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The End, Sat. Aug. 5, 2006  
The Day After

Average miles per day 89.41
Average Speed 17.43 miles per hour
Total riding time 107.7 hours
Longest ride 126 miles
Shortest ride 65 miles

It has been an incredible journey. When Curtis brought up the idea of a fundraising ride for the Foundation, I don’t think this is quite what he envisioned. The truth is, even after a year and a half of planning and organizing, none of us really knew what to expect. Although Curtis and I spent countless hours sitting in my office “planning,” there were times when it seemed like it would be the easiest thing in the world and times when we didn’t think there was any way in the world we could pull it off. We had told ourselves that the “Go or No-Go Date” would be when we actually ordered the jerseys, but even then it didn’t seem like it was really going to happen. For me, it wasn’t until we loaded up the trailer for the first week that it hit me that we were really going to do this thing.

It turns out that The Endless Ride 1 is a lot like life. Times for planning and dreaming, and times when dealing with the realities of the day consumes all of your energy. Moments of ease and comfort, and seemingly endless moments of fear, pain and uncertainty. The truth is that just like life, The Endless Ride 1 would not, could not, have happened without the efforts, prayers, and support of an enormous “family.” You already know that families are not limited by blood or marriage ties. Families are made up of people who care for each other no matter what the circumstances bring. I know that I speak for all the riders when I say that we have deeply appreciated the care of our extended family of supporters throughout this endeavor. We have been blessed in innumerable ways by having gone through this experience. We are tired, but we have been made stronger by the experience.

In many ways, we will miss the rhythms of sleep, eat, ride, sleep, eat, ride that we have become accustomed too. But we are also ready to return to the comforts of our “normal” life. We cannot thank you enough for going with us over the last four weeks. Your prayers for our safety and words of encouragement have been a great support to us. As Curtis and I shook hands and hugged at the border yesterday, I said something to him that he has told me is the only way he has survived through the tough times he has faced. “One day at a time, my friend, one day at a time.” That’s it for now. The Endless Ride has just begun. You are all a part of it. It starts again in the morning.

The Endless Riders

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Day 26, Fri.. Aug. 4, 2006  
Dana Point to Mexico

What a day. Mrs. Kuhlman left peach cobbler that we feasted on for breakfast, and we made our usual start around 8 am or so. The towns rolled by with seemingly little effort, but that may just have been because we knew we were on the home stretch.

We stopped for lunch in Del Mar at Rubio’s where David ate way too many fish tacos. The beaches and waterfronts through La Jolla and San Diego were a real treat, but the fish tacos came back to haunt David a bit. Our laughter was in sympathy because we would never make fun of someone in as much distress as he was obviously in — at least that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

While we were stopped at La Jolla Cove, I called and left a message on Melinda Hebbel’s phone saying that we had ridden all the way down here to see her and were a little offended that she wasn’t waiting to meet us. The ferry ride across to Coronado Island gave us some great views of a couple of aircraft carriers and saved us from going the long way over the bridge. When Melinda got my message, she jumped in her car and caught up with us as we were riding across The Silver Strand. She gave us hugs and water, both of which we had just run out of, and it was off to the border.

Wanting to prolong the fun, we took the scenic route and finally caught up with our expanded support crew a couple of miles from the “actual” border. Reaching the border, we took a few pictures for posterity and rode back for more hugs, more pictures, and some cold drinks.

That’s it for now.

Mission accomplished. All riders pleased. Most likely sleep late in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: San Diego
Temp: 75° | 68°F
Wind: W at 10mph G12
Humidity: 66%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 26
Mileage: 93 Miles

Day 25, Thu. Aug. 3, 2006  
Leo Carrilo S.B., CA to Dana Point, CA

Our guide for today, Rick, arrived promptly at 7 am so he wouldn’t delay our start. That was a fortunate thing because we left right at 8:45 sharp. It was nice to have such a knowledgeable guide to point out the landmarks and show us the way. Left to our own devices we would still be wandering around Los Angeles County somewhere.

We stopped at Rick’s house in Manhattan Beach for a mid-morning snack, and from there started down the Pacific Coast Highway. The scenery changed drastically several times on our trip through the various cities along the way. Some stretches had rows of beautiful beachside houses and other stretches made us want to ride faster so we wouldn’t have to look at them for very long.

Somewhere north of Seal Beach Rick started to notice that his rear wheel was making funny noises. He also suddenly started feeling very tired. After a brief examination of his bike he discovered that his rear hub had turned against him and was essentially applying the brakes at an ever-increasing rate. Fortunately, while we had started thinking up some great Girlscout comments, we had refrained from using them. It would have been unfortunate indeed to have made fun of him after he pulled us for 50 miles with his brakes on. We got directions to a bike shop from several locals and rode by it from several directions before finally zeroing in its location. One set of wheels later and his bike was ready to go. While we waited for the bike shop to install the new wheels we had lunch at a great little Bistro and were in fine spirits for the push on to our campsite.

Somewhere south of Corona del Mar we had a brief conversation with a nice lady named Heidi and were on our way again. Most of the time we were able to make pretty good progress in spite of having to stop at quite a few stoplights. Traffic wasn’t too bad and the roads had only an occasional pothole or rough manhole cover.

Arriving at our campsite provided Curtis with a mini family reunion. His mom, dad and older brother, Hale, were there to meet us, along with Teri’s mom. Hale treated us all to dinner in San Clemente and we had a wonderful evening stuffing ourselves and talking too loudly. In a strange coincidence, Andrew met another lady named Heidi at the restaurant where we ate. Wanting to document the unusual occurrence, Curtis took a picture of Andrew with her and we all marveled at how funny coincidences can be. (I understand there is more to the story about Andrew and Heidi. I guess we’ll have to wait until later to hear the rest of it! KS)

When we arrived back at our campsite, Charlie Wilber, a former student of Marv and Curtis came by to see us, and they had a great time catching up. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow we will actually finish the trip we began three and half weeks ago. I don’t think it has really sunk in for any of us that we have ridden our bicycles all the way from Canada to Mexico. The next several days should be an interesting mixture of emotions after completing such a challenging trip and having an unusual amount of fun in the process.

That’s it for now.

Twenty-five days down. One to go. Will give it our best in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Dana Point
Temp: 80° | 66°F
Wind: W at 3mph
Humidity: 66%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 25
Mileage: 106 Miles

Day 24, Wed. Aug. 2, 2006  
Gaviota S.P. to Leo Carrilo S.B., CA

This morning started with another detour. We struck out from the campground planning to go over the hill on Highway 101 to Gaviota and then ride along the beach from there. Everything was going fine until we turned onto 101 and read the sign that said, “Bicycles prohibited.” We turned around, went back to the campsite, loaded up our bikes and drove the 12 miles over the hill where we began our ride in beautiful sunny weather.

We finally experienced a bit of the tailwind that the guidebooks have promised for the California coast and made pretty good time into Santa Barbara. David broke a water bottle cage, and we quickly grew tired of hearing it rattle. So we found a really cool bike shop called “Fast Tracks” where David replaced both of his cages, and I bought a new pair of gloves to replace my old ones that were starting to smell a bit gamey. While we were there we met a kid with a skateboard named Johnny that we gave one of our TER1 cards to. We promised to mention him in our blog. Hi Johnny! Stay in school!

Wandering through cities and towns has proven to take more time than we anticipated and makes for some long days in the saddle. The trip through Carpenteria, Ventura and Oxnard was fairly uneventful. We stopped in Port Hueneme for some Gatoraid and water since we had advance warning that there wouldn’t be another opportunity until Malibu.

