Day 112: Sept. 23, 2002 - New
Beneath the Sleeping Volcano
On the first day of fall, Anacortes, city of sails beneath the sleeping volcano, greeted my weary eyes. The island town situated between Padilla Bay and the Atlantic should have signified a milestone...
Day 111: Sept. 22, 2002 - New
Dreams of Yesteryear
The teacher came in. Small talk stopped. She introduced herself as Ms. Barnes, and then she told the class to form a circle with our chairs. Her tone was business-like. We all got up and organized the chairs. After taking roll, she looked at me and asked, "Is there anyone here that has not registered for the class?"
Day 110: Sept. 21, 2002 - New
Diagnosis and Treatment for Acute Sisyphus Complex
Below, where the dusty village of Mazama served as an outpost to mountaineers and cyclists, and arid pinelands towered into the cerulean sky, a logger asked, "Are you one of those damn bikers who ride in the middle of the road?"
Day 109: Sept. 20, 2002 - New
The Guardians of the Pacific Northwest
There was nothing but sagebrush and pines beyond the village of Wauconda. Or so it seemed. Four sentinels guarded the Pacific Ocean from westbound journeymen.
Day 108: Sept. 19, 2002 - New
Hot Cocoa on a Frigid Morning
"I can't believe you don't have a stove!" Tim Holt had said so long ago, one wet, cold June day near Lake Erie. That day the wind had chilled my marrow-perhaps enough to inhibit the production of red blood cells... When Tim had picked me up in his black pickup, one of the first items of discussion was the importance of a camp stove and especially a cup of hot cocoa in the morning before a long day's journey into the wilderness.
Day 107: Sept. 18, 2002 - New
The Okanogan Highlands
It is only about eight miles of sadomasochism, the pain of which is enough for me to indulge in the old leatherneck trick of detaching the mind from the body, instilled into my psyche at boot camp by a drill instructor whose face I'll never forget, but whose name lies dormant in some disconnected neuron, one whose maxim, "Mind over matter, if you don't mind-it don't matter," washed over me like the white noise of endlessly tossing waves upon the shore.
Days 103-106: Sept. 14-17, 2002 - New
A Confluence of Rivers
Near Coffin Lake, I lodged in a town whose claim to fame bears witness to its Wild West heritage. What is now a pocket of suburban sprawl was once a rough and tumble fur and trade post called Ft. Colville; where in 1862 an army officer killed a townsman, and was acquitted because no one dared testify against him.
Day 102: Sept. 13, 2002 - New
The Long Lake
Except for the great red pines standing like mute sentinels, the day was lifeless, not even the quick moving shadows of buzzards broke the shimmering glare of the tarmac. Only the occasional passing RV, the paved road, and a great bridge of steel spanning to the other side of the lake were signs that I was not the first to pass through here.
Day 100: Sept. 11, 2002 - New
Big Mountain Biking: Part II
Motorized vehicles groaned and whined as they barely passed by. His legs felt leaden and his lungs burned. They were good pains. They reminded him that he was not a machine. They were good pains because they told him he was alive, that he could stop anytime he wanted and relish the peace.
Day 100: Sept. 11, 2002 - New
Big Mountain Biking: Part I
Though he is used to waking up in a tent by the road, the first thing he does, as if it is what one naturally does upon first waking, is turn on the television. A bottle of Gatorade sits untouched by the bed stand. Maps lay discarded on the floor. Packages of granola bars spill out of the pockets of a camelback. He sits on the edge of his bunk, attention fixed upon a box of glass.
Day 98: Sept. 9, 2002 - New
Somewhere high above me a wandering cloud snagged on a snowcapped peak. I rounded the first bend in the road that was known as Going-to-the-Sun Highway. The morning sun warmed my back as I began the ascent. Snow flecked peaks towered to the west, and the road wound through jagged swaths of pine and cedar.
Day 97: Sept. 7, 2002 - New
Later that evening, Bart and I rode to his house. We went up a hill, passing a white granite edifice vaguely resembling an amalgamation of Aztec and Grecian architecture.
Day 96: Sept. 6, 2002 - New
The Art of Detachment
Cut Bank was a cold, decrepit town where the howl of trains in the night competed with the hiss of wind sweeping down the mountain range, and frigid rain pattered upon the pane of windows with forlorn views.
Day 93-95: Sept. 2-5, 2002 - New
I rode upon a narrow strip of asphalt which cleaved through rugged hills, a study in dun. The air smoldered, but an occasional breeze smelt of sage, and a freshness that I could only call the fragrance of the desert. The hills had the texture of sun-baked mud, were highly weathered, and wind sculpted into highly eroded pinnacles like bunkers perforated with foxholes where soldiers laid low and prayed the rosary.
Day 90: Aug. 31, 2002 -
Upon the Border of the Western Wilderlands
A funny thought popped into my mind as I coasted down yet another hill. I was in cattle country and it had been a long time since I've had a steak. If I am going to ever eat beef again, then this would be the place to do it...
Day 89: August 30, 2002 -
The Secret Gem of North Dakota
I am in North Dakota. After cycling along the desolate and sun baked highway of Route 200 rain has come from afar to drown my quest in frigid downpour...
Days 86-89: August 27-29, 2002
Glad Tidings Upon the Dakota Plains and, The Road to the Western Wilderlands
My new frame arrives around 12:30 PM. By 3:30 I am back on the road on a red and white Jamis Dragon. It is somewhat ironic in an Alanis Morisette kind of way that it is the same color as the cyclist's bike I had helped just west of Lake Itasca...
August 31, 2002
A Journey Worth Taking
"It's not that Matt is a stranger to bicycling. He completed the mountain biking and triathlon (which involves road cycling) courses in the kinesiology department in his senior year. As for actual experience on the road -- he's been there, done that. Last summer, just before attending the College summer program in Cambridge, he "bike-packed" through the Isle of Skye and the North Central Highlands of Scotland. Now, Matt's fulfilling a lifelong dream in another, much longer cross-country trek..."
Days 83-85: August 24-26, 2002
The Headwaters and, the Island
Park Bike Shop
Along the way I see another cyclist by the wayside. I see that he needs help so I pull up beside his new shiny red and white Trek road bike. He tells me that he's never changed a flat before and he's having hard time with his rear wheel. I help him change it. Meanwhile another cyclist pulls up on a blue Rivendell road bike...
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