Daily Blog of the Bike Ride

Torrey Pines Rotary Foundation
Bike Ride Across America
March 8, 2010 - April 18, 2010
Wheel You Help?

"Wizard of Oz" There's no place like home. April 24, 2010

SNOW! We ride 43 days in a row without a drop of rain and we come home to SNOW! But, that was way overshadowed by the warm reception, kisses and hugs from Carol, Lucy and Spooky. Surprised the granddaughters by picking them up at school. Spent time with Monica and them at their home.

Did you ever run a video tape movie in fast reverse? After a delightful brunch with Ken and Mary Tranbarger we got on the road home. That was Sunday and we got in Thursday at noon. Our bike route followed the Interstates quite a bit of the time. So, when driving back we could see many of the places we had ridden. Seemed like it was years before. It was eerie how Ed and I remembered different things about the same day's ride. He remembered a lot more than I did.

My bike is in the garage awaiting some TLC. And Carol "saved" a lot of chores around the house for me. Actually it is fun getting back in the groove. Every day while riding we were searching for the groove. Now I'm looking for it again. I have a long list of to-dos. I hope I get half of them done.

I will be putting together my notes so that maybe I can give some insight into what we experienced. I know right now that thanks go out to a lot of people. Rotary, those that supported the club financially through donations and pledges, friends, old and new, that took us in along the way and all those that gave us words of encouragement. It made our trek much more fun and worthwhile.

Looking forward to y'al.....l (I'm losing it already) soon.



C'est fini, Day 43, Saturday April 17, 2010

We're done. You should have seen the stares as we carried our bikes out to the beach and posed for pix with our front tires in the surf. It is a very warm day here in Jacksonville and the beaches are packed. We opted to ride the last 32 miles down the coast to about 14 miles north of St. Augustine, then back. Ed finally got to see his alligator at the Sawgrass CC entrance. Yesterday at lunch (Mike, menu update coming) a fellow sitting next to us told us where to go to see some gators. None there. About 10 miles down the road he flags us over and offers to take us to Okefenokee Swamp and show us where to take a self-guided boat out. We declined. He worked for the Florida Farm Bureau and probably would know.

Yesterday we rode our last long day, 76 miles. I'm in at somewhere around 2,354 miles. Does Florida have a lot of bad guys or are they shipped in? I have never seen so many correctional institutions. I would love to have the razor wire concession.

We stopped at Shirley's Restaurant in Lake City. I had, ready, Mike, collard greens, cheese grits and zipper peas. No cracks! All great. Add them. They had fried basa on the menu, too. When I asked what it was they said it was served as grouper.... until the food police stopped by. Didn't the Impereial House do something like that? Shark for abalone? Last night we took Ed Martin out for his send off dinner. Ocean 60 on the beach. Fine dining and wine. Met a local Rotarian with a dynamite fund raiser idea for our club.

Ed Martin is heading south to visit friends. Ken and Mary are do into Jax at 6:00 and we'll be heading back to San Diego sometime tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing y'all real soon.


Day 41, Tax Day, Thursday April 15, 2010

Another short one. We rode 58 to Live Oak, FL. Now out 2,278. Another beautiful day. I hear it is raining a lot in San Diego. Ate at O'Neal's Country Buffet in Madison. There is a sign on the wall that is classic, especially for our pals at the beach that have private parking spaces. You know that "No Parking" doesn't work. Towing warnings don't always either. This might. "WARNING: The last car to park here is still missing." And while I am on signs, there is no such thing as a non-smoking room. Am excited because Ken and Mary Tranbarger from my Rotary club are flying in to meet us Saturday night. Way beyond the call. Rode over the Suwannee River. Yep. That's how it's spelled.

Two to go.


Day 40, Wednesday April 14, 2010

Just a short note tonight.

The Florida panhandle is just beautiful. Riding on perfect roads among trees coming into bloom. The sun is bright and the temperature is in the 80s. Quaint small towns along the way break up the trip. We are now east of Tallahassee (why do the use so many double letters?) in Monticello. Best city name: Two Egg. It took us an hour to ride over the Apalachiola River today. This is where the time changed to Eastern. So we lost another hour. Ah, but yesterday we rode through Ponce De Leon and picked up years. Unfortunately none of it was on our underside.

Ate lunch at Beef O'Brady's today. Another great waitress named Angela waited on us. It didn't take her long to wonder why we were dressed funny. After I gave her our card she asked how she could contribute. Told her how. Before we left the owner, Scott O'Brien stopped by to talk. He and Angela had given us a 50% discount on the bill as their contribution. Thanks. Oh, I had something they called a "chocolate eruption" Wow. I ran along side my bike after lunch!

Note: Down here we have come to believe that only men can use the riding mowers. Women can use a power mower, and we've seen plenty, but they're not allowed in the riders. Gotta be written down somewhere. And, correction from yesterday. McGuire's has $900,000 dollars hanging on it's walls. Not $90,000.

Three more days,but who's counting?


Tuesday April 13, 2010

I have not written for a while. I have been having a snit. I don't want to "bore" you with the "hole" story, but suffice it to say that I have had more flats than a Boston Pops (pun intended) concert. They probably couldn't play anything in a key that has as many flats as I have had in the last week. But, on Monday I was lucky to find Brian, owner of CycleSports Bicycles in Pensacola. For two hours he rotated my tires, rewrapped the wheels, added tire liners and put in new tubes. I don't want to say I was on pins and needles for the first 100 miles, but...No problems since then. Brian sent us off with three complimentary coffee mugs bearing his logo one one side and "There is no love in the pelaton" Ed had two flats (one a bad tube) today. He replaced his rear tire. Only four more days to go.

After leaving our Rotary friends in New Orleans we rode to Gulfport, MS. The next day on to Mobile, AL. Sunday to Pensacola FL, yesterday to Mossy Head and today to Marianna. We rode 70 today to put us out 2,150 miles. Four days ago it was cold. Since getting into Florida the weather and the road shoulders have been wonderful.

