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Back Home to Moab, Utah

Posted on 2007.08.13 at 10:44
I'm not sure anyone is reading this journal anymore, but I'm back home in Moab where it's 101 degrees - yuck! It's always nice though, to come home to a beautiful place!! And it was especially nice to come home to a party given in my honor - thanks Franklin. I can't believe how lucky I am to have such thoughtful friends. First I get a party for me when I leave, then a party for me when I arrive back home.

I wanted to be away from Moab until the end of September, or for 4,000 miles and a loss of 40 lbs. But, I am settling for being away nine weeks and a loss of 20 lbs.

Now it's time to study, study, study for my state board nursing exam, which i will take in September. I am going to wait tables a few nights a week until I take this exam.

My visit with my sister was good. My nephews are too cute!! We swam in their underground pool a lot, which was perfect in the 100-degree heat! We played games and watched movies too.

I also made a visit to my Dad's in Reno, Nevada on my way home. It was good to see him. I thought I was going to hate Reno like I hate Las Vegas. I thought for sure Reno was going to be just another ugly gambling town. But I was surprised how nice it is! It's very clean and beautiful. There is a culturally diverse population and the elderly population is well taken care of. My Dad lives in an old beautiful apartment building literally 150 feet from the Truckee River. He has a beautiful park right next to his building. There were loads of kayakers and swimmers enjoying the clear water in the Truckee. He's within walking distance from a nice library and other old downtown buildings. He is very lucky to live in that part of town - it's gorgeous! I especially enjoyed the Jungle Java coffee house right across from his apartment building - really good organic free trade coffee!

My Dad and I went to see the movie The Bourne Ultimatum. It was way too much adventure for us. I prefer the first movie, the Bourne Identity. Then we went out to eat dinner in a casino - yuck! I hate casinos; they are so depressing. The next day we went to the senior center for lunch. It was really fun to meet my Dad's friends. It was especially cute how my Dad introduced me saying, "This is my daughter Dana, she's a registered nurse and bikes around the world." Every person he introduced me to asked, "How do you afford to bike tour like you do?" They didn't ask where I had biked or how long I had bike toured for. It was always, "Are you independently wealthy?" "What does it cost to bike tour" Money seems to be a main concern for senior citizens.

The train ride home on Amtrak was great! I can't recommend train travel enough! It's so much better than being crammed into a plane or bus. And the people I met traveling on the train were so interesting!

I am very lucky my friend, Will, is lending me one of his road bikes until I start working and can buy my dream bike - a Bianchi.

All is swell in heatstroke land.

Below is photos of my nephews, my sister, me and Dad, Bonnie Bingo from the senior center where my Dad eats lunch; a delicious pie my sister made; photos I snapped while riding the train across Nevada; a photo of Diego, Piero, and Chet on the train from San Francisco before I last saw them; a photo of my friend Mary and her dog Indigo; my friend's dog, Blue who I am pet-sitting for a couple months and other miscellaneous photos.


It’s been a long while since I have posted anything. I’m sad to say my bike trip has come to an end for now.

It has been so much fun biking with Diego, Piero and Chet and I find it quite strange to wake up this morning without their presence. I met them 18 days ago back in Northern Oregon and now look how far we've come together - San Francisco. The trip has been just amazing.

We pedaled across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday ending a fantastic tour. We then biked to Fisherman’s Warf to enjoy lunch with each other. After lunch we biked through the city heading to the ferry station so Diego, Piero and Chet could cross the bay to Oakland. I then biked to the train station where I loaded my bike, my trailer and myself aboard heading to Martinez where my friend Dave lives. Tomorrow I will meet Diego, Piero and Chet in San Francisco for a day of sight seeing.

The past 18 days have been filled with the company of Diego, Piero and Chet as we pedaled alongside beautiful ocean vistas, through lush farm country, over steep mountains and up grassy hillsides. We met wonderful people; saw incredible wildlife, and biked through rain, fog and sunshine. We picked fresh blackberries alongside roads and cooked interesting meals together in the evening. I enjoyed my Italian language lessons Diego gave me each day as we pedaled our bikes. He was very patient with me regarding my poor Italian. I especially had difficulty saying “Me piachay la beachiekleta,” which means I like the bicycle. I would always say “Me pajama la beachiekleta.” And I'm quite sure my spelling is inaccurate.

