Updated 01 Oct 2013

John and Pete cycle across America

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Oregon-Virginia 1992

The condensed log-book of a 4,000 mile bicycle ride across America from Pacific to Atlantic, the curious and interesting society we saw there, and the strange things that happened to John and Pete in 66 days.
Contact the author on for more information. See Peter's logbook.

1992 Aug                                                             09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31
1992 Sep 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30
1992 Oct 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 |
Go to the 10 States: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia.
See: The Reason, The Plan, Logbook, Kit List, Tips, Riding conditions, Bike problems, Wildlife seen, 1,000 Memories, A tyre, Texas Tack
See: The Route in Planning
    Pete

    CYCLING ACROSS AMERICA 1992
    Oregon - Virginia.

    John

    6 months before starting.
    Broadstone (DORSET, UK)
    The special bike-friendly route we used was supplied by BikeCentennial of Missoula, aimed at avoiding large populations and traffic, and finding scenery and History. I copied all places, distances and directions on this route into a computer database, printed out 30 mile sections onto bits of paper which we pinned to our handlebars, so we could navigate on the move (no opening maps in the wind). We decided not to camp, which saved us weight, let us keep clean, keep the bikes securely in a room, and get a good night's sleep. My buddy Pete, a retired policeman from Yorkshire, contacted police families on our route across the States, who will "offer us hospitality". I made out a tested "kit list", and managed to reduce kit plus panniers to 24 lbs. We both plan to post used film home, where one wife gets two sets printed and sends one set to the other wife. When we get home, we write on them while they are still fresh in our memories. Here is a condensation of my logbook.

    9-12 Aug 1992
    Dorset-Gatwick (UK)-Atlantic-Denver (COLORADO)-Portland (OREGON)
    An exciting 4 days, when I met Pete at Gatwick, watched The Barcelona Olympics closing ceremony on TV, and we flew Continental from UK to USA with our bikes in boxes. Saw icebergs in Hudson Bay, and just missed Mount Hood. Don and Muriel, who I met by chance in Portugal, put us up in Portland for 3 nights and showed us the sights, bless them. Then I landed myself in hospital and Pete thought he'd have to cycle alone. This was the low point of our big ride!

    01 ASTORIA - At the start of the
    route, ready to go!

  1. 13 Aug link
    26 miles-Astoria-Miles Crossing-Seaside-Canon Beach Jct-Canon Beach (OREGON) 26 miles
    Discharged myself next day, but they insisted on pushing me to the hospital exit in a wheelchair. I told them I was cycling across America but they just laughed. The Don and Muriel drove us and our bikes along the Columbia shore to Astoria, on the Pacific, where we started our ride slowly. My balance is still shaky, looked round and fell off my bike, a good start! We had a quick paddle at lovely Cannon Beach but it was very cold. More friends put us up for the night there.

  2. top 14 Aug. link
    68 miles-Arch Cape-Manzanita-Nehelea-Mohler-Garibaldi-Bay City-Tillamook-Oceanside-Netarts-Sandlake-Tierra del Mar-Pacific City- Oretown-Neskowin (OREGON) 94 miles
    South along the Pacific coast, hot day and following winds. Great scenery but have to concentrate on cycling on the wrong side of the road, and my balance is still not good. Met by more friends, Griff and Lee at Seal Rock, who put us up in their lovely house by the sea. Griff is a retired policeman and Lee a crisis psychologist, so we're in good hands.

  3. top 15 Aug link
    52 miles-Rose Lodge-Boyer-Grande Ronde-Valley Junction-Buell-Salt Creek-Rickreall-Salem (OREGON) 146 miles
    Lee has a Rottweiller, called Amanda, who is a bit doubtful about us. Set off in clearing skies, at Grande Ronde were told of a "happening" just up the road involving Indians and their music. Chatted to the police who looked after our bikes while we walked round. At Salem we were met by Mark and Miranda, more of Pete's police contacts, who put us up for the night. Had a shower and they washed my clothes. Everyone is so kind over here.

  4. top 16 Aug link
    67 miles-Monmouth-Adair Village-Lewisburg-Corvallis-Peoria-Harrisburg-Coburg-Eugene (OREGON) 213 miles
    Had flapjacks and honey for breakfast. Completely blue sky, its going to be hot. Made fast time to Junction City, where we walked our bikes round a "Scandinavian Festival". Cycled into Eugene, where we found Tom and Lauren's house on Friendly Street. They lived up to that name by welcoming and feeding us, they even washed my dirty clothes. Laren is a professor of publishing, they have two little boys called Zen and Jackson.

  5. top 17 Aug link
    57 miles-Springfield-Walterville-Leaburg-Vida-Nimrod-Finn Rock-Blue River-McKenzie River Drive-McKenzie Bridge (OREGON) 270 miles
    Tom got us breakfast, then cycled with us through Eugene until we were pointed in the right direction along the McKenzie River. Pete got a puncture, we filled up with liquid, then pressed on in the rising heat. Beautiful wooded country on the banks of the McKenzie, where we has a swim. Lodgepole pine, saw whitewater rafting and found a good motel, "Horse Creek Lodge". T-bone steak and baked spud for meal, then slept heavily.

    02 McKENZIE PASS - The top, 5,325 feet. A larva field,
    it reached 97°F and we had to ask people for water.

  6. top 18 Aug link
    42 miles-McKenzie Pass-Sisters (OREGON) 312 miles
    Set off early without breakfast to beat the heat. Pete had 3 or 4 more punctures, maybe poor patch adhesive. We kept climbing as it got hotter and hotter, then we both got the "Bonk" (lack of blood sugar). Reached the summit of McKenzie Pass (5,324 ft). At the top was a huge lava field, with a few scattered conifers. A great freewheel down into Sisters, where we met George and Barbara (he's a retired policeman). George has built his own cabin, and said we might hear dingos in the night. We are sleeping in the camper truck tonight.

  7. top 19 Aug. link
    38 miles-Redmond-O'Neil-Prineville (OREGON) 350 miles
    Already hot when we started at 9 am. We are crossing a high sagebrush and juniper desert, with snow covered peaks round the skyline. Fast travelling, into Prineville which has a fine courthouse. Here we met Dale and Pam, our next "hospitality stop", who took us to their house in the middle of nowhere. Later met Don and his wife, also a policeman, so I felt a bit isolated with all the shop talk. Dale and Don both served their time in California, and wouldn't dream of taking a shower without their gun!

    03 OCHOCO PASS - An Oregon logging truck. They often came
    a lot too close. People call them "Oregon toothpicks"

  8. top 20 Aug link
    48 miles-Ochoco Pass-Mitchell (OREGON) 398 miles
    Started early, steady climbing to the top of the Ochoco Pass (4720 ft), not too hot, beautiful Juniper trees, bare earth and old volcanic cones around. Reached 96°F and 20% humidity at 2.30pm. Lots of big logging trucks around, but not many people. Nature is big and in control. You're a fool not to drive here. Signed into the "Skyhook" motel at Mitchel. Its the Republican Convention on TV. Bush is trying to get elected by promising to reduce taxes, but he's still 11% behind Clinton, who will take some stopping.

  9. top 21 Aug link
    71 miles-Keyes Creek Summit-Dayville-Mount Vernon-John Day (OREGON) 469 miles
    Off early, long steady climb to top of Keyes Creek Summit (4372 ft), then superb downhill run, through deepening dry gorge into "Picture Gorge", dry hills, rock cliffs, sparse vegetation, little stream at the bottom. Peter had a spoke go, had to stop cars for a hacksaw and a file. Rising heat but dry, desolate scenery into John Day, where Pete got a wheelbalance for $2. No rooms here (there's a fair on), so went to the Police Station, they signed a Salvation Army form saying we were "drifters passing through". We got a room a few yards away and the Police paid the bill. Then Pete got a puncture outside the Police Station!

  10. top 22 Aug link
    84 miles-Prairie City-Dixie Summit-Austin Jct-Tipton Summit-Sumpter Summit-Sumpter-Baker City (OREGON) 553 miles
    Off by 6am while its cool, breakfast in Prairie City. Saw a dozen vultures sat on fence posts by a dead deer. Long climbs up to summits then down again: Dixie, Tipton and Sumpter. Followed Powder River, tailings in the hillside where they dug for gold in 1861. In Baker City, Chamber of Commerce helped us find a cheap motel room. Nearby can hear the sirens of Union Pacific Railroad, a very American sound.

  11. top 23 Aug link
    55 miles-Flagstaff Hill-Richland-Pass-Halfway (OREGON) 608 miles
    Breakfasted at a diner with a group of retired gentlemen up early to discus the world at "Stockmen's Cafe". At Baker City there was a monument to the "Oregon Trail". Bare hills all round, with sagebrush. Pete had another spoke go, got his block off at a garage. Heard about a local boy aged 15 has just lost both hands in a bailer accident. God help him. Checked into a motel at Halfway, went to watch a rodeo. Watched "Team lassoing" where pairs of horsemen lassoed a calf running across the stadium. Pete's a natural riding a horse, learned from his police training. Got a "Texas tack" seed with murderous thorns in my front tyre, but saw it in time.


    04 BROWNLEE DAM - Reservoir lake and dry hills

  12. top 24 Aug. link
    80 miles-Pine Creek-Oxbow-Brownlee dam-No Name-Pass (OREGON)-Cambridge-Council (IDAHO) 688 miles
    Dreamed Pete was going to shoot someone with an air pistol. Front tyre a bit flat, maybe that Texas tack. Weather perfect, cool and cloudless. Down to the Snake River in a wide, high canyon, can smell fires (a million acres burning East of Boise due to a lightning strike). Watched a helicopter fill its bucket in the dam lake, then dump the water on the skyline to dampen the fires. Pete got a puncture from a Texas tack. Crossed into IDAHO at Brownlee Dam, watches forward 1 hour. Met an Aunt and Niece, Australians from California, doing our route in reverse, been on the road for 60 days. Got room in Council, good days ride, chatted to locals in a bar, great meal in Grub Steak Cafe.

  13. top 25 Aug link
    89 miles-Tamarack-New Meadows-Pinehurst-Pollock-Riggins-Lucile-White Bird (IDAHO) 777 miles
    Started 7am, sun still down but clear. Long slow climb to logging area of Tamarack. Crossed the 45th parallel ("halfway between Equator and North pole"). Bloody great trucks hurtling along at 65+, wish I could get them on a bike and me in the truck. Saw white water rafting, a squashed skunk, hawks large and small, and some disgustingly large caravans. Salmon River grew broader then cut through dramatic Salmon Canyon. At White Bird, motels full of fire-fighters, managed to get use of a half-finished bungalow belonging to Reese. Washed shirt (covered in salt) and slept on floor. Reese was in his bed with a bad cough and his girlfriend!

