Monday, June 28, 2010

Dew Boys!

Had a pretty cool run in just a little while ago. Sitting in the Library here in Dubois, WY. Went to get a cup of coffee and offered to Valet this older dudes quad.(4 Wheeler) Seems to be the vehicle of choice here in town. So he let me take it for a spin up and down main street. Pretty cool, I've never driven one before. Pretty easy to drive, all automatic.

Then we get to talking and he asked where am I from. So I tell him NYC and he starts to tell me about how he served in WW2 with a guy from Brooklyn named John Smolenski. He told me how the same day John was killed he took some shrapnel to his leg. He regretted never contacting John's family. He told me how he had only told that story to about a 1/2 dozen people in his whole life. He was pretty graphic in describing how he saw his friend go down and what happened when he went up to him after. They were both medics and medics didn't usually get fired upon. But he told how a sniper hit John right in his red cross on his forehead.

Orville is this gentleman's name. He said John was probably his best friend at the time. He remembered that John's family had a mortuary in Brooklyn. I suggested we come here to the library and look up his family. He was into it. So we hopped on his 4 wheeler and headed off to the library.

First off we had to get the spelling right. Tried to do some searches for funeral homes with that name in Brooklyn. Also searched for his name and nothing. Then I found a casualties page for WW2 vets by state. We went to the county of Kings and looked up the SM's. Sure enough we found him, KIA.(killed in action) Then we did a search with the correct spelling and found the funeral home in Greenpoint. I pulled out my phone and called. It was a new owner but she knew the family. They are all deceased except for a few cousins out on Long Island. So I put Orv on the phone with this lady Irene whose husband bought the business from the Smolenski's but has since passed away. She had been in the neighborhood for 50 years and knew the family. Orv gave her his phone number just in case she ran into or heard from any of the cousins.

This felt really good to help him get that off his chest. He told me that is something he had always wanted to do and regretted never getting around too. Felt like that show on MTV where they go around and help people turn a dream into a reality, The Buried Life. It was so funny, listening to this 86 year old cowboy telling the story to this woman on the phone in the middle of the library. He was talking so loud everyone knew what was going on.

Woke up today and said to myself I need a rest day. A true rest day! Everyday off has been running around and being busy checking things out. One of my hardest days of riding was on a day "off." My calf muscle felt like it separated from my bone yesterday when riding. Today it is feeling much better. I'm still super grateful to be happy and healthy this far into the trip. Today is day 50 of the trip and it has been a blast the whole way.

My phone is acting up quite a bit here in Wyoming. There is no AT&T coverage. Went to WalMart in hopes of purchasing the new IPhone. The lady in the electronics dept told me, "it cost to much for us to carry." Lady, there's $1000 flat screens right behind your head. Anyways since there is no coverage in WY I'll have to wait til I get to Seattle to get it. So my blog entries will most likely have to come from Library computers or wherever I can get Internet. That means no pix for a while. Also means no more Vlogs until I get to the coast.

Yesterday was a 75 mile ride from Lander here to Dubois. It was the best weather of the trip so far. My friend Lilly drove up from Boulder to hang out for the weekend. So that meant we had a car to do some exploring. Last night after the 75 mile ride we drove to Jackson Hole, WY. Lilly left Lander about the time we did and drove her car to Dubois. Then she hopped on her bike and biked towards us for about 30 miles. That meant she got a day of riding in as well.

The trip to Jackson was about 85 miles. We took the scenic route through Grand Tetons National Park. Those mountains are so majestic. The road we took is also the road we'll be biking on tomorrow so it was good to get a lay of the land. Jackson is a hot little town. The town square has four entrances that are all arches made of Elks antlers. They have been there for ages and we're collected by boy scouts here in WY. The rest of the town is a bit touristy. Tons of t-shirt and artsy shops to spend some loot. It sits right at the foot of the ski resort as well. Staring up at the green mountain with all the trails nicely groomed is quite a sight from town. Heard at least five different languages while I was there. Hasn't happened since I left NY. The ride back to Dubois was wild at night. There are signs to be careful the whole way. Watch out for moose, elk, bear and bison. We did get pretty close to a 500LB elk. The moon was almost full as well, so it was awesome to see all the stars and watch the moon reflect off the river on the side of the road that we were following.

