THE FOLLOWING TEXT WAS WRITTEN DURING THE MONTHS LEADING UP TO THIS EXPEDITION. IT MAY BE READ IN FULL WITH ALL THE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS BY VISITING TRIKE ASYLUM:
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40,000 words before we go:
Background Information: On Friday, August 26, 2011 at 7:45 AM, three men in their sixties will commence an ambitious tricycle journey from the central Oregon coast to southern California, a distance of 1,694 kilometers (1,052 miles). Naturalist and author Steve Greene (60), retired aerospace engineer Gary Bunting (66), and Canadian adventurer Glen Aldridge (61) will depart from the world of the normal at the parking lot of Bicycles 101 in Florence, heading south on coast highway 101, hoping to reach the Victor Valley of the southern Mojave Desert within four weeks. The tricycling trio will survive each night in tents, listening to the wails of coyotes and the burrowing of packrats. Numerous challenging mountain ranges and inhospitable deserts must be crossed. Everything from rattlesnakes to flash floods, searing heat to speeding automobiles will be faced by these three intrepid trike pilots (well, perhaps that’s overly dramatic, but triangular adventurers are mysteriously drawn to the perils of the unknown).
Objectives: A) Demonstrate a petroleum-free, clean air solution to overland travel. B) Be a positive change in the world that all life is interconnected and worthy of respect. C) Be cheerful ambassadors on behalf of trike pilots worldwide. D) Experience epic adventure while living the grand odyssey of life. E) Finish the journey in one piece with a happy spirit (eager for the next ride … wherever it may lead the wild spirit).
Details and random ramblings follow:
** film crews/journalists welcome **
ICE, Catrike, and Trident tadpole trikes will be ridden on the CCTE.
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Adventure triker wanted for hazardous journey. No wages, no weather protection, long weeks of complete isolation, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and limited recognition in case of success. Applications now being accepted.
Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition 2011
Introduction by Steve Greene
In today’s western first-world societies, the cultural collective has adopted a new model of family living, one that differs markedly from the simpler times of two centuries past. Now that may seem like quite a long time frame when measured by the average life span of most Terrans, who figure to check out from our world of the living just a smidgen past three quarters of one century, yet if we compress the history of Earth into 365 days, this paradigm shift only registers in the final second.
During times of recent yore, prior to the invention and proliferation of petroleum fuels and mechanized transportation dependent upon them, families of humans mostly remained within easy reach of each member, as few options allowed for dispersion across the territory. Walking was slow. Horses and wagons were quicker, but the great unknown that awaited out past the limits of our chosen huddled habitats kept most folks happy to stay right where they were. We were close knit societies.
The human brain is an amazing organ, and some of them are up to the task of devising new inventions capable of radically changing life on this planet, in more ways than one. Every once in a while, an intellectually brilliant human who seeks the challenge of bringing new ideas into reality, presents a unique innovation to the masses, and such was the introduction of petroleum powered automobiles. Initially only for the financially privileged, cars were a novelty, but it wasn’t long until there was one in every driveway. True progress was being made as people everywhere could visit formerly distant lands. Yes, the old days were gone!
Family life suffered a considerable loss as we morphed into a mobile society. Younger members felt drawn to venture overland with their fire-burning engines to relocate in greener pastures far away. As the decades rolled by, this new family archetype became the norm, until nowadays few would even give it a second thought. Mom and dad may find themselves hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their children. Other inventions like telephones and internet made communication easy, so we could still pretend to be close to our roots, even though our petroleum consuming vehicles of ground and sky were our only real tickets to physical visitation. Times had changed.
As a product of a wealthy western society, I fell into the expected ways of existence with alarming ease, for as children, we simply accept what we see as the way it is. I couldn’t wait to drive my own car someday. Over the years, I had numerous fancy cars and motorcycles, so the fact that I opted to live two or three states distant from my family for the past 28 years presented no challenge at all. Just get in my three ton machine, ignite the cylindrical combustion chambers with a key, and push a foot pedal to go fast and far in nothing flat. Easy. Can do that for the rest of my life …
Or so I thought for over 40 years. Then something amazing happened! I actually began thinking for myself. This brought about a personal analyzation of my existence here on this planet, and the realization that my selfish actions might just be detrimental to my health and that of my vulnerable environment wrapped up in its thin layer of atmosphere, which is responsible for life remaining in my body. Gee, halfway through life I had opened up Pandora’s box. What was I to do? Continue the status quo by serving my personal needs of convenience, or intrepidly create a new individual reality in which I would function for the rest of my days?
Breaking up is hard to do, especially when the break is between oneself and everyone else the self knows and respects. To create my own framework of interacting with my world requires more dedication than I had been known to exhibit thus far, but my ever strengthening naturalistic ideologies demanded for my own integrity that I alter my lifestyle to coexist more harmoniously with the world I saw as most important. Sure, everyone else would think I’ve lost my mind, but then too, they would surely be watching to see what would happen next. Everyone loves a good mystery, after all.
So, as part of my plan, I sold my 4400 pound technical marvel for half of what I paid for it. The new owner was pleased to take custody of a pristine 2005 Nissan Xterra with only 13,000 miles in 2008. I was even more pleased to have at long last relinquished my final petroleum powered behemoth. Yep, I was going to stand up for what I thought was right. Now mind you, I still hadn’t figured out all the details, as sometimes I have been known to act swiftly before thinking it all through. But I was content nonetheless, and knew a solution would come along eventually that would allow me to visit dear old mom and not so old sis in the distant land down south, which I had always traversed only by stopping and purchasing gasoline to keep feeding the unsustainable machine.
Well, I still feed a machine to visit my family, but it’s a natural machine that is far more of a marvel than a toxic car. I feed the machine called me. By dropping calories down my throat, the engine keeps the pedals turning and the miles passing, albeit somewhat more slowly than in my prior petroleum addicted life. I am the engine, you see … an organic engine that powers a tricycle.
When I was a wee lad, I rode a tricycle. Then I graduated to a bicycle because my developing body could balance on two thin wheels. Of course, I had to have four wheels, so evolution called for a car. I’ve come full circle. I’ve dumped the car and gone back to a tricycle, and I feel like a kid again! People are aghast when hearing a 60 year old guy rides a trike. Such behavior doesn’t fit their model of life. My 84 year old mom is such a person, and always wants to send me the cash to rent a car to visit her 1100 miles distant. Can’t do that mom, I say. I’ll ride my tricycle down to see you in southern California. She worries. Roadways are only constructed for the safety of car drivers. Human powered cyclists are a cheap commodity, or so think our governments. Like all American minorities, we are marginalized and ignored. Everyone has a car. Cars count. Only children ride tricycles.
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As time marches on, as I get more fit, have more fun, and feel great about life, this idea of riding a trike farther and farther distances, while simultaneously moving away from my former car life, becomes more of a readily accepted model of doing things. Turning back the clock isn’t easy, but I like challenges. This year, I am once again planning to make a journey that most rational people would consider brainsick. If I have indeed been smitten with demented waves of fancy, then this madness is surely making me one happy fellow. A low slung tadpole trike heading down a mountain pass provides all the adrenaline pumping exhilaration of a six-figure Italian sports car … at a low four-figure price.
In 2009, I set out from the Oregon coast that I call home, bound for Death Valley National Park’s Badwater Basin, the lowest walkable land in North America. This trip would have formerly been considered inconceivable to me in anything but an automobile, yet I chose to try pedaling a tricycle the 905 miles to Badwater. I was also going to pedal home again, but a few things didn’t go as hoped, thus plans changed. Nevertheless, I did get in many days and hundreds of miles of triking overland by myself, something that was initially nerve wracking to contemplate ahead of time, but went fairly smoothly once actually engaged in the endeavor.
Then, I took a year off and created a book all about human powered recumbent tadpole tricycles to share my new-found love with the world. When one follows one’s passions, life is an exciting place to be! The 735 pages of that book have since been sent off to the publisher, and so I now find myself seeking another adventure of some sort. The answer was easy because I had spent way too much time behind the keyboard of my laptop, and I needed some exercise. Not since my last trike trip south have I visited my mother in the southern Mojave Desert town of Apple Valley, California. She wants to see me, and I want to be there for her 84th birthday and also the November holidays. An odyssey was truly in the making.
Now is born the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition, my next cross country journey after the Death Valley Tricycle Expedition of ‘09. Once again will I set out from the central coast, but this time, I have a few pounds of experience tucked away in my brain that shall make it a bit easier than last. Some of the route will be the same as before, perhaps about half. The rest of the way will be new territory, at least from the cockpit of a trike.
I shall trike south on 101, head inland and cross the Coast Range, go up and over the mighty formidable Cascade Range, through Crater Lake National Park, and into Klamath Falls. From there, it’s flatter ground through portions of northeastern California, lacing through agricultural lands and twisting among the lower mountainous portions of the Sierra’s far eastern foothills. Northwest Nevada’s loneliest corner will then be attempted, past the arid and ultra remote Blackrock Desert and the annual alternative festival known as Burning Man, before crossing Interstate 80, avoiding Reno and all its trike-eating traffic. A few days of Nevada desert scenery give way to the rigors of mountain climbing into the Sierra Nevada Range, up to 8,000 feet and the scenic alpine town of Bridgeport, California. Past Mammoth Lakes and the skier’s paradise, down the passes into Bishop, dropping elevation into the Owens Valley and ultimately the heart of the Mojave Desert.
Ciphering in the head roughly estimates the distance to be 1100 miles, give or take a few tens. Could be a mere 1,000, or might be as much as 1200. Until I sit down with my maps, I won’t know for sure. But it really doesn’t matter. It’s the journey itself that offers the life altering thrill, not the mathematics of human delineated mileage. Speeding, or crawling, across the vast western territories only 7.5 inches from the asphalt, sleeping on the ground each night, and burning 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day from pedaling my body and cargo truly make for the memories and grand story telling. This trike trekking gets into the blood after a time or two. I think I’m hooked.
Other than the first twenty miles of my Death Valley trike trip, when friend Matt Jensen rode his Catrike 700 alongside in Oregon to help ease the shock of what I had just embarked upon, I was the only trike out there. Never saw another human powered trike the entire trip. Only saw one bicyclist on the coast highway the first morning. It was too late in the season for traditional cyclists. I found this out when I encountered considerable snow crossing the Cascades. This year, the expedition shall commence over a month earlier, during the final week of August, instead of the first week of October. Live and learn! Read about the first trike trek online:
A loner and rogue for sure I am, yet parts of my spirit cry out for companionship. Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least one other trike pilot spinning along with me? Someone with whom I could talk and share the experience would add a whole new dimension to an overland trike journey. I’ve made a few trike friends since my Death Valley tour, when I was just another isolated triker unknown to the world. In February 2010, I created the Trike Asylum website to bring trike pilots together at a common online locale. Near the end of the year, wanting trikers to have the freedom to communicate with one another regardless of where they lived on the planet, I initiated the Trike Asylum forum. My third book was devoted to tadpole trikes and included chapters from 30 international contributors. So now, a few other trike enthusiasts have heard of me. It must be working because you ride a trike and you are reading these words, right?
What I’m getting at is that this Coast to Cactus expedition will likely see two trikers flying along in pure trike bliss, and the potential exists that even more might join the rousing good times. Of course, taking three weeks to do such a trip is more than most folks could arrange, what with that enslaving work ethic that almost demands we spend 40 hours per week for all our productive years earning hundreds of thousands of dollars so we can pay off our over-extended mortgages, keep a roof over our heads, drive a fast car, and stuff morsels of food in our mouths until we retire and die. Gads, put that way, it doesn’t sound too hot. Guess that’s why I figure this trike might be my ticket to some freedom while I still can have it.
I placed a post at Bent Rider Online, titled: 3 Wheels – 3 States – 3 Weeks, sending out the word that I was recruiting fellow expedition members. A few guys said it sounded neat, but, for one reason or another, couldn’t make it their reality. Can’t blame them. Life has a way of making its own rules. I placed the same post on Trike Asylum forum. Still no takers. Bummer! Another solo trip? But then, one eager retired chap with a new Catrike Road and Burley Nomad trailer began hinting around that he’d like to try his rig out for the long haul. Had some fitness preparation ahead of him, but enthusiastic nonetheless. I was ecstatic! How much fun to have two trikers blasting south in a realm far removed from all those bored car drivers.
My new recruitment wording goes something like this (think it will get me a crew?):
“Adventure Triker wanted for hazardous journey. No wages, no weather protection, long weeks of complete isolation, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and limited recognition in case of success.”
Highly unlikely I’d say, unless those who read it realize I have a bent for exaggeration in the name of humor. That wording isn’t completely my own either. I yanked the idea from a fellow who used a similar advertisement in 1914 to assemble a crew for an Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. He got his crew of 27 men. His name was Ernest Shackleton. Their ship was crushed in a vice of ice, and they were stranded for over a year. Incredibly, they returned home. His ad reportedly went thusly:
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
I am a guy who is powerfully motivated by other adventurers, and while my own do not rise to the perceived world importance of noted intrepid folks like Shackleton, Lindbergh, or Hillary, they are, in my mind at least, challenges that bring out the best senses of living to the fullest, making my life seem just a little more worthwhile in the process. I have no desire to be like everyone else in my world. I need more, as is generally the mindset of all adventurers regardless of the magnitude of their endeavors. Inspiration oozes through my psyche when I read the account of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay meeting fellow expedition member George Lowe on the South Col as they were coming down off Everest, having made the summit in 1953. George asked Edmund how things went. The reply was: “Well George, we knocked the bastard off.”
And so, with intent and fire in my own mind as fierce as Edmund’s, my eye is on completing the intended trike expedition as routed and planned, a small personal victory perhaps, but one that I know is of utmost significance to my own life. With determination and calculated action, I intend on knocking it off … and perhaps another great person or two will be knocking it off with me this time out.
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Going solo has its advantages. There’s no need to consult anyone about anything. You do as you please when you please. There are no permissions or opinions necessary. You live in your own head, and your committee of brain cells cranks out solutions as challenges arise. Getting up and leaving each morning is a quick and silent affair. Time is maximized on the road, not lost to discussion or sharing the magnificent landscapes. Your harmonious melding with the natural world is not cut short with others intruding on your personal thoughts. You don’t miss even the most trivial event or special experience. There are no other bodies or machines to break down. If you hold together, along with your trike, the goal is yours.
But going solo is also a lonely affair. If you or your trike break, you’re on your own. If you become scared, there is no one to boost your perceptions. If you’re one trike in a sea of cars, you might not be seen by everyone. If there is safety in numbers, going solo leaves a big question mark.
Having expedition members along also has its advantages. I perceive them even now, prior to departure. From a traffic standpoint, a group of tadpole trikes booking along down the road will most assuredly receive immediate attention, even by those dangerous and deadly drivers breaking the law by using cellular telephones. At each day’s end, setting up the camp, it is a unique time of sharing and laughing, of providing security and building camaraderie. Fears melt away, replaced by friendships that grow stronger by the day through shared hardships and victories. It was a tough climb up that pass, but we all made it! And wow, what fun it was blitzing down the other side at 45 miles per hour! By trip’s end, lifelong friends are firmly cemented, perhaps even enough to come together again on a subsequent journey.
As a journalist, I enjoy documenting my travels and experiences for others with like interests and a need to know what a certain endeavor is really like if they haven’t tried it before. On the 2009 trek, I kept a daily journal going, called three correspondents via cell when able so they could update the expedition blog, and eventually wrote the 37 day story for others to read. On this Coast to Cactus expedition, if there are other members, we will all keep daily journals, thus providing readers perspectives from more minds, and likely giving a more well-rounded view of the trek. We all have our own way of looking at things, so diversity in presentation is a plus with more trike pilots explaining their own ideas of how things went each day along the way. A certain event may scare one member, but be seen as a fantastic experience by another.
This piece I’m writing now is a conglomeration of personal thoughts prior to leaving, similar to a protracted article I penned about the Death Valley Tricycle Expedition during the summer of 2009. This will be shorter in all likelihood, as my trike-oriented commitments have certainly increased during the ensuing time frame, but I always enjoy yakking away to amuse you from time to time. The fears I felt before my ‘09 trike trek have been replaced by overwhelming enthusiasm and eagerness in 2011. Experience plays a heavy hand in this transformation, as does the realization that this expedition might actually consist of more than just one member, a nature-loving trike pilot named Steve.
So, there’s room for just one more adventurer to sign on … one more passionate three wheeled human who receives immense satisfaction from pedaling only inches from the asphalt all day long, sleeping in a tent all night long, and knowing at trip’s end he just accomplished a physical and mental fitness feat that enhanced his longevity potential. Trikes! They’re just different … like the people who ride them!
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Teddy Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States (1858-1919)
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COAST TO CACTUS TRICYCLE EXPEDITION
Three Wheels, Three States, Three Weeks
LEGEND: L=left, S=straight, R=right
Oregon Coast to Mojave Desert 1,052 miles:
1)Begin central coast, Oregon (leave Friday, August 26, 2011 @ 8:00 AM)
Central Oregon coast: Pacific Ocean
2) South on OCH (Oregon Coast Highway 101) 3) East (L) @ Reedsport, onto Hwy 38, towards Elkton 4) South (R) @ Elkton, onto Hwy 138, towards Sutherlin 5) South (R) @ Sutherlin, paralleling Interstate 5 on the east side, towards Roseburg 6) East (L) @ Wilbur, onto Road 200 (North Bank Rd), towards Hwy 138 7) East (L) onto Hwy 138, through Glide, towards Diamond and Crater Lakes 8)South (R) @ Snopark, through Crater Lake National Park on Crater Lake Road
Crater Lake National Park: Wizard Island
9) Southeast onto Hwy 62, towards Chiloquin 10) South @ Fort Klamath on Hwy 34 towards Rocky Point (NW end of Upper Klamath Lake) 11) Southeast on Hwy 140 (just south of Rocky Point), towards Klamath Falls 12) East to Altamont , which is east of Klamath Falls 13) South on Hwy 39 (Klamath Falls Main Hwy) 14) Southeast on Hwy 139 (Hatfield Hwy) east of Merrill 2 miles, towards California border 15) Cross border @ Hatfield, and continue south on Hwy 139, towards Tulelake & Canby 16) East/Northeast (L) @ Canby, onto Hwy 299, towards Alturas 17) Northeast (L) @ Alturas on Hwy 395/299 18) East (R) on Hwy 299 (6 miles north of Alturas) towards Cedarville 19) South (R) @ Cedarville: Hwy 1, past Middle Alkali Lake, Eagleville, & Lower Alkali Lake 20) Cross border, towards Gerlach on Hwy 447, through Black Rock Desert & Burning Man
Black Rock Desert, Burning Man 2008: a Delta trike
21) Continue on Hwy 447, through Empire and Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, to Nixon 22) South @ Wadsworth and Fernley (under I-80) on Hwy 95 ALT, towards Yerrington 23) South (S) @ Weed Heights on Hwy 339, towards Mason & Hwy 208 24) Southwest (R) @ Hwy 208 25) South (L) @ Smith on Hwy 338, towards Sweetwater Summit and Bridgeport 26) Cross Border (S) as Nevada 338 becomes California 182 27) South (L) @ Bridgeport on Hwy 395, towards Lee Vining & Mammoth Lakes 28) South (S) on Hwy 395 through Bishop, Big Pine, Lone Pine, & Olancha 29) Southeast (L) on Hwy 395 at Hwy 14 Junction, heading towards Johannesburg 30) South (S) on Hwy 395 through Kramer’s Junction towards Adelanto 31) East (L) @ Adelanto on Air Expressway (City Hall intersection) 32) Southeast (R) @ Mojave Heights on National Trails Highway, & under I-15 33) Southeast (S) as NTH becomes Hwy 18, up through the narrows into Apple Valley 34) Southeast (R) on Apple Valley Road past top of narrows, towards Bear Valley Road 35)South (S) on Apple Valley Road, past Bear Valley Road, to final destination
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GYPSIES, TRAMPS, & THIEVES
April 18, 2011
Sure enough, high epic adventure is waiting out there for any overland trike pilot who dares venture beyond the safe harbor of his local riding area. What’s out there anyway? What’s going to happen? If one feels uncomfortable with uncertainty, fear and stress will result. If uncertainty is a welcomed aspect of life, then unbridled excitement is the riding partner.
Gypsies, tramps, and thieves? Really? Well, since my mom’s moniker is Desert Gypsy, I must have some gypsy blood in me somewhere, so if I’m part gypsy, then I shant fear them, even if we come across a few en route on our most excellent trike odyssey. I’ve moved around a lot during my life, so I don’t doubt the gypsy part for a minute … kinda’ proud to be a gypsy!
Tramps? What is a tramp anyway? One of those down and out hobos who lives in your neighborhood bushes on dead-end streets, sleeping on an old waterlogged mattress he found in the dump, using cardboard for shelter, and wadded up newspaper for thermal regulation at night? I know one thing, motorists who see our tents and tricycles parked alongside the highway at night are surely likely to believe that we are tramps, and maybe we are … at least for about 1,052 miles during the month of September. That’s okay with me. Better a tramp than a corporate mogul with high blood pressure, clogged arteries, ulcers, acid reflux, and constipation!
Thieves? Well, most assuredly this writer is no thief! I do have some principles at least, never taking anything that doesn’t belong to me. Hmm … belong to me? That shows I’m still somewhat intertwined with ego, where ownership is a real part of who I am. My evolving awareness is moving me past this unfortunate situation of ownership as I rid myself of personal possessions over the years. Of course, the trike is a freedom machine with few peers, so I’d like to hang on to it for a while, but if a thief does take it on the journey, I still have my feet. Years of cycling experience, profound wisdom, and double-blind clinical studies reveal thieves remain distant from trikers because they believe us to be tramps with no money. Good news!
What is the real component that may interfere with this expedition? Gypsies, tramps, and thieves are not in the running. Repetitive stress injuries might be a factor. They certainly were on my last overland triangular jaunt. What is 1,052 miles like?
Well, let’s say you take a 50 mile day ride, and then return home in the afternoon. If you do that for 21 days in a row, you have the general idea. Twenty-one 50 mile consecutive day rides would be a good practice modality to prep the body for this endeavor. But this is still not the same. For one thing, you’re sleeping in your bed each night with a full kitchen stocked with food, a handy toilet at your disposal in a climate controlled house, and locked doors to keep gremlins out.
