About us
  Education Portal
  The Team
  Our Projects
  Our Score Card
  Media Coverage
  Media Kit
  Shopping Helps
  Support us
In Association with Amazon.com
  Dispatches for Stage 2
October '04 Archive

Remain in the know by signing up to our Yahoo!Group:
Receive each dispatch by e-mail -
Unsubscribe from the dispatches -
Join our Yahoo! Group

Sunday - September 12, 2004

My departure from Seattle to Miami is delayed.

On Friday I got the word that the container carrying the Calderdale boat will arrive at Montreal on Monday. There is apparently a huge backlog of containers that is creating congestion at that port. The estimated time for the container to clear Montreal is an extra 6-7 days.

In anticipation of this delay in the arrival of the boat, I am now thinking of leaving on Oct 3rd, pending the arrival of the boat. I should not put off my departure much longer. If the boat is going to be delayed yet a few more days, I may choose to ride out those days out of Seattle and return by car, say from Portland. I can always continue riding from that same point later once the boat is secured.

We will have a send-off party regardless on Oct 2nd, Saturday evening and I will post the details of this event soon. Please mark your calendars if you will be in the area, it will be great to see you in person.

I will not post an itinerary here in the dispatches given the possible changes in dates. I modified the previous update on the web site to reflect my departure on Oct 3. I will modify the calendar from now on where such information really belongs.



Sunday - September 12, 2004

I posted a new page on our web site that is accessible from the home page, or by using this In Memoriam link. On that page, I tried to give a glimpse of Göran Kropp and of Francis X. Olding. They both left their thumbprints on Around-n-Over, and on Six Summits Project.

On the link above is also the obituary for Frank. Please note the request by the family to donate to Room to Read which would help to realize one of Frank's dreams. Frank and Teresa had dreamed of building a school in Nepal for underprivileged children. Please send any donation to Room to Read, a group dedicated to providing reading materials to underprivileged children in Nepal. Send check, made payable to Room to Read, and In Honor of Frank and Teresa Olding, at: The Presidio, PO Box 29127, San Francisco, CA 94129.

Be safe, and hug the loved ones today for tomorrow is not guaranteed.


Sunday - September 19, 2004

Hi there,

If you live, or have friends that do, around Seattle we have news for you:

Saturday evening on Oct 2, we will gather at the Seattle Vertical World for a send off party. The next morning at 7:00 am on Sunday, I will leave for Miami by bicycle from the Pocock Rowing Center near University Bridge (directions for the party: Seattle Vertical World, and for the departure: Pocock Rowing Center). The flier on the send off is here.

The boat already arrived at Montreal from UK, and it is awaiting in a container there to be placed on a train bound for Vancouver. From there it is a short hop to Seattle on a trailer truck. We believe the boat will be here before the send off party. We plan to bring it there for show and tell at 5:00 pm on Saturday before the party starts. Let's cross our collective fingers that the boat will arrive at Seattle on time...

At 7:00 pm, we will meet inside the Vertical World gym, have some pizza and I will show a 4.5 minute piece that KING5 Evening Magazine did on Around-n-Over, then do a brief 30 minute or so presentation on the what we have accomplished so far and what is to follow. I am looking forward to many questions and lengthy answers. I would like to meet new friends, see old ones and hopefully generate some more enthusiasm as I press on for Miami. We will wrap up by 9:00 pm.

This is a BYOB affair. We will provide pizza, utensils, cups, ice, napkins and such. Suggested donation is $5 toward the pizza. Additional donations of $20 will get a T-shirt, $30 will also be listed on the web site as a sponsor, and $50 will also be listed in the boat register to go around the world.

Please come join us on Oct 2 if you are nearby, bring friends, especially school teachers. Do plan on riding with me for a while on Oct 3 in the morning - I promise to go really slow with all the load that I am pulling in my trailer ;-)



Friday - September 24, 2004

Hi there,

Let's talk business for a moment:
    Around-n-Over is an amazon.com associate.

This is something that we should all leverage, and tell our circle of friends. It means that Around-n-Over is rewarded financially for any traffic that we forward to amazon.com which results in a purchase. The more the number of items purchased from amazon.com, the higher our rewards.

This is at no extra cost to the buyer, and it is strictly a partnership arrangement with amazon.com to drive traffic to them through us.

You may have recently noticed that the amazon.com links are on the left hand side of most pages as "in association with amazon.com," and in any of the active links within the body of the website.

The way it works is simple - our users, and their friends whom our users tell, remember to click on any amazon.com link available on our site when they need to shop online at amazon.com.

So it will require keeping this site in mind when you want to buy books, electronics, cameras, CD's, DVD's, furniture, toys and whatever else that amazon.com sells nowadays. You can shop for any item at amazon.com when you click through us. For example, we just purchased a refurbished computer by the same mechanism...

In addition, the Promotions page now provides you with a way to purchase some relevant titles in books from amazon.com. Same page promotes the amazon.com VISA card, and the approval of each from that page brings $20 to Around-n-Over. $19.95 per month keeps our website up. It can't be simpler than that.

I will give you an example to give you a feel for how easily you and your friends can make a difference:

    In the last month that we had the links up, 12 items were purchased by 37 unique visitors who clicked 103 times to amazon.com for perusal. We earned 4% from their purchases. At 20 items purchased, our earnings will go up to 6.5%. Next break is at 100 items. These are calculated quarterly. All we have to do, while the program is active, is to promote amazon.com and to generate buying traffic to their site from ours.
Please remember to come to our site first when you are in need of an online purchase, especially from amazon.com.



Thursday - September 30, 2004

Brief reminder that today is September 30, and that it has been two years since the fateful day at Vantage, Washington. It was that day that Göran left us.

In the brief time that he was with us, and in his passing, he touched Nancy and I in such a way that our lives now have a new meaning and purpose. For that we are grateful.

If you have not seen it yet, please visit: Lest we forget.

Live your dreams for life is short.


