Monday, September 8, 2008

Tour de fin

Hello to everyone still looking at this summer time journey. The trio wanted to say Thank you! to everyone who treated us as their own. And to encourage future flashes to the blog, I am sure we will update the rest soon. Once the pictures are distributed and we all put in our two cents. I (Luke) am now back in Athens and living life as it seems nothing spectacular had just happened to me, but it was. I learned so much about human nature and myself, I can't seem to find the old me. Athens has become a known stranger and an intrusive ear upon my life, I need the road to make me feel normal. I am sure it will all subside with time but until then I let our blogging family know how the trips end has effected me.

Miles: In any direction

Morale: Wonderfully passing time waiting for the next novelty.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 51: War Monk!

The day began slowly with Nick bursting wide awake, cold but sweaty, inside of Sam's sleeping bag. Mind racing too fast for sleep to catch up, he sat down by the riverside studying the riveting vocabulary words of the GRE so that he may one day rule the absurd standardized test that effectively proves how much mundane information and pointless patterns one can learn so that they may be lucky enough to take part in the US system of masters level education. Ugh, maybe I'll move to Europe.

Eventually Sam and Luke yawned awake, and we trudged down to the Longstar's greasy overpriced and unsatisfying buffet. At least we got to watch the US men's basketball and water polo teams school the Chinese. Such a heavy meal resulted in such greasy hair, that I decided to shave it allllll off. Not just a buzz, a mach3 to the scalp is what we're talking about. So we went down to the river behind the generous chapel (that let us use their shower) and hacked away. Sam cut and buzzed the head and Luke's deft hand razored it smooth.

(Old hacked head)

With that we went back to the Dirty Dirty Shame saloon, BBQed and took off down the riverside hills to the Emmet Reservoir. Perfect place to camp it was, and to test fighting skills. There was a nice little temple-like shelter house that fit my new monkish look and I presided over the battle that sparked between Luke and Sam.

(Not as mean as I look:])

(Sam has had enough of Luke's lip)

(Luke slaps, Sam jabs!)

Worn out from the fight, Luke and I sat down to a romantic setting sun with a bottle of mixed red wine on reservoir dock while Sam learned more about the evil side of humanity from a friend back home in Athens. Before a brokeback scene burst out of Luke and I some older middle schoolers/young high schoolers in white tee shirts jumped off the dock and swam over for us to pull them out, hahaha smirks resulted from the silliness. Little girls gone, a drunk old fiftysomething fisherman roared his boat in, lent us some smoke, beer, good cheer and went on his way.

(Goodnight sun)

A Red beans/rice/sourkraut/noodles/kimchee dinner set us straight and we pushed off into the bushes to camp where there is "NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING!"

Day 50 : Hot Springs and Coppenhagen Pies

We awaken to the soothing powers of the Bonneville hot springs. Nick rises early to photographically archive the springs and study GRE vocabulary (sometimes he can be so masochistic), while Luke and I find a good 3 hours of soaking and talking philosophy with our newly befriended Michael from Boise. Nick cooks a delicious meal of oatmeal which was quickly devoured and greatly appreciated as the only true addition of sustenance to our hot spring stimulant buffet: Copenhagen snuff, Yerba Mate, Coffee, and Bugler Rollies. After breakfast we sluggishly gear up and head out, Luke unknowingly leaves his camera behind, and consequentially we are down to only Nick’s photographic ability, which is well seasoned but with limited mobility, seeing that he shoots a large Cannon Powershot.

(above: summer's possessions strewn about)

(below: Sam shields the sun in morning bath preparation)

Beginning the day positioned some 4,300 vertical feet above the level sea; we descend a few hundred feet over the next 8 miles and come to a restaurant. There, Luke and I order the fish and chips while Nick orders the old standby, hamburger and Idahoan fresh-cut freedom fries. The beer-battered fried cod was delicious, however unfortunate for us, they were running low and we were only rationed 2.5 small pieces. The waitress apologized and lowered the priced fetched. We spent a good 7 television shows (3.5 hours) eating, digesting, finding new reading material at the bathroom- book exchange, and drawing the amorous attention of several employees and customers, including a beautiful Maldovian waitress named Maria.

