Tag Archives: bikeusa

Bike USA: June 11, 2000 – Prineville (written by Max)

After Eugene we went up Santiam Pass. It took us about three days to get over it. Near the top there is a place called Clear Lake. It was a really popular fishing spot but I wouldn’t want to swim there since the neighboring campsites were called Ice Cap and Cool Water. Bo thought there would be a gas station at the junction near the top, but instead we were stuck splitting a can of Chef Boy R Dee Ravioli for dinner. Oh well.

Don’t remember when this was, but this photo was too funny to pass up.

The past few days have been hilly. The long stretches of downhill where Bo almost dies from instability I have found totally awesome. There’s nothing quite like going 40 mph for miles on a recumbent. Wheeeee!

We’ve met a group of superheroes who have their own webpage. http://www.responsiblemonkey.com/haulofjustice

The two, Dragonfly and Silversteak, are hauling a 50 lbs. dog in a Burley trailer. That better be one grateful pooch. We also have been hanging out with a retired high school teacher named John on a Trek recumbent. He’s kicking our young punk butts too. Then again he’s carrying a lot less gear. yeah, that’s the ticket.

I can only guess that Paul Husby and Amy Shen are a day behind us.

We ended up spending an extra day in Prineville. We became honorary natives actually – I mean we went to all three of the restaurants and two motels. The public library is amazingly nice – funded by the Oregon Lottery. The day we were going to originally leave the town, we got off to a late start and checked out at 11. (I blame Clerks, South Park, the Simpsons, and Crocadile Hunter.) By the time we got everything ready it was already 12:30 and it started to rain. Well that did it. Laziness prevailed and we spent the rest of the day in the library. I finished the Neverending Story. (it just kept going and going and…)

I got to fly my kite in Prineville too. Two signs that caught my eye: “What are you hung for?” in the grocery store and “no household waste or offensive material” on the public trashcans. The word hungry was partly covered. We also passed lots of llamas. And Operation Santa Claus, a reindeer camp, and Tom Jones Used Car Lot, how the mighty have fallen. Many field mice along the road for a while, followed by many small sparrow things.

Sheep Rock
Sheep Rock, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
John Day Fossil Beds
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

For a fur trader who got lost and was robbed nekkid by American Indians, John Day sure has a lot of stuff named after him. Fossil Beds, a city, a river, a golf course, etc… If only fame could be had as easily these days. Why, my brother would be world famous for his acts of stupidity.

We’ve gone about 400 miles so far. It hasn’t been easy and I don’t agree with my brother that the hardest is over. I actually found some hummus out here so I’m a happy camper.

Bike USA: June 5-8, 2000 – Vida, Blue River (Delta Campground), McKenzie Bridge, Santiam Pass, Sisters, Prineville

I guess anywhere you go you will always encounter a homeless guy. Max and I stayed at Blue River, just west of McKenzie Bridge on June 5. After McKenzie Bridge we (I think) did the toughest climb of our entire trip. We stopped at a little market in Blue River before going on to Delta USFS campground to get our dinner (pasta) and right outside there was this homeless hitchhiker guy who was eyeing our bikes while we shopped. When we got out of the store he hit us up for some change.

Paul's house
in front of Paul’s house

For the past couple of days we’d been staying with a total luddite (his own description) who apparently is pretty well known in Eugene. He’s Paul Nicholson, founder of Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life, former member of the local government, former professor, total bike afficcionado. On Sunday he gave us a tour of the Solar System. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you should bike around the waterfront park in Eugene. Even if Paul claims it’s getting screwed up by the local government, Eugene still seems like a cool place to live. I have a sticker on my rear fender that advertizes Portland as the best bicycle city in the US, but Eugene beats it easily. I’d say Corvallis is better than Portland, too. Our gratitude to Paul, his wife, and his daughter for letting us crash at their place and treating us so well!

When we stopped at a cafe in Vida, we met a fellow cross-country bicyclist who is traveling with a woman and her dog (being pulled in a Burley trailer). She was making a phone call across the street so we didn’t get to meet her. They are part of a larger group who are stopping at local non-profits and working for a day or so at each one. We invited them to share a campground with us at Blue River and they agreed but never called us on our cell. We were probably unreachable. The next morning we met yet another biker and found out that he stayed with them at an RV park.

Blue River
Blue River, Delta USFS Campground

June 6 was our big hill day. We went from McKenzie Bridge to just west of the Santiam Pass stopping for lunch at Clear Lake. There was a school group at Clear Lake and there was this little fat kid making fun of our bikes and trailers. There’s another thing to add to my ubiquitous list. The whole day was straight up hill. We couldn’t make it over the top because our legs were jellifled after our lunch. Also we felt a slight drizzle and were afraid it would rain harder, and we didn’t want to ride down the pass while wet. Dangerous, you know? But we weren’t near a campground so we decided to just pull off to the side of the road and camp illegally.