There is another aspect for consideration: the mind! The mind is responsible for messing up our serenity, and it comes in the form of fear. That which is unknown or uncertain is generally feared by most people. With 21 fifty-mile day rides near home, fear and unknowns are not factors, so you ride in complete comfort and certainty. There is always something unexpected going to happen out on the open road far from home! The only certainty is total uncertainty! Ahh, the alluring call to wild adventure beckons us …
So this spooks us and keeps most of us from giving it a go. But reality offers up a different picture most of the time. There is little to fear on a trike trek except fear itself. Once that fear is dispatched from the mind, then the pure fun of the ride comes out in all its glory. Just the natural world and a transient trike pilot pedaling through it on his way to somewhere else. Of course, the journey itself is what it’s all about, not getting to where you think you need to be. It’s the journey that provides the memories, not the last pedal stroke at its terminus.
Today is sunny here on the Oregon coast. Riding weather has arrived. The Q is stripped down for some cleaning and minor modifications, one of which will be a curved handle that protrudes from the rear of my luggage rack. This will be fabricated at my local welder’s shop, and will result in me being able to lift the rear of the trike to pull it backwards out of deep sand at overnight primitive camps in the morning, something I found out to be a minor inconvenience on the last trip. These are the types of things to ponder …
Not gypsies, tramps, and thieves.
PS: I still have the 1971 song by Cher stuck in my head. Perhaps I’ll sing it to myself as Gary and I travel this trek. Should be the theme song for the CCTE. Interestingly, Cher spelled gypsies as “gypsys” on her album. Doesn’t really make any difference though, it’s great music that stands the test of time. By the way, one more triker is welcome to apply for membership in this odyssey on three wheels. That way, one of us will be a gypsy, one a tramp, and the other a thief (better keep my wallet with me).
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May 12, 2011
Tim Hewitt owns a local bike shop in Florence, Oregon, and his parking lot will be the departure point for the CCTE. It is called Bicycles 101, not due to a college course naming dynamic, but because it fronts directly on the Oregon Coast Highway 101. Tim is a cool old alternative lifestyle type of fellow, what some may think of as an aging hippie, and his outlook on life allows him to not take things too seriously, always enjoying things as they come his way. I mean, how nice can the guy be if he allows Gary and me to use his parking lot a couple of hours before he opens shop? Generosity knows no bounds!
Well, to learn a little about the shop and what he offers, click HERE to go to the Trike Asylum page about Bicycles 101, or HERE to go to his website directly, or even HERE to proceed to his blog. Or, if you are in a clicking frenzy today, click HERE to read an Earth Day article Tim wrote for the local paper this year.
Of course, I don’t know where you live, but here on the Oregon coast, we have a lot of these flowers everywhere. There must be billions of them in town and the surrounding lands. Rhododendrons are a rugged plant that blooms like what you see above in front of Tim’s shop. They come in many varieties and colors: red, pink, white, yellow, and purple are the common colors. There may be more, but I’m not an expert by any stretch, so I guess a Rhody scholar will have to leave a comment below.
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GARY BUNTING – CCTE MEMBER
Who is this guy anyway?
May 16, 2011
Well, I bet you’re all eager to learn about Gary Bunting, the Catrike rider who will be accompanying me on this most excellent tricycle odyssey from the coast to the land of the cactus. Gary has been so kind as to supply me with a few interesting tidbits about himself, in an attempt to keep you reading Trike Asylum a little bit longer today.
Gary, the Catrike Guy
* Age: 66
* Base Location: Southern California (Born and Raised)
* Current Lifestyle: Retired Aerospace Engineer
* Past Lifestyles: Family Machine Shop Brat (learned a lot from my Dad in those days – peaked my interests in materials, mechanics and engineering, not to mention in aircraft that we made a lot of parts for); Chaffee College – Associate of Science/Associate of Arts; BYU Alumni – Undergraduate – Science/Business; SIU Alumni – Undergraduate – Industrial Technology; USAF C-130 Aircraft Maintenance/Flying Crew Chief/Troop Transport Aircraft Maintenance Technician – Vietnam Era Veteran. Past engineering employee of Xerox, General Dynamics, Lockheed Aircraft Corp., McDonnell Douglas (Senior Engineering Scientist on the Space Station Freedom Program – very privileged work), AAI-ACL Technologies, Smiths Aerospace and various other companies that I contracted with as a Senior Engineering Technical Writer for the last 10-years of my work history. I was a professional jazz and popular music musician for a good many years of my youth, up through my college days – that was fun and lucrative for a time. I am now a private pilot and aircraft-owner, although I don’t fly much now with the cost of fuel and my changed lifestyle in retirement and income level. I will keep the plane for a bit and perhaps will become more active in flying when fuel costs settle down.
* Cycling interests and time line: As with most, had a trike when really small, graduated to two-wheelers and then to a contraption called a ‘Doodlebug’ that my parents had bought for my brother and me (I was never able to get the feeling of speeding along the ground, so close to it and so fast above it, out of my blood). It was a dark orange, 4-wheel (double cone centers with hard rubber tires), a center, square tube that the front (foot steerable) and rear (solid -bolted to the frame) axles were attached to. To propel the thing, you had a handle that sat in front of the one-person seat, that you pushed and pulled which in turn, operated an eccentric drive mechanism connected to and turning both rear wheels. You could really get moving with this thing, well over child running speeds. This contraption is the root of human locomotion appeal that eventually led me in my adulthood, to the trike, with many uprights and diamond frames in between. I began serious bicycle touring with upper quality machines, in the middle 70′s, when I learned what it meant to ride 75-100 miles loaded (the bike-not me) per day, camping most of the way. Now, after having raised my son as a single parent, I am too old for the ‘Up-Wrongs’ and the aches and pains that riding them all day, bring. So … Now I’m into trikes for comfortable, not-too-fast, long-distance touring (without the pain) and am trying to get back into shape that will allow at least 50-mile days loaded, pulling a trailer.
* CCTE: I’m excited about this expedition, seeing new country for the seat of my new 2010 Catrike ROAD, pulling a Burley NOMAD trailer. Everything equipment-wise is purchased, tuned up, geared properly and ready to go. My particular concerns are water and food, as well as my physical condition. Although I have been doing some working out to get back into trike-touring shape, I believe that Steve is going to have to be a patient triking buddy with me until I ‘get my legs’, probably around the 3rd or 4th day out on this 21-28 day excursion. But … from my limited experience, that’s usually the way of it with a couple or more riders newly attempting such a trip for the first few days. The weakest link always is the slowest rider and I’m that in this case. I am very eager to see the road and where it takes us from the posture of me in that trike, as well as the fun we will have on this expedition. To date, as far as I can see, nothing has been overlooked in preparation for it. Even personal security – which is important to consider, especially these days – has been considered and prepared for. We will be safe, I’m sure.
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May 17, 2011
I have finally been able to spend some time with the Q, having been buried by months of preparing the trike book for publication. Oh the joy to get out into the garage and get my hands dirty tinkering on the trike! Posts will appear (or already are up, depending on when you read these words) that give some more detailed information about what I’ve been up to this past couple weeks, but I’ll just nutshell it here today, as I have to post some posts in advance for when Gary and I are out on our adventure.
The rear hub has been lubricated by Matt Jensen. I have installed a new Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire, Q-Tube, and EarthGuard on the rear of the trike, and will be installing new tires and tubes on the front shortly. The old ones are still fine, but I figured why not begin this year’s trek with new tread. Now, I have enough spare tires and tubes to last a very long time (read the post about Bike Tires Direct for the best price on tires – unbelievable). I have also shortened the handlebars 1.25 inches so my arms are more open as I ride, and I’ll be putting on new shifter cables soon. Lubricating the moving parts with Tri-Flow is also in progress. The biggest project is the new extraction handle fabricated by the local welding shop. This allows me to easily grasp and pull the trike backwards for any number of reasons, something I found very necessary at times during my Death Valley trek in ’09. I also loosened up the tension on my SPD pedals so my foot will release easier.
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BACK IN THE SADDLE … AGAIN!
May 24, 2011 – 1:30 to 5:30 PM
Now that felt great! Finally at long last, this displaced trike pilot has returned to the world of the physically active by making time to put some miles on the Q that has been slowly reincarnating into the ultimate long haul rig (or close enough for my needs anyway). On the above stated date and time, my laptop was shut and cold, but my trike was wide open and hot! The day began with fully blue sky and warm temps for the coast. By early afternoon the clouds had begun to ever so slowly sneak back in, but the air was perfect for strenuous triking. I wondered about needing a jacket as the overcast increased, but my long sleeve light cotton shirt and the Bellweather (made in USA) high visibility vest were more than up to the task of keeping yours truly warm … in fact, that polyester vest had to be partially unzipped after a while to allow my excited body heat a place to vent.
After donning my Lake MX-165 mountain bike shoes, the Outdoor Research (OR) ultralight shade cap, sunglasses, and some gloves, off I streaked down the little hill from where I live. The hill is short, but steep enough that a trike reaches 15 MPH before it levels out about 4 seconds from the top. I live 5 blocks from the Oregon Coast Highway 101 (for readers from locales that are not familiar with the “block” term, one block is essentially the distance between crossroad intersections). The total distance for today’s ride turned out to be roughly 12 miles, so you might wonder how 12 miles could take 4 hours – that’s a 3 mile per hour average speed, but it’s deceptive. I like to visit and talk, being an isolated human while writing, so when I do get out, all my pent up thoughts just explode all over whomever is around and wants to listen (or not wants to listen, as I talk anyway).
The reality of the matter is that having sat for so long on my duff, I truly enjoy speed triking when appropriate … and it’s appropriate whenever I see ground that is level or angled downward (that’s on my training rides anyway, not on my trike tours necessarily). So, over to the local bike shop I pedal, which sits on the corner of Highway 101 and my street. There I am, chatting up a blue streak with the shop’s head wrench Sara (yep, a female tech who really knows her stuff), along with a few customers who tune into my yakking, when all of a sudden I see out the front window a sight that changes my plans immediately.
Out front is a large parking lot, some Rhododendron bushes in full bloom, the highway, and a Safeway market across the highway on the other side. What do I see? Well, my old friend Matt Jensen, cycling tourer extraordinaire, as he pedals northbound on his $7,000 Titanium Rush recumbent with its bright green tailsock. I quickly tell Sara: “There’s Uncle Matt (what they call him). I have to go catch him!” Out the door I bolt. Into the cockpit I slide. Onto the pedals I attach. All the while, Matt is making steady headway north, and I’m wondering if I can get to him. After all, coast traffic is getting heavy lately with the increasing influx of summer tourists. Crossing the highway at the uncontrolled intersection with my trike is a bad idea, so I crank north one block and come out at a major signal controlled intersection and get into the left turn lane. My signal is red. Matt’s signal is red. This is a three way signal affair, and his signal turns green first. He doesn’t see me because I’m behind a large pickup truck with another truck behind me. I watch as he crosses the intersection and disappears from sight.
My signal finally turns green. For all I’m worth, I pour the coals to the crankset, make the turn in the sea of automobiles, and fall in behind Matt about two blocks behind him. He’s in my sights, now it’s just a matter of whether my quadriceps hold out long enough in my highest gear to reach him before he turns and loses me. Well, as luck would have it, Matt checks his rear view mirror every now and then, and I notice his head cock to the side slightly as he peers into it. His head then turns back forward. But wait! It’s the classic “double take” and he returns to the mirrored image intently. Behold! Matt now sees a screaming red Q bearing down upon his rear wheel with lightning speed! To let me know for sure, he gives his Hawaiian hand signal wave with the thumb and little finger extended. He points to a small parking lot for a tiny seafood restaurant and pulls in. I’m scorching in so hot that my Sturmey-Archer brakes get their first serious workout of the season as I pull up beside him.
The little seafood restaurant parking lot is where I caught up with Matt. If you notice details, check out the sunglass lens over my left eye and you will see the reflection of a cool Titanium Rush recumbent bike with a Zipper fairing, being sat upon by Mr. Jensen. Do you see it?
Thus begins my first pleasant non-riding diversion of the afternoon as we chat about all things trike/bike. After a while, we begin riding north on a hidden walk & bike path in the forest. Absolutely beautiful, and a stark contrast to the hurried highway of hectic drivers only a couple blocks west. Turns out Matt just returned from a round trip ride inland to a small mountain town called Mapleton, a 30 mile ride on flat highway along the Siuslaw River, and now he’s hungry as a lion. So, we part company after a bit and he rides home for some late lunch. I continue with no particular destination, hoping only to make sure the Q is up to snuff and break in the old bag of bones for the trip.
It’s relatively warm today, especially when you’re pedaling a trike, so I figure that I’ll make the Pacific Ocean north of town my turn around point today. Before I do though, I head on over to Joseph’s house to see his new recumbent bike. But alas, he’s not home, so I ride over to Easy Norm’s house. He’s the fellow who sold me the Q back in 2009. Norm’s nearly 77 years old now, and still rides his Gold Rush recumbent bike all the time. In fact, he just returned from Mapleton also. We chat for a minute or so, but he’s off on some errands, so I move on towards the pounding surf.
As I pedal northward out of town, I think of my comrade Gary Bunting who will be accompanying me on the CCTE in August and September. He is in southern California, taking training rides on his Catrike Road, where daytime air temperatures now begin exceeding the 90 degree mark. As Gary is getting ready in that setting, here I am at the coast, with a degree number in the low sixties. Ahh, eat your heart out my friend! Well, he’ll be up here in about 12 weeks for our overland journey, so he’ll get a taste of it eventually. The town that I just left is about a mile inland as the crow flies, and pedaling on concrete with cars everywhere in a wind shadow keeps the town’s temps warmer than at the beach. I’m warm from keeping up some speed, so I look forward to the ocean breeze. Several miles later, I arrive at the beach, and will post some photos here to show Gary what he’s missing:
That’s it for the photos of this ride. The breeze felt fantastic, and cooled me down even before I arrived at this little footpath to the waves. I looked upon the incomprehensible mass of salt water, listened to the breaking giants, and contemplated all the varied scenery I would be experiencing on this next expedition. From this isolated coast, over three major mountain ranges, through remote deserts, and finally into the land of the Mojave cactus, the upcoming endeavor should prove quite enlightening. At least I won’t be freezing to death like I was in 2009 in the Cascade Range. Well, I best not become overly confident, lest Murphy hears me and makes me eat my words on the next highland crossing.
After making rounds of a few more people and places, I returned home with a huge appetite … and thighs that would no doubt be somewhat sore the next day. Ahh, what a grand feeling to know the body is so alive and responsive to the life that inhabits it. TRIKE ON!
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NEW SLEEPING PAD
On my last overland trike odyssey, I cheaped out and used a $25 inflatable air mattress that was acquired at a local Fred Meyer “everything under one roof store”, something akin to a Wal-Mart, only more upscale. It kept me well padded on that trip, but was so thick that if I got the down sleeping bag too close to the edge, I would slide off onto the floor of the tent. It was also terribly heavy as far as backpacking or triking uses go, where lightness is the essential name of the game.
Well, I’ve changed my ways, and now that I have a profoundly minimal retirement income streaming in each month from six vested years spent teaching in another state, I actually do have some potential to get at least a few items of quality gear for this trek. So, from REI yesterday, arriving via UPS, was my new ThermaRest NeoAir ultralight backpacking sleeping pad, which is the company’s lightest ever pad with an inflated thickness of 2.5 inches to keep my body off the boulders under the tent. It is made in the United States no less, something that is practically unheard of in today’s interconnected world. Unlike the standard classical ThermaRest pad that was self inflating, this new pad requires a few puffs of air from the lungs to bring it up to speed.
And the great thing about being an REI member is that if this product fails to meet my expectations, there is a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee. Can’t beat that!
Here is the folded size of this incredible sleeping solution. Note the real human hand holding it to get the idea of how compact this nifty product really is. I have not yet removed it from the box, so eager was I to share it with you now! More later.
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EXPEDITION STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
by Triker Steve
The ego is a double edged sword. It can protect me at times, but by far it is the root cause of humanity’s perpetual suffering. The ego always wants more, no matter how “satisfied” it becomes. Such thoughts as: “I would be happy now if only thus and such happened.” or “If that didn’t happen yesterday, I’d be fine today.” or “I can’t believe what that person just did to me.” or “I just know something bad is going to happen tomorrow.” or “I don’t understand those other people who are different from myself, so they must be evil.” The ego needs to make me right by making others wrong. It needs to make me better by making others less. It keeps my thoughts either in the past by replaying what does not exist, or keeps me anxious for the future (which never arrives) with stories of all that could go awry. What the ego is great at doing is keeping me out of the present moment, the only place where life happens, and thus I miss the only time I have. The joy of the present is experienced when I quiet my egoic thoughts and become one with what is … right now!
So, what does all this high-minded apparently enlightened talk have to do with the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition? Well for me, it has a lot to do with it, thus my attempt at explaining a personal mindset that has worked very well for me, and keeps me focused on the life that lives within, the universal life force that experiences itself temporarily through my human senses.
A significant aspect of this expedition for me will be the joy of the adventure, savoring life every minute of every day while triking south for a few weeks of relatively primitive living. Some of that joy is always being an ambassador for trike riders everywhere, the demonstration to all I encounter along the way that trike pilots are people to be respected, friends on three wheels that always lend a helping hand, always remain polite in all circumstances, and always are there to talk about the fun they are having. Trikes are rare, thus what I do on one sets the tone for most motorists and other folks who encounter me in some fashion. And part of my ambassadorship includes being present with each situation that presents itself to me, and interacting with it in a way that is not ego-driven, or destructive either to me or those who are in my presence at the time.
With these lofty ideals in mind, I keep standards alive that determine my conduct at all times. No, I’m not perfect, but I am aware of my thinking to such an extent these days that even if I do react negatively to a situation based on old ego-driven thought patterns from being raised in an egocentric society, I immediately catch myself, and either modify the reaction in a positive life-reinforcing manner, or at the very least I use the incident to further better myself as a being through which life continues to live. This may be making little or no sense to some of you, yet I suspect it may be touching a sensitive cord in others. Not to belabor the point for those not in tune with such a manner of existence, here are but two of my personal objectives in relation specifically to riding a trike cross country, out on the open road of freedom:
1) If a rare driver of an automobile demonstrates hostility towards me in any manner, whether it be a hostile hand gesture, yelling of names, or honking of horn, I will not react in kind towards that unconscious human. To do so would only be my ego saying: “Hey, how dare you treat ME with such disrespect!” Did that motorist’s hostility in any way make me less of a person? Did it take anything away from who I am? No, it did not! It may have damaged my ego, but so what? I am still the same regardless of his problem. I will not become unaware and unconscious like him by behaving as he does. And this means either through outwardly visible manifestations on my part, or even thinking negative thoughts about the driver in my own head, which is just as destructive to my positive life experience and longevity. This is a challenge for most people of course, and it has been for me, as we have been trained all our lives to not take “abuse” from others. It takes much conscious practice to truly reach a level where the absurdity of such trivial things becomes glaringly evident when held against the light of the overall picture of life. Clearly, if someone is intent on inflicting physical harm on me, I shall take whatever action necessary to stop the aggression, but in my sixty years, this has not yet happened, even during my years in law enforcement, where my intellect and demeanor have turned potentially deadly situations into readily managed outcomes. And no, this is not presented to further boost my ego, but to simply relate what goes on in my mind as I continue to move beyond the fears and hatreds of the masses.
2) If something goes “wrong” on this expedition, a situation that leads to either a minor or significant change of plans, either temporarily or more lasting, I will not resist what is, but rather will act according to a state that is at peace with the present moment. What does this mean? Well, let’s suppose I get a flat tire, which my ego would say is a very bad thing considering all the recommendations I’ve long since made about certain tires, liners, and tubes in my writings. In the past, I might have gotten all bent out of shape, cussing along the roadside as I realized I was now faced with the task of fixing my predicament instead of riding down the road. To act like that is to not accept what is. What is the point of arguing in my head about it? Does it do any good to think “If only this hadn’t happened, I’d be a happy triker now.”? Of course not! I can continue to argue or be upset at the situation, but such behavior only causes suffering for me and anyone around me. There is no rational point in it. Does it make me less in any way? No, it does not! I am still having fun on my adventure, still the same being that I was prior to the flat. I am not less. In fact, an adventure, by the very definition of the term, is unpredictable, and thus one of the alluring aspects of proceeding in the first place. If we were guaranteed no personal challenges, would we even set out on the adventure? Likely not. It is the challenge of uncertainty that draws us towards it, and what is typically referred to as adversity only adds to the life experience. Is it “bad weather” if it rains for two days? Absolutely not! It is our planet being as it is. The only “bad” to be found in any of this is only in my own head, as I pass judgment, blame, or find fault with what already is.
Yes, this posting could potentially be construed by alert readers as ego-centered in itself. He is just pumping himself up by saying he’s better than everyone else, someone might think. Yet, such is not the case. Why do I write these paragraphs that may not seem in keeping with a website about human powered transportation? I do this because the trike has played a significant role in moving me beyond traditional ways of being, moving me beyond petroleum in notable ways, moving me beyond the negative trivial mindsets I used to be burdened with for decades, moving me beyond blindly reacting to what the present moment is in a manner that causes suffering. I do this because by voicing publicly these goals, I reinforce that which is important to me. It’s just like with the expedition itself: If I told no one about it and just set out on my own, I might get scared after a day or so of envisioned adversity or imagined fears and quietly return home, but by sharing my desire for the expedition, I reinforce that yes, I really can do something of this magnitude, stepping out of normal modern living with all its expected luxuries and niceties, which are themselves heavily egoic.
And so it is here. I am reinforcing my path in life through making it known. These two brief expedition standards of conduct mentioned above are my ideals, a tip of the proverbial iceberg that has become all that I am. By telling you, I am saying that I wish to be an ambassador, not only of triking, but also of life itself, of living in meaningful ways that are not consumed by complaining about the past or fretting about the future, ways that allow full positive interaction with what is right now. Right now is all I have, all I will ever have. Everything that happens during my existence in this human form happens now, not a minute ago or a minute from now, but precisely now. And during this time that is always the life within me, I wish to be a positive example of living in harmony with all of life itself, whether it be a rude human, a barking dog, a rainy sky, a helpful human, a happy dog, or a sunny sky. None are good or bad except by how my mind judges it to be. By accepting what is, and letting go of judging, blaming, and fault finding, I can rise to the occasion at hand in a way that is in harmony with life itself.
The time I have in this assemblage of atoms that has come together for a fleeting moment in the form of my sentient human body is so utterly short that I dare not waste it in unproductive nonsensical reactions driven from a well conditioned ego. As I am writing these words right now, I will also pass into some other form right now … it will seem like only a moment and then it is over (or so an ending might appear to many still imprisoned by a highly materialistic society). Could we ever imagine as children that we would someday be what we once considered “old”? No, it was not attainable to our minds. And yet here we are! But just as we could not conceive of it during the now moment of childhood, we are still in that now moment. Speaking for my self, I choose to live in peace, to enjoy the moment, to be enthusiastic about this expedition … and if something happens from which I cannot rise to a level of joy, at least I will accept it as what is, and move forward in harmony with that reality. I am an ambassador through my trike, pointing humbly towards not only the physical freedom of human power on the overland journey, but also towards the personal freedom that can be anyone’s when the ego is recognized and ultimately abandoned.
