Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Now This!

Just the latest and greatest in the life of Long Haul Ryan! More to follow but here's a start. Please read this article and the amazing comments associated with it.


Time to get a new bike and get the hell out of this corrupt backward ass city!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Blog was Stolen!

When the bike was stolen, so was my literal voice concerning this blog. My thought patterns went from thinking about fun things to write about to "what blog." That's what it seems like to me. Maybe it was all those hours on my Brooks Saddle and being able to think about what I wanted to write about that helped.

Almost at the end of this chapter of the journey. Sitting at my hotel in San Diego. Gonna fly out of here the middle of this week and head back to NYC. My buddy John who has been following along with the journey this whole summer told me he felt like he was left hanging. It's true! Going from writing a few blogs per week to nil!

I must say it has been an unforgettable journey for me. Over 5000 thousand miles of bicycling. Countless new friends along the way. So many small towns and big that I may have never seen if it were not for this trip. Met and hung out with so many old friends along the way as well. Most of them with their kids. I love Kids! Especially here in San Diego and all of Cali. It's sick, like 7 of my friends also have 2 year olds.

Now I'm kind of decompressing and chilling in SD. Ate at my favorite Mexican Joints. Drank some of my favorite coffee here. Driving around the old neighborhood and hit the beach a few times. Feels good to be here for a minute. Doesn't feel like home though. Got my fill of poker too. May be a few more sessions before I depart. I just love to play poker. '

One funny thing that has happened my whole journey has been the weather. It's uncanny how many times this summer I heard people say over and over again how good the weather was. Every single place I visited people remarked that it was the best weather they had all summer. Including today while swimming and trying to paddle board behind the Marine Room in La Jolla. My buddy Mike Wilson who is a school teacher and had the luxury to be at the beach about 30-40 times this summer said it was the best day he's had and it's late September. In Alaska and many other states and cities I heard the same thing. Even at Burning Man this year was supposedly the best weather they ever had. It's reminds me of all the Padre's games I've ever been too. They never lost a game that I attended. If you want nice weather I have to come to your city. Oops....Mike W changed his last name to Starr. That's pretty cool I think. His grandfathers name was Starr. So him and his whole family changed their names. Now they are Mike Starr, Shea Starr(Which is what I used to call her anyways...Sheaster), Kai Starr and Miley Starr.

What's Next? I'm not sure just yet. There are plenty of ideas rolling around in my head though. First off I need to have my achilles looked at by a few professionals. It is still very painful and inflamed. Once I find out what needs to be done with that I can plan ahead. Definitley planning on going to Brazil very soon. This wander lust is no where near gone. That has been with me forever and will always be. When your traveling and staying at Hostels and hitting cool cities you meet people from all over the world and folks who are pretty well traveled. That just breeds ideas and fantasies of far off places that you need to experince. That's the way it is for me anyways.

Then I think about this injury I suffered over 2 months ago in Idaho. Here we go, a turtle aka tortoise. Follow me here. They are known for moving very slowy. Now think about my injury. This turtle saving injury slowed me down tremendously. My friend Casey pointed out how I tore this.(Tortoise/TORETHIS) They sound pretty similiar. Also what helped cause the accident in the first place was the turtle trying to escape my clutches. The clutches that were trying to get him to safety. I had the turtle in my right hand when it started to piss on me. Then It started scratching at my fingers to be free. Can't help me think about times in my life I was clawing and scratching to be on my own. I've never pissed on anyone but I definitely tried to ignore help. When the turtle started doing those things I extended my arm to get him as far away from me as possible. What if I never stopped to help the poor thing? There is definitley some symbolism going on there. Don't have it all figured out but it's there.