(below: Luke scribbling before lunch)

Departing from lunch at 5:00 P.M. , we continue descending through some majestic mountains toward our final destination of Crouch Idaho. Upon arrival in Crouch we spot a weekend bar-b-que at the Dirty Shame Saloon. It is there where today’s second disappointing culinary truth is revealed: no BBQ chicken left. We, however, find much solace in the BBQ beef and hamburgers, and then I proceed to order a piece of Blueberry pie; the slice was huge, a full quarter of the pan. After sampling my dessert, Luke quickly orders himself a quarter pie. The bartender ends up gifting us the remaining half of blueberry pie and doesn’t charge us for the previous half. We move our full bellies across the road to a ostensibly abandoned Sunday school building and our bodies slip snuggly into our sleeping bags. ZZZZZZZ……

(below: the machines resting 15 miles from Crouch
the Idahoan terrain in the background)

(below: beautiful Payette river)

(below: Luke and Sam wait all so patiently for the BBQ on the newly built outdoor bar at the Dirty Shame Saloon)

headwind counteracting the downslope with blueberry pie and Jameson panacea: pretty good

miles: 44

Day 49 - Clepto clouds steal early morning sunshine

We saw the rain coming last night, and yes it lightly glazed everything within a 10 mile radius, a mountain rain. Fortunately for us the rain ceased and the stars glared for the reamainder of the night for our seven thousand foot slumber. Come morning light we see low flying clouds that glow brightly but chill our crawl from polyester cocoons. Slowly to breakfast and even slower towards our chariots of steel and rubber. A nice bakery, more a face bakery, really just another restaurant facade giving the yuppie tourist something "natural" and "healthier." Maybe I am being a littlt too harsh, but these tourists rings are wildly expensive and shameful. I digress, we load the cycles and hit the road, after that summit yesterday we feel the downhills coming. Now with the sun on our faces and rain a lost memory, only the second good rain we have seen all summer, the road an easy story entertains us for awhile but antsy pants grow tight and itchy
when we are surround by hundreds of hot springs.

After yesterday and our first real expirience with a natural hot spring our souls are eager and muscles are weary to see as many as we can. With Sam's lupus like symptoms we have time to stop early. Bonneville campsite, located convieniently on warm spring creek we seek hot water and pools of mineral rich tubs. Finding exactly that we break down to the skinny and submerge. Like most of our endevours, we over take the pool and run the joint for quite some time. As usual some brave soul has the undying desire to find out what the hell these three dudes are up to and we find someone, who, being of similar demographics almost seems like he came with us from Athens. Just a traveler of both time and space, first and last time I will quote Led Zepplin, his name is Michael and we have hours of conversation and a few good meals to share with one another.

Up late and wrinkled like prunes we drag our bikes about a quarter mile down a hiking trail and set out our reverse map of the stars and lay to the tune of rushing waters and a light breeze. Goodnight moon, even if you are only partly there.

Miles: some distance from Stanley

Morale: We like this place anymore and we become campground bums. Sell the bikes and wish home a happy future.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 48: Of Bald Cats and Diapers

The Challis tennis court served us well. Nick arose before all and sent off some frantic emails with wireless stolen from outside the bar window. Not much eventfulness until we sped out of the arid mountains about Challis and did some handstands (well Nick did some half handstands) and swam in the Salmon River at a state park. All handstanded out, we spun out of the park and into the most intense thunderstorm we ridden through yet. A huge gust blew Nick off the road and he gracefully skidded onto the ground with an energetically lunatic smile. We gripped harder and pushed on until a bridge (thankfully no trolls underneath) offered us shelter until torrents subsided.

(Arid mountains)

(Wet refreshing river)

(Dried up homestead)

Next hour consisted of Sam speeding away at 20 miles an hour, Nick trying his darndest to catch up on an empty stomach and hammer gel, and Luke falling behind after a 15 minute Sinclair visist. The aridity began to moisten as we climbed a few hundred feet. We even got some forest and the landscape quickly outdid Yellowstone .

(Perty river with trees)

(More lovely river)

Some fifteen miles later, I found Sam stopped in awe over the chocolate brown waters pouring out of a creek into the Salmon River. Apparently some fire had swept through the area up the creek and a microburst (flash flood) from the recent day's storming caused a huge landslide that donated tons of mud into the creek.