We made up for some lost time after we passed the naval air station where we picked up another rider. A few miles of some fast cruising and we picked up yet another rider on a pretty little titanium Moots. Once there were seven of us it really got fun. I was in front and asked if the pace was okay. Three riders back, Curtis said, “I hear Marv talking, so pick it up a half.” Every mile or so Curtis kept saying, “Pick it up a half.” The tailwind was helping quite a bit so I wasn’t really having to work that hard. At about 27 miles per hour I asked Kraig, who was right behind me, “Are we all still together?” He said, “Everybody’s on,” and then Curtis said, “ Marv’s on, but he’s not talking anymore.” A couple of miles later the guy on the Moots pulled around in front of me and said, “Let me help you out a little.” So he promptly cranked it up to 30. I still felt up for a chase so I jumped it up a little and heard the gears shifting up behind me as well.

After a mile and half the rider in front started to labor a bit and pulled over to let me by. Not wanting to be called a Girlscout, I took my turn at the front doing 30 for a mile or so and then pulled over for Kraig to take a turn. As I did this, I heard David say, “There’s only four of us left.” At that point, nobody wanted to back down first so all bets were off. Kraig motored along quite nicely and as he slowed a fraction while cresting a hill David yelled sarcastically from the back, “This is no time to slow down.” That was all Curtis needed to hear, and he accelerated over the top and down the other side. Just about the time I thought we couldn’t go any faster, Curtis yelled, “Unleash the hounds,” and Kraig cranked it up even more. Shortly after his words of encouragement, David stopped to buy some Girlscout cookies, and we didn’t see him again until Malibu.

The next 15 miles sped by with Curtis, Kraig and I trading pulls at 30 plus miles per hour. We were a little surprised that we still had the legs to crank it up like that after 85 miles, but it was kind of fun to really fly for a bit. We stopped to regroup when we got to Malibu, and David showed up a few minutes later with cookie crumbs on the front of his jersey while complimenting us on our fine riding form.

Shortly after we started off again we were treated to the rare sight of a full moon over Malibu in the middle of the day. Unfortunately David was not in a position to see it. As he pulled out his camera to get a shot of the anomaly, he dropped it. As the camera bounced to a stop, it was run over by what looked like an angry starling driving an SUV. David was pretty disappointed because he had just upgraded to a camera with a flash at the last Albertsons.

The best part of the day was being greeted by Ariel Lust (Corina Car’s dad) as we got to our campsite. He had made several really cool signs that we posed with for pictures by the beach. We really appreciate seeing people we know along our ride, and seeing Mr. Lust was another welcome boost to our spirits.

Tomorrow should be interesting making our way through Los Angeles, but we will have an able guide in Rick Haughey. Only two more days to go.

That’s it for now.

Cookies are for Girlscouts. They are really quite tasty. Most likely have another box in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Leo Carillo S.B.
Temp: 74° | 61°F
Wind: E at 7mph
Humidity: 71%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 24
Mileage: 104 Miles

Day 23, Tue. Aug. 1, 2006  
Morro Bay, CA to Gaviota, CA

You may not have noticed a pattern yet, but our early start turned out to be 8:45 this morning. It’s funny how your perspective changes, along with your plans, on a trip like this.

Last night we meet a lady in the campsite next to ours that had done a lot of touring in her younger years. She told us that her last bike has 100,000 miles on it. It kind of makes us look like amateurs. She was very nice and we had a wonderful chat with her.

Jim Petrik, the father of Teri’s brother Todd, came by to see us last night. We had a great visit and he gave us a heads up on some of the roads we would face today. His advice for finding a bike shop in San Luis Obispo was right on the money. After a stop there for some handlebar tape for Dave, some new cleats for Kraig and a new chainbreaker for my back pocket, we were on our way to Santa Maria and to Brad Kuhlman’s house (Curtis’s brother). He feed us so much food that we could barely ride after lunch. When we finally got going again it was off to Lompoc (pronounced “laum poke” for those of you who don’t want to offend Brad) with a tailwind for at least part of the time. I should tell you that early in the ride as we were approaching Oceana we encountered a nasty little hill that we categorized with a name that we can’t print in the blog. It may have been the steepest hill I have ever climbed. Luckily it was only about 500 yards long, but that was plenty long to fry our legs and our lungs. The tailwind as we went by Vandenburg Airforce Base had us cranking along at 30 plus miles per hour, so it was short trip into Lompoc.

A quick stop at an Albertsons for some Gatoraid and 16 more miles brought us to Buellton and the Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground. We have officially declared that these showers and bathrooms are the best so far, just edging out Shoreline RV Park.

We just finished dinner at Anderson’s where Andrew decided that it was good pea soup IF you happen to like pea soup, which he does not. To commiserate with him, I choked down one of those hideous stringy fried onion thingies that seem to be so popular among those whose taste is not developed enough to see onions for the abomination that they are.

Tomorrow night, Rick, Teri’s brother, will meet us in Malibu to ride the last two days with us. It’s hard to believe that there are only three days of riding left. We are finally starting to believe that the end is in sight.

That’s it for now.

Onions are nasty. I can’t believe I ate ONE. Most likely will throw it up by morning.

The Endless Riders

Supplement to Day 21
I would be remiss if I did not relate one particular incident that took place on our way through Monterey. We had just stopped at the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and were looking for a bathroom when a seemingly normal-looking lady walked by us and said, “Hey, somebody smells good,” as she looked right at us. It was absolutely, and in all other ways, inconceivable that the odor that wafted across her nostrils could possibly have emanated from one of us, and we were stunned into a confused silence. All of us that is except for Curtis who, with his characteristic linguistic nimbleness, responded with a casual, “Well, I put on some cologne three months ago and it may still be hanging in there.” It would have seemed funnier at the time if we hadn’t been so saddened by the fact that the poor woman had obviously been doing crack so early in the morning. (I asked if Rodd was serious about the crack and he said “Yes!” KS)

This incident was the start of a string of incidents that included Curtis high-fiving the flipper wing off of a woman dressed as a sea turtle/bird, and ended with David staggering wildly around in front of a mini-mart in Carmel Highlands trying desperately not to snort Coca Cola and the rest of his lunch through his nose. I can imagine that the clerk was very pleased to see us leave, as four guys laughing hysterically and a fifth guy stumbling around heaving and choking could not have been good for business. Sorry I didn’t include this earlier, but I thought you might enjoy it now.

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Weather: Gaviota
Temp: 73° | 58°F
Wind: N at 6mph
Humidity: 71%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 23
Mileage: 98.5 Miles

Day 22, Mon. July 31, 2006  
Big Sur, CA to Morro Bay, CA

Nothing like starting the day with a climb. Even getting out of the campground required going up hill. We knew that we had four significant climbs today before lunch and they all lived up to their advance billing. David has objected to calling all of the rollers we have to go over “kickers” so we have come up with a definitive categorizing system. If we can stay in our big chainrings then it is a “roller” or a “kicker.” If we shift into our small chainrings than it is a called a “hill.” If we have to shift into our two lowest gears then it is officially a “climb.” Misidentifying any of the above categories runs you the risk of being called a Girlscout or being asked if you ride a lot with your sister.