  14. top 26 Aug link
    71 miles-Summit-Grangeville-Harpster-Stites-Kooskia-Syringa-Lowell (IDAHO) 848 miles
    Found our milk had turned to stone, I'd put it in the freezer! Got another 4 pints, which we drank between us. Rejoined main road at top of White Bird Hill (4,230 ft), freewheeled into Grangeville, had breakfast at noon. Through great canyon country, following the Clearwater. Pete found 3 Texas tacks in his tyre. At Stites he made a radio link with his local radio station in Yorkshire, I spoke for 2 minutes. Watched the hummingbirds feeding outside restaurant at Syringa. Reached Lowell and got the last room. Its been a great day's cycling

  15. top 27 Aug link
    65 miles-Lochsa Lodge (IDAHO) 913 miles
    Up 6am. From Lowell to Lochsa Lodge is 65 miles, and there are no services. Which means we have to carry all our food and drink. The road follows the Lochsa River, climbing slowly, never more than 100 yards away. Met a cycletourer from Georgia heading West, towing a trailer. Photocells on trailer, powering a laptop and electric guitar carried inside. He's interested in the diseases of tree roots. Reached Lochsa Lodge where we got a log cabin, 16oz steak + baked potatoes and lots of beer, then asleep at 8pm. Another great day's cycling.

  16. top 28 Aug link
    70 miles-Lolo Pass (IDAHO)-Lolo Hot Springs-Lolo-Missoula-Florence-Stevensville (MONTANA) 983 miles
    Breakfast of milk, ham, 2 eggs easyover, hashbrowns and toast. Steady slog to top of Lola Pass (5235 ft), great freewheel down, strong tail wind. Saw a live snake on the road. Met 2 cyclists heading for Oregon from Alaska. Into MONTANA. We are cycling across a plain, with serrated mountains on the skyline. Posted 2 films home at Stevensville. Got room in only motel in town. American TV is awful, mechanical and inhuman.

  17. top 29 Aug link
    66 miles-Corvallis-Hamilton-Darby-Conner-Sula-Lost Trail (MONTANA) 1049 miles
    Chatted to a chap who was leaving Montana for Alaska, Montana was "too crowded". Bought new tyre at Valley Cycles, Hamilton. Owner said double-saddles and solid tyres were useless, he's right. Chatted to young man behind bar at Connor. He's working his way through college, $40,000 for 4 years, Ivy League twice that, 56 hours in bar per week. Smutt Warren at Sula showed us round his private museum, animal skins, T-shirts, swords, dentist chair, boxing cutouts etc. Got a rip-off room at Lost Trail Hot Springs for $48, run by Mexican family. Had a Mexican meal, nothing marvellous but cheap.

    05 CHIEF JOSEPH PASS - From here rivers flow to the
    Pacific or Atlantic. 1.5 miles high.

  18. top 30 Aug link
    52 miles-Chief Joseph Pass-Wisdom-Jackson (MONTANA) 1101 miles
    Set off without breakfast, energetic climb to Lost Trail Pass (6,990 ft) then Chief Joseph Pass (7,242 ft). This is the Continental Divide. At Big Hole Battlefield, read about the Nez Perce Indians, forced into a reservation in 1877. General Howard's attempt to hurry them ended in the Army's defeat. At Wisdom, crossed a flat plain that was an extinct volcano. Met eccentric Jim Klaus, who left Maine in Oct 91, and was cycling to Alaska by 93. Had Fish and chips, cherry pie and ice cream for dinner, bed at 9pm.

  19. top 31 Aug link
    78 miles-Big Hole Pass-Badger Pass-Dillon-Twin Bridges (MONTANA) 1179 miles
    Huge breakfast in lodge, German sausage, eggs overeasy, hashbrowns, milk. Steep climb to top of Big Hole Pass (7,360 ft). On freewheel down, saw a bald eagle youngster in a ditch. Didn't fly away, got real close-up picture, may have gorged itself and couldn't fly. Over Badger Pass and on to Dillon. Countryside is lonely, sparse vegetation, extensive views, lonely fences, occasional ranch and farm house. Dillon is uncouth, practical, no history. Got a room at Twin Bridges, the owner was from Sussex.

    05a CAMERON, Montana - "Big sky country, no people, no traffic"

  20. top 1 Sep link
    57 miles-Sheridan-Laurin-Alder-Nevada City-Virginia City-Pass-Ennis-Cameron (MONTANA) 1236 miles
    Motel owner Mel Peterson donated $30 to Pete's charity, and a fishing couple Gretta and Tom donated $50. Warms the heart. American News on TV is awful, all sound bites, "ha-ha" style, mechanical and adverts. Homesick for the BBC. In Nevada City, Pete broke his 3rd spoke. I was ahead and a car brought the message. Steep short climbs under hot sun to 6,900 ft, then great downhill run to Ennis. Into Cameron, population 8 and got a room in only motel. A character called Warren White owns the motel, Bluemoon Saloon, Chuckwagon cafe, General store, cabins and an RV park, about all there is round here. Pete set up his radio link with Yorkshire radio, and Warren made a good impression with his description of the area. Chatted to two ranch hands who worked on a ranch of 200,000 acres. Not much to do in winter, but long hours 7 days per week in summer.

    06 HEBGEN LAKE - "This lake was formed when the earthquake
    triggered a landslide that blocked the Madison River.
    The dead trees were drowned in the high water."

  21. top 2 Sep link
    65 miles-No Name-Hebgen Lake-West Yellowstone (MONTANA) 1301 miles
    Dreamed I was dancing with Tibetan monks, and cut one of them with a ceremonial knife. Started with a headwind today, passed "Quake Lake" caused by an earthquake in 1959. Into magnificent country each side of Heligan Lake and and Hebgan Dam (6,800 ft). Stopped and ate a tin of salmon Pete had been carrying since Portland (1,300 miles away). Reached West Yellowstone and got a room at Whispering Pines motel. Great problems finding somewhere for tomorrow in Yellowstone Park, its Labour Day.

    07 MADISON -Inside Yellowstone National Park,
    the first NP in the world.

  22. top 3 Sep link
    56 miles-Madison-Old Faithful-Craig Pass-Continental Divide-West Thumb-Grant Village (WYOMING) 1357 miles
    Got breakfast in town and posted some things home. They let us into Yellowstone Park free, after Pete showed them an official letter from the mayor of Landbar. Good time to Madison Junction, many burnt trees from the great fire in 1988. Headed for Old Faithful, saw a coyote and 2 bison. Watched Old Faithful spout, climbed to Craig pass and Continental Divide (8261 ft), then CD again (8391 ft). Gently down to West Thumb and Grant Village, where we managed to get a room for an expensive $64 with the help of a kind official. Walked to Marina restaurant and had Top sirloin steak, baked potatoes, budweiser, cream, butter, salad - it was excellent. I ate everything and it was cheap at $11. Some thunder by the Lake.

  23. top 4 Sep link
    59 miles-Flagg Ranch-Grand Teton-Colter Bay-Jackson Lake Lodge-Moran Jct-No Name (WYOMING) 1416 miles
    Had a long involved dream, did a lot of dreaming on this tour. There are seagulls on the Lake, at least 1,000 miles from the sea. Drizzled all day, wore a cape and waterproof seaman's hat and home-made spats. Got a room in Hatchet Motel in Moran Junction, where we dried off with a gas heater. We're saving the Togwattee Pass for tomorrow. Saw a couple set off for the Pass at 4pm, unwise. Calculated after Togwattee will have climbed 37,000 ft, after Rockies 49,000 ft.

  24. top 5 Sep link
    62 miles-No Name-Togwatee Pass-Pinnacle-Dubois-Redrock (WYOMING) 1478 miles
    Yet another dream: The Greek ambassador's chauffeur went crazy and smashed his Rolls Royce to pieces. I helped my brother quieten him using Halothane. Somebody produced a rocket with a warhead of binary chemicals combining strong acid and napalm and melted everything. I found a slot machine in a crowd that paid out in English Maundy money. Crazy! Met Pete Smith at breakfast, he set off 5 minutes earlier, but I caught him just before the top of the Togwattee Pass (9,658 ft), needed gloves to freewheel down the other side. Met a chap who runs a nearby ostrich farm, said the Wyoming climate is good for ostriches. Meat has 50% the cholesterol of chickens, skin is used for boots, a fertile egg would cost $1000 and would make an omelette for 12 people! Tail wind now, on at a great rate, through Dubois, reached Red Rock Lodge and got a room. They have a big Teepee and 5 tame buffalo to draw customers. Chatted to some cowboys, then swopped our tyres over front to back.

    08 BURRIS - Peter repairs a puncture on an empty road.

  25. top 6 Sep link
    65 miles-Burris-Crowheart-Fort Washakie-Lander (WYOMING) 1543 miles
    Lots of rain in the night, snow on the mountain tops. At breakfast, a lady talked about Indians in a Reservation: "They don't pay taxes, don't have to work, get a government dole, have a drink problem, many hang themselves". We both had front punctures, our tyres are too thin, must have new front tyres. Stopped at Lander, everywhere closed for Labour Day. We called the police, they found someone who worked in a cycle shop but had no key. He and Pete forced a back door while I guarded the bikes at the front. Got our new front tyres and fitted them.

  26. top 7 Sep link
    60 miles-Summit-Sweetwater Station-Jeffrey City (WYOMING) 1603 miles
    Pete Smith checked Pete's bike, said the spokes were poor quality, advised they be respoked at Rawlins with DT spokes. Through some very desolate scenery, sagebrush and distant hills, snow on the high peaks. Meal at Sweetwater Station, reached Jeffrey City at 3 pm. Almost deserted, Uranium was mined here until the Three Mile Island accident. Got a room at "Driller's Delite". Had good bike cleaning session, chains mainly.

