A Breath of Fresh Air



Today I am thankful for…



August 10 2008
70 Mile Day
Depart San Francisco ride through Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, sleep in Winters

Sandra and Nathalie escorted me to May’s place for some 350.org wristbands and wisdom. At the Golden Gate bridge we met with Isabelle, Mark Brew and Oliver. Following was a sandwich with Sandra and a lament for my kite back in Napa. Little did I know a lost kite would cross my path after just a short ferry ride.

Checking the map once more

Checking the map once more.

Leaving Sandra's house
Leaving Sandra’s house.
The newest family members are lazy dogs.

The newest family members are lazy dogs, albeit cute ones.

Familial departure.

Familial departure

Tire dipping on the West coast

Tire dipping on the West coast.

A Sister & Brother

A revealing Sister & Brother photo; we are both incapable of smiling for posed moments.

Golden rays of the Golden Gate

Golden rays of the Golden Gate.

Catching the Vallejo ferry

Catching the Vallejo ferry.

Good bye golden bridge!

Good bye golden bridge

Fare thee well SF and West coast

Fare thee well SF and West coast

The Angel of Winters

The angel of Winters.

The Angel of Winters is a statue holding up a rainbow with clouds over her shoulders. Her hair falls don in such a way that she pears to have angel wings. One one side of her I found pears, on the other side were apples and plums. She is a generous statue.

August 11 2008
40 Mile Day, 110 Miles Total
From Winters through Davis to Sacramento

In Davis I made a stop at the university and inquired as to where I could find some hot water for oatmeal, and to my surprise the responder was Philip Cello, a friend from high school! We caught up and exchanged stories. He is doing well with his recently achieved philosophy and psychology degrees.

Soon I was off again for Sacramento to stay with my college friends Robert and Christa.

Rob and Christa

Robert and Christa

After an amazing dinner and delicious homemade ice cream desert with homemade berry crumble, my generous friends showed me their photos of China, which are spectacular and as close to being there as I have ever felt. Following this we were incapacitated by the Sacramento evening heat and promptly fell asleep. My departure the next morning was with yet another homemade masterpiece; apple spice jam!

(Robert if you would please send me a photo of yourself on your new bike that you have completed!)

August 12 2008
67 Mile Day, 177 miles Total
Sacramento, Folsom, Placerville to Sly Park campgrounds on Jenkinson lake

Starting the Sierra’s at 4mph

August 13 2008
50 Mile Day, 227 Miles Total
Jenkinson lake, Mormon Emigrant Trail, Highway 88, Carson Pass, Kirkwood, Hope Valley Meadow Sno Park

Finishing the Sierra’s with Carson’s pass at 8,600 ft.

Frank an authentic cowboy.

Frank an authentic cowboy.

His hands were covered in as much dirt and soot as the land could provide. His hat was scuffed along all sides, his boots were soiled, and the pants he wore were hardened by the oils and grim of a life outdoors. His face wore a smile, and he recited from that smile the poem of the Buckskin Mare. Frank offers me drink and I accept a water, leaving the two warm beers from his horse pack to himself. He makes 60 miles a day with just himself and a horse, 15 miles is his daily distance with all his horses and everything he owns. His summers are usually spent in Yosemite Valley, due to the recent fires he prefers the Sierras this year. Sour Dough Slim, and Alex Beaton, he recommends to me, especially Tired of Fixin Fences in the Rain. In my mind I picture him on his horse singing, “I’m a tired lonesome cowboy a long way from home” just as Lucky Luke always did in the end.

Silver Lake

Silver Lake

Silver lake was my last swimming stop in the Sierra’s. I climbed to the top of left pillar planning a poetic dive into the lake. While perched on top I realized the water was to shallow and climbed down in a very unpoetic manner.

Kirkwood Inn Bar and Restaurant

Kirkwood inn, bar and restaurant.

At an old Western mountain bar restaurant and inn I filled up on water and information. I took a photo of its solid wood interior, which complemented its wooden exterior.

Walt and Walt's home.

