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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home Like Lord Rama

FINALLY! He's home, resting, and "eating like a Witterholt." Having ridden 2400+ miles, and with a weary exterior, he crossed our threshold at 8:30 p.m. He actually arrived in Denver in the early afternoon, but got lost on the Cherry Creek bike trail. Of course, if you're a guy and you ask for directions, vital parts start falling off, so when I called him at 6, he said he was lost but on his way.

He knocked on the door and we rushed to greet him. When he came in the apartment, it was like he had been here all along. Our daughter talked his ear off for about an hour before collapsing and she's been spending a lot of time with him today. He'll be adding to the blog soon, and the bestselling cycle adventure novel will come out before you know it.

My Bollywood West Dance teacher, Renu, pointed out that Ed came home during the first days of Diwali, and that's very lucky for us. Apparently, it's a holiday of new beginnings, returning and eating sugary treats. Sounds like our kind of party.

His welcome home meal consisted of a whole Domino's pizza and ice water. I tried to do something special, but he said, "Just get me a pizza and let me sleep in a real house for once." Nuff said.

Here's Ed by the new car, bringing the bike into the house and saying hey to the guinea pigs, who missed him terribly, also. StoLat, Ya'll.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Heading Home

At left is a picture from the Alaska ferry that never got posted. De-Luxe accomodations!

Ed wanted to give a shout-out to the guys at Fine Edge Ski, Cycle and Fitness in Laramie, WY. Apparently they had one younger guy and one older guy who offer gear advice, philosophical discussion and tires. Ed says they were very "diplomatic and respectful" while chastising him about his previous tire choices.

Since there is not a lot between Laramie and Fort Collins, Ed's in for a thrasher ride. He's hoping to arrive by 3:30 for the Obama rally at CSU, but he may not make it. I'm not saying anything else, except that anyone who's entered a guess about Ed's arrival in Denver may be a little off.

And, to answer the other FAQ, there won't be a party or a finish line. I tried, but a) he's a bit of a 'don't pay attention to me' kind of guy and b) it's hard to predict a time when he'll arrive. I hate to ask a bunch of people to just stand around. My kid's iPod can only entertain two people at a time, max.

So, as with his departure, the arrival will be low-key. And there will be garbage for him to take out. Don't forget to enter your guess about day and time of his arrival. When he sees his family is what we'll count.


Friday, October 24, 2008

WY so Windy?

This is the text I got from him yesterday: All good but beat. Altitude and crosswinds. Eat sleep now. Will call Fri.

Poor thing. He's on his way to Cheyenne and it sits at over 7000 feet. The good news is that it's all downhill to Denver. Apparently the Wyoming wind is something of legend. Several of my coworkers have experienced the WY wind at one time or another.

I still want to plan a celebration for Ed, even though he's not into those kinds of gatherings. Maybe I should set up a virtual finish line or online video of him riding to collapse in our apartment parking lot.

What will probably happen? He'll show up at my office asking, "Hey - where do we live?" I'll give him a key and he'll go home to make dinner.

On Wednesday, I started a to-do list for him - top of the list is figuring out our polling place.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Case You Wondered What He Ate

Have you made your prediction yet about when he will arrive in Denver? Leave a comment about the day and time he will roll in (when he sees his family is the time we'll count).

Last night, he was in Casper, but the next couple of days will be tough. Uphill and gaining altitute to peak in Cheyenne, I think.

Oh, and for you bike freaks out there: He doesn't really eat breakfast, but has "bike food" along the way (GU and PowerBars). Then has a good dinner. He said he will break with tradition tomorrow and have breakfast in the same cafe as last night's dinner, only because they seem to have the small-town diner thing down: Good food and good service with a lot of locals packed in. Strange how that's not been his experience until now (except for that couple in Canada, who threw in the jokes).

"I'm nerve-cited about seeing you guys," he said yesterday. Nerve-cited is the term our kid came up with before a big presentation in 2nd grade. Nervous + excited = nerve-cited.

Make those predictions now - there could be a prize waiting for you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shoshoni Crosswinds

Moving right along, Ed made it from Thermopolis to Shoshoni, only to be stopped by hideous crosswinds that actually frightened him. And that's saying a lot.

He described the winds as rattling the bike, tearing at his windbreaker and scaring the stuff out of him. But, being the stubborn Polack he is, Ed trudged on.