Illegal camping
Illegal camping

It was only around 4 or 5. I think I slept for 11 hours that night. The next morning we left at 7 and got to Sisters for breakfast. On the way down I almost died. I was going about 34 mph when I saw in my mirror a whole line of cars coming led by two semis. I just grit my teeth and braced myself since I knew the wind from the first truck would push me then pull me. I had no idea it would be as bad as it was though! Right as the first passed me I started to wobble back and forth uncontrollably, the weight of the trailer exacerbating my situation. I applied the brakes but immediately decided that it would worsen the wobbling. All the while I keep overcompensating with my arms, first going one way then going the next way. Back and forth, thinking ‘Oh crap. Today I die.’ Finally, I relaxed a little and miraculously straightened out. This is when I realized that the second semi was braking quite hard and that I had drifted to the middle of the lane. Needless to say, I think that from now on, I’ll slow down a little if I see a semi coming down on me and I’m going over 30.

Santiam Pass
Santiam Pass

On the 7th we reached Prineville and became lazy bastards. We just vegged out in front of the TV and read a little; talked about our motivation a bit. I looked at maps for a while and Max told me to stop since it was pointless to look so far in advance, so then we talked about the trip and how hilly it was and how I wanted to be sure it wouldn’t be so bad anymore. Today, the 8th, we were ready to go at noon. I put on a new chain I got in Eugene. It skips when on the two smallest cogs on my cassette. I took a look and it seems I need to replace those two, since a few of the teeth are worn. I guess I just won’t use those gears until Boise.

Bike USA: June 4, 2000 – Eugene (written by Max)

high tech redneck

This is my recap of the past few days. Oregon is allergy central. Since arriving in Portland I’ve had asthma, a rash, and severe nasal congestion. But it sure is green and beautiful. The past few days have been sunny and hot. Skin crisping hot. Plus not starting to ride until noon isn’t that smart either. Damn we are lazy bastards. My burn was made even worse by wearing a t-shirt the next day and getting my forearms fire engine red.

The fairgrounds in Rickreall was the pits anyway. It was no loss that they didn’t allow non RV’s.

Corvallis, home of da Vinci Days (pumpkin cannons and kinetic sculpture races), is full of weirdos on recumbent bikes. Very educated community with delicious goth chicks to boot. The burritos were 13″ long and only $4.50! Bike shops to this place is like Starbucks to Seattle. Eric (Erik?) Haluzak (Hazuluk? Haluzuk?) from Peak Sports let us crash at his uncle’s house. His stepdad builds bents down in Santa Rosa. Erik was biking up one summer, got an injury, collapsed at this uncle’s doorstep, fell in love, and never left Corvallis (except to tour).

Brian the house bike dude was an earmuff wearing dreadlock loon, but hella cool. He plans to start selling a line of geosite (maybe the name is not quite right) mobile bikes – complete with bathrooms and dinettes. How could he wear earmuffs in 85 degree weather? I bet he’s got tiny ears like me.

Paul's Bicycle Way of Life

So now we are in Eugene. I thought there was going to be a large group leaving from Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life but it turns out that it’s just me, my brother, and two others arriving Tuesday via Green Tortoise. Paul is actually shacking us up at his beautiful contemporary but cozy house in the hills. Hot showers, futons, strawberry lemonade, free internet connection, damn these past three days we’ve been spoiled. We’ve decided to stay for a day to try and get a hold of the Tuesday group. Eugene has a great bike path system, complete with a scale model of the entire solar system. Pluto is hella far dude. The sun and gravity seen in a new light. Paul gave us the grand bike tour. We went to two of his shops and the Center for Alternative Transport. CAT makes all sorts of bikes, especially recumbents and cargo bikes. By sheer luck, Jan (pronounced yawn) was there to show us around. They do some great stuff with youth and community.

Paul started the bike business on a five dollar bet. He started teaching at Urbana-Champagne because his wife was there. I’ve come to realize that many people don’t really have plans for their lives. Or that women basically run men’s lives.

Yesterday we dropped by Bike Friday and I got fitted. Michael showed us around the manufacturing floor and explained the Bike Friday philosophy. That’s three bike manufacturers in three days! Cool beans. I’m kind of looking for a folding bike, but I think a grand is a bit much. I saw numerous chainless bikes today. One Dutch and two Chinese ripoffs. Maybe I’ll just wait until I get to Shanghai and get a junker.

Tomorrow the biking begins in earnest with the first day of climbing the Cascades.