Sunday - October 3, 2004 (77.80 miles - McKenna, Washington - 5,624 miles total)

Erden and a number of us cyclists left the Pocock Rowing Center in Seattle this morning around 7:15am to begin the journey to Florida. However, all of us finished our portion of the journey at varying intervals within or just outside of the Seattle city limits! The last 2 cyclists, Beryl and Cem, left Erden around 50 miles out, and Erden pedaled on today for 75 miles when I last spoke with him around 6pm PT. A great start to a great journey indeed.

The send off party last night was also a success! Thanks to all who came and supported us in person, and all of you out there who support us from afar. We appreciate every bit of it!

A big thanks to Brett, Dale, Jenny, Beryl, Kris, Susan, Ellen, Mike, and Curt who came out at the wee hours this morning to send us off.

Erden will post an update when he is able to. Until then, from the home "base camp," I am signing off hoping for a good night's rest for a change.

Best regards to all,


Tuesday - October 5, 2004 (220.4 miles - Portland, Oregon - 5,766 miles total)

I am in Portland now. I made good progress until here, clocking 78 miles the first day, then 92 miles the next. Today I had a late start and arrived at the edge of Portland on Rt. 30 after 51 miles. I feel strong and motivated to continue. There is purpose in each crank of the pedals and that feels good.

I left Seattle on Sunday morning at 07:15 after friends gathered to see me off at the Pocock Rowing Center. Dale Smith, Brett Wolfe, Beryl Fernandes, Cem Terzi, Jenny Frazier, Kris Parfitt and Nancy accompanied me on their bicycles. Everyone had varying commitments that day and I was certainly grateful for their enthusiasm to show up that early on a Sunday morning. Beyond Seward Park, Cem and Beryl remained with me until Puyallup, 50 miles away from where we had started.

Somewhere in Renton we were looking for the beginnings of the Interurban Trail and magically came across two young men, Leif and Owen on their bikes. They took us to the trail and rode with us for a while. If they had described how to get to it, we probably would have been lost. As we spoke while riding, Owan told me of his plans to ride down the California coastline. Hearing of my climb of Denali, he brought up "this guy from Norway that bicycled to Everest." I told him about Goran, and he told me that one of his teachers was friends with him. Small world, and there was a wonderful magic in that encounter.

That evening in McKenna just short of Yelm, I started looking for a campsite. It was getting late and that darn fence along the way had not quit. If I could find a suitable break in the fence, I would camp... In McKenna, I stopped at a gas station to ask for campsites, then asked about a hotel when the answer was not forthcoming. After I told the attendant about the non-stop fence, she asked a gentleman who was there briefly who then offered me a development that he managed. "20 acre lots with Rainier views," he said, "bunch of doctors are buying them." He was going to open the gate for me which was a couple miles away. When I threw down my sleeping bag on the ground, it was around seven pm. I was out like a light...

I slept 12 straight hours, then riding south, I was able to identify the STP (annual Seattle to Portland bike tour) marks all along the way. They were round pink marks painted on the pavement on the shoulder that made route finding easy. I did lose my way once around Napavine, but kind locals eventually sent me in the right direction. I was able to see the wide hazy profile of Mt. St. Helens to the east. In Kelso, I checked into a hotel and Nancy found me there. No computers, no distractions, we were catching up now that all the rush to get on the road was over.

I had a relatively short ride to Portland. All along, there was talk of St. Helens blowing steam. The gas stations had the driving directions to the mountain taped on their windows - I guess they were tired of repeating the same to gawking tourists! We will be contacting the media along the way, but we will have to compete with St. Helens now, and the November elections later...


Saturday - October 9, 2004 (376.0 miles - Redmond, Oregon - 5,922 miles total)

Resting Heart Rate in the morning: 52 beats per minute

I had spent the entire evening in Portland catching up on emails and updating the web site. The hotel had a wireless high speed network that made the process a breeze. Mike McQuaid who is coordinating the media promotion efforts for Around-n-Over had contacted The Oregonian newspaper for an interview. I had a ten o'clock interview downtown with their reporter James Yu. Wednesday morning, I mixed with the heavy rush hour traffic to wind my way into Portland. A brief interview later, I was heading east on Rt. 26 around noon. I rode on sidewalks until I was out of the city.

This was going to be a short day. As it was getting dark, I located a weigh station behind which I was tempted to camp. When that did not feel safe, I rode another quarter mile to a fire station next to which was a grassy area. I asked the firemen whether I could set up my tent there. "It will be swampy right there," Jacob, the fireman said, then instructing me to go behind the station where there was a modest church. He added: "they have a lot of land back there, and they are nice people."

I walked my rig toward the church. It was raining by then. When I asked whether I could set up tent outside, the reply I got was: "we are just getting ready to have dinner, why don't you join us?" Soon I was ushered to meet the pastor, Keith, who said: "after the service, you can sleep in here, no need to set up your tent!" I was instructed not to lock the door in the morning as they left the building available to anyone who would want to come in for a prayer.

The next morning, the rain had stopped. I started bicycling around 08:30 after visiting Keith at the coffee shop that he ran in Brightwood. The entire day was to be a climb up to the Blue Box Pass at 4,000 ft. I pushed the rig up almost the entire way, making time to enjoy the views of Mt. Hood, and capturing some video footage as well. At 17 miles, I had only made it to Government Camp. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. I had a relatively short climb to the pass where there would be some camping. When I reached Nancy from a payphone, I found out that she had been stressed all day, placing at least a dozen calls about the ocean rowing boat that now had arrived at Vancouver. The Washington State Department of Transportation wanted the specifications on the trailer. The US Customs and DOT seemed more worried about the trailer which was carrying the boat, than the boat itself. We did not have custody of the boat or the trailer, there was nothing that we could do to remedy any shortcomings of the trailer. This was a difficult impasse. Our customs broker would do her best to help...