It's a nice time to be here in WY. Supposedly it is never this green. There has been so much rain that all the mountains and hillsides are super lush. Truly a sight to see. Next thing I have to work on is figuring out which is going to be the best route to take through Yellowstone Park by bike. Not sure I want to do the whole figure 8. That is how the drive is layed out. Tough choices, I know.

Thanks for reading along! Hope to able to post something with pictures in the next couple of days. Have a great week, go out and live!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off Network

Still in Wyoming. Took a day off in Lander and went up to Thermopolis. They have natural hot springs up there. So I smelt like sulphur all day yesterday. Then went and checked out some Pyroglyphs. Ancient drawings on rocks by Native Americans. Then last night ended up at a Pow Wow on Fort Washakie. So it was a very Native American day.

Three days out of Yellowstone. AT&T does not have service in Wyoming. So I'm off network and have very little data. It's been tough to connect with the real world from here. But soon enough I'll be back on network and updating everyday.

Other than that it's been another great weekend. Have about a 75 mile day ahead of us to Dubois. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, I'll update again soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


One more great day of riding to add to the list The ride from Laramie up here to Saratoga is one to remember. It was great weather with awesome views all day long. Wyoming is such a beautiful state. It was a 30 mile ride to the base of the mountain to a town called Centennial. Stopped there for a cup of coffee and ate a PB&J.

Then it was time for the climb to 10,800 feet. Centennial was at about 8000 ft. Not that any of this matters to you, but it is a bike trip so I'll just throw some facts in there. The woman who owned the coffee shop did the ride the day before. She suggested I take this road that was closed to cars because it got washed out. It was a real pretty ride but then again the whole Forrest was nice. It is called Medicine Bow national Forrest.

I'm boring myself with all these little details. Right now we're staying at this crappy little hotel here in Saratoga and watching Rambo. I'm pretty dang exhausted. Was looking over the next couple of weeks and it looks like I'll be in Seattle around July 14th. In just about a week we'll be in Yellowstone. Then the fourth we'll be spending in Missoula. Getting pretty close to the west coast.

Once I get to Seattle I plan on going up to Vancouver for a couple of days. Then it's back down to the good ol' U S of A and off towards San Diego. Haven't really mapped that out yet but think it should take about a month. Especially since I plan on stopping and hanging with everyone I know that lives down the coast.

Made a pretty big mistake last Friday. Can you guess what it was? Not in a million years. Was getting some really bad jock itch/swampass/crotchrot/rashes/chaffing going on down below. Got the brilliant idea of doing some manscaping. Well figured why not go as smooth as a babys bottom. Something I don't think i've ever done before. This didn't really help and exhasperated the problem. Little man stubble in that area with all the sweat and heat from biking made it worse. If I had to do it over I would have bought some scissors and did some trimming.

Why not add a little more uncomfortabilty to an already long exhausting ride? Today it seemed to be doing a little bit better. Yesterday I was sideways on my seat a day with my hand in my bike shorts adjusting my junk every five seconds. When I wasn't applying chamois cream and A&D oinment. Live and learn!

If your on facebook and we're not friends add me. Ryan Joseph Stepka. I've been doing little clips recently called "Riding the White Line". It's a great way to share a little more of the experience. Love hearing from my friends that this ride is motivating them. One of my buddies just told me he's on a mission to lose 20lbs inspired by this ride. A few of my friends have gotten a few more miles in on thier bikes.

Get out there and go on an adventure. Thanks for following along!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Made it to Laramie, WY today. It was a long uphill climb from Fort Collins. We had about a 3000 foot climb up to 8100 feet then down into Laramie which is at 7200 feet. Except the downhill was into 25 mph headwinds. All and all a tuff day of biking.

Yesterday was pretty liesurely from Boulder up to FC. It was nice after having a weekend "off.". I put off in quotes because it was still a long weekend. Friday we road from Denver to boulder and it was about a 50 mile day. Then Saturday was pretty mellow taking care of some errands and went to see a band. We saw Dawes play at the Fox theater. Great venue that was empty and the band was pretty good.

Friday night I ran into an ex girlfriend that now lives in Boulder. She's also really into cycling. We made a plan to do a ride up to Nederland just 18 miles outside of Boulder. This was an epic ride through this beautiful canyon that was all uphill. Rock climbers all over the canyon on the way up. Then once we got to Nederland it was gorgeous. A small town in the mountains set on a lake with houses nestled everywhere.