Okay, you may well have had your fill of my philosophy today, so I’ll sign off for a time, and will try to remain what most folks would consider on track for trikes in my posts. My life has undergone profound transitions in recent years. The trike has been but one outward manifestation of this inner transformation, and thus is linked in to the extent that I tend to share more than simply the nuts and bolts of how to create the perfect human powered recumbent tadpole tricycle. My life is not fragmented anymore, as the ego would have it, so the melding of all that I am sometimes knows few boundaries. TRIKE ON … even if you do see things differently! In the end, we are all one, all brothers and sisters in the song of life.
Life is the music. We are the songs it sings!
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May 25, 2011
By the looks of what is developing, it appears that a third member may well be joining the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition. Considerable discussion has been occurring behind the scenes this past week and a half between myself, Gary, and the potential inductee, and if we receive confirmation that this trike pilot is on board, the news will be posted on this page, as well as the post page. If this comes to pass, the triker’s photo and bio will also appear here. What I can say thus far is that this adventure seeker may be riding a Gekko or TRIcon (those are model names, not manufacturer names, so your assignment this evening is to discover who makes these two trikes). Oh, by the way, this mystery trike pilot does not live in the national political container that claims me for a citizen, however, language has not been a barrier. Okay my triking friends, so long for now!
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SOME NEW INFORMATION … AT LONG LAST!
June 06, 2011
the mystery triker
The trike book is now out of my control, so life has returned to getting the Q prepped for the journey, getting myself squared away, and coordinating a crew of trikers who have never met each other in person. So who is that trike pilot pictured above? He is one of the Three Stooges, of course. Moe, Larry, and Curly … you’ll have to figure out which one. Seriously, it does now appear that a trio of trikers will make up the CCTE corps of discovery, and this fellow is the newest member.
You’ve already met Gary Bunting earlier on this page, who lives in southern California in the political container named United States of America. Now, meet … well, I can’t say for sure until he gives the go-ahead, but it looks good. Glen is shown here on a TerraTrike Path, but has ordered a new trike for the trek. He was torn between an Azub TRIcon and an HP Velotechnik Gekko, both of which are somewhat challenging to acquire on short order. The former is Czech and the latter is German. From what I can determine in email chatter this week, the Gekko may have made the grade (Editor’s update: The Azub T-Tris has taken the honors – 09 June 2011).
Glen hails from a political/cultural fortress farther north than where this trip will occur, which is why he is dressed in tee shirt and shorts above. Maybe it doesn’t get as cold up there as I imagine. Actually, I’ve been so indoctrinated since elementary school to say “up there” or “down there”, when in reality, we inhabit a round planet in a limitless space where up and down do not in reality even exist.
Enough idle musing on my part. My fingers are raw to the bone from typing nonstop for the past nine months, so here I shall simply copy and paste some stuff from emails that have been flying through cyberspace lately regarding this expedition. You can figure out who wrote what, and when, and see how our crew’s preparation is coming along (maybe you’ll even pick up some pointers for yourself in the process). I guarantee no chronological order to what follows, as my overused mind is wholly focused on the Q and that which awaits a mere 81 days from now! Read on …
Howdy Gary and Glen,
I’ve been away from the computer since last Thursday, having no book commitments at this time (ah, what a relief). I get high speed wireless on my laptop here at the library, and walk here a couple times each week now, thus my gaps in responding to things. I have been spending some quality time with the Q lately, and it now has three new Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (20×1.75) on it, along with three new Q-Tubes (the Kenda thornproof kind from Hostel Shoppe). I also run EarthGuard tire liners … just ’cause I’m an “overbuild it” type of fellow (a relic of my Old Man’s philosophy). Since I’ve never had a flat tire on the trike, I guess it must be working so far. But of course, since I just made that arrogant statement, maybe Murphy’s Law will set it differently next time out.
I’m happy to see you two chatting back and forth and getting things laid out so well. Gary, your descriptions are top notch and very helpful … leave it to an aerospace engineer to be so complete! I’m kinda’ that way, but not quite so extreme, so I may come off as perhaps too laid back. Well, this trip, I am considerably more relaxed, something that has partly come about due to past experience (which I did not have before), along with new ways I look at life since my 2009 trip.
I am happy with the three of us size wise. When I went solo last time, it was an easy matter to simply slip in here or there for primitive stealth camps. With three of us, this will be more difficult, but the upsides of camaraderie offset this. With time getting closer, and no other inquiries about membership, it appears that we’ll top out with our trio. Imagine what it would have been like if there were ten of us! Great for traffic visibility, but a real bear on overnights as far as how our fearful society might respond.
Answering a few questions:
I haven’t totally figured out my food thing yet. Last time, I was super organized with it all, eating the same thing every day from my 50 pound stash of food in the trailer. This time, no trailer, so things will be different. I will most likely have some type of granola with water for breakfast, along with dried plums and raisins. I also take a daily multi-vitamin, and suggest each of you bring a good high potency “one daily” supplement along, as our diets may occasionally be deficient in some things. For lunch, I will probably have some trail mix concoction, which I’ll make myself initially, but will have to buy as the trip goes on because I can’t store enough on the trike for the entire time. This will consist of such things as almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, which will provide many healthy fat calories that my body will need with eight hours of daily pedaling. I will also eat energy bars as necessary, including Bear Valley meal bars, which I have found after many years of outback use, to be by far the most filling, nutritious, and energizing of any bar out there!
There are four varieties of Bear Valley MealPack bars, with the Carob one providing a whopping 440 calories! I brought along a three week supply of these last trek – lots of calories and extremely filling. I have purchased four dozen (12 of each type) for the CCTE, and will mail half of them to expedition security Jack Freer in Nevada, who will meet the crew and refill our dwindling supplies for the second half of the journey. You simply cannot obtain more concentrated nutrition or calorie load for the money in any other option. Retail price is $1.59 per bar, but by calling them direct, you can order a hiker/biker quantity for significantly less money per bar. (1-800-323-0042).
For dinner I ate a rice/veggie packet each night on the DVTE. They were commercially manufactured in a plastic pouch that needed no refrigeration unless opened. I would simply tear open a packet each evening and eat right from the pouch. Of course, I could have eaten several of these each night, but restricted it to one. I might bring some along, but of course, with no trailer, will run out in a few days. We will be stopping in markets along the way (something I didn’t do much of last trip with my huge cache of food), so I will be buying fresh items too this time, like bananas, oranges, vegetables, and whatever else they have that is healthy. My daily food regimen this journey will vary, which is probably better than what I did last time out, and will be more exciting than simply eating the same thing every day.
One plus to my food plan last time was that I had very minimal solid waste along the way, which was a good thing when toilets weren’t to be found in a few locales. I lost 10 pounds in the first 11 days, and my body was simply burning up nearly every darn thing I was putting into it. My liquid waste was continual, since I was drinking water all the time, but that’s easy to take care of. My challenge on the CCTE is to eat enough to feel energized and maintain weight, but not so much that I am in need of a sit-down toilet very often. It’s all a trade-off we have to make. Part of when we eat more food will be determined by when a convenient Ma&Pa store comes along. We’ll shop when we can, and pull from our cargo stores when we can’t.
I don’t cook anything. Just the way I’ve always been on outings ever since I can remember, first in 4wd treks, and now on a trike. It’s simple and easy for me. I don’t expect luxury when in the outback, and do fine with the “out of the can, into the man” ideology. I’ll be bringing a can opener for when we stop at stores (for things like baked beans or such), and will eat the food right there so that I can dispose of the can in their trash receptacle. I don’t want to carry any trash like cans while pedaling. I’ll have a few plastic shopping bags for wrapper trash generated while in the outback, and then dump those at the next human outpost we encounter. I’m a minimalist type of guy, so all this works well for me.
If we come upon a fee campground in the evening, we can use these to camp, which will be nice if they have showers and water. Since there are three of us, the fee will be minimal. I assume we can all occupy one car camp site, thus, even if they charge $24 per night, that would be only $8 apiece, which may be well worth it if we want some added luxury. Using this idea, we could even spend one night in Crater Lake National Park at Mazama campground, which charges an arm and a leg, whether you have a 40 foot motorcoach or are a hiker. They have full facilities there. This would maximize our time to see and photograph the awesome lake and scenery. The national park was charging $5.00 for a human powered cyclist to ride through the park in 2009 (entrance fee for trikers).
Gary has stated the possibility of a motel once each week, which I have no objection to, yet if we do the showers in campgrounds, and laundries when available, we may not need a motel. I’m open to once a week if you guys want, but I could end up pitching my tent in the neighborhood nearby to save money and not spoil myself with too much luxury (makes it harder to get back out on the ground the next night). Of course, you never know what will come our way. I did an unexpected motel on my fifth night out on the DVTE, figuring I deserved it after the ordeal I had just gone through. Most of this boils down to a situation where we will decide as we go.
Glen, I would advise a 26 tooth small front chainring on your new trike. The standard 30 tooth that comes from most manufacturers is not nearly low enough for the monster mountains we’ll be crossing, even if you don’t end up pulling a trailer. I had a 24 small on the DVTE, with a gross weight (including myself) of roughly 370 pounds. I definitely needed it. This time, my smallest is a 26 because I will not be pulling a trailer. The subsequent jumps are all 13 teeth, at 39 and 52. As Gary mentioned, the rear is an 11-34 mountain bike cassette, which also makes a welcomed difference on killer “no end in sight” grades. We will be crossing the Coast Range, Cascade Range, and the eastern section of the Sierra Nevada Range, not to mention many lesser ranges in between, so appropriate gearing is essential.
Gary has his plans all laid out regarding getting to the commencement point and getting home afterwards, which he has laid out in a previous email. Will any such plans be problematic for you Glen? Let me know. I have the two flag arrangement on the Q that I had for the DVTE, only my pole is considerably shorter this time. I also had a flagging arrangement on my trailer last time, but no trailer this time, so one less flag pole. I have a dayglow orange triangular flag, with a yellow “smile” flag beneath it. A colorblind cyclist I know here tells me that dayglow orange appears a muddy brown to his eyes, but he can see yellow very well, which is why I decided on the orange/yellow combination before. Dayglow green is also a good choice for flagging, but it’s difficult to find such things.
Each of you may wish to consider printing up some basic business cards on your computer and printer. On the DVTE, the curiosity factor was high in many locales (and will be even higher this time with 3 of us), and people wanted to know more about me, the trip, and such, so I handed out cards that pointed them to my website. Some of our time will be spent as ambassadors talking with folks. It’s fun for me, yet I always kept in mind the need to find suitable camp each night, which occasionally meant cutting conversations short. That’s when handing out a card was a good thing. The ambassadorship aspect of triking is a big thing with me, and I want us all to present a positive image along the way of our adventure.
When we leave the Oregon coast on Day One, we leave behind the negative artifacts of human society, such as hatred, bigotry, blaming, fault finding, and other emotionally degrading ways of existence, and we show those around us that there is a better way. This is one of my original objectives as stated on the Trike Asylum CCTE page. I am in no way inferring anything negative regarding either of you here. What I say is equally important for me to keep in mind, as I’ve fallen short many times in my life. I make these statements first to fortify myself in my own actions so that I have clearly lined out for myself how I will behave, and secondarily to hopefully bring each of you on board in my desire to be the change that the world so desperately needs. The good news is that it feels GREAT to be this way! Combine that with the exhilaration of riding trikes cross country, and it’s definitely a life-altering experience!
Okay, I’ll send this email off, and probably follow up as things come to my mind as the days roll by. More later …
For the CCTE: http://www.finishstrongmovie.com EMAIL #3:
Hi Glen & Steve,
My father gave this to me years ago. It is printed on parchment paper and framed in an oaken, glass-front frame. It hangs on the wall in my kitchen and is at eye-level view where I see it everyday before going out the front door of my home to do whatever:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education alone will not; The world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
I’ve never forgotten or ignored the true meaning of this special gift from him – it is like a prayer; his prayer for me. It stays with me always, especially when I’m down with the weight of the world, its inequities and unfairnesses on my shoulders and moves me forward through my troubles, as well as through my own mistakes and the price I pay for them. It will ride with me in my heart and with thoughts of him at times during my personal trials on the CCTE.
I was just getting ready to go out the door for a workout on the trike and thought I’d better check my email. Happy to find yours.
In the AM, I won’t be eating the oatmeal. I usually have a banana, apple and a granola bar washed down with plenty of water. I will probably eat the oatmeal with plenty of raisins at our camps in the evenings, or perhaps at midday if we stop for a 30-minute lunch break, or so. I usually ride for and hour our so before I eat anything in the AM, just to burn off laden fat accumulated during overnight settling anywhere in my guts.
During Steve’s first adventure on his Death Valley excursion, he was running a 24-tooth low chain ring on his crankset for pulling his very heavily loaded trailer up hills. His rear cluster is and was an 11-34t combination. One of his problems in gearing during that trip was his gearing system driven by very, very short cranks arms (152 mm in length) that added to his very low gearing effect, but made him spin like a madman, tiring him out early and cutting his distance-traveled-for-energy-expended down a bunch. Now, Steve is running 170 mm crankarms, a 26-39-52 crankset and the same 11-34t rear cluster and that problem is cured, while still maintaining a healthy low gear capability of 15.3 gear-inches, and keeping away from the ‘over-spin’ dilemma. My gearing is the same, but my crankarm length is 165 mm, which suits my shorter legs and in effect gives me a bit lower low, which helps in the trailer pull up hills.
In addition, he was pulling a Burley flatbed-type of trailer that, even before loading his gear onto it, he had installed a Rubbermaid lockable plastic container that weighed in at approximately 20 pounds, bringing the unladen trailer weight to 35 pounds before any gear was stowed into it. That’s 20 pounds he could have cut off his load had he used an enclosed-type trailer such as the Optima Quick-Pak trailer or the Burley Nomad. His trailer load was 100 pounds, including the weight of the food stuffs for his entire trip, extra water (because he was unaware of its availability along his route and he wanted to play it safe) and even more weighted when he loaded his trailer with extra water for the desert portions of his trip. We now know from his experiences, that water is available along the way and it is not necessary to carry a month’s water rations.
When I got my trailer, I pulled it empty for a couple of days just to check its roadability and attachment to the trike. During these days, I never knew the trailer was behind me – blew me away. Then, I loaded it up with approximately 45 pounds of camping gear, towels, water, etc. and loaded my trike panniers and bags up to full with approximately the weights that I indicated in my last email. I did my normal workout distances (with my original gear setup of an 11-32t rear cluster and a 30-39-52t crankset with 165mm crankarms – my low-low was 18.9 gear-inches) for about a week (maybe 100 miles) pulling that load.
I don’t know what our physical conditioning comparison right now would be, but initially (for the first couple of days) I did notice a very slight drag up the hills – nothing appreciable, but it was definitely there. After a couple of days conditioning and getting used to it, I hardly noticed the drag at all. Now, with the same loads and my new gearing of an 11-34t rear cluster and a 26-39-52t crankset with 165 mm crankarms – my low-low is 15.3 gear-inches, which gives me even more hill climbing capability with less energy output.
Absolutely, without the loaded trailer, a comparison of energy expense showed that the trike (as well as my own) had better duration, agility and nimbleness. For me though, on this first trip, I’ve learned from Steve’s experience and the advice he has given me, and am going to pull my LIGHTLY loaded trailer to ensure that I have the items with me that I need for survival. From past experience on 75-100 mile per day tours on my uprights, there is nothing like getting out on the open road over many days time and finding that you didn’t bring the things you needed because you had no room for them and you suffered for it.
My trike has a load capacity of 275 pounds, and with my weight and the weight of my gear in my bags and panniers, that maximum load limit is achieved. I don’t want to stress my trike’s frame, so I must put the added weight of larger items (tent, sleeping bag, Thermarest, etc.) in my trailer. Take a look at the pic I’ve attached, and you will see that my trike (as it will be configured on the CCTE) has no more room for large item attachment (such as the items that I will carry in my trailer), hence the need for the trailer volumetric addition.
Sounds like you had a great time meeting your new biking/triking aficionados. Did you happen to notice what Catrike (TRAIL, ROAD, EXPEDTION, etc.) and trailer Murray was using? I expect we will be experiencing meeting new people and triking enthusiasts all along our way on the CCTE. Here’s to it!!!
Gary’s setup … with Gary in it!
I know you two have probably figured out what not to do but Darren Alf has 10 or so years experience organizing his tours of varying lengths & time. He has a wealth of information & most of it is free. At the risk of being redundant I offer this recent post of his in case there is anything you may have overlooked. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/14939906
On the Trike front It looks like I am back to the Gekko. While the Tricon looks like it would be an amazing unit equipped with rack, fenders, & a few other goodies + our Government Extortion it amounts to about $4500. which is out of my range since I haven’t had much of an income for over 2 years now. The Gekko at a net cost of $2000. or so is in my range ready to roll + I don’t have any concerns with delivery or pre-testing.
On the Training front – I have signed up again for Karate classes. The school I have joined has assured me that they have never had a heart attack victim (Yet?) & that training methods have changed drastically from the days when I was doing 500 push ups & 250 sit ups in an evening class.
(That was the warm up) Since I have developed couchitis over the passed 15 years or so a jump back into heavy duty training was a real concern and also 50 mile days pedalling.
Question – What are you guys planning for cooking/food? – I am wondering whether I should consider using my Trailer or eliminate duplicated items to lower weight & share with Gary in pulling his unit. (I have a 2 axle mounts for the trailer)
More news later this month as I am driving down to pick up the Gekko.
Thanks for the Posts, news & advice.
Good morning Glen,
Regarding the two-way hand held radios, I have two of them already, but will not be bringing them on the trek. I believe it is best for us all to remain within eyeshot of one another during this journey. Talking back and forth while riding trikes is both enjoyable and easy, and since the vast majority of our route is very remote and includes no major metro areas, we should be fine. Besides, those devices would be just one more thing that needed to be recharged. My use of them has shown that after several hours of “on” time, they run low on battery power.
I have drum brakes on my ICE and have never felt any need for discs under any situation thus far. My drums stop me very well. They are simple, with no hydraulics or lines to leak, and they are totally encased within the housing so there is no disc to get bent or damaged in any way. I like simplicity. My drums did just fine on my Death Valley trek in ’09, and I was pulling a very heavy trailer behind the trike, with my gross weight (including myself) somewhere in the neighborhood of 370 pounds (a tough neighborhood).
Here are some things to keep in mind regarding your trike purchase decision. You will need a trike that can have a pannier rack attached over the rear wheel, as you will need to have two side panniers on it, as well as a trunk pannier atop the rack. Whatever trike you get, make sure there is a rack that will easily attach behind the seat over the rear wheel. If any of these trikes do not have this capability stock, which would require you to fabricate some after-market idea to make a rack work, then I would steer clear of it.
Suspended trikes need specially designed racks, usually by the manufacturer, like the ones that ICE makes. I have rear suspension, so my ICE rack attaches to the frame, allowing the suspended rear wheel to move independently of the rack. Rigid trikes can usually accept any number of racks, as the rack attaches to the dropout area. This is a question that each of your choices must satisfactorily answer. The best rack solution is a rack that the company itself makes for their own trike! If they do not make one, then they must assure you that “such and such” brand of rear rack will work on their trike.
My recommendation is to have two panniers on each side of the rear rack (54 liter total volume between the two), one trunk pannier atop the rear rack (11 liter or greater volume), and one pair of side seat panniers that drape over the seat (40 liters total volume total, such as Radical Design’s Side Seat Panniers S). That will provide you around 105 liters of cargo volume, which should do the trick. Gary may have somewhat less volume in his trike panniers, but he is making up for it by pulling a Burley trailer. This year, I will not be pulling a trailer.
You will also need to figure out how to carry roughly two gallons of water on the trike. I have two 100 ounce Camelbak water bladders behind my seat (one on each side), along with two 24 ounce water bottles on the front mainframe. Gary has one 100 ounce water bladder behind his seat, one water bottle, and the rest he is carrying in his trailer. There are many considerations for a trip of this magnitude, especially since we will be extremely remote during much of our ride, and not have ready access to any services for up to two days in a couple of spots!
We must each be self sufficient for at least two days. Three would be better. However, there are many mom and pop businesses scattered along the way where we can get minimal supplies like food and water.
Okay Glen, those are a few thoughts this morning. Hope they help. I am also sending a copy of this email to Gary in the event he has some additional thoughts about any of this. Take care and keep us posted!
Hi Glen –
Good to hear from you. I used to do Karate training in Okinawa in Naha City when I was in the Air Force back in the 60′s. A little different than what is taught over here. There, it was for brutal killing self-defense, no holds barred. So…I didn’t stay with it for long (about a year), but it did teach me valuable life lessons – along with the pain endured.
Right now to train for CCTE, I’m getting up around 7 AM and hitting the road for hill and dale 16-18 mile daily workout rides. That gives me about 120 miles of training per week, if I do it every day, which is my intended training regimen. Steve says that should be adequate, as long as I do some sustained hill climbing to improve stamina and wind. We are going to be doing a few long-distance hill climbs on this trip.
Hydration is a real concern, even on my short workout rides, so I carry plenty of water with me and drink about 22oz. each way. My daily total time out is about 2 hours and 20 minutes for the 16-18 miles (averaging a speed of 8.5 MPH) – the 20 minutes is a midway break that I take, stopping at a local park where I down a granola bar, a banana, an apple or an orange and the water, as my first meal of the day. The 20 minutes is to allow the digestion process to get a good start, level out the blood flow for digestion to my lower tract. and allow me to get back on the trike for the return home without experiencing cramping in my lower gut which occurs if I don’t allow time for digestion to really get started. My physical signal that it’s OK for me to start riding after eating, is a good belch or two at about the 20-minute break mark.
Even with that break in time, the return trip home is always a bit slower as the blood flow to my legs and lungs is always less because of the digestion going on. Some would say ‘don’t eat’ and you won’t have the issue. Well…I find that if I don’t take that little bit of food (especially the banana for potassium which burns out of my body with exercise), my blood sugar level that early in the AM with the exercise going on on the trike, brings me way down in muscle stamina (this is normal for most of us) and I actually get a bit light-headed if I don’t take the food in.