We exchanged wonderful conversation about books we’ve read, movies we’ve enjoyed and places we have journeyed to. It was particularly interesting to hear about Diego and Piero’s bike tour to Eastern Europe last year. We all share the same philosophy and that is: it is the people we meet along the way which makes bike touring the best adventure one can undertake. We also share another similar philosophy: it is the people who have so little that give so much.

Diego and Piero are well traveled and I very much enjoyed listening to them talk about their bike tours and other trips they have taken. For instance, Diego has spent a few weeks in Iran, a country which is ill portrayed by American media. He said Iranians are the friendliest people and made him feel very welcome. He also said Iran is beautiful, emphasizing how completely different his experience was to what he expected because of media misrepresentation. He enjoyed Iranian culture, history and of course Iranian food.

We did end up catching the movie “Sicko” in Fairfax. As a nurse I could relate to this film because I have dealt with people on a daily basis who have no health insurance and will never be able to pay their medical bills. I also have a friend who has filed bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills for her daughter’s liver transplant. Many of my friends have no health insurance including myself. What a sad, sad pathetic way to treat people. You won’t find this in other civilized countries. Diego said, “Dana, you are in danger, it is very dangerous for you to live in America.” He’s right – I won’t have health insurance until I get home and begin working as a full-time nurse. If something happens to me between now and then, I may never be able to purchase a home due to medical bills. I have played Russian roulette by taking this trip in the first place with no health insurance. But hey, I haven’t had health insurance for over four years now. It’s just a way of life for millions of Americans. But for my two Italian friends, it was shocking and unbelievable. Diego also has strong feelings regarding the death penalty. He believes any society who permits the death penalty is uncivilized. I agree with him about this topic as well.

And for those of you who asked me if I really carried a gun on this bike tour: No, I really have no idea how to use a gun. This turned into a running joke because my good friend Travis was concerned about my safety, beings I was taking a bike tour in America. There was no need to take a gun and no need to stay clear of Glacier National Park due to Grizzly bears. If I had listened to some of the advice given by friends about bike touring in America and staying clear of camping and hiking in Glacier, I would have never done this tour. It seems to me, Americans are living in fear. They have great fear of their fellow man and of bears. I appreciate my friends' concerns, but I can't be bothered to live my life in fear.

Well, now it’s off to Amy’s house (my sister). I have yet to visit her in her new home in Lemoore, California. I am anxious to see how much my nephews have grown. Then it’s back to the real world – work, work, work, school, school, school.

I do have some bad news. My bike was stolen yesterday from the train station. I had locked it, but not with a metal U-shaped bolt lock. I used a cable lock. The bike was worth about $700.00, but more importantly, it was very sentimental. I was the Colorado amateur mountain bike champion on this bike back in 2001. I also had taken it to New Zealand for a bike tour and ridden it solo on the Kokapelli trail, not to mention numerous other rides. I knew better than to come to California and let the bike out of my sight. I am chalking it up as a lesson learned. Oh how I miss my bike though! I did file a report with the police and my friend Dave said he would go to the flea market this weekend to look for it being sold by the thief. I will cross my fingers.

I am still dreaming about my next big tour. I am thinking about taking either a world bike tour starting in 2010 or a trans-American, Australian, or a Prudhoe Bay to Tierra del Fuego. I’ll let you know when I make my decision.

All is swell from biking land, except I have no bike.


PS, I'll post all my photos on Picasa when I arrive home


I want to be a Californian!!

Posted on 2007.07.24 at 00:21
I don't even know the date or what day it is. This is so typical of bike touring - I love it!!! This is a super quick update because it is nearly 12:30am and I am beat. Diego, Piero, Chet and myself have been biking hard everyday. We have been pedaling about 50 - 65 miles/day. The days have been long because of all the climbing, plus all our stops. There is a lot of climbing and I am still pulling a ton of weight. My legs are so strong now that I can climb anything and go all day! We are into California quite a ways now. We are camped three miles from Eureka, which is where I will be going tomorrow for bike repair. I need a new wheel to make it to San Francisco. I am having a blast biking with the two Italians, Piero and Diego. Chet is a super fun as well. There is so much to tell, but it will have to wait. I also have taken over 300 photos just in California alone. But the internet is slow tonight and I will have to post photos another time.