Sandwiches, goldfish, and grapes with Nutella on them for lunch gave us just the energy we needed to cruise the last 50 miles to our destination. Our support crew took a side trip to visit Hearst Castle, so we ended up beating them to the campsite. Not knowing what to do with ourselves we rode back into town and had a little snack. That little extra trip put our actual total for the day at 100 miles, which sounds a lot more impressive than 96. We munched on sandwiches and pizza while listening to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at a little place called Gourmet Grub. It was actually quite good food and I would recommend it if you are ever in Morrow Bay.

When we first arrived at the campground and were asking for directions to our campsite, we saw a little girl and her dad crash their bicycles into each other. The little girl picked herself up, bruised and crying loudly over a scraped elbow. In an effort to help, Marv went over to show her his injuries from crashing on his bike. After showing her his stitched up elbow, we all had the same thought at the same time — NOOOO! DON’T SHOW HER YOUR OTHER BRUISE! Luckily Marv caught himself before being arrested for indecent exposure and lewd conduct.

All things considered we feel pretty good for having ridden 100 miles. Tomorrow should be the last day with any real “climbing” in it and then it is on to Los Angeles and flatter terrain. We have recovered sufficiently from our “snack” to be very ready for a pasta dinner. Andrew is currently gathering wood for another fire that should provide just the right ambience to end the evening.

That’s it for now.

No Girlscouts allowed. David still safe from the birds. Hope there’s no fog in the morning.

The Endless Riders

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Weather: Morro Bay
Temp: 66° | 57°F
Wind: SSE at 3mph
Humidity: 60%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 22
Mileage: 94 Miles

Day 21, Sun. July 30, 2006  
M.B.A. to Big Sur, CA

Today began with an easy cruise through the strawberry and lettuce fields north of Monterey. One highlight was riding right by the artichoke capital of the world. We looked for but didn’t see the giant artichoke in Castroville and were disappointed to miss the photo opportunity. Curtis swears the crowds we saw near Castroville were due to the fact that Hilary Clinton was visiting the area. But all we saw was a sign for a rodeo and a flea market. We remain skeptical.

Fairly good bike paths led us into Monterey for a leisurely ride past the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. We saw some interesting characters on the beach bike path. At one point we saw a woman in what was either a sea turtle outfit or dressed like some kind of bird. We are still discussing the proper identification since we didn’t have just the right field guide handy.

Our short scheduled mileage got a little longer when we opted to take the scenic route through “17-mile drive.” It was fun to ride by all the famous golf courses — Spanish Pines, Spyglass and Pebble Beach looked very inviting. We could tell we were riding through the high-rent district by looking at the cars in the driveways and the ones that sped past us. I thought I saw Clint Eastwood mowing his lawn as we rode through Carmel, but I may have been mistaken.

At our lunch stop in Carmel Highlands we revisited our discussion to properly identify what we saw in Monterey and in the process almost got a picture of David snorting Coca Cola through his nose.

The views on the coast south of Monterey were the best we have seen so far. The rolling terrain finally brought us to our campsite near Big Sur. It is a beautiful site next to a lovely little stream that will lull us to sleep without too much trouble. Tomorrow we start a string of 90-plus-mile-days that will challenge both our legs and our backsides. Another two days of climbing will get us to the flatness of Southern California. Five days to go.

That’s it for now.

Haystacks for dinner. Cool water to dip our feet in. More hills to climb in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Big Sur
Temp: 68° | 52°F
Wind: NW at 14mph
Humidity: 62%
Visibility: 8.0 miles

Route Map: Day 21
Mileage: 56 Miles

Day 20, Sat. July 29, 2006  
Rest Day

Donna Baerg, sister of Marlene Baerg of WWC School of Engineering fame, very kindly let us camp at her house for the weekend. She was gone for the weekend (Hmmm, I wonder why? KS) but left word with her friends that a bunch of dangerous looking people may be seen hanging around her house for a couple of days. (Seriously, that’s what they told us. I guess our fame precedes us.) Instead of calling the police, they welcomed us when we arrived and invited us to lunch after church.

My mom made pancakes for breakfast, which went down very nicely with peanut butter, bananas, applesauce, and maple syrup. I even tried one with Nutella on it, and it wasn’t too bad. Tim Kubrock, who I knew from my days teaching in Southern California, is the principal at Monterey Bay Academy now. He came by to ask if Curtis would share a little about our trip at church.

As usual, we met several people at church that we know, or who know people we know, so it was nice to make connections and expand our church family. It turns out that Dave Thomas, of WWC School of Theology fame, has a cousin (Natalie) that we met here as well.

After a great lunch, Curtis, Kraig, Andrew and I went for a walk on the beach. We saw dolphins fishing in the surf and people surfing with the fish. Since we had an Aerobie with us we were obliged to throw it. Four or five throws into the game of catch (or more correctly “throw and chase”) it somehow made its way into the water. We missed the five-second window of opportunity, while it was still visible on the surface, by about 45 seconds and then it was into the water to feel around with our feet. At least Andrew and I were brave enough to risk hypothermia to save the misguided Aerobie.

While we were selflessly seeking the lost, the two who were “helping” by holding our shoes neglected to tell us that a very large wave was rapidly approaching. As the wave receded to their comment of, “That was a big one,” there was no longer any need for Andrew and I to hold up the pant legs of our shorts to keep them from getting wet. After we searched for about 15 minutes and only managed to dig up a few sand crabs, we officially called off the search.

A rousing afternoon of napping and sitting around should prepare us quite nicely for the final push to the border next week.

That’s it for now.

Will enjoy a long nap. David is thinking about dinner. And he will be hungry again in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Monterey Bay Academy
Temp: 70° | 54°F

Mileage: 0 Miles

Day 19, Fri. July 28, 2006  
Candlestick Park to M.B.A.

This morning started with a detour. We had planned on driving from Candlestick Park across to Highway 1 so we wouldn’t have to fight the traffic through town. It seems that Devil’s Slide slid across the highway closing a significant portion of it. If you look at a map of the area, you can see that any detour around that area takes you south a fair bit. The detour put us back onto Highway 1 at Half Moon Bay where we actually began our ride for the day. That cut off approximately 20 or so miles from our route, and although we were disappointed to have to detour, it would have been awkward carrying our bikes across the construction zone. Being the first day back for Marv, a little less mileage was probably a good thing. And as we suspected, at this point the rest days don’t come soon enough. At the risk of repeating myself, we rode over rolling terrain again. Part of the day was spent riding with another cyclist that was on his way from Sausalito to Newport to visit family. He was making remarkable time given that he was on a full suspension mountain bike. After riding all morning in the fog, we were fortunate enough to stop for lunch overlooking the ocean in a warm sunny spot. We then made our way on to Santa Cruz were we took the scenic route along the beach. It got a little slow by the pier and along the boardwalk, but the sights and sounds were an interesting distraction from looking at each others butts all day. At one point it looked as though a lone starling was about to exact revenge on David for his altercation with his cousin the other day. I was momentarily afraid for David’s safety, but without further provocation, he was able to pass by safely. A local resident was kind enough to give us the wrong directions through town and we took a lovely tour through some very nice residential districts. Eventually we reached San Andreas Road and without further trouble found Monterrey Bay Academy. That’s it for now. Beautiful beach, welcome day off, thinking of taking the bus south in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Los Gatos
Temp: 83° | 50°F
Wind: SW at 7mph G23
Humidity: 34%
Visibility: 9.0 miles

Route Map: Day 19
Mileage: 96.5 Miles

Day 18, Thu. July 27, 2006  
Bodega Dunes to Candlestick RV Park

San Francisco at last! Lots of rolling hills on the way to The Golden Gate Bridge. We call them kickers, but they are really just short, steep hills that we are too embarrassed to call bona fide climbs. The other day we rode over one that was so steep and we were going so slow that a highway cleanup crew tried to stuff us all into trash bags with the other litter lining the road.