At the 25th mile, I pushed(!) into the Frog Lake Sno-Park parking lot. I located a short path among the trees which obscured me from the vehicles. I set up my tent back there, laying the sleeping pads and sleeping bag inside. A kind man walked up toward my tent, "we have wine, cold beer, food and tons of stuff; my wife and I, we are avid bicyclists too, why don't you join us," he said. "I will be right there, you are making it sound way too attractive," I replied and joined them in their RV.

His name was Mike Curran, they used to own a sail boat with which they cruised the Washington coastline all the way up to Alaska. After they sold that boat, they invested in this Grayhound sized RV that became their home. They seemed to enjoy their lifestyle, offering me a glimpse of it.

In the morning on Friday, as I rode southwest through the desolate Warm Springs Indian Reservation, I had Mt. Jefferson on my right to the south. The weather was closing in, the clouds getting thicker. So thick that by four o'clock in the afternoon, it seemed as though the night was setting. The farther south I went, the stronger the winds became, buffeting me dangerously from the side as I descended the hills at 35 mph. I arrived at Redmond after riding an hour in the dark with flashers on in pouring rain. I could not help but notice the fresh smell of junipers in the air, a scent that I had come to recognize from my sport climbing trips to Smith Rock. The next day would have to be a rest day. I had been on the road for six days in a row, my friend Al Menzl was going to find me in Redmond - I could use some down time.

All day today (Saturday), I felt physically beat. I was thinking of getting a bright and early start tomorrow toward Boise on Rt 20, but I may just sleep in and have half a day of riding. My body needs to catch up.

Below is prose that Jane Sykes shared with us the other day that I found meaningful. I hope that you will agree.

Recuperating in Redmond,




A man dies twice - once when his heart stops and again when he is forgotten -- Jewish Proverb

Cuanto vive el hombre por fin? Vive mil dias o uno solo? Una semana o varios siglos?
Por cuanto tiempo muere el hombre? Que quiere decir "para simpre"? -- Pablo Neruda

And finally, how long is a man's life? Is it a thousand days, or only one?
One week, or a few centuries? How long does a man's death last?
And what does "forever" mean?

Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification.
We can go to the philosophers,
but they will grow tired of our questions.
We can go to the priests and rabbis
but they might be too busy with administrations.

So, how long does a man live, after all?
And how much does he live while he lives?
We fret, and ask so many questions -
then when it comes to us
the answer is so simple after all.

A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
for as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
for as long as we ourselves live,
holding memories in common, a man lives.

His lover will carry his man's scent, his touch;
his children will carry the weight of his love.
One friend will carry his arguments,
another will hum his favourite tunes,
another will still share his terrors.

And the days will pass with baffled faces,
then the weeks; then the months,
then there will be a day when no question is asked,
and the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach,
and the puffed faces will calm.
And on that day he will not have ceased,
but will have ceased to be separated by death.

How long does a man live, after all?
A man lives so many different lengths of time.

      From Liz Rayner January 1997

Thursday - October 14, 2004

Wow! What an adventure!

No, I don't mean the one Erden is on....I mean the one I've been on for the last 4 weeks!! The time leading up to Erden's departure was hectic enough. These past 2 weeks since he's been gone have been just as hectic. I long for a break!

Getting custody of our boat has been one big lesson for me...in patience!

As you know, we have been in the process of acquiring an ocean rowing boat for many months. This summer we made the decision to obtain the Calderdale from the UK. When the first arrival date moved to the end of Sept., Erden postponed his trip to accommodate this timeframe. Then, it stalled yet another week, so Erden postponed the departure once more. THEN, when it was delayed further at entry in Montreal due to a backlog of shipments, we decided it was time for him to go. So off he went on the morning of Oct. 3rd., pedaling his way to Miami. It's a good thing he didn't stick around...no one could have predicted all the obstacles we faced that put further delays in the process.

So the saga goes....besides the delay in cargo shipments out of Montreal, by the time the crate arrived in Vancouver, we had several issues in trying to clear it through customs. The most interesting of which was that the US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) did not want to clear the trailer, for fear it would not meet US standards. So we were delayed several more days with AKA International fighting for clearance on our behalf, and at times managing exasperating phone calls with the cargo company, AKA, and US customs on a daily basis, with an update to me. Knowing all along that I am leaving on a week long business trip in a few days...I was growing increasingly ever so anxious! Finally I received a call late yesterday saying that the boat made it to the warehouse in Seattle. By the time Erden called last night, I was exhausted. I told him, "We should have the boat by tomorrow, but there are still papers pending to be signed, official hard copy documents that had to be hand delivered to the site, etc." Now, we were so close....and yet so far.

So, this morning I got the official word. "You can go pick up your boat" was music to my ears!

Dean and his daughter Margo (who is 2 going on "free," as she says) came to pick me up and off we went to the warehouse. After we sat for 20 minutes delayed by a train that blocked the entrance to the warehouse, I finally jumped out of the truck, walked along the railroad tracks until I could go around the train, and headed back toward the entrance of the office where I had to clear up the paperwork. With some really laid back folks in this office, it was yet another 20 minutes before the paperwork was secured. I have never seen one person look over the same papers so many times in my life I think! I finally asked in my most calm voice, "Is there a problem?" "Well," Paul said, "I'm just trying to make sure everything is here and you don't owe us any money!" Great! I'm thinking....yeh, me too! I better not owe you any money! We just paid AKA for all the extra expenses to clear customs. So he had to call over to AKA Int'l and speak with Julie once again to clear that matter.

When he finally gave me the papers for clearance, he told me to go wait "over there," and one of the guys will be there to help me. So, I walked "over there." No guy...no guy...no guy. I finally walked back to the office and had to wait again to be acknowledged that I may have a problem here. Finally, I received some assistance, and then Paul said, "Oh, he's still at lunch! Give him about 20 minutes and he'll be back!" I just knew there had to be a lesson for me in all of this!

So, fortunately Margo was in a playful mood...she made the waiting pleasant with her optimistic outlook on life. "Look at the train Nan-cy!" she would say.