"I thought I could hide under a rock if things got too bad," he said. "But as I rode further I really looked at the landscape around me. No ****ing rocks anywhere in sight." There went that plan.

"There was road, dirt and wind - that's it," he continued. "So I rode back to Shoshoni and got a cheap room at the Desert Inn Motel, did my laundry at the Desert Inn Laundromat and got my dinner at the Desert Inn Cafe."

He added that the crosswinds continued in town, rocking both the hotel walls and the laundromat structure. My only question was: What was he laundering? He has the Sooner bike jersey and kit, and maybe one other set of clothes? Hmmm....

He hopes to ride out of Shoshoni today and continue to Casper, which involves going east but not very south. After that is some other town, Laramie, Fort Collins and Denver.

More pictures from the road now:

They are: The fender falls off, the fender has a proper funeral, Close Encounters of the Bike Kind, and a little pit stop to fix a flat


StoLat, ya'll.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dinosaurs and Turnip Trucks

Besides going 2000 miles officially, Ed had another fine moment:

"I literally saw something fall off a turnip truck," Ed told me yesterday.

It was, of course, a turnip, but it was HUGE. He described the large dangerous vegetables poised delicately on the top of the pile, then the truck turned and the turnips rolled off and threatened to crush crazy bike riders.

"The lesson here is to keep clear of them - they will mess you up," he warned. Now that he's seen the turnip truck, they are apparently everywhere in Wyoming. It must be the second largest cash crop or they actually use turnips as local currency because they are all over the road, so threatening with their precarious truck placement. Oh, he also saw the world's largest pile of potatoes:

Last night, he made it to Thermopolis, a huge dinosaur remain capital. The dinosaurs were big shots there but since there were no tourists, they died out. There's a pretty good museum there and Ed talked the manager into letting him roll the bike in for a few pictures:

And here are more pictures to keep us honest:

They are from top: Outside the "Biker Bar", a beautiful corn field, and the continental divide at night.


Tomorrow: More pictures!

Monday, October 20, 2008

In Wyoming as a Lucky One

Only one more state to go until Ed is home and able to take out the garbage and fix the squeaky refrigerator door. After this epic ride, I think he needs more mundane things to do, don't you?

Once he gets to town, he may have a greater challenge ahead than biking almost 2000 miles - finding a steady job. Actually, no one needs to worry about that. He's always had work, including a temp job roasting and glazing hams during the holiday rush at Honeybaked Hams the winter before we moved to Alaska. This guy will do anything to support his family in the manner to which we've become accustomed.

Still, we are extremely lucky:
  1. We sold our house in Alaska within 30 days of listing it AND made a profit
  2. I have a great job in Colorado
  3. We're all in good health
  4. Ed is making the trip of a lifetime and having a marvelous time

Maybe I shouldn't tempt fate by listing my good fortune, but I do it only to acknowlege that others are not as lucky as us and we totally get that. And I do think it has more to do with luck than anything. Hard work can only take you so far. There's no other rational explanation, besides what CNBC or FOX News have to say about it.

We're all guessing about when Ed will finally arrive in Denver, but there will be a special prize to the person who names the date AND time he arrives at the final stop. Leave your guess in the comments and whoever is closest will win.

Over the next couple of days, I'll be putting together a finish line (not sure where) and getting the garbage ready for him. Maybe I'll set up a ramp so he can take his bike off some sweet jumps - LUCKY!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Map link only

I have a cold that's kicking me all day - so I just have energy to post the map link and tell you all that Himself will be in Wyoming tomorrow or Monday.


See ya - and hopefully more pictures soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Continental Divide

The weather question was answered yesterday: He is ahead of or missing snow everywhere he goes. He's seen it on the sides of the road, though and he said it's breathtaking, but so far not a hindrance.

Just a few days ago, he crossed the Continental Divide and was heading toward some switchbacks when he got his first flat tire of the entire trip! He changed the tire and started up the hill.

Then he got ANOTHER flat while riding uphill. His only recourse was to stop every few yards and pump up, since there wasn't a convenient place to change out the tire on the switchbacks. His plan was to stop and camp up at the top, but some loud crazy people with pickup trucks parked in the canyon below and proceeded to whoop and holler for a solid half hour, thus spoiling the pristine silence. He trudged on and camped in a much quieter place.

That place was Lewis and Clark State Park, which was technically closed for winter. However, in the spirit of "better to ask forgiveness than permission" and "my bike can fit through that measly gate", Ed rode on. He described a serene, still landscape with snow on either side of a perfectly clear road. He rode alone through the park and camped out on the other side.

He told me last night that he rode about 1000 miles from Anchorage to Haines and another 1000 miles from Bellingham to the Continental Divide. That just gives you a little perspective on the distance he has gone. Next up: Near Billings, Montana, and hopefully more pictures. Meanwhile:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pedaling a little faster

Don't know if anyone's noticed, but he's making excellent time. There's been a delay in postings because I've been visiting his parents in Tulsa . Every morning, his dad prints out the Google map and gives it to his mother. Annie has a folder with all the printouts so she can see the amazing progress her son has made. And then she doesn't really want to talk much about it, since she's still worried about him.

Apparently, the folks at the Adventure Cycling Association were very helpful and Ed was able to get a clear plan for the route. The number one question now is - will he be ahead of the weather?

My dad has a few links to weather sites, but as Ed's sister said, "Why is it you can ask any man any time what the weather is anywhere, and THEY KNOW?" Beats me, but in a case like this, I'm glad my man knows the weather. Not that he ever does anything about it...

Here are the last two map links:

Don't know what these are, but they're interesting. StoLat, ya'll.

Monday, October 13, 2008

About 12 more days

Now that Ed's had a chance to go to the Adventure Cycling group and get routes, maps and advice, he's listed the places he will be for the next few weeks:
Butte [Continental Divide]
almost but not quite Billings
Lovel Wy
Medicine Bow
Fort Collins Co

For now, he's uploading pictures in Missoula and enjoying the college atmosphere.


And a few pictures to take us out:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Best mullet ever

I'm waiting for more details about the best mullet ever. Apparently, Ed experiened this yesterday when he was still in Idaho. According to Ed, it was "glorious."

Today, he's in Montana and has made a deal with the hotel for a late check-out. Why? Um, because it's OU-Texas and he needs a comfortable place to watch the game, unencumbered by unnecessary conversation or Longhorns.

As for me, I'll be at O'Connell's, an OU institution. My mom, sister, nephew and daughter are going, too. This is the first OU-Texas game in 14 years of marriage that I have not watched it with Ed. He promised to text me during the game, though.

Here's the link and hopefully I'll get more pictures soon.



Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Honest Hobo

After passing through Spokane, Ed is now in Idaho! He's in another state. When I talked to him this morning, he said he had only a few goals for the next two days: 1. Survive the head winds and 2. "Find a place that has cable to watch the OU-Texas game."

That boy still has the right priorities about things. Evelyn and I will be heading to Oklahoma to watch with our redneck bretheren and to visit Ed's parents.

Today, he was at a diner and a 5-year-old girl offered to let him "use" her pumpkin on his table. She laid out the ground rules though, "It's just a pumpkin for looking at." I guess she felt he needed a little fall decoration with his Salisbury Steak. After he promised her he wouldn't alter it or eat it, she allowed him to look at the pumpkin while he ate. Sometime during our conversation, she asked for it back. Honest kid...

As he was leaving a convenience store, he had a conversation with a loitering "crazy guy." Not fun at a party crazy, but hide your sharp stuff crazy. But, he had the good character to be honest about things. Ed was impressed with the man's ability to go off subject in the most random tangential way imaginable, yet when he didn't know the answer to something, he said, "I don't know." Honest hobo...

I asked Ed how he made it so far in one day - No headwinds. However, he anticipates more tomorrow, which will only affect where he watches the game.

Oh, and he has now officially gone 1000 miles. Where is he now?

Some Trustafarians playing hackey sack on the ferry.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Raising awareness

Yesterday, a woman asked me if Ed was riding to "raise awareness" of anything. He has said before that the Cause is "freedom from wage slavery" or "my sanity" but riding to make people more aware of something is a bit different.

Personally, I would think people could be more aware of a lot of things:
  • Energy use
  • Slow vacations
  • Biking for fun and profit
  • Deliberate living
  • Making something happen rather than just talking about it

All of these things are exemplified by Ed's mancation ride extravaganza.

Energy use: For years when we first moved to Alaska, we only had one car. Ed rode his bike most days and one winter he commuted via bike every day. That's right- in the ALASKA winter, he rode his bike. And, he wasn't the only one!

Slow vacations: Take your time. Don't worry about seeing a lot, but seeing deeply. You can do this on a bike. Or in a car or boat or whatever. It's not about the mode of transport, it's about what you do when you get there.

Biking for fun and profit: This one we're still working on, but I think Ed would be a good bike rep / bike parts inventor or something. Or a beta-tester for bicycle-based inventions like self-charging head lamps or bike-powered toaster ovens - I'm just saying...

Deliberate living: This was actually part of our wedding vows because we both believe so strongly about it. Do things ON PURPOSE and WITH PURPOSE whenever you can. Riding your bike through the Yukon qualifies for deliberate. No one does that by accident.

Make something happen: Ed survived cancer a long time ago - 10-1/2 years ago to be exact. To say that it doesn't color every decision we make now would be a lie. We both support each other in what sometimes seem like rash decisions or jumping on gut instincts. Why? Because you never know. As my friend Shirley said at her 60th birthday party, "Growing old is a privilege denied to many." What are you waiting for?


For my Hebrew peeps, have an easy fast tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back at it

Did anyone notice he stayed at El Diablo (that's Spanish for fighting chicken or something) Lake yesterday and today he's at Twisp? The weird place names are back and I think he's found a theme.

At left is an "owl on a stick" - love that picture. Please be assured that Ed is respectful of wildlife, but if they get in his way before a big football game, he will charge (see the post about Boomer and the Bear). Since this weekend is OU-Texas, I'm just giving fair warning to those animals in the Pacific Northwest who have internet access - MOVE!!!

The ride from Cascades Park to Twisp was fraught with headwinds (another theme) and a lot of mountain passes. He's encountering snow again but not on the roads too much. Today he heads to Grand Coulee Dam (about 100 miles away). He is at the fork in the road, so he will take it.

Here's a plug for our sponsor (pay up, already!) with logo on the Alaska ferry.


Gotta go- early start today.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home stretch - sort of

Can't write long - the daughter has to be at school early today to broadcast the lunch menu, fact of the day, opening prayer, and the Israeli national anthem.

Ed has made it to Cascades National Park in Washington. He must have meant it when he said he was ready to ride again! He did tell me his tentative plan from there to Missoula:

From North Cascades National Park, he'll head to Twisp (not to be confused with Qwisp cereal), then South to Grand Cooley dam and maybe toward Spokane. From there, Sand Point, Idaho, and on to Missoula, Montana.

Oh, and his description of the ride from Bellingham to Sedro Wooley - "Basically a lot of llama farms and dairy farms. You could tell the real farms from those bought by doctors for 'fun' by the cars parked out front - truck for real, Volvo for 'llama investors'."


And a few pictures:

Wild Beasts tamed by pepper spray.

The view from the back of the ferry.

World's largest gold pan.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


He's back on land after the five-day ferry journey, hanging out with Pete and Sandra, cousins from Portland, Oregon. Thanks a big bunch to Pete for uploading a TON of pictures via a high-powered FTP. I think Ed was swearing off technology at some point, having to sign up for 30-minute increments at public libraries with turtle speed uploads or hotel lobby free computers with limited picture features. For the next few posts, I'll be able to show lots of pictures, some from the early days of travel that are just stunning.


After exiting the ferry Friday morning, Ed rode to Sedro Wooley, WA, which he believes is linked somehow to a character from "Chico and the Man" (for you whipper snappers, that was an awesome show in the '70s starring Freddie Prinze). An extensive search for this connection could not be found, but if you find one, you win a cookie.

Now that he's gotten a little more organized for the last half of the trip, he's plotted a rough outline of his course. This is, of course, barring any detours, scenic routes and plain laziness. We're hoping he gets to Denver by the third week of October.

After Sedro, he'll head east (obviously) through North Cascades National Park and then on to Idaho and Montana. Yesterday, at the request of his mother, he went to the ranger's office for the park and got some maps and whatnot from them.

"My mommy asked me to come in and talk to you guys," Ed told the rangers. I know this made Annie very happy.

"Do you want to call her from here?" they asked. Ed laughed and said no thanks.

Apparently, there is an adventure cyclist shop in Missoula that Ed wants to visit, so head's up ya'll - the Crazy Bike Guy is coming.

After that, who knows. South to Colorado, most likely, but which road is anyone's guess.

For your viewing fun, here are a few pictures:

That's him somewhere in the woods - wearing Sooner colors.

Don't know where this is, but isn't he adorable?
And, because luxury accomodations are his thing, here's a place he stayed along the way:

Friday, October 3, 2008


Well, it's been three weeks since he set out on his little mancation-adventure and we're getting ready to have Ed Daddy home. Not that we aren't supportive (obviously) or happy to be capitalizing off his craziness, but it's just not the same without Ed. Sigh...

This weekend, he'll meet up with Pete and Sandra, cousin and in-law, for fun and mayhem - maybe even camping and Hold 'Em. I think the last time he saw them was at the big Witterholt family reunion on Orcas Island. Funny, he's meeting them in about the same place.

Oh, "almote" is what my nephew used to say when he missed a shot at basketball. He's a big teenager with a truck now, but he could make free throws at age 4.

So Ed is "almote" home. We're not sure exactly when he'll get here, but I have to start planning the party - and getting the garbage ready for him to take out.

Want to know where he is?


The last picture is tire tracks - what he rode through - again, a case FOR the ferry. Don't know what that middle picture is - any guesses?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Magic Ferry Land

The ferry ride is turning out to be a great thing. Ed described for me the ferry scene - like an airport waiting area but nicer. He's got a sleeping bag and can set up outside on a covered porch or inside on dining benches. When he's able, he'll send pictures.

For now, here are a few more pictures he sent me from Haines. I'll try to ration them out until he can send me more in Washington. And of course,


L'shana tovah to my Hebrew peeps, too!

The above would be the case FOR the Ferry!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ferry Godmother

Look how skinny he is! At least he remembered his rain jacket. The blue jacket is Jill, the "fan" Ed met on the road. She was riding to the ferry also, but was freezing and bundled up. A guy in a truck came upon Ed and told him there was some "Russian guy on a bike" behind them and maybe Ed should wait for the guy and ride with him, just in case.

Well, it turned out to be Jill and after the two bike nuts swapped gear lore, Jill said "I'm headed to Juneau." and Ed said, "I'm headed to Denver."

So Jill said, "Oh, you're THAT guy - I've been following your wife's blog!" Her comments are on Sunday's post.

Now that Ed's on the ferry, here's the last Map point he sent me this morning:


Comments straight from Ed
Against Ferry:
  • Cussedness of doing it as planned no matter.
  • Much of anything that ever happened in this part of the world is from plain stubborn cussedness. This almost won the day.
  • Jasper\Banff. The other end of the overland route. Problem is, with elevation, by the time I get there, same problem with snow in the passes already getting here in the north.

For Ferry:

  • Mancation is fundamentally a pleasure trip.
  • Better to board ferry of my own volition than be forced to load the bike in the back of a Mountie's vehicle or onto a Greyhound across a thousand miles of Canadian prairie.
  • Never been on Haines road or seen southeast Alaska. Road spectacular, we will see about the ferry passage.
A StoLat to the Cooks of White River Yukon Territories (see "Smarty Pants" post). It was a privilege to sit by their stove. They have been in the area since 1969 and I am sure there are travelers all over the world that share this sentiment.

Among their comments:
“Need some gas?”
“I suppose your wife's new boyfriend in Denver lent you the bike.”
“Take care, there are Lions.”

It seems the trip has developed into three distinct phases:
1. Spectacle Headwinds [just completed]
2. Passage No Berth [about to begin]
3. East in the West [in development]

If you get any at all, they will be coming from an unknown email address at the giftshoppassportphotoplacewithcopymachine. I had to pick some, print actual pictures, and now they are supposedly going to scan prints and email. I kid you not.

I’m sure there was a better way, but was in no position to argue.

I did try to group them by location or theme such as the Yukon, or Cold Enough for you, but no telling how and if you will get them, and of course you will have to make up your own captions as I was unable to attach my wiseass expert commentary. I have many more, but will have to wait for next opportunity. Raining, rain, rain, here. Will call while loitering at ferry terminal for hours this evening.

So here are some pictures, without captions, so how about this: Give us YOUR captions in the comments section.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

BOOMER! and the bear

Yesterday was a great day for Ed and for Sooner football. Since we are both University of Oklahoma alumni, and I was born and raised in Norman, we are football nuts. We helped start the OU club of Alaska, which is still going strong, and one of the first things I did in Denver was join the OU Club of Colorado.