It was quite a relief when we finally saw the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped for the obligatory photos from the viewing area on the north side with all the other “tourists.” When a girl offered to take our picture, we struck up a conversation with her and her family. It was a profitable stop because the family ended up giving us a donation. We have met many kind people along the way, and they have all wished us good luck and safe riding.

Winding our way through San Francisco was not as difficult as we thought it was going to be. It was kind of interesting to see the sites from two wheels. At one point a bicycle messenger went flying past us, skidded sideways as he approached an intersection and, when he saw that no cars were coming, went flying on through the red light. He probably thought we were a bunch of pansies stopping for red lights and traffic. But the leisurely tour was more to our liking.

Kraig and Andrew had a surprise visit from Julie this evening. She was in town for business and stayed over an extra day to see them. We are all a little jealous but understand his smiling departure. He says he will return tomorrow morning, but we will have to wait and see. Hopefully Andrew will not try to burn anything in the hotel.

Tomorrow we head to Monterey Bay Academy for the weekend. There has been such a wild variety of weather, campsites, terrain and events so far that we’re not sure what else can happen and we are cautiously optimistic that we might just pull this thing off. Marv has returned to us and reports that he is feeling pretty good and is ready to ride. It will be nice to have us all back together again.

Curtis said he is taking us to dinner so I am going to wrap this up. Oddly enough I’m a bit hungry after 82 miles.

That’s it for now.

Welcome back, Marv. Seven days to go. Still headed south in the morning.

The Endless Riders

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Weather: Point Reyes
Temp: 78° | 50°F
Wind: SSE at 12mph
Humidity: 46-94%
Visibility: 9.0 miles

Route Map: Day 18
Mileage: 82 Miles

Day 17, Wed. July 26, 2006  
Van Damme Beach S.P. to Bodega Dunes, CA

We survived Andrew’s conflagration without too much damage. Curtis ended up a little singed and several glass bottles paid the ultimate price for the sake of “science.”

We thought we dressed warmly enough, but by the time we stopped for lunch we were looking for more clothes to put on. We wanted to make sure we looked good because we spent the day being photographed by a wonderful lady named Shannon Ledford. She followed us all day and took many pictures for use in a future Westwind article for Walla Walla College. We are pretty sure she thinks we’re all nuts because she alternated between laughing at us and shaking her head in disbelief when she wasn’t snapping pictures. She was also kind enough to stay with us in Bodega Bay until we actually found our campsite, and she sustained us through the ordeal with saltwater taffy.

David managed to offend every environmentalist in the area when he ruthlessly ran down a hapless starling that was innocently going about his daily business. After the bird bounced off David, he made a brief stop on my left hand before cartwheeling into the road behind me. When I looked back to check on the poor little critter it looked like he was about to be squashed by the truck and trailer behind us. Dad reports that he actually flapped off the road just in time to avoid the bumper. David spent the next two miles laughing hysterically. We hope David won’t need therapy to put the incident behind him.

Billy (aka Kraig) lost his grip on the climber’s jersey when his manager neglected to inform him about the beyond-category climb at Goat Rock that was worth 5,000 points. Sadly, although he had topped every other climb in the league, he had only accumulated 73 points. There are more points available during the rest of the trip, but even if he wins them all he would only gain five points for a total of 78. A bitter disappointment after what had to this point been a brilliantly managed campaign.

We are presently enjoying the company of some friends from Angwin. Mons and Julie Jensen and their daughter, Annika, drove over to see us. Their company is a welcome relief from sitting around and staring at each other. Tomorrow we should end up in San Francisco for a much-anticipated trip across the Golden Gate bridge. We also look forward to Marv rejoining us for the remainder of the trip.

That’s it for now.

A welcome visit from good friends. Andrew is still burning everything that is flammable. We’ll most likely be evicted by the morning.

The Endless Riders

(P.S. So far during my husband's absence I've managed to trade in his car for a new one, make several car salesmen beg for mercy while wiping tears from their eyes, and purchase a new dining room table. Would anyone else like to send their husband on a month-long bicycle ride? Exhausted from shopping. What was I thinking? Most likely be single in the morning. KS)

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Weather: Boonville / Gualala
Temp: 69° | 56°F
Wind: NW at 12mph
Humidity: 45%
Visibility: 5.0 miles

Route Map: Day 17
Mileage: 102 Miles

Day 16, Tue. July 25, 2006  
Piercy to Van Damme Beach SP, CA

Today we faced the daunting challenge of Leggett “hill.” Our guidebook says that it is the highest climb on the coast cycling route, and it did not disappoint.

We traded the heat of yesterday for cool temperatures that even turned chilly once we hit the coast. The views were breathtaking, and it was difficult not to stop every five minutes to enjoy the view and take a picture. The terrain today was rolling. Every time a creek makes its way to the ocean, it creates a little valley. Every time there was a little valley, we dropped into it and then had to climb back out.

The most exciting happening of the day occurred just three miles into the ride. I was riding behind Kraig when his bike made a funny grinding sound. Just as I was thinking, “Hey that’s a funny grinding sound,” his derailleur proceeded to break off and wrap around his wheel becoming lodged between his seatstay and his spokes. Upon closer inspection we discovered that the derailleur hanger was bent and stripped out. It will take a visit to Wisconsin to get it fixed. Needless to say, Kraig came to an abrupt halt and, thanks only to his lightening-quick reflexes and cat-like agility, was he able to avoid a nasty crash.

The upshot of that little episode is that Kraig is now riding Marv’s bike until Marv catches up with us in San Francisco where we are buying Kraig a Razor Scooter to finish the trip on. (Just kidding.) Marv is bringing Teri’s old bike for Kraig to ride.

When we stopped in Ft. Bragg at a bicycle shop to see if we could get David’s rear wheel trued a bit, we were told that the mechanic wouldn’t be able to look at it for about an hour and a half, so we took our business elsewhere. Since that was the only bike shop in town, “elsewhere” means wherever the next bike shop happens to be on our way south.

The troops are getting hungry so that’s my signal to stop typing and go eat.

That’s it for now.

Nice campsite. Andrew is burning everything that he can haul to the fire pit. Most likely we’ll all be toast in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Boonville / Fort Bragg
Temp: 69° | 52°F
Wind: NW 10 G15 MPH
Humidity: 71%
Visibility: Patchy Fog

Route Map: Day 16
Mileage: 71.5 Miles

Day 15, Mon. July 24, 2006  
Arcata, CA to Piercy, CA

Today we discovered that although you can get so hot that it feels like you will burst into flames, it doesn’t actually happen. The ride through The Avenue of the Giants was more like a ride through The Avenue of the Giant Heat Lamps. When our delirium diminished enough that our vision returned, the scenery was actually quite beautiful.

If we thought that The Avenue of the Giants was hot, we were mistaken — that was actually the cool part of the ride. Andrew took a picture of the thermometer in the truck when we were in Garberville, and it had a reading of 121 degrees. None of us doubted that the temperature on the road was any less than that. The 94-miles-part of the ride was hard enough, but the heat made it that much more difficult. By the way, have I mentioned that it was a bit warm?

I apologize that this is a day late, but the aforementioned heat put the kibosh on any unnecessary activity and blog writing was so deemed.