I’m watching my diet, but I’m not doing any type of calisthenics, push-ups, weight-training or anything of that nature as the muscle groups that I would be using are really not being used during those activities, the way they are riding my trike. That’s not to say those types are not beneficial – I recognize that they are. I’m just trying right now to exercise in a manner that will give me the most value and endurance on the trike during the CCTE. When I started training on the trike, I was at 247.6 pounds. In about 700 miles under my belt to date on the trike, I’m down to 232.2, a loss of 15.4 pounds and that varies up or down a couple of pounds each way, depending on the day. I’m shooting to be around 200 pounds by start of CCTE, but I think that goal may be a bit lofty. So…I’ll keep on trying, but will go with whatever I get by departure date.
Food…that’s a very good question. I plan on taking at least 20-30 granola bars (these should last a week and be replenished along the way), an 18 oz. container of 1-minute oatmeal, a couple of pounds of raisins, 3 bananas for the first two days out (replenished along the way), 3 apples for the first two days out (replenished along the way), a couple of pounds of trail mix, and three one or two-person dehydrated meals (replenished along the way) I will be bringing a single burner, very light-weight, one-burner back-packer Primus stove and 2 or 3 small cans of gas. Also, I’m packing a small 3-container stainless steel cook set with eating utensils for one. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten for now.
I will be pulling a Burley NOMAD trailer all the way and am trying my best to limit my trailer load to no more than 50-pounds, including my sleeping bag, 2-man tent, Thermarest sleeping pad, 2-gallon collapsible water bottle and whatever else that won’t fit in my panniers and rack trunk bag. I’m trying to limit my pannier load to 40-pounds (20-pounds in each), and 10-pounds in my rack trunk bag. Things like the oatmeal and granola bars will be carried in the trailer, as well as whatever clothing, cooking and hygiene items that won’t fit in the trike bags.
Frankly, this first time out (as it is mine on a long-tour triking outing), I recommend you bring your trailer, but try to load it as lightly as you can. Of course, that’s up to you. I figure that if you find yourself looking for bigger and bigger bags to carry your stuff on your trike loading the trike up with the same poundage that you would carry in a trailer, you might as well pull it in a trailer and keep the load on the trike rear wheel and tire (which is going to carry most of the laden weight and work the hardest on the trike) to the a reasonable level, equating to less flats/blowouts.
That’s about it for now. Let me know what you think,
PS: Here is the tent I purchased for the expedition:
Great information Gary, Thanks I am going to check the gearing on the Gekko.
Something occurred to me – is it not like 120 degrees in the Desert at Burning Man? And we will be sleeping in tents?
I forgot to answer one of your previous questions –
I will drive down to Florence from here with the Trike & Gear loaded in the back of my little car.
Luckily the Gekko folds down. So I am hoping there is a safe place to leave the car for the duration.
On the return trip I was planning on taking the bus from California to Florence but that might change if I am feeling like Superman. I expect after 1100 miles I will need quite a lot of recovery time but never having done a trip anything close to this magnitude I am not sure of it’s effect.
This week begins the big planning stage & acquiring items I am still needing & I’ll be making the trip down to Utah to pick up the Gekko. Once I have it in my little hands I can then tell Steve that I am a definite GO. Getting pretty excited!
Well Glen and Steve…
The one thing that we really haven’t addressed is SAFETY. That includes flags, mirrors, clothing, etc.
Flags, of course are a personal thing, including size and placement. But the color of those flags is important. Pretty and decorative have nothing to do with this on a tour, of any kind. And…I know you’re going to kid me on this Steve because of my propensity toward YELLOW…Hi-visibility YELLOW is the most easily seen safety color from any distance.
I confess, I’m guilty of not having yellow flags on my trike and trailer (simply because I could not find any decent ones of the right material and quality), and am using the stock orange flags but have augmented visibility of these flags by attaching adhesive-backed, Hi-Visibility YELLOW, Nathan Dots and Dashes (click HERE) and the same color Nathan Relflective Tape (click HERE) to both the trike and trailer flags. This addition causes the flags to emit a kind of flashing reflective mode in both sunlight and on cloudy days. At night, your presence is unmistakeable to drivers and others.
Nathan [Hi-Visibility YELLOW] Cycle/Helmet Stick-ons (click HERE) have been added on key positions on the trike, trailer and on my helmet, to aid in visibility, both night and day. A fairly good presentation of these additions is shown on READY TO GO pic attached, although the Nathan stripes had not yet been added to the flags when this photo was taken.
The mountain-biking helmet that I am wearing in the pic is not the one I’ll be wearing on the CCTE and has been changed to a blue and white GIRO Indicator Light-Weight Mountain Bike helmet purchased from Nashbar. This new helmet has a large number of relective Nathan Cycle/Helmet Stick-ons that encircle the entire sides and rear of the helmet, as well as the leading edges of the helmet visor – very, very visible both day and night.
As far as clothing is concerned, I wear Hi-Visibility YELLOW Dickies VL201AY long-sleeved (for visility from behind as well as protection from the sun) ANSI Class III T-Shirts. These are very light weight, breathable, sweat-wicking safety shirts. I have told while doing workouts on the trike, that most visible thing other than my YELLOW Lone Peak Rack Trunk (click HERE), are my yellow sleeves on my shirt. And this from as far as 2-miles behind me. So…I’m sold. Dickies also provided me with a hooded ANSI Class III sweat shirt with silver safety striping that will keep me warm on the crisp early morning departures on the CCTE. Rain clothing of this type is also available, but I don’t believe we will be having much issue with rain on the expedition, so I’m not bringing mine, at this point of consideration for now.
Just as a note: I have changed and increased my on-board-trike water-carrying capacity by adding a couple more 25oz. water bottles in my panniers. This gives me a total trike on-board water carrying capacity of 173oz. Also, I am carrying an expandable water carrier distributed by Coghlan’s camping gear. In the collapsed mode, the bottle (w/spiggot) is approximately 10″(W) x 16″(L) x 2″(T) and is very light. When filled, it will hold 2 gallons of water. This item is available through the Coghlan’s website (click HERE) at about $10USD. Of course, a few (probably a half-dozen) of the store-bought bottled water bottles (small) will be in the trailer always, and will be replenished with water as we go along.
I will also be carrying a KATADYN Exstream XR water purification and filtration bottle in my trailer. This bottle will probably be kept empty most of the time (except when we are crossing the northern Nevada Black Mountains Desert) and will be used for water purification only when we are forced to camp in areas where the water quality is questionable (i.e.; when we are out of water from all other on-board supplies). This bottle holds another approximately 25 oz. of water.
The last thing is protection from the sun. In the early morning when the sun is low, shorts and short sleeve shirts are fine (I’m carrying a couple just for the cooler early morning departures). But…when the sun is at its zenith, long, light-weight, breathable pants (or tights) and long-sleeve shirts (or sun-screen SPF85) are a must. I’m bringing sun-screen SPF 85, but I don’t prefer its use, as it is sticky, catches all the roadway dirt/bugs on your exposed body parts, and generally is a mess. There are ‘dry’ sun-screen powder-type substances on the market that I will be checking out shortly.
The other sun considerations are head, neck and face protective covers that allow triking visibility while keeping ol’ man sun from frying those portions of the bod. Steve has addressed this on the TA website. I recently purchased total coverage (except for the eyes and the bridge of the nose where your sunglasses will rest) Dr. Shade Flip-Flop Sun Hoods for Steve and I from Bass Pro Shops (click HERE). This item is on sale now and until May 30th for $10USD.
Other types of head/neck/face sun shielding clothing is available at Bass Pro, REI, Cabela’s, CampMor, etc. These items are a must if you want to keep from looking like cooked lobster and experiencing the pain from sunburn that is a constant danger.
Another note of safety consideration: I recently moved my mirrors to the tops of my front fenders to get better and easier visibility of traffic behind me. I had them on the ends of the handle bars, which proved to be inadequate and caused me to have to move my elbows up and out of the line of visility of the mirrors, while straining my headed over to one side to get visibility of rear traffic approach. Unsafe!!! Inconvenient!!! And…caused ensuing pain in my neck and eventual after-ride (and even during long ride) headaches.
Steve has covered the all-important issues of good tires, tubes, tire liners, etc. and that safety consideration is adequately covered on the TA. Thank you, Steve.
That’s it for now. I’m sure more will come up between now CCTE departure zero-hour.
This is the shoe that I wear and I have found it durable, comfortable, walkable off the trike and easily engagedin the pedal cleats: click HERE. I highly recommend it, and it is not expensive, as shoes go. It comes with cleats.
I am running the: Shimano XTR Trail Mountain Pedal, but it is a bit expensive. The Shimano products are all strong, reliable and decent, but I would stay away from the metal frame platform pedals (i.e.: the Shimano PDM324). Look for pedals with dual-side adjustable cleats and a large diameter spindle axle or axles made from titanium (such as the XTR). Under no circumstances buy WellGo pedals. They are simply low-grade products.
For trike applications, especially for long-distance touring, mountain bike ‘walkable’ shoes and mountain bike pedals are recommended.
Glen – I almost forgot; don’t forget sun protection for your headbone/face/neck, such as these shown at: Link 1, or Link 2, or Link 3, to keep your face from the sun’s damaging rays. Also, some kind of sunscreen is advisable for the upper cheek and nose where these item (except the Dr. Shade full-face cover) don’t protect. Steve and I have both the cap-type covers and the Dr. Shade full-face cover. These things are kind of paramount for the trip.
* * * * * * *
THE YELLOW BEAST
or: A look at Gary’s setup
June 09, 2011
Garmin nuvi® 750 with Glare-Stomper Sun Shade® – Right Side View (Note Small 26t Chainring on Crankset)
Garmin nuvi® 750 with Glare-Stomper Sun Shade® – Front View (Note the Fender-Mounted Mirrycle® Mountain Mirrors. Mirrors can be swung in to get the trike through doorways)
Garmin nuvi® 750 GPS with Glare-Stomper Sun Shade® and Cateye ELS30N Headlight. (GPS Internal Power is Supplemented Using a Voltaic ® Solar Charged 4.8/12v Battery that is Charged On-Board the Trike Using a dual panel Votaic® AMP Solar Charger – See Below). The Battery is Carried in the FastBack Norback Frame Pack Mounted on the Trike Boom.
Votaic® AMP Solar Charger (http://www.voltaicsystems.com/amp.shtml)
Garmin nuvi® 750 with Glare-Stomper Sun Shade® – Cockpit View
Shimano XTR® Mountain Trail 985 Pedals Installation – Front View
Shimano XTR® Mountain Trail 985 Pedals Installation – Right Side Pedal
Lone Peak Rack Trunk (with Coghlan’s® Strobe), Old Man Mountain® Sherpa Rear Rack, Cateye® TL-LD1100 Taillight and Cateye® Frame Bags (Note Nathan’s® Reflective Helmet Dots on Giro® Indicator Mountain Helmet)
Catrike® Stock Flag (Enhanced with Reflective Nathan’s® Helmet Stick-ons and Safety Tape on Both Sides of the Flag)
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A FEW MORE COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN GARY & GLEN
(in chronological reading order this time)
09 June 2011
You forgot the stereo! Haha. Pretty neat set up. I really like your Rack & Pannier set up. Nice that everything looks easily accessible. Where do you keep your Tire Pump? If possible could you send me a checklist so I can double check my supplies & equipment list? I am going to try initially without the Trailer depending how well I can pack everything. Looking at my list & the bags though it sure looks like I am trying to put a 1/2 ton of supplies into my panniers. Still, I camped once with a load of camping gear for 2 people in a Toyota MR2. We got to the campsite & couldn’t figure out how to re-pack it after the weekend so I am hoping it is just a matter of careful positioning. Gary, How are you getting yourself, Trike & Trailer back to Florence from Southern California?
Hi Glen –
All of the items that Steve and I have written about in the past emails should have given you a pretty good list to date.
The Catrike ROAD mesh seat has a small pocket with a Velcro strip on the upper right side to stow and secure a small hand pump. I’ve got a Lyzyne Pressure Drive 160-psi capable small mountain bike hand pump (with hose included for Presta and Schrader valves) put in there for backup in case my primary pump fails on the trip. There are also Velcro Stow-away straps sewn into the boom-mounted FastBack Norbak Pack and I’m carrying my primary Topeak Mini-Morph w/foot pad, 120-psi capable Pump in there. So…with those and the pumps you guys should be carrying (Steve carries a Topeak Road Morph w/foot pad, 140-psi capable) for your use, we should have plenty of pump redundancy in case failures occur on CCTE. Initially, when I arrive in Florence for the start of the CCTE, I will have a JoeBlow Sport floor pump that I’m bringing up to do the first pressurization of all of the tires on the trike and trailer, the night before our departure.
Steve and I started preparing for this trip over 6 months ago (I actually started in September of last year) and have been buying our gear and improving our rigs over that period in small spurts and expenditures, finance limitations dictating the schedule of purchases for both of us. I know that all of this may seem a bit overwhelming to you, but once you have it all done, it’s done for a good long time, until the need to replace worn out items may occur in the distant future.
In answer to your question. I’m not getting my trike and trailer back to Florence at the end of the trip, as I live very near the expedition’s terminus and will just be bringing my gear home and will leave everything in my house-sitter’s care. I’m driving my van back down at the end of my vacation. As I stated earlier, I’m taking the train back up to Florence to get my van. Then…the long way home.
The ‘YELLOW BEAST ACCESSORIES’ document that you now have serves to complete most of the triker accessories list for the CCTE. Steve also has listed much of all of this on the TA website.
Glen, have you done any long-distance, packed and self-supported touring before? Do you have panniers, etc. that will suffice for the trike packing? If you haven’t, don’t worry about it – between Steve and I, we’ve given you a pretty good list of all that you need to be concerned with; we’ll all be looking after each other on this trip. But…you really need to study up on the various websites that provide gear to the triker for touring (i.e.: The Hostel Shoppe, Utah Trikes, Nashbar, TheTouringStore.com, etc.). Are there any good, reputable and honest trike shops close to you that could help you with gear? I don’t, what with the exorbitant taxes up there, if it would be wiser for you to order your stuff from the States and have it shipped to Steve’s place and then arrive there a couple of days early to pack it all on your new trike. I know this is all a lot to consider and may be seeming overwhelming to you right now, but you’ll get through it. Keep on keepin’ on my friend.
Thanks for all your info. I think I am actually OK with supplies & equipping the Trike. I am somewhat of a organization freak.
I like to try & think of all possible scenarios. I have not done any long distance trike runs – my longest being 25 miles & limited to a weekend. I am building up my stamina & strength even though it is on my Path for now. I am just wanting to make sure that I don’t create a drag for you more experienced guys. I am happy to follow yours or Steve’s lead & advice so no egos or concerns from me as far as how much or fast we travel. I will be in suitable condition before departure which is really my only concern.
I got the bright idea (Oh No, Not another one!) to have my regular Panniers on my Rack & then put a smaller 2nd, set to ride over top. It looks like it will work & probably eliminate my need for the Trailer. On top of the rack I wanted to mount the cooler & then the Solar Panel. Until I can put it all together though it’s just theory. On another note – today I rode the Path about 15 miles but 3 of them were on a 11% Grade almost continuously straight up. (A few level spots through the twisties) Of course once I reached the top I had to turn around & go back down. Well the Path does not like speeds around 70kms/hour especially when braking or trying to steer through the bends. This is without a load too so I am glad I decided on a better Trike for the trip. What didn’t help I suspect is that I raised the seat about 4 inches from the original 9 inches to the ground. This of course raised my center of gravity but shouldn’t account for the steering being so twitchy at speed. No problems with the wheel lifting on turns so I suspect it is just poor frame geometry for this model. Although I had to stop a few times climbing I found I was recovering in about 30 seconds. After about the 6th stop I was fine & managed to finish the climb to the top. The gearing on my Trike is a standard Nexus Internal 8 speed. Small gear – 0.527 -1 ratio/ Chain Gear – 32 tooth gives me a 1.2 Ratio with the 20 inch wheels. So it is not surprising I was getting winded. Still I like the training & have a 3 mile hill with an even steeper grade to aim for.
For the return trip for me to Florence that is also another concern to not have the trailer. I suspect that I can take the Bus or Train with the Trike folded up for transport & just carry my bags. If I have to I guess I can ride back up the coast. (Such a hardship with that scenery, ha ha)
For yours & Steve’s info Utah Trikes is also having a big Trike Meet in September just in case you haven’t had enough by then. http://www.utahtrikes.com/ see the sidebar.
Take Care, Glen
Thanks for writing back and you are most welcome for any help that my humble knowledge and limited experience (I am not an expert on anything, really, and I don’t mean to come off that way, if I do) will provide; anytime, my friend. BTW – I think we could have quite a contest on being detailed perfectionists. As an aerospace engineer in the past (particularly in the Reliability and Maintainability disciplines), analytical development and sharpening was a must for my job and my inherent personality provided me a great advantage over lots of others of my peers in the industry, where that was concerned – so, although some people think it’s weird when they see or experience that in others, I was thankful to able to be that way, naturally. Actually, it has kept me out of harms way on many occasions, especially as a private pilot (a picture of my plane is attached).
One thing that I have experienced on long-distance touring rides (this was many years ago on regular bicycles) is that any negative-lending ego that you start out with (and let’s face it, we all have it and somehow society has – quite wrongly, I feel – gotten us to believe it is a bad thing. I don’t agree with that; it keeps us safe, instinctively.), ends up burnt out of you in the trial-by-fire by the daily grudge and initial conditioning that is forced upon one to complete the task at hand. This strengthens not only your muscles and mind (that ‘keep-on-keepin’-on thing becomes your daily motto), but an increased sense of humility is forced upon you as well, as the miles and trials let you know that you are definitely not ‘Superman’ – Well…maybe Steve is (ha-ha), but he’s been earnestly working at it for a very long time and he is in superior shape and will probably be giving us both mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (ha-ha…Oh Man!!!, we gotta get in shape, quick!!!) during the CCTE.
Steve and I have, on several occasions, discussed my own concerns about me being in shape (or out of shape, as the case may be) for this trip. Bottom line: Keep up your workouts as often as you can; climb as many long-grade hills as you can on your workouts; don’t worry about doing 50, 40, 30 or even 20 mile day workouts; we will not be doing continuous 50-mile days, day-after-day (some will be 25 miles, some will be 50 miles, some will be 65 miles – all depending on the terrain; every day will be different and I’m sure we’ll be ‘stealth camping’ a lot).
Another thing that is in my own thoughts: It’s a lot different doing daily ‘workout rides’ (there is really no excitement factor in these) than when you are out on the open road on a tour where new friendships are being developed, lots of great conversations are being had on a daily basis, the challenges of seeing new things and new terrain every day, the mental and emotional ups and downs that are presented to you also as challenges that expand your character and personal inner strengths, and the sheer camaraderie of being with fellow trikers with a single goal of not only meeting the challenges, but having lots of fun on an ‘excellent adventure’, makes your excitement of ‘doing the job’ a great deal easier – the miles just seem to float by after awhile (usually 3-4 days into the excursion when you are becoming conditioned to the job). So…don’t worry about holding anyone up.
After having these conversations with Steve, my similar worries have since subsided. I will do what I can to be prepared, but should the situation linger where I am not as far along as I think I should be, I will be there at some point early on during trip – just think of the sense of accomplishment we will have as the goal of the CCTE becomes reality for us all. From you description of your workout rides, it sounds like you are approaching this in a sound and sane manner. I will most likely be the one who is in the worst shape on the CCTE. I’m really overweight now (about 33 pounds from my target weight to begin this trip) and, although I’ve lost about 17 pounds since I started serious working out on the trike, I don’t believe I’ll make my target weight prior to starting the trip. Steve has said that in the first 10 days of his Death Valley trip in 2009, he lost 11 pounds. And, he was in great shape when he started his trip. That gives me confidence and a little less worry over all of this.
If your ‘double-bagging’ idea works and you can get away with not pulling the trailer, that would be great. Just be very, very careful not to exceed your trike’s weight limit. Having a structural breakdown of your trike on this trip would end everything for you in an instant – not to mention what it would cost you to replace your ride. I believe that Steve is loading his trike in a similar manner to what you have described you are trying to do. The ‘cooler’ is something I’m not sure of. What will you be carrying in that and is it the reason you are going to carry a Solar Power Array? If so, you might be better served by putting a Rack Pak on the top of your rack for other things. None of the food stuffs that Steve and I are bringing will require cooling or refrigeration, and you save a lot of weight by bringing foods of that type (i.e.; dehydrated foods, dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, high-energy bars, etc.). Please check with Steve on this. I’ll bet if you bring that cooler, that a third to half-way into the trip, you’ll be wanting to through it away.
My ‘downhills’ will probably be less exciting than what you and Steve will be doing (I’m bringing an extra set of brake pads along because I intend to use the brakes to control downhill speeds – surely I’ll wear out the brakes at some point on the CCTE). I’m kind of ‘chicken’ where moving over the ground with my butt just 3.8 inches from the asphalt on a heavily-loaded trike, any faster than about 30-35 mph. But…I’ll see you both at the ‘bottom’, or at the end of the day (again with the ha-ha; Steve has assured me that most of the time, we will stay in sight of each other on this jaunt). Forethought has me envisioning my trike and trailer rolled up in a mass of metal and all the other stuff, somewhere on the side of a downhill stretch of road, or down an embankment or mountainside, because I tried to take a curve to fast on a downhill, or had a blow-out of one or more of my tires, that put me and my trike out of the running. I’m afraid age and accidents have taken the ‘speed-freak’ tendency out of me – but you guys enjoy – I’ll watch.
Yeah…raising the CG on your trike doesn’t help, although sometimes I’ve wished that my seat-height was a bit higher on ROAD for ease of ingress and egress. But…that higher seat also causes drag and more effort on your part to overcome it while traveling down the road. Your gearing on your PATH is definitely not low enough for loaded hill-climbing (especially if it’s an 11% grade, which I hope we don’t experience on this trip – I’ve done a continuous 14-mile, 8% grade on the Gaviota Pass down here in southern California and that took hours of drudgery, pain and gallons of sweat and it really kicked my a _ _, and I was very much younger then and in great shape at the time).
So…when you get your HP Velotechnik Gekko, please take this into special consideration (the Hostel Shoppe spec sheet on the Gekko shows a crankset of 30-39-52 and a rear 8-speed cluster of 11-32t, not low enough, as we’ve already discussed). Go to their website; they have a Salsa 26t chainring for $26.00USD and a SRAM PG-950 11-34 rear cluster for $38.00USD. These are very easy to change either on your own or at your LBS. You may even be able to save some money if these items are available in BC at your LBS.
Why don’t you take the train back up with me on the return trip to Oregon?