  27. top 8 Sep link
    68 miles-Muddy Gap-Summit-Rawlins (WYOMING) 1671 miles
    A terrific wind all day. Behind us till Muddy Gap Junction, did 17 miles in first hour. The it was a side wind, we leaned like Towers of Pisa, it was a real struggle. Crossed Divide twice, Pete had another spoke go. Saw a sidewinder on the road, alive, but it was run over before I got to it. Made contact with Tony at Rawlins, Chief of Police who would put us up. Tony drove us all round Rawlins in a police car, showed us the Penitentiary, the Hispanic area, the graveyard and the Police HQ. Saw 911 calls section, records section, firearms section and ID search section for cars and individuals. He has 20 sworn officers under him and $1.5 million budget per year. Showed us his side-arm, rifle + telescopic sight and hunting rifle. Gave us a bottle of Mace each, for dogs and unruly humans. While we were chatting, one of his sergeants chased a car for not paying for gas, driver surrendered, found the car full of guns. A fireman called us the English Lewis and Clarke. What a day!

  28. top 9 Sep link
    63 miles-Sinclair-Walcott-Saratoga-Riverside (WYOMING) 1734 miles
    Breakfast with 4 policemen, their radios going throughout. Along I-80 at first, wide shoulder at first but covered with debris, lot of heavy traffic. This part of Wyoming very empty, road ahead straight, can see for miles. Lots of little prairie dogs near their burrows. Met 2 Americans, same route but opposite direction, been going 12 weeks, 3,000 miles. Reached Riverside at 3 pm, got cheap cabin.

  29. top 10 Sep link
    52 miles-Cowdrey-Walden (COLORADO) 1786 miles
    Cycled to Encampment for breakfast. saw a large metal cone pouring wood smoke. Was told it was burning saw mill waste to make "wood pellets". Beautiful day, no cloud, no wind, hills and mountains all round, our road straight and rolling into the distance, fragrant smell of sagebrush. Found a dead bluebird, lovely blue feathers. Booked in at Waldren, had a good washing day. Washed my cycling shorts for the first time (by request!). Looked round North Park Museum, brilliant, thousands of every day objects from the town since maybe 1850. At "Starvin' Marvin's" had deluxe combination Pizza, 14" with 8 toppings. Felt horribly full! Back to motel at 8pm and - all washing completely dry, including my thick whipcord shorts, amazing.

  30. top 11 Sep link
    62 miles-Muddy Pass-Kremmling (COLORADO) 1848 miles
    Pete phoned ahead to the Chief of Police at Pueblo, to let him know we are on schedule. Around Colorado Creek, saw several beaver dams. Sand and earth banks, creek meanders between, area covered with shrubs and bushes turning yellow for Fall. Its a lovely area. Reached Muddy Pass (8,772 ft), turned left for Kremmling. Headwind, roller coaster road, hot, bright sun, got dehydrated. Dry arid landscape, mountains in the distance. Booked into Bob's Western Motel, double beds, excellent shower, cyclist's bliss. Restaurant next door had Mountain Dews and apple pie with ice cream. In my tired, dehydrated state, it was nectar of the Gods. Helpful girl in Chamber of Commerce booked a hotel for us tomorrow. Scott Koch (a patrolman) turned up with a cheque for $31 for Pete's charity. Also a baseball cap saying "Fast Action Response Team"!

  31. top 12 Sep link
    65 miles-Keeney-Silverthorne-Dillon-Frisco-Breckenridge (COLORADO) 1913 miles
    Breakfast in the "Lonely Moose". Lovely day, steady climb. Large number of trees turned bright yellow and gold, lovely sight. Its the weekend, lots of traffic. American cars and lorries are large and driving standard bad. Many near misses, "Meat in the sandwich" and "can't find the brake" situations. Cycled to Silverthorne, pushed bikes up steep track and found Dillon Dam road. From here, 22 miles of bikeway through Dillon, Frisco to Breckenridge. At Frisco, "Old Car" and "Classic Car" exhibition. Easily the best looking car was the Jaguar E type. Got a motel short of Breckenridge. Met Mike who had done the Iditerod Trail with his huskies

    09 HOOSIER PASS - We reach the highest point on our trail
    from Pacific to Atlantic, 11,542 feet.

  32. top 13 Sep link
    68 miles-Hoosier Pass-Alma-Fairplay-Fartsel-Currant Creek Pass-Currant Creek hostel (COLORADO) 1981 miles
    Breakfast in Breckenridge, and started the big climb. Ride not too hard, we must be acclimatized. Finally reached Hoosier Pass, about 11,500 ft, the highest point on our route. This was the high point of our big ride! While we were congratulating ourselves, we saw another cyclist climbing towards us. It was a girl, she does this twice a week to keep fit. Down the other side, eventually reached Current Creek Hostel, welcomed by Warren, a middle aged ex-sixties hippy, given a bunkhouse, shower from hanging bucket with warm water and spout. Bought food from the family, cooked a great meal, then chatted to Warren+Lyn+boy+girl for 5 hours (no TV). He's travelled widely, has a pony tail in his grey hair. Children travel 35 miles to school. Weighed myself, I've lost 18 lbs in 31 days, and eaten heartily.

  33. top 14 Sep link
    70 miles-Canon City-Florence-Wetmore-Pueblo (COLORADO) 2051 miles
    Beautiful day, great freewheeling, lost 3,000 ft in 21 miles in 1 hour. Today we are leaving the Rockies and starting on the Plains. Down through Canyon City. In the distance saw the highest suspension bridge in the world. Finally down into Pueblo, where its flat, rolling countryside and getting very hot. Phoned Sergeant Steve Samek, our host for tonight and he drove over in his pick-up and took us and our bikes across Pueblo to his home. Had welcome shower and phoned home. Pete set up his radio link. I spoke on the link, and the interviewer was surprised I rode a bike at 17 stone! Later Captain John Ercul turned up, and we all had an excellent evening meal of barbecue chicken, sweet corn and spinach salad. Was interviewed again for the Police Gazette.

  34. top 15 Sep link
    51 miles-Boone-Fowler-Olney Springs-Crowley-Ordway (COLORADO) 2102 miles
    Easiest days cycling yet. Once clear of Pueblo, flat roads, good shoulder, little traffic, wind behind, averaged 20 mph. Railroad runs by road, the Rio Grande. Saw a couple of 4-headers pulling a mile of trucks. Stopped at Dings cafe, run by a Phillipino girl. Got a free pie for cyclists. Owner married her sister, brought her into USA, the divorced her and married Ding-Ding. At Ordway, called at Police station, met Sheriff and stayed with Allen and Gloria next door. Gloria is a police dispatcher. Taken to visit local Penitentiary, taken all round by the Governor and our policeman contact. Very modern, looked like a holiday camp apart from the Segregation Area (for inmates who had broken the rules, allowed out for 1 hour per day, segregated for up to 10 days, no companions). Has 928 inmates, most Hispanic or Negro. We had our fingerprints and photo taken in Police HQ, were interviewed by Julie Talley for the "Ordway New Era". Had a marvellous meal with Allen, Gloria, Sheriff and his wife, then chatted for hours.

    10 EADS - The driver and the stoker let us "cab"
    this huge loco. A watertower and corn-silo are behind.

  35. top 16 Sep. link
    63 miles-Sugar City-Arlington-Hawell-Eads (COLORADO) 2165 miles
    Rapidly got hotter, to over 90°F. Long, straight, flat road, next to Railway track, power poles this side, telegraph poles the other, plains stretching to horizon each side, low plants, grass, few cactus, mirage on road, slight wind, sometimes headwind. Nothing at Arlington, only shop shut at Haswell, PO lady allowed us to fill our water bottles from her hosepipe. At Eads, chatted to train driver, allowed to cab the waiting train, talked for some time, he gave us cold water and his address in Pueblo. Back to bikes, I had punctures front and back, Pete his back. We picked 10 thorns from each tyre, and my shoe soles. My tyre was like a pin-cushion. Its the dreaded Texas Tack!!. The plant is like tall grass, the seeds have about 10 thorns sticking out in all directions. Lesson: don't cycle near edge of road, keep away from ditches where they grow, never push bikes over grass. Found cheap motel, tried to mend my tubes, too many holes.

    11 TOWNER - Entering our 6th state, Kansas.

  36. top 17 Sep link
    80 miles-Chivington-Brandon-Sheridan Lake (COLORADO)-Towner-Tribune-Whitelaw-Leoli (KANSAS) 2245 miles
    Dreamed:Margaret Thatcher was trying to escape paparazzi, I helped hide her. Magnificent state pageant put on to distract crowd. Drama in UK, pound pulled out of snake, interest rate risen to 12%. Pete still has punctures. Rapidly got hotter, at 2pm reached 97°F but only 13% humidity. Can see the next grain silo miles away, the road heads straight for it. Watches forward 1 hour, we're in Central Time. Getting very dehydrated, need lots of drink not food. Saw 3 "dust devils" under a cloudless sky. Villages we went through were nothing but grain elevators, mysterious farm structures and a few houses. In Leoti we got a motel room free (money must go to our charities). Room had air conditioning, life would be unbearable without it. Kids drive at 14 here, regularly kill themselves. Talked to locals in a bar till gone midnight.

    12 NESS CITY - Unused oil pumps parked.

  37. top 18 Sep link
    81 miles-Scott City-Grigston-Amy-Dighton-Geeler-Ness City (KANSAS) 2326 miles
    At breakfast, man with a lovely big floppy straw hat took it off, and was as bald as an egg underneath. Another man removed his dark glasses revealing a Moshe Dyane eye patch underneath. Strong side wind, and much cooler. At Scott City, huge stockyards filled with thousands of cattle patiently waiting the inevitable fate. Also a large petrochemical complex. Its 33°F colder than yesterday. Pete pushed his bike a few yards off the road so I could take his picture against 3 nodding donkeys. Result: 4 Texas tacks in front tyre and one puncture. The real name is "Sand Burr" I think. Watched Ness City High School football team massacre their opponents.

  38. top 19 Sep link
    67 miles-Bazine-Alexander-Nekoma-Rush Center-La Crosse-Timken-Larned (KANSAS) 2393 miles
    Watched TV, it seems so superficial, so does a lot of American life. The people are nice enough, but not very deep. There must be a lot we haven't seen. Chatted to owner of a cafe, first generation American folk from Germany, maintained T33 Shooting Stars in Korean War. Retired and come back to Kansas. Likes it here! Pete had another spoke go. At Larned, called on Sheriff, he put us on to Father Chuck (Pastor of RC Church), he wrote out a chitty, signed by Sheriff, and we got into Virginia motel free, run by a woman with fag and no teeth. Pete set up his radio link from there. Caught a Katydid (singing grasshopper) and it bit me quite hard. Put it in a film container, discovered it dead and decayed days after. Guess I got my own back....