That’s it for now.

Flippin’ hot. Very sweaty. Most likely be melted by the morning. The Endless Riders
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Weather: Piercy
Temp: 92° | 61°F
Wind: E at 3
Humidity: 51%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 15
Mileage: 94 Miles

Day 14, Sun. July 23, 2006  
Cresent City, CA to Arcata, CA

We had grown accustomed to the Crescent City foghorn over the course of two nights. (Which, by the way, sounds in a pitch slightly flat of G’.) But when Curtis wants to get an early start it is difficult to sleep through his “foghorn.”

After our usual hearty breakfast we started pushing the pedals by 8:15 a.m. Our warm-up was short-lived as the first climb of the day started right at the edge of town and seemed to go up forever. Any shortness of breath could not be blamed on the altitude because the 1,100 foot climb started about 20 inches above sea level.

The temperature differential between sea level and 1,100 feet was remarkable. By the beach it was comfortably cool, while 1,000 feet up it was hot and humid. The temperature changes over the rolling terrain, kept us busier than a one-armed paper hanger trying to keep our arm warmers in the appropriate position — up, down... up, down... up, down. The melted wings of Icarus crossed Kraig’s mind every time we started to cook at the top of the many climbs. Fortunately, we escaped his fate and flew on to our destination like his more prudent father.

A little farther down the road, Paul called us over for a bathroom break, a drink, and quick tickle of the chin of his big blue ox, Babe. While we were thus engaged, we could only wave sadly from Babe’s ample underbelly, as our support vehicle passed us by with total disregard for our caloric needs. We then hoisted our emaciated bodies back onto our bicycles to struggle bravely through the rest of the day.

We stopped in one small burg and were enjoying the local flavor until we heard two guys playing dueling banjos on their front porch and decided to quickly move on. What seemed like days later, but in reality was probably only 15 or 20 miles, we saw a herd of 30 or 40 Roosevelt elk. Our admiration of them was cut short when, as our bicycles startled them, they began stampeding on a collision course with us. Stampeding may be too strong a word, but we were relieved to see them collectively decide that stomping us into oblivion would probably not be as much fun as they originally thought and would probably get the ring leaders transferred to a “safer location” in the process.

As we neared the town of Eureka, Curtis inexplicably felt the need to crank up the tempo to Floyd-Landis-like speed and we arrived at the KOA campground in no time at all. Since the showering facilities at our last accommodations were less than stellar, we were very pleased to find clean and functioning restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. Oddly enough we would rather not shower while standing ankle deep in what David found was stomach-wretching water.

The biggest treat of the day was being greeted by David’s mom and sister, Hannah, who were kind enough to take a couple of our bikes to a local shop for some needed repairs. After spending some family time with David, they brought him back, along with a couple of pies that we enjoyed immensely.

Tomorrow we plan to start pretty early because we have miles to go before we sleep. Ninety-six to be precise.

That’s it for now. Beautiful scenery. Too many hills. Won’t want to get up in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Arcata / Eureka
Temp: 67° | 54°F
Wind: NW at 12
Humidity: 87%
Visibility: 6.0 miles

Route Map: Day 14
Mileage: 78 Miles

Day 13, Sat. July 22, 2006  
Rest Day

We have a whole new perspective on Sabbath being a day of rest. Sleeping in (8 a.m.) and waking to the sound of the Pacific Ocean was a nice way to begin the day.

Yesterday we tracked down the location of the Adventist church, and today we were right on time for the 11:00 service. Most of the congregation was away at campmeeting, but we were warmly welcomed by those who remained. As usual we met many people with friends or acquaintances in common. “Somehow” they discovered that Kraig has some talent on the piano and organ. He graciously acquiesced to provide special music. We enjoyed a great sermon and were not allowed to leave without joining the members at their fellowship dinner. The food was great and the fellowship was even better.

They were very interested in what we are doing and, as luck would have it, Peter Handke knows the director of The Relay for Life that was in Crescent City. A few phone calls and we were invited to the stage to share our message and walk a few laps in support of cancer victims and survivors. We were able to talk to many people and gave out a lot of sunscreen samples and melanoma information. We got a donation and cookies from one group and got several tips for avoiding the worst hills and traffic over the next few days. Peter then took us for a short hike in a redwood grove that was spectacular.

After Kraig played for church, the church elders decided that he needed to help the church close out the Sabbath with a musical vespers. Kraig and Rodd put together an evensong that they seemed to enjoy very much. Rootbeer floats at Handke’s rounded out the evening in a fine way that was a wonderful ending to a delightful day.

That’s it for now. Wonderful day. Made new friends. Will ride again in the morning.

The Endless Riders P.S. Andrew, aka “The Scofflaw,” somehow managed to escape the long arm of the law for underage driving and lived to drive another day.
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Weather: Crescent City
Temp: 72° | 63°F
Wind: W at 6mph
Humidity: 63%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Day 12, Fri. July 21, 2006  
Grants Pass, OR to Crescent City, CA

It was already 77 degrees when we left this morning at 8 a.m., so we were glad to be headed to the coast. We were greeted first thing by a mean little climb with morning traffic whizzing by.

Before we arrived at Cave Junction, David tried and failed at a little off-road riding. He tried to recover quickly enough so that we wouldn’t notice, but Kraig alertly brought our attention to the fact that he was getting up close and personal with the other side of the ditch.

On our way out of Cave Junction we looked for the tigers at the Great Cats World Park, but they must have been sleeping late because they were nowhere to be seen. Not long after that we saw the first of four TER1 signs left for us by our throngs of fans and supporters. Thanks Brent and Emily!

The ride through the redwoods was spectacular. They have a way of making you feel very small. Before we got to Crescent City, Curtis flirted with disaster by riding within inches of a precipitous drop off the shoulder. David and I were mildly amused by his gyrations as he somehow kept himself on the road.

As we rode by the Smith River, we were very tempted to stop and dip our feet in the cool water. If we would have stopped for a photo at every spot that was beautiful, we would still be on the road. So we contented ourselves with a few shots on the fly and a picture of us by the Welcome to California sign. We wished that the curvy descent out of the redwoods would have been longer, but we were glad to see Crescent City. We found the campsite without too much trouble and, after pitching the tent and showering, we went out for way too much pizza and the obligatory Dr. Pepper for Curtis.

We are looking forward to getting up tomorrow and not riding our bicycles, but maybe enjoying a walk on the beach. That’s it for now.

Beautiful ride. Rest day tomorrow. Hope the sun is shining in the morning.

Spencer: We saw Scary Ron today – all over town.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Crescent City
Temp: 110° | 61°F
Wind: Calm
Humidity: 49%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 12
Mileage: 87 Miles

Day 11, Th. July 20, 2006  
Diamond Lake to Grants Pass, OR

Striking the tents and packing up amidst swarming mosquitoes, we left Diamond Lake for Grants Pass. The absolutely gorgeous ride through the forest was made even better by the fact that it was mostly downhill. Most likely that will be the easiest 50 miles of the entire trip. It was nice to start out with a relatively easy stretch after the difficulties of yesterday. After 60 miles we stopped for lunch in Shady Cove, Oregon. (We didn’t see the cove and it was only shady in the trailer.) The sandwiches and cold drinks were a welcome relief from the heat.

The remaining 40 miles went smoothly, but it was blazing hot. The closer to Grants Pass we got, the higher the temperature climbed. When we arrived, the thermometer at the RV park said it was 98 degrees in the shade, and the locals say it should be well over 100 tomorrow.

When we arrived at our campsite, David was the first to test the waters of the Rogue River, which is about 50 feet from the back of the trailer. We all eventually took the opportunity to cool ourselves in the river before our interview and photo shoot. Stacy Nadelman from the Grants Pass Courier came to our campsite and talked to us for a while. And one of their photographers shot some pictures of us as well.

We plan to leave early tomorrow to stay ahead of the heat and are counting on the California coast to be significantly cooler. David has been over the route for tomorrow before, and he says to expect some hills and a bit of sketchy road.

The latest on our missing rider is that he is recovering nicely. Marv is working with a physical therapist, and they are hoping to get him on a bike soon. We have heard that the bruising is quite colorful and quite extensive. With any luck he will rejoin us in San Francisco.

Curtis has a cousin that lives here in Grants Pass so some of us are staying at his house tonight after enjoying a very large spaghetti dinner. Since almost every campground we have been to has had a basketball hoop, Andrew could finally bear it no more and bought a basketball in Bend. Since then we haven’t so much as caught sight of a hoop. That is until now. Brent, Curtis’ cousin, confirmed that there is a basketball court across the street from his house. That should keep Andrew’s jump shot from getting too rusty.

Tomorrow we head to Crescent City, California, which should be about 87 miles, and are looking forward to seeing the redwoods of Northern California. That’s it for now.

Decent ride. Not as tired as yesterday. Hope to start early in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Medford
Temp: 101° | 64°F
Wind: NNW at 5 mph
Humidity: 26%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 11
Mileage: 102 Miles

Day 10, Wed. July 19, 2006  
LaPine to Diamond Lake, OR

Today started out bad and steadily got worse from there. When Marv woke up this morning he discovered that laying down was okay and sitting up was okay but anything that put weight on his right hip was not okay. After much deliberation he decided it would be best to recover from his injuries at home. His elbow took four stitches. The injury reached the bursa and the doctor wanted to leave it open a bit in case of infection. He also suffered some pretty extensive bruising on his right hip and back. It was already showing some color this morning.

Our ride today was rather subdued. We are sobered by the fact that accidents can happen very quickly and saddened that one of our team is missing. We are hoping that he will be able to recover in time to meet us somewhere in California and finish the ride with us.

Our ride today can be described rather briefly. Longer than we expected. Roadside shoulders that we couldn’t tell from the rumble strip. Two flat tires. Headwinds most of the day. And a seemingly endless hill going west toward Diamond Lake. Other than that, our butts hurts, our feet hurt and we are tired. We face another century tomorrow. And right now I am too tired to even care if it is uphill or into the wind. That is it for now.

Miserable ride. All really tired. Hope to sleep till the morning. The Endless Riders

(Rodd called me last night, but was too tired to read the message over the phone and wait while I transcribed. The tone in his voice was distinctly different from previous days. He isn't kidding when he says they are tired and sobered. He called back this morning and sounded a bit better, but still really tired. I'm sure that reaching the California coast on Friday is going to be a huge relief. In part because they anticipate a tailwind down that part of the coast and in part because they really need a rest day. They will appreciate Sabbath more than ever!

I saw an interview with Lance Armstrong the other day while watching the Tour de France on TV. He said that you won't catch him watching much of the Tour on TV because he'll be out on his bike. He said he would rather BE cycling than to WATCH cycling. While this ride is certainly testing the limits of their endurance, I'm sure Lance's sentiment pretty much describes The Endless Riders as well. KS)
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Temp: 79° | 46°F
Wind: N at 13 mph
Humidity: 49%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 10
Mileage: 80 Miles

Day 9, Tue. July 18, 2006  
Mitchell to LaPine, OR

We got an early start today from Mitchell. 7:03 sharp. There were several miles of downhill warm up before we climbed the 12 remaining miles to the top of Ochoco Pass. The best part of the day was riding downhill uninterrupted for 30 miles into Prineville—that and the sandwiches we had for lunch. (I assume he also meant to add talking to me at the end of the day. KS)

After we climbed the hill away from the World Headquarters of Les Schwab Tires, we enjoyed beautiful scenery across the Central Oregon landscape. It seemed to take forever to get to Bend where we camped out for an hour or so in the Safeway parking lot.

We knew today was going to be a long day and as the miles dragged on we were glad to have a bit of a tailwind as we rode south past Sunriver. It turns out that we should have stopped in Sunriver, because Marv had an unfortunate encounter with a rock on the highway shoulder a few miles north of La Pine.

It was a pretty scary moment as his front tire blew out and sent him swerving into the middle of the southbound lane. I looked back just in time to see him hit the pavement in the middle of the lane and to see his bike bounce across the center line. Keeping his wits about him, he quickly rolled to the side of the road where we checked to make sure that all his parts were in the right place and to tend to his split-open right elbow. By the grace of God, the southbound traffic was able to stop before hitting him and several motorists checked to make sure we were okay.

Being the gamer that he is, Marv got back on his bike and rode the remaining five and half miles to what turned out to be the wrong campground. He then wisely got in the truck for the ride to the real campsite as the rest of us continued on for 12 more miles. Because his helmet cracked—saving his noggin—he will need to procure a new one before he resumes his journey. As I write this, Marv is visiting the urgent care center in Bend. He seemed to be in good spirits, although he will probably feel more bumps and bruises in the morning. We are very thankful that Marv’s injuries weren’t any worse and we pray for a speedy and painless recovery.

Tomorrow we head up to Diamond Lake with relatively short mileage. That’s it for now. Good ride, all mostly safe, very likely sleep late in the morning.

The Endless Riders
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Weather: Redmond
Temp: 84° | 43°F
Wind: N at 11 mph
Humidity: 27%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 9
Mileage: 126 Miles

Day 8, Mon. July 17, 2006  
Anson Wright Park to Mitchell, OR

Early to bed, early to rise, still makes for a tired bunch of riders. The night was pleasantly crisp so we all slept relatively well. The campground host told us that the night before it was 38 degrees, so it was nice to eat breakfast in a heated trailer and have a cup of hot chocolate.

We started riding at 8 a.m. and the first few miles were a bit chilly. We got warm quickly since we started going uphill as soon as we turned out of the campground parking lot. We mostly climbed in silence probably because we knew that the toughest climb was yet to come. After climbing for half an hour or so, we enjoyed a screaming descent down some really curvy roads that made us imagine we were breaking away from the peleton on our way to victory.

Our Tour de France comparison ended abruptly when we gladly stopped for a light brunch in a lovely riverside park in the town of Spray. We tried as best we could to fortify ourselves for the five-mile climb out of the John Day River in 87 degree heat. The top of the climb was farther away than the last time we were here in May. We can’t figure out how they made the road longer without changing the mileage. It must be some trick or optical illusion foisted on us by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

While we caught our breath in the shade of a juniper tree, we were entertained by a coyote bounding through the adjacent field. As soon as he saw us—or caught wind of us—he skulked away through the tall grass.

Curtis flatted just after the crest of the hill and we took the opportunity to take on more fluids before getting on our way. After another slightly-less-than-screaming (let’s call it talking-urgently-with-a-loud-voice) descent, we didn’t ride on a flat road for the rest of the day. It was either up or down the entire way to Mitchell. It seemed like mostly up. There were only a few times that the wind really blew in our faces so we didn’t have that to complain about, but the dry breezes are wrecking havoc on our complexions.

The Mitchell Park/Campground was a sight for sore eyes and sore butts and sore legs. And Curtis took advantage of the park sprinkler to cool off and rinse away at least some of the road grime. Tomorrow will be a challenging 105 miles to La Pine RV Park. We know better but are still hoping for a tailwind. We also know that 30 miles of it will be downhill, but the rest is pretty much up. That’s it for now. Good ride, all safe, most likely sleep late in the morning.

The Endless Riders

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Weather: John Day
Temp: 90° | 49°F
Wind: WNW at 15 mph
Humidity: 18%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 8
Mileage: 67.8 Miles

Day 7, Sun. July 16, 2006  
Hermiston to
Anson Wright Park, OR

NOTE: The cast of characters has changed a bit. Roger and Dorita Strobel (Rodd's parents) have replaced Julie Scott as the support crew for the last three weeks of the trip. Andrew Scott is still along as videographer. The daily reports will be written by Rodd Strobel. I'll be the messenger. I may throw in a comment or two as well since Rodd isn't here to stop me! Cell phone coverage is sketchy through Central Oregon and pay phones are a dying breed, but we are still hoping to provide daily updates. I've attached Word documents with reports from days 3, 4, 5 and 6. The report for day 7 is below in the body of this e-mail. Our Web crew (Jere Rodman and Eric Denney) are loading the daily reports to the TLK Foundation Web site at tlkcancerfoundation.org. If you would like to check the site every day rather than receiving an e-mail, just let me know and I'll remove you from the e-mail list. Jere and Eric will be posting photos as well, as we receive them. KS

We awoke bright and early, packed Rodd’s parent’s camping trailer and left College Place at the crack of 7:30. Monty Buell drove us to Hermiston so we wouldn’t all have to ride in the back of the truck. After getting a few curious stares in the parking lot at the mini mart in Hermiston, we started pedaling at 9:30.

Thankfully we had very little wind, although a bit of a breeze would have been nice on a couple of the climbs. We had an easy cruise through Lexington, Oregon, and then were on to Heppner knowing that the climb out of Heppner would give our legs a wake-up call. Sure enough our legs woke right up and started screaming at us. As usual, Billy (aka Kraig) and Curtis lead the charge up the hill, but were kind enough to wait for us at the top.

It was plenty warm—mostly around 85 degrees—so it was nice to be supported every 20 miles or so with cool water and Gatoraid. We “eagerly” anticipated the most difficult climb of the day up to the town of Hardman and were not disappointed. It was the warmest, longest and steepest climb, and we were glad to finally arrive in the metropolis of Hardman. After winding our way through the outskirts and suburbs, we arrived in the heart of town for a well deserved drink. Sadly the Hardman Historical Society Museum was closed so we had to content ourselves with a self-guided tour of the downtown district. (In case you haven’t ever been to Hardman—he’s being sarcastic! Hardman is BARELY a wide spot in the road. If you haven't driven through this part of Oregon, however, you should check it out. It is somewhat desolate, but beautiful. KS) At the conclusion of our tour we mounted up and rode the last 8 miles to our destination for the day.

Anson Wright Campground is a beautiful and quiet place in a mixed pine forest. It wasn’t very crowded so we had our pick of campsites. Snacks and showers made us quite comfortable in preparation for a great lasagna dinner sent along that morning for us by Julie Scott. Tomorrow will be a tough day that will include the most challenging of the known climbs and two others that should provide plenty of lactic acid for our already weary legs. We will try to send you a photo of us with the mayor of Mitchell, Oregon, aka Henry the Bear, as we will arrive there tomorrow. More later.

The Endless Riders

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Weather: Hermiston
Temp: 88° | 53°F
Wind: NNW at 9 mph
Humidity: 23%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 7
Mileage: 69.5 Miles

Day 5 & 6, Fri. July 14 & Sat. July 15, 2006  
Walla Walla/Rest Days

After 114 miles on Thursday, it was nice to get up and not have to ride. I still woke up early, but didn’t have too much trouble rolling over and going back to sleep. Friday was spent napping and preparing for the ride south on Sunday. It seems like there is a never-ending list of things to do, or get, or organize. I suppose that is one of the nice things about being on the bike, all you have to do is stay upright and keep pedaling.

Our first three days have gone well. We have learned some things that will be helpful for the remainder of the trip and now have a small taste of what it will feel like to ride day after day. I suspect that after six days of riding in a row, each rest day will not come soon enough.

Curtis thinks that we will continue to get stronger through about day 10 or 11 and then plateau after that. All of us have felt better after each day of the ride so his prediction seems to be holding up. Since none of us feels like we got to train as much as we would have liked leading up to the start of the ride, riding into shape will be the norm for the group.

We know that there are hills in our immediate future in Central Oregon since we experienced riding over them during our three-day shakedown cruise on Mother’s Day weekend. I’m not sure if knowing they are there makes it easier or if the anticipation is worse. At any rate, there will be a lot of up and down for the next couple of weeks until we get to Southern California.

We plan to load the pick-up and trailer at 5:30 Sunday morning and head to Hermiston where we’ll start pedaling by 7:30. We have ridden over our route for Sunday before and we know that the two difficult climbs will be easier if we can get to them before the worst heat of the day.

On our Mother’s Day ride we encountered a sizeable herd of cattle being driven along the road just past Hardman, Ore. The cowboys that were herding them were very helpful in clearing a path for us but it took us a while to inch our way through following closely behind the trailer. Traveling on bicycle tends to give a different perspective and I suspect that we have not seen our last interesting or unusual situation on this trip. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.


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Weather: Tri-Cities

Day 4, Thur. July 13, 2006  
Lind to Hermiston, OR

We woke to clear skies and moderate temperatures. There was a bit of a breeze all day, but not nearly as strong as yesterday. We were a little concerned about riding down Hwy. 395, but it was not as bad as we anticipated. The shoulder was wide with only the occasional shredded tire to dodge and we made pretty good time toward Pasco. Our plan was to get ourselves to Pasco and then see how we felt for a possible push on to Hermiston.

The consensus was to try for Hermiston to give us an extra day to organize for the three week trip south. While we were stopped at a truck stop north of Pasco, a KNDU-TV cameraman/newsman came to shoot some film of us riding around the parking lot and did a nice interview with Curtis. He told us that he only gets the nice stories or the murders, never anything in between. It was comforting to hear him say that we were more fun than covering a murder. I’m fairly certain none of us had ever been told that before.

After lunch and a short nap, we were on the road again. Hwy. 12 was a bit dicey in a couple of spots, but cars and trucks have mostly given us plenty of room, so no close calls yet. At one point, a highway patrolman pulled over ahead of us and turned on his lights. This was around mile 80, and although a couple of us could have possibly out ran him, the poor guy that got caught would have probably broken under the interrogation and ratted out the rest of us anyway, so we decided to stop. We thought we were busted for sure, but we didn’t know what for. I rolled up next to his window and waited for him to finish talking on his radio. I assumed he was calling for backup or for someone to bring the paddy-wagon to haul us all in. He finally noticed that there were five sweaty, heavy-breathing, spandex covered men with bicycles next to his car and cautiously rolled down the window. When I asked him if the lights were for us he said no. So I said “never mind then” and we rode away. I later felt bad for not offering him some of my warm water, or equally warm banana flavored energy gel, but at the time I felt that it was better to get while the getting was good.

The inch-and-a-half wide shoulder (ok, it might have been two inches) from Wallula Gap to Hermiston proved challenging, but we passed the skinniest sections as quickly as we could. After taking a photo at the Welcome to Oregon sign, we pressed on to Hermiston in fine form. The only real mishap of the day occurred when David got a flat tire and, would you believe it, broke another spoke. We are all beginning to suspect that he carries a pair of cutters and just reaches down for a quick “snip” when he decides he has ridden enough for the day. You would think he could have ridden the last mile to our stopping point for the day without resorting to that kind of trickery. We’re locking up all the tools before we leave next time, so then we’ll see about those “broken” spokes. Despite the distance covered today, we all felt pretty good and were glad to have Washington behind us. One state down; two states to go.


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Weather: Tri-Cities
Temp: 90° | 59°F
Wind: WSW at 10mph
Humidity: 13%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 4
Route Map: Day 5
Mileage: 114 Miles

Day 3, Wed. July 12, 2006  
Keller Ferry to Lind, WA

So much for downhill with a tailwind all the way to Mexico. We welcomed the cloud cover, particularly in the morning as we faced a fairly significant climb at the start of the day, but we could have done without the wind.

With all of the switchbacks on the climb, the wind never stayed in our face for very long. That all changed when we regrouped at the top of the hill and rode into a head wind for the next 75 miles. I say regrouped because Kraig climbs like a goat and left all but Curtis behind. Kraig’s new nickname (among others) is “Billy,” as in billy goat. Feel free to address him by that name the next time you see him because he really likes it.

The rest of the day was spent going up and down the beautiful rolling hills of Central Washington. At least they seemed beautiful when we drove over them two days before. We discovered that when you have to pedal over them they tend to lose some of their shimmering luster. In fact one hill pretty much looks like any other in their relentless march across the barren wastelands of Central Washington.

The mind-numbing monotony, I mean the uninterrupted beauty, was cut short for David when it was discovered that he had broken a spoke. When a spoke breaks, it tends to warp the wheel just a tad. David’s wheel was warped so badly that we couldn’t turn it by hand. Thinking back, we had heard his bike make a funny sound before the previous hill, but he just thought that the hill seemed really, really steep. A kind farmer gave him and his twisted pile of steel a ride into Odessa where we all met up with Julie and Andrew. A big thank you to the Bicycle Barn who sent a spare wheel that evening with David’s wife Elissa so that David could ride the next day.

The 30 miles from Odessa to Lind were fairly uneventful. More rolling hills and more head wind. The Lind High School kindly let us camp on their football field and use the locker rooms for free, and they even turned off the automatic sprinkler system so we wouldn’t have any unexpected showers. We did have a few rain showers and a couple of the tents showed a remarkable ability to return to an upright and fully locked position after being nearly flattened by the wind. Any hardships of the day were made up for by a lovely dinner out at the Golden Grain café. We weren’t dressed properly to gain admittance to the Wheat Room, so that will have to wait for another trip. By and large, it was a good day. One day closer to realizing our goal, and everybody is safe and sound.


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Weather: Moses Lake
Temp: 85° | 49°F
Wind: SE at 12mph
Humidity: 40%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 3
Mileage: 82 Miles

Day 2, Tue. July 11, 2006  
Danville to Keller Ferry

The Endless Ride I cast of characters (week one):
Curtis Kuhlman, rider, teaches in phys ed at WWC
David Green, rider, WWC student
Marvin Denney, rider, teaches in phys ed at WWC
Kraig Scott, rider, organist and teaches in music dept at WWC
Rodd Strobel, rider, Kim's husband
Julie Scott, Kraig's wife, week one chef extraordinaire
Andrew Scott, Kraig and Julie's youngest son, TER1 videographer

The Endless Ride adventure began Monday morning, ironically, with a long car trip. After spending the morning loading Elsom's trailer with food, bikes, food, tents, sleeping bags, food, luggage and more food, we took off for Curlew Lake, Washington, where the guys had planned to camp for the night before beginning the ride the next day, Tuesday, July 11.

I left them at Keller Ferry around 6:30 p.m. and headed back home since Rodd didn't want me getting home too late. Everyone (all seven of them) piled into Kraig and Julie's Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was also pulling the trailer full of their belongings, and they continued on their way. Talk about a heavy load! (And, no, there were not enough seatbelts.)

They missed the turnoff for the campground that they had planned to stay at, but stopped at the next one they saw, which just happened to not have any restrooms. (Sorry Julie!) Rodd tells me they slept well and were awakened by what sounded like an entire herd of upset Killdeer. If you don't know what an upset Killdeer sounds like, call me and I'll give you my best impersonation. They also saw a number of deer at the campsite.

But, now to the ride ...

They left the Canadian border Tuesday morning at around 9:30. The temperature was a lovely 77 degrees. Rodd called me on his cell phone from Republic, Washington, around 11:00 after they had riden about 30 miles. "So far smooth sailing," were his words. I heard from him again that evening after they had arrived at Keller Ferry at Lake Roosevelt where they spent the night. By that time, it was 101 degrees and no longer quite as lovely. They rode into a headwind all day.

The distance covered the first day was 88 miles. Kraig's cycling computer recorded their riding time as 4 hours, 44 minutes and 44 seconds. (Only a musician could be so precise.)

When I talked with Rodd around 7 p.m. he said they had a really good spaghetti dinner and that he was planning to go to bed early. They were looking forward to a "vicious five-mile climb" the next morning and wanted to hit it as early as possible to avoid the heat.

That's what I know for now. I expect to hear from Rodd soon about their ride today from Keller Ferry to Lind, Washington. I'll let you know what I learn.


Click image for larger view.

Weather: Keller Ferry
Temp: 88° | 49°F
Wind: S at 4mph
Humidity: 10%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 2
Mileage: 88 Miles
Day 1, Mon. July 10, 2006  
Drive to Danville, WA

And so it begins!

After more than a year of planning and organizing the day has finally arrived. We head north to the border today and will start riding tomorrow. I think it is safe to say that we are filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. While we are confident that we can accomplish what we have set out to do, 1800 miles is a long way. Lucky for us, it's going to be 78 degrees, and downhill with a tailwind all the way to Mexico.

We are very pleased that we have been able to raise more than $20,000 so far. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to the many generous donors that have helped make this event possible. We have already received some media exposure, KNDU-TV has given us some air time on a couple of news segments and has said that they want to cover us as we ride through the Tri-Cities area, and we are hoping for a lot more as we progress south. The more people we can reach with information about melanoma the better.

Kim (my beautiful wife) will be keeping you updated with regular e-mails concerning our progress. There may be occasional pictures posted on our Web site as well. Thanks to Eric and Jere for there their Web ability, and to Kim for enduring endless talk about The Endless Ride I. We won't be able to easily respond to e-mails, but Kim will be able to pass along urgent messages or information. Contact her at kstrobel@coffeycomm.com. To visit our Web site, go to www.tlkcancerfoundation.org and click on "The Endless Ride I".

Last night we had a send-off worship in which Curtis shared his appreciation for God's grace and the love and support of friends. It was an apt reminder that our job, as we live our lives for God, is to love those around us unconditionally as He has loved us. We can only do that with God's grace, and with God's grace and with His blessing I know we will be successful on our ride.

Thank you in advance for your continued prayers of support in the days ahead.

The endless riders,

Curtis, David, Kraig, Marvin, and Rodd

Click image for larger view.

Weather: Republic Area
Temp: 91° | 47°F
Wind: SW at 10mph
Humidity: 10%
Visibility: 10.0 miles

Route Map: Day 1