My bike being stolen is a whole other ball of wax. What if? Some many questions can be asked. A friend of mine in NY said to me, "you never know....you could have been hurt on your bike if you were still riding." This is something we'll never know. Sure I could have went right back to Portland and bought a bike and continued the trip. It just didn't feel like the right thing to do after meditating on it. Sure I do want to take that ride down the coast still. That will just have to wait for now. The coolest part is that I did make it across the country. That is a hell of an accomplishment. I did go to Alaska and meet some amazing people and have one of the best times of my life. Then I did come back down and bike with my friend Casey for a few weeks before going to Burning Man. That is something that came to me a few days into the trip.

Rich and I had originally planned on biking from NY to Astoria, OR. As soon as my wheels started rolling my head started spinning with ideas. One of those was to go to Burning Man. I've been wanting to go for over ten years and I had the time money and would be in the right vacinity as well. Boy that first misty cold morning we left NYC I remember getting over the George Washington Bridge saying to myself, "I don't fucking know if I can do this." It was the first day I had road my bike with all my gear. It was cold and it was all a mental game from there on out. One of the best days of my trip was getting to Burlington, WA with Lee & Luke from Ashville and finally seeing the West Coast.

Then it was in Yellowstone that I met three kids biking West to East. They were from the Northwest and told me about the ferry from Bellingham. When I thought to myself that I was way ahead of schedule and have only three states I've never been too. One of those being Alaska. Fuck it, why not? Started checking out schedules and made the decision to go up there. Kind of the way most of the trip went. Very "Organic", free and fun. Watch out North Dakota and Minnesota, your next. Then I will have been to all fifty states, pretty nifty HUH?


Not so much. I still have plenty of thoughts and ideas that I want to share. I'm still on the road so technically I can blog til at least then. But that is bullshit, there are no rules! This blog has brought so much joy in my life. Nothing like hearing all the positive feedback I've gotten this summer. Still have to post a bunch of pix as well. But they have a 15 minute time limit on the computers here in the lobby of my hotel and there are folks waiting. More to come. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quick snip-it and some pix

Article from the Daily Playa about the bike being stolen. Went out to tens of thousands. Haven't been to movitated to write but wanted to do a post. More to come. In LA having a blast in Venice seeing old friends and there new babies. Heading to Dago next week.

Some art on an RV when we were leaving.

$25 one hour massages in SF. The guy was insanely good.

Some cool artwork in an alley in SF.

No chance to flip off a bike in SF...sad!

Peacefest...kind of a boredest!

Yum...some good Indian food in inner Sunset.

Hastens in Culver City with some friends.

Cool ass bike chain chandelier at a community bike shop in LA. Can't imagine how much that thing ways.

Me! With my cool hand crafted shirt I got at the burn.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So long San Fran.

I'm sitting in SFO right now. Waiting to board a flight to LA. Yes that might sound weird to some of you. Without a bike it's the best way to get around. My bike was stolen while I was at Burning Man.

It was September 1st and I was hanging out with some of the NY crew at the burn. We were going to bike to another venue around midnight. Came back to where we left the bikes and didn't see them. I had my bike locked to my friend Sue's bike. So we're looking for two bikes leaning against one another. Hmm...walking all around and can't find my bike. Some other folks we were with bikes were very close to ours. Turns out Sue's bike is laying on the ground with my clipped lock around it.

My feelings were so hurt. Here I am at this wonderful artistic energetic event in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. My stomach hurt. It felt like somebody dismembered me. That bike had become an appendage.

The other three stood there waiting for me to make a move. I surveyed the surrounding area. Criminals are dumb. They always like to return to the scene of a crime. Watch their work in progress. Not this time though. If there was a light switch to bring the daylight and then a boost up and just hover 50 or a 100 feet in the air, that would have been great. Get a birds eye view and look for the bike. Would have loved to get my bike back and impart some justice and pain on the guilty party.