Walt and Walt

Walt’s never been to Disney Land, at least as if he has he didn’t call it the happiest place on Earth. Walt is no Walt Disne, but he knows how to get by, and without bothering others. He lives in his van most of the time and stays there too. His exercise routine consists of putting on his slippers and getting his old deaf dog back to the van when he wanders further than fifty feet away. “They’ll steal small dogs like this.” he says. I can’t tell if the thieves he is referring to are the ones he mentioned earlier who raided tents left alone for to long out of their brown truck with the yellow stripe and star, or the masses of welfare criminals who mostly stole from each other back when they used to camp here over ten years ago. Ether way they don’t seam to be eyeing the old blind dog t hard. Walt is a kindly man and boils me some hot water for my mate and tries to give me a laundry basket that he found on the side of the road, he thinks it would be great to put on my bicycle, but I kindly reject in the manner he rejects my mate.

Sleeping with my bicycle.

Sleeping with my bicycle.

The food in a tree high out of bear reach, and my bicycle is kept close at hand incase I need to compensate a midnight snack with a ride.

CALIFORNIA (Exit stage left.)


August 14 2008
80 Mile Day, 307 Miles Total
Hope Valley Meadow Sno Park, Highway 88 to the 395 and the 50, Carson City, Dayton, Silver Springs

NEVADA (Enter stage left): I am Nevada the state of ore and mines! Cross my deserts with caution, water is more precious than minds. Mirages are free and plenty, the people are free and few. The sun is my friend and visits everyday, but you visitors exit weakly.

Where the Sierra's meet the flat lands on the Eastern side.

Where the Sierra's meet the flatlands on the Eastern side.

Riding in the evening cool becomes an obvious strategy and I am not the first to realize it. I pause to photo the rising moon and a figure approaches.

Nevada's Rising Moon

Nevada's Rising Moon

The figure came into to focus as a fellow adventure cyclist by the name of David Runger. Shortly after meeting we realize that are ferries departing San Francisco were only an hour apart. Separate routes in the Sierras and likely delayed are meeting. We decide to ride together until are paths part, and pitch tent.

David Runger develops an allergic reaction to my camera and breaks out in blurs.

David Runger develops an allergic reaction to my camera and breaks out in blurs.

August 15 2008
70 Mile Day, 377 Miles Total
Silver Springs, Fallon, Middlegate

David it seems is riding on a strict diet of gas station pastries and hamburgers, not his normal diet but an adapted one for the journey. His fascination for carrying large quantities of water (up to 10 liters) through the desert baffles me. When we reach a new place with running water, roughly every 70 miles, he takes on more. Eventually he will be storing water in his bicycle frame once he figures out how to seal it properly. He has limitations in heat and climbing hills, but when it comes to down hills he simply retracts his landing wheels and takes flight. He has experienced no apparent side effects in converting to a nocturnal schedule.

The shoe tree of Eastgate.

The shoe tree of Eastgate.

The 18 people of Middlegate are friendly and permit us and all other travelers to camp on their watered lawn. My bicycle takes on several hours of repair and by the time I am finished it is a new day. My sleep for the night is limited to a few hours before we head out into the desert at 4:30 AM.

August 16 2008
88 Mile Day, 465 Miles Total
Middlegate, Austin

Three fellow Obama enthusiasts traveling East to West

Me, David, and three fellow Obama enthusiasts who are traveling East to West

For about two minutes David took to my fully shaded method of avoiding the suns full strength, and in those two minutes we come across Joell, J, , riders going coast to coast in the opposite direction. They are supporting Obama along their ride primarily through their website obama.am, I unravel my Obama sign and we pose to early for my long timed photo. The three also managed to convert David from fully shaded to near fully nude. David now embraces the hold nothing back exhibitionism adorned by European beaches, his skin has thoroughly tanned now and it rejects any attempts by the sun to burn.

David demonstrating the easier to wash, keep cool with little clothing method.

David demonstrating the easier-to-wash and keep-cool-with-little-clothing method.