Biloxi is a mini Las Vegas. Pascagoula has the ship yards. After a visit to Motel 6 in Mobile we had to have Ed Martin put in a straight jacket. We have not used them again. Leaving Mobile there are some gorgeous old mansions. I took a picture of one flying the rebel flag at the same height as the U.S. flag, which was hung upside down!!! Are they still fighting old battles or new? Later we rode through Loxley, AL where Carol lived 30 years ago when she was 14.

That night we went to dinner with an old Navy friend of Ed Martin. John Paganelli is 79 and still flies. He takes people up to do dog fighting with another plane. With 13,000 hours and over 900 carrier landings, I'd fly with him. We, with his suggestion, went to McGuires. You have probably been to restaurants/bars that have signed dollar bills on the wall. This place has $90,000 on it's walls. He has to report this to the IRS. Quite an establishment that rambled on for "acres" including a wine cave. I had Corned beef and cabbage.

Didn't see Pleasantville but did see a sign for Niceville. I think we're back close to America as I had two meals yesterday with nothing fried. Told Kimberly and her staff that I would mention them. Her smile was as welcoming as their steakhouse. However, she mentioned that she has never seen it so slow as that night. Wonder if our California plates are scaring away the customers? Couple of other notes. The roads in Florida are free of trash. Drivers do not speed. Every place we ate is very clean. It might be just me, but I think the accents here are getting thicker and thicker. Wonder if I'll be able to speak Socal when I get back? We are riding rolling hills now and for the last 200. I, strangely, prefer it. With hills you slow down more to see things and then have a little rest on the down hills.

Last laundry tonight. Beth, you (or the Army) have trained Ed well. He has done the laundry every time. I'd tell you that he doesn't separate whites and colors, but he'd kill me. Off to Tallahassee tomorrow.

See y'all soon.


Day 35, Friday April 9, 2010

BAM (Just rode by one of Emerill Lagase's restaurants in the casino in Long Beach). We're in Gulfport, MS


We were off on Thursday staying with Carolyn and Jerry Fortino in New Orleans. We went to the French Quarter to see and eat. First we stop at The Absenthe Factory. These buildings have been around since 1800. We sneak upstairs to look at the other restaurants. Each floor has a small seating area. White table cloths, crystal... and more expensive the higher you go. However, when we got to the Jean Lafite room a rat scurried out onto the patio. We ate at the La Bayou after not wanting to wait in line at the Acme Oyster Bar. I had fried green tomatoes with shrimp on top of each. Add this one, Mike. Also had an alligator Po' Boy. No on this one. Also went to Pat O'Brian's but stayed away from their Hurricane drink. That night we treated Carolyn an Jerry to Elizabeth's about a mile outside the FQ. It is owned and operated by a son of a friend in OMBAC. We each had a special tray with a baked oyster topped with truffle fois gras mayo. Also, their speciality, praline bacon. Let your mind go. And a crab etoufee. My entree was Berkshire pork osso bucco au jus over fried grits. Yes to all. Last night we were lucky and stumbled onto Steve's Marina Restaurant. I had Pasta Primavera with sauteed (finally not fried) shrimp. But the best was dessert; praline (pronounced, prawlin) bread pudding with ice cream. Yes, yes and yes. One more yes although a bad one to end with. Uncle Bud's deep fried peanuts. You eat the shell and all. Now I must point out that this is not our normal fare. I just finished a banana with peanut butter for breakfast. Ed is out to breakfast. He's reknown for having apple pie in the morning but I haven't caught him eating that yet.

As we left our hosts we posed for pictures that Jerry said would hit the local paper. My tire was flat. Better there. A bag of fruit from Carolyn and we were off. Thank you Fortinos! Thank you Rotary. Ride was in to the wind. Cooler and not much humidity. Dogs. One crossing the four-lane. Took it to a bar on the corner. Hope the guys would find the owner or, at least, tie it up. An hour later a pick-up passes me and his dog flies out the back window into the bed, out the bed, onto the road skidding along on his back. Spent a while helping him look for Deuce, but finally had to ride on. Also a day of bridges. Rode along the world's longest man-made beach. Very white and clean. Done after Katrina. Lunch at Turtle Landing where we learned how to wrestle alligators. Story later.

Off to Alabama.



Day 34, Thursday April 8, 2010

Have to tell a story first about dinner last night. We drive six miles back down the road to Don's Seafood and Steak House after checking into Motel 6. (Witchy woman story when I get home) Around since 1934 it was the only business open in that six miles. We sit next to a couple with there young slender 8-year old, I'm guessing. He has a pile of crawfish in front of him that he can barely see over. They take it away... and bring another. I ask his father if Guiness knows about him. We get to talking and I give him our card and tell him we're riding our bikes across country. We go on eating for a while. Then he leans over and asks if we're on motorcycles or bicycles. Another five minutes go by and then the knife in the heart. He leans over again and says, "How old are y'all?"

We are now in Eden. Actually we're in Gretna, LA after 62/1832. The Eden reference is to Jerry and Carolyn Fortino's home. A plantation/mansion in my view. I have 25 pictures so far and have not gotten it all. Jerry is a Rotarian who answers Email. That's how he got us. A PDG from '06-'07, he entertains so many guests that they have started a guest log. We're in it now. We have exchanged banners and had dinner together. Another make-up. Their club treated us to dinner last night downtown at Bon Ton's. And a "good time" it was. Afterwards we got a driving tour of the French Quarter. We may go back today to sight see.

We had rain last night and there's a cold snap today, but clear. Just nice to off the bike seats for a day. I think we only have eight days left.

See y'all soon.


Day 32, Tuesday April 6, 2010

Hi Y'all, (I guess they use this all through the South)

We are in the state of Parishes. From the days of French/Catholic rule they are the same as our counties. I think, however, that someone sinned along the way because the roads are hell here. (Sorry, Pastor John). We were told that if there is rock in the south it was brought in here from somewhere else. Well, every shoulder, good or bad, has a covering of gravel. From where? No wonder we had the day we did yesterday. It is like riding over a dusting of little tire-eaters. Shirley and Tom. I am waiting for your report on swamp creatures. The little creeks along the side of the road are becoming wide bayous covered in green. I am sure I have seen eyeballs just above the surface. My pal, Jim, in Houston says that they are taking them out out the water hazards on the golf courses there.