* * * * * * *
A BIZARRE LITTLE DREAM
as concocted by the sleeping mind of Steve Greene
Earlier this week, with a conscious mind focused on the CCTE, I had an interesting, but frustrating dream one night. While replenishing the fatigued cellular matter of my old noggin, the following very intense reality popped up between my ears, and was still with me come morning, so I’ll relate it here for your utter enjoyment:
I was down in southern California somewhere with my sister. She had just purchased a tadpole trike for herself and wanted to go for a ride. Being a dream, the ride just started, with no prior information. She and I were on our trikes at the bottom of a long uphill mountain pass with quite a steep grade. I was on the Q, but her trike’s identity remained a mystery (which is odd, as I would have certainly looked it over in real life). Anyway, the dream began with us just starting to pedal up this monster mountain, and my sis immediately began pulling away from me with little effort on her part. I was pedaling for all I was worth, yet fell farther and farther behind. Assessing the problem, it soon became evident why I could not keep up. My crankarms were roughly 49 mm long! I was expending all my energy to just cover mere inches of roadway. I could not understand why I would have installed these ridiculous arms, but there I was as the sun was setting off to my left front, behind the mountain, spinning like a lunatic and watching my sister disappearing up the grade.
Bummer. I hate it when that happens! Upon awaking that morning, I quick like a bunny ran downstairs to confirm that the 170 mm crankarms were still attached to the Q. Happy day! It was just a dream! See ya’ …
* * * * * * *
IT’S ABOUT THE JOURNEY
Glen, don’t give a second thought to slowing down the expedition. It’s all about the experience of the journey, the camaraderie, and the joy of being part of the natural world … not about seeing how fast we can get to our destination. We will savor every minute of every day, the challenges as well as the triumphs. Life is a grand adventure, and this expedition is part of it. We are going to live like never before, and when we have completed this overland trek, our minds and bodies will be the better for it. Be forewarned however: Once this is part of your life experience, your spirit will seek more soon enough. You just don’t do one expedition and walk away. You begin pondering what’s next. The challenges of my first trip burned into me the desire to learn how much farther I could go … both physically and psychologically. It is indeed true that only those who risk going too far will discover how far they can go! There is no other way. I need to know, because with the knowing comes increased expansion and enlightenment of my being in many ways. Regardless of the CCTE outcome, we will have been engaging in what others would consider an epic endeavor, setting examples that such things are not out of reach to those with the desire. When someone warns me about all the potential perils of overland triking, and they do so quite often, I respond with something about how I’d rather check out while living fully, rather than how the masses of our soft and pampered societies spend their final hours, days, and sometimes years. We have one shot in this carbon based entity we call our body, and there’s no way I wish to spend it on a couch! TRIKE ON!
Your fellow life explorer,
* * * * * * *
BY THE BOOK
I used to do things by the book … until I one day realized that someone else had written it! They meant well, in their attempts to pigeon hole me into the expected behaviors of the culture into which I had appeared during the mid twentieth century, yet I could see flaws even in my youth. And by the time I had reached what many call “old man” status, it was clear that my own book must be written, for my mind truly does see life in a way that most cannot conceive. The trike is but one ingredient in where I am going, one mode of transportation that significantly brands me as bizarre in the Borg-like minds of the hopelessly conditioned masses, and one bit of physical ownership that I use to open spiritual doors … pathways through which the essence that I am can emerge into yet unrealized realms. I am no longer a religious being, having moved far beyond those fear-driven beliefs long ago, and I am not capable of understanding the mysteries of life. This does not leave me mentally unsettled however, for to lose even a minute of time in worry or fear is to lose the only thing I will ever have … the present moment, which is indeed a present to me from life itself. I shall not insult the power of life by complaining, fearing, or blaming. The universal life power, whatever it may be, has created me as a means to experience itself … and while I Am, I intend on giving it one exciting ride, which includes a few miles in the cockpit of a tadpole TriCycle!
* * * * * * *
MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN
by Glen Aldridge
When I first came across Steve & his journals I had no idea that I would be joining such a Kindred Spirit. I find it kind of funny how Birds of Feather….even unintentionally do seem to flock together.
Well Gary & I seem to have found our Mad Dog – us being the English duo of the three. What is even more remarkable is just how similar our backgrounds are. Both from broken marriages (as is 75% of the population), single parents, driven towards perfection & detail, sense of adventure & sadly needing to improve our conditioning. None of us was going to let a little thing like a Mountain Range or two get in our way though.
My sense of freedom & adventure must have started when I was 2 or 3 years old & I think that was on a Trike. The Police found me at 3 in the morning sleeping outside my Aunts Hairdresser shop in Romford, England. I think I left home more times than I actually lived there and there was always some place new to discover, something new to learn & experience. Of course this vagabond streak didn’t sit well with my Parents as they just didn’t understand the need for NOT having responsibility
And I was a prime example. It has always been my motto that I would try anything three times – once to learn, once to understand & once so I could pass judgment. It’s this “Can Do” attitude that has seen me through my irresponsible life experiencing as much as I cared to & making many friends along the way. Life it seems really is the best teacher & far from being the great risk that plague so many of society’s Brain Dead 9-5 workers. Of course the trade off is no mortgage, car payments, or stress from the associated mandatory monthly payments & that suits me just fine.
Will I retire with a Million Dollars in equity? No. Do I care? No. Will I have experiences & stories to tell right up into my 90′s? You bet & I’ll be loving every one of them even if the fish grows a foot every time I tell it to someone willing to listen.
My can do attitude has served me in many ways. – Raising a holy terror of a son that tested my limits beyond belief. I now have a deepened respect for single Mothers. My commitment to obtain my Black Belt at age 43 was not any great quest for personal achievement, it was simply a way of coping with life’s demands at the time. It was that or I was gonna kill the little Bas****
I learned patience, dedication & commitment. Qualities that still serve me well today & I am sure will come in useful should the demands of the CCTE get one of us or all of us down at times. I hope to be the catalyst that can bring a smile to Steve & Gary with my spontaneous humour and when necessary to dig deep for that extra measure of fortitude.
My Trike – Fortunately I am riding with 2 guys that have more Touring experience than me & with their advice my equipment list & Trike selection has gone through a few revisions. Of course the Cadillac of Trikes was on my wish list but that would have left me without funds for the Tour. Next in line was the Gekko. As this model is new & set up easily for Touring it almost made the cut and it was available immediately. However fully equipped ready for touring it was just shy of $3500.u.s. Almost back into The Tricon price range. In the end I have settled for the Azub Tris. A folding Trike that comes apart for shipping back home after we arrive in California. The Tris came in fully loaded with Racks, Panniers, Drum Brakes, Fenders all the goodies delivered here in Canada for $3000. + or -. Of course the Government thinks I bleed money so I am not sure what their cut will be.
What I find inspiring about an adventure like this is how many people you run into who wish they had the time, money, nerve, (insert your own excuse here) to do something like this & those who you meet on the road, having taken the plunge. Characters every single one. I think I’m in good company!
* * * * * * *
12 June 2011
The following information is being supplied to a few media professionals. If any readers know of other sources that may have an interest to cover this story, please feel free to copy and paste the text below in your own email. If nothing else, it’s fun to put it out there for the world to ponder!
Three Old Men on Tricycles
Dear Media Professional,
Tricycles are only for children. Right? Well, perhaps it’s time we expand our perceptions.
On Friday, August 26, 2011 at precisely 8:00 AM, three men in their sixties will be departing the central Oregon coast, bound for the southern Mojave Desert of California, a distance of 1,052 miles … on tricycles!
Their adventure will play out over the course of approximately 4 weeks, as they pedal 8 hours each day, and sleep primitively in tents each night. Their human powered tricycles and sustained physical effort will transport them over numerous mountain ranges, including the Coast Range, Cascade Range, and the eastern Sierra Nevada Range. They will leave the lush mountains of Oregon, ride through the rolling agricultural hills of northern California, proceed through the isolated deserts of western Nevada, pedal the length of expansive eastern California, and then finally reach their destination in the Victor Valley … with incredible stories to tell and memories to cherish.
The tricycles these three “old” men will be riding are light years beyond their childhood counterparts. They are sophisticated tadpole trikes, with two wheels in the front and one in the rear. The seats are only 7 inches off the asphalt. These adult tricycles are capable of speeds on long mountain pass descents of 50-60 miles per hour. Each man will have panniers attached, which hold clothing, tents, sleeping bags, food, and other supplies necessary to live in the elements of the natural world for a month.
Why are they doing this? Beyond the fact that each one has an overflowing spirit of adventure and the need to live life to the fullest, they will be delivering a silent, yet powerful, message to the thousands of automobile drivers who speed past them over the weeks that perhaps the time has come to seriously consider transportation alternatives to the unsustainable and toxic use of petroleum fuels. True enough, human power is not for the masses, yet there exist other environmentally sustainable alternatives that are realistic today. When three grown men ride tricycles on the open road through three states for 1,694 kilometers, everyone notices, and therein lies the strength of the ride.
You are invited to help spread the word through any documentation you feel may be appropriate. This unique odyssey grabs the attention and interest of all! After all, old men don’t ride tricycles, right? Come see for yourself …
May the power of life be with you,
The Three Old Men:
Steve Greene (USA – age 60)
Gary Bunting (USA – age 66)
Glen Aldridge (Canada – age 61)
“Keeping the air clean and the body lean!”
Steve Greene, wildernessrogue (at) gmail (dot) com, Telephone available upon request.
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT ONLINE:
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It lurks within the dark reaches of the best of us at times. Starting off on a long trike journey has the potential to bring it out. Here are a few lines from the beginning of my 2009 trek that provide a fleeting glimpse into how it affected me:
DAY ONE – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2009
(central Oregon coast to Bunch Bar river landing – 51 miles)
At 6:30 AM on Thursday, October 1st, a reporter from central Oregon’s largest newspaper parked his car in front of my abode. I had eaten a granola breakfast, rechecked all my gear that I had packed the night before, and was now nervously chatting with my friend Matt in the garage. Departure was looming its head as a dragon would stare down a knight. There was no turning back on this journey I had crafted for myself, my first cross country trek on a tricycle … alone, except for the first 20 miles with Matt on his trike.
The reporter had already taken a few notes, and was now snapping some photos with his large digital camera. First light had fallen upon the landscape outside the garage, air was cool, the time was 7:00 AM to the minute, and there was no further reason not to start pedaling. As I strapped my feet onto the pedals, and pushed the right one forward to begin the journey, a powerful surge of momentary fear coursed through my consciousness as reality truly made itself visible. There was no more talking of this trip in the future … it was now! I was leaving for a long solo ride laced with countless unknowns.
I’ve heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather moving forward in spite of it. I kept moving towards that emerald city. Matt served the role of tin man, scarecrow, and Dorothy, creating an immediate sense of safety in numbers. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
It all seemed so surreal to me. I was aware of pedaling out of the driveway, yet it was almost as though it really wasn’t happening. My senses barely captured anything around me, so intent was I on reconciling the impact of what I was in fact beginning to do. The reporter ceased to exist in my mind. Even though I had planned this to the nth degree, and wanted to do it, a voice within yelled that I should stop, albeit only for the briefest of seconds. I was now pedaling a tricycle to Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, a destination only thought possible via automobile by nearly all rational people.
* * * * * * *
GLEN TO GARY
June 12, 2011
Hi Gary, Well my old TerraTrike Path was yellow & I believe it to be a safe color. What I really wanted was Black as they really look slick but I thought that might be tempting fate especially since Steve says there is a good chance we will be doing some night riding. I saw the message about the patch – you guys are the BEST! I can’t believe how generous the two of you have been with your help & time. I think I spent about an hour on the phone with Steve last night & we had a great chat. I think he was making sure I didn’t have any last minute jitters. haha
I too have been going over my supplies list & checking it against what I still need to get. Steve also gave me some good tips on clothes, rain gear etc. & starting on Monday I will be buying/ordering the last of what is needed. I took your advice about the powered cooler & decided on an insulated picnic pack which I think will strap to the seat back & sit on top of the panniers. I envision this being useful for food & drinks & easily accessible & I think it will be large enough in case you two need to keep your water cold. (Nothing worse than drinking warm water when you are in the hot sun.)
I’ll keep you both updated as I get more./Glen
GARY TO GLEN
same day response
Hi Glen –
Well, here I am, up again at the crack of dawn – seems likes the older I get, the less I can sleep in. Maybe the exercise and fatigue levels that we will be experiencing on the CCTE will help correct that for me – here’s hoping.
My pleasure on the “Free on Three Trike” patch – WE NEED TO IDENTIFY!!! I’ve asked Steve what type of glue he used to attach his to his seatback, and am awaiting his answer. I’m going to put mine on the black panel on the front of my rack-pak, just behind my head.
Glad you got to talk to Steve on the phone. He’s pretty brimmed-up with good information, and he’s the only person I know of that has as much trike-touring experience in all environments and conditions. We’ve had several telecons over the past 6 months or so and I’ve always come away with new knowledge and information about things I hadn’t considered at all for this triking trip, or that rekindled my thinking along better approaches to various things regarding daily survival techniques. Regarding ‘jitters’ – I don’t have those, but anxiety about my physical abilities will certainly be with me until we reach our encampment location on no less than our third CCTE day, I’m sure.
I wasn’t going to bring my rain gear, even though it’s very, very light-weight. But after talking with Steve and his often-referenced Murphy’s Law (what can happen, will happen – as an engineer, I should never forget that law), I’ve reconsidered and will be bring it along, including a bright (you guessed it) High-Visibility YELLOW helmet cover (link). My very light-weight raingear pants are the same color, too. I have a Columbia water-proof light-weight wind-breaker jacket with hood that will serve as my upper body covering in the event of precipitation (it also serves well as an early AM layer to keep me warm and…you guessed it again!!! – it’s YELLOW and black to match my trike). My original thinking was that the time of year that we will be on the road, the likelihood of rain was pretty slim. Yesterday after reminiscing my conversation on the subject with Steve, I reconsidered and put the rain gear back on the list.
BTW…don’t forget to purchase (if you don’t already have them), a couple of leg/ankle straps to keep your pant lower leggings out of your crank (link or link). This is very important when you are wearing long pants and especially rain pants, as they are light-weight and can easily become dangerously fouled in your chainrings when riding. They come in various colors (even BLUE to match your new ride!).
A Trike Brake (link or link) is imperative when parking on hills (which we will most likely be doing a lot of). One usually can suffice, but I use two just in case, especially with the trailer and its weight in tow.
Also Glen, one thing that was always a pain on long tours that I’ve taken during my youthful years, was dew or morning moister on my bikes. So…thinking of that, I bought a TerraTrike Trike Cover to ward off that particularly undesirable issue (link or link). It really is good quality and very light-weight, as well. You may be able to find it (or something like it) up in BC for a lesser price than down here, and if you decide not to get one, I would most assuredly recommend some king of light-weight covering method for your trike to protect during night and early morning moisture. I’m going to have to come up with something for my trailer also, even thought it’s supposed to be water-resistant. That moisture has a tendency to attract dirt during the first few miles of you morning ride-time.
Sometimes, although the mesh seats properly installed and kept tightly adjusted to minimize stretch and wear, your butt and lower back just don’t get enough support – even with a built-in lumbar support as I have in my frame design. I have, at the recommendation of my Local Trike Shop (TRyx Recumbent Trikes – Owner, ‘Hoppy’), and I’ve been very glad I got it, installed a foam seat pad (link) in the space provided by the top and bottom sleeve-like fabric of the seat. It keeps me comfortable and because it breaths, keeps the netherlands regions dry and free of any moisture-promoted rashes. I believe, if your T-Tris seat mesh allows this addition, you will be very thankful that you have it, should you decide to purchase it for yourself. Sure enough, 1052 miles (1694 kilometers) is a long way on a trike and comfort is a must.
Steve suggested this item (or something like it) to warn of anyone or anything tampering with our trikes/gear during overnight camping. These are bells that ring whenever the trike/trailer is moved (link). I’ve purchase a couple of them (they’re pretty cheap for the confidence they inspire. Steve says that bells are nice to hear tinkling during your ride – I will check that out on the CCTE with these little devices).
Utah Trikes always seems to have the best deals/prices on anything ‘trike’ – so if any of any of this inspires you, I would highly recommend that you check them first for availability and price.
Another thing to consider very seriously as a necessary item is a small medical kit (link). I am bringing along a small, light-weight Adventure Medical Kit ‘Trail’ item. It has everything in it that I might need in the event of a medical mishap. I should have mentioned this on my ‘Safety’ spiel, some emails ago. This is very important that each of us carry some kind of first aid care item in our packs/panniers/luggage.
On the cooler…I can’t begin to tell you how much warm water I’ve drank on bike tours, and even on my workout rides down here. It’s not a big deal. I was glad on all of those occasions just to have something wet to put in myself. A couple of times, I’m sure that that warm water has saved me from hyperthermia. So, unless cold water is your preference and you wish to bring the cooler for yourself, that item is a non-consideration for me – very kind of your to think of it, but not necessary for yours truly.
That’s it for now,
At the library today and tomorrow, getting my Kindle book off to Amazon, as the paper version went live yesterday. I plan on calling each of you this week, either tomorrow and/or Wednesday mornings. Busy like a bee with the book’s release.
Thoughts on Gary’s email:
“My original thinking was that the time of year that we will be on the road, the likelihood of rain was pretty slim.” Yep, my thoughts exactly on the DVTE, yet on Day Three, into rain was I, and by Day’s Four and Five, into two feet of snow! Funny how Murphy tried to cool my jets – guess he didn’t know I had full rain gear. I won that one, but was a little damp and cold in the process! ha ha
“A trike brake is imperative when parking on hills (which we will most likely be doing a lot of).” I have built-in trike brakes on the Q, but with the trailer I had last time weighing so dang much, the ten foot rig would roll anyway, so I learned to park perpendicular to the hill whenever possible!
“… was dew or morning moisture on my bikes.” My solution to this one was to bring a a small 9×9 inch piece of old chamois that I cut out of a well-used chamois I used to use on the car. It folds tiny, absorbs all the moisture and rain off the seat or anywhere else, and wrings out enough to stash afterward (usually on the outside of a pannier somewhere until it dries thoroughly). Last time, I just put it loose in the trailer, but no trailer this go around.
“Steve suggested this item (or something like it) to warn of anyone or anything tampering with our trikes/gear during overnight camping. These are bells that ring whenever the trike/trailer is moved.” I have two of these bear bells, and yes, they are bright YELLOW Glen (ha ha). You two are welcome to strap one each on your trikes the day we leave. They have Velcro straps that allow fastening to anywhere you want in about two seconds. Any movement of the trike sets off a gentle and soft tinkle noise, enough to wake a sleeping triker (if he’s not too worn out from the day’s pedaling, ha ha).
* * * * * * *
13 June 2011
Well, I just completed my first international trike gear purchase. Hubert van Ham, industrious owner of Radical Design in Holland, shipped me out a custom set of his side seat panniers. What he did was take a pair made for an ICE Vortex with a narrow hardshell seat, modify the two lower attachment straps to fit over my mesh seat, and now I have just increased my cargo capacity by 15 liters (quite a bit for “on trike” storage).
I had been running Radical Design’s Lowracer version, with a total cargo capacity of 25 liters (12.5 liters per side). The new bags have a total of 40 liters volume (20 liters per side). They are longer, but still fit, albeit a little bit scrunched by the Arkel GT-54 panniers that sit on the rear rack. Since Hubert’s bags are free forming, this is not an issue. The really neat thing about these side seat panniers is that they simply drape over the seat in about two seconds! Can’t get any easier than that. Also, since they rest right under your upper arms, it’s kind of like a big easy chair when you slip into the cockpit.
Here is a comparison of them side by side
This is what the 40 liter panniers look like loaded on an ICE Vortex
Okay, it’s a bike, but at least you can see the bags! The side panniers drape over the seat, precisely like they do on the trike. These are a much larger set of side panniers shown here. They would drag the ground on a trike. The rear trunk is huge! If I didn’t already have the Arkel TailRider, I’d look into this one.
* * * * * * *
STEVE’S TRIKE & CARGO LIST
always a work in progress
ICE Q Narrow Track Tricycle
Rear Wheel Rack
Arkel GT 54 Panniers (54 liters volume)
Radical Design Side Seat Panniers (40 liters volume)
Arkel TailRider Rack Trunk (11 liters volume)
Fastbak Small Gear Bags (2 liters volume)
Radical Design Frame Pouch (1 liter volume)
Cateye HL-EL530 Headlight
Cateye TL-LD1100 Taillight
Marine Rescue Strobe (Coast Guard Approved – Xenon Bulb)
Schwalbe Marathon Plus 20×1.75 tires
EarthGuard Tire Liners
SRAM TruVativ Touro Crankset (26-39-52)CLOTHING:
Camelbak 100 ounce Water Bladders (2)
REI Arête All Season Tent
REI Arête Rainfly
REI Arête Footprint
Berkeley Down Sleeping Bag
ThermaRest Neo Air inflatable mattress
Stainless Steel Spoon
Lake MX-165 MTB SPD Shoes
Athletic Socks (8 pair)
Carhartt Canvas Work Dungaree pant (2 pair)
Lightweight Cotton Shirts (3)
Columbia Polar Fleece Jacket
Polar Fleece Head Cover
Sequel Waterproof Jacket
Shift Torrent Waterproof & Windproof Gloves
Waterproof Pants Cover
Specialized Instinct cycle helmet
Mizuno Leather Riding Gloves
Wide Brim Shade Hat (floppy nylon)
Outdoor Research Sunrunner Hat
Polycarbonate Polarized Camo Sunglasses
Flojos Flip Flop Sandals
Moleskin Protective Strips
Water (nearly 8 liters on board, about 248 ounces)
Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets cereal
Nut Trail Mix
Rice & Vegetable Packs
IVL All Day Energy Greens Powder (high octane energy drink)
Bear Valley MealPack Pemmican Bars (concentrated super food)
Clif Bars (far short of Bear Valley specs, but a nice alternative)
Rainbow Light Men’s One MultiVitamin/Mineral Tablets (to cover the bases)
(plus any “regular” food picked up at supermarkets or Ma & Pa stores en route, like fresh veggies, fruits, a can of baked beans, garlic bulbs, etc)
Black Diamond Head Lamp
Snake Bite Venom Extractor (suction syringe)
Flint Spark Ignitor
Pocket Survival Book
Dayglow Orange Survival Scarf
Survival Tri-fold Brochure
Swiss Army Knife
19 mm Box Wrench (2)
Other Assorted Road Tools
Topeak Road Morph Tire Pump
Spare Q-Tubes (2)
Plastic Zip Ties
Important Phone Numbers
10 Megapixel Kodak Digital Camera
SD HC camera memory cards (2): 8 GB & 4 GB (one for photos – one for movies)
Daily Log Book
Tumbleweed has accompanied me on many wild adventures in the past few years, including a climb of Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park, and on the trike during the Death Valley Tricycle Expedition. He always gets a free ride, either in pocket or pannier, thus his weight management concerns go unheeded. He’s quiet … a good listener when I am otherwise alone and the going gets tough!