  39. top 20 Sep link
    132 miles-Radium-Seward-Hudson-Sterling-Nickerson-Hutchinson-Medora-Buhler-Heston-Newton (KANSAS) 2525 miles
    Foggy in morning, and we donned our police dayglow tabards. The fog rose and so did the wind, from behind. Landscape became more English, saw some big hawks and a flock of pelicans. A bridge over the Arkansas River was closed, too risky to take bikes and luggage across. Saw a tortoise crossing the road. Following wind, warm, blue sky, so we made a detour and headed for Hutchinson. I reached 28 mph on the flat. At Buhler Airport, saw a very old plane taking off. I shouted: "What sort of plane is that?". "Its a replica Cessna Mark 1". "It looks like a Bleriot monoplane". "Yes, the Cessna was a copy of the Bleriot". "What else do you have here?" "A Fokker triplane". Didn't the Red Baron fly that?". "Yes". Got a room in a motel. Very dehydrated, drank 3 Pepsis straight off. Face and arms got red. Its been a long day's cycling.

  40. top 21 Sep link
    75 miles-Elbing-Burns-Cassoday-Rosalia-Eureka (KANSAS) 2600 miles
    Foggy again, so tabards on. Took a county road for 50 miles, poorer quality but little traffic. Getting more humid. Through Cassaday ("Prairie Chicken Capital of the World"). Looked at a logbook in a restaurant of cycle tourers since April. The distribution was: April (4), May (11), June (47), July (47), August (22) and September (5 so far). Reached Eureka at 4 pm, chatted to police officer who got us into the Blue Stem motel free (of course the $32 will go to our charities). Police car escorted us to the motel with flashing lights, we cycling behind, great fun. Excellent meal at the Chuck Wagon salad bar. Gas here is 99.9 cents per gallon.

  41. top 22 Sep link
    72 miles-Neal-Toronto-Coyville-Benedict-Chanute (KANSAS) 2672 miles
    Headwind built up, but blue sky and not too hot or humid. Along US-54, lot of traffic and narrow. There's always the occasional driver who gets too close. I like small town America, life is not too complicated. Saw an Armadillo, 4 tortoises and a snake, all dead. Chatted to an 80 year old man, very interested in our views of America. At Chanute, found our way to "Yodelling Katy" Lopeman's mobile home, and got a great welcome, her caravan is packed to the roof with things she can't throw away. She's 65, has 3 sons and 7 grand-children. She's been on this spot since 1956, but her 3rd mobile home. Sold Tupperware and Rubbermaid, got a National Award for sales. She cooked us a filling meal of rice, pork, beans, salad, then we took her to an ice cream parlour (we got the eats free).

  42. top 23 Sep link
    61 miles-Shaw-Erie-Walnut-Girard-Pittsburg (KANSAS) 2733 miles
    Over to Katy's for breakfast. Heard ourselves on local radio, from the phone interview yesterday. Then a reporter from the "Chanute Tribune" turned up and interviewed us again, then a plump photographer who took lots of photos, some as we rode away at 10 am. Detoured through Erie, St Paul and Girard and on to Pittsburg. Met Karl Hudson, 62, told him of our trip, he flipped his wallet open and handed me $30 and said "Buy yourself a meal". Showed us round his back garden, complained about the world, his wife called from inside, and he immediately threw his cigarette away! At Pittsburg, the police gave us Salvation Army vouchers for a meal at "Otto's Cafe" and a motel room. The waitress who served us soup, liver and pie, weighed less than 90 lbs, said she used to be a truck driver.

    13 MARSHFIELD - Near the end of our hardest day,
    118 miles through the Ozarks.

  43. top 24 Sep link
    118 miles-Golden City-Pennsboro-Everton-Ash Grove-Walnut Grove-Fairgrove-Marshfield (MISSOURI) 2851 miles
    Started 8.30 am, rode East for 40 miles to Golden City, fairly flat, very straight, cloudless, warming up. Saw a "crawdad" (little crayfish). Then country road seemed to go up and down twice per mile, maybe 50 ft, making 8,000 ft ascent in 80 miles, very hard cycling. This continued all the way to Marshfield. Pete and I had a few words, inevitable after being together for over 1,000 hours. Cleaned up and had a big meal "As much as you can eat for $6.50". We were starving, and had maybe 10,000 calories to catch up! I ate 6 courses: soup, salad, meat, sweet 1, sweet 2 and sweet 3. I couldn't eat any more, was bursting. Watched a program about President Nixon on TV at the motel.

  44. top 25 Sep link
    69 miles-Hartville-Bendavis-Fairview-Bucyrus-Houston (MISSOURI) 2920 miles
    Foggy outside, so wore our dayglow yellow tabards. Scenery attractive but hilly. Lot of attractive wooden homes, gardens are usually "open plan", no fences or hedges, few borders, just laid to lawn with trees scattered around. Large sheds, cars and tractors scattered around. Stopped at "Debi's Deli", run by a Mum and two daughters, all attractive. They make lovely pies, "cyclist's delight". It started drizzling, put on capes, first time since Yellowstone (21 days ago). Saw a flock of 8 Turkey vultures, took off from the road right in front of me, been eating road kill? Reached Houston, got room at "Lazy L" motel, run by Korean. Pete set up his radio link by: ringing the British operator (free) and asking to contact Teeside FM collect, which of course they accept. Had another "all you can eat" for $5. Two helpings of salad, catfish, chicken and ham-on-the-bone, jelly and custard. Our washed clothes drying rapidly in front of the air conditioning system.

  45. top 26 Sep link
    70 miles-Yukon-Eunice-Summersville-Alley Spring-Eminence-Owls Bend-Ellington (MISSOURI) 2990 miles
    Humid, roller coaster ride, dense deciduous woodland to the roadside. Verges and fields full of flowers and plants, dogwood going red for autumn, oak trees, insects, crickets, butterflies and many unknown things. The area really is lovely, like Sherwood Forest was, but its tough cycling. The poor cyclist has to go into bottom gear, then top, the bottom again, 5 mph, 35 mph, 5 mph as the road goes 1 in 4 up, then 1 in 4 down. Its the Ozarks. I had to walk a couple of times, first since McKenzie Pass (In Oregon, 5 weeks ago). Saw a flag flying, half Stars and Stripes, half Union Jack. Met Peter from UK and Phyllis from USA, so they agreed to fly the 1775 American flag. Got a room in "Scenic Rivers Motel". I have a couple of minor health problems, an ingrowing toenail makes me hobble, and a pile has drawn blood after 2,882 miles in the saddle.

  46. top 27 Sep link
    63 miles-Centerville-Lesterville-Graniteville-Pilot Knob-Doe Run-Farmington (MISSOURI) 3053 miles
    More words Pete accused me of snoring, but he does too! Had a frightful dream, details are too awful for this family webpage. Rained last night, now foggy. Weather perfect when we started. Yet more roller coaster roads through gorgeous wooded scenery. Through Centreville and Graniteville, deciduous woods cover the hills like a carpet as far as the eye can see, which is a long way. Its a Sunday, perfect weather in one of the loveliest parts of the USA, and I saw no-one walking or cycling. Everyone goes round in cars or pick-ups. The internal combustion engine has made the Americans legless. Sunday drivers were out in force, and the narrow roads and limited visibility (due to little hills) made the bad driving even worse. Saw a re-enactment of a Civil War battle at Pilot Knob, fought around the old Fort Jefferson. A big crowd in glorious weather. Got a room in "Ozark Village Motel". Chatted to an Attorney and his wife, who had honeymooned in London last November.

  47. top 28 Sep link
    86 miles-Coffman-Ozora-(MISSOURI)-Mississippi River-Chester-Bremen-Welge-Campbell Mill-Ava-Murpheysboro-Carbondale (ILLINOIS) 3139 miles
    Woke early and had breakfast in adjoining restaurant. The waitress has standard phrases: "How are you-all today", "There you go", "No problem", "You're very welcome", "Have a wonderful day". Set off at 7.30 am, kept up good speed (16 mph), through Coffman and Ozra, finally reached the Mississippi, a great milestone, half a mile across by bridge, muddy and flowing fast. Entered ILLINOIS, our 8th state. Met a German from New York who recommended a shorter and quicker route to Carbondale which saved us 20 miles. Pete made his Radio Link from a shop called "The Bike Surgeon", surrounded by bike bits. The owner Mark Robinson will put us up for the night at his home, an old supermarket, with 5 "stretch limousines" in the garage, which he lets out. Two more cycle tourers turned up, and we all chatted till late, Mark is a good talker. The cyclists were Peter Johnson, a barrister from Belfast, and Mathew Ridout, Civil Engineer from Salisbury.

  48. top 29 Sep link
    68 miles-Goreville-Tunnel Hill-Simpson-Robbs-Eddyville-Golconda (ILLINOIS) 3207 miles
    My washing from the machine not dry yet, so draped it over my panniers. Took a different route, sketched out by Mark Robinson, via Goreville. Finally reached Golconda, on the Ohio River, Finally got a room at "Michael's Motel". Had a huge 16" pizza, and feel full.

    14 CAVE in ROCK - The ferry across the Ohio River
    into Kentucky. The deck swivels.

  49. top 30 Sep link
    83 miles-Elizabethtown-Cave in Rock (ILLINOIS)-Ohio River-Marion-Clay-Dixon-Sebree (KENTUCKY) 3290 miles
    Into a little restaurant at 7.45 am. Usual scene: groups of older men in jeans and baseball caps socialising, its the "breakfast club". Girl comes round, I order Large milk, 2 eggs, bacon, toast, hashbrowns. "How do you want your eggs?" Overeasy please. "That it" Yes, and hand back the menu. "That'll be $3.40". At Cave in Rock, chatted to Lieut.Cmdr Jack Stafford, 70 years old, retired on $6,500 per month, used to be i/c of USS Hornet in S.Pacific in WW2, while he had 40 minutes nap a Jap bomber dropped a bomb through the plane loading access hatch and killed 1,000 men. He thought WW3 would start against Iraq. Crossed the large Ohio River on a nice little car ferry into KENTUCKY ("Bluegrass State"), our 9th. Stopped in a restaurant in Marion, it was a lady's last day here and they had celebrations including a piper, pipes very well played by David Stewart, a Methodist minister from Indiana! Chatted to him and his wife, later he came out to pipe me off with 'Scotland the Brave', 'Skye boat song' and 'Will ye no come back again'. Finally got a room in Sebree, talked to a farmer called Edwards from Poole, KY (I'm from Poole, Dorset). An Englishman was over here teaching Americans how to grow wheat, at $5 per acre (x 35,000 acres!)