We rode out of Opelousas to Baton Rouge. 54 miles today. Riding east is really taking a toll on the "south" side of my face. We had lunch in Erwinville. Dr. Mike, you can add three more items to the menu. Boudin (pronounced boudaaaaaan), cracklins and fried peanuts. They (haven't actually had the cracklins yet but they're supposed to be like chicharones) are delicious. But you might have a couple of your cardiologist colleagues standing by at the party. If it aint deep fried it aint from down here.

Rode over the Atchafalaya river. Big, but not the Mississippi. We had to hang the bikes to get over that. No shoulders at all. Earlier in the day Ed Martin convinced us to do the same for three miles of a one lane bridge over a bayou. At first we felt bad about "cheating". A mile in, coming the other way was a truck towing a new single wide mobile home. If we had been walking, our only option would have been to go over the edge. Didn't feel bad after that.

Have made contact with the Rotarian, Jerry Fortino, who will host us for two days staring tomorrow in New Orleans. We will be leaving early tomorrow as we are heading to where the wind is coming from. Should be in our face the entire way there. Boy, there is a lot of water on the map. That Mississippi is everywhere through New Orleans.

Until tomorrow,


Day 31, Monday April 5, 2010

I hope this note finds everyone and their belongings in San Diego unharmed after the 7.2 quake you had last night. Just as I was calling Carol, Ed Martin comes busting in the room to announe the earthquake. I was able to tell Carol the magnitude before she knew. Heard you have had a few more since then. Hornung, is Costelas still standing in Holtville?

After a night in Dequincey in another flea-bag with my insect repellant we left under dark skies. Ed Martin got us up and going earlier than we had to this point. It was good that he did! Ed had two flats, requiring a tire replacement, too. I had one. Very unusual but the road ran the gambit today, with shoulders actually disappearing at times. Road kill everywhere. Mostly turtles. Sadly, many homeowners don't constrain their dogs and they would run out after us. We had no problems but every 50 miles we'd see a dead dog. We saw logging going on and their trucks filled the road. The logs were thinner than our stock in the Northwest. Haven't asked, but maybe being used for furniture??

Saw a celebrity at lunch. Story when I get home. The trains are still with us. There is a trench of water along the road on both sides. I have Carol checking with her sister and brother-in-law in Florida to find out exactly how far west gators/crocs have been spotted. Every time my right pedal goes down I worry.

The weather got much better and the trees along the road sheilded us from the wind. So, even with the flats we rode 81 miles into Opelousas, LA for a total of 1716. One month down and over 2/3 there. After showering I noticed that my belt fastened one notch thinner. That didn't last long as we went to the Evangeline Downs, Horseracing and Casino for dinner. It was a buffet in fine Cajun style. I'll end now as I roll over to my bed.

Thanks for your support,


Easter Sunday April 4, 2010

Hi Y'all,

We are in Dequincey, LA. On Saturday we rode some fill miles to keep from having to ride through Houston. The "day off" plague was with us again. After getting detailed instructions from two sources (the problem) we rode through some beautiful country side. Palacial homes/farms. A stampede of 25 head of cattle came at us at one point. There were lots of bikers out that day. There is a 150 miler over two days next w/e for charity that brought them out. We get to Fulshear and don't really know where we're going so we rode North to Hempstead, TX. All in all a beautiful day and ride in 88 degree weather... except that my hosts, Jim and Tracey Shaw failed to mention that it was the first day of bug season.

That night Chayo and Jim Huff treated us all to tickets to the Richmond Rotary Fund raiser fish fry/live and silent auction. It was held at the George Ranch in a barn. No. A Texas barn! It would cover the playing field at the "Q". Seriously. They raise $45,000 doing this with a 70 member club. They raise an equal amount selling BBQ'd turkey legs at the fair. I exchanged banners (theirs is in the mail) and pins with them and had a plenty of fish. Jerry. Another make-up. We were interviewed by two local magazines. We may get some ink.

We have been following the historical route through Texas, it turns out. Texas has been six different nations (Mexican, Confederate, French, Spanish, independent and US) before it became a state. For that reason the Texas flag is flown at the same height as the American flag. Only state to do this.

Today Ed Martin is at the wheel. Harvey is staying on in Houston enjoying a well deserved two day rest before he flies home Monday. We rode 56 for a total of 1,686. We ate in Beaumont, TX at a Whataburger. Onceaburger. Yuck. The roads are now in the midst of heavy woods. Pine cones on the side. Lots of water. When we got to the Sabin River we met Ed. Where is the border? This is it. There is no sign. Turn around. There was the "Welcome to Texas", but nothing for LA. Get into town. No beer sales on Sundays and most of restaurants are closed. Burger King. This is not looking good on my resume.

I hope y'all had a happy Easter. And, good bye to "y'all"


T9 to T13 Good Friday April 2, 2010

Well, it's been a long time since I have been able to check in because of computer problems or no Wi-Fi. So I will try to cover the days from last Monday to now.

Last Monday was a day off as is today. Monday we were in San Antonio at the Drury. Very nice, especially compared to what I will describe shortly that doubled for a motel Wednesday night in Eagle Lake. Ed serviced his truck. Then we toured the Alamo. It is smack dab in the center of town. Then down to the River Walk area where we were treated to lunch at Paesano's by a Boerne (pronounced Bernie) Rotarian. I met John Rogers because Chip Hayes took in his son while he was in San Diego. In addition, John said his club will be donating $100 to our Foundation. This is Rotary at work. I learned last night that Neil Finn, race director/owner of the AFC Half Marathon put a link to this site on his site that reaches 25,000. Thanks, Neil.

After lunch Ed treated us to a river barge trip. I highly suggest that you take this if you get the chance. Back at the motel, part of the price included three free drinks each night. Beer or wine. Another guest walked up and asked Jonathon what kind of wine he had. "white zinphony, merlott and cabernett", was his answer. We had beers.