There happens to be a dozen dispenceries in this small town. Didn't realize weed was such a cash crop here in CO. Well I'm out of CO but I left my heart there. Love that state. Lilly and I were walking around and ended up checking out one of the dispenceries. A nice local started up a conversation with us. Turns out he's a supplier to this place. He lives about seven miles out of town and has a B&B. Looks like we wouldn't have needed a medical marijuana card to score some bud. Reminded me of being in Amsterdam.

Lilly and I ended up at a party she was invited to up there. It was an awesome house on almost 800 acres of land just outside of town. The propety has trails and cool things all over the property. We checked out the horse stables, the TeePee and just hung out and ate some food and met some more great folks.

Pretty random that my friend from NY recommends riding up there and I run into Lilly who wants to go on the ride with me. Then she's invited to a party on said day. But that's kind of the way of this trip. The pay off of biking uphill for 2 1/2 hours is the downhill. Got up to just over 48mph on the way down. That is fast and it felt good.

It was a fantastic weekend to get some rest and geared up for the rest of the trip. We ended up using to score places to stay the past two evenings. Last night we stayed in FC with this nice couple Tom & Rita. They just completed the ride the Rockies bike tour a few days before. That is a 540 mile tour through the Rockies. It was nice to have a place to stay with some nice folks who have done a lot of touring of thier own.

Then tonight we also used WS to find a place here in Laramie. How cool is that? Another couple named Evan & Kennedy who are also big into biking. He was running a mountain bike race here until about 9:30. So we just hung out in town til Evan called then we headed over.

Had some new break pads put on my bike this morning in FC. Went to a great bike shop called Full Cycle. They went through my bike and tweaked and adjusted it as well. Which is important, prolly won't hit any more shops for a while. Today was a 65 mile day with almost no services. The deeper we get it's going to get worse. Kind of been prepared for this through the last couple of states. It's not like the coastal cities where u just keep hitting town after town.

Not much more to say right now. The trip is still going great. Weighed myself over the weekend and am down to 232 from 249. Not to bad, 17 lbs so far. Feeling healthy and ready for some more beautiful country. I'll try and be more consistant with my blogging as well. Thanks for reading along.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

One of my favorite city's in America

So it's been a few days since my last entry. Been a busy couple of long days.

Today was a great day! We started out in Denver and biked up to Boulder, about 50 miles the route I took. Yesterday was a rest day so to speak. We were above tree line by 2pm in the afternoon. Way up in the Rockies in the middle of Rocky Mountain National Park.

One of my favorite drives in America. Take the 70 west to 40N over Berthard pass and into Winterpark. Then up to Picturesque Grand Lake for lunch. On to and through rocky mountain national park. Which let's out into estes park. Down through boulder and back into Denver. If you ever get the opportunity, do it!

The park had an infestation of some type of beetle. It has killed thousands of trees. It was really devistating and sad to see. There was also alot less wildlife. Still has the most epic views. The mountains all have snow on them.

Got back to town just in time for game 7. Also met up with an old friend from NYC. My buddy Ed who moved out here last June. It was good to hang, see another familiar face and catch up with him. He's been doing sweat lodges every weekend. Of course this weekend is the first one there taking off. I'm sure it would have been different then crazy Misouri hippie dudes sweat lodge. Ed is studying native American shamanism.

Did catch my first air on my 70lb bike today. Cruising up to boulder was on this bike path that had a lip with a little bit of vert. Landed it! That was a cool feeling. Never thought that bikes two wheels would be off the ground at the same time.

Lets back track to Wednesday night. Arrived in Denver to an old work buddy of Richs house. He lives in this community called Stapleton. It is built on the old airport out here. To me it looks somewhat like a Hollywood set or the OC. Very well manicured and all the homes are brand new.

Mind you, Rich didn't tell me much about what we were rolling into. His buddy is married with two kids. That was a relief. Didn't figure a single guy was living here. This community looks like something out of a movie, the Stepford Wives maybe.

Rich made it there before me and took off with Russ to replace his chain that broke a few days before. I was greeted by Russ's wife Barbara and their two adorable kids. They really welcomed us and were extra hospitable.