It rained our last three days in Oregon, but really it was a gentle drizzle and by afternoon the sun was shining. I loved Oregon and I really love Northern California!!

More later. All is swell from biking land. Jedadiah State Park was amazing. Tomorrow we will bike through more Redwoods - Avenue of the Giants. Biking among these beautiful giants is the most amazing feeling! Wait until you see the photos!

All is swell in biking land.



I want to be an Orgeonian!!!

Posted on 2007.07.23 at 23:59
July 18, 2007 (Honeyman State Park – Sunset Beach – 55.2 miles)

Bumper sticker of the day: Please don’t take your organs to heaven – heaven knows we need them here. I liked that one! Here I am at Sunset Beach in the hiker/biker camp, which is a small cove surrounded by trees. There is 12 of us cyclists camped in this small area. Everyone is very friendly and conversation about bike touring is in full force over dinner. There is a 23-year old Canadian, Heather, who started biking in Washington on July 4th. She is heading to Mexico hoping to arrive in three weeks. Another 20-something female named Nora has been on the road since April with now over 4000 miles under her belt. Then there is the Santa Cruz couple who love to tour and are heading down the coast until they reach home. Also, a really nice married couple in there 50’s who have never toured before. They both impress me greatly, especially Susan who I think is a strong rider.

I have been riding with Diego, Piero and Chet these past few days. They are good solid riders and super fun to tour with. I seem to laugh all day long with them. We have seen lots of sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals. When I arrive home I will post all my photos on Picasa. But for now, the few photos I post will have to do.

All is swell from biking land.



Astoria, OR - Beachside, OR (165miles)

Posted on 2007.07.16 at 17:00
June 11, 20007

Well, here I am in Portland, OR. The train ride was fantastic, much better than flying or riding a bus. The seats are very spacious with plenty of legroom. There is a bar car and a car with large windows for viewing out both sides, which was great through the Columbia Gorge and by Mt. Hood. Trains are the best!

Portland is a really nice city and it’s great to be in a progressive place. You wouldn’t believe the Whole Foods market here in Portland; it’s amazing. Only problem is there is too much of everything!!! I kept walking around the store forever and still could not decide what to buy. Finally, I decided on a salad. That grocery store has outdone any I’ve seen, even the ones in Berkley, CA. It’s fun to watch the bicycle curriers zip around. If I had to live in a city, that would be the job for me.

I leave for Astoria, OR tonight at 6:30 via Amtrak Bus service. I may have a place to stay tonight. Susan, Bill Schroeder’s sister lives on a boat in a harbor outside of Astoria. I’m awaiting a phone call back from Bill to see if Susan will be in port.

All is swell in biking land.

July 14, 2007

I have some catching up to do. Here I am in beautiful Oregon. Life could not be better. I arrived in Astoria via Amtrak Bus service Wednesday night. I met a really nice couple on the bus from Colorado. They are my age and will be going down the Oregon Coast on a tandem bicycle. So there we were, the four of us cyclists dropped off by the bus driver at the Chamber of Commerce building with our bags and bikes in the parking lot.

Bill Schroeder phoned his sister Susan to ask if she’d put me up for the night. This turned out to be perfect because the bus arrived near dark. Susan came and picked me up and off we went to the liquor mart for a bottle of wine. Susan is a great lady who went on my Desolation River trip last summer. She lives on a sailboat on the outskirts of Astoria. I was given my own sleeping quarters on her boyfriend’s 35-ft sailboat. I have never slept better! In the morning Susan and I sat around on her sailboat drinking coffee. My trip could not have started out better. Thanks a million Susan!

