I lost another game. However, I just enjoy the challenge of sitting through a game of Scrabble.

Paolo and his stack of dessert in Monterey

Paolo referred us to his friend, Dave, who does maintenance and decorative metalwork at TreeBones Resort in Big Sur. Dave can take a piece of forgotten metal and turn it into a flower. At TreeBones, he has a metal art studio and his wife, Cinda Lee, has a garden that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. At TreeBones, the owner believes everyone has an inner artist. When the daily chores have been finished, then its time to work on art. Cinda Lee can take a patch of dirt and turn it into fertile soil. The veggies she grows are used in the TreeBones restaurant to feed the guests. Guests are in awe of Dave’s metal work and Cinda’s organic garden. Check out our video of Dave talking about the creative process of making a handrail.

hiking Big Sur with Dave and Cinda Lee

In Cambria, we met Anne Wyatt, owner of the Bridge Street Inn hostel. Motivated to learn about Anne’s sustainability practices as well as the business side of operating a hostel, we arranged to stay for a few days and help out with odd projects. Painting the picket fence and helping Anne’s twin sister, Aimee, with remodel work turned into six weeks of doing laundry, making beds and greeting guests. During this time, we learned about managing a hostel, had neighborhood bonfires, sat at the ocean, and went to a George Harrison party hosted by Dino who managed Dark Horse Records. Check out our video about water conservation at the Bridge Street Inn Hostel. As we packed up our bicycles to start pedaling toward New Mexico, Anne invited us to attend the upcoming Hostelling International national operators meeting in Santa Monica. We postponed New Mexico and hugged the coastline for another month in anticipation of an informative meeting.

fell in love with the hostel host lifestyle and sustainable practices of Anne Wyatt at Bridge Street Inn, Cambria

In San Diego, John Alonge took us to several delicious drinking and eating establishments. We’d first met John at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, sitting on the front porch exchanging songs, poetry, and stories as the evening sun kissed the Sawtooth Mountains.

The real adventure in San Diego didn’t begin until we met up with John’s partner, Dawn, and good friend, Jim Jenkins, of Jenkins Winery. In his book The Wine Heretic, John elaborates on the idea that anything goes when it comes to wine, especially if the love of wine is what motivates. In a homemade garage still, John took some old wine from Jenkins Winery and distilled it into brandy. Anyone else would have poured it out or given it to the hired help. The Wine Heretic knows how to love all sorts of wine, even the questionable wine. Check out our video about recycling wine with the wine heretic.

From San Diego we ventured into the Inland Empire. My sister had called to ask if we would housesit. After a weekend of walking the dog and watching Cesar Milan, we stayed beyond the call of house sitting to help plant the garden and take an unexpected drive to Napa Valley.

We then headed back to the coast with our bicycles to bum around Carpenteria and Ventura.

The Hostelling International meeting in Santa Monica came at the perfect time during our trip “Bicycling Highway 1 into the Great Beyond.” Our only commitment was to the Coonridge Organic Goat Dairy in New Mexico. Hearing rumors from friends and family in Boise, Idaho that the snow was melting and the inversion had lifted, we began to make tentative plans to head to Boise after visiting the dairy. While at the operators meeting, we met Jaime who happens to be opening a hostel in Girdwood, Alaska. He is looking for a couple to inject some soul and personality into the project. Anyone can manage a hostel, just like anyone can pour a cup of coffee, but not just any coffee establishment can offer a coffee drinker events such as the Valentines for AIDS event hosted by Flying M Coffee House.

So, basically, Jamie would like to give world travelers more than a cheap bunk. He wants his hostel to be a centerpiece of community involvement, music, poetry, art, and education. We were hired to infuse the hostel with unique cultural experiences that only a poet and gardener can give, and possibly a trick dairy goat named Asparagus that can slow dance to Motley Crue’s Without You.

After seven months on the Pacific Coast, we turned inland toward the goat dairy. The baby goats had almost all arrived and we need to be in Alaska in June, so we hopped on the train to New Mexico. We now have been living off the grid for a month. In fact, this blog comes to you via solar power and satellite internet. If you’re in need of a goat story, check out Goat Walking in the Wilds of New Mexico

Coonridge Dairy Goat

Bicycle Poetry: Almost a Salty Popsicle

the steep grade
of the curvy road
that trails off
into the horizon
has tired my legs
and mentally
worn me out

pulls me
to the edge
of the shoulder

overtakes my body

into the grass
close my eyes
let nature reclaim
this pile of exhaustion

I stare into the sun
and murmur,
“little tick, little tick,
my blood is healthy
and thick
enjoy, enjoy
grow vigorous
and quick

“big deer,
don’t poke me
with your antlers
but gently lick
my armpits
they are mercury free
I want to be
your salty popsicle

“scary mountain lion,
I apologize
my body is lean
and somewhat trim
didn’t go to the McDonald’s
feed lot
graze in the grocery
snack and soda aisle
before setting out
on this trip”

A yellow flower catches my eye.