Give us a day off and you have to retrain us. On Tuesday we rode 65/1417 from San Antone (our hosts, Jim and Tracy Shaw insist this is how the locals refer to it) to Gonzalez, the "Birthplace of the Texas Revolution". The problem was that we took wrong roads, twice. Big difference between 90 and 90 Alt. We made it and the riding is becoming more enjoyable as it is warming up, there are more small towns, animals and the smells of growing, mowing and farming. So many trains! Likewise, cemetaries.

Wednesday 67 into Eagle Lake, the goose hunting capital of Texas. En route we rode through Shiner. I have been enjoying their bock beer whenever possible. We were proud of Harvey for not stopping. We were told the night before that the brewery provided free samples. Going through town I see a store sign that reads, "Antiques, collectables and beer. Come in and drink while you shop." Now, this guy understands marketing! We had lunch in Luling. Harvey has developed a sixth sense about diners. He found this place only because there were pickup trucks in front of what looked like a house.

With about four miles to go I had my first flat. Jim Shaw had come out to meet us. Jim and I have known each other since the late '60s when we were both in the service. He has moved around a lot but we have always stayed in touch. We will be staying with he and Tracy for a couple of days while we change drivers. Ed Martin will be in tomorrow night.

Now, about the hole we stayed in in Eagle Lake. I took pictures because no one is going to believe this joint. The Sportsman Motel was falling apart, but the only game in town. I got out my insect repelent and sprayed the sink that was crawing with bugs. I sprayed the pink sheets and actually took the covers off first to check before climbing in. In the corners there were cob web "systems" with a spider (to borrow a line from Woody Allen) as big as a Buick. Twice during the night while visiting the bath I had to kill something on the floor. The entire!!! room had been sprayed with texture. The door handles, light swithches... No pole in the closet, a timer switch (sprayed) but to nothing. I told Jim that I wanted to sleep in his garage for a night and slowly work my way back to a real room.

Yesterday we rode only 44/1528 into Sugar Land. Went to a wild place last night called The Swingin' Door. Owned by a Rotarian we had Texas barbeque. Wow, did we eat! Today is Good Friday and things, including us, are slow. We hope to ride tomorrow and Sunday to keep on schedule.

Have a good Easter, y'all.


T8 Sunday March 28, 2010

Well, we're in San Antonio after a short 49 mile day. We're in high cotton here on the fourth floor a Drury Hotel. There's even a point on the TP.

A story from yesterday under the subject, "We're really not alcoholics. Really!" In Sabinal we hang the bikes up and are about to head back to Uvalde for the night because there is no place to have our obligatory beer after the day's ride. We decide to take a run through the two blocks that make up Sabinal. If we find a place then maybe we'll take a chance on one of the two flea bag motels on the edge of town. That would save 40 miles of driving, too. We turn off the highway into town. As we start down Main I espy a wooden building off to the right that is out of any western you've ever seen. It has the balcony out side with a bad guy at the window, I'm sure, with a rifle. Anyhow, I yell, "There, to the right. The Red Door Saloon." Harvey about tips the car over making the turn mumbling something about how could he have missed it. Well, I was off by, oh... just that. It was the Red Door Salon. Since none of us needed a manicure or our hair done we headed back to Uvalde.

The tip from Cary Grant yesterday was that it was all downhill from Hondo and our ride would be fast. His prediction turned to half-fast as there were plenty of hills and wind. But, after our ride yesterday on that road that can only be described as the pits-as it was just that-millions of pits, today was fun. And like Carol, smooth shoulders.

We have not seen other than a Ford or Chevy truck. Many sport these huge 2'' pipe over-grilles. I asked a driver about them and it is to protect you and the car from the many deer crossing the roads. Fireworks for sale everywhere in TX. Been away too long. San Antonio seems huge at a million four.Plan to see the Alamo and River Walk tomorrow on a day off. Will hook up with a local Rotarian. Their club is going to contribute to our cause.

Back on the road Tuesday.


T7 Saturday March 27, 2010

I am actually not typing this but am contained in a five gallon drum in a jellied/aspic state after the first 27 miles of road today. Ed has stuck a couple of wires into my goo and I am thinking this to you.

We rode 67 miles (total of 1,303) to Sabinal, TX and are back in Uvalde (Tree City, USA) for the night. Tomorrow into San Antonio. From there to Houston is 200 miles. Houston to New Orleans 350 and another 550 to the coast. After the first 27 the roads got better. It was 62 at the start and 86 when we got off. The wild flowers are in boom. They smell wonderful. We're seeing trees and animals.

We ate lunch in Uvalde at Ofelia's. I ordered a taco salad. It came with honey. The shell that looked like a tortilla was actually a sopapilla that could be eaten with honey after the salad. I, of course, tried it. Don't add this to the menu quite yet, Mike. The iced tea always has a choice of sweetened or not. The glass size is Texan and should come with a diving board.

We went out eat and went to Junkers. Last straw. Not another restaurant with 400 tvs, blasting CW music and... We found an oasis called Jack's Steak House down the road. Last night Carol was having steak in San Diego and I was having pasta in Applebee's. Yuk! Well, we had rib eyes round and a couple of bottles of cab. I also had five mile high chocolate cake. I'll be up all night. Call if you want to talk.

We had a great waiter, Cary (after Grant) Faulkner who knew San Antonio and points in between. This is rare. So we have places to see and eat for the 100 miles. When we mentioned Junkers he replied that it was sad that people here were putting ground glass into their gas tanks to blow the engine in order to qualify for Cash to Clunkers? government program.

Back out to Sabinal to start. I might go north. There is a sign at the (only) light in town showing Utopia 22 miles up the road. Always wondered where it was. Never figured Texas.

Talk to y'all later. They don't use this phrase outside of Texas, do they?


T6 Friday March 26, 2010

We're 20 miles east of Del Rio. 61 miles. Total 1,246. Passed Laughlin AFB. (Will. I never knew)

Went through the same border check point seven times in last 24 hours what with broken chains and all. I thought they were going to think we were smuggling bikes.

