Traveling on the Edge of a Primal Reality

CCTE Live Posts

While on the expedition, I was able to post some updates on the Trike Asylum website on four occasions. What follows below are those four posts, in chronological order, from oldest to newest.


AUGUST 27, 2011:

Okay gypsy trike fans, this is a live “typing on the road” update about the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition, now in its second glorious day! I am taking a few moments at a library computer in the small Coast Range town of Elkton, Oregon to give a little glimpse into what’s been going on since our departure from Florence on August 26th. Gary and Glen are experiencing some “gettin’ used to” gremlins and have asked to hang here at the ice cream shop and library for an hour or two, so it all worked out well.

 Glen, on blue Trident, and Gary, on yellow Catrike, ride along eastbound on highway 38 towards Elkton – earlier today

We departed Florence yesterday, taking the first pedal strokes at the stroke of 8 AM. Glen’s new Trident needed some upgrades and last minute tweaks that kept Bicycles 101 slaving away until 6 PM, and then after we all had seafood dinner together on the Old Town waterfront, I stayed up until 9 PM doing a few more adjustments in the garage.

The morning was foggy, slightly breezy, and about 62 degrees Fahrenheit … perfect for triking the Oregon coast 101 route. With the cool air, we kept a decent pace. Heading up the Gardiner hill, about three miles shy of Reedsport, the sun arrived on the set and baked out Gary’s brains on the long steep ascent, but we all regrouped at the crest, and smoked down into the nearly defunct town of Gardiner at 42.7 miles per hour on the mile-long descent. My friend Matt Jensen rode his Titanium Rush long-wheelbase recumbent bike with us to Reedsport (20 miles), had burritos with the gang, and then headed back north to Florence (I had a couple of health oriented food bars instead – Gary thought I was nuts … he’s right). Glen and Gary still had spunk left in them, so they opted to remain on the CCTE, opting out of the “return back with Matt” option (today they may be having second thoughts).

Paula and Beth Brown happened upon us partway south from Florence. They are sisters, one from Corvallis, Oregon and one from Bellingham, Washington. They were touring on diamond frame bikes, unsupported, with full pannier setups – rugged gals for sure. We saw them again for breakfast this morning at Bob’s Market, and then again a few minutes ago in Elkton, Oregon.

Last night a homeless man named Rex Harrison (I kid you not) saw us pitching tents on a lawn at the Scottsburg Historical Society, and struck up a conversation. I loved it! I asked if he wanted to be in my next book, to which he said okay, so I began taking notes. We had quite the conversation. Gary was leery of a homeless person, being yet in the southern California mindset, but by this morning, after Rex left, even he admitted what a cool guy he was. Rex receives about $875 per month in SS and and food stamps, which allows him to bicycle about the state for the past 7 months since he was released from the state mental hospital. He usually hangs out in Sweet Home, Oregon when not pedaling.

No one bugged us at our not-so-stealth camp last night (we were right on the highway, and a Douglas County Sheriff squad car didn’t even bother to check us out. We spent our first night 13 miles short of where I spent my first night two years ago on the DVTE, as Gary and Glen are still getting their triker bodies squared away. Tonight, we plan on camping at Tyee campground, 71 miles from our commencement point on the coast. There are some big steep hills between here and Sutherlin on Interstate 5. Gary wants to hang out here long enough that the road will be in the shade. Both the guys are now discussing what it will be like in the Nevada desert once we get there in who knows how many days. Perhaps we’ll get lucky and get a real cold snap!

I cannot upload any photos from this computer, but Glen has an Acer netbook and is doing Wi-Fi in the ice cream shop next door, so maybe he’ll let me use my SD card in his unit and post a photo. Well, that’s it for now. The sun is out in all its glory today, and we’re all dying a thousand deaths on every hill. Thank goodness for the eighteen wheelers and motorhomes that offer up a huge blast of air when passing, cooling our sweat-laden shirts a little at a time. Yep, sure enough, traffic is our friend! See ya’ …

DAY ONE: Florence to Scottsburg – 38 miles – mostly foggy, then shady once the sun came out in afternoon

DAY TWO: Scottsburg to Tyee campground? – 33 miles if we make it there tonight – totally sunny and real warm

NOTES: Click on the photo above if you have a high speed connection to see a giant image of it (I could not resize it on Glen’s netbook, thus it is as it is). Gary and Glen have made a spur of the moment decision: We are NOT going to Tyee campground today (13 more miles – it’s now 4:20 PM, less traffic and cool breezes, but oh well …). They are too wasted. We’re staying right here in Elkton at the Umpqua River RV park, with showers and full deluxe treatment for two tired old men – ha ha (hey, I’m old too, right). So folks, that’s a 19 mile day for Day Two, for a grand total of 57 miles in two days. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. All I know is that life is a grand adventure, and not knowing is a great thing. Later, Trike Bums!


SEPTEMBER 08, 2011:

I just arrived in Susanville, California at 1:45 PM. Have now ridden 449 miles. I am in the local library, with my trike parked outside between this facility and the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. If it’s gone when I go back outside, guess I’ll go to plan B (whatever that is).

Lots has happened. Glen parted company on the morning of Day 3 in Elkton, Oregon. The campground host was gracious enough to put his trike in the back of his Dodge Ram pickup and drive him back to Florence. Glen was plagued with inner tube failures … three of them while in the campground, and all three the result of material failure, not punctures. He opted out at that time.

Gary parted company in Klamath Falls, Oregon, after having ridden over the Coast Range, the daunting Cascade Range, and over the top of Crater Lake National Park. His knees were really hurting him, leaving little choice. Had he kept on to Susanville, the Modoc National Forest traverses would have sealed his fate out in the middle of nowhere. Gary rented a small U-Haul van to get his trike back to Florence.