On this bike trek, Ed has been wearing his OU bike jersey ("Wherever you go, there you hate Texas") and he has encountered some Texans along the way (see previous posts). Last Thursday, he was miraculously able to see the USC-Oregon State game and we talked and texted back and forth as the Trojans bit it hard. USC cannot lose enough for me - they could lose every day and I would not be satisfied.

Anyway, as Ed trudged toward Haines on Saturday, he saw a roadhouse some miles outside of town. His general rule is that wherever he encounters a place offering food, he stops in. You never know when you'll have a chance again to have something besides freeze dried spaghetti...

While eating his BLT at Roadhouse 33, he watched NASCAR on the lone TV above the bar. He saw the scrolling scores on the screen and noticed a pattern: Top 5 teams losing and the Sooners holding tough against TCU. He asked the bartender if he could switch the TV to football. In true Alaska fashion, he said no.

"The cable box is in Joe's cabin up the hill, and Joe's not in now, so we're stuck with NASCAR," was his explanation.

Thoughts raced through Ed's mind: "Florida Lost, Roll Tide - BOOMER SOONER! We're gonna be #1 - must...see...game!"

So, the time trial to Haines began. He had 33 miles to pedal and he decided to haul it to see the second half of the game. With fully loaded panniers, he started the race to Haines for glory. The pace up to this point had been leisurely - but this was about football not cycling, and he was going for it.

The first hill was a tough climb and to add to his final humiliation in Alaska, he encountered head winds. But the Sooners were going to be #1 and he could not stop just because of a strong breeze. So he stood on the pedals and rode harder.

Then he saw it - a small black bear on the side of the road. BUT --- he saw the bear AFTER he passed it. The little thing was LEAVING the road. That's when Ed realized something: he had charged a bear and didn't even know it. When he passed the bear, he was so close he could have slapped it. The poor bear probably saw the fire of victory in Ed's eyes and ran off.

Still, Ed didn't stop. He still thought he could make it to town in time for at least the 4th quarter. He pedaled harder. That's how strong Sooner football fans can be.

Unfortunately, he couldn't find access to the game on TV when he arrived in Haines. So he fired up the cell phone and watched the play summaries on the tiny phone screen. When we talked later, he told me the bear story, and now I'm telling it to all of you.


Tomorrow: Ed meets a fan on the road.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Snow Wins

He's made his reservations on the ferry from Haines and will leave Monday - it will take about 5 days to get to Bellingham and who knows how long to get to Denver. So much about this is a great idea:
  • No more worrying about the weather - no anxiety about having to take a Greyhound through Canada or trying to flag down a mounty to strap his bike to the horse and hope for the best
  • A chance to see a part of Alaska he's never seen: southeast (he can see Russia from the ferry, so now has foreign policy experience; well, okay, he can see Russians probably ON the ferry, but you know)
  • He may get to Denver earlier

Since it's not a Princess Cruise but a mode of transportation, the cost for a stateroom is outrageous, so he will do like most ferry riders and camp out on the deck or inside the covered porch. No doubt there will be some backpackers with guitars and a few prison escapees, but that's how we build community.

As a side note, while riding through the Yukon Territory, Ed is remembering how much we liked Canadians the first time we went through there 14 years ago.

"They're nice, clean and smart," is what we remember. For example, the litter problem is almost nonexistent in Canada.

"I can tell you, because I've ridden on border roads where one side was Canada and one side was Alaska," Ed told me last night. "There's trash on only ONE side of the road, and it's not Canada."

Last night, he was in Haines Junction, YT, which is still a two-day ride from Haines, Alaska.


Hopefully he can upload more pictures in Haines. But for now, just picture him riding through sunny Canada and back in to Alaska, hopping on the ferry and hunkering down for a slow scenic ride to Washington.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smarty Pants

I think Ed is trying to stay in the places that won "creepiest travel destination name" in a previous issue of Freak Traveler magazine or something. A few days ago, it was Dead Man's Lake and yesterday it was Destruction Bay. Makes me want to buy up some land in Canada and name it something strange - like Desperation Cove or Inconsolable Isthmus.

Those of you who know Ed know that he's not much of a talker on the phone. I find I have to just let him stop and think for a while and then, he comes up with stories. For instance, when he stopped to get his daily V-8 somewhere near the Canada-Alaska border, he happened upon an isolated store that was truly arctic in spirit.