It has grown
the pavement,
dodging cars,
not being eaten
by critters.

A flower
as miraculous
as a man walking on water.

Miracle flowers and miracle men
have the same effect
on the observer.
I find strength
to ask a passing
woman on a bicycle
for help.
I tell her I want to be strong
like the flower.

She happens to be a gardener.

Water with lemon
hits my lips
like stinging nettle tea
to a droopy plant.

A peanut butter jelly sandwich
gives me energy
like worm poop to a turnip.

My legs no longer feel wilted.

I get up off the ground.
She looks me up and down,
admiring her horticultural work.
She says,
“Your bright yellow vest
and white body remind me of a daisy.
From now on, your bicycling name
will be Daisy Spectacular.
I now
beseech you to
ride, ride,
grow towards the sun.”

Florescent Bicycle Safety

Pacific Coast bicycle tour: Gualala to Redlands, California (pedal power)

kirk-creek-campground california pacific coast bicycle tour

Before my departure for the Pacific Coast, some people expressed concern that I would be involved in a tragic automobile/bicycle accident rendering my arms useless.  People assumed they would not receive this essay in such a timely manner because typing with my nose is a skill that takes a while to learn.

Pacific Highway bicycle tour

Some parts of Highway 1 did bring about beads of sweat.  The highway can become so narrow that there is no room for a roadside cross.  A non-attentive driver simply has to knock you in the shoulder.  The sudden jolt of shoulder pain wouldn’t bother you because you’d be soaring with a smile beside the seagulls as you plummet towards the sun bathing sealions or get smashed into the side of the mountain. Fortunately, a bicycle rider is more likely to get hit in an intersection.

Travel Stats:

Gaulala, CA (100 miles north of San Francisco) to Malibu, CA

575 miles in 24 days, a leisurely pace.

Annie's box macaroni dinner-in-san-fran Pacific coast bicycle tour

Average daily expenses $38, eating peanut butter and beans and splurging on a day at the Monterey aquarium.

4 busses and 1 train, public transportation from Malibu to Redlands, California

brandon-at-bodega-bay-campground Pacific coast bicycle tour

Brandon Follett playing his Little Martin

Concerning my preconceived notions of long distance bicycle riding and leisure time, I was in for a surprise. Usually the day would consist of waking up around 7AM, packing, hitting the road around 9AM.  Our most frequent stops were at grocery stores, coffee shops with free wi-fi, produce stands, and at the tops of hills to take gulps of water.  Only four campsites were actually close enough to town to check open mic or plug in the computer to work on films or travel stories.  Usually we would pull into the camp around time for dinner, set up camp, maybe read or play cards, then go to bed.  When the sun dropped it would get cold, so we’d bundle up in our sleeping bags.  My dad gave me a radio run on solar power.  Usually the radio couldn’t pick up stations, but on the nights when it was really cold and you could pick up NPR, it was definitely worth the added weight.  Kind of how an apple tastes much juicier after a five hour bicycle ride, a day of pedaling makes Terry Gross’s voice sound that much sweeter.

The California coast has plenty of campgrounds with sites specifically designated for hikers and bikers.  No reservations are required, all hikers and bikers share the same site, and the cost is reasonable, between $3 and $5 per person.

Pacific Highway bicycle tour

We rarely camped alone at the hiker/biker sites.  Sometimes up to 13 bicycle riders shared a campsite, and we met people from all over the world.  The world travelers we met were from Europe, Canada and New Zealand.  Most people we met briefly as they were on tight time schedules to catch a flight or train home.

Pacific coast bicycle tour

The US riders were typically from the West coast.  They would ride down the coast, then take the train back home to San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle.  Keep in mind, because of the wind, almost everyone rides Highway 1 from north to south.

Compared to Idaho campers, California campers are very clean.  Almost all of the campsites had hot showers that were either free or cost a couple of quarters.  All of the campsites had clearly labeled, easily accessible bins for recycling bottles and cans.

carpinteria-beach Pacific coast bicycle tour

As we approached southern California, we started to meet bicycle riders who live on the road. The camp rules became stricter.  For instance, some hiker/biker sites had “no alcohol” signs posted. RVs next to the hiker/biker site had bottles of alcohol littered around their comfortable lawn chairs.  Some campgrounds had a one night limit, and one campground had a 9AM check out.

bill-6-years-bicycling pacific coast bicycle tour

Bill rides the Iron Buffalo, a bike that weighs 175 pounds with gear, including the antlers on the handlebars.  He started his journey 6 years ago from Boston on a search for the first Starbucks in Seattle.  He didn’t start his trip with the white plastic buckets that serve as rear panniers.  He used to have a tent and panniers just like ours, he claims.  A squirrel in search of granola ate through one of his panniers, and he exchanged his tent for tarps for reasons we’re not quite sure.