We really had a good time during our short stay in Stapleton. Had a BBQ our first night and hung out with some of their neighbors. Played some horseshoes and had some laughs.

Russ went the extra miles. He really went out of his way to make sure we were all good and enjoying ourselves. He just picked up a Porsche 944 convertable a few months ago. He works from home and said it was ours to roll around in on Thursday. Wait, your going to loan us your sports car!

So we were cruising in style. That was the fastest car I've ever driven. This trip just keeps going uphill for us. Top down and good music blasting all day in God's country.

Actually started this blog last night and am finishing it in the morning. Really looking forward to this weekend in Boulder. Get some rest and geared up for the rest of the trip. We are going to go north from here up towards Cheyenne. Tonight we are going to see a band called Dawes. I've never heard them, Rich really digs them. Live music is always a treat.

Time to shower up, get some breakfast nd get out into the Rocky Mountain air. Have a great weekend, thanks for reading along.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

day 37

Just another day of biking. 77 miles in a hard leather saddle with the heat and wind blaring. Started out with a beautiful blue Colorado sky with just a few clouds. You can see for miles and miles and it's gorgeous out here.

About 90 miles to get to Denver tomorrow. It will be nine straight days of biking. I'm ready to just kick it for a day. Will most likely spend Thursday off in Denver then bike up to one of my favorite towns in America on Friday, Boulder. Maybe kick it around there for a couple of days and then figure out the next move. Thinking about biking across Rocky Mountain National Park and then up towards Yellowstone.

Cant really blame google maps for what happened today. Just about half way through our day we got hit with a pavement ends sign. Sure enough the pavement did end and we were riding a dirt road for over thirty miles. Off road takes a lot bigger toll on the body. Especially my swamp ass that's been on the go for eight hot, windy and rainy days. Also tougher on the bike your hands and it's a lot slower. Yeah I'm complaining. Why can't Colorado pave their frontage roads?

Just before the end of the day made it to the "ghost"town of Genoa, CO. Was looking forward to a cold drink after sucking in dust in the hot sun. Just like so many little towns in the past few states, nothing. Asked a woman in her yard if there was a place to get a cold drink. She shook her head and said no. Then she told me down at the elevator there is a pop machine. So I go to the end of the street to the elevator. That's a place where they store all the grain. I see a guy inside the office by the scale and see the coke machine. So I pull my bike over and start to put on a shirt. Just as I turn around, the guy in the office gets picked up and takes off. Come on dude, I'm a stranger on a bike in a grain mill. You don't offer to inquire why I'm there. This was all within 15 feet.

Just shook my head and took a shot of my warm water. Went back through town and back to the frontage road. That's when I saw this building that looked like a lighthouse. It was the tower museum. Where you can see six different states.

Theres a family leaving as I pull up. You've never seen anything like this unless you've been here. Talk about a throwback. Get inside and it's jam packed with everything you can imagine. This elderly couple welcomes me. They sell me a pepsi right away. Then I enquire about the tower tour. That's only another buck. Sign me up fella. He says you can go all the way to the top.

It was a little workout getting up there. Also tight and unsafe. Reminds me of the dangerous city museum in St. Louis. Go up, check out the view and am blown away by all the crap in this place. Jam packed with tons of old bottles, paintings, keys, arrowheads and a pluthera of everyhthing else.

As I'm leaving the old guy Jerry gets to showing me stuff. From a butt depth gauge, walrus penis, nose picker and old gag knife. Think he would have kept me there all day if he could. Great value for a buck.

Small town America has been great but I'm glad to be getting to a big city tomorrow. Thanks for reading along. Hope you enjoy the pix.

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Location:Colorado Ave,Limon,United States

Monday, June 14, 2010


After spending 8 days in Kansas I'm glad to have made it to Colorado. Thinks it's day 37 and 11 states so far. Totalling just over 2150 miles in all.

Today I was a bit worried when we calculated the route here to Burlington. It was 66.6 miles away. I'm always a bit superstitous. The ride turned out just fine other than rich's busted chain.

It would and could have Been a great day to just stay in bed. Been on the road the previous five days and they have been long ones. Today makes six and it's two days and about 160 miles to the mile high city. So prolly best to get there and take a day off.