What could I do but sulk at that time. Fuck Burning Man! Should have listened to Jack and never gone. That was what I was feeling. In the middle of the night in the desert. This city that was constructed in just a few weeks. Where do I begin to search for my whip? Then I started to step up my game. Replay the nights events and think like a criminal. First of all a lot of bikes go missing at BM. Most are inexpensive bikes that drunkards take to get back to their camp. This bikes lock was clipped. These thieves aren't going to be riding this bike around the playa. This bike was taken to a remote area where there is a trailer that is being loaded with stolen goods. That's what I think anyways.

Over 50,000 fun loving people and a handful of scumbags. Everybody I talked to had their own opinion. Of who stole it or what to do. So I did take some advice. Went to the radio stations and to the newspaper. Yes, BM has three radio stations and two daily newspapers. My story made front page news.

It's kind of a cool story. This guy bikes across the country only to come to BM to have his bike stolen. The camp I was at had about 100 people. One of the guys from my camp named Tom put a fund together for me. They collected just over $500. How amazing is that? A group of strangers pulling together to help out a fellow burner. My heart was really touched by that. At first my pride was against it. But if that happened to any of the folks I was camping with I would have done the same.

That night I walked back to camp looking at every bike that went by me. Made it back and told a new friend that I'd made. Had to share my pain. The next day the news spread like wild fire. Kind of hate being at the center of attention, especially for something like this.

When I went to the radio station there was another guy who had his bike stolen as well that night. The stories kept coming. His bike was also worth over $2000. My bike with all the gear it had on it was going to cost over $2000 to replace. From what I know my bike was the only one that was locked. Not that it made it any better. But there was a theft ring going on. Learned a valuable lesson if I ever go back to burning man.

This really almost ruined my adventure. It really changed the course of my trip. My plan was to head back to Portland and continue biking down the coast. Now what should I do. Could have gotten a ride back to Portland but don't really have any connections there. A few folks started offering me rides to different locations. I decided on heading to San Fran. That was going to be the next big city down the coast anyways. Had a place to stay and regroup.

Still wasn't sure if I was going to buy another bike right away and continue my tour. I contacted Surly to see if they could help a brother out. They offered a 10 to 15% discount from a local dealer. They said they would find someone in SF that would do that and call me back. Never heard from them.(Thanks Travis at Surly) So maybe I won't replace it with a Surly.

About to get on the plane. So I'll continue this later. Thanks for following along.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

When I say Port, you say "Land."....Port

The kissing booth at "Last Thursday" on Alberta in Northeast Portland.

Just some pix from Portland so far. I'll write a blog in a few hours.

Some artwork from the guest house.

Local neighborhood brewery.

Ad from there local paper that I found clever.

Big ass organic Tomato at Fred Meyers. Which is an amazing store in the Northeast part of the world.

Bike tools and rack in the basement of the guest house.

UBI bike college. Clean and serene.


Electric shifters on UBI bike. Yup electronic shifting.

The crew of the Williams street bike friendly guest house. The tan guys are Brits who just road across the country starting in NYC. The other dude Chris is the proprietor of the establishment.

Costume from the block party.

Fucking Rad!

He said he wasn't going to BM. Said his friend got that for him from the Olympics. Bitching machine!

Artwork from a local bar. Stay tuned, more to come.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Oh what a day in Portland. I'm sitting in The Bike Friendly Guesthouse.(www.friendlybikeguesthouse.com) It's only been around for a few weeks now. Last night Casey and I stayed at the International Hostel on the other side of town. He was determined to get home to his wife and kid, so he flew out this evening. I myself had to find some new digs.

My friend Julie Rae from Juneau/Haines told me of her friend that lives here in PDX.(heard that's the nickname for Portland) She just left town for Nicarauga though. Thought about warmshowering it but was planning on being here for a few days. The hostel from last night was sold out for the next few nights as well. Don't really feel like being in somebody elses space. There isn't really a camping option, so this guest house is the next best thing. Come and go as I please. Brand new and close enough to downtown.