Old Business:Gave out three OTL programs on Thursday. Now down to 11 cases. Had a deep fried kosher dill pickle spear. Great with a ranch dip. Mike, put it on the menu. Had a question about Bag Balm. It's a product I heard about from other bikers. Dairy farmers use it on their hands to keep the skin soft. Consistency of tar, gold in color and it really works...on all body parts. I did away with the auto camera weeks ago. By now we'd have 500 shots of the "same" road. I have taken lots of pix, though. Road surfaces. Every county has their own paving. Which means that we have to continually find our groove, if at all. Riding the white line sometimes is the only place. They go from glass (rare) to corn cob. Waiving protocol. To other cyclists, high. To motorcycles, low, below the bars.

Not much today. As a friend of Ed's said, "Now you you know why God made West Texas. You will appreciate the rest when you get there."

Chip, John Rodgers and I are in contact. Will try to do something with their club but will probably miss their meeting on Wednesday. The are the 4th largest club in Rotary.


T4 and T5 March 24 and 25, 2010

Happy birthday to Amber who turned 21 yesterday...and who solved the Prada puzzle. She informed us that the Prada line is out of Marfa, Italy. I don't know where Levi-Strauss is headquartered.

"Top o' the world, Ma" (James Cagney. "White Heat". What year, Chip? 1938?) We were at the top. Having ridden up 650' we were at 4,688' in Marfa. The maps showed a constant drop all the way to Del Rio at 999'. We left that morning in perfect conditions on a road as smooth as glass. Expecting to stop in Alpine for luch we blew through there and were in Marathon for same. 46.6 miles in 2:22.

The night before in Marfa we met the only other two guests at the Riata Inn, Kim and Mary. They were enjoying a "fine" glass of wine (I won't reveal the size of the container). I gave them our card and explained what we were doing. As we left to have our mandatory post-ride beer we gave them an OTL program. We figured that was the last we'd see of them as they had probably gone screaming into the countryside after one look at the book. At dinner at the Paisano Hotel we saw them again. It was their friend that had the dog, Belle. Many of these towns have these magnificant hotels. We're guessing cattle,railroad or oil money built them. I hope they survive. The next day in Marathon we're just stopping for lunch when we run into them again. (They rep a company out of Denver that is opening in Dallas selling natural food products) First thing out of their mouth is a question of why they were not mentioned in our blog that night. I told them I covered Belle. "Exactly!", they say. So see the attached picture which will now make the famous...and maybe raise some money for our Rotary club's foundation!!!!

After lunch ($35 for three wraps) the stars aligned. The wind was behind us, Sanderson (pop. 866) was twice the size of Marathon, it was downhill and it would be exactly 100 miles when we pulled into "town". We did it. There were times when I was geared out-in my fastest gear-going uphill. Under five hours. Max speed over 34 with an average speed over 20.

Then the stars fell from the sky. Let's talk about the "town" of Sanderson. I knew we were in trouble when the recommended best place to eat was Dairy King (not queen). There was one bar and it did not open until 6:00. Other place to eat is the gas station. Sanderson is the Cactus Capital of TX. Another warning sign. No place eat breakfast...except the gas station. We got breakfast and lunch...to go, because there was nothing for 120 miles. The motel had no three pronged outlets. With rubber gloves I wouldn't have touched the bath mat and it took will power no to rewire the bathroom light switch so that the light goes on when flipped UP.

Today we started out on ups and downs. At 18 miles Ed's chain broke. In to the truck, 100 miles in to Del Rio, get it fixed, 100 back, ride 68 on rollers (starting at 2:00), quit at the Pecos river, start tomorrow to finish. We are a day ahead of schedule.

TPR. In Del Rio for two days. Where and when do they meet? Ran into Dennis and Howard and we exchanged banners. That's one.

If I had a ladder I could see Dallas. See y'all (Oh, no. I've said it.) tomorrow.


Day 18 (T-3) Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You will notice the T-3 in the subject line. We're into day 18 but day three of riding in Texas. Before we left someone asked how long will it take you to get across Texas. I said 16 days, to which he replied, "It will seem twice as long". We are on Chicago time now, two hours later than San Diego. The sun doesn't know this as it doesn't come up until 8:00 and go down 'til after that at night.

After the ride yesterday I had a Bag Balm butt night. After breakfast at Papa's Cafe (thinking of you Amber, Rosie and Callie) we started on that same miserable road out of Van Horn this morning in the cold. I think it is the 25 grit sandpaper of highways. We left 4,747' and went up most of the was into winds at us from ten o'clock direction. We ended five miles south of Marfa, TX with 65 miles today and a total of 1,015. It is 75 miles from Van Horn to Marfa. The only other town along the way is Valentine. Population 215. There is nothing as far as the eye can see. About half way along on the side of the road there is a brand new stucco display building. Big glass windows. On the front is Marfa. Below is Prada. In side the cases are three ahndbags on the right and three shoes? on the left. Never saw a store in town. Go figure.

En route it was "meet other bikers" day. First we meet Jeff. He, too, is riding the Southern Tier. This refers to Adventure Cycling's organization and maps. They first organized a ride across country in 1976 to commemerate our bi-centenial. Since then they have produced dozens of routes. Next, I thought the heat was getting me. Coming at me were Dan and Steven... on roller blades. They were out 2,000 miles on their way to San Diego raising money to defeat two diseases. Then, Hal and his son on bikes. Like the others they were doing the Southern Tier.

We stopped in Marfa at Carmen's for lunch. Turns out that Rotary meets there on Thursdays. I left cards and a note. Took a picture of me ringing their bell. I consider this a make-up. Jerry, I expect to see the appropriate credit on my bill. South of town was the Starlight Winerey (Luz de Estrella) with a shut sign and cattle grazing out front. Back in town we stopped at Padres that was in a time warp. Great story, though. Then on to the Paisano Hotel. Beautiful. Had a wonderful dinner and they had a wine list. Amazing for a town of 2,500. Gordon called just as I was in a mad embrace with Belle (a Pug/Boxer mix). Man, I miss my animals. Have only seen a couple of dogs so far. But then there are not many people and/or towns. We were told that Lance Armstrong has a place here.