We waited around as more time passed. Then finally a young man on a forklift came and went searching to find our container. He returned about a half hour later saying he has looked all over and he can't find it! Well, I wasn't going to quit that easily. Somehow, in all of this, Dean and I and this man finally found the container. Now we were really close!

So as they opened the container and Dean pulled his SUV up to receive it, I finally got to see the Calderdale for the first time. What did I think? Well, it's nice! It looks like its all there. It's small. No, it's bigger than I imagined. That's going to be Erden's home for the next 6 years?!! YIKES!

So we thought we were just about cleared. The boat is in good shape. No damage from the journey from the UK. We had a specialized ball/hitch shaved down to fit the requirements of this trailer. Then, the trailer doesn't fit the hitch. The men tinkered around with this for about another 10 minutes and said, "No...it won't work." What? How can this be? We were prepared! We did our homework! What?

All it took was a call over the walkie talkie to get a 7/8" (?) hitch that they just happened to have there, and we were good to go! Thank goodness to these men, or we would still be stuck!

So, we measured the boat and trailer again to make sure it would fit into the garage. We had a back up plan also, just in case. Now we were sure it would fit. Then, we looked around and realized why the DOT did not want to clear the trailer. It didn't have any lights on it! Dean and I took our chances anyway and took the back streets through south Seattle and headed over to Jeremy and Kendra's where we would be storing the boat in their garage. I could not relax until this boat was finally secured. It was a long ride to Jeremy's.

But we made it. We finished helping Jeremy move things out of the way, and I measured again. It looked tight, but we were optimistic. We unhitched the trailer from the SUV, and Jeremy and Dean pulled the trailer into the garage. It felt like time stood still at that moment (and I think I even held my breath) as I saw the last half of the boat just squeeze through the clearance and make it all the way in!! SUCCESS was finally upon us!!! I breathed a long sigh of relief. I could finally relax.

Our boat (Erden's home) will be a cherished item for years to come.

As I took my jog tonight to let off the remaining stress I still felt from this process, I decided to run over to the Pocock Rowing Center. This is the jogging path that Erden and I run often together. It was one of those incredible clear fall evenings, and I felt at peace. As I walked out onto the plank where the boats take off, I stood for awhile and watched crew teams go by, people in kayaks, canoes and sail boats at the far end of my eyes reach. I was at home.

I think I might just have to take up rowing now. :-)


Friday - October 15, 2004 (786.9 miles - Mountain Home, Idaho - 6,333 miles total)

Got to Mountain Home in Idaho after a fast ride that started at 4:30 in the afternoon. I was here as it got dark. I was able to take the time during the day to fix a few things on my bike, and to visit the Rose Hill Montessori School in Boise. I am now scheduled to give a school presentation in Ogden, Utah next Friday after which I will take off toward Denver on Rt. 40.

Leaving Redmond, Oregon was slow - I had loaded everything on the rig, checked out of the Hub Motel, and when I got on the bike to roll toward Bend, I noticed the low rear tire. I had a leak! After that, I swore to have a checklist before riding. Now, before I load up everything, I check the tires...

The few mountain passes that were marked on the road map proved to be road bumps compared to the climb up to Mt. Hood earlier. The small settlements marked on the same map were often a couple buildings one of which was the gas station. Eastern Oregon looked absolutely deserted except for the road crews that seemed to work on every bridge. I later found out that Oregon had budgeted a great deal of funds to upgrade the roads over the next few years.

I was riding on the high plains of eastern Oregon which was essentially a desert. The terrain was relatively even with rolling hills. There were extinct volcanoes all around, with basalt columns visible on cliff sides and in the road cuts. The area had obviously been subjected to a large lava flow long ago.

I camped out a few nights in a row, tucked away out of sight near rest areas. The fearsome Stinking Water Pass was easy to top from the West, which then dropped me for five miles on a downhill on the east side. This also meant that now I had to push a similar incline up to the Drinking Water Pass. Both of these passes were just over 4,000 feet high. When I descended from the second pass toward Juntura, I noticed a significant increase in the amount of small flies in the air that were now bouncing off my sunglasses. There was plenty of water around, that supported the ranches in that valley. Cows were everywhere.

That night as I camped, a dog just would not quit barking in the wee hours of the morning, and the cows were mooing in unison all night. I kept hearing them between breaks in my sleep. The waitress at the breakfast joint told me that the calves were being separated from the cows just about then, and the all night mooing would continue on for another two weeks until the animals adjusted.

Riding out of Juntura was enjoyable, a flat ride along a winding river that took me to Vale, Oregon. Almost my entire route had been part of the Historical Oregon Trail that had brought the pioneers into the Pacific Northwest. Now I was accompanied on the road by trucks hauling sugar beats and onions to market. During the entire ride that day and next, I kept smelling a unique aroma which was a blend of chopped onions and manure.

I was close to Boise on Wednesday, trying to coordinate my arrival with the interviews that Mike McQuaid, our media campaign partner, was setting up for Thursday. I made it to Parma, just west of Boise that night, and did not want to continue in the dark with intensifying traffic. I spent the night there, continuing in the morning. When I called Mike at 09:50, he told me that I had an eleven o'clock interview with The Idaho Statesman newspaper at the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame at the Boise State University. I had another 20 miles to go to get there. I rushed down the road, only to have a flat in my front tire that caused me to crash the rig. The crash tore the sidewall of my tire and the inner tube. By the time I had brought out replacements and got back on the road, I had wasted another good half an hour. We were fortunately able to reschedule for one o'clock...

After all the rush was over, I bicycled along the beautiful Boise River Greenbelt to find one of our fans Nic Stover, and his partner Jen. They were following my journey from our Yahoo! group, and had contacted me to stop over in Boise. They were both adventure racers and had just returned from a race in New York state. They seemed to do just about all sports.