It was 50 degrees at the start of the day and windy. Woke up about 8:30 and didn't crawl out of bed til just before 9 to go down and get some Super 8 great start breakfast. Turned out to be not such a great start. Get down and breakfast ends at 9. Theres a crockpot of gravy for bisquits. No plates and bowls are out. Get a cup and find out the juice machine is turned off. Vijay, the owner of the hotel who has an apartment right upstairs that used to be three hotel rooms was already complaining about breakfast the day before. When I was trying to get the best deal he was like, "I'm losing so much money with the breakfast.". So just a few minutes after 9am when I asked for a bowl he begrudingly obliged. Got the message buddy.

So packed up my gear and hit the road. Was looking forward to a nice egg breakfast. Nothing on the way out of town. Just some oj and a cold can of starbux from the gas station. It was tuff morning. Thought about just turning around and taking the day off. That wasn't going to happen. Was determined to get out of Kansas alive today. Felt like that state was trying to keep me there for some odd reason. Then with the headwinds today I was more determined to escape. Great state, but time to get down the road.

Was looking forward to getting about thirty five miles to hit the western time zone in Goodall. Got to that town and there was no sign for the new time zone. Then I kept watching my phone to watch the hour roll back. It never happened! Stopped there for some all you can eat pizza hut for $5.99. Salad bar and pizza, not a bad deal. They also have an 80' easel with a 30'x20' Van Gogh.

It was a little bothersome that they didn't have the time zone change sign. It was about 17 miles to the border and time to press on. Thankfully the weather started taking a change for the better. Blue skies and the wind was dying down. These two dogs came running up to me so I stopped to say hello. Then noticed these two horses right behind them. The two of them came over to give me good Kansas good bye.

It was truly exciting to reach Colorado today. Really feels like an acclomplishment. Fortunately this old man has a house literally on the border of ks and co. Went over and asked him to tale a photo for me. He was wearing a shirt with a vette on it. Found out he owns thre of them. His 2003 is for sale. He didn't want to trade for my bike or laugh when I asked.

You had to see this old timer. Gave him a quick tutorial on taking and the picture and got into place. He's telling me there's a glare as he has the iPhone held directly to his eyeball. I'm just standing there going yeah, that glass screen does cause a glare. He did pull it off.

Nice, now just a few more miles to Burlington. So glad this day is almost over. It was a nice payoff when I arrived to the destination. The most colorful, bright rainbow I've ever seen. Thanks for reading along.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

My man boobs are shrinking

I've lost at least a cup size since the beginning of the trip. Not sure how much I'm weighing in at but I'm feeling really good. People have been asking how much weight have I lost. Not sure but prolly about ten elbees at least.

Today was another pretty brutal day weather wise. Woke up early on the farm and got and early start. Had a little breakfast with Fred and Velma(the Flintstones) hit the road. Rich was funny, after he left he said. "wow, I've never met the nicest people in the world before!". Just another really nice Kansas couple.

Turned out to be just over an 85 mile day. It rained all night and cleared up as we hit the road. There was a cloud cover all day which was a change from the blaring sun. Eventually mother earth did unleash her furry. The cloud cover was dark, low and spread out for miles. A great recipe for a tornado. But kept on keeping on and just got really wet. Was a bit concerned due to the fact if something did go down there wasn't many options for cover.

Just as I was descending into the muck I could see something down the road in the opposite side approaching. Finally made out the image of a couple on a tandem bike pulling their gear. It was good to finally see some other bike tourers on the road. Those were the first we've seen in Kansas. They were nice folks who started in Denver and were going to end in Pittsburgh. They had to cut the trip short. About twenty miles from where we met. Because they just found out they are going to be adopting a baby. That's awesome for them, gonna be a lucky baby to have two loving parents that can give it all it needs.

Then just as I made it through the first storm I see something in the road ahead of me. The strange weather makes it difficult to dicipher what your actually seeing. At first I thought it was this guy on a unicycle I heard about. Then again as I inched closer I could see it was another biker. So cranked up and got right behind him and took a picture. He was biking way slower so as I passed I snapped another picture of him. Scared the living daylights out of this poor old guy. That was night my intention. He threw his hand up in a karate chop motion and cursed at me. He's was really startled. Glad he didn't fall off his bike. I apologized and then did it again. Then just kept biking as I was cracking up over the whole thing. It was so funny!