August 17 2008
78 Mile Day, 543 Miles Total
Eureka, Little Antelope Pass 7,438 Ft

Eureka’s little hidden park provides a welcomed public bathroom for washing clothing. The town is a petite mining town with abandoned tunnels behind the gas station and every house.

Photo reenactment of a dream.

Photo reenactment of a dream. (Photo taken courtesy of David on the tips of his toes.

In a dream Mary Oliver, David Whyte, two other books and my possessions fall out of my pannier while I cycle on unaware. (Note to bicyclists: I always wear a helmet when riding upright.)

The Pony Express Route
The Pony Express Route

We are riding along the old postal pony express route, and it is filled with historic points, unfortunately only a few are historical points of interest.

A classic train tunnel.

A classic train tunnel.

August 18 2008
66 Mile Day, 609 Miles Total
Little Antelope Pass, Ely

It is Olivia’s 22nd birthday and I call her with my phone in a cooking pot to achieve reception. The conversation is trying but successful and she has plans for a home film festival with friends.

Looking forward to the East.

Looking forward to the East.

Looking back to the West.

Looking back to the West.

DAY 10
August 19 2008
67 Mile Day, 676 Miles Total
Ely, Majors Place, Baker, Garrison, Highway 50

A Swedish couple, Jonas Gartman and Nicoline Gartman, are on their honeymoon and riding a tandem bicycle across the country. Before getting married they rode along the coast of Australia. Jonas is a Nordic cycling champion and Nicoline commetes to work 40 kilometers daily. They report that the entire EU supports of Obama. Since they are flying out of Washington DC on November 6th, we may gather again and celebrate Obama’s election to presidency.

Every mile is new.

Every mile is new.

The Great Basin National Park calls to me and I visit the entrance, but do not stay for a tour of the caves due to my preference to reach the Democratic National Convention in Denver CO. For this reason I depart on my own route and David heads further South towards beautiful Zion.

Another night on the town in Nevada.

Another night on the town in Nevada.

Exit Nevada


DAY 11
August 20 2008
90 Mile Day, 766 Miles Total
Highway 50, Hinckley, Delta

Delta’s library has a book mobile that delivers to a 100 mile radius. The gentleman driving the bus offers me a opener for the beet can that I have been carrying and unable to open. I eat and he talks about how much he loves delivering books and having a whole school coming out to meet him in rural towns.

Sun flowers and history.

Sun flowers and history.

Suddenly in Utah there are crops and with them a welcomed moisture is in the air. Crickets are on the rise, and hundreds of thousands of them scatter across the land. As I approach they jump in every direction. At least five are in flight around me at each moment, some land on my legs and hitch a short ride. They always jump in the direction they are facing and so I try to weave my path to pass behind them. But this is more difficult than navigating a mine field, many cricket casualties ensue fated by my spinning spokes guillotine.

Delta farmland.

Delta farmland.



Straight on since morning.

Straight on since morning.

Slowly sneaking up.

Slowly sneaking up.

Sightings of a sliver of sand dunes.

Side sightings of a sliver of sand dunes.

DAY 12
August 21 2008
78 Mile Day, 844 Miles Total
Holden, Scipio, Salina, Highway 70

The massive towns of Scipio (pop. 500) and Salina (pop. 3,000), both inspire me to celebrate with ice creams.

Rodeo of Scipio Utah

Rodeo of Scipio Utah

Worn down the tires.

Wearing down the tires.

Unfortunately the spare tire I had did not get enough clearance, so I made do with the old one, patching on the outside where it was wearing down first. My bicycle and I are both getting antsy, the last bicycle shop was in Placerville California.

DAY 13
August 22 2008
84 Mile Day, 928 Miles Total
Highway 50, Green River

My bicycle in a rest stop restroom.

My bicycle in a rest stop restroom.

Sleeping behind a rest stop means plenty of water and even a sink and restroom. Of course its a good idea to bring your bicycle in with you, and if you do you will have far more conversations occur. One fellow on this occasion took photos of my bicycle since his son back home in England had just ridden on another Trek 1500 down the coast of the UK.

Roadside beauty.

Roadside beauty.

1,000 acres to farm, 1 tractor to drive.

1,000 acres to farm, 1 tractor to drive.

Exit Utah

Colorado (Incomplete)

DAY 14
August 23 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total
Green River UT, Highway 50, Palisade CO

DAY 15
August 24 2008
84 Mile Day, 928 Miles Total
Palisade, De Beque, Parachute, Grand Valley, New Castle, Glenwood Springs

Waking up near a river is a simple and thoroughly pleasing affair. After a swim I was surprised to find that in dark of the night before I had decided to bivouac directly beside a no trespassing sign. I had not so much been trespassing as staying. I found two flat tires, and decided it would be better to fix them across the street in the shade of a winery. While fixing flats I received an invitation to taste the wines of the establishment I had been in front of. They were Palisade wines, and to be gentle curiously different.

As I was cooking my dinner at a rest stop a fellow, came riding upon a glowing motorcycle and stopped for a quick break. During the second course sprinklers went off and I was drenched while guarding my cookware. There was a third surprise of the evening; I spoke with my cousin Julie who is excited to return to Boulder this winter. She also recommended to me her friends as hosts should I decide to stay there.

Foothills of the Rockies

Foothills of the Rockies

Nightrider posed for photograph.

Nightrider posed for photograph.

I wonder if the sprinklers will go on in 30 seconds.

I wonder if the sprinklers will go on in 30 seconds.

DAY 16
August 25 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total
Glenwood Springs, Gypsum, Edwards, Avon, Vail

Clouds Winds Rain and Thunder riding through these and against the wind, with magnificent mountains all around, made me feel small and robust. As the legendary David must have felt before Goliath, except that the mountains and storm would not even perceive me, let alone try and smite me.
Bizarre thoughts were in my mind, as I rode that day, the kind of thoughts they were that arise from many solitary days stewing over odd shaped boxes of the mind. It was with these thoughts an odd state to be in, that I came across Vail an odd town itself. Vail may appropriately be described as a mock Swiss ski village, however it was in Colorado and in the summer. No matter, onwards and upwards to the Rocky Mountains!

Passing upstream.

Views along a bicycle trail.

DAY 16
August 25 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total
East of Vail, Frisco, Silverthorne, Idaho Springs, Wheat Ridge, Denver

120 miles into Denver coming down the 70
I do recommend driving into Denver via interstate 70 to anyone capable. It provides a gorgeous view of the city and a long decent into what can be an anticipated mecca. However it is another story altogether when doing it by bicycle during a period of increased commuters for the Democratic National Convention. I would not advise this to anyone. But it worked that once for me and so I am pleased.

The quietest street in Denver.

The quietest street in Denver.

DAY 17
August 26 2008

I spent 3 more nights in Denver, sharing a room with Lauren Newman’s friend Randa. DNC Chairman Howard Dean introduced her saying “I met a young woman named Randa, whose husband, a staff sergeant in the United States Army, is serving his third tour in Iraq. She has three small children. Her hands, and her days, are pretty full. Yet somehow she has found time to register 450 new voters.” What he did not mention was that the first new voter she registered was herself, and that her husband had been stop-loss after his first two terms in Iraq. Stop-loss means to receive a presidential orders for your return to duty, despite having completed duty. I had heard of this controversial policy a few weeks prior on Amy Goodman’s radio program Democracy Now which is also available for free on podcast every weekday.

DAY 18
August 272008

A relaxing day in an active city led me to the most amazing bookstore I have ever been to, it was in many regards like Powell’s bookstore in Portland. Of course I came across those old souls who play chess on a park bench in every major city around the world. I came across a store of maps, and decided that on this journey what I really needed was a waterproof map of Australia, thank goodness they had one.

Onboard public transit I met congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California’s 16th district and congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon’s 3rd district. They were excited to learn of my bicycle journey. Lofgren was especially pleased as she was from San Jose, a neighbor of my departing location San Francisco, she was also pleased that I was a fellow CA attendant and very complementary to my representative Mike Thompson. Blumenauer was excited due to his own dedication to bicycles, not only is he proud of Portland’s outstanding bicycle association, but he authored and made the proposal for passed legislation that recognized May as national bike month! He gave me many pins of bicycles which I gave out primarily to the bicycle couriers of Denver so that they would be seen by many more people. Of course I kept one for myself.

The amazing Tattered Cover bookstore.

The amazing Tattered Cover bookstore.

In every major city of the world, these two are playing chess

In every major city of the world, these two are playing chess.

Just maps here, and lots of them.

Just maps here, and lots of them.




























DAY 19
August 28 2008

On the night Obama accepted the democratic presidential nomination, I avoided the extended lines and binocular required seating. Instead I tried a beer known as the Obamanator in a tavern owned by the mayor. Later on in the evening I repeatedly came across two women sharing a moped, we became friends and they invited me over for dinner. They rode and I pedaled posthaste. It was a full friendly house that evening. The dinner was cooked by her brother who was staying with her for the week while he rented out his apartment to some visiting democrats. The dinner was delicious and included an exquisite barbecued peach for dessert and an excellent conversation on reading methods.

After dinner and viewing the speech on television, I rode out to the stadium to note the rapid disassembly and general aftermath.

The night was celebratory, all of the bars and clubs were filled with ecstatic, jovial, and often drunk democrats. The hotel room was distant from downtown and on the long return I passed by a single night club removed from other destinations, it was apparently by invite only, limos and black SUV’s crowded the street. Ducking and diving I rode between them until I approach an SUV with its door open and blocking what would be the bicycle lane. Its passenger was also blocking the lane, but without my usual traveling gear I might be able to squeeze passed him. Camera flashes directed my attention to identifying the person and realizing it was John Kerry, I snapped a photo and kept riding

Mile high stadium with many miles of line for Obama's speech.

Mile high stadium with many miles of line for Obam

Generous citizens of Denver

Generous citizens of Denve

Invesco exodus after Obama's speech.

Invesco exodus after Oba

John Kerry 2004 US presidential candidate for the decorates.






DAY 20
August 29 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total

Denver, Lafayette, Boulder, Loveland

I met up with Anna a good friend from Cal Poly, and we road to Boulder where she showed me the town, zucchini races and all. We had a good dip in the river and I had a French beer from a brand thats been in business since the 1600’s, or so they say. That evening I discovered that my toothbrush had gone missing, I did not file a police report.

DAY 21
August 30 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total

, Fort Collins, Poudre Canyon

Today my path joins two others from back home: Danielle Castle and Ben Yipee-Ki Yates. We meet at a grocery store and pack for a long and lonely road West through the Rockies. This trip is in the opposite direction of DC, but nonetheless a worthwhile adventure that offers backpacking and a second experience in the Rockies.

Then I get a phone call from my sister. Unfortunately my uncle Christophe is seriously ill and dying. I realize I will never get to finish the only game of chess I started with him. 1. b2 b4.

DAY 22
August 31 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total

Poudre Canyon

Frequently while riding I checked my phone for reception to get news from the family, while I had no reception I was able to check my e-mail on unlocked wireless networks outside of mountain homes.  After riding a narrow road that followed the we gave in and jumped into the river to swim against its currents.

In the evening I was standing in a spot I mistook for being a good spot to stand when a fair sized rock in a cloth bag came upon my head.  I misplaced myself during a throw and Danielle gave me a haircut around the cut I ended up with on my head (weeks later when I found a mirror I discovered that it was a terrible haircut).

The river of Poudre Canyon.

The river of Poudre Canyon.

DAY 23
September 1 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total

Poudre Canyon

DAY 24
September 2 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total

Poudre Canyo

DAY 25
September 3 2008
Mile Day, Miles Total

Poudre Canyon

This blog formally “Bicycle Journey; San Francisco to Washington D.C.”

The 2008 cross country cycling adventure was completed in 58 days 3,600 miles and countless interactions.

That adventure is done but life’s adventures continue ; )


Photo by Julieta