The temps are cool and just what I had been pining for. Biking south on the coast hwy 101 is like a fairytale compared to biking in Montana. Cyclists have their own bike lane and an ocean view. Don’t get me wrong, Montana was amazing, but with no shoulder to bike and hot temps, I was ready to leave. The Oregon coast is just perfect. As a matter of fact, perfect is the word of the day. Used in a sentence: Today my bike ride was perfect. I am on day three of my bike adventure here in Oregon. I am meeting fabulous people who are biking too. Currently I am camped at Cape Look Out State Park right next to the ocean. I had dinner with two Italians and one retired teacher from Berthoud, Colorado. They are super fun folks and we plan to ride together tomorrow. Tonight we are going to a presentation given by the campground titled “Living with raccoons.” I’ll let you know what I learn, other than they are nocturnal, migrate in ditch beds and steal eggs.

If you are a cyclist in Oregon, camping rates are real cheap, four bucks to be precise. And this includes a hot shower. Everyone is very friendly and helpful. There is a lot of hill climbing along the coast, but it’s pretty darn easy for me since I just came up through the Rocky Mountains pulling all that weight. My B.O.B. trailer load seems to be heavier here on the Coast. I keep piling stuff up on my trailer. And now that temps are cool, cooking is so much more enjoyable.

All is swell from biking land.


July 16, 2007

Currently I am in Newport, Oregon. It is 66 degrees and feels great! Biking the Oregon coast is the best. The people are just amazing! Everyone is very friendly and Oregonians constantly ask about our bike tour. I am now biking with Piero, Diego, and Chet. Piero and Diego are from Italy and Chet is from Port Townsend, WA. They are a super fun bunch and I am constantly laughing! Chet retired from teaching science in Berthoud, Colorado. We all have the same philosophy and that is: bike touring is the best. It’s the way to see things you wouldn’t otherwise see in a vehicle. I can’t wait to go to Italy and tour the region where Piero and Diego live.

I am now starting to think about my next bike tour, which I want to be at least a one-year tour. I am thinking the perimeter of Australia. But of course I’d like to tour Italy before I do Australia in 2010.

But, back to Oregon. Biking here is amazing and the climate is so good I never want to leave. Yesterday we awoke to rain. It wasn’t pleasant to pack up a soggy, wet tent and gear. But by the time we reached our camp later in the afternoon, it was sunny and warm. So everything dried out perfectly. Biking in the rain was such a treat. It was more like a gentle drizzle and after coming up through the 100-degree heat of the Rockies, I was thoroughly enjoying it! I now realize how harsh my living environment is in Moab. I never want to spend another summer in the stinking hot desert!!!!

We are hoping to catch the movie “Sicko” in one of the coastal towns. We’ve heard good reviews and Piero and Diego have a socialized medical system back home in Italy, which works well. We will bike all the way to San Francisco, which is going to be outstanding I’m sure. I’ve been told not to miss Jedadiah State Park.

In the photos below you will see a rock covered with white, that is dung from the birds who live on the nearby rocks at Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Brant's Cormorant and Common Murres. We also saw a gray whale - it was the best sighting I've ever experienced!!!!

All is swell from biking land. Aunt Carol, thanks for reading my blog, that is so kewl.



Kalispell - Glacier - Whitefish, MT (60 miles)

Posted on 2007.07.10 at 15:42
July 9, 2007

First let me say, I was wrong about my Cannondale being the “All American” bike. Will, you are right; my bike has Shimano components from somewhere in Asia and Continental tires from China. You are also right in that the motorcycle folks and I are on two wheels with the wind in our hair and it’s the best kind of wind!

My bike ride from Kalispell to Glacier was fantastic! I took a back farm road with incredible scenery and no traffic. I love talking/petting the horses along the way. I stayed at the Glacier campground for six bucks, which included wireless and shower. If you ever go to Glacier, stay at this place! They are the best. There is a café at the campground with culinary students from nearby Flathead Community College who cook five-star food for cheap.

Glacier was amazing!! I did not pedal up the Highway to the Sun. They do not allow cyclists on the highway between 11am and 4pm. This is not why I didn’t ride Hwy to Sun. I simply decided to have a hiking day instead. The highway to the Sun is a serious climb, but nothing I could not handle. I think it was a 5-8 percent grade and without pulling the B.O.B., I could have zipped right up.