My college friend John Sohl from Ohio State University had arranged for a school visit in Ogden for next Tuesday. I called John to give me two more days to get to Ogden which provided me enough slack in the schedule to visit the Rose Hill Montessori school in Boise. A fast ride after the school visit brought me to Mountain Home.

I feel strong, and I will make it to Twin Falls tomorrow easily.


Wednesday - October 20, 2004

We have wonderful people involved in our team. I wanted to introduce our board member Curt Rosengren to you through his own writing. His most recent article is in the premiere issue of Worthwhile Magazine due in November:

Curt maintains a wonderful blog called the Occupational Adventure that may offer some insights on careers and choices that we make in the paths that life offers us: Please enjoy. I will follow this post with a dispatch of the journey so far.


Wednesday - October 20, 2004 (1,044.9 miles - Ogden, Utah - 6,591 miles total)

Wow, it has been a while since the last update at Mountain Home. Since then I made several attempts at connecting, but was thwarted. Currently I am in Ogden, Utah under a roof that my Ohio State buddy John Sohl kindly provided. I have high speed internet access both from his home and from the campus of Weber State University where he teaches as a tenured professor in their physics department.

John's son Ian attends the Hillcrest Elementary here in Ogden. They were very enthusiastic to have the students meet me, so I am scheduled to do two separate presentations there on Friday.

This is the most rewarding part of what I do: to see the spark in the eyes of these young students when the map of the world is spread in front of their eyes. They are so full of hope and once their minds are stretched to see the possible, the boundaries disappear for them. I cherish the questions that they ask, each providing me with an opportunity to explain and to teach. Telling them of the ways in which I am meeting the challenges of this journey leaves them with a problem solving mind set. Teaching them that each obstacle is either an excuse to return to safe harbor, or an opportunity to solve the riddle to get past it, or to take a different path is eye opening. I try to explain that we have choices at each turn, and that we can seek the valid advice from those who will appear at the right time to help us. I have yet another dream that one day they will tell us of what they had envisioned, then achieved because they sought a path of exploration of their own...

From Mountain Home, I took off a bit disappointed with the hotel manager that essentially harassed me about using the phone for internet access. I could go into details, but let it suffice that if I do not have internet access it defeats the purpose of me checking into one. I can camp out, or use a private campground for a fraction of the cost, and still get my warm shower. I told the story to operators of farm machinery down the road about the hotel manager knocking on my door at 11:30 pm to get me off the phone, and we had a few laughs at his expense!

The next day my goal was to reach Twin Falls where my team member Rich Brower had a friend. Little did I know that I would be fixing flats on my tires all day: goatheads were everywhere, which are starlike seed clusters of a plant that lives just on the edge of the road. These clusters when dry would break up into five pieces each of which would resemble the head of a goat. The two thorns would be the horns, which are the culprits of the flats. The seed would lay on its one flat side, with one horn on the ground giving it stability, waiting to ambush me with the other horn. So many flats in one day, I decided now in Ogden to install inner tubes that already have slime in them to instantly self seal. Such inner tubes add weight, but I can cover more distance even while a bit slower if I do not stop so often.

Needless to say, I did not make it to Twin Falls that evening and camped among the sage brush away from the traffic. The ubiquitous sage brush is a treat during the ride when its aroma lifts my spirits. After a drizzle the scent of sage fills my lungs, reminding me of the freedom that I am enjoying. It is not foreign to me to push my bike away from the road a hundred yards or more, then to park the bike behind a brush. The color of my one person tent blends with the terrain. I feel safe and out of sight on such occasions, leaving me to journal some, then to sleep soundly after a long day’s ride.

I took Route 81 south east through Idaho toward Utah. This was an old railroad grade that had been turned into a two lane highway that serviced the wheat farms and ranches in that broad valley. Remains of an old town of wheat farms were visible in the wreck of a grain elevator: the town of Idahome went bust when the highway I-84 passed just due east of that location, making the railway unfeasible to operate.

This was a rough location with nasty headwinds that slowed me down to a creeping 6 miles per hour. A slight incline toward the Utah border did not help. The headwinds brought dark ominous clouds from the valleys due west of me and from the south. The clouds would get as low as a few hundred feet above my head, swirling in the wind. This did not end until I dropped on the other side and took a turn due east to Snowville.

I called John Sohl from Snowville in a deluge of rain around three o’clock, we agreed that he would come pick me up from wherever I would be on Route 83 on my way into Ogden. He was to come with a trailer and a bike rack making the pick up a breeze. We agreed that he would find me between 6:00 and 6:30 pm, before it got dark. He showed up with his wife Sheri and his son Ian at 5:30! “I want to keep riding,” I protested half joking. “I will ride to the next mile marker, we can meet there,” I said. Soon John had turned the rig around to pick me up next to the mile marker 23.

The rain outside has been incessant, dropping two inches just today in an area that normally gets less than 20 inches of precipitation per year. I am glad to wait for Friday and Saturday to start riding again.

Tomorrow, I will pick up my studded tires from Holly Richards, our good friend in Salt Lake City. Nancy mailed these tires ahead to her for me to use to cross the Rockies. I had hoped that I would get there ahead of the snow, but with the heavy precipitation that is coming down, I am not so sure. These are the same studded tires that I used to travel the Alaska Highway in 2003. I also have to pick up my bike from routine maintenance at the local bike shop.

On Friday after the school presentation, we will drive out to the mile marker 23, and I will complete that patch of about 45 miles into Ogden. Saturday morning, I will take off from here toward Park City where I will meet my friend John Climaco. He was my partner when we climbed the regular route on the Northwest Face of Half Dome in the Yosemite National Park back in September of 1989. That was my first big wall climb, an experience that I cherish as one that stretched my wings a bit. I bet we will have a lot of stories to exchange.

Oh, and on Tuesday just before John Sohl picked me up, my odometer rolled past the 1,000 mile mark on this trip!