  50. top 1 Oct link
    72 miles-Beech Grove-Glenville-Utica-Owensboro-Oklahoma-Whitesville-Deanefield-Fordsville-Falls of Rough (KENTUCKY) 3362 miles
    Off at 8.30 am, cold but warming rapidly. Invited to ride a maize harvester for 300 yards, pouring kernels into a truck. Operator was ex-football player, knees gone, half deaf from noise of harvester. Chatted to a man outside a bank in Utica. He had 3 kids from his first wife, she died in a house fire, married again, 3 more kids, has 22 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, more on the way. He was in D-Day landings, wounded after 8 days. Scenery is most beautiful, nice little villages (American style), with proper trees and meadows. Stopped to ask a man about a motel at Falls of Rough. He was Jack Bible (ex Biblinski, Polish). Plied us with beer and Kentucky Tavern whiskey, had incredible Kentucky accent, let us stay in his empty cottage in the woods nearby. We had good fry-up, tons of bacon, eggs (some were green), tomatoes, fried bread, beer, bread and jam and ice cream. In the excitement, Pete has mislaid his passport and logbook. Bathroom scales tell me I've lost 32 lbs, don't believe this!

    15 HODGENVILLE - Abraham Lincoln lived in this log cabin
    when he was little, with 6 other people!

  51. top 2 Oct link
    64 miles-Axtel-McDaniels-Madrid-Hardin Springs-Eastview-White Mills-Sonora-Hodgenville-Buffalo-Cruise Inn (KENTUCKY) 3426 miles
    Now found I'd left cap, gloves and sunglasses at Jack's house, retrieved them. Through Axtel, McDaniels and Madrid, all very small. We are on Eastern Time now. I was photographing a field of tobacco drying, a man asked "want a job?". A tobacco farmer gets $1.70-1.90 per pound, grows about 2,500 pounds per acre, but has problems with insects and blight. He transplants out into field in March, harvests and dries leaves in large barns in October. Just outside Sonora, cycled up a rough track and chatted to a group of Amish folk, extending a house with wood from a knocked down church. The ten men were dressed in trousers and shirts, had beards and broad brimmed hats. They were using a couple of engines for generating power. They were unworldly, looked rough and primitive. When Pete asked could he take a photo, spokesman said "We reject films". Three or four women, in mop cap bonnets and long dresses in blue and white, averted their gaze as they passed us. Later, an old Amish with horse and trap, hid his face with his hat as I took his photo. We got a room at Hodgenville, where Pete set up his radio link.

  52. top 3 Oct link
    85 miles-White City-Howardstown-Bardstown-Maud-Springfield-Mackville-Rose Hill-Harrodsburg (KENTUCKY) 3511 miles
    Weather looks good again. People here change one vowel into at least two, eg: Thing into Thaung. Went 7 miles in the wrong direction, I'd got 2 places swopped in my database! Looked round a little log cabin where Abraham Lincoln had lived as a child. Chatted to an 81 year old man, who bewailed the cost of medical treatment. Chatted to another man who had lived 4 years in the jungle in New Guinea in the war, and didn't think the modern generation could do that, said they were hooked on the good life and TV. Reached Springfield, really nice town, New England style buildings and churches, but the main street was shut of for their annual "Sorghum and Tobacco Fair", but all rooms were taken. Tried 3 more motels, squeezed into the last. Chatted to two gents dressed in 1770 costume, they were Colonial War re-enactors who had just been out shooting game with flintlocks! Got a 16 year old waitress to write to two girls I'd met in Albania 2 years ago.

  53. top 4 Oct link
    54 miles-Burgin-Danville-Bryantsville-Kirksville-Berea (KENTUCKY) 3565 miles
    Weather has changed, cloudy and started raining. Chatted to a businessman in the motel, was keen on cycle touring in his youth, but now was the wrong shape and smoked. Soon it started raining hard. I couldn't see my route instructions or mileometer while wearing the cape. Couldn't find where to turn left along a one track road after crossing a bridge, so instead took 27 to Lancaster, then 52 and 21 into Berea, and phoned Wendell and Brenda Wiley, our next hospitality stop. Were welcomed by a chap of 45, keen on racing cycling, who puts up lots of cycle tourers, He's got 6 cats and is a "fiscal person" at the local hospital. Looked through his cyclist's logbook, and Jeremy Fox was here on 22 Jun 91, he seems to have cycled 134 miles from Pippa Passes. Jeremy Fox's article in the Daily Telegraph about crossing America inspired me to think about doing this tour. He was 52 in 91, a retired maths teacher at a grammar school in Folkestone, and has 4 grown children. His brother lives in San Mateo, California, he crossed America to see this brother. Two of Wendell's coast-to-coast guests did 4,000 miles in 40 days!

  54. top 5 Oct link
    61 miles-Bighill-Wisemantown-Irvine-South Irvine-Beattyville-Vincent-Booneville (KENTUCKY) 3626 miles
    Brenda got us breakfast and we chatted for some time. She said East Kentucky was pretty, hilly and armed to the teeth. People were uneducated and largely out of work. We look forward with trepidation. We cycled through beautiful, completely wooded, very hilly scenery. It was dotted with little farmhouses, irate dogs, some crops, and barns with tobacco drying. People occasionally waved. Lots of farmhouses have porches with swings, rather attractive. A quickly removable pump would be useful to fend off dogs, who get very aggressive and can run fast. Got a room in Booneville, the place is named after Daniel Boone whose family lived here in 1750.

  55. top 6 Oct link
    74 miles-Buckhorn-Chavies-Hazard-Dwarf-Emmalena-Carrie-Hindman-Mallie-Pippa Passes (KENTUCKY) 3700 miles
    At breakfast, still foggy. Pete and I had a good grouse about each other's unpleasant habits, it seemed to clear the air. The fog vanished, another lovely day. Hilly cycling and beautiful scenery, deciduous trees everywhere. Met our first huge coal truck at Chavies. Peter lost his way, but caught me up. Found the Youth Hostel at Pippa Passes and signed in. Its really a home, run by Ed and Charlotte. They said we could eat at the Alice Lloyd College nearby. Soon were introduced there to Jim and Betty, both music teachers at the college. They took us to a solo piano concert (Chopin, Beethoven, Copeland and Liszt). Back to their home, for eats and drinks, chatted till midnight. A very civilized and interesting couple. Ed has had open heart surgery and a hip replacement (too much tennis) so was interested in Pete's experiences (Pete has had a hip replacement too, and has cycled 3,588 miles so far, showing what can be done). Driven back to the Hostel under a full moon gone midnight.

    16 ELKHORN CITY - Entering out 10th and last State

  56. top 7 Oct link
    57 miles-Dema-Bevinsville-Bypro-Melvin-Virgie-Dorton-Ashcamp-Elkhorn City (KENTUCKY) 3757 miles
    Set off at 9 am in glorious Autumn weather, the Fall colours are starting to show. This area is starting to look quite poor, most houses are of the mobile home type, fixed to the spot. There are a lot of "Yard Sales" and old cars spread around, a real eyesore. We followed the I-22 to Elkhorn City, which unfortunately led to the US80. Frightful and dangerous traffic. Huge coal trucks thundered by a few inches from us as we cycled on the very edge of the narrow road with a drop off the edge. At Elkhorn City were forced to get separate rooms to get separate beds. Had a 14 inch pizza at "City Pizza" run by John Steward, who gave is $15 worth of food free. He said Moonshine costs $25 per gallon (its a dry county). Gambling is forbidden but there are 900 one-armed bandits. Someone there asked if we'd had any trouble with muggers, there is a feeling of aggression just below the surface. A man on TV who seemed to know said:"The European Monetary System was doomed from the moment West Germany made the political decision to replace worthless East German Marks with valuable Deutschemarks and increase the interest rate to attract the necessary capital"

  57. top 8 Oct link
    47 miles-State Line-Haysi-Birchleaf-Bee-Davenport-Council-Honeker-Rosedale (VIRGINIA) 3802 miles
    Severe weather warning in Appalachia. My drying shirt fell into my chain and I had a lot of scrubbing to do. I look quite thin in the mirror. A few drops of rain as we entered VIRGINIA, our 10th and last State. Some fine "downlooks" maybe 500 ft onto the river below at Breaks National Park. For the last few days we've seen areas of "Kudsu", a vine or climber imported from Japan, blanketing large areas completely. Across America, I've regularly asked Pete if he would like to live here, answer "Nope". In Breaks National Park, the answer was "Yup". At Honekar, people smoking in huge cars whose engines they leave running. Americans are consumers par excellence, and they don't realise it because they don't know foreign countries. Over the hills to Rosedale where we signed into a motel. Chatted to a girl in a store, her folk come from Lithuania but she doesn't know where or when. She has 4 children. Long talk with 14 year old Gary Wisener, his granny runs the restaurant here. He is pleasant and interesting, wants to be an engineer, and a writer when he retires. He's interested in everything, and has some young person's encyclopedias that he knows by heart.

  58. top 09 Oct link
    35 miles-Summit-Hayters Gap-Meadowview-Ketron Corner-Damascus (VIRGINIA) 3840 miles
    Blue sky but fast moving heavy cloud. Steep climb from Rosedale up to the summit, about 10 miles. The descent from the summit to Haytors Gap delightful, we dropped 1,500 ft, the road was narrow, full of hairpins, very little traffic and thick deciduous woods to the road edge each side. The trees are starting to change to red and yellow, and look lovely in sunshine. Through Meadowview to Damascus, where we got a room at "The Place" Methodist Church Hostel, but there was no bedding. Pete got a room with a police family over the road, but I found a blanket, think I'll be OK tonight. Bought myself a new pair of cycling gloves, the old ones are horrible and tatty. There are some hikers in the hostel, doing the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. Weighed myself on the Hostel scales, I've dropped from 238 lbs to 210 lbs in 2 months.

