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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

April 27, 2007      Miles 40      Total miles 145
April 28, 2007      Miles 32      Total miles 177
April 29, 2007      Miles 28      Total miles 205


I am going to start updating my journal once or twice a week. It is clear that there are few places on the roads I am traveling which have internet access. As I was folding my tent Friday morning Pastor Curtis came out to visit and wish me off. I went into the community center at the church and there were about five or six kinds of homemade cookies on the table for a sale they were having. I asked how much they were and a lady told me they were not for sale but I could have all I wanted. I took a handful and left a small donation. As I was getting ready to leave on Ol' Blue, Pastor Curtis came out and said a very nice prayer for my family and me. It was a rough day of riding as I went over my first pass of 1,000 feet. After riding a little over 30 miles I had enough, and pulled into a nice motel. The managers, Kent and Robin Roberts were great hosts. They let me use their laundry equipment so I left with fresh clothes. Kent was a pastor in Idaho and moved to Oregon to work as a carpenter then he started managing the motel. He is an avid mountain biker. This is real mountain biking country and would not be for the timid or old men.

The beauty in this part of Oregon is endless. There are clearwater rivers everywhere. It comes from the snow melt on the mountains.

This is Ben and Ward. They live in this area and when I saw them standing on the side of the road, I couldn't figure out what the gear was which they were wearing. They are kayakers and we had a long visit while they were waiting on Ward's wife to pick them up. I learned a lot about kayaking and they were interested in Ol' Blue. When I left, Ward told me if I see his wife down the road to kindly have her pick them up. I saw her and gave her the message.

Here is an eagle's nest. The picture on the right is the same nest, just zoomed out.

It is common to see water falling out of the rocks along the side of the road as the picture on the left. As I ride my bike on the road I can hear streams or rivers of water below but I can't always see them for the trees. As I was riding yesterday I could hear a roar of water and decided to investigate. I walked through the woods and found the beautiful waterfall with the mist in the air. These are sights you would never see from an airplane.

This is a lava bed from one of the nearby volcanos. The highway department uses crushed lava extensively when it snows.

These are the same peak taken from different locations.

Yesterday and today were my hardest riding days yet. My plan was to cross McKenzie Pass which is 5,300 feet. When I got to the turnoff there was a sign saying the pass is closed. I asked a man working in the area and he said the government won't clear it until the end of June and all the switchbacks are coverd with 30 feet of drifted snow. That meant I had to go over Santiam Pass which is 4,800 feet but is twenty miles farther. I got within six miles of the summit and just totally gave out. I couldn't go another foot. I went a couple of hundred feet into the woods and set up camp. My water was frozen when I woke but I slept toasty warm.

Here is an elevation profile of Santiam Pass. The dotted line is Santiam Pass. I am in Sisters for the night in a motel so I can update my journal.

Too bad about the forest fire. It could have been started by carelessness, arson, or lightning.

When I woke this morning I felt pretty good and knew I could do the last six miles to the summit of Santiam Pass. Little did I know that it would nearly kill me to do it. I plodded, pedaled, and even pushed to the top. There was a lot of traffic. I suppose because it is a holiday weekend. It was almost a moment of glory for me but I don't want to get too excited because there is more to come before leaving Oregon.

What goes up must come down. And it was a glorious ride down the mountain for miles at 38 MPH without ever pedaling a stroke.

I met these two young men, Alborz Monjazeb (l) from Washington and Stephen Miller (r) from Oregon. They are walking across America from Oregon to Boston. They were near Sisters and we talked for a while about Santiam Pass and how it nearly killed us. They were low on food so I gave them some of the beef jerky which my son, James, sent with me. These were two very fine young men and you can follow their trip at www.walkforprogress.org

Llamas are everywhere in this area. They use them for backpacking into the mountains. By the way, those are pine cones on the ground. I ended my day by eating a fabulous hamburger at the Sno Cap Drive In.

Sisters is a quaint little town and filled with tourists on weekends.

I hope to update again by next weekend.