Tuesday - October 26, 2004 (1,290.8 miles - Roosevelt, Utah - 6,837 miles total)

There I was aiming for Vernal another 40 miles away and a car stopped in front of me today. Out came two women. The younger one asked: "are you the one going around the world?" "Yes, I am," I answered wondering if they had seen my picture in the paper. "I told you," she turned to the other lady, then explained: "we saw you in the news this morning on TV and we turned the car around." They were laughing and giggling as the mother handed me a dollar bill and asked me to autograph it. She also offered a $20 bill, saying: "this is for the road!"

I reached for one of my business cards, signed that, and asked her to email us her name and address. "We sell t-shirts for twenty dollars, we will send you one, I would love you to sport one of our t-thirts," I said. A few more sentences were exchanged and they turned their car around once more to continue in the opposite direction. This left me with the hope that I could perhaps see a rerun of the same news in the evening. The town of Roosevelt was nearby. I quit at 4:30 pm and checked into a hotel with another 30 miles to go before Vernal. I had covered 56 miles today; needless to say, the rerun did not happen...

Back on Friday, my college friend and host John Sohl took me to the Hillcrest Elementary in Ogden. I interviewed with Ogden's Standard Examiner there, then the entire third, fourth and fifth grade students gathered in the auditorium for my presentation. We followed this with a longer session with the Accelerated Learning Academy students in the same school focusing on problem solving as it applies to this journey.

I had arrived with everything packed. This allowed John to take me back to mile 23 on Rt. 83 by the Thiocol plant where Space Shuttle booster rockets are manufactured. The photographer sent by The Salt Lake Tribune also joined us there to capture the start of my ride to cover the distance to Ogden. A few moments by the rocket displays for photographs, then I was riding alone. It took me until ten o'clock that night to arrive at John's place for another night's stay.

The next morning on Saturday, KSL-TV crew joined us from Salt Lake City to capture footage for their news program. They followed me for a short while, then I entered the Weber Canyon due east on I-84. I was to meet John Sohl to capture additional footage around Coalville further on. I soon took the old highway to exit the noisy interstate. I made a brief stop at a gas station in Mountain Green for a drink and a snack, also placing a call home. Nancy was overwhelmed with her work, and the added demands of Around-n-Over which I used to manage while I was in Seattle. Now I was away on the road. She needed help, but now, she simply needed to vent. We took time on the phone until I was chilled in the wind standing by the payphone. I excused myself and pedaled on, soon warming up again.

It did not take too long for me to notice the sting of the cold wind in my eyes. I had left my sunglasses back at the gas station. I circled back adding unnecessary miles to my trip. I was hustling to make time so John could find me where we had planned. I continued on the old highway when a white RV passed on the other side of the road - the driver was fixated on me turning back as far as he could while he passed me. I chuckled, "it's the rig," I thought to myself...

As I was walking my rig up yet another short hill, I decided that I was going to get back on the highway which seemed to run more level. I had to make time. My thoughts were interrupted with a "merhaba!" The trip was getting to my head, I was surely hallucinating. When I turned around it was the same white RV. A lady was talking in turkish to me from the passenger side. The driver was a turkish-american and he had seen my picture on the cover page of the Tribune and as serendipity would have it, now our paths had crossed. He had turned the RV around just to talk to me. We met another half a mile further up the road where he could park, and we introduced ourselves. His name was Asım Bolca. He and his wife Sherry were living in Midway. I explained that I was expected up the road by John Sohl, and in Park City by John Climaco. We promised to get together with the Bolcas for lunch on Sunday to continue the conversation.

John found me on the shoulder of the highway. His wife Sheri and his son Ian were with him. John hopped on his bike, and soon we were bicyling together. On and off, Sheri would drive ahead to take pictures and video footage. For a short while, Ian also rode with us. The winds were not cooperating and weather looked ominous. Around Echo Reservoir John sat in the back of their station wagon car and filmed me riding. By the time we rode into Coalville, it was pouring rain. It had been great to have John's company while riding. The Sohls soon returned to Ogden, leaving me to continue alone.

I had called ahead to my climber friend John Climaco telling him that I was arriving late with the driving rain and headwinds. At 62 miles with another 10 miles left before Park City, John found me. By then three cars had already stopped to offer me a ride. "I am soaked, but warm, thank you for the offer," I would say explaining the human powered concept. This time, John asked if it was OK to bring me back to the same spot the next day. We were invited to dinner at a friend of his and I needed to wrap up my ride for the day. He found a blue plastic cup and put it on top of a roadside post to mark our spot. He had a three month old baby since the last time I had seen him. With his family Laura, we drove to his friends John and Cricket Braun. I entertained them part of the evening with my slide presentation. At the end of the evening, I had made two more friends and left grateful for the hospitality that I had received.

Shortly after noon on Sunday, I started riding again from the blue cup. It had snowed overnight; there was snow on the roadside and on the surrounding hills. I arrived at Midway around 2:30 pm to find the Bolcas. I had been late in starting. After a short deliberation, we decided that I would stay with them to continue the next day. It was wonderful to find a fellow countryman this far away. We exchanged stories the rest of the time. Midway was a wonderful town built by Swiss immigrants and maintained in a Swiss style. I was offered a traditional turkish breakfast the next morning before we installed the studded tires on my bike - the snow was here!

I pushed my rig out of Heber City up to Daniels Pass in sleet, hail and wet snow for hours on Monday. At 23 miles and three o'clock, I was finally at the summit lodge. I wringed and dried my soaked clothes by the fireplace in their restaurant, tempted all the while to settle right there for the night. I still had my wits about me obviously when I decided to don my now dried clothes and continued riding east from the summit after the meal. This was the high point, this was where the worst weather would be, and I had to get away from there before getting trapped.