Here's the kicker! It's located a block from UBI. Yes you say, what is UBI. The United Bike Institute I tell you.(www.bikeschool.com) So this place will host pretty much anybody with the bread to spread for a three night stay min. $30 a night plus tax. Oregon is great, no tax on anything else. If your going to the school you can stay here. Great, I'm bicycle touring and have two current students here. Was hanging with one today and he's going to spend some time with me on my bike.

It's about that time anyways. Sure it's holding up well with just over 5000 miles on it. Had my broken spoke fixed in Seaside the other day by an expert mechanic for $15. Free is always better. Will also be nice to learn how to make a few tweaks and adjustments myself. Hell, I may end up taking a course there. Going to check out the school in the next couple of days.

The photo of the vending machine in the previous blog was filled with bike shit. Patch kits, tubes and other stuff. How sweet is that. It's in this bike garage in Seattle. You can park your bike with 24 hour access for $10 per month. With a stand and some tools in there to use. If you have any mechanical needs you fill out a fix it ticket and the mechanics who are there during the day will get it done. They have these big roll up doors they open during the day. At night they close them to block of their tools, work stations and parts they have for sale. Ingenious.

This Portland is a real bike friendly city so far. A bit hilly but fun to bike around. Yesterday Casey and I biked in from Seaside. Which is an 85 mile ride. Was not looking forward to that ride. There is a bus we could have taken. Casey really wanted to do the ride. It was going to be his last day of the tour so I obliged. I'm going to be coming back this way anyways after burning man. So I could have taken it or left it.

Most definitely glad we biked it. It was a killer 85 mile day. With about 6800 feet of climbing and tempatures in the 80's to 90's. The route we took sucked. The road was very narrow for the most part with no shoulder. Traffic was just whizzing by. But like all those days I didn't feel like riding, it always feels better when I've done it. The pay off was the last climb before we reached the city. Climbed up this 1600 foot radio/tv antenna mountain where it was all downhill into town. Casey thought it was a sick joke that we had that last climb. He thought that was done for the day.

Once we got into the city and out over the river onto one of the bridges. I realized there really isn't a good view of Portland. It's not a very distinguishable skyline. Looks like it can be any city USA. Once you start getting into the smaller neighborhoods is where the charm kicks in. Some sweet treats lining the streets. Houses painted in all sorts of colors with great designs and architecture. Then you just pop out onto another cool little main street here and there. With plenty of shops, bike lanes and bike parking to boot.

Treethuggers was a word I heard in the apple store earlier today. Was asking about some mapping questions with my iPhone. They sent over the resident apple store bike enthusiast. We start talking and got onto the subject of burning man. He was telling me about a dj he likes that will be at BM. Then said that a lot of tree Thuggers also like him. I'm like what's a TT. He says their wannabe hippies that deal drugs and wear LRG clothing.(baggy clothes) At least I think that's what I remember him telling me. A bunch of hippie thugs.

The apple store is great to get online. I can download skype and see Ryla. Which is the best part. Most libraries and Internet cafes don't have cameras. Apple machines are super quick along with their Internet. They don't seem to care so much. Also it's free!

Free! I feel free again. It's great to travel with someone. Especially a great friend like Casey who can put up with my bullshit. On the other hand it's nice to be flying solo. You can do whatever the hell you want to. If he wasn't with me. It's likely I would still be in Canada. Had so much fun being in Vancouver and Victoria. Loved it up there! On the other hand it's good to keep moving. But I want to move at my pace. Eat when I want to eat and do whatever I want to do. I'm a very independent person and always have been.

Finished reading my second book of the trip. Picked it up on the ferry up in AK for free. Was carrying it around for too long not to have read it. The Confedercy of Dunces. What a spectacular read. Loved it! Made me laugh and want to be just like the protagonist. Love Ignascious's style. He's got plenty of it. WWID? Casey started reading it along with me. From being traveled so well, the book started falling apart. So when we met up I threw Casey the first section. Then like a balding man the sections kept falling off. So Casey has all but the last few pages that I will send him tomorrow. How great is it though. You can just tear a book in half if you choose and share it with a friend. This way you can both laugh and share about it together. The story reminds me of a Harold. A Harold is a form of improv developed by Del Close of second city out of Chicago.