They sold crystals, Miracle Grow, peanuts, soda, and other random things. As a business model, you would think "huh?", but up there, you never know what people are going to need, miss from back home or have a craving for, so you stock it ALL in small quantities.

The couple running the place were "65 if they were a day" and just talked smack to each other and their guests all day long. The wife ran the register and constantly reminded the husband to actually take money from the customers for items he was selling them. Apparently, he felt it was enough to schmooze and make jokes, but she was focused on paying their exorbitant mortgage and perhaps saving enough to leave. What a harpy.

When Ed rolled up on his bike, the old boy was outside moving rocks around or something. He saw Ed and asked, "Need any gas?" Smarty pants.

Ed told him that he had eaten Buckshot Betty's spaghetti and meatballs last night, so he was fine for fuel. So the guy made up some kind of song on the fly about Betty and her spaghetti and Ed and his bike. Seriously in need of cable TV in the arctic, I guess. They have all that creativity to waste - sad, really.

At one time, I could picture Ed and I having a life like that - running a little hotel or something and giving people good-natured grief all day. But I have to say, it's good to be in civilization again. Driving around Denver, I see more bike riders on the road every day. He's going to fit right in here.

After thinking it over, he's probably going to take the ferry, from either Haines or Skagway weather depending. It's just too stressful for all of us to be focused on when he'll run in to snow - as he surely will.

For now, here's the link:


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Alaska won't let him leave easy

The Wrangell Mountains

I had a hilarious conversation with Ed last night. His GPS locator isn't working properly or doesn't have a signal where he is, so he just recounted for me the last 20 miles in Alaska and the first several miles in the Yukon Territory.

"Alaska did not let me leave easy and that makes me proud," he said. Apparently, when he left Tok, he had a decent ride and said to himself 'should be an easy last 20 miles into Canada.' Then it started to snow.

It was passable at places, but where it wasn't, it really wasn't. He is now considering a backup plan of riding to Haines junction and taking the ferry to Seattle, but he doesn't have to make that decision just yet.

At Border City, he met up with Cross-eyed Bruce who recommended Ed stay at Buckshot Betty's hotel in Beaver Creek, YT. Unfortunately, Buckshot Betty's was full, so he wound up at Hotel 1202 with plans to go to Buckshot's in order to pick up her new CD that just dropped last month. Arctic people are so multitalented (our former financial planner in Anchorage was also a piano tuner). You do what you have to in order to survive.

Cross-eyed Bruce told Ed a guy had blown into town after the snow started and frantically told Bruce to call the Troopers because he'd seen a "guy on a bike out there." Bruce was hesitant to bother the authorities on account of "people on bikes are usually there by choice." He further pointed out that the driver could've stopped for Ed if he really wanted to help him. True dat.

Ed mentioned before that he was wearing his Oklahoma bike jersey for the ride, showing Sooner pride wherever you go is an obligation for OU alums. At Dead Man's Lake, just before the snow storm, a truck containing two Texans waved Ed down and said hey. They were driving the truck TO Alaska after one of their sons had been deployed overseas. After exchanging the standard Oklahoma-Texas barbs (starting with "You're from Texas? I'm sorry"), they extolled the wonders of the Alaska wilderness.

Ed informed them that if you're on a road, you're not really in Alaska wilderness. They agreed, stating that when you see a Sooner pull up on a bike in the middle of nowhere, you're really not in wilderness after all.

Even though his Spot device isn't working, I can at least give you all a link:

And a few pictures to keep you settled:

Tanana Valley camp site

Wrangell Moutains and fall foliage

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pictures and a Platypus

Doesn't he look like he's having fun? I'm not sure where this was taken, but it's obviously a river bed with a fabulous mountain in the background.

There are nights when Ed stays in hotels and others when he has to camp. When he camps, this is what it looks like:

Nice to see he has priorities - bike AND himself in the tent.

Here's the rig - notice the gear in the panniers and the camera mounted to the bike.

The camera is courtesy of our sponsor, Platypus Dreams, a Marianne and RasKal production. They do marketing and branding and whatnot. They are also related to us so THANKS!!!
Modern equipment against a rugged primitive backdrop.
And now,
See - he's almost to Canadia which is full of Canadians. Hopefully he will meet the border guard who called him courageous. Tomorrow - more pictures and perhaps an answer to the leather washer argument. Weigh in now, it's gonna get ugly.