I took the free shuttle to the top of Logan Pass. It was beautiful! I sat in the front seat next to the bus driver. The shuttle busses in Glacier are those new Mercedes-type van/busses that Fed-Up and UPS are now using. Believe me, they have to be narrow for the Highway to the Sun. Once at the top of Logan Pass I began my hike on Highline Trail – 11 miles. It was beautiful. I saw mountain goats, a bighorn sheep, and pica. After the hike I biked back to camp and slept all night like a baby. I might add it is my opinion that it is a “no wonder” the glaciers are melting fast. Glacier International Airport is just outside the park, and then there are those damn helicopter tours for the wealthy folks who want to fly right over the glacier. To me it’s one big “NO DUH” regarding the glacier melt.

This morning I biked an easy 25 miles from West Glacier to beautiful Whitefish, MT. There is a ski resort here and the town is very charming. I found the Amtrak station and things could not have gone any smoother. Amtrak gave me a box so big, all I had to do was simply take my pedals off and loosen my handlebars so I could turn them inward. They took my B.O.B. trailer with my bag as one piece of luggage and the cost of riding to Astoria, OR from here with the bike and B.O.B. are cheap. I highly recommend train travel!! Now I have all afternoon/evening to explore Whitefish. I plan to go to the farmers market tonight, which is across from the train station.

I have not talked much about the cyclists I’ve recently met along the way. I have met some wonderful folks out there biking the highways like me. A few days back after stopping for a piece of homemade strawberry/rhubarb pie, I got back on the bike and was pedaling North toward Kalispell. This is when a cyclist heading south had crossed the highway and began heading straight toward me. His name is Nico from the Nederlands. Wow, I meet my dream man and he’s pedaling south – just my luck. Plus he is happily married – more of my kind of luck. Nico started in Calgary and is pedaling south through the Tetons, then across Wyoming into Colorado, making his way through amazing Colorado mountain areas and finally ending his bike tour at a town I call home – Moab. We stood there with our bikes alongside the highway talking for about an hour in the heat. He has biked all over and talked very fondly of the Italian Alps and the Cascade mountains in Oregon, especially Crater Lake. I can’t wait to bike those places! He said in Italy, a car might not pass you for five minutes. They have the utmost respect for cyclists and will stay back until it’s completely clear to pass. And when they pass, they yell words of encouragement to you in Italian of course.

I also met a group of 25 cyclists from Austin, TX biking to Anchorage, AK – 4000 miles. You can log on to their website at: www.Texas4000.org. They of course had a van to carry gear for the riders. This group is raising money for cancer research.

Last night at the Glacier campground I met four young college students from back East. They are riding from Washington State to Maryland. This group is promoting smoking cessation. They sure have their work cut out for them in Montana. They were a great bunch. They had a station wagon to carry their gear. This station wagon had wood paneling on the sides, just like in the Chevy Chase movie, Vacation. This was the coolest vehicle! And the four of them have their parents as the drivers for different states. I thought they were just plain COOL people! Their website is: www.rideforthefuture.org.

I also met a woman this morning who actually ran out on the highway and asked if I would pull over and talk to her. She was a tall, but large woman who drives a mid-size motor home. She wanted to know about my bike and trailer and if I was doing this trip alone. She said she had always dreamed of going on a solo bike tour. I told her she must absolutely do it! She asked what would be a good starter route. In my opinion, I told her, Canada! The roads are empty and there is a shoulder, unlike many US states. I think biking from Eureka, MT to Prince Reuport, BC would be a good first trip. Then she could take the AK ferry either to AK or back to Bellingham, WA. While this would take here through the Canadian Rockies, which dwarf our Rockies, the valley is relatively flat. She would have a lot of climbing, but she’d also have a lot of flat areas.

One question I hate getting out here is, “How can you do this alone? “I could never do something like that.” Give me a fricken break I tell these people. Anyone can do this.

I am excited to reach the coast!!! I have heard nothing but good things about biking south on the Oregon coast. I am excited for cool temps and a view of the ocean.

All is swell from biking land!



Dana's Route Map

Posted on 2007.07.08 at 19:14
I forgot to acknowledge Franklin. Thanks Franklin for making that kewl map of my route. I just clicked on the link, and yes it works.