Next onto the new storm front. Real low lying clouds spread through the dark sky. It started getting a lot colder too. The wind was in my face and gusting. My mind was set on pedaling as fast as I could for the clearing I could see straight ahead in the west. Got lucky this second time and didn't get rained on, but that head wind was the fiercest yet of the trip.

Tomorrow will be a new state and a new time zone. That's going to be a big day! Tonight we are staying at a super 8. I like them. They have a pretty good breakfast and this one had a great hottub. Noticed blood on the inside of my bicep just before I tool a shower. Then I realized it was coming from my bloody nipple. My nipples were so chapped from riding they started to bleed. Had the same wool shirt on for most of the ride today. Then went shirtless. As I got to town I put on a long sleeve cotton shirt and noticed that must have been what caused the irritation. The shirt was bloody right where my nipple rest.

Enough about nipples! Saw a really cool mailbox today. Also passed this huge cemetary of old automobiles. Besides that it was head down and finish getting through this state. I'm over Kansas and ready for Colorado.

Thanks for reading along. Sorry if you found the content to graphic, but that's the nature of the ride. Have a great week!

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Saturday, June 12, 2010


No, not my favorite coffee shop on ninth street in the East Village where this trip began. True Kansas after the heavy rains flood mud. Google maps app got me good this time. So far so good for the most part, but today was a doozy.

This afternoon after watching all of these Alpacas play around in a field I took a gravel road google suggested as a short cut. Sooner than later that crushed lime stone road turned to dirt. Was going fine until that turned in Kansas clay that acts like cement. It caked onto my wheels and lodged up inti my fenders and stopped me dead in my tracks.

I was a few miles from the main road that I detoured from. So I picked up an old crushed/flattened beer can and started scraping the mud off. That didn't work so well. So then tried to pry a stick in there to clear it out. That didn't work to well either. It was time to get dirty!

Then I just started using my fingers to try and dig the mud out. Not happening brother! It was now time to take all the bags off the bike, flip it over and take the wheels off. Joy! Here I am in the middle of no where with nothing in sight except for some cattle.

What can be done? Nobodies going to be coming down this washed out road to save me. Chock it up to a bad decision and get to work. Wheels off, start to scrape out the inside of the fenders. Then I have to shave the tires of all the caked on mud. There is very little room between the tire and the fender, about a 1/4 inch.

Get it all cleaned up and then recconect the brakes. Oh yeah, before I took the wheels off I loosened the front fender bolts which was a brilliant idea. Total waste of time which just led to more work on the back end when I has to readjust those.

Yay, back on my bike pedaling. But only for another thirty feet. Same thing happens. What looked like hard pack soil with hay on it was a recipe for disaster. This mixture is like quickrete, gets in there and dries instantly. Go threw the same process again. Mind you, the whole time I'm sliding in mud and just have a smile on my face going what else can I do.

Get all geared up again and start pushing my bike for the few mile journey to the 24. Next thing you know, blamo the wheels are locked up again. Even without my body weight the mud just caked onto the wheels and locked them up inside the fenders.

At least two miles to go and I'm not making that mistake again, so I start to carry the bike. 70 lbs in a back pack with straps and packed right is really heavy. Trying to carry a beady like thus with the weight so unproportioned for a few miles is a nightmare.

I did give it a shit though. Got only so far with the top tube resting on my shoulders, the water cages bending as they are digging into my back. Ok next thought. Take all the bags off again and carry the bike by itself. So that's what I did. Took the bike a third of the way or so and went back for the bags. This went on and on.

Of course I got to some solid packed dirt and thought I was in the clear. Flipped the bike over, took it apart and started scraping. Went a few feet and it just caked on again. You figured I would have learned my lesson the second time.

Finally made it to the road with the bike. Locked it up to the stop sign and went back for the bags. Slipping and sliding with little rocks in my shoes. It's getting late now too. Almost 6pm, think this ordeal was about a 2 1/2 hour intensive mud course.

You can see the wreckage and devistation this flooding caused. There was dead frogs and lizards every where on the road. They must have drowned and been washed out of the field. Here's a live one.

Here I am at the end of this mud road pulling it all back together. I have my shirt off. Bike flipped upside down with the wheels off. Quite a few cars go by but nobody enquires. Which seems to be opposite the norm so far in Kansas. Must be the shirt off. People wave to me all day long. If I have my shirