Day 8 & 9 – Off the Grid, but on the Road!

The past two days have 103 and 91 miles respectively, with good roads and long days in the saddle.  All of us have been facing “withdraw” from not being connected.  No internet, no TV and no cell reception. It reminds me that there are many portions of the US without connectivity and how it impacts their access to news, the economy and keeping connected with friends and family.

Today we climbed 3,900 feet to Lolo Pass on the border of Idaho and Montana, (elevation 5,233 feet (1,595 m).  Total miles 762 and over 41,000 feet.  Lolo is a mountain pass in the western United States, in the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountains.  The pass and Lolo Trail were used by the Nez Perce long before Lewis and Clark came on the scene.

Tomorrow we head to Missoula for a well deserved “recovery day” of only 39 miles reportedly downhill followed by a day off the saddle. Time to heal, relax and recharge.   Please consider a donation to support Alzheimer’s. 

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Day 6 – From Onions to Potatoes **

I rolled out of Walla Walla late this morning after a last minute cleat change and ended up in Lewiston, Idaho. Jen Goldstein one of the Trek guides and “group medic” hammered IMG_2940with me until we could catch up with some of the other riders.

Today I joined the flat tire club with my first flat as a result of rolling over what is called a goats head, a sharp thorn that blow on the road like tumbleweed. It was only a matter of time!  goatsheadthordAfter a quick “pit stop” and a new tube and I was on my way.

Rolling hills, great clean roads and awesome views on every turn. A remarkable first week totaling 568 miles and a combined accent of 30,150 feet.  Legs are feeling good though with a road temperature nearing 95 degrees today, I am looking forward to a good night sleep.  Tomorrow (Sunday) will be tough at 103 miles.

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Monday will push us to the limit at another 91 miles. Looking forward to reaching Missoula, MT and enjoy a recover day (only 37 miles) followed by a total rest day on August 30th.  (for larger images click on the photos below)

** – Walla Walla Sweet Onions are the official Washington State Vegetable and Idaho is known for it’s Potatoes. 

 

Day 6 – Back to my home state (Wash)

Today our ride started in eastern Oregon to Walla Walla, which is located at the foot of the Blue Mountains in the southeastern corner of Washington state.  Tomorrow we head towards Lewiston, Idaho.

wallawallamapWalla Walla (located about 5 hours from Seattle), has been named the best small town in America and one of the friendliest  places to live. Famous for its wheat fields, sweet onions and wine.

The ride today was 74 miles, (2 miles longer then planned due to a GPS issue taking us on a gnarly gravel road). Once we got back on track we rode past rolling hills of wheat and farms and silos.  At several points we crossed parts of the Oregon Trail. In one small town kids came our running and yelling words to encouragement.  I guess seeing a pack of riders wearing tight lycra in the middle of nowhere was an event!

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Enjoying Walla Walla!

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Day 5 – Through the Fields of Oregon

A day of rolling fields, great roads and few cars.  92 miles and just 4,175 feet of climbs with an enjoyable tail wind made it a great day for a “relaxing” and a peaceful ride. We left Condon riding through the farm country of Eastern Oregon.  Feeling great and looking forward to enjoying my passions of cycling and photography.   I found it ironic to see a sign in the middle of nowhere for “New Super Fast Internet”.  It was nearly 20 miles later when I came across any sign of civilization.

To-date we have raised $7,650 for Alzheimer’s.  Thank you for the growing support and for those who have opened up their hearts to share their stories.  In a small way I think I am helping by listening. Folks have shared deepest personal insights including the stress, impact and in some cases the guilt they experienced a caregiver.  They shared they were overwhelmed, they were frustrated seeing their love ones slip. Others have of shared they were exhausted and at times lost their patience.

It is becoming clear on the value and importance of community based caregiver support groups.  As important is increasing the awareness and availability of “Respite Care“.  We need a cure but also need to support the caregiver community.

Please share my story and encourage others to support the cause!

Day 5 – Random Act of Kindness

The journey.  While I am only starting Day 5, I wanted to share the impact the ride has already made to me and to others.  The last two days people stopped me (at breakfast, on the sidewalk and on the road), to talk about how Alzheimer’s has impacted them and their family.  This has been totally unexpected.  It is clear is they ( and I expect millions of others), have a desire and need to share their stores.  This has been emotional for them and for me and in a small way making me feel good that I am providing them provided an outlet to talk about their experiences.

Yesterday over breakfast an orthopedic surgeon talked to me and discussed how unlike cancer and other terminal illnesses, their is no cure or effective treatment, making it the worst disease.  He went on discussing the impact the families and caregivers and his own experience.  Another person actually flagged me down while riding, (he had heard about my accident the day earlier, and saw the group on the road) and offered a donation.  In another case during one of the TV interview a woman on the sidewalk engaged me talking about the impact as a caregiver and how she has been impacted by 4 family members.

While I trained hard for the ride, I did not expect these experiences and am blessed that I am able to help and touch others on their own journey dealing with ALZ.  If you have not had a chance to donate, please consider your support.

Day 4 – Hood River to Condon, Oregon

Each day of the views only gets better.  Riding through the Hood River Gorge reminds me why many claims the Gorge compares to the Grand Canyon.  The ride was 101 miles, 8,300 vertical feet burning over 5,000 calories averaging 13.9 miles with a maximum speed of 38 mph taking 7 hours, 29 minutes.  I stopped several times to cherish the moment and taking in our beautiful country.  Enjoy.

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Oregon Police Blotter

As a follow-up to yesterday’s report of me being a victim of a hit and run.  First I want to thank everyone for their outpouring of support.  The news coverage (KGW – Portland as and KATU – Portland) has been incredible including a local cyclist finding me on the road today to share his support, solidarity and offer to donate to Alzheimer’s.  Second,  I rode 101 miles and climbed 8.300 miles.  I am doing fine and just tired.  (see other blog post for today with photo highlights).

Now for the update.  The police contacted me today, advising me they arrested the driver, who is now in jail, being cited as felony in addition of other charges.  Turns out she is from Russia and claimed she did not know US law or her responsibilities in an accident. She not only admitted trying to get me to pay for the damage to her car, but also stated she saw me and told the arresting officer she had no choice then to hit me since she knew it was against the law to cross a double solid line.  Really?  When questioned why she did not jam on the brakes (no skid marks), she told the officer she did not think to do that.

So how did the police catch her?  The story only gets more bizarre. She returned to the scene of the accident today with her elderly friend (apparently not her mother) to get the address so she could file a police report.  Apparently upon getting out of the car to get the street address she failed to put the car in park.  It ended up rolling backwards running over her friend ended up in a raven hitting a tree.  The good news is her friend was not seriously injured, though according to the police she was pretty scraped up and bleeding. Ironically the same police officer responded, and subsequently booked her on multiple charges.  She does not have legal representation and apparently contacted an attorney who would not take her case.

The open question now is if I should press charges?  Putting this in context I would have to travel nearly 5 hours each way to appear in court.