    17 GRAHAM'S FORGE - Fall colours

  59. top 10 Oct. link
    77 miles-Konnarock-Troutdale-Sugar Grove-Cedar Springs-Rural Retreat-Wytheville-Max Meadows-Fort Chiswell-Grahams Forge (VIRGINIA) 3917 miles
    Got very cold early in the morning, but I was OK under 1 blanket and a large mattress of foam rubber. Warmed up climbing, forests each side of road, lots of cars parked. Its the start of the hunting season today, cross bows and bolts only, no guns yet. . Up to Konnarock, got flatter but we reached 4,000 ft. Down to Troutdale, once we were over the watershed the surrounding woods seemed aglow with Fall colours of red and yellow among the greens. Sugar Grove and Cedar Springs, beautiful scenery in beautiful weather. A softer kind of beauty from the grandeur we saw in the Rockies. Kept stopping to photo a spectacular isolated tree. Got a motel room at Grahams Forge. More words with Peter about the state of my shorts, which he claimed were "ripe"!

  60. top 11 Oct link
    43 miles-Draper-Newbern-Radford-Christianburg (VIRGINIA) 3960 miles
    Our route takes back roads, scenic and peaceful but rather hilly. Through Draper, Newbern and Radford. Rained for 10 miles, but stopped as we got into Christianburg and we basked in sunshine. Contacted a police car, and in no time Hank (police officer) had contacted us, put our bikes in police custody, and taken us to the flat roof of a large local store, where we were interviewed by local radio stations for a running music show. Then pedalled 3 miles followed by a police car to our room at Hampton motel, paid for by the police. After we'd tidied up, a plain clothes detective called Gary Brumfield (6 ft 4 in, thin and full beard) drove us all round his area (in his own time). We drove through the beautiful "VT" (Virginia College of Technology), around Christianburg (which is surrounded by woods and far more attractive than I expected), saw lots of colonial farmhouses, and taken to a lovely "overlook" with marvellous views of fall-coloured woods. then back to the "Cracker Barrel" for a posh meal (paid by the police). Watched Presidential debate on TV, Clinton, Bush and Perot. I like Perot but Clinton is still leading in the poles. My new cycling gloves are no good, the dye comes out and stains my hands, only got off with hand washing.

  61. top 12 Oct link
    0 miles-Free day at Christianburg (VIRGINIA) 3960 miles
    Yesterday's presidential debate results: Perot 47%, Clinton 30%, Bush 16% to the question "who did best?". Its Columbus Day today, shops may be closed. At breakfast, asked for a glass of milk, was asked "2% or regular?". Being on holiday, I said regular. An interviewer and photographer from the "Roanoke Times" arrived to ply their trade. Hank and Gary chatted about life (American) for some time, then drove us to a travel agent where we fixed our flight confirmation and bike boxes at Norfolk. Gary took us to a shopping Mall, where things are very cheap. The scenery around the Parkway is out of this world. Deciduous forests covering the hills below and into the distance, all shades of green, red and yellow, intensified by sun and blue sky. These places are called "overlooks". My wife Rosie would love to cycle the 470 miles of the Parkway, no trucks and good surface, lodging may be a problem though. Peter set up his usual radio link, and Hank spoke well on it. Hank's wife washed our clothes (including my shorts), a great kindness. The police have been marvellously hospitable. Our first free day today, we did zero miles.

    18 SALEM - This waitress recognised Peter! She had just seen him
    on the local TV. They interviewed us yesterday.

  62. top 13 Oct link
    40 miles-Blacksburg-Ellett-Catawba-Roanoke (VIRGINIA) 4000 miles
    Nice to get up and prepare for some cycling again. Putting on my shorts and faded red shirt again. Don't like free days really. Had breakfast with Ron (Chief of Police), Hank and Gary, 3 policemen. Bought the Roanoke Times, very good article about us there, the police posted it home for us. At noon, we 2, the 3 policemen and a local TV cameraman gathered at the station building. We were interviewed and filmed, also filmed as we waved goodbye and rode off, followed by a police car with policemen also filming. Perfect weather, sun and wind behind, fine by-road, little traffic, gorgeous scenery again of woods turning red and yellow. We have caught the "Fall Wave" perfectly. Through Ellett, Catawba, to Salem where Peter contacted the police who had provided hospitality at the instigation of Christianburg police chief yesterday. Everyone is so generous. Chatted to Police Chief and Lieutenant Reg Gray. He drove us and our bikes 9 miles to a posh motel in Roanoke, where we saw ourselves being interviewed on TV. The video has been reduced to 60 seconds, but it was well done. My teeth don't look too pretty when I smirk. Later, went out for a meal with Reg and his wife (both from Liverpool, moved here 19 years ago). They have a 3 year old daughter Tiffany, with lovely blond hair. Had big meal and shared 2 pitchers of beer to celebrate our 4,000 miles up.

  63. top 14 Oct link
    62 miles-Daleville-Troutsville-No Name-Buchanon-Natural Bridge-Lexington (VIRGINIA) 4062 miles
    Looks like good weather again. Had to leave our room at 7.30 am, its needed for a conference. At breakfast, 2 people recognized us (from the TV show last night). Took us some time to get out of Salem and Roanoke, a lot of traffic, dangerous and unpleasant to cycle, but once we turned onto the county and service roads around Bucharan it became very pleasant if hilly. Like yesterday, sun and wind behind, lovely scenery of meadows, streams and woods in Fall colours. Reached Lexington at 2.30 pm, it has lovely colonial architecture and no industry, the first place we've seen with real European class and style. Called in to a police station, met Chief Bruce Beard, he contacted Allen, chief of Washington and Lee's security police, and he put us up in his large house in the grounds of the University, next to Robert E Lee's Mausoleum and Chapel. Went to see Robert E Lee's tomb. Life seems very good at the moment, it is difficult to believe that inner city violence and drugs exist in this country. Lee was trained at West Point and could have fought on the Union side. He was a great tactician and could have changed history, but his loyalty to Virginia was too strong. Sergeant Wayne Straub drove us round the town, upper and lower class parts, black and white, showed us where drugs changed hands. Also went round Virginia Military Academy, very different life style to Washington and Lee University. The cadets have bed at 10pm, no females, crew cuts, smart and disciplined. Very impressive. The students have long hair, sloppy gaits, women, enough said. The two don't seem to mix.

    19 BLUE RIDGE Parkway - Ideal for cycling, the Parkway allows
    no commercial vehicles, and has a speed limitof 45 mph

  64. top 15 Oct link
    54 miles-Vesuvius-Blue ridge Parkway-Reeds Gap-Rockfish Gap-Waynesboro (VIRGINIA) 4116 miles
    Another lovely day. Cycled to Police HQ by 8, where we were driven by the Chief and his Deputy to a place for breakfast. Afterwards, they drove us round VMI (by daylight this time), and also to see Stonewall Jackson's grave. This really is Southern Hospitality. We loaded our bikes into an "Animal Control" pick-up and were driven through Buena Vista up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where we cycled on to Rockfish Gap. For the benefit of my wife, here's a description. The BRP is along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one lane wide in each direction, allows no commercial traffic and has a speed limit of 45 mph. The views on each side are of parallel lines of hills, covered in dense deciduous forests which come to the edge of the BRP. About 50% of the trees in view are turning from green to red and yellow. In the bright sunshine from a blue sky the sight is very lovely and impressive. The road surface is good, although there are a few RVs. Riding is not easy since the altitude varies between 2,200 and 3,200 ft, and there are some long and fairly steep pulls uphill, followed by sizzling down hill sections. Only thing against: the full 470 miles of the BRP might be boringly beautiful. We descended to Waynesboro, Pete called the police, Sgt Miller drove us 4 miles to the Days Inn where we got installed in a posh room, powerful shower and clothes wash. Later driven round Waynesboro in a cop car, shown hi and lo dollar areas, taken round Police HQ, and interviewed by yet another local paper. Good meal of salad, steak and sweet, paid for by the police. Police departments are competing to give us hospitality now. Things look great.

    20 LOUISA - A 16" pizza and a pitcher of beer.

  65. top 16 Oct link
    38 miles-Afton-Greenwood-Whitehall-Charlottesville (VIRGINIA) 4154 miles
    Had a heated discussion with Pete about Richmond. Police hospitality date required we take the main road from Charlottesville to Richmond, 70-90 miles, and Richmond has a 250,000 population. I want to take our BikeCentennial route (quieter) and avoid Richmond. Pete wants to collect as much charity as possible, but I felt the tail was wagging the dog, unnecessarily spoiling my holiday. We have spare days at Yorktown anyway. We said a few rude words about each other, finally agreed to stick to the BC route and only go into Richmond if we could get transport. Breakfasted with Police Chief Major Broadfoot, an impressively pleasant and smart young man, fine slender figure. He's trying to get us hospitality at Mineral, Elkhorn and Yorktown, but has not yet fixed Richmond, so the possible problem evaporated. Just after Rockfish Gap, near Afton, met the famous "Cookie Lady". She's short, fat, about 65 and rarely stops talking. She has turned her house into a museum of Bike Centennial riders. Hundreds of postcards, newspapers cuttings, signed T-shirts, water bottles, gloves and she has a Polaroid photo of almost every rider since 1976 when she started. Its an amazing place. She provides everyone with lemonade and a cookie, hence her name. Took the BC route into Charlottesville, the back roads are hilly, very high dollar, quiet and peaceful. At the Virginia University Police station, a cop had been waiting for us for 2 hours, escorted us to the Best Western Motel. The police later phoned to say they had also fixed us up at Louisa, Glendale and Yorktown, and would also ferry us into Norfolk. Officer Bob Frazier collected us in an unmarked police car and drove us for an excellent Vindaloo meal (really hot). Then showed us round the Police HQ., we saw rescue squad vans, chocablock with posh equipment. Proudly showed us his "War Wagon", a SWAT van loaded with high power rifles, automatic weapons, night sights, laser designators. Frightful. Had an interesting chat with Det.Kristen Konrad, female detective, about poetry, 100 most Influential Persons in History, Crop Circles etc. Bed at midnight, tired out.

  66. top 17 Oct link
    54 miles-Woodridge-Cunningham-Palmyra-Wilmington-Kents Store-Pendleton-Mineral (VIRGINIA) 4208 miles
    Off early but got a bit lost. Through Woodridge, Cunningham, Palmyra and Ferncliff. No shoulder on these roads. the occasional car doesn't know what to do about bikes: stupid drivers (usually women) prefer not to cross double yellow line, not slow down and so just miss us. We have to cycle right on the white line, can hear cars coming and just pray they won't be too near. Did 54 miles but it felt like only half a day because it was cool and we were fit. Called at the Police station, then cycled to our motel, called "The Rebel". Had giant pizza and 2 pitchers of beer at "Roma" restaurant, the confirmed our flight home. I wanted door seat for leg room, they said they were only able to give such seats after seeing the passenger to ensure he was physically able to open the door!! Watched some TV, the best channels are: CNN (news), Weather channel and the Discovery channel. Pete likes to watch pop and folk music.