Ok. There's so much more I have to write. Went to see Eat Pray Love on Monday. Read the first two parts of the book a while back. Didn't even remember it to be honest. The movie was pretty good. Loved the opening of them in NYC. Made me miss home for a minute. They filmed in SOHO and in Tompkins Square Park. My stomping grounds.

A few weeks ago I was talking to someone and they had just seen the movie. They said my trip reminded them of the movie. My stories a bit different but cooler. What is my story?

The place I worked at burnt down for starters in February. People are always asking me, what was the reason for this journey. Usually I say I wanted to reboot my hard drive. The job was one thing. Then number two was my apartment. A new landlord was buying the building and wanted us out. So he took us too court. That is still going on. Third was my relationship. We had been dating almost a year with a break up or two. Then when I told her about this trip, she said "she wouldn't be happy for me!". Can't blame her. If she was planning on leaving me for 90 days I'm not sure how I would have felt.

In a way I'm truly grateful that everything went down the way it has. If she stuck by me I probably wouldn't be laying on this couch in Portland today. Eat pray love. That movie moved me and filled me with emotion. It really is where I'm at in a way. Haven't really been eating yummy food. Nor have I been filled with love lately. Sure I've been doing some praying. I did realize that I want more of those things in my life and this journey is perfect for that.

Peddling and being by yourself all day really gives you plenty of time to think. Sometimes I think about what I want to say in this blog. Most days I relive my life. Think about decisions I've made and the future. Often I am in the present, fortunately.(its good to stay focused on the road) Most of all I think of my family and friends. Wish that I could have all of you with me on some part of this journey. See the things that I have seen this summer. Whales, bald eagles, coyotes, bats, elk, moose and you name it. Meteor showers in the Alaskan sky from the deck of a ferry and the other wonders of nature. Like calving glaciers. It's just a lot of time in this head of mine.

Went to that movie by myself which I have no problem doing. It was me and all woman. Gave me this zest to keep this journey up. Not stop after burning man or San Diego. Just keep going!

One other thing I've been thinking about the past few days is the last book I read. The White Tiger. Growing up and sitting on my stoop in Queens, I always fantasized about traveling and being other places. Just part of who I am. Whenever I had the opportunity I took it. Sometimes I would travel as far away from the house as possible and be back without anyone knowing. That's part of growing up as a Latchkey kid. Didn't have too much supervision. Hence the independence.

When I did my first moving job from the Hamptons to Westbury in long Island I had found that way to travel and make money, the honest way. That's what I did through high school, college and beyond. Not only did I get to travel but see things I've never been privy too. Like that book describes he found his way out of his world. My world before that was my neighborhood. Filled with bars drugs and drunks. Sure it's fun to hang out til all hours of the night and get wrecked. But how long can that last before the troubles begin?

Soon enough I was driving trucks from NYC down to Florida. The original Long Haul Ryan. Wow, traveling and getting paid for it. Not only that, it was a manual labor job that was like a workout. My body was transforming as well as my mind. For a couple of summers I used to bike back and forth to Westbury from my place in Queens. 10 miles to work. Which was really "work!". Then sometimes at 11pm bike 10 miles home. So when people ask me if I'm in sick shape yet. I think back to those days.

Never really dawned on me how much those few things have influenced my life. Truly my biggest nightmare would have been to be stuck in the neighborhood I grew up in. Being able to get out of there and see the way other people lived made me want more. I've been saving for years and not living out of my means to take this trip of a lifetime when it presented itself. Well for me it's a pretty amazing trip. I am truly living a dream. This a dream that has been realized. Even from the first few days of this trip I told Rich I'm going to go to Burning Man. Sure we had a lot of miles ahead of us but it was intended. The ticket wasn't bought til a few days ago. But it was part of the plan.

Just like the book/movie eat pray love is sparking folks passions to experience more. I hope my journey does the same. After Alaska I was chilled out. Casey got me off that gear rather quickly. Time to get back into that mode. I like that Ryan. No need to be in a rush. I'm not sure the American Dream/nightmare is all it's cracked up to be. I'm going to try carrying as much love and light as I possibly can.(sounds new agey)

It's also been lonely on the road. Just like Liz Gilbert I've gone from "relationshit" to relationship. Having had so much time alone has been nice. Since boulder I haven't even kissed a woman. Well since Wyoming that is. There have been so many beautiful woman along the way as well. Not going to force anything though. Just let it happen if it's meant to be.

Time to hit the rack. Thanks for reading along, stay tuned!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Seaside, OR

It's a glorious Sunday morning here in Seaside, OR. Enjoying a breakfast buffet at McKeowns restaurant. $11.99 for all you can eat and coffee. Fresh waffles and omelets made to order. Need it after yesterdays ride.

Rode just over a 100 miles. This way Casey could feel like he accomplished something on his trip. He's been complaining about not biking enough. Fine, I'll ride your ass into the ground. Then we'll see if he changes his tune. It was a pretty chill ride. Did a few thousand feet of climbing and my GPS claims I burned over 9000 calories. Last time I'd checked I'd burned over 500,000 since I began. Figuring I'm close to about 5k miles so far with plenty to go. Bike trip facts.

Glad to have the new IPhone. This thing is lighting fast. Had no service all day yesterday. Just thought AT&T was slacking over here. Then after 85 miles I see an AT&T store. I'm like "what?" The guy at the store just did a hard reset on my phone and it was fine again. I like staying connected.

Two days ago, August 20th marked a day 20 years ago that will remain as vivid as any. It was the day I was on a Campus Life bike trip to Maine. The 7-11 bike tour. A fully supported bike trip for our youth group that was biking 7 states in 11 days.

That day we we're staying in New Hampshire and just biking up to Maine for the day to eat lunch then back. The trip ended abruptly just like Kim Masterson's life. Kim was 18 and off to college when we returned. We were biking up a slight ascent on route 1 in Maine. There was about 8 people in our group. We had been riding for about a week already. I was in the back of the group. Kim started losing control of her bike. It was a narrow shoulder on a two lane road.

It's customary to call out things in the road. ie. If your in the front you call out "glass.". If your in the back on a small road, you call out "car back.". We called out truck back when Kim was staggering back and forth from the shoulder into the road. This tractor trailer got way over. He was halfway into the other lane. Kim went right under the trailer. The back wheels went over her and snuft out her life.

That image and what took place right after have been replayed in my head many times. It is a day that I will never forget. When I planned this trip I thought about that day quite a bit. Had lunch with my buddy Jack Crabtree who was leading that bike trip just before I left. He was at the front of our group. Both of us went right over to Kim. I was feeling for a pulse while he started administering CPR. I think she was gone instantly.

Believe both of our lives were changed forever that day. He has biked across the country twice. Him sharing about those trips sparked my interest so many years ago. Three months later and across the country myself with an excursion to Ak and the Yukon. Just want to say, RIP Kim.

From here it's a days ride to Portland. Gonna kick it here and bike the 75 miles to Portland tomorrow. Broke a spoke yesterday and need to have that fixed. Gonna spend a few days in Portland and then take a bus to Reno. From there I think it's a 150 miles to Burning Man.

Bought my ticket the other day. Gonna come back to Portland after that and continue down the coast. Til next time, stay tuned.

The pix are just some random pix I've taken with the new phone. That one is a vending machine at a bike garage in Seattle.

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Location:Broadway St,Seaside,United States