Until manana, thanks for your support.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Fortunately I packed a head band before I left. When we started the truck this morning the mirror read, "34 and ice" The lady at the Sands Restaurant ("The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" was filmed there) said we just missed snow on Saturday. On the way back from breakfast we ran into Dennis and Howard. These are the two that Carol and I hosted before Dennis left on his ride across for polio representing his Rotary club in MO.

With my ears and eyebrows covered we were ready. The bagometers were registering zero. Oh, new term. Besides the billion beer bottles along our route there seems to be a plethora of discarded plastic bags. These get stuck in the bushes along side the road. After they are shredded they make great wind socks. We can tell the wind direction from them. Since there are no towns that might have flags fying we rely on our bagometers.

Back out to 50 miles west of Van Horn to start on more "Road Runner" roads paved a la Cleveland style. When I was growing up in Cleveland... ah, I can remember the days... Ahem. Back there they pave the roads by laying down a layer of tar, spread pea gravel and roll it in. Makes for a great road, especially in Cleveland where rains a little, but for us it was vibrate city. We rode 64 miles to 14 south of Van Horn on the way to Marfa.

Rode through Sierra Blanca (there was a white moutain range there) and the entire town was "closed". Every store was shut and rotting. Burned out tractor trailers along the side of the road.

Washing the car and clothes. Gotta go.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

After breakfast at a Denny's Diner (it had a pay phone which makes it an authentic diner) we left El Paso en route to Van Horn,TX. Is El Paso the car capital of the world? Never seen so many dealers. One Ford dealership had to be bigger than nearby Fort Bliss. I want to address the "Bates Motel" but it would take paragraphs. Wait until we're home.

Our guest contributor last night was my partner, Ed. We both blog most nights. If you would like a double dose of the day's ride ask Ed to be added to his list. <edwardott@yahoo.com>

It was 42 degrees when we started this am. The road was superb and our route is a little changed from the loaded map. We are following the Rio Grande down and then following I-10 into Van Horn. After that we will be back on track. Went through pecan orchards, some flooded. This is the first we have seen canal irrigation since the Imperial Valley. Ate at Angie's Restaurant in Fort Hancock. Population 1,500 and half were there. Some of the locals help themselves and even came by our table to see if they could refill our drinks. Some towns were so small...that the arrival of the three of us raised the population by one third in one case and 20% in another.

Harvey had his first screw-up today. We were supposed to meet him at and he missed the town of Tornillo. Tornillo means screw in Spanish. Get it? Screw-up? I've got a million of 'em. I can hear Amber, Rosie and Callie now. "Yeah, Papa, and they're all bad". Went out through some beautiful farm lands. Then into Van Horn another dying town. (71 miles today and a total of 886.) Most everything is out of business except the motels...and Chuy's. Stopping at the only place that was open we were honored to enter the John Madden Haul (not a typo) of Fame. Evidently he stopped there to catch a game and put the place on the map. Rotary meets at Chuy's on Tuesdays at noon. I left some of my cards. We ride out that morning.

Hasta manana.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Here we are in lovely? El Paso. We actually slept in today, until 7:30 AM as we did not ride. We took ace driver # 1 Tempe over to the airport about 10AM after breakfast and hung around until about 11:15 when ace driver #2, Harvey arrived. Then we went to the other end of town and got my bike out of the Trek Shop. The head tube was making noise and had to be repacked. I also got a new bike computer as my old one was acting funny. This one has no altitude function so no more about how far we have climbed.

On the way back we stopped at the Camino Real Hotel and had a drink. We had it about the same time as our good buddy Chuck Mellonbah'S service was being held at Mission Bay and we can only say" Him, Him, Bless Him". After that we came back, got the bikes clean for tomorrow, and settled in at Las Trancas for a beer and Smokey's BBQ pit and Saloon for some good ribs. We are out of here tomorrow going sort of south east instead of due east and should be in Van Horn in two days.

A quiet day and not much happened. The picture is the Lounge area of the Camino Real Hotel, purported to be one of the 10 best bars in the world, with Bill and Harvey at the bar.

Once again thanks to Tempe! We have never been so closely attended to on the road. Hope you got back OK. Pray for a following wind again.

Bill & Ed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We had the wind behind us on a perfect road. Went 53 miles in less than three hours into El Paso. Now at 815 miles. Be careful of what you ask for. Now we're in a big city and for the first time in a long time we are seeing trees (if an illegal were crawling up from Mexico he could easily be seen for the lack of vegatation), chain stores, car lots, the Rio (not so) Grand, people and... traffic jams, noise, waiting lines, high prices. All in all the contrast is a great part of the experience. I hope I'll remember how to act around city folks.

We looked through the motel book for a place to eat. Seems it's either steak or Mexican. We ended up at the Cattle Baron's. Finally "red and white" was not the answer to "what kind of wine do you have?" We split abottle of '07 J. Lohr Cab. Catfish and okra still on a lot of the menus. (Mike) And, no kidding, the waitress and bar tendress both were saying "y'all". No breakfast tomorrow. Did you know that antlers fall off each year while horns do not. See, this trip is not without educational growth value.

Best street name: Sock and Shoe Road. Off north side of 9 a couple of days back. After I pronounced it I thought maybe it was a cover for an Indian name. What do you think?

We're off tomorrow. Changing drivers and Ed's bike is in the shop for minor repairs. Thanks for all your notes and support. We're about a third of the way there.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

On St. Pat's day we rode 84 miles from Douglas to west of Hachita, NM. We crossed the continental divide at 4520'. Did you know that there are two? On our ride across the top we crossed both. One is the one we all know where the water run-off divides. The other is the geographical center of the USA. Today we rode 69 miles to 10 miles past Columbus, NM. We are up in Deming for the night. Tomorrow into El Paso, TX where we will change out drivers. Bob Templeton has been great. We are going to let Harvey Stewart know this. Ed Martin will come in in Houston.