  67. top 18 Oct link
    78 miles-Buckner-Bumpass-Scotchtown-Ashland-Mechanicsville-Richmond-Elko-Glendale (VIRGINIA) 4286 miles
    Breakfast at 8am at Hardees, one of those nasty places where it all comes in a plastic box, plastic knife and fork, ordered at a counter in "units". At Sheriffs office in Louisa, little lady receptionist sits behind glass screen, speaks to public via a poor quality intercom, hands them things via a letterbox. Also she seems to ignore us till it suits her. There were no police officers present, Pete left a message for the Sheriff. Through Mineral, there had been a killing there yesterday, 3 youths fell out, one pulled his gun, one of the others shot him with his gun. At Glendale, stopped to look at a house for sale, 1.5 acres, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, downstairs loo, double garage, asking $159k = £90k. Not built to last, but neither are we. In Dorset, it would probably fetch £250k. At Glendale Grocery Store, Peter phoned police, they are coming to fetch us and bikes with a van. Looked round the store, they sell a lot of snuff and chewing tobacco, "Skoal Bandits" chewing pouches (banned in UK). Pete had another spoke break today, this time non-cog side. Officer Parsley turned up in an old Dodge police car. Then Sergeant Meade turned up with his wife in a van. and took us to the Days Inn Motel. We all went out for a meal. The Sergeant's hobby was a locksmith, the van was a mobile workshop, with hundreds of keys all clinking as we drove, a memorable sound.


    21 YORKTOWN - Well done, pardner, we made it!
    22 YORKTOWN - A dip in the Atlantic to celebrate,
    even though it was freezing!

  68. top 19 Oct link
    61 miles-Charles City-Williamsburg-Yorktown (VIRGINIA) 4347 miles
    Sunny today, but a wind built up from the NW which was really cold, with a high chill factor. With the tailwind we bombed along till we got to Williamsburg. Would have liked to look round Colonial Williamsburg, but it cost $29, so we looked round a bookshop instead. Interesting books, like "The User's Guide to the American Constitution. I bought a 1775 flag to use as a background to all the police patches I've been given. Then onto the lovely Colonial Parkway, taking us directly to Yorktown. When we got to the huge Victory Monument (where Cornwallis surrendered to combined American and French forces), it marked the:

    --------END OF OUR RIDE---------

    Unbelievable after 66 cycling days and 4,347 miles. We took photos, shook hands, and shivered in the freezing wind. Then Sheriff Preston Williams turned up and shook our hands. Solidly made, plump and affable. He said if we'd got here in the morning, we'd have been strung up, the locals were celebrating the defeat of the British on this day in 1775. Afterwards we signed in at the Duke of York motel, facing the York River and close to the huge bridge crossing Chesapeake Bay. Pete dipped his legs in the Atlantic, I never even tried, too cold. Wrote cards and showered, then Sheriff Preston arrived again with his wife and stocky son Scott. Pete set up the radio link, and Preston spoke well, he would go down great in the UK. We all went to Nick's Seafood Pavilion, and had a great meal on the management, a Sheriff makes a great friend! I was impressed by young Nick, also in the police. Alert, talkative and very good knowledge of European History and Politics (he majored in the subject).

    20 Oct link
    Lazily up at &.30 am. Had breakfast in the motel restaurant, rather a posh place. As we walked out we stopped and chatted to a lady called Sarah King. She turned out to be vice-president of Daughters of the American Revolution. She seemed very class-conscious, conscious her folk arrived here in 1633, of meeting important people from England (e.g. Lord Hailsham), and making speeches in Paris, London and heaven knows where. She invited us to dinner tonight at Nicks, the posh restaurant where we ate yesterday. We saw the big bridge close-by swing open, to allow a large navel ship through, found out it was the USS Yorktown. About noon, walked to the police HQ nearby and was shown round by the Sheriff and a police woman. Walked round the jail, holding 66 men, mostly black. Terrible experience, knowing at least one was there for over 6 years. Pete says female officers can help cool a "male confrontation position". The Sheriff drove us round Yorktown, took us to his nice home, where we met his wife again and admired her antique furniture, in particular a 4 poster bed, rocking cot, writing desk and sea captain's writing box (escritoire?). Met Sarah King again and went to Nicks for another slap-up meal, once again paid for by the management. Chatted to Mary Matthews, wife of Nick and sponsor of the USS Yorktown (there's a very interesting story behind this). As we left, she gave us a huge bag of candy. What a day.
    P.S. When Pete and I went to settle the motel bill of £88, with Sheriff Preston Williams about to pay, we discovered the bill had already been paid by Sarah King.

    21 Oct link
    At 9.14 am the bridge opened again, and the USS Yorktown sailed down the river and into the Atlantic. The sides were lined with saluting crew, it blew its siren many times, and its loudspeaker was playing "God Bless America" (I think there's an interesting story behind all this, connected with Nick's restaurant. Will print this when I've confirmed it). Then to the Sheriffs office and chatted to the police. While we were there a group of teenagers were shown round the cells, a good idea. Astonished how guns were placed with little security in the office. When an officer was free, we loaded our bikes and panniers into a "Paddy Wagon" and were driven off to Norfolk Airport. The officer very helpfully got an airport security man to find (and pay for) two "Delta" bike boxes, better designed than those used previously. The box goes free on intercontinental flights, in place of one of the two pieces of luggage allowed. We boarded our flight, and I managed to get a free door seat with extra leg room. In 5 hours and 40 minutes we should get from Newark to Gatwick, all in the dark. We did 4,347 miles across America, my wheel went round 3,246,645 revolutions, and my legs did 1,095,742 revs.

  69. Goodbye America, I've really enjoyed you.

The Reason

    In 1990 I did the Circuit of Ireland and met an American at Inverin who had cycled Eastwards across America in 90 days. We chatted in the hot sun lounge waiting for the hostel to open and I became enthusiastic. On return home I discussed my plans with Rosie, but agreed she would not be up to the challenge and we shelved the idea. In August 91 Rosie and I went on a CTC tour of Yellowstone Park and really liked the Americans and the Rockies. Talking with our group revived my Inverin idea. On 21 Sep 91 Geoffrey Wareham's article about America Coast to Coast appeared in the Daily Telegraph and lit my fuse again. In November 91 I put this advert in Cycle Touring and Campaigning:
    CROSS AMERICA. Dorset male (51), retired, seeks comp(s), sim age to cycle across USA, Coast to Coast in '92. Sadly its too far for my wife. All letters answered. - Box 8684.
    I received 10 replies and the first and most enthusiastic was from Peter Howe, a retired policeman from Cleveland. We agreed to go together and began planning. I got 12 maps of the TransAmerica Trail from BikeCentennial in Missoula and first met Peter and Barbara in the Algarve in February 92. Now read on...

The Plan

    Leave home: SUN 9 Aug 92 Rail: Poole to Gatwick Fly: Gatwick to Denver USA Denver to Portland USA By road: Portland to Astoria, Oregon Cycle the TransAmerica Route, West to East. 1. Prevailing West wind behind. 2. Cross Rockies when no snow. 3. Acclimatise to altitude slowly. 4. Cross Plains when not too hot. 5. See Fall colours in New England. 6. Don't camp, use motels. Astoria, Oregon Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Yorktown, Virginia 4,210 miles, 24 passes, highest 11,542 ft, 10 States, 64 days cycling, 6 rest days, 10 weeks on Route, 11 weeks away. Cycle: Yorktown to Norfolk, Virginia Fly: Norfolk to Newark USA Newark to Gatwick UK Rail: Gatwick to Poole. Return home: THU 22 Oct 92

RIDING CONDITIONS

Astoria-Eugene OR
235 miles 4 days.
Coast road flatish. Heavy rain and fog possible in W. Drier and cooler in E.
Eugene-Baker City OR
345 miles 6 days.
Thunderstorms possible W of McKenzie Pass. High, dry, hot, low humidity plateau to E.
Baker City OR-Missoula MT
400 miles 6 days.
Dry, hot, some steep climbs, can reach 110°F in Hell's canyon.
Missoula-W.Yellowstone MT
330 miles 5 days.
Eastbound Chinook wind, thunderstorms. Four well graded passes
W.Yellowstone MT-Rawlins WY
350 miles 6 days.
High plateaux with mountains, Cool, semi-arid climate. Winds from SE, often 40-60 mph
Rawlins WY-Pueblo CO
365 miles 6 days.
High altitude, average 8,000 ft, cold nights, warm days, low humidity
Pueblo CO-Larned KS
340 miles 5 days.
Gradually downhill. Constant wind. Dust storms possible. Hot but very low humidity
Larned-Pittsburg KS
300 miles 4 days.
Downhill slowly. Dry in W, humidity increases to E. Winds from S or SW 10-12 mph
Pittsburg KS-Farmington MO
335 miles 4 days.
Steep hills in E, "roller-coaster". Climate very variable, wind from S and SE 7-9 mph
Farmington MO-Berea KY
500 miles 7 days.
High humidity. Variable climate
Berea KY-Christianburg VA
380 miles 7 days.
Steep hills. Hard cycling. Wind from W. High humidity. Thunderstorms.
Christianburg-Yorktown VA
370 miles 7 days.
Route has poor surfaces. Small thunderstorms, flash floods, very humid. Bike early

KIT LIST

VALUABLES
Pills 88 days
Doctors letter
Wallet
Train ticket
Passport new
Passport old+visa
Driving licence
Logbooks (2)+covers
Sterling 100
Dollars cash $190
Trav cheques $1340
TC sales advice
Insurance details
Logan receipt
Mastercard
Visa card
Amex card
Plus card
Phonecard
Air tickets
Altimeter
Calculator
Camera 110+tele lens
Camera compact
Spare film (110)
Spare film (35mm)
Dig.thermometer
Dig.humid.meter
Bike keys
YHA card
Tripod
CYCLE
Handbag
Panniers front x2
Panniers rear x2
Waterbottles x2
Cycle lock
Key for lock
Pedals x2
Pump
Computer+case
Cape
Hat (Breton,nylon)
Spats
Tabard
Cycle mits
Cycle gloves
Inner tube x2
Cycle oil
Rag x2
Plastic tyre levers
Puncture repair kit
String+elastic bands
Spare nuts & bolts
Brake adjust string
CLOTHES
Long trousers
(smart)+belt
Trainer shoes
Jacket (w'proof)
Cycle shorts
Cycle-shirts x2
T-shirt
Shirt (smart)
Hankies
Pants
Socks,short x3
Sweatshirt
Swim trunks

