Closing on the Time Warp

Make America Bike Again

Day 22 – Eastern Montana awaits.

Followers of this trail diary know that the regular blogs began about half way into the journey, on day 24. Robert was taking pictures all along, making handwritten journal entries too. Creating a readable blog meant switching from laptop to smart phone and dealing with erratic cell phone service in Idaho and Montana.It was a steep learning curve for an aging cyclist, one who learned to write in an analog world. Since returning to Denver a few weeks ago, he has faithfully documented those early pages, starting from Pre-Launch and continuing to the present.ouroboros

The result is a trail journal that starts in the middle, reaches a possible ending, but comes back around to pick up what was left behind. An inefficient use of linear time? Definitely. Differing  perspectives aren’t necessarily in conflict. Not according to the wisdom of the Ouroboros; that ancient symbol for the fusion of opposites, continuous renewal, and the dual nature of life. It’s the way of the natural world. .

Day 22 was for traveling from Stanford, Montana to a wild camp just beyond Lewiston. Here are some pictures.

 

 

Pictured above is a 3d sculpture from the legend of Medusa in Greek Mythology. She was a Gorgon, a dreadful monster of the feminine persuasion, with the power to turn anyone into stone, if they looked into her eyes. Maybe that’s why Robert has his back turned to her in the picture above.

In any event, we were dealing with the Local Gods in this section of Montana. By the end of that day, they were definitely exerting their influence. At the end of the day and right at the top of a long hill, the place where we planned to camp in order to start the morning with a long downhill run, my front tire went flat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Encounter With The Local Gods

Make America Bike Again – Day 7

It was the last day of our first week on the road. The Historic Columbia River Highway ended somewhere near The Dalles. There, we left behind the splendor of Oregon’s waterfalls and the serenity of her forests, and crossed the bridge into Washington. Right away, the terrain was different. It was arid with few trees in sight. We had good reasons for crossing the bridge. The road will be safer in Washington, narrower, and less traveled. Still, we were leaving all that generous beauty behind, without so much as a toast, some kind of offering to the Oregon Gods.

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Daedalus the Touring Bike

As we headed across the bridge into Washington, they watched and shook their heads in disbelief; the more malevolent ones taking control. They were probably watching as we set up camp by a pond, in the shelter of a few stout cottonwood trees. A few train whistles sang out, but otherwise it was a peaceful night. The wind waited until morning before it started to blow.

To the north a high ridge of basalt cliffs rose above the campsite. The road we wanted to take ran along the base of these cliffs, following the course of the river. To get to the highway, we had to cross about three miles of open prairie on a two-land road; one that led into the mouth of the only canyon in sight, the only canyon cutting a path through the massive lava flows. Out of its mouth of that canyon, a fierce headwind blew.

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Into the Howling Wind!

The roadway may have looked like a gentle uphill slope, but the wind turned it into an ever- steepening serpent. Even in the lowest gear it was hard work just to keep the bike moving forward, a struggle to keep it upright. The wind was relentless.

Somewhere ahead a stop sign marked the intersecting roads. After what seemed like hours of climbing the serpent’s back, it became the finish line. Until we ground our way past it, turned east and felt the wind’s force from a more agreeable angle. After twenty miles and a few bends in the river, the town of Biggs, Oregon appeared and another bridge. We crossed it, back into Oregon’s sheltering arms once again.

We camped at the Maryhill State Park, with its warm showers and just 25 miles from where we’d begun. It was the seventh day. We were ready for a rest. We set up our tents with a view of the Columbia River. It wasn’t before the Local Gods welcomed us personally. They were in the form of two young men, trail angels, with handcrafted beer to share and homemade blueberry cobbler. What a fine and memorable day it became!

 

 

 

Goodbye North Dakota

Make America Bike Again Tour – Day 31

Today’s goal is to reach Fargo. About 60 miles. The land is a flat, green and covered with ripening crops. Should be smooth pedaling.

IMG_1502Here I am flat on my back, tires up and derailers exposed to the sun. How embarrassing. The rear tire went flat. Robert had a spare tube. Good thing.

Must be the local gods. They always seem to want us to stay longer. See more and do more.

On to Minnesota!

 

Pre Trip Planning

From Astoria Oregon to Akron Ohio

Here we are riding up Independence Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen. It was mid September. The aspens golden. The summer tourists gone. Nearer to the top we stopped on the narrow shoulder and admired the view. Up ahead a car sweeping down the pass heads towards us. It slows to walking speed, slow enough for a woman on the passenger side of the climate-controlled SUV to open her window and ask, “Are you all right?”

Blue Sky and Golden Aspens
Independence Pass, Colorado

“Never better!” Robert replied, smiling and returning her gaze.

It was our first bike packing tour. In that moment on Independence Pass, I knew that we would one day be doing more tours together. Denver to Aspen over 5 mountain passes and camping along the way. What I didn’t understand then, is that I, the touring bicycle, I would become the voice of these adventures.

My name is Daedalus. My namesake  was an accomplished inventor and craftsman in ancient Greece, and the first man to fly. He made his reputation by building a maze under the palace of a Minoan king to house the dangerous Minotaur.  It was several millennia before the lives of deVinci or the Wright brothers. But, Daedalus never received much credit or recognition for it. His spirit must be restless. Because he seems to have found his voice in me, a Novarra Mazama touring bicycle made by REI.

Independence Pass was several years ago. The time for that next adventure is almost here. With four friends we will soon be leaving on the bicycle adventure of Robert’s lifetime, from Astoria, Oregon to Akron, Ohio, his hometown. We’re not out to set speed records. This is for pleasure, for unplugging from the drama and stress. Robert would like his parents to enjoy it as well. They’re still living together in Akron. Neither one is able to travel anymore. Hopefully, they will recognize and vicariously enjoy the journey into the heartland of this magnificent land. My goal is to search for beauty and inspiration while pedaling through each day. The best of it I will share on this blog and on a Facebook page of the same name. Curious? Why don’t you follow along?