(The creek runs brown)

(Churning of the chocolate)

(The rat-tailed mustache gazes in awe)

(The mountains of Stanley)

One peanut butter and jelly later I (Nick) split from the rest of the gang and the diarrhea creek to spark some phone chats in the city of Stanley before it got too late in cbus. Apparently, Luke and Sam managed to land themselves in some hot springs for three hours, cope'n and a lookin’ good for the hot springers while Nick ate some viciously greasy and stomach churning fish and chips under the beautiful montaine tourist town known as Stanley, ID. Come 9 o’clock after some serious facebooking, heartfelt chats, cigarettes and beer Nick delightedly observed Sam and Luke strutting into the bar from their hot baths. The night eventually led to a few more beers and a slew of knee knocking jokes from a vulgarly wild and agile local named Tim and his super short shorts and creepily affectionate 60 year old best friend Kim who says, “life’s a bitch and then we have to live it…and we live it!” with a big smile:]. For the sake of PC, I won't relay Tim's jokes...

A lot of 60 some year old hip shaking acting ensued until the bar tender had enough and pushed us out the door so that we could fall asleep on in the grass in the middle of Stanley’s no camping zone. Dreams were silent and the morning rain sparked a euphoric rebirth.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 47 : Just like Nori (Japanese Red Alga) in the Wind

(above: Nick and Luke gearing up)

We rose late something like 10:00 and after input and output we hit the road sometime around 1:00. More like we set sail; there was an anomalaeic ( root: anomaly) tailwind, blowing a good 15 mph from the Southeast.

(below: Luke sails northward.
Believe it or not, he is wearing pants)

( below: beautiful mountains to our east)

(below: Borah Peak- the highest peak in Idaho)

Wind assistance afforded us the privilege of traveling some 20 miles in 60 minutes, at which time an opposing force (gravity) from the 5% graded hill of 5 miles took our velocity back down to 7 mph. Please, let me save you the trouble of roughly calculating the vertical gain from the aforementioned numbers; we gained approximately 1,000 feet. At the summit of the pass (7,200 ft.) we stopped for some pb and j’s on marbled rye.

(below: Luke rests in front of the previously traversed terrain)

(below: Nick steadies the bike in preparation for PBJ)

After the pass, we descended some 2,000 more feet and arrived in Challis, Idaho 3.5 hours later. First stop was a kitchy-ass RV lobby with some mediocre milkshakes and the bum news that they would charge us $26 for pitching our tent. We then proceeded to check out the public library, which was hot, sticky, and lackluster—we didn’t get much blogging accomplished. We then road down to the bar and grill filling up on burgers, beer, and the eventual chess game.

(below: entering the canyon 12 miles south of Challis)

(below: Luke making moves. *note: professinal board)

Miles. 48

Morale. Slumpy, Lumpy, but eventually level

Day 46 : Make Way for Mackay

mArco polo, well we found it and with glowing smiles ate of it’s bosom and pickles. That was yesterday; today we found that luck is much more than Irish. Getting an early move on Sam wakes and quakes before everyone else, his quakes are the rushing of air into his trachea as he sleeps and last night it sounded suspiciously like a Tesla coil. With breakfast burning the last to awake, me as always, we pack up and with our new heading given to us by the premier dog sled champion of the world ranked only under one other, slap rubber to pavement. It’s a new breakfast filled with Quaker lies and betrayal. After buying a box of their new “All Natural” pecan hot cereal we grow excited at trying something so seemingly cheap and at the exact same time good for you? Let’s see how this turns out, first off the box is filled with other smaller packets, so much for their plea to create less waste and then it donned upon us to read the ingredients closer. What do we find, Christ the corporation just don’t quit, “Natural spices” if anyone has ever looked into yuppie eating styles they know “Natural spices” is totally a cop out, it’s just another way of saying we are going to feed you what ever we want and your just going to sit there groovin’ on it. My hats off to you Quaker, you pulled one over on us, we admit, but not again we’ll keep our eyes peeled.

Back to the main subject our forsaken trek across endless sage brush. Our humming tires roll us across some beautiful landscapes and deserted towns, and by the way there are a lot of real estate agents out here, so I guess if you’re looking for land that offers nothing but mountains to all sides of you, your best bet would be Idaho. Anyway we make it to Makay a nice town with about half the population of Arco and ten times as nice, with much to our surprise we ride in to the wonderful little eunuch on a white bicycle directing our kind, cyclists, to stay in such lane to be safe and guided to our destination.