HYGIENE
Toilet bag
Small towel
Soap+caddy
Facecloth
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Comb
Battery razor
+Duracell batteries
Eat picker
Bog paper
Panadol tablets
First Aid
ODDS & SODS
Flag+pole
Eraser
Baseball cap
Shoe deponger
Red stuff bag
Sunglasses
Mask
Mask (spare)
Ear plugs
Earplugs (spare)
Pegs x3
Gluepen
Long football laces
Housewife
Stamp container
Pocket mag.glass
Biro+spares
Pencil+spares
Able labels
Polythene bags
Selotape
Lip screen
Photos of Rosie+Mum
Corn circle postcards
Instructions, watch,comp
Instructions, compat cam
Spare clear envelopes
Chain oil
Prezzie for Hagars
Torch
Toenail cutter
NAVIGATION
Compass
Red pouch
Services pack
Profile pack
Streets pack
Conditions pack
Guide packs x12
Maplet packs x12
Motel xeroxs

EATING
Tinopener

BIKE BOX
Parcel tape
Folding scissors
Red marker pen
Decals

TOOLS
Adj.spanner 20mm
Driver,slot,medium
Driver,cross,small
Spoke key,12 gauge
Allen keys,3,4,5,6mm

Weight of 4 panniers + contents = 24 lbs

TIPS for NEXT TIME

  • Find when check-in desk opens, ask for door seat earliest
  • Ensure emergency spoke cut to right length
  • Ensure patches and adhesive are new
  • No need for phone card
  • Contact Chamber of Commerce for cheap accomodation
  • Use Continental tyres (Germany) not Michelin (France)
  • White shirts better than red, don't fade, easier to wash
  • Keep away from grass and verges, and on tarmac to avoid
    SAND BURRS. Also put Kevlar lining between tyre and tubes
  • Take spoke cutter and small file
  • Baseball hat useful (large peak)

BIKE PROBLEMS

  1. Pete 17 Aug Puncture
  2. Pete 18 Aug Puncture
  3. Pete 21 Aug Spoke
  4. Pete 23 Aug Spoke
  5. John 24 Aug Puncture
  6. Pete 24 Aug Puncture
  7. Pete 26 Aug Puncture
  8. John 27 Aug Swapped tyres at 913 miles
  9. Pete 06 Sep Puncture
  10. John 06 Sep Puncture
  11. Pete 06 Sep Puncture
  12. John 06 Sep New front tyre at 1,543 miles
  13. Pete 08 Sep Spoke
  14. Pete 16 Sep Puncture
  15. John 16 Sep Puncture
  16. Pete 17 Sep Punctures
  17. Pete 18 Sep Punctures
  18. Pete 19 Sep Punctures

WILDLIFE seen

RK=road kill
NW=not wild
Praire dogs
Chipmunks
Sidewinder
Humming birds
Skunks RK
Porcupine RK
Hares
Moose
Bison
Vultures
Large eagles
Small snake
Pronghorn
Deer
Kingfisher
Bees (swarm)
Blue jay
Racoons
Sturgeon NW
Rainbow trout
Salmon
Ducks
Belt snake
Black buzzards
Possum
Red squirrel
Fox, grey & red
Cayote
Musk rats
Chicadees
Llamas NW
Emus NW
Scorpion
Geese
Sparrow hawk
Osprey
Woodpecker
Herons
Wild turkeys
Steer NW
Caterpillars
Black widow RK
Mole
Small hawk
Seagulls
Rabbits
Bluebird
Sage grouse
Rattle snake RK
Pheasant
Pelican
Tortoise
Cattle egret
Armadillo
Crayfish
Turkey vultures
Turtles
Stick insect

"1000 Memories"

When we got home, I sent Pete a list of a few of the "1,000 Memories" I had from our ride, each of which is a story in itself. Pete used this to give talks about our ride for charity. He hands the list round the audience and asks "What would you like me to talk about?". Pete's been doing this for 15 years now, and has collected a great deal for his two cancer charities. If you live near Cleveland UK, and would like to hear him, contact Pete on 01642-453-694.
To see more about the memory, click on the ♥ "red heart"
Icebergs near Greenland
Pack ice in Hudson Bay
Our plane misses Mount Hood
We swim in the Pacific
A very hot day - 97°F
A pet Rotweiler
A Crisis Psychologist
Lava fields at 5,324 ft
Cayotes howl at night
Their own log cabin
A sagebrush desert
Peaks with snow
Radio link with England
The Blueberry Muffin
Put up by "Sally Annes"
A rodeo in John Day
Vultures circling above
Union Pacific whistles
The Oregon Trail
Local boy loses both hands
We watch Team Lassooing
Chatting to real cowboys
The dreaded Texas Tack
Big fires on Snake River
Helicopter lifting water
Idaho, watches forward 1 hr
The big headwind
Huge lumber trucks
Squashed skunks smell bad
Motels full of fire fighters
Half a gallon of solid milk
The White Bird climb
Two ospreys on big nests
Wild hummingbirds
No services for 77 miles
Swopping tyres
Snakes alive move fast
"Montana is too crowded"
Smutt Warren + Bunky Ranch
Nez Perce battlefields
An extinct volcano
Cyclist, Maine to Alaska
The grounded eagle
Awful American TV
Ghost towns + gold rush
Cameron, population 8
The Quake Lake
Bald eagle fishing
Trilobites
Cayote + 2 bison
"Old Faithful" spouts
The Continental Divide
Rain all day
Race up the Togwotee Pass
The ostrich farmer
Wigwam and buffaloes
Giant prime rib
Indians have problems too
We break into a bike shop
The Great Emptiness
Uranium mining
Leaning Tower of Pizza
Another spoke goes
Ride in a police car
A live sidewinder
Guns and rifles
Have a bottle of Mace
Prairie dogs
Arms dealer at mangy Moose
Throwing horseshoes
Fragrant sagebrush
A bluebird
15% humidity dries washing
Beaver dams + headwinds
Fall gold and yellows
22 miles on bikeway
"Iditerod Mike" from Alaska
Hoosier Pass 11,542 ft
Middle aged hippy
Shower from a bucket
3,000 ft descent in 1 hour
Interviewed by local paper
Free pies at Dings
Tour of a Penitentiary
Mirage on the road
Achison Topeka and Santa Fe
We cab a Southern Pacific loco
Grain elevators are cathedrals
Two dust devils
Kids drive cars at 14 here
Huge steer stockyards
33°F colder today
High school football game
Father Chuck with gut
Father + sheriff = free motel
Bitten by a Katydid
Tabards in the fog
Pelicans and tortoises
132 miles today
Prairie chicken world capital
A dead Armadillo
"Yodelling Katy" at Chanute
A 90 lb truck driver
A Crawdad on the road
The exhausting Ozarks
All you can eat for $5
"Sherwood forest" roller coaster
Rock cakes + 1775 flag
Legless Americans
Civil War reenacted
Across the Mississippi
The Bike Surgeon
A 16" pizza
The Methodist bagpiper
A ride on a corn harvester
Jack Bible and Kentucky Tavern
Air conditioned pick-up
Amish folk reject cameras
Sorghum andTobacco Fair
6 cats and a home computer
Pump is useful on irate dogs
Daniel Boone lived here
Huge coal trucks
Piano concert in kentucky wilds
Moonshine $25 per gallon
900 one-armed bandits
The Khudsu man
Descent through red and gold
A church hostel
Cross-bow hunting starts
A pair of ripe shorts
A plain-clothes chauffeur
2% or regular?
Chocolate cobblers
We are recognised on TV!
Police hospitality
Stay at Washington + Lee University
Stonewall Jackson faces South
The "Cookie Lady"
Weapons in a War Wagon
A female detective
3 armed youths = one dead
Chewing baccy + snuff
The mobile locksmith
***We did it!***
Peter swims in Atlantic
Daughter of American Revolution
Teenagers tour cells
By Paddy Wagon to airport
Home, 26 lbs lighter!

--- And the kindness, generosity and hospitality of the American People ---

This tyre was bought for $30 on 29 Aug 1992 at Hamilton, Montana and put on the front wheel. It was transferred to the rear wheel on 5 Sep 92 at Redrock, Wyoming and continued across America to Yorktown, Virginia, a total of 3,342 miles. In Feb 93, still on the rear wheel, it covered 497 miles over the roads of Valencia in Spain. This Continental Top Touring tyre, 700 x 32C and made in Germany, has covered 3,839 miles and still seems to have plenty of wear left in it. If I'd started with it at the Pacific, it could have crossed America to the Atlantic.

95 The TEXAS TACK. The bane of cyclists in mid-America. Its scientific name is Tribulus Terrestris, its often called Goathead, Puncturevine or Caltrop. Don't laugh, its MURDER! In Colorado I had 20 punctures at the same time, miles from anywhere. Below is what I found out about the beastly weed on the Internet:



Like many weedy species, this plant has many common names. Puncture Vine, Caltrop, Yellow Vine, and Goathead are the most widely used; others include bindy eye, bindii, bullhead, burnut, burra gokhroo, calthrops, cat's head, common dubbeltjie, devil's thorn, devil's weed, doublegee, dubbeltje, gokshura, ground bur-nut, isiHoho, land caltrop, Maltese cross, Mexican sandbur, puncture weed, rose, small caltrops, tackweed, and Texas sandbur (also T. micrococcus).
It is a taprooted herbaceous perennial plant that grows as a summer annual in colder climates. The stems radiate from the crown to a diameter of about 10 cm to over 1 m, often branching. They are usually prostrate, forming flat patches, though they may grow more upwards in shade or among taller plants. The leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets less than a quarter-inch long. The flowers are 410 mm wide, with five lemon-yellow petals. A week after each flower blooms, it is followed by a fruit that easily falls apart into four or five single-seeded nutlets. The nutlets or "seeds" are hard and bear two sharp spines, 10 mm long and 46 mm broad point-to-point. These nutlets strikingly resemble goats' or bulls' heads; the "horns" are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tyres and to cause considerable pain to unshod feet.

Planned, cycled, written, typed, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2007, . All Rights Reserved.