One man who talked so much I could never ask his name assured me the cops will never ticket or arrest you the first time they find you sleeping under a bridge.  The key is never get comfortable under one bridge.  You must be on the move, always under different bridges.  Similar to how people move their car from spot to spot in a 2 hour parking area.  I got invited to eat at the mission in San Luis Obispo.  Kept my curiosity to myself when he mentioned he had a warrant in Oregon.

At night, when I heard rustling sounds, I could always distinguish a raccoon from a bicycle rider who lives on the road.  The raccoons don’t have a smokers hack.

Other fascinating people we met:

In front of Sunshine Bicycles in Fairfax, I met a man wearing an International Workers of the World t-shirt. When people ask how I can afford my Bicycling Highway 1 and into the Great Beyond trip, I tell them the secret is not having credit card debt. We started talking about national debt and the recession.  He told me the union he belongs to encourages workers to take advantage of union discounts on cars, boats, etc. These discounts are a perk of being in the union.  His fellow workers are encouraged by teamsters to go into debt. His voice gets excited, “How can a person go on strike if they are in debt?”  I suppose a person in debt has no strike power.  I cannot count how many people I have met who would quit their jobs if they weren’t caged by debt to flee a worthless job or this war-mongering nation. The first tool to enable a person to strike is a bicycle.  The first step to a healthy economy is the bicycle.

Donna and Paul camped next to us in Gualala.  When they discovered our route would take us right past their house in Marshall, they invited us to stay a night with them at their house on beautiful Tomales Bay. Unfortunately, instead of accepting their offer, we decided to ride 17 miles further to Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

Donna and Paul have a website called Divining Seduction. http://www.evolutionaryrevolution.org/

They have a fresh look and solution to the current US and world patriarchal system

The Egg knows…

Evolutionary Revolution gives Darwinian cultural permission to all women to use their forgotten biological power to initiate seduction.  Hence, she will select her mate and guide him to mindfulness. Women can create loving and effective partnerships, stop the male war habit, help men to redefine “progress” and reduce their need of ‘stuff’.

doug-kirk Pacific coast bicycle tour

Met Doug on the bike path in Santa Cruz.  He was out for a day ride and gave us directions.  The second time he passed us, he offered us a place to stay for the night.  He entertained us with travel stories and YouTube sailing videos.  He recently helped sail ‘Adios’ to the Moore 24 National Championship at Richmond YC.  For the full story, check out the October issue of Latitude 38.  Besides racing sailboats, he is a great host, took us to the farmer’s market, makes a delicious breakfast, has no TV, built his house using the most current green technology, and put a 60 foot bike lane in front of his house.

Videos we made along California Highway 1:

Mendocino Hotel

Swanton Berry Farm

Henry Miller Memorial Library

Tomorrow we are taking a vacation from our bikes and heading to Baja California, Mexico by bus.  I thought it would be fun to spend the night and celebrate my 33rd birthday in Tijuana.  We e-mailed a fellow in Tijuana that we found on a website called Hospitality Club to see if we could spend the night with him.  This is what he said, “Why travel thru mexico? Havent u seen what is going on in mexico nowdays with all those murders, kidnappings, etc….? especially in Tij which is number 1. People dont party anymore or go to restaurants cus of the shootings in public. even myself i dont go out, be careful throughout ur trip. Ok have a nice day, bye”

More photos of our trip



Atlanta, Idaho Bicycle Tour (pedal power)

Amy and I along with Jay and Emily took a bicycle tour from Boise, Idaho to Atlanta, Idaho in the summer of 2008.  We followed the Boise River for 2 nights and 3 days.  In Atlanta we stayed in the Honey Moon Cabin.  We were given a tour of the town from Jack and Frank, met the famous historian/artist Keri, and had a garden fresh salad compliments of Greg.  From Atlanta to Boise we once again followed the Boise River.   My Dad camped with us on the way back into town.

