cross country

Bucket List No. 11 - Take a Cross-Country Road Trip

It has been a long while since I've posted something. Partly it has to do with the fact that I've been adjusting with living out in Las Vegas and things have been pretty hectic. The other reason is unfortunately, I am without a camera for the time being. Someone apparently felt that they needed my camera and lenses more than I did. It is unfortunate, but I feel like there is no sense in being too upset. After all, I am still here, alive and well. It all happened while nobody was home so I am thankful for that. Anyways, the show must go on, as they say.

One of the fortunate aspects of moving out west was the need to bring my car over. What a great opportunity to cross an item off my bucket list, a cross-country road trip. Its not quite coast to coast, but I think New Jersey to Las Vegas qualifies. Luckily I wasn't alone which would have made the trip a long and dull one. We left on a Saturday morning and arrived Wednesday evening, putting behind us nearly 3000 miles of road. Having a romantic Valentine's excursion in the Windy City, Chicago. A day is not nearly enough time for such a big city, but we were able to squeeze in breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast place as a kid, Intelligentsia Coffee, Millennium Park, the Art Institute and a nice dinner. All in all a nice rest from a lot of travel.

We mostly followed Route 66, the Mother Road, from Chicago to Las Vegas and it was definitely interesting to say the least. I'm not sure what I had expected, but the road seemed very lonely and desolate. A piece of American history kind of frozen in place, straddling the lines of the glory it used to be and the obscurity it is today. I am glad that I got to saw it.

On our trip we also go to see the Grand Canyon, but I'll save that for the next post!

Our last state...Oregon!

Boise, ID -> Ontario, OR Finally, we’ve made it all the way to Oregon! As much as I love my home state, our team didn’t really have the greatest introduction. For the day’s ride we probably had around 30 flats from these little thorns that were everywhere. While riding with Mark, ytowards the end of the trip he actually got a flat in both tires. We did eventually make it to our hosts and actually along the way we met a guy riding across the country with his 2 daughters. I got to ride with them for a little while and that was really cool to ride with other cross country cyclists.

Oregon

Oregon!

Cross Country Cyclists!

The cross country cycling family

Onions

Apparently Oregon is famous for their onions

Ontario, OR -> Unity, OR

Wow Oregon is beautiful. We stayed at Unity Lake State Park and it was gorgeous! Of course I slept outside, which was awesome. Along the way we also met 2 other cross country cyclists and they actually decided to join us at the park which was pretty neat.

Pacific Time Zone

Pacific Time Zone

Cross Country Cyclists!

More cross country cyclists

Unity Lake State Park

Unity Lake State Park

Unity, OR -> John Day, OR

Once we got into John Day some of us went to DQ to grab a quick snack then headed for the Oregon Solwest Fair. This was an event to educate people about renewable energy especially solar power. It was all in all a pretty informative experience, but not really the most exciting thing we’ve done. I did however have another Huckleberry treat in the form of ice cream.

Huckleberry Ice Cream

Huckleberry ice cream

Bike Clinic

Bike clinic for the church kids

John Day, OR -> Dayville, OR

Since our ride into Dayville was such a short one, Kristen and I decided to attend the church that hosted us. It was great to actually be at a church on Sunday! The best part was the some of the church members rode with us to our next stop. It was great to get a chance to ride with them and hopefully they enjoyed it as much as we did. We left right after church which ended around noon which meant the heat was brutal. Still, as always, we got there. We even got to swim at a swimming hole about few miles out of town.

Something important to mention is that we finished our grant application review process. We officially have picked the recipients and the amount they will receive. Definitely a good feeling donating to affordable housing group.

Church Riders

The church members who rode with us!

Dayville, OR -> Fossil, OR

The ride into Fossil was hot, very hot. The host was unique because it was a home stay. Some of the members of the church was gracious enough to have us stay at their homes. It was also the first time we were separated for the night, but we did get beds!

Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rock Pillar

Fossil Beds

Fossil Beds

Fossil, OR -> Maupin, OR

The thing to note about the day’s ride into Maupin is that I saw Mt. Hood for the first time since I lived in Oregon. It was a great feeling to see something so familiar. We were greeted at the host with the most delicious root beer float! I’m not sure if there is anything better on a hot day.

Beautiful Oregon

Oregon is so pretty

Oregon Rocks

Such a pretty ride

Lunch

The bag for my turkey sandwich, thanks Sarah

Maupin, OR -> Portland, OR

We’re in Portland!!!! Well…we’re in Gresham which is just out of the city. Still its crazy that we’re here. We all psyched ourselves for a tough day of climbing past Mt. Hood, but it wasn’t too hard. I think that just shows us how far we’ve come all the way from the Appalachians.

Last Downhill

Our last major downhill

My crazy idea...

We all have crazy ideas once in a while. Maybe it’s that you want to climb Mt. Everest or sail around the world. My idea all started with a friend of mine who told me about her the adventure she had this past summer. She rode a bicycle 4000 miles from Baltimore to San Francisco to raise money for cancer research with a group called 4k for Cancer. I tried to imagine what it would be like to accomplish something that ridiculous. I mean who even rides bikes anymore let alone across country?! I realized that I actually have thoughts like this all the time, after all there was a time I legitimately thought I was the next Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps… Of all these great dreams I had of doing amazing feats, I’ve never once accomplished them. Usually I don’t even try to attempt them. So here it is, my chance to walk the walk after talking the talk. This summer I’ll be doing my best Lance Armstrong imitation as I try to ride a bike across the country.

Bike and Build is an organization dedicated in the attempt to end poverty housing. Through fund-raising cross country bike tours, they are able to raise money to fight for this cause. Along the actual tour, the riders speak to local communities to raise awareness along with actually participating in affordable housing build projects a few days. I will be in the Central United States route which is part of 8 cross country routes. Each rider is responsible of raising at least $4,000 in donations which the majority goes to pre-arranged charities and a grant that affordable housing groups can apply for. It is a 501(c)(3) independent nonprofit organization that raised nearly $662,200 in donations last year alone. For More information about the organization feel free to visit their site Bike & Build.