The road has been very good and the wind finally ended up at our backs by the end of today. Still in the mountains but it is rolling now at this altitude. I call the roads here and in AZ "road runner" roads. Remember the Road Runner cartoon? Wylie Coyote steps up to the side of the highway with his Acme road runner trap. He looks in both directions and can see 500 miles. He steps on to the road and..."meep, meep" he gets flattened. Our roads have been like that except that is virtually no traffic. There is nothing out here. Beautiful vistas of mountain rings around you but nothing. Every couple of miles it says to look out for water. The last 400 miles and we have seen none. We're at 762 miles now.

I was telling Carol last night that I miss the social interaction. I miss her, the kids, animals, Rotary, OMBAC, office associates. Our best friends are the Border Patrol agents. They stopped us the first day and told us to be carful because the route we are on bumps against the Mexican border. They are every five miles and we chat with them often. Outside of them there is only the ocassional waitress. When I get to a Rotary meeting I'm going to stay until everyone has told me their life story. Ed said yesterday that there is probably one head of cattle for every 1000 square miles. Also we're compiling a list of towns that we visited that don't exist. Lot of time to think up things while riding.

Rode for awhile today with another biker, Andrew. 30 years old and packing his gear on his bike. Nice chatting with him. Still very cold in the morning but was 75 at 6:00pm.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When last we visited we had just gotten into Tucson (where Arco regular is $2.599). A day of rest on Sunday and, oh boy, Monday. We headed East out of Sahuarita into WIND. It took us two hours to go 16 miles. We climbed 2600' to Sonoita at 4985' and finished 16 miles short of Tombstone at 61 miles. Staying at the Lookout Lodge we went into town for our required beer. Using the first bar on the right method we walk into the Six Gun Saloon that is off the beaten path. All we wanted was a cold beer. The next thing I know we're in the middle of a gunfight at the OK coral. Soon after we're talking to Wyatt himself who assured us that the only thing that Earp shot that day was someone's horse. And on and on... Finally somebody asked for his photo and we made our escape. After Big Nose Kate's and the Crystal Palace we ate at Nellie Cashman's. She was quite the lady from her bio on the menu. Her food didn't live up, though.

Today we rode into even worse wind. We went 25 miles in three hours. We were headed East on Davis to get to Douglas where we are tonight. Seven miles on Davis we passed three riders who were off their bikes because of the wind. When we talked to one fellow (our age) riding a one-speed (we have 27 gears) and the conversation went to how the early settlers up here went crazy (especially the women) because of the constant howling of the wind we acted. We proposed, passed and enacted Rule 65 (Windmill Rule). Moments later we passed Rule 68 that says we never have to reveal what Rule 65 says. After two days of riding in your lowest ring, deafing wind in your face (imagine driving to LA with your head out the window), and your nose is the only thing running fast we made a change. Hmmmm?

We ended with 64 miles today. Tomorrow off to New Mexico. Interesting to note that we have ridden 609 miles and the truck is approaching 1300 miles.

A closing observation. I took the boys to the great Gadsden Hotel where Carol had taken me years before. It is a grand old building with marble columns and a set of flairing steps that enter the lobby starting up one floor from beneath a whole wall of beautiful stained glass windows. One of my goals is to tap dance down those steps some day. But, I digress. What I have seen are towns dying. Gila Bend, Holtville, and Douglas, among others. We were the only ones in the restaurant. There were only six rooms taken in this five story masterpiece. They told us that employees are working part time, if at all. What a shame...and why?

Thanks for all your support. Have yet to get to a Rotary meeting but am hoping to soon.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Well, today was going to be a short one just to make it into Tucson. 26 miles. I failed to mention that we climbed 1,000' on Thursday and 2,000' yesterday. So I put on the Rotary colors and off we went. Coming into town saw great shoulders and bombing runs. I have mentioned the numerous grave sites along the roadside. Today there was one complete with a chrome spoked wheel and tire on a pedestal.

Once in town we eat at Kool Torta. With all the Mexican places to eat here we figured we could not go wrong. Wrong! After lunch we went south toward the snow caps ending in Sahuarita. During the ride we rode under fighter jets landing at Davis Monthan AFB. It's runway is parallel to Tucson Int'l. and right next door.

Then we stopped at the TREK store. My odometer was malfunctioning again. $162.00 later I had a new odometer (one  more electronic device I have to master), saddle and repaired front bearings. So glad that Ed needed to stop there. Turns out that the saddle I bought a few days back for $20 was like the fine $5 bottle of zin; worth every cent of it. Before leaving we asked the mechanic to get in a picture with us. One of the other employees got in line to shoot a picture, too. He was the TREK webmaster. When he saw my Rotary shirt he told of how Rotary helped him with funding to study in Russia.

We are ordering Chinese in tonight and we're off tomorrow. Maybe pix tomorrow.






Thursday, March 11, 2010

When I last checked in we were in the dying town of Gila Bend. We have to have a beer at the end of each ride. We found only one joint with "bar" written in four foot high letters. Turns out that it was the only one in town. There used to be five. Most of the restaurants (3) don't serve alcohol either. Times are so bad that they all have sold their liquor licenses to other places in the county. We stayed in the Space Age Motel (Rotary does not meet there I found-even though our shingle is hung outside) which is the same place where they must have filmed My Cousin Vinney. A train rumbled by the back of our room every hour.

Off to Ajo and points East. Ajo is garlic in Spanish. Thinking of you Rob and Ann-Shirley. By the way, besides the border patrol, no one down here has ever heard of Canada. Ajo reminded me of San Ysidro because there were so many Mex-insurance stores. It is the cut-off to Punta Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico.

Went through the Goldwater Air Force Range. Bob said he saw two Warthogs dive down, straife, pull up and seconds later the ground showed their hits. Then into the Tohono O'Odham Indian Reservation. Some of the names I saw looked like someone reached into a scrabble bag and tossed a hand full of tiles up on a sign. So much trash along the road. Many grave site markings. Some quite elaborate. A coyote ran across the road not five feet in front of me. The next day two tiny burros ran along side of me for a half mile. Not much outside of ocotillo, cholla and saguaro cactus and La Migra (border patrol-we've ridden through three so far). They have a tower with cameras and seating facilities...on wheels. There is not much out there. Including places to stay.

