My Own Public Idaho

I left the hotel about 8, leaving Pocatello, Idaho and heading toward Mountain Home, Idaho. A short ride, but after meandering around Twin Falls for an interesting few hours, I got caught in some really hot weather crossing the state. So I decided to make it an early day and use the time to do my laundry.IMG_4907

Most of the day paralleled the Oregon Trail. Type <pow> (You either laughed at that, or it’s not worth explaining. Anyway, I did not die of dysentery.

My original TENTATIVE plan was to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument, but the weather, and the effects of a forest fire burning 16,000 acres made me rethink that plan.

Twin Falls has a little something for everyone; Shoshone Falls,

the Perrine Bridge (where BASE jumping is allowed without a permit all year long),IMG_4891

and of course…IMG_4910 (1)

He jumped buses at Kings Island amusement park. I went to Kings Island amusement park. He jumped fountains on his motorcycle. I jumped paint cans on my bicycle. He attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in a rocket. I attempted to jump the ditch at the end of the subdivision. He broke nearly every bone in his body. I was carried home by neighborhood kids when I crashed.

I remember September 8, 1974, glued to the TV as Evel did a speech before climbing into his Sky Cycle. Evel survived, but he didn’t make the jump successfully due to a parachute malfunction (the subject of a fierce debate in the 6th grade lunch room). It’s good to be here 42 years later paying homage to an important part of my childhood.

The Perrine Bridge is named for Ira Burton Perrine, a rancher and developer at the turn of the 20th century, who convinced people that irrigation could transform the area. He opened a hotel, served as a bank president, and convinced backers to finance a dam on the Snake River to help with irrigation. What they don’t tell you in the visitor’s center is that he was a terrible practical joker.IMG_4905

Oh, if you look very closely at this picture of the Perrine Bridge…IMG_4901

you can see a base jumper getting ready to leap. No joke.

BASE capture

Advertisements

Preparing

I’m prepping for my cross-country tour. Two weeks to go before the kickstand goes up and I head in the direction of the setting sun. It feels like there’s a lot to get done. I’m going over maps. Shopping for gear. Checking my bike for any signs of wear that could create a problem. Then doing it all over again.

I have to get new tires mounted, and get another opinion on my front brake pads. And I’m hoping my new seat gets here in time to save some wear on my old seat.

This is fun. I like to plan. I like to look ahead and imagine what might be over the next hill.

For me, the best part of planning is the part you cannot plan. The unknown is the factor that will never be planned out of a trip. One of my favorite lines in all of Shakespeare is “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will.” hamlet2

No one knows where and when the rain will come, or the sunrise will be perfect, or the road food will be amazing (I’m an optimist).

Lutefisk+Dinner+at+Vang+Lutheran+Church+in+Minnesota+-+The+Midwestival

I plan so that I will be ready when those unknown things occur (I’m taking antacid).

I think the planning is about more than insurance. I think it’s self-assurance, a little built in margin or reliance on my abilities to adapt. I want to enjoy those moments as fully as I can when I meet them.

Now I wonder if I packed my rain gear …again.

On your mark, get set, get set…

I have created some confusion about my cross-country trip. I am not a stranger to confusion, in fact, usually all it takes is something shiny at the corner of my eye and I’m already there.

This post is an effort to clear up what I have muddied.

Yes I have begun my cross country ride. (see start your engines and a tale of two rides)

No, I haven’t really started the solo ride from my house to the west coast. Since I live north of Atlanta and only about 250 miles from the Atlantic coast I did a quick trip down to Tybee Island and back.

DSC_7902

Hey, it wouldn’t be a legitimate coast to coast trip without actually seeing the ocean. I’m even taking some Atlantic ocean water with me on the ride to deliver to the pacific.

I will leave my home and begin my trek west on July 21. The first day is going to be going over territory that I’ve hit before, so mileage is going to be prioritized over sightseeing. I hope to arrive somewhere close to Memphis by the first night.

Route Leg 2

It’s a ride of about 350 miles. I have one landmark I’d like to see on the way and I’ll tell you more about that later.

So – to my friend Rufus – it’s not too late to join me, and you have a clean bike!

To my friend Mark – let’s ride again!

To my friend Don – put down the pencil and hammer and get a bike!

To my cousin Fred – Leave the trailer at home and ride with me.

A Tale of Two Rides (at least two)

The cross-country ride began Sunday morning with a soft hazy sunrise peeking up over the Tybee Island surf. I took this empty bottle that I found in my hand and filled it with Atlantic Ocean water.

IMG_4502

I plan to empty it into the Pacific when I arrive in August. Just doing my bit for Thermohaline circulation and biodiversity for the planet.

The breeze was enough to dissipate the humidity and make riding in full gear bearable.

No traffic. Just a ride past the light house, then Fort Pulaski, into Savannah, and up toward Statesboro. Easy sleepy back roads, rising and falling gently through tall pines. Stopping for gas was the only brief pause in my engine, then back on the bike to ride up to Waynesboro, bird dog capital of the world, for a Sunday brunch.

The Lakeview Restaurant lived up to it’s name. I sat by the window and watched birds flying over the lake, and flying up to the windowsill to see what I was eating.IMG_4491

Of course I chose the Bird Dog breakfast; eggs, grits, sausage, and a biscuit with jelly. There were only a few locals inside. Sitting at tables by the front door chatting with each other. I was at the back enjoying the view. The waitress was too busy to really converse, but she was quick with coffee and made sure the eggs were to my liking.