Well that little he/she takes us right to another hamburger, shake joint and by god do we indulge. So many quirky names for a hamburgers here; well I could go into some made up names and really entertain but we can save that for the revision stage. But we eat and fill, then with quite the annoying waitress who claims to have seen us in Arco continues to assure us their burgers are much better than the joint down the street. We trust her judgment but not her kosher got dogs. After exhausting our welcome with attained directions the library is not far from our future. Blogging ensues and that’s all I need to tell you about, oh just one thing, the library was a wonderful place to do everything we needed. If every library were like that we would not have fallen behind on days. Blogging finished and our bellies ready for more the trio hits up the other burger shake joint in town and long story short almost exactly the same and come to find out the workers have the ability to put both places down as references for their future endeavors into the work force. On the road again (Nelson, uhh… not sure what year) and only a few miles down the way, a beautiful campsite is acquired, a lake is bathed in and sleep is found with open arms and heavy eyelids.

Miles: 31

Morale: Sinister shakes stir controversy in small Idaho town.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Trio here.

Today is Tuesday August 5th, , our 46th day of riding. We are sitting in a public library in Mackay, Idaho working on the blog after a good meal. I know many of you probably thought we were either run over by a Mack truck, found three Russian wives had children and started a commune in Wyoming, rented a Uhaul and are now at the Pacific coast, or simply quit. However close any of those situations came to becoming reality, here we are, 2,300 miles from home having a blast grinding out the last few weeks of the trip.
The blog is now some 16 days behind and we see a few things standing in our way. First of all we set an enormously high standard of travel journalism for the first 30 days, trying hard to take you along on the journey with us. This extensive documentation was arduous but realistically accomplished when we were traveling through the more heavily populated regions of the Midwest and plains; there were more public libraries who were more accommodating to our needs, plus our energy level was higher. Since being in Wyoming we have seen many less people (500,000 state total), and thus less libraries. Also, we have been taking our sweet time experiencing the landscape conversing on philosophy and taking a more introverted introspection –spending more of our dwindling energy experiencing the trip than documenting it.
This aside, we have been feeling a little lame for not keeping up with the high standard we set. Yesterday we attempted to blog at the Arco public library, but could not find our muse considering the non-condusive environment; 30 minutes at the computer with one 30 minute extension ($5) was all a person was allowed to do in a day. This left us perplexed. How do we catch up with 15 days of blog without sacrificing quality? We spent a good time discussing our options, figuring out what our goals were in writing the blog: wanting to take you readers on a journey and the resultant ego boost to have a captivated following, and the personal documentation, a skeleton for our eventual book . We contemplated just stopping the blog now, or writing a more watered down version. If you haven’t gathered yet, none of us view quiting as a very desirous solution to any problem.
We decided that we are going to start blogging about yesterday and continue to keep the present days up to date, while we catch up on the lagging 15 days. Every night a member of the trio will sit down with the laptop and compose a blog entry offline. Those compositions will be saved in the harddrive waiting to be uploaded for your reading pleasure once we secure internet connection. Today you can read about yesterday, and slowly you will notice the appearance of the missing days 30-45. The days should be in chronological order, so you will see them appear before the current day. If the strategy works, the longest lull you will experience should be at most a few days.

Prepare yourselves for a good ride through Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.
Thanks so much
(Our progress from Denver, CO to Arco, ID. Blogger would not allow for a horizontal orientation, so rotate it 90 degrees clockwise)

Day 45: The Nucleus of Nuclear

We awoke (well, Nick awoke) just 100 feet from the government’s nuclear playgrounds, and upon a quick self examination with no noticeable new lumps I took off into the dried up riverbed next to the rest stop. The river (known as the Lost River because all the waters have been gobbled up for agriculture ) was partially fenced off, and after reading that I could be jailed up to 3 years and fined $100,000 for treading upon the sacred atomic grounds, I jumped in…

(The Lost River bed)

The river was rather pathetic, the only trees within twenty miles were barely hanging on, and it seriously looked like something trying to rebound from a nuclear disaster. My time was short however, as a raptor kept dive bombing me and drove it away from its nesting tree.