* * * * * * *
FOOT ROLL & TOE FLEX
or, prepping this area for action
Some of you may be aware that I used to own a small gym and fitness center in southern California back in the ninth decade of the twentieth century. I loved coming up with unique ways of exercising the body and helping my members achieve better health, fitness, strength, and longevity. Living this way has always been a personal passion, so it’s not too surprising that I abandoned autos and took up trikes in 2008-09. Anyway, based on some repetitive stress injuries I encountered on the DVTE in 2009, I devised my own little exercise regimen for the feet and ankle area to help my long haul triking.
I misguidedly chose to use regular hiking shoes and pedal straps on the first expedition (rather than SPD bindings and cycling shoes). My Achilles tendons became significantly inflamed as a result, and I also developed numbness in the two toes next to my big toes on each foot. After the journey, it required months of recuperation to return this area of my body to a normal state. I used a little toe/foot flex exercise to help the numbness, and began doing foot/ankle rolls to infuse the Achilles with whatever all the good things my body delivers to injured areas are. My problems are now a thing of the past, but I still do the movements in preparation for this new expedition.
These can be done while in bed, or while reclined on an overstuffed Lazy Boy chair with your bare feet hanging over the end. The feet must be bare for maximum stimulation and range of motion. Since I sleep alone, I can do these things in bed without any criticism. When I think about it, as I lie in bed on my back prior to dozing off, or in the morning prior to arising, I do this. If reading or watching a DVD documentary on the TV, I also have become a habitual foot mover.
FOOT ROLL: With my feet a few inches apart as I lie on my back, I begin with the toes pointed as much as I can (like a ballet dancer on point). Then, I turn the soles of my feet towards each other, thus beginning the rolling motion that I will continue until the musculature is well fatigued. The heels remain in one place. From my feet soles angled towards each other, in a circular motion, I arch the feet up towards my knees as far as they will go, and continue the large arcing movement by rolling the feet out away from each other. The outsides of my feet then come in contact with the mattress as the arc continues back down and around to the original position of the toes fully pointed like a ballet dancer. That is one revolution of the circle. Each revolution is done in 2-3 seconds. The feet are a few inches apart to allow for the inward flexure without striking each other. Essentially, these are big slow exaggerated foot circles forced to the fullest range of motion in all directions of the arc. I find this direction works better for me than the reverse, but it’s all personal preference. After a few minutes of these circles, I can really feel the musculature of the lower leg and ankle area heating up and fatiguing, sending me the signal that I am strengthening and stretching the region for the hundreds of thousands of pedal strokes encountered on a trike trek. It’s a simple way to help prepare the Achilles when just lying around doing nothing.
TOE FLEX: While my toe numbness existed for over eight months after that first trike trip, lessing very gradually over that time, I developed a little movement that felt great, the stimulation of which seemed to mitigate the numbness while in motion. Again, with bare feet, either in bed or on the fully reclined recliner in the living room, I would have my feet a few inches apart. There is no foot rolling involved in this exercise. I begin by forcefully flexing my toes downward towards the bottoms of my feet, like I am trying to curl my toes, or roll up my foot like a sleeping bag. Then, I just reverse the movement, thereby bringing my toes to a fully flexed position up as far as they will go towards my knees. There need be no foot movement up towards the knee at all. It’s all in the toes. From fully closed and tight, to fully open at the other extreme of the range in which the toes can flex, this is continued until fatigue sets in. Each flexure is done in about 2 seconds. This exercise can also be done while seated with my feet in open toed sandals, or shoes if there is sufficient space in the toebox to allow it. It really helped me dissolve the toe numbness issue, getting good circulation to the area. The Toe Flex, along with the Foot Roll, can be done during otherwise idle time around the house when you are relaxing, requiring no special preparation or equipment other than bare feet. I believe the Toe Flex sped up the healing time for me.
These two movements just feel great to do, even if I am not suffering from any artifacts of long haul triking. They prepare my ankle, foot, and toe areas for the upcoming journey too. I also do CALF RAISES when just standing around in nearly any setting, simply rising up on my toes as far as I can and then settling back down, repeating this as time and circumstances allow. It is great to do while washing dishes or if I’m standing while talking on the telephone. These should be done at a moderate pace over the full range of motion, really flexing hard at the top. If doing this calf raise movement in public causes others to think me a bit bizarre, so be it … hey, I’m a trike pilot after all! We’re all bizarre, right? The Calf Raises also help to prepare the Achilles tendons for the never ending pedal strokes out on the open road. For anyone unfamiliar with the Achilles, they are the huge tendons you can see and feel that come up from the back of your foot’s heel bone and up towards your calf muscles. Do Calf Raises every chance you get, every time you find yourself just standing around doing nothing. And when you walk somewhere, exaggerate the pushing off with your toes, rising high up on the balls of your feet with each stride. Yep, sure enough, it looks weird to most folks I suppose, but it will get you ready to pedal as far as you have the spunk to venture on your trike. TRIKE ON!
* * * * * * *
LIVING ON WILDERNESS TIME
Life changes once the cities are left behind, once the sickness of “hurry up” fades from the psyche. Melissa Walker, university professor and former vice president of National Wilderness Watch, wrote a book in 2002 titled Living on Wilderness Time, 200 Days Alone in America’s Wild Places, in which she presented the concept of wilderness time. Her book had a profound impact upon me, for it stirred my own powerful ideologies into even greater resolve.
In the first chapter called ‘Hurry Sickness’, Melissa wrote:
“One night early in the spring of 1993, I had a dream. I was in an airport, rushing to make a plane. I’d lost my ticket, and I was searching frantically to find it. I tried desperately to get to the departure gate, but I could only walk in slow motion. Time was running out, and I couldn’t find my way. Then came an announcement on the loudspeaker.
“‘Attention, Melissa Walker. Come to the Delta information desk for a message.’ There a faceless woman handed me a piece of paper with the words ‘Hurry up and die’ scrawled across it in longhand.
“I woke in an anxious sweat. It was 6:00 AM. The alarm would go off in another fifteen minutes …
“All my life I had packed as much into a day as possible. I timed myself as I rushed through household chores and expressway traffic: five minutes to blow-dry my hair, fifteen minutes to walk the dog, twenty minutes to water the garden, thirty for dinner preparations, and two hours and ten minutes to drive the hundred and fifty miles to my parents’ home. Beating the clock had become a lifetime game for me, and I almost always lost. I rushed and rushed and still kept people waiting.”
Any of that sound familiar? Who among us does not know those feelings Melissa expresses so succinctly? She goes on to tell about another kind of time, one that does not involve the typical modern world’s way of existence. I know this time well, and I seek it continually, becoming more successful as I make my own decisions, and carve out my own path in life. It’s called wilderness time … and my trike can take me there!
Wilderness time reveals a secret ethereal portal through which only a few of us will ever enter with any regularity. It is an enchanted realm where we arise refreshed at day’s first light to watch the warm rays of the sun break over the eastern horizon. There is no alarm clock. There are no schedules. Anxiety does not exist here. Every activity that we do during the daylight hours is carried out deliberately and well, with a focus on quality and serene harmony. We are present for each moment, relishing our existence as part of the greater life power that surrounds us. We inhale the brisk clean air, feel the soft breezes, and delight to the dancing leaves of the trees. We greet the soaring eagle, reach for the billowy white clouds, listen to the meandering stream, and stand in awe of the mighty mountains. We marvel at the grandeur of it all, understanding we are but one minuscule component, and knowing the madness of an ever “progressing” society is not of our spirit. In the wilds, we return to our roots. Times spent on wilderness terms are windows to spiritual enlightenment.
At day’s end, we are relaxed, having accomplished that which we set out to do. We go off to a restful sleep not long after the setting of the sun behind the western horizon, with no industrialized stimulants like television and sirens to keep us awake into the late and dark hours. Losing ourselves into the collective’s nightly entertainment to mask our own woes is not necessary, as we hear the evening sounds of crickets, frogs, and perhaps even a distant wandering burro if we are in the desert. Drifting off to dreamland is a relaxed experience, and our dreams will likely mirror our tranquility.
These observations come from decades of personal journeys into the wilderness areas, beginning in childhood. This is how camping makes me feel. The Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition will exist on wilderness time for roughly one month, another world far removed from traditional first-world insanity. I loved wilderness time even for the many years I drove a four wheel drive vehicle on my trips, but now, with a human powered tricycle, the joys are magnified manifold. Pedaling over the most remote rural roadways, while keeping a relatively direct course to the journey’s terminus, allows hours of peace each day, living time that is usually lost to petroleum powered motorists. I can watch small flowers sway in the breeze as I pedal by, have eye contact with curious stallions in a rancher’s field, and marvel at a ladybug that alights on my knee as the crankset turns. These are the joys of wilderness time, a slower and simpler time where any tenacious thoughts of worry or anguish evaporate, a place in my spirit where I am one with all life and the world.
Hurry sickness? I’ll leave that wealth-based goliath for those who choose it! As for me, well … I’ll take things one moment at a time. The slower the better. Until that next long downhill looms ahead of my Q, that is!
* * * * * * *
GARY’S YELLOW BEAST – TRIKE & CARGO LIST
(These items will be onboard the trike and trailer on the morning of the CCTE departure.)
TRIKE & TRAILER GEAR:
2010 Catrike ROAD Tadpole Tricycle (with Modified Mountain Gearing – SRAM TruVativ Elita Mountain Bike 165mm Crankarm Crankset (26/39/52), SRAM PG-950 Power Glide II Cassette (11-34) and Shimano XTR Mountain Trail Pedals)
Catrike ROAD / Planet Trike Custom Tire Fenders
CamelBak Performance 22 oz. Water Bottle (Frame / Boom Mounted – 1)
CamelBak OMEGA 100 oz. Water Bladder with Long Hydration Tube / Bite Valve
Nalgene 32 oz. BPA-Free Water Bottle / Wide Mouth with Loop Top (2)
Hostel Shoppe 24 oz. BPA Free / Wide Mouth Soft Top Water Bottles (2)
Fastbak 4.0 Hydration Pack – Frame Mounted Behind Trike Seat (1)
Catrike Frame Bags by Arkel (600 Cubic Inch Capacity / 9.8 Liters Volume)
Old Man Mountain SHERPA Rear Rack
Lone Peak RP-700 Deluxe Expandable Rack Pack w/RCRP-700 Rain Cover (1030 Cubic Inch Capacity / 17 Liters Volume)
Lone Peak P-500 Mount Superior Panniers with RC150 Large Rain Covers (3200+ Cubic Inch Capacity / 53 Liters Volume)
Fastbak- NORBACK Frame Pack (Approx. 1 Liter Volume)
Garmin nuvi 750 GPS with Glare-Stomper Sun Shade
Votaic® AMP 4.8/12v Solar Battery Charger Kit (for GPS and Cell Phone Charging)
Cateye HL-EL530 Headlight
Cateye TL-LD1100 Taillight
Coghlan’s Strobe (Xenon Bulb – 4 AAA Powered)
Coghlan’s Bear Bells (2)
Schwalbe Marathon Plus Front Tires – 20 x 1.35 (with Schwalbe Standard Presta Tubes)
Schwalbe Marathon Plus Rear Tire – 20 x 1.75 (with Schwalbe Standard Presta Tube)
Burley NOMAD Touring Trailer (100 lb. Capacity – Approximately 142 Liters)
Schwalbe Marathon Plus Trailer Tires – 16 x 1.75 (with Schwalbe Standard Shrader Tubes)
Eureka Apex 2XT 3 Season, 2-Person Tent with Stormshield (Full-Coverage Rain Fly with Two 13.4 Sq. Ft. of Vestibule Areas)
Eureka Apex 2XT Tent Footprint
Mountain Hardware Pinole 20º Sleeping Bag
ThermaRest Self-Inflating Mattress
Soft Fleece Stuffable Pillow Case
Coghlan’s Nylon Backpacker’s Trowel
Natahan’s 10nine8 – Rocket Shower Jet Pack BASE Personal Hygiene Kit
Natahan’s 10nine8 – Rocket Shower Solution (Extra Bottle)
Nathan Power Shower Wipes
Small Towels (2)
Camp Soap – All Purpose / Biodegradable (2 – 2 oz. Bottles)
Primus Single Burner Backpacker’s Butane / Propane Stove
Pizo-Chrystal Spark Igniter
Isobutane / Propane 8.11 oz. Canisters (4)
Backpackers’ Stainless Steel Cook Set
Backpacker’s Stainless Steel Eating Utensil Set (Fork, Knife and Spoon)
Nylon Fruit Peeling Tool
SPF 40 Sun Screen for Sensitive Skin
Cutter Outdoorsman Mosquito Repellent (1 oz. Spray)
Waterproof Tent Seam Sealer (2 oz. Bottle)
Coghlan’s Expandable 8 Liter Water Bottle (For Burning Man Desert Crossing)
Light-Weight Folding Portable Commode
Toilet Paper (2 Rolls)
Hygienic Wipes (2 Packages of 84 Wipes)
Little John Personal Relief Bottle
Light-Weight Open-Knit Dirty Cloths Bag with Drawstring
Shimano MT33 Mountain Bike Shoes (2-Bolt SPD)
Dickies High-Visibility YELLOW Long-Sleeved T-Shirts (4)
Dickies High-Visibility YELLOW Short-Sleeved T-Shirts (2)
Kucharik High-Visibility YELLOW Short-Sleeved Recumbent Jersey (1)
Mt. Borah Recumbent Cycling Shorts (1 Pair)
Nashbar Full-Length Riding Tights (2 Pair)
Cotton Undershirts (T’s – 6)
Cotton Blend Boxer Brief Undershorts with Comfort Waistband (10)
Cotton Blend Tube Socks – White (8 Pair)
Synthetic Blend High-Visibility YELLOW Socks (4 Pair)
Nylon Blend Lightweight Slacks with Elastic Waist Band (2 pair)
Nylon Web Belt (1)
Reflective Ankle Bands (3)
Columbia YELLOW Polar Fleece Jacket
Columbia Waterproof Unlined YELLOW and Black Windbreaker Jacket with Hood
Light-Weight High-Visibility YELLOW Rain Pants – Pants / Tights Over-cover
Giro INDICATOR Mountain Bike Helmet with Nathan Helmet Reflectors Applied
J&G Cyclewear High-Visibility YELLOW Helmet Cover
Head Bandana (1)
Nashbar Crochet-Back Open-Finger Leather Riding Gloves
Knitted Light-Weight Long-Fingered Gloves (1 Pair)
Medium Brim Shade Hat (floppy nylon)
Dr. Shade Flip-Flop Sun Hood – Full Head / Face Coverage
Sunday Afternoons Convertible Cap with Neck and Face Cape
Oakley JAWBONES Polycarbonate Polarized Sunglasses (Dark Lenses for Day-Riding / Amber Lenses for Night-Riding)
KROCS Flip Flop Sandals
Thermal Long-Sleeved Undershirt (1)
Thermal Long Under Pants (1 Pair)
Nylon Swimming Trunks (1 Pair)
FOOD / WATER/SUPPLIES:
Water (306 ounces / 9+ liters On Board, Include six 12 oz. Bottles in Trailer – Does Not Include Desert Water Supply to be Carried in the Coghlan’s Expandable 8 Liter Water Bottle When Crossing Burning Man Region)
Quaker Variety Pack Instant Oats (1 Package – 6 Servings
Powdered Non-Fat Dry Milk Packets (12)
CamelBak Berry Elixer Tablets (2 Packs of 12 Tablets Each – Treats 4.5 Gallons of Water)
CamelBak Lemon Lime Elixer Tablets (2 Packs of 12 Tablets Each – Treats 4.5 Gallons of Water)
CamelBak Lemon Lime Shot Bloks – Energy Chews (6 Packages – 6 Chews Each)
Nature Valley Granola Bars (6)
CLIF Dark Chocolate Almond Fudge Bars (6)
CLIF White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bars (5)
Banana Power Bars (6)
Mountain House Dehydrated 2-Serving Beef Stroganoff Meal (1)
Mountain House Dehydrated 2-Serving Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Meal (1)
Mountain House Dehydrated 2-Serving Beef Stew Meal (1)
Mountain House Dehydrated 2-Serving Rice and Chicken Meal (1)
Mountain House Dehydrated 2-Serving Chicken Stew Meal (1)
Raisins (24 oz. Sealable Pack)
Dried Plums (1 Package)
Dried Apples (1 Package)
Dried Bananas (1 Package)
Fresh Apples (3)
Fresh Bananas (3)
Bear Valley MealPack Pemmican Bars (3 Variety Packs – 36 Bars)
One-A-Day Men’s 50+ Advantage Multivitamin Tablets (1 Bottle – 50 Tablets)
Duracell Ultra CR-V3 Digital Camera Batteries (2 Spares)
TOOLS & REPAIR ITEMS:
ToPeak Mini-Morph Tire Pump
SmartGauge D2 Tire Pressure Gauge
Small Nylon Tool Pouch – Multi Pocket
Crescent Wrench – 6 Inch (13/16-Inch Jaw Capacity)
Small Needle Nosed Pliers with Cutting Jaws
Trike Tire Removal Support Stand Base with Trike Support Extensions
ToPeak Alien II Tool Set with Ballistic Nylon Pouch
2mm Allen Wrench (For Adjusting Pedal Cleats)
Park Tire Lever Set (3 Nylon Levers with Case
Park Vulcanizing Tube Patch Kit (1)
REMA TIP TOP Vulcanizing Tube Patch Kit (2)
Schwalbe Easy Fit Tire Bead Lubricator
Finish Line Ceramic Wax Chain Lube (2 oz. Bottle)
Flat Rubber Pads (1/2-Inch x Various Lengths – 12)
Small Piece of Felt (1.5 Inches x 5 Inches)
Spare Chain Links (6)
Assorted Metric Screws / Bolts / Washers
CyclePro White Lithium Bicycle Grease
Small Flat-Blade (Common) Screw Driver
Catrike YELLOW Touchup Paint (2 oz. Bottle)
Handy Wipe Packets
Cell Phone / GPS / ZAP Light / Stun Gun Wall Chargers
Adventure Emergency Medical Kit – Trail (Wound Care / Blister / Burn / Bleeding / Sprain / Medication)
Moleskin Protective Pad (6 x 6 Inches Square / Adhesive-Backed)
Polar Pure Water Disinfectant (Iodine Crystalline Base)
Katadyn Exstream XR Water Filtration / Purification Bottle
Princeton-Tec 4-LED Multi-Function Head Lamp
Snake Bite Venom Extractor Kit
Emergency Whistle with Compass / Small Rope Neck Lanyard
Waterproof Match Case with Matches / Striker
Sabre Personal Defense Teargas / Oleoresin Capsaicin (Small Spray Canister – 12 ft. Range)
Pocket Survival / Emergency Medical Care Booklet
Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent (9.2 oz. Spray Canister – Capsaicin – 35 ft. Range)
ZAP Light / Stun Gun
2 Ft. Length Velcro Tape (Hooks and Loops)
25 Ft. Nylon Braided Rope Clothesline with Rope Stays (2)
Webbed Nylon 36-Inch Straps with Locking Buckles (2)
Gerber Fixed 6-inch Blade Survival Knife with Ballistic Nylon Belt Scabbard
SPARES PARTS ITEMS:
Lyzyne Pressure Drive Tire Pump
Ultraflate2 CO2 Tire Inflator
16g Non-Threaded CO2 Cartridges (4)
Schwalbe 20 x 1.5 Folding Spare Tire (1)
Schwalbe 20 x 1.5 Tire Inner Tubes (2)
Schwalbe 20 x 1.75 Tire Inner Tube (1)
Kenda 16 x 1.75 Tire Inner Tube (1)
Park Inner Tube Patch Kit (1)
Park Tire Boots (3 Pack)
Nylon Tire Lever Set with Case (2 Nylon Levers)
Heavy Duty Chain Breaker
Avid BB7 Disc Brake Pad Replacements (2 Sets – 4 Brake Pads)
Planet Bike Fender Quick Clip Replacements (4)
Catrike PTFE Steering Head Bearings (1 Set – 2 Bearings)
16-Inch Trailer Wheel Stainless Steel Replacement Spokes (6)
20-Inch Trike Wheel Stainless Steel Replacement Spokes (6)
Spare Brake Cable (1)
Spare Derailleur Cable (1)
Inch Plastic Zip Ties (15)
14-Inch Plastic Zip Ties (15)
12-Inch Heavy Duty Zip-Click Plastic Zip Ties (2)
Portable Commode Waste Bags (12)
Spare Catrike Space Head Rest Cover
Spare Shimano Cleats with Screws and Washers (2)
RED and AMBER Strobe Lenses
DuraCell Ultra AA Alkaline Batteries (8)
DuraCell Ultra AAA Alkaline Batteries (8)
Cell Phone with Important Phone Numbers Programmed
AAA Maps (Sectional and Recreational – OR, CA, NV)
6.1 Megapixel / 10X Zoom Kodak Digital Camera
Daily Log Book Writing Pad (100 Pgs.)
Ballpoint Pens (2 New)
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GARY’S “FREE ON THREE” PATCH
It’s official: Catriker Gary is now fully initiated into the coveted Free on Three club with his addition of the genuine FOT patch on the leading edge of his rear rack trunk, right behind his head. Gary has also sent the patch to Glen, and once triker Glen receives shipment of his Azub, we may be seeing a photo of the patch on his seat or panniers. Hmm, perhaps this should be a prerequisite for expedition membership? Yep, sounds good to me, so anyone out there still contemplating coming along, better go get a patch soon! See ya’ …
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EASTERN SIERRA NEVADA RANGE
Once the CCTE joins Highway 395 at the tiny alpine town of Bridgeport California, we head south along the mighty Sierra Nevada Range, past Mammoth Lakes ski area, Lee Vining, Bishop, Lone Pine, and other smaller towns in the Owens Valley. Here is a photograph by Iyn Rivers of what we three trikers from Oregon and far will be viewing while pedaling. View this photo on Iyn’s webpage HERE. This is what he had to say about the picture: “I traveled to California this summer by car and the clouds really cooperated for photos. This is taken near highway 395, which runs down the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains – some spectacular views along that highway.”
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ONE FAST DESCENT – CONWAY SUMMIT
It will be four wonderful miles of triker bliss! Having accessed Highway 395 not too far back in Bridgeport, California, the CCTE crew will ascend the Conway Pass summit, a vertical rise roughly 2000 feet. It’s gradual however, so may not require the lowest gears. Once at the top, forward progress will take a notable change … time for controlling the adrenaline response! Here are a couple photos, the first taken near the top, and the second partway down. This is but one of many summits we will encounter, and will be one of the final BIG ones before we enter Bishop.