Bike USA: June 1-2, 2000 – Dallas, Corvallis

I should have heeded Mike more when he told me about male numbness. I tried 4 saddles in two weeks and decided that I liked my original hard-as-rocks one. But I change it out for an even harder one… the one supposedly most used in the Tour de France. I should have stuck with my original, but I don’t know if it would have helped any. I now know what it feels like to touch someone else’s maleness. Mine was so numb that I had lost all feeling. Looks like Max would have to carry on the Chen legacy.

We had hurriedly packed on the morning of our departure. By the time we were ready it was noon and we joked about delaying for a day. We then discussed our route out of Portland and decided that the Hawthorne Bridge would be tons better than the Ross Island or Sellwood. Felt kinda foolish passing OMSI again after I’ve already said all my good-byes (minus a few people – bye!). So we didn’t stop, but I saw Laura and Kemble walking across the bridge during lunchtime.

Max suffers from congestion.

By the time we got to our halfway point it was 3 pm. (We filled up our water bottles at this one restaurant which featured a 3 lb. burger!) We didn’t take the route we had originally planned (219 down to 99W) and instead got on 99W right away. We got to Rickreall, our first stop of the trip, around 8 pm. Our map from Adventure Cycling showed that there was camping available at the Polk Fairgrounds, and a call before we left confirmed that we could pitch a tent for $8. When we got there, however, they said RVs only. The person we had talked to on the phone was no longer there. We went to a restaurant down the street and ate and asked about campgrounds or motels nearby. They told us that they’ve seen people camp next door! Oh well… New rule or racism? You decide. The restaurant people then told us that we could stay in a motel in Dallas which is 4 miles west of Rickreall. Let me tell you, 4 miles in a car is nothing. By bike, it’s usually not bad at all. After 8 hours of nothing but pedaling (with a few breaks – lunch, dinner, etc.), 4 miles is hardcore.

We made it to a Best Western and convinced the attendant that it was good karma to let us bring our bikes in. Their spa is excellent! Lessened the pain in my wrists and lower back. My numbness was slowly going away, too, but even on the next morning I still couldn’t feel anything on the top part. I adjusted my saddle, bought a back support thing from Walmart, and we were off at 11 am.

We are in Corvallis now and a kind guy, Eric, at Peak Sports has offered to let us pitch a tent in the backyard of a house he’s housesitting. I got a Specialized saddle, one of those groove ones, just about the only kind I hadn’t yet tried, and I think it’s helping!

Bike E facility
Bike E facility
Bike E facility

We visited Bike-E since Max owns one, and they gave us a tour of their facilities. They are the nicest guys! Gave us baseball caps even! I think my next bike is going to be a Bike-E.

Tacos Uruapan
big ass burritos!

On the way to Bike-E we stopped at an awesome Mexican place called Tacos Uruapan. The biggest burrito I’ve ever seen, and believe me, I’ve seen some doozies.

Movie of housebike

After Bike-E, we stopped at a cafe and met this other guy on a house-bike! The most incredible thing I’ve ever seen on two wheels! This guy, Brian, built a 20 foot house on two wheels. Granted the house part is the size of a two-man tent, but it was still incredible! All styrofoam and aluminum. He had a moped wheel in front and a Nissan wheel in back. The front wheel was attached to a generator which recharged a battery. When he needed to, he could flip a switch and the whole thing would be motorized. He claims to have gone 73 miles an hour on this thing! He’s been living out of this house-bike for 5 years now, and this is his 13th model (the last one burned up in a fire). Absolutely amazing!

We met up with Eric, his wife, Christine, and their friends, Jason and Denise at the house and brought some food for a bbq. These guys are super friendly. They plan on a cross-country trip next year to Maine, too! Christine made a lovely apple pie for dessert… 🙂

Bike USA: May 28-31, 2000 – Portland

weird dude on homemade bent

Max’s log – To actually pinpoint a specific event or date when my expedition began is quite difficult. I moved out of my SF apartment May 1st, I quit work May 5th, I went soapbox derby racing, and my heart had a short roller coaster ride the whole time. I actually left the Bay Area via a Green Tortoise bus ride on May 15th to Portland, Oregon. It definately was an experience to share a sleeper bus with 38 other people and three large dogs. The Cow Creek campground was replete with a geodesic dome, a warm fire, yummy breakfast, a sauna, a freezing cold river, and unfortunately, enough poison oak to make me look like Phantom of the Opera for one week. I’ll probably still go back.

fairing available through www.BlueSkyDsn.com

In the meantime I’ve been wandering Portland, working on this webpage, and reading. Mission Impossible 2 is the epitome of John Woo. Fun Fun. The 27-29th were the HPV and electric vehicle races here in Portland. There were a handfull of recumbent afficionados plus electric go carts that enlightened these jaded engineering eyes to new uses for duct tape.

We leave tomorrow. I don’t think the weather will favor us though.

send off BBQ
send off BBQ
BBQ party; Mark’s co-workers; work that grill, Carolee!