After paying the check, I noticed my phone’s battery was at less than half. Perfect time to test my new charging adapter. I expected it to allow me to listen to GPS instructions in my helmet without worrying about my phone running out of juice. I had to juggle a bit of luggage around to make a safe place to run the wire into a pocket to hold my phone safely. Then I mounted up to continue the roll through the highways of central Georgia. The soft voiced google girl politely guided my turns.

Ahhhh, heading away from the coastal climate seems to bring the humidity down a bit. Clouds building darkening towers on the horizon never really threaten my path. The overcast sky was a comfort as I crossed and re-crossed railroad tracks, passed a spotted fawn dining on leaves, and dodged a snake warming on the highway. Occasionally passing some amazing antebellum homes that featured wrap-around porches that were shaded by old trees slowly swaying in the light breeze.  It was a treat for my sense of history. The light on my instrument panel signaled that it was time to find a gas station. A tiny corner station appeared and I pulled in and called my wife as I filled the tank and wiped bugs off the windshield.

Yes, the trip was going well.

Yes, it was a safe Sunday ride.

Yes, it was good to finally start this trip.

Yes, I will see you and the girls when you get home in a couple of …

SHADES OF GENERAL WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN! WHERE’S MY COMPUTER!???!!!!! 

Some carpetbagger took my machine! I will burn and pillage until I find that… Wait, did I actually secure it after I moved the luggage around? I wouldn’t … Nah, I couldn’t have …

Those locals in Waynesboro seemed nice. Maybe too nice. They were setting me up. Bird dog capital? Hah! Apple dog capital. Some dog fetched my computer while I was eating a biscuit. That’s what happened!

IMG_4478

The ride changed. It was hot. Traffic slowed, and clogged up the highways. I hated humanity.

Wait, could I have forgotten to slide my computer back into the bag …?  How could that have possibly happened?  I would have noticed.

Close to home, I was more than ready to end the 300 mile ride. I didn’t need the stupid google girl voice grating, and harping at me for the last 40 miles! I live here! I know how to get to my own home! Shut up already.

Hot. Sweaty. Tired. And computerless. Because some crazy person took my bag.

Empty house. Throw my boots. Check my email. Who is that one from? Some lady says … her husband…found…my…computer in the road. She wants me to call and arrange pick up.

I didn’t tie it down to the bike.

I dropped it in the road.

I’m the idiot.

But IT’S ALIVE! I love humanity. There are good people in Waynesboro, bird dog capital of the world!

I don’t know how the computer survived with all data intact, but it did. I have transferred my files to a slower, but unscarred computer and can continue on. Hopefully, lesson learned.

Thank you Tybee Island. IMG_4480Thank you kind lady and her husband. Thank you Bird dogs. Thank you Lakeview Restaurant and I’m sorry for the disparaging thoughts about your clientele. IMG_4494Thank you google girl for getting me home. Thank you God for suspending the laws of physics and allowing my computer to survive a Frisbee slide across a road without being run over. And thank you for a great ride today.

Start the engines!

Since I live about 5 hours from the coast, I’m doing the first leg separate from the rest of the ride across the United States. I broke all my riding rules today.

-Got a late start (for a great reason, but still …)

-Rode through morning rush hour in Atlanta

-Stopped at a chain for lunch

-4 hours on the interstate

-didn’t even stop for pictures

-Yuck!

But my bike likes eating up the miles at (cough)ish mph.

The only excitement is going to be avoiding people who have mysteriously been lawfully licensed by the state of Georgia to operate a motor vehicle. There are some interesting folk out there.

So, I have arrived at Tybee Island. My girls are on their way to meet me. Okay, the more honest way to say that is my girls are on the way to be at the beach for the weekend and I just happen to be here. We will have fun.

Maybe I can convince them to take a couple of pictures of my “official” start at the east coast.

My cross-country trip officially begins on Sunday. The route I’m following on this first leg is actually Sherman’s march to the sea in reverse.   I hope that’s a good omen for my trip. I’m thinking the reverse route is a way to ward off the occurrence of any burning and pillaging. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of both included in my trip. But I’d prefer that the burning be a cigar, and pillaging be in a wild blackberry patch.

After this little jaunt to the Atlantic Ocean to make my coast to coast route legit, I’m going to keep the bike on a tight leash for about a month. My official start date going west will begin on July 21st. Stay tuned.

First Leg – Planning

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Photo by Greylin

It’s a great night on my patio. I’ve got all the tools out. Map. Markers. Cigar. Bourbon.

Got a great starting point – Hilton Head Island.

I’m thinking of starting out at sunrise. It seems like a great time to begin a journey, and a great time to get a picture marking the start of the journey.

The first official day of my trip is scheduled to be 300 miles or about 6 hours on the bike. Interstates are boring, so I avoid them when possible.

The first leg starts at the coast and ends at my house. I’m planning on taking this first section a month before I actually start out from home and head to the west coast. I’m going to ride down, spend the night (and maybe a day at the beach) then begin the official trip the next day.

Most of my trek is through Georgia. There are a few points of interest that I may make some time to investigate either going down, or coming back. Waynesboro, the bird dog capital of the world. Hiram, Georgia, birthplace of Oliver Hardy has a Laurel and Hardy museum. And one of my favorite stops is the beautiful and peaceful Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.

The sun is going down. Just over the trees, and leaving enough light in the sky to show reds, yellows, oranges, and purples … pretty much all the colors I can name. The breeze is enough to slowly move cigar smoke just over the edge of the patio and let it hang under the trees.

All journeys should be planned this way.  I can’t wait to begin. Or maybe I already have.