From near the top of Conway, looking southeasterly, you can see Mono Lake below, an alkaline body of water that appears especially beautiful at night with a full moon reflecting off its surface. There are two lanes, so we three trikers can use the slow lane so that our 50 mile per hour descent doesn’t annoy any drivers (actually, they get a real kick out of seeing trikers at speed, and won’t mind watching the show at all).
Partway down from the top, you can see the highway below -way below- and get a realization of just how exciting this four mile portion of road will be to someone on a human powered recumbent tadpole tricycle. Actually, during this part, we won’t be human powered at all (can’t pedal that fast) … it will be all gravity powered. There is Mono Lake to the south and east, and the town of Lee Vining is over there on the right at the base of the mountains. After that town, the highway continues past such incredible forested places like Mammoth Lakes before it takes yet another significant plunge down into the Bishop area.
To see many roads you plan to use for your triking expeditions, here is a great road trip website that provides detailed photographs, showing such things as shoulder width. With this guide, it is possible to accurately assess a route BEFORE you commit to it. By clicking on any of the plentiful thumbnail photos, you will get a large view. There are relatively detailed written notes by each photo also. Here is the link that covers the Highway 395 portion of the CCTE, and from which I acquired those photos above:
Here is what they say about their useful website:
“Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive coverage of roads and highways online. Featured throughout our site are highway guides, maps, photos, and resources you can use as you plan your travels. Use the table of contents below to navigate throughout AARoads. AARoads offers a wide range of highway coverage currently profiling 43 states and the District of Columbia. Thanks in part to your generous donations and support given by our advertisers, AARoads remains committed to providing quality coverage to many areas throughout the United States. AARoads provides guides to many routes across the United States. These guides are orientated by route and direction and photos are added as they are taken and as time allows. Coverage generally includes the western U.S., Rocky Mountain states, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and eastern Great Lakes regions. Eventual expansion will lead to guides covering all 50 states.”
Here is the main link to their front page to get started planning your own trip:
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HIGHWAY 395 – MOJAVE DESERT
Here are two photos that show US Highway 395 at two different intersections where the CCTE is going to split off to the left. The first one is just northwest of Ridgecrest, California, where Highway 14 continues straight, into Los Angeles (don’t want to miss that turnoff), and the second photo shows where we depart Highway 395 at long last, heading towards Apple Valley the least congested way. These places will be during our final days of the journey. The AARoads website displays hundreds of these photographs, thus there are fewer surprises for trike pilots.
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last stop before Black Rock Desert
Hi Gary and Glen,
Here is the chamber of commerce website for Surprise Valley, in which Cedarville is the main attraction. There appear to be 3 stores where we can pick up some supplies, along with some restaurants. Might be able to camp in that area. Cedarville is 20 miles from Alturas, which is 18 miles from Canby (where I stayed last trip in the town park and got the goatheads in my tires). So, if it works out where we stay overnight in Canby, it would be an easy 38 mile ride the next day to Cedarville, where we could camp early, and then set out across the remote Nevada hinterlands the next morning. Who knows how it will all develop, but at least we are getting some ideas.
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HUMAN BODY PREPARATION FOR AN OVERLAND TRIKE ODYSSEY
an opinion of Noel and Mary Harroff
From the May 2009 issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine comes this story by Sarah Raz, along with a photograph by Greg Siple, of a couple who know long distance cycling very well. Their opinion differs from that of many cyclists, yet I feel there is a great amount of truth in what they say regarding what’s necessary for a human to prepare for weeks of cycling adventure (whether on a bike or a three wheeled wonder called a trike). Here then, is quoted their short write-up from the magazine:
WHO ON EARTH CAN RIDE 2,600 MILES – FROM EDMUNTON, ALBERTA TO DURANGO, COLORADO? If you ask Noel and Mary Harroff, who cycled through the Canadian and American Rockies during the summer of 2008 on their orange recumbent tandem, anyone can! “We are not athletes.” states Noel, “and we’re of the opinion that you do not have to train for a tour. Your body will start getting used to everything after day five or so. Mary and I are proof that bicycle touring can be accomplished -and enjoyed- by two healthy 49 year olds.“
The Harroff’s bicycle was dubbed The Orange Mountain goat as they climbed up and over mountain passes at the respectable average speed of 10 miles per hour. Both Noel (captain) and Mary (rear admiral) agree that Alberta’s Sunwapta Pass, the first big climb, was the most difficult. “Maybe it was the grade, maybe it was the altitude adjustment, maybe a combination … whatever the case, we both donated our lungs to this pass.” Afterwards, though, all bodies on deck adjusted well, and there were no more complaints other than the occasional ache associated with hard-working muscles.
The hardest part for everyone, the Goat included, was hurtling downhill. The bicycle weighed 48 pounds bare naked; fully loaded with 60 pounds of gear plus two adults, the crew could gain just a wee bit of momentum, to put it mildly. The couple was cautious with road conditions, vehicle traffic, speed, and made extra sure to communicate about braking. Because direct-pull brakes can get hot, the rear admiral also controlled a drum brake, which was used, upon agreement, in especially steep situations. Despite the challenges of touring on a bike built for two, Mary and Noel wouldn’t have it any other way. As Noel says, “Tandem riding is not for everyone, but we’re still happily married after 27 years.“
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HOBO TRIKE CAMPS
My friend Dan Price rode a TerraTrike 4250 miles from Joseph, Oregon to the tip of the Florida Keys a few years back. He is also one of the 30 contributors to the Free on Three trike book. Dan knows the meaning of primitive stealth camping! Here are a couple of photos of Dan’s camps, which will give you an idea of the overnight situations we will often experience on the CCTE. By the way, learn more about Dan and his philosophy on life HERE. Dan has authored a few books, one of which will help kindred spirits live the simple live. Click HERE to preview this book and take a peek inside. By clicking on either of Dan’s photos below, you’ll be whisked away to his Flicker photo page. Okay then, here is what life on a genuine minimalistic trike journey is really like:
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ALL DAY ENERGY GREENS
Friday, July 01, 2011
As the time nears to depart on this new trike expedition next month, the crew is finalizing all aspects of human/trike preparation. Contemplating such things as the best place to stow cargo in the panniers is always a fun puzzle, as is attempting to figure out the essential types of food to bring along. Markets are relatively common en route, but since the CCTE is utilizing the most remote roadways possible to cover the distance in the fewest miles, finding a convenient Albertsons, Safeway, or Ralphs supermarket is usually not an option. Ma and Pa stores pop up with surprising regularity, but don’t always carry a full selection of food items. For a triker who uses a few specialized types of food, bringing it along works best.
As you may have read earlier on this page, I have used Bear Valley Meal Pack food bars for many years during my outback journeys, and they always go a long way to filling me up while on the trail, either on foot or on trike (drink a lot of water with them, as they are very food dense and can cause constipation without sufficient liquid). Gary and Glen are also acquiring some of these, realizing the calorie wallop they provide, which is essential when pedaling 8 hours every day. Well, on this trike odyssey, I will also be utilizing a new product to keep my fires burning at peak efficiency – being the trike’s engine, only high octane fuel will do for this health nut of a wild man.
My sister recently turned me on to a company called Institute for Vibrant Living, based out of Camp Verde, Arizona. She has been using their products for a while now, and is convinced of their effectiveness. She sent me a few containers of an organic product called All Day Energy Greens, which I have been using for the past three weeks so far. I am impressed. It tastes great in water or soy milk, and mixes readily into my soy yogurt for lunch. It is a fine green powder of many vegetable based foods, and one serving provides 5 servings of veggies! Here is a photo and some info from the IVL website, after which I’ll tell you how I’ll be taking it on the trike expedition:
Green Superfood Supplement For Your Health
All Day Energy Greens® is a once-a-day Green Energy Drink. A whole superfood that’s easy to digest, your body absorbs all the vitamins and minerals it needs to give you all-day, every-day energy.
Contains 38 herbs, herbal extracts, and grass juices. Just one tablespoon mixed in water makes a truly delicious and refreshing beverage that exceeds the nutritional equivalent of FIVE servings of vegetables and fruits – with far fewer calories and carbohydrates.
All Day Energy Green® lets you break the cycle of acid overload. Its all-natural alkalizing nutrients literally carry off the acids and flush them out through your kidneys. When you remove acids and toxins from your body and replace them with the goodness of greens, many positive health changes may occur:
Your digestion improves.
You need and crave less food.
You flush fat.
You gain muscle.
You start to feel younger, lighter, and more energized all day long.
This is a very finely processed powder, meaning that if you blow on it, it disperses in the air as a fine dust. It mixes into a glass of liquid, but out on a trike, I don’t want to be cleaning up containers, not to mention the fact that a some of it would be lost to the sides of the container. So, my solution is to mix a serving of the ADEG into my dry granola or Grape Nuts, and then add water from my trike’s water bottle. Once stirred well, this breakfast cereal solution is very tasty, and none of the powder is lost, as when washing my bowl, I go ahead and drink the remaining powder that had clung to the sides of the bowl. This method has worked well for me on my current jaunt to Glacier National Park.
I will be bringing one of the small plastic containers from the onset of the CCTE, and pick up my second one from expedition security Jack Freer midway through the trip in western Nevada. Each container is a 30 day supply, but I’ll likely use it up quicker to make sure I have an abundance of veggie greens for a trek where the potential exists for coming up short in the well-rounded nutrient department. When you read the ingredients, you’ll realize just how complete it is.
Admittedly, it seems pricey when you visit the site, but if ordered in bulk, the cost drops in half. As expensive as it seems at first glance, if we realize what you get from it, it becomes apparent that to duplicate a drink like this yourself would be next to impossible, and end up costing many times more than what this company charges for it. I’m now convinced, and it will be part of my expedition food supply, as well as part of my daily routine while back from the wilds in normal civilization. It tastes great due to the natural stevia sweetening that is the final ingredient. Just do not ever try to eat it dry! It will absorb every last vestige of saliva from your mouth in seconds, and is not able to be swallowed.
Between the Bear Valley Meal Pack bars and the IVL super greens, I hope to cover my nutritional bases if we come up short between stores out on the trail. Oh yeah, I’m also taking a complete multi vitamin/mineral tablet too, so I should be well nourished in the upcoming Spartan living conditions.
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GLEN’S NEW MOUNT
I have received information from Glen, who is now “trike-less”, having recently sold his TerraTrike, that he now plans on riding a blue Trident Stowaway II trike on the CCTE. This last minute change has evolved due to issues involving the importation of the originally selected Azub from Czechoslovakia. Although a fine trike, the acquisition of the Azub would have resulted in considerable taxation fees by the Canadian government, significantly inflating the cost, a situation Glen did not view as favorable, considering the need of directing funds towards other aspects of expedition preparation. Supporting one’s governing bodies may be a commendable thing to do, however surviving the wilds of this challenging trip by having adequate gear is somewhat more important.
Will Glen get a trike in time for departure next month? Will it be the Trident? Just like a good soap opera on the tube, the CCTE must have its cliff hanging moments too! So, much like an overzealous advertising agent might spew forth, I invite you to “Stay Tuned” for the latest breaking news. After all, there now remain only seven weeks until we are on the road! Better make it snappy Glen. The eyes of the triking world are upon you! How’s that for pressure? I know you have a great sense of humor, thus the light hearted slant to this post.
Trident Trikes are masterminded in Lincolnton, North Carolina
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July 03, 2011
A new website devoted to the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition is in the works, or at least the thought processes at this time. It is scheduled to display hundreds of photographs from the journey, and depending on how my commitments go, will hopefully be online sometime late fall 2011. The link will be posted then. A video presentation is also planned, as well as a complete write-up about every aspect of the adventure (which could morph into a new book project). Watch for it all a few months down the road of life.
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TIME TO GET READY YET?
02 August 2011
Well, yes, that time is most definitely here I suppose. Having been away, hiking and camping, mostly lost in the wilds of western America during the month of July, and having not piloted my dependable Q for how long I can’t recall, it’s time to get my ducks in a row, with only 24 days left until departure. I’ve been off enjoying such locales as Glacier National Park, Silver Falls State Park, and wherever else the landscape looked inviting along the way. Just take a gander at this dapper looking fellow standing on the shore of Avalanche Lake on the western slope of GNP:
See more wilderness photos HERE (without yours truly blocking the scenery).
As you may readily observe, the beard is coming along well, in anticipation of using it for sun screening on the trike trek. When I include the Outdoor Research Sunrunner hat and sunglasses, my head will be pretty well protected, and hopefully not overheated when we get to the Nevada deserts. This hat does not provide nearly the sun protection that my Sequel Desert Rhat hat does, but I have attempted to wear the Sequel with my trike helmet, and it’s just a bit too bulky for extended comfort day after day. This OR hat is very thin, and so comfortable that you become unaware of it in short order.
NEWS UPDATES: Glen has taken delivery of his new trike for the CCTE, along with panniers and other goodies he’ll need to survive his first cross country trike journey. I am awaiting a photo or two from him so that we can all check out his three wheels, which, as of the latest information that has crossed my skull, is a Trident brand speedster. I hear he is color coordinating his ride, much like Gary has done with the Yellow Beast, except Glen’s will be a blue theme. Wonder if he’ll give it a name? My rig and gear isn’t really coordinated from the ground up, mostly a combination of blacks and red. Gary is seriously leaning towards the purchase of a pedal-powered kayak once he returns home after the journey, and should be well prepared after pedaling for 1700 kilometers on a trike. At least he won’t get seasick on a trike! I have to begin prepping my gear this week, which includes a prepacking of my cargo bags to see if everything I envision I’ll need will fit into the 108 liters of volume my trailer-less rig will have. This trip will not be posted on a dedicated real-time blog like the the DVTE was in 2009, but if we have the opportunity, something could appear on this page along the way. Look for photos later this fall.
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YOU ARE INVITED!
Any trikers who live in the vicinity of the CCTE departure point are welcome to pedal the first miles of Day One … heck, even if you happen to be one of the unenlightened bikers of Planet Earth, you can still pedal along for a few hours if you are so inclined (at least bikes are an environmentally sustainable means of transportation, albeit not nearly as comfortable, cool, or quick – ha ha … unless they are recumbent). Of course, anyone who knows me realizes that I poke fun at bicyclists in a light hearted way, because (dare I say it?) I used to be one myself many decades past. Even some of my best friends, like Joseph Faber, Matt Jensen, Dave Beck, Men Werro, and Terry Butler ride up on two wheels, and they are all pretty intellectual individuals. Matt will probably be there on his Titanium Rush recumbent, and I am hoping Joseph will be there on his cool new recumbent (Matt’s is a long wheelbase, while Joseph’s is a short wheelbase). And we’ll see if Men and Dave magically appear for the early morning jaunt down 101. Join the fun. Ride the first 20 miles to Reedsport, along the Oregon Coast Highway 101, through towering evergreen forests and past Pacific Ocean views! See ya’ on the twenty-sixth at 7:30 sharp.
The Florence, Oregon shoreline in late afternoon
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ON THE Q ONCE AGAIN!
04 August 2011
I almost forgot how to shift the trike, having been gone hiking so long by foot, but yesterday, as I was prepping some items for the trek, a knock came at the front door. It was Matt Jensen, former Catrike 700 owner, and still a Titanium Rush recumbent bicycle owner. He offered to do the final fine tuning to the rear wheel bearings that we had repacked several months ago, and asked if I wanted to ride over to his house with him, do the adjustments, and then take a cycling ride with his mom and him. Finally … I was going to get in the cockpit once again (with only 3 weeks until departure, it’s about darn time)!
The day was sunny and warm, but an occasionally stiff breeze kept us cool as we pedaled north and slightly up in elevation (UP is relative here at the coast, as much of our town would be considered completely flat by mountain dwellers). We removed the rear wheel of the Q, ever so gently snugged up the tension that holds all those marvelous round ball bearings in place (Matt said it will get me the next 10,000 miles with no problem), put it all back together, and then lit out for a few miles of fun triking. Matt’s mom rides a 2005 ICE T, blue in color, so the cycling crew was two-thirds trike, and one-third bike. By the time I returned home a few hours later, I had ridden around 15 miles. Okay, that’s enough practice for the CCTE, right?
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THE LITTLE STOUT JOURNAL
05 August 2011
Lately, I’ve found myself in the business of writing, and the addiction must be deep rooted because I plan on continuing it while on this overland journey. I won’t have a laptop, or even a netbook with me though, choosing instead to regress back into the days of elementary and junior high school when I used tools called pen and paper. The CCTE will be documented in brief form each evening at camp, using a stout Mead notebook, which contains a couple of small spiral-bound notebooks and a couple of pens. This is what I used on the 2009 DVTE. I make notes of each day’s highlights prior to hitting the sack, enough to bring the day back to life when I finish the trek and sit down at my laptop once again to type out the nouns, verbs, adjectives and other wonderful parts of speech that paint a picture for others to view.
The outside, with the journal zipped shut to protect my notes
The inside, full of thoughts from my head each day
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RUMBLE STRIPS – A TRIKER’S CURSE
Various locations online show photographs of roadways, such as the one mentioned a few posts above about AA Roads. Well, there was one stretch of highway I was not successful at finding on AA Roads, but when I spoke with my doctor friend Rich Colley in southern California yesterday on the telephone, he was able to scrounge up a picture, albeit somewhat poor quality.
It shows rumble strips on Nevada’s highway Alternate 95 (known as 95A), somewhere on the southbound miles between Fernley (at Interstate 80) and Yerrington (where we turn off and head up into the eastern Sierra Nevada Range towards Bridgeport, California. At least they don’t go all the way across the shoulder like they do on Nevada’s main Highway 95, where the strips start at the white fog line and go all the way to the desert dirt, forcing trikers to ride in the lane with 75 mile per hour traffic heading towards Las Vegas.
The triker’s nightmare!
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Adventure is always full of uncertainty. It is sometimes referred to as an odyssey. For those who need certainty to remain psychologically viable, taking a trike journey and living in a tent in unknown territory each day is not recommended. Here is what Eckhart Tolle has to say about uncertainty in his book, A New Earth:
“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”
The Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition will be loaded with an abundance of uncertainty. That is part of the impetus behind Gary, Glen, and me taking the trip. There is some overwhelming primal aspect of our personalities that feels the call of the wild and lure of the uncertain, a part of our spirits that finds fulfillment in meeting the unknown, surviving it, and returning to share our experiences with others who find like endeavors fascinating. If this trip were completely predictable, that is to say – certain, would it feel the same on the morning of August 26? Would it generate the eagerness each morning when striking our camp? Would we know the internal sense of awe as we complete the final pedal stroke?
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UNSUPPORTED, BUT NOT UNPROTECTED
Cops! They’re always thick when you don’t want to see them, but you can never find one when you need one. Well, on this 1700 kilometer journey, we three trike gypsies will have backup. The Carson City Sheriff’s Department will be covering our antics to make sure we don’t get ourselves into a pickle on our tiny trikes in a sea of monster cars and trucks, not to mention endless miles of vast arid desert and mountains that poke through the clouds. To be more precise, the whole department will not be standing by for our distress call, but Chief Deputy Jack Freer, that dependable superman who ran security for yours truly on the ’09 Death Valley ride, will be at the ready if necessary.
Centrally located about mid-trip, Officer Freer, a fifty-something dynamo of ultimate professionalism, plans on meeting the ragtag CCTE crew somewhere out there for a fun camp evening one night. Glen and I are also sending Jack several dozen Bear Valley Meal Pack food bars to resupply our dwindled cache at the midway point. If you read my Silent Passage tale about the DVTE journey, you’ll recall that Jack provided valuable advice and saved my hide from being swept away in a huge flash flood and monsoonal rains. We shall see what develops on the CCTE, yet another episode of uncertainty and high adventure!
THANKS JACK! You’re not a trike rider, but you’re all right in our book anyway. See you on the trail my friend!
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BOOTH L-4, Recumbent Cycle Convention
On October 23, 2011, I will be manning a boot at the Recumbent Cycle-Con at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, California. This is a three day convention highlighting recumbent cycling, both bikes and trikes, created by Charles Coyne, publisher of Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine. It runs from Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23. Friday and Saturday are exclusively for manufacturers, dealers, and the press. Sunday the convention is open to the public.
Charles has asked me to meet the public in booth L-4 that Sunday to discuss the CCTE and the joys of overland recumbent trike journeys. I may also be on hand the prior two days, which will necessitate me camping out once again at the Fairplex, as I don’t have a car to go speeding home each evening. It should be a real kick in the pants, a fun event for everyone involved. I also plan on having my ICE Q trike there, still fully loaded with cargo bags, along with all the dirt and grime that accumulates during a 1700 kilometer trek … fresh off the road and into a booth – only I will have taken a shower (glad to hear that). I also plan on having a slide show running on my computer showing many photographs of the ride.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what yours truly is really like in the flesh, stop on by the booth and let’s chat for a while! I look forward to meeting you at long last.
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When on an overland trike journey, you meet people now and then who are curious about what you’re doing out there on a tricycle in the middle of nowhere. Where’s your car? How do you ride on freeways? Why are you taking this trip? They ask all sorts of questions, and are often eager to learn more.
Talking out on the road is fun. It provides a nice interlude to stand up and stretch. But you can’t hang out for everyone who wants to chat if you want to make some headway on that particular day. So, one strategy that has worked well for many touring cyclists and myself is to make up information cards that point enthusiasts to your website that tells more in their spare time at home.
This week, I made up 100 cards for the CCTE, a simple matter of taking those pre-made cards that you can run through your computer’s printer, and then perforate along the lines to separate them. Rather than printing on the computer though, I stamped each one with a nifty stamp my sister made for me a few months ago, on which she had created some text and a little graphic:
CACTUS TO COAST
Steve [graphic] Greene Wild by Nature
My sis knew I had spent much time of my life roaming the desert regions in my Jeeps and Xterra, and since I moved to the coast 16 years ago, she came up with the stamp’s title. It was from her naming on this ink stamp that I came up with the idea of the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition naming. This card, which I’ll hand out to anyone who demonstrates a desire to know more about me or the trip, will send them to my Wild Steve website, which is a portal to the writings and some photographs I have assembled in recent years.
I encourage anyone taking a trip on a trike to have a few such cards stashed away in their panniers to hand out at appropriate moments – you never know who you’re going to meet out there! Don’t miss an opportunity. Make friends everywhere you go.
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NeoAir FAST & LIGHT
Earlier on this page I shared the new sleeping pad from ThermaRest that I acquired for the journey at REI. Although I have not yet slept on it, I have inflated it and tried it on the floor of the house. The NeoAir provides plenty of cushion, and seems that it will shield me from any rugged surfaces that might be under my tent and ground cloth while camping each night. The pad is narrower than what I used prior, but since it is so unbelievably lightweight and easy to stash in my cargo bags, I am fine with a little less lateral space. It’s also yellow – Gary should have one of these!