As I rode east, I lost elevation, the precipitation stopped and the wind finally started blowing in my favor. Around 5:30 pm, I saw a car with two ladies pull into a driveway by the town of Fruitland. There was some unfenced land next to the driveway. When I approached wondering about the number of cars gathered, I found out that there was death in this family. I did not want to bother them with my own issues at this difficult time, but the two ladies proceeded to repeat my question to a relative of the deceased. The man looked me in the eye while telling me that the property was not theirs but it would probably be OK. Despite their time of grief, he had the human decency and concern for me to add: "if you get too cold, knock on our door..." I was not going to regardless, they needed to take care of their own.

Tuesday morning, I woke up soaked in condensation from my own breathing. It had rained overnight. I rode toward Duchesne, giving a call to Nancy at the earliest convenience. A gentleman who lived in Duchesne had written us, wanting to meet. His name was John - just kidding - Garryck Hampton actually, he had been all over the world on his bike, he had a web site called peacepedalers.com and he wondered if we could meet. I was ten miles from there! I called him next, then did indeed meet him over lunch. We wondered aloud if we could ride anywhere around the world together, then parted.

This had been a very full few days, making new friends at every turn and connecting with the old ones. I am pressing east from here tomorrow in front of the an approaching snow storm that is expected to dump three feet of new snow on the ski slopes around Salt Lake City. It is moving east; I can only hope that the Uinta Mountains behind me will squeeze all the moisture out of it. Else, it will be slower going as I wait out storms occasionally... I expect that my next update will be from Boulder, Colorado.


Thursday - October 28, 2004 (1,351.9 miles - Colorado border - 6,898 miles total)

I left Roosevelt early in the morning after posting my last dispatch. Though it started dry, soon the gray clouds started their magic, and I was drenched. The weather was coming from the south, from my right in general. I do not like to wear a rain shell since that makes me soak from within with perspiration, but coupled with the wind, I gave in. My riding tights were dripping wet and my legs felt cold when I rushed the downhills.

I arrived at Vernal in that condition. I rode the major avenue through town, noticing a big "Laundromat" sign on the right. "Aha!" was my reaction. I swooped into the parking lot, undressed in the Laundromat, tossed the wet ones into the drier, and waited. Soon, I was ready to put on dry and, more importantly, warm clothes.

I also found a bike shop where I bought some slime and pumped into the inner tube of my trailer to prevent flats as even on this half a day, I had already had two. It is virtually impossible to patch a tube when rain is pouring – the cement does not work on a wet surface...

After a quick meal, I was on my way. The rain had stopped momentarily. I rode until about 4:30 pm keeping an eye on an approaching curtain of rain shower that made a gray ominous cloud mass seem to reach for the ground. When the first few drops splattered around me, "that’s it, I am not sleeping wet tonight," I thought to myself. I found the first available spot to my right along the roadside. I was close to a farm house, and there was enough space between the road and their fence to allow for a safe campsite. The ground was firm; I easily rolled the rig away from the road, perhaps 200 feet. I set up the tent nailing the pegs into the pebbly ground. I laid the bike on its side to avoid it being spotted from the road, diving inside. I journaled some in my notebook, soon I was ready to sleep. It was only 7:00 pm.

I was awakened many times during the night by lightning that seemed to thunder right overhead following the bright flash outside. It was a deluge out there with gusts of wind that threatened to pull my tent off its pegs. I woke up around 08:00, and it was still pouring. "I could stay put in this tent for a day!" I thought to myself. I went back to sleep.

By 10:00 am, the rain had stopped prompting me into action. I got out, packed up loaded my bike and pushed my rig toward the road. The ground was now soaked. The wheels grabbed the mud, gathered it up inside the fenders and against my brakes. I undid the brake cable to let the mud through, but that did not help. Soon my wheels were no longer turning, and pushing the rig was out of the question. I tried pulling it, no luck as my feet sank into the muck up to my ankles.

I removed the rear panniers and lightened the bike, then was able to grab the bike by the saddle and lift it out of the mud. A couple muddy steps forward, lift the bike, drag the by now fused trailer wheel through the muck, then repeat the process... The trailer wheel was leaving a trench in the saturated ground.

By the time I made it to the pavement again, I had a mess in my hands. A pick up truck stopped behind me, and out came an old gentleman wheeling an oxygen tank beside him, with a clear hose running to his nose. "Is there anything I can do to help?" he asked. "If we can hose down my bike, I would really appreciate it. If this mud stays in my chains, I will ruin them," I replied. "Do you eat pork?" he asked, "it is OK, I have been abroad, I have some eggs, too" he continued. Was it my accent, or my looks, who knows? Then he remembered to ask: "Have you eaten yet?" I had only had an energy bar, so soon we were by the farm house.

We cleaned the bike, dried my sleeping bag and had the breakfast. His name was Frank. He lived alone. He looked to be in his seventies. He had health issues and was going through chemotherapy by himself. He had just received a laptop from his daughter two weeks prior. He had put off learning it, but he patiently endured my quick tutorial on connecting to the Internet to read my dispatches. I wanted to take my time as he seemed genuinely interested in the story. I added: "You can follow me all the way through 2010."

When it was time to leave, I thanked him. "You made my day," I told him. "You made mine, too. Excuse me for getting emotional," he said as he got teary eyed. I asked his permission to hug him, and then did anyway when his response was not forthcoming. He stood in the door waving until I crested the hill. It was now 2:30 pm.

I made it to Colorado border just fine. There was a big sign that said: "Welcome to Colorful Colorado." I set up my tripod in front of it, took some self portraits with the rig, and then as I pushed it back on the pavement, a pick up truck passed toward Utah, braking as it went. The driver was again doing the "look at that monster rig" look, rubbernecking. I had a feeling that he would turn around for a chat, and there he was, right behind me. Fellow bicyclists do that to talk to me.

"My wife and daughter met you before Roosevelt," he said. "Oh, Amber and..." "Alisa," he completed my sentence. He was instructed to be on the look out for me. I was planning to spend the night just past the town of Dinosaur inside Colorado. "I travel this road every day, I will bring you back," was his position as he offered to take me into Vernal back inside Utah. "Oh my wife is going to love this!" he kept saying as we loaded the rig in his truck. His name was Bryan Fairchild.