(Defensive bird in it's dead tree)
Back at the rest stop I stomped around the concrete so as to wake the sleeping Luke and Sam so we could get to Arco to start blogging, they tiredly ignored the effort and arose perturbed an hour later. Meanwhile, I treked over to the information sign and learned that we were situated amidst the densest accumulation of nuclear reacters in the world. How fun!

(Rest stop campspot)

We made it to Arco (the first city in the world to be powered by nuclear) by 12pm and headed straight into the heavily advertized Pickle's Place for some mediocre burgers and milkshakes. Luck struck well in the dilled cucumber, as seated next to us was the world’s 2nd most prestigious active dogsledder and his wife. They concernedly advised that we not continue on our hellacious path throughout the barren wasteland known as the Snake River Plain, but instead, turn into the montaine-riparian Eden to the north.
(Pickle's Place, the atomic burger left a weak impression)

By 1pm the library found us strutting in its doors. A daycare with books and computers would be a more apt description than "library", as the librarian was tending her 2 year old and numerous elementary schoolers who had nothing better to do than to tend their webkinz. The computers had an absurd usage policy: 30 minutes free, $5.00 for a full hour, one hour limit per day…HAHAHA so much for getting any blogging done. I managed to upload pictures with the laptop until 5pm and then stumbled over to the Arco High School’s front yard, where I collapsed and shared some smoked oysters, canned chilli and rerfried beans with 'ole Sammo and Lukester. A heated discussion about the blog situation ensued, we were 15 days behind and getting behind’er fast. What to do!?!? Well, we decided to get better at being more diligent. Then we threw our tarp out under a tree in the city park and drifted off to dreamland.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 36: Big Buffalo Bill

The alley behind the church slept us well, and after a groggy rise we feasted on the Best Western’s continental breakfast buffet. MMMMmmmm, well that’s a little forced but I won’t complain about free food. Nick’s (my) flat tire hadn’t been fixed by God’s miraculous mechanical hand during our stay on his holy turf so I took off pushing my bike to the bicycle shop while Sam and Luke snuck into the showers at one of the city campgrounds. A few hours later we were on the road out of the tourist trap known as Cody, WY…to the ever generous Wal-Mart…and then up through the canyon to Yellowstone.

( tourist bar)

(Sam getting the heck out of Cody)

The canyon ended up being mostly underwater as it was damned up many a year ago for irrigation purposes, but the bit you can see from the road is breathtaking. The damn that makes the Buffalo Bill Reservoir marks the end of the canyon and we stopped at the visitor’s center and numbed our brains to a terribly composed documentary about the damn’s construction. In short, construction was delayed, many times, a few decades later it was finally finished.
(Luke tunneling through the mountains near the Reservoir)

(Luke gazing into the non-damed part of the canyon)

(The damed canyon)

(Sam braving the windy hell screaming out of Yellowstone)

We got back on the road and were met by a wind from hell. A few miles past the reservoir we could take no more, so we found a very classy abandoned restaurant and lounged on the porch eating sardines and peanut butter. A strange thing happened soon after our arrival; a middle aged man stormed into the driveway. After a few awkward moments of looking at us his music blaring he jumped out ;a quart of milk and a nice Nikon dslr in hands. He jumped some more, excited about something, said he was some ex-marine from Tennessee on a mission out West, delightfully told us we were stupid and then showed me his pictures. They were terrible, pointless poorly framed landscape and flowerpot shots that could have been better composed by a 7 year old with a disposable 35mm. I assume he stole the camera. He then jumped back in his car for something, but not before putting the milk on the car roof, which was subsequently blown over by the wind and spilled all over his head as he re-emerged from the driver’s seat. Looking perplexed he noticed a truck pulling in the driveway, jumped back in his car and peeled away.

(Lounging in our motel room )

The guy in the truck indifferently shrugged off the crazy man and told us he owned the place (and the hotel next door). We eventually asked if we could camp in the motel yard, the management stoutly declined, and instead suggested that we stay in a room for free! Yippeee. A few hours later we had clean clothes, clean bodies, warm beds and dreams in our heads.

(Festing on delightful mac, cheese and beans)

(Mister moustache (Luke) is ready for bed)