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GLEN’S NEW TRIDENT
08 August 2011
Glen Aldridge, the intrepid Canadian adventurer who rounds out this trio of trikes for the CCTE, has gone through quite a convoluted process to finally get his new triangular steed. As you may recall, he sold his TerraTrike a while back, and had his eye on two potential replacements: the HP Velotechnik Gekko and the Azub T-Tris.
Neither one came to pass, but after much diligent effort and many obstacles along the way, Glen finally took possession of a new Trident. He is currently busy as a bee prepping the new blue bullet for the little ride we’re going to take in about 18 days, and sent some photos to show his progress as of today. Here are two images to see what he has done thus far with the Trident:
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ELEVENTH HOUR THOUGHTS FROM GLEN ALDRIDGE
(about the trek and his new trike “Wiley”)
10 August 2011
“Wiley” – as in Coyote has been a gestation of several months before finally arriving at my doorstep with parts missing. Buying my new Trike had been a sequence of events that tested my patience, ingenuity & finally arriving with parts missing. Even today just one week away from the Recumbent Retreat in Astoria, Oregon, I am waiting for parts that were supposed to have been re-shipped 1 week ago. Such is life.
I had aimed my sights high wanting an Azub Trike made in the Czech Republic but with 26% duty & taxes this put all my funds into the purchase leaving very little for the trip itself. My choice, the Trident Stowaway II seems like a compromise with the folding feature & good components at a reasonable price. Now if the dealer could only get me the missing parts that I paid for . . .
My thoughts on the trip. – I have met two of the most supportive friends I could ever wish for on this my initial long distance Trike Trip & they have alleviated my concerns regarding trip length, conditioning, safety, eating, packing, endurance. Just about anything I had come to mind, their prior experience proved beneficial & settled my concerns. Of course starting on the Oregon Coast is an enticement in itself but to have such support from mutual Trike pilots with the prospect of a new experience like this was something I wasn’t going to miss.
As I count down the days till my departure, the last minute items of packing, gear checking, insurance, Bills paid at home, passport, electronics, gets me that much more excited. What started out as an idea is turning into reality & I am going to be a part of History….OK maybe a spot on the radio if I am lucky but to me it will be history. History in what I did with my life, a new adventure & experience instead of being a slave to the mundane existence most people call work.
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ELEVENTH HOUR THOUGHTS FROM GARY BUNTING
10 August 2011
1) Not in good enough physical shape for the CCTE (workouts were interrupted for me for 6 weeks due to acute illness); 2) Carrying more weight in cargo than I would like to, plus trailer – we’ll see how it all works out; 3) Being pushed all the way by Wildman Steve who is a personal ‘task-master’; 4) Rattle Snakes in the northern Nevada Desert during out over-night camps there 5) Paying utility bills along the way – this is a responsibility that I must contend with; 6)Being baked by the sun or in trying to avoid it by wearing too much clothing to prevent it, becoming over-heated (hyper-thermia).
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FINAL DAYS OF PREPARATION – HIKIN’, TRIKIN’, & PUMPIN’ IRON
August 10-11 2011
I’m playing catch-up on trike prep for this little jaunt we’re about to take, having been away hiking and camping for several weeks. On Wednesday the 10th, I started the day with my thrice weekly weight workout, followed by breakfast (oatmeal, high fiber meal, raisins, cinnamon, olive oil -all mixed together- along with some All Day Energy Green power stirred into a 10 ounce glass of organic soy milk. Two hours later, I was hiking from sea level up into the Coast Range to some high ridges through old growth fir forests, with spectacular ocean views through the giant trees from time to time. Ten strenuous miles later, a very late lunch somewhat refueled my dwindled caloric reserves. Dinner was quick to follow upon arrival home. I could feel the muscular fatigue, and was happy. That which does not kill me makes me stronger … for riding the trike!
On Thursday the 11th, I started the day with my same breakfast, loaded three Clif Bars into my Arkel TailRider trunk, and pedaled out of the driveway for a 40 mile ride up to the Pawn Trailhead up the North Fork road in the Coast Range. Nearby is the original townsite of a small group of families that helped settle this area way back in the good old days. My legs were still feeling the work of the previous day’s hike, so maybe this ride would loosen them up a bit.
The North Fork valley sits between two fingers of old mountains, and is punctuated with ranches and farms. It is serene and largely devoid of annoying automobiles. The road is a relatively narrow rural affair, and common scenery includes horses, cows, and young ranch hands loading hay bails onto flatbed trucks. Domesticated guard dogs grunt out a bark every so often as I pass a cow or crop farmer’s house, but none are loose, so no attacks or harassment occurs.
Twelve miles up, the road turns right over a bridge, and a smaller road, called the Upper North Fork keeps on going straight, which is the road to Pawn. The farmlands disappear, and huge forested landscape replaces them. Another 6 miles brings me to the forested trailhead, where a lunch of two Clif Bars and water returns some pep to my poop. Then, I keep on going yet farther, being one of those guys who loves to push on, and end up riding past the end of the Upper North Fork road, on up the Big Creek road a ways (which eventually goes over the top of the mountain and drops out at the ocean and Highway 101 by the Rock Creek Wilderness).
Total mileage at this point was about 22, and I turn around for the ride home. Along this beautiful ride, I observe an occasional Dutch Bros plastic container laying on the roadway. Perhaps this company, if they are in business for anything other than the almighty buck, might wish to contemplate a customer education program designed to keep the wild woods wild and pristine. I come to the woods for reasons that do not include seeing human generated litter.
Once back to within 4 miles of home, I pull over at the Bender Landing boat launch that sits at the river for my final Clif Bar after I offload some processed yellow water. I meet a man somewhat older than myself, perhaps in his 90s judging by the cane and extended length of time it takes him to get from his car to the bathroom. He’s smoking an old stubby cigar, and we share our love of the wilds and the animal kingdom. He lives about a mile up the Upper North Fork road, and tells me that other residents up here always honk at him for driving only 30 miles per hour as he enjoys the scenery. Sure enough, modern society is addicted to doing everything really insanely fast.
Once back on Highway 126 that comes from Eugene to the coast, I spy a group of wedgie cyclists at the Florence city limit sign, with their bicycles all laying down in the brush (can’t just park them upright like a trike). At first I wonder if there is a medical emergency, but quickly learn that Cathie Schumaker is only minutes away from completing a supported solo bike ride from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific (see the post of August 13th for that story). Some of her family and friends have accompanied her for the final day’s ride to the beach to help celebrate her noteworthy journey. I take their pictures by the city limit sign, and then lead them the final 5 miles to the water, pedaling into a powerful headwind that truly makes the legs ache, especially since we all have been pedaling all day already, and long for a rest.
It was a good two days of physical preparation to be sure, and Thursday was one of my final shake-down rides to be certain the trike and gear is ready to go in two weeks on August 26. This ride I had my panniers loaded to about 95% of what they will be when we launch the CCTE, with the actual items I’ll be bringing along. Only a few items of clothing and food were not in the bags. I can say this with certainty: riding loaded is most definitely more demanding than just riding a 35 pound trike! Glad I have that 26 tooth small chainring, something that no serious overland triker should be without (make that a 24 if pulling a heavy trailer). Of course, when the flats and descents find their way under my tires, I can still crank up a decent head of steam with the 52 large ring, and all that added cargo weight sure seems like it helps me pick up some serious speed going down mountains!
Having led Cathie Schumaker and her bicycling clan to the beach north of town, a few extra miles got tagged onto the ride’s total, which I figure tops out around 55 for the day. My legs are ready for a rest, and my feet rejoice with the stress of the pedals a thing of the past. Rest up well, my two dear and useful pedal pushers, for in a few days, you’ll do your part in getting me and the trike another 1,052 miles – then I promise we’ll kick back at mama’s house for some deserved R&R!
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CARHARTT B151 CANVAS WORK DUNGAREE
a lengthy decision making process
What does a triker wear while triking? Well, it doesn’t really matter much when riding around the neighborhood or on short day rides near town. But, it does matter a whole bunch when striking out cross country with everything you own stuffed inside of a very limited pannier array, and especially when untold hundreds of thousands of pedal strokes can make or break your body in your clothing.
I once wore a pair of traditional baggy cargo pants with huge side leg pockets on a 50 mile ride, and in just that day the extra material of the cargo pockets caused a reddening and tenderness on the outside of my thighs. It was clear that using those pants for weeks of pedaling was no answer to my question. On my Death Valley expedition in 2009, I wore simple cotton slacks, and they worked well, only needing to be held at the cuffs by ankle bands to keep them out of the chain and the pants from billowing on rapid mountain descents. But even so, I kept on looking for some ideal pant to wear this time out.
Tights were considered, and having worn them in the past for various athletic activities, I was aware of the comfort and freedom of movement allowed by them. Thousands of cyclists wear them, but I guess I’m not one of them, as I prefer a more outdoorsy look when I’m out in the wilds doing wild things. I also considered an REI sahara type pant, made of thin nylon for coolness and easy cleaning. One thing I found lacking in both choices, the tights and the nylon, was their relative fragility when it came to sitting on rocks or other potential occurrences that might unfold while living a gypsy life. I just wanted something more rugged, while also being lightweight and cool.
With this in mind, for the past couple of years, I’ve always had choices in the back of my mind while between trike expeditions. Finally, about two weeks ago, I stumbled upon what I considered to be an outstanding choice for my own needs. The Carhartt line of clothing is legendary for its enduring qualities, especially among people who demand tough stuff to go the distance, like construction workers. While in a Fred Meyer store, the Carhartt B151 Canvas Work Dungaree caught my eye. It is light weight, 100% cotton, relatively quick drying, comfortable, incredibly rugged, and has an extra pocket or two stashed in convenient locations (and they don’t rub the leg raw).
They had two pairs of these pants in my size 32×34, one in khaki color and one in fatigue. Well, I wanted two pairs, but preferred both to be dark, as I like to become invisible at my camps, to blend in during darker hours and not be seen by passerby. So, I ordered a second pair of the fatigue color, which just arrived at the store, so now I’m good to go with my official trike uniform! My shirts are long sleeved lightweight cotton, one a forest green color, and the other two more of a desert stone color. I’ll be making the cover of a men’s fashion magazine like Gentlmen’s Quarterly any day now!
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THE FINAL DAYS
19 August 2011
This expedition is getting close … REAL close! Weeks of preparation have been experienced by Gary, Glen, and myself, attempting to get everything just right prior to leaving, for once out on the road, there’s no turning back. I’ve been gone for the past five days, on a reconnaissance mission of sorts, checking out the route from the central coast departure point all the way to Mazama campground in Crater Lake National Park. The primary focus of the trip was to further get in some great hiking and camping during this marvelous weather, and many miles of incredibly scenic pedestrian travel were completed. The national park elevation is just over 6,000 feet in the places I hiked, so the higher altitude training helped my cardiovascular system in the process (since I live at sea level nowadays, although I used to live for many years at 9,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies).
Glen has departed from his British Columbia, Canada home for the 13th annual recumbent retreat near Astoria, Oregon, on his way south to the CCTE departure point in Florence. He plans on spending some time with friends while there, and then appearing here on the late morning of Thursday the 25th so that we can finally meet in person. He and I have had numerous telephonic conversations these past weeks, getting things squared away, especially as of late, now that he finally took delivery of his new Trident trike. I have an extra pair of Radical Design side seat panniers that I’ll give him if he finds he needs he needs extra cargo storage. They simply drape over the seat, which makes them useful on darn near any trike made, thereby providing an extra 25 liters of cargo storage space.
Gary, the precision master mind of details, is totally prepared at this point … actually, he has been ready for quite some time now, having had his trike since 2010, and plenty of time to prepare it and himself. Gary and I have been talking on the phone for several months it seems, and are well acquainted with each other – only meeting in person needs to occur at this point. He is leaving southern California in his van on Wednesday, with trike inside, bound for the central Oregon coast, and should be arriving mid afternoon on the 25th. Imagine that! The fellow drives north, only to pedal back south to where he started. That’s dedication to a cause! He will spend one overnight en route in northern California.
Once at our CCTE terminus in Apple Valley, California, the three of us will camp one more night together, and then the next day, Gary and Glen will pedal the additional 45 miles over the mountain to the lowlands of southern California and Gary’s house. After a few quick days of paying bills and boxing up Glen’s trike, they will leave on Amtrak for Florence, where Gary will get his van and go visit an old time buddy in central Oregon. Glen will get his car and head on back to Canada. The plan is that Glen will have shipped his folding trike back home ahead of time so that he doesn’t have to bother with it on public transportation. In the meantime, I’ll be preparing all the photos and making a media presentation of the trip for the recumbent convention and for posting on YouTube and Trike Asylum. I’ll also start writing up what happened for everyone to read.
I discovered a few days ago that the annual custom rod and car show in Winchester Bay, Oregon commences on Friday, August 26, which translates into extra traffic on coast highway 101, so the earlier we leave that morning, the better. Winchester Bay is just 5 miles south of Reedsport, where the CCTE turns inland on Highway 38, so this will affect our first few hours of riding that day.
I also have learned about road construction on Highway 138, the waterfall route from Glide, Oregon to Diamond Lake. They are installing new drainage pipe, rebuilding the shoulder, and doing some repaving during the daylight hours. Ultimately, this will be a vast improvement for these stretches of roads in the upper Cascade Range, but as of this week, it’s not too trike friendly. This construction project is near the end of a 40 mile day from Susan Creek campground (in the mountains east of Roseburg, Oregon) to the next night’s camp at Clearwater Falls campground. This will likely mean that we will be pedaling through here in the evening and night hours, as these 40 miles are all uphill, right up the side of the Cascades, and take their toll regarding speed. Forty miles sounds like something that can be done in a half day normally, but in this terrain, they turn into a lengthy experience. The good news is that all the construction will probably be complete for that day, so we can ride through with virtually no traffic or issues. Night riding has its perks!
We will have showers at Susan Creek campground, a BLM establishment along the Umqua River. Showers will once again be available at Broken Arrow campground on the south shore of Diamond Lake, which we’ll get to after two days of riding. The Diamond Lake Resort offers a laundry, restaurant, and store. Again at Mazama campground in Crater Lake National Park we will be able to clean up like normal modern human beings. Being trike gypsies is great fun, but taking a shower doesn’t happen every day!
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THE FIRST FIVE DAYS – THE GAUNTLET
There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says he who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left. Well, the first five days of this journey will tell a tale, for they are probably going to be the toughest five days of the entire 1700 kilometers. If we all make it to Crater Lake National Park as hoped, the most challenging days are behind us in many ways. This is not to say there won’t be other challenges to be met, but only that the miles from Florence to Mazama are fraught with multiple unique tests and demands that do not occur in such short time order anywhere else on the route. Once out the south end of the national park, days of relative ease await us.
Some of these challenges come in the form of crossing two mountain ranges with seemingly endless grades, along with questionable locales for pitching our primitive camps. A triker can do the 364 miles of the Oregon coast will all conveniences within easy reach every day, including top notch campgrounds, stores, and restaurants, but the CCTE route only uses the coast road for the first 20 miles, then it’s off to a land that is not conveniently planned for trike campers. There is much private property encountered along the way, where camping options amount to stealth mode, or asking the kindness of a church minister of an obscure little town along Interstate 5. Throw in some road construction on the steepest slopes, and things do get interesting! Trike journeys are always a wild adventure, and you never know ahead of time how things are going to play out.
There is a saying that the desert metropolis and gambling haven of Las Vegas, Nevada uses to make people feel safe about any socially questionable activities they participate in during their Vegas stay. It goes something like this: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, there is a statement fashioned loosely after the Vegas model for the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition. It goes like this: What happens on the CCTE goes worldwide. Of course, moderation will be at work, and the story will be cleaned up if necessary so that none of us looks too bad … maybe! I wonder if I told Gary and Glen this?
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An email sent to Gary and Glen, 21 August 2011:
I’ve spent some quality “map time” this morning, along with some brain challenging mileage speculation based on prior experience, and have put together an itinerary I believe will be realistic for us. Some is tough, while other is easy … a nice mix, with easy interspaced between the tough (kind of a little prize for the hard uphill work). CG = campground, CLNP = Crater Lake National Park.
DAY ONE: Florence to Bunch Bar river landing (52 miles)
DAY TWO: Bunch Bar to the town of Glide (52 miles)
DAY THREE: Glide to Susan Creek Campground (12 miles)
DAY FOUR: Susan Creek to Clearwater Falls CG (40 miles)
DAY FIVE: Clearwater Falls to Broken Arrow CG (15 miles)
DAY SIX: Broken Arrow to Mazama CG in CLNP (25 miles)
DAY SEVEN: Rest -no travel- at Mazama (196 miles thus far)
Days TWO & FOUR are the really challenging ones, where we just keep spinning, grinning, and knowing that we will all be the better for it. Days THREE & FIVE allow extra recuperation time for the two tough days preceding them. Crater Lake is the first week’s prize!
We can do it!
See you both this Thursday! Wow! The time has finally arrived –
… LET’S LIGHT THIS CANDLE!
Cmdr. Greene, CCTE Regiment, Oregon Territory
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Gary’s Response, 22 August 2011
Thanks for doing all this good work. It gives a much better perception of the first few days of our upcoming adventure. Good on ya!
Any idea of what our altitude gains (i.e.; percent of slope) we will be experiencing during any one of these days?
I only hope my ‘candle’ has enough poop-to-pop. My attitude is positive though, and I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to perform and not hold you and Glen up too much.
See you Thursday,
Triker Gary Bunting
YELLOW BEAST Brigade
CCTE, California Contingency
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Glen’s Response, 23 August 2011
Hello Red Leader/Yellow Bird, Blue Angel checking in for updates.
I never made it to the Recumbent Retreat. After 7 hours of driving in stop & go traffic I made it as far as the outskirts of Tacoma & still had about another 3 hours to go. As it was already heading for dusk I decided that it would be best to admit defeat & head back home instead of arriving in the dark on roads I didn’t know & then trying to locate my site & put up my tent. From previous experience I know this is not a good idea.
So, with all the weekend chaos around me after taking a break & finally locating a pay phone that hadn’t been vandalized I made the decision to come back & leave for Florence at 2:30 AM Thursday, which with any luck should get me through the bulk of Seattles traffic before the 7 AM madness starts again. I am estimating an arrival time in Florence of 11 AM Thursdy at Bicycles 101 where they should have my Scwalbe Marathons, my 28 & 39 tooth gears, my biking shoes, my Mirror & idler gear from Trident.
I have an appointment made with Tim so this should be interesting if everything finally starts to go smoothly. I have repaired my current idler & it seems to be working fine. The spare is in case it doesn’t last 1000 miles.
Commander I would not want to question your wisdom but … .52 MILES OUR FIRST DAY OUT? Hmm! I hope it is downhill with a tailgunner wind. I think you will like my electronics if nothing else for the novelty effect & questions people will ask. Unfortunately my Bike Stereo seems to be defective as I cannot get it to play the MP3 music files without connecting it to my laptop. The eBay distributor is not much help either but the unit does look quite interesting.
I also have a small gift for you two which I think you will find useful. It is a L.E.D. Red Tube light which is similar to what the car guys use under their cars. If nothing else it will add another measure of safety for dusk/night driving. It should run off a 9 volt battery for quite an extended time. (Sorry Gary, I am related to The Prince of Darkness – Lucas Electrics)
Well that’s about all the news for now & I am looking forward to our Pre-Flight Briefing. See you on Thursday Morning …
CCTE, British Columbia Sector
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Steve’s Response, 24 August 2011
TO: Trike Troops
FROM: Cmdr Greene, Oregon Territory
In answer to your concerns, there are no concerns! We are trike pilots, a breed of modern nomads who know no bounds. The first day is a snap, even at 52 miles, as most of the ride along the Umpqua River east of Reedsport is flat and shady. Our bodies will be fresh and well equipped to handle it. To address the road gradient concern, yes, I have a precise idea of the slope traversing the Cascade Range from Susan Creek to Clearwater Falls. The grade is: STEEP & LONG, but that is Day FOUR, which is only 40 miles, and we will be well seasoned by then. Fear not. That which does not kill us will make us stronger! (both physically and mentally). By Crater Lake, we’ll be proud to call ourselves Trike Pilots.
Off we go … into the wilds and an adventure of a lifetime!
If either of you perish en route, the remaining two will promptly bury you in an appropriate roadside locale, use your trike as a headstone to memorialize your great effort, and be on our way, realizing that you would not have wanted us to terminate the trip due to your premature demise. We will owe it to you … for making the ultimate sacrifice any trike pilot can possibly offer.
TRIKE ON …
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LIGHT THIS CANDLE!
Only hours now separate three “old” men and the grand journey of a lifetime. T-minus and counting, using astronaut parlance. Along those lines, word from those “in the know” has it that there is a certain phrase space pilots use while strapped atop their massive load of highly explosive fuel just prior to liftoff. After years of training, and then waiting for their assignment, these folks experience pre-flight anxiety at levels we terrestrials can only imagine. It has been reported that at least once in the history of the space program, at least one of these intrepid explorers was getting antsy all strapped in at the top of the combustible projectile (little more than a highly controlled bomb), and strongly desired to get underway as soon as possible to alleviate the transitory apprehension. From his mouth came the words directed to mission control:
“Light this candle!”
We all seek and experience differing levels of exploration and adventure in our lifetimes, and many of us likely know the feeling of being prepared and waiting to leave for some distant and remote destination. We are as ready as we’ll ever be, and commencing the journey is imminent. At this point, nerves are unraveling and we urgently need to plunge right into the task at hand, as that is the only way to focus our attention on the execution of that for which we trained so hard. Once we embark, our minds are wholly engaged in the adventure. The uneasiness swiftly wanes, as the epic saga has finally been initiated.
We three trikers are now more than ready to light this candle!
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THANKS TO TEDDY ROOSEVELT FOR PUTTING IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE!
* * * * * * *
The adventurous day was wearing on,
so I pitched my tent so tattered;
On the mountainside above the flat,
nothing else in life really mattered;
Out here in nature’s wonderland,
where the birds and brooks do speak,
I inhale life and feel so grand
at the foot of snow covered peaks.
Up with the sun, I am at one
with all that surrounds this child;
The more I heed, the greater my need
to follow the call of the wild;
So over the hills I trike once again,
to new vistas I have yet to find;
It’s the way I am, and will always be,
a spirit with a primal mind.
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We will learn many things on this trip, perhaps the least of which may be how to pilot a recumbent tadpole trike cross country.