We finished Thursday at 81 miles, 11 miles west of Quijotoa. I think this means "spot on road". We rode 65 miles yesterday to about 25 miles short of Tucson which we will do this morning. So that is 146 miles but we had to drive 100 miles into Tucson to stay and 100 miles out the next morning to get the 65. Stayed at a Motel 6 Thursday night . We ate at the El Minuto over my strong protest. Clinton ate there.

Now we are at the home of friends of mine, Steve and Mary Mashek in Oro Valley. This is a northeast suburb. We arrived to cold beer and wine, a jacuzzi and best of all, laundry facilities. Torrey Pines Rotarians: we are going to a store called Total Wine Sunday for a wine tasting. Ten cents a glass.

On that note I will sign off. We plan to take tomorrow off...or ride a short way out of town. Ooh, have to go. Steve says there is a javalina? in the back yard. They look (and smell) like pigs but are actually the largest of the rodent family, I was told. Motel 6 is looking better.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Coming to you from Gila Bend and it has been a gilaof a trip so far.

On Monday I wrapped my arms around Carol and got aa warm kiss. I grabbed Lucy by the ears, got a cold-nosed Eskimo kiss with lick. I was ready.

We left under cloudy skies and rain. We stopped for breakfast at the La Posta Diner. You have to go there to see the clock "perform" on the hour, if for nothing else. I have a picture of the owner's pet that says it all. Later.

Started late at 1:00 in Holtville. Rode to just shy of Yuma. Back to Holtville to stay with friends. Met at a bar in the middle of the fields. Grilled outside. Steak, whiskey flavorred sausage, elk, chicked and special clams with chilis inside.

Next day we eat in town and drive back to where we stopped. High winds and bad roads. We rode 31 on Monday and 55 on Tuesday. We are hopscotching around trying to find roads. Stopped in Welton. Drove back to Yuma and north to Martinez Lake. Stayed with another friend by the Yuma proving Grounds. Today we could hear/feel the ordinance going off. In-laws from Oregon were nearby and joined us for a drink.

Today started with nice tail winds over good road. Then... we ran out of road, ran into a wash across our path and had to turn back and finally went north to go up and around for a route into Gila Bend. We stopped at a, no, the only corner store in Hyder. The lady in the back got out a pack of ham nad made three sandwiches. A grader pulled up to wash its windows. I asked him how the road was into Gila Bend. It is dirt in two miles. I just gradded it. It's all rocks. We turned right and back down to the I-8. 81 miles today.

OK. It's geography lesson time. Take out your pencils. Turn them over and erase the towns of Noah, Mohawk, Kofa and Horn. They are all on the map but not there. We rode into them??? and nothing. No signs, buildings...

As I sign off, we are staying at the Space Age Best Western next to the Space Age restaurant (where Rotary meets). What is in this area that we should know about?



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Greetings from Martinez Lake:

We are staying with Bill Kreder in Martinez Lake AZ. This is a very short update on our progress for the first few days of our epic ride. We came to Holtville on Monday and actually rode a little. However, we found the worst road in the world to ride. It was called the Evan Hewes Hwy. (AKA the Bad Bad Leroy Brown road) Why? Because it looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of pieces gone. The wind was fierce behind us and we rode fast but lost fillings and feeling.

We stayed with Mike Hornung in Holtville and had a great barbeque at Costelas. The next day we rode out past Yuma and came back to Kreder's. We are now 218 miles into the trip and tomorrow we will try to get close to Gila Bend AZ. This message is brief because it is not on our computer and it has taken 1/2 hour to type this much. More soon, Bill & Ed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hi all,

First, thanks to the Chevaliers for the great send off...and pledges on Thursday. I wish I could  have imbibed a little more (especially Don's '94 Chateau neuf de Pape), but next time.

Thanks to Max for getting the article in today's U-T. My phone has been ringing off the hook. The first call (at 7:30) also pledged $.50/mile.

We got in the saddle about 8:45 on Thursday. Ken and Mary were there to snap some photos. I should have taken one of them in their matching sweats and Rotary hats. Only in Ocean Beach could you run into a kid in shorts asking where we were going and say, "Oh yeah, I did that ride".

On Thursday, starting with our wheels in the ocean we rode 51 miles to Pine Valley at 4,100' in five hours. On Friday we rode 78 miles to Holtville at below sea level and also in five hours.

Thursday: A day made for riding. Sun, no wind to speak of and traffic at a minimum. First bug swallowed at five miles. Ate lunch at Janet's Montana Cafe in Alpine. The Bread Basket was out of business.  After lunch we started climbing again. (Thinking of you Rob) We had just ground up this steep grade. Ed said that was a !!! From over my shoulder I hear, "There' one more coming". I make friends with Dave Neilson. We ride along for a while when I notice that his fingers don't show on his handle bar. Then I notice that he has no fingers on either hand and he 's wearing a prosthesis on his left leg. When I asked him if it was congenital, he replied that it wasn't inherited, just bad luck. Now that's a great attitude.

Friday: Starting at 44 degrees (finishing at 77) we had hills, horse manure, La Posta Diner in the middle of nowhere on old Hgwy 80 where I want to eat some day,empty towns, a junk yard where I would love to rummage, ten miles of road after lunch that I renamed the Duane Eddy Hgwy. (remember his hit, Forty Miles of Bad Road?), lunch at a joint in Ocotillo that defies description and a finish beer at Don and Fae's Gold Mine. The scariest part of the  ride was our try at going down the I-8 grade. With high winds warning signs we started down. We made three miles before calling Bob to get us. I thought at one point I was going to be blown off the hill and I was almost at a standstill with one foot out of my clips. So we owe the course seven miles. I don't care. I could swear that I saw Dorothy, Toto and a witch on a bike blow by.

And lastly, Gordon, (heh, heh, heh) I have only been riding for ten hours and I have a dozen ways to roast you in June. Be worried. Be very, very worried.