I had twenty minutes to shower and change into the sweat pants and t-shirt that Bryan had offered, and soon we were out with the families of two of his daughters one of whom was a teacher. A wonderful evening later, here I am dispatching at their beautiful home in Vernal, with clear skies above. Can I ride tomorrow from the Colorado border to Craig, CO, a distance of 86 miles? Possibly...

Making friends, as always.


Sunday - October 31, 2004 (1,488.8 miles - Steamboat Springs, Colorado - 7,034.8 miles total)

I am in the ski town of Steamboat Springs now, waiting in a hotel room for the snow fall outside to subside. There is supposed to be 1-3" of snow accumulation overnight with some flurries in the morning. They expect sunshine in the afternoon. Tuesday is expected to bring more snow. The pavement is wet here in town and clear of snow. This does not mean however that the conditions will be the same 3,000 feet higher in the Rabbit Ears Pass. If I start tomorrow morning, I can approach the pass, and if I cannot ride past it, I can return back to town downhill. I will decide in the morning.

Bryan Fairchild has been an absolute champ going out of his way to help. In the dark on Friday the 29th, we loaded my rig and he took me back to the Colorado border. To answer his question about whether I would make it to Craig by the night, I had been telling him that it was not how fast I traveled, but how long I stayed on the bike that mattered. So there was hope when he dropped me off at 08:00 am on that brisk morning. He instructed me to call him so he could arrange a place for me in Craig; his daughters had friends there...

In the town of Dinasaur inside Colorado, just another three miles away, I placed a call to a high school friend of mine. My class reunion was going to take place back in Turkey. I was trying to arrange a call-in while they would be dining. Nine o'clock at night for them would be noon by my time. Would I find a payphone by then and wait? I did not have a cell phone with me, so I had to place the call. There was the little settlement of Massadona with a restaurant, then the abandoned Elk Springs on my way. I confirmed that a window of two hours between 10:00 am and noon would work, then pressed on.

The wind was brisk usually coming from my left rear quarter. The sky was loaded with gray clouds. There seemed to be curtains of precipitation to the south on my right. Riding along with the wind, I felt warm in the relative calm. When I came off the bike to push it up the hills, the chill would build up. The restaurant in Massadona was closed, no luck. When I arrived at Elk Springs, I encountered a postal lady delivering her mail. She told me that on top of the hill next to an abandoned hotel there was a payphone. The phone was exposed to the wind, but it worked. I hid behind the phone box attached to a slender pole and placed my calls. With the magic of technology, holding a cell phone to a microphone on their end, my entire class heard my voice from half way around the world. I could hear them cheering and clapping through the phone.

It must have been that excitement which let me set a new speed record with my rig. The road had short steep drops after climbs that required pushing. On one of those, I kept glancing down at the display of my bike computer and saw the number 52 mph! I dared not look down again as I was moving way too fast to not keep my eyes on the horizon. At the end of the day, the record would read: 53.0 mph - the old one was 48 mph that I had set descending into Cache Creek in British Columbia on the way back from Alaska.

On another such downhill, I was pushing the shifter to faster gears on my rear derailleur when the shifter fell apart. My thumb pushed the void where the shifter was as I rushed away from the sound of falling parts on pavement. I stopped the rig as soon as I could, then walked uphill to gather up the pieces. I took the rig apart, set the bike wheels up to work on reassembling the shifter. The shifter was part of an assembly that included the brake handle. It had a spring inside to rewind it. I was missing a screw. I could not figure it out right there and I fixed the derailluer in mid-range, allowing me only three speeds to choose among the front chain rings. To hold the pieces together, I used athletic tape over the shifter and continued. Going down to three speeds from 24 was not fun, tough on my legs.

I arrived at the town of Maybell without getting wet although I saw curtains of precipitation around me in the distance. There was a big commotion and electricity in the air. Lots of trucks, men in camouflage and neon orange hats - it was the first day of the hunting season. Elk migrate near this area to spend the winter. I had seen deer in groups along the way.

The town was windy and cold. Styrofoam was falling from the sky - something between hail and snow. It was 4:30pm, I had traveled 60 miles already. I was tempted to stay there to let the weather settle, then decided to tough it out until Craig. I figured I could find a hotel there.

Craig was at 92 miles. To my dismay, I found out that all hotels were sold out. "Do you have a reservation?" they kept asking, which became annoying after the first few times. It was the hunters again. Of the dozens of hotels in town, not one had a room. It was dark by then past eight o'clock, and I had not sought a suitable camp site. I do not like to camp in the cities for safety reasons. Fortunately Bryan called up Travis, a partner of his who ran a B&B nearby. Soon Travis came to pick me up, driving me 18 miles out of Craig to their B&B. A hunter had cancelled his reservation, so I could stay. Between Travis and Bryan, they were going to set me up for the night! That night, I reassembled the shifter leaving the spring mechanism out - it was not perfect, but functional.

I knew that snow was expected in the Rabbit Ears Pass. I had to position myself within reach of the pass to ride past it with the next break in the weather. I arrived at Steamboat Springs by three o'clock, too late in the day to start climbing over the pass at 9,426ft, a gain of 3,000 feet over 8 miles. So the waiting game started.

I hope to get past the Rabbit Ears tomorrow weather permitting, and to reach Hot Sulphur Springs. Once there, I will keep an eye out for the weather before I commit to the even higher Berthoud Pass at 11,315ft. Beyond Denver, I will be able to ride easier on the plains all the way east. We have scheduled three school presentations in Boulder and Denver, and one presentation at the Boulder REI. It will be fun once I get there...

I am Erden Eruç and I approve this message ;-)

Archive of Dispatches:

Around-n-Over, P.O. Box 19662, Seattle, WA 98109-6662 • Fax: 206-709-3927 • info@around-n-over.org
Web site design by Erden Eruç • Copyright © 2003 Around-n-Over • All Rights Reserved.