Glacier Photos will be posted soon.



Route map

Posted on 2007.07.08 at 19:10
Below is the link to click on to see my route. I don't know for sure if this will work. But if it does, you should be able to zoom in to see all the towns.

Currently, I am camped at a spectacular campground just on the outskirts of Glacier Nat'l Park. The owners charged me five bucks including shower and internet. They said because I was biking I deserved a good rate.

All is swell from biking land.



Swan Lake - Kalispell (40 miles)

Posted on 2007.07.07 at 12:36
July 6, 2007

107 degrees – yuck!!!! I can’t believe I pedaled 1,100 miles hoping to leave the triple digit weather in the desert only to arrive to Kalispell, MT to have more triple digit weather. Everyone is upset with me because they believe I brought this heat with me.

As I pedaled from Swan Lake to Kalispell, I met a really nice guy named Lee. He invited me to his house for a cool drink and sandwich. What a treat. When I arrived in Kalispell yesterday it was 107 degrees - just awful! I had to drop my bike at the shop for new back brakes, new cable, and a new spoke. I then walked to the post office to pick up a package sent by my friend Kiley. I was drenched in sweat by the time I arrived. I stopped in a scooter shop for directions to a credit union. This nice man who owned the scooter shop put on the back of his scooter and took me to the credit union, then back to the bike shop. Montanans are the best!

I am taking a rest day after biking five days in a row. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will pedal to West Glacier, MT. Monday I will bike into Glacier National Park via the Highway to the Sun. I am warned by everyone not to bike this highway up Logan Pass. However, after talking with other cyclists, I have decided I should try to bike it. Apparently it is a very, very steep highway with no shoulder and lots of traffic. But if I leave early I may reach the summit by the time the traffic gets real bad. I am hoping this will be the case.

Currently, I am camped along the Flathead River. It is a beautiful turquoise colored river, which I would love to be in a raft floating today.

All is swell from biking land.



Salmon Lake – Swan Lake (65 miles)

Posted on 2007.07.07 at 11:55
July 5, 2007

I finally got my ass out of the sleeping bag at 5:00am and on the road pedaling by 6am. Man did it pay off!!!!! I made 65 miles and was camped at Swan Lake by 1pm right when the 100-degree heat hit. I had all afternoon to spend at beautiful Swan Lake. It was really nice. The campground I stayed at was wonderful. It only costs ten bucks, which included laundry and shower. In this heat, having a shower after biking all day makes me feel human again. I went to the local bar and watched Wimbledon for a couple hours while eating a burger and drinking gin and tonics. It was the best! The people at Swan Lake are the friendliest folks. They all wanted to meet me and hear about my trip. The owner of the campground was really friendly too. He wanted to know what it was like to live in Utah with Mormons. I told him they are nice folks and just like everyone else, they are human.

When I returned to my camp after leaving the bar, I saw some very scary- looking Harley Davidson people camped right next to me. I thought, “Are these the Hell’s Angels I’ve been hearing about over the years?” As it turned out, they were the damn nicest folks! They came over and asked about my bike and trailer. We sat and talked for a long time about their adventure on Harleys and mine on the Cannondale. I got to thinking about the Harley riders and me having something in common. We are the only ones out on the road with an all American made machine. Yep, that’s right. There is no other vehicle which can boast this. Not Ford, not Chevy, not GMC, not Dodge, not Saturn – NO ONE! Just Harley Davidson and my rig – Cannondale and B.O.B. trailer are completely made in America. All the others might be assembled in America, but not completely made in America. Not that it matters, but just an interesting thought. I myself drive a Nissan truck back home. Anyways, the bikers I’ve met along the way have been the best, whether they are riding Harleys or Honda. The worst drivers have been the ones in the big loud Dodge, Ford, Chevy and GMC! I’m sure if you get these big fat assess out of their gas-guzzling trucks, their nice folks. But out on the highway they act as if they are GOD! Like they own the highway.

I also met two really nice guys, Bernie and Steve from Pennsylvania. They are on a motorcycle trip. They posted a photo of me on their blog. It’s a really cool travel journal. Check it out:


On their blog I’m on Day 8

All is swell from biking land


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