The weather has really warmed up! I am dying on these ultra-long grades where low-low gearing is the only way up. Most are sun drenched, further adding to the challenge. I left Klamath Falls at 7:30 AM, after saying my goodbyes to Gary. By late afternoon, I was in Canby, California, 86 miles farther along. Next day took me south of Adin, California, 53 more country miles of forests and ranches. Today, I made it to Susanville, 38 miles from last night’s camp, but very much ready to call it a day early, find a campground, and clean up!!!

This is Eagle Lake where I ate my breakfast on my way to Susanville earlier today. 

The decision was made to alter the route after realizing the dangerous temperatures in the Nevada desert on Highway 447. I have run my 248 ounce water supply down to about a liter in my second Camelbak bladder during the past two days. Tomorrow I head out towards Reno and Carson City on Highway 395.

That’s it for now! Have to get a shower if I can, and maybe even do some laundry. I will ask some folks around here if there is a campground on my route, then I won’t have to primitive dry camp again as I have done the past two nights.


SEPTEMBER 09, 2011:

Howdy again from trike gypsy land! I didn’t end up staying in Susanville after all last night. Some folks told me about a KOA about 12-15 miles east of town, possibly 20 at the most, so I set out at 4 PM, figuring it would be easy to do before it got dark. Well, turns out there was no KOA afterall, so here I am triking towards Reno and the sun is setting behind the mountains. What to do?

Well, I pulled into a little all-night mini mart / gas station, got a quart of V8 juice and a sandwich, told them of my plight, and they let me pitch the tent behind a large storage container next to the highway. The good news was that I made over 60 miles, and cut down on today’s ride into Reno, Nevada.

I am currently on a computer in the lobby of the Meadow Wood Courtyard in southern Reno, having ridden through most of the town on Virginia Street, through all the crazy casino action, thousands of cars, no bicycle lanes, and … well you get the idea. I don’t recommend riding a trike through this town unless massive overpopulation everywhere you look is okay.

There is no SD card slot or reader here, so I cannnot upload a photo today … sorry. My laundry is drying, and I just cleaned up after 3 days and nights of primitive camping and minimal personal sanitation options.

Thus far, the CCTE has covered 544 miles, now over half way to the destination point. Tomorrow, I head south on US Highway 395, through Carson City, Gardnerville, and depending on how I hold up, maybe camping in the Sierra Nevada Range. It was only 86 here in Reno when I arrived, a chilly number compared to the 90s yesterday in Susanville.

Oh, by the way, the reason I decided not to camp in Susanville is because my intuition led me to believe I could do better, as all the people who were talking with me gave me the creeps (there is a state prison there, and a federal prison farther east down the road). Reno may be a little on the wild side, but … well, you take your chances anywhere when on a trike journey!


SEPTEMBER 10, 2011:

Well, it’s funny how things work out. I’m a camping backwoods sort of guy, yet tonight I am in a motel yet again! Go figure. Okay, here’s the story, or the highlights I should say, of today, since I am on a public lobby computer and have to yield it if someone else happens along (like what happened last night when I cut things short):

Wake up call this morning at 5:45 at my Reno motel room. Continental breakfast at 6:00 (2 bananas, 1 blueberry yogurt, 2 packages of instant oatmeal). Rode out onto Hwy 395 south again at sunrise.

Hot day. Lots of traffic through Carson City south to Gardnerville. At one point, 395 turns into a freeway, and a sign reads: Bicycles Must Exit. But, they had concrete barriers for the construction, so I couldn’t exit, so I rode alongside 70 MPH traffic for a bunch of miles. Finally, I found a way to get on Old 395, which was much quieter.

From Gardnerville on, fire trucks were screaming by. Turns out there was a huge lightning strike brush fire north of Topaz Lake, and they sent all federal, state, and local fire units from Reno south, as well as a ton of cops. So, I have these sirens passing for hours up the grade out of the Carson Valley. About a quarter of the way up the Simee Dimeh Pass, elevation 5,950+ feet, a massive rain torrent sets upon me, drenching me to the bone within seconds before I could even contemplate putting on all my raingear. Fortunately, it was still in the mid 80s, so I wasn’t getting too cold.

But, it wasn’t letting up one bit, so I found an old abandoned commercial building in the middle of nowhere, and sought shelter under its ample overhang for my trike and me. I hung there for about 40 minutes until the storm seemed to have passed, and my clothes dried a fair amount from the wind. I even contemplated sleeping there, but it was still light out and I figured I could make it to Topaz Lake if I hurried on up the endless grade (mostly low gears, with a few spots of midrange).

At the top of the grade, it was another “yahoo” ride of up to 50 miles per hour down the other side, with one small hill before I crest over a rise and see Topaz Lake. Well, wouldn’t you know it, another squall is about to inundate me, and as I pull into the Best Western motel, the drops begin anew. I parked the trike under a shelter, paid the outrangeous $125 fee (includes breakfast at least), and now type out these words to you before I have even eaten! Dang, I’m gettin’ hungry now!

No SD card slot or card reader here either, so you’ll have to wait on the photos of all this action. I’m 63 miles farther along from Reno at least towards mama’s house in Apple Valley, and now I can luxuriate once again (a guy could get used to this after a while, I suppose). Tomorrow I re-enter California and begin the challenging Sierra Nevada ascents. No telling where I’ll end up … hopefully a campground ’cause I’m quickly running out of cash!

Miles thus far: 607 … getting closer every day.

See ya’ …

PS: My Achilles tendons are absolutely fine this trip! Compare that to when they became so inflamed in 2009 using the Power Straps and regular shoes. A definite lesson learned when it comes to long haul triking.