Bicycle camping along Arrowrock Reservoir

Arrowrock Reservoir

Emily and Amy

Boise River

Plenty of water from campgrounds and pumping from the Boise River

Community hot spring shower

Boise River

Atlanta, Idaho

Special Thanks to Mr. Ireland and Ms. Chavez for the use of the Honeymoon Cabin

Cozy as a tent along the Boise River

Jay and Emily

Atlanta, Idaho mail contractor who will bring up supplies

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Idaho

Frank and Jack local historians and tour guides

Atlanta, Idaho

Dad and his 650 KLR Kawasaki motorcycle

Brandon on his Surly Long Haul Trucker

Special thanks to Frank, Jack, Keri, Greg, Allen, Ms. Chavez.  Photo credits:  Frank, Jack, Emily, Jay, Amy and Brandon

4 nights and 6 days totaling 168 miles of bicycle riding along the Boise River

Merritt’s Country Cafe located in Boise, Idaho

Merritt’s Country Cafe and Example of Progressive Change

Merritt’s Country Café, on any given day before the new Idaho smoking came into effect, was a den of smoke.  The attractiveness of Merritt’s were the hours.  A smoker could buy a bottomless cup of coffee and smoke for 24 hours, 7 days a week. You could always spot a first timer because they would come with a half pack of smokes.  The regulars might have a half pack of smokes on the table but definitely kept a carton in the car along with a bottle of zippo fluid. The only thing that could make the smoker slow down might be the apocalypse, oxygen tank switch, death bed or sadly when the smoking laws changed.

Now that smoking laws have come into effect, the rhythm of Merritt’s 2:30AM mating ritual – watery coffee, cheesy omelet, full-bodied drag, are you sober yet, your place or mine – has been replaced by teenagers and young adults who get off on loads of sugar packs and whip cream.  I have graciously accepted these changes because I’m ready to become a 24-hour fresh air breather. 

The one aspect that hasn’t changed at Merritt’s Country Café is the busy State Street four-lane road.  If a person walking or bicycling down State needs some fresh air, I recommend taking a break at Merritt’s. 

It’s criminal that a person has to step into a building with special air filters so that he or she may breathe fresh air, so recently the federal government has threatened to get in bed with the Treasure Valley’s air quality clean up program.  The solutions presented by our local elect, such as reduce driving and mow lawns in the evening, as reported in the Idaho Statesman reminds me of a smoker afraid that lung cancer might get involved in their daily life so the smoker makes an attempt to cut down their dangerous habit by switching from hand rolled Drum cigarettes to Marlboro Reds. 

When it comes down to it corporations and politicians love the money generated by the automobile and drivers love to drive and smokers love nicotine.  One way to dramatically decrease air pollutants would be to stop driving.  This sort of idea is as crazy as telling people to reduce lung cancer they must stop smoking.  I propose a compromise similar to the Idaho smoking laws that will help solve the air quality issue. The local elect must switch their air quality attitude from Marlboro Red cigarettes to Marlboro Ultra Lights.

Think of four lane roads as public buildings and restaurants.  The rule is a person can’t smoke in the restaurant but can smoke in designated outside areas.  An example would be Flying M Coffee House.  A person can’t smoke inside but can smoke on the patio.  Four-lane roads will have two lanes dedicated to cars, one lane dedicated to bicycles, and one lane dedicated to public transit.  

Think of two lane roads as public sidewalks.  Smokers and nonsmokers share the sidewalk.  Two lane roads will be shared by motorized and non-motorized vehicles.  The difference will be the hierarchy.  The bicycle/pedestrian rights will SOCIALLY and lawfully come first.

Think of I-84 as the bar.  The nonsmoker who walks into 10th Street Station or Turners Bar will be taking their lungs into their own hands.  Just as smokers have total smoker freedom in the bar so may the vehicles on the freeway. 

How will the city pay for these changes? One way to help pay for the costs of re-marking the lanes would be to create permanent space for vendors such as produce stands, food carts, and bookmobiles.   The local government would then collect a tax or rent fee on the barricade space.  Another idea – create a special sales tax on bicycles.  Citizens who use a lane need to pay for bicycle related city services.

Because our economy is based on capitalism, the above ideas will not be deemed successful in terms of air quality and health but in terms of air quality and money.  From my simple observations of the Boise smoking scene, the industry stills generates a fare amount of money.  At first, times were difficult for the smoker with the new laws.  Restaurants complained about patrons not being able to take a drag between their poached salmon and crème brulee, but people made do with the changes.  People complained when cigarette prices cost the same as a gallon of fuel but made do by smoking cheaper brands like USA Golds.  I no longer hear the smoker grumble.  The pendulum has swung back into balance.  I would bet there are more tobacco stores, cigar rooms, and hookah bars in Boise since the smoking laws went into effect.  The above observations indicate good news for politicians, corporations, and drivers who are afraid these driving ideas will have negative economic impacts.  Times at first will be a bit of a challenge, like a smoker who had to learn how to put down the cigarette from his left hand and replace it with a sugar packet.

The point being if a Merritt’s Country Cafe smoker can make the Idaho smoking law transition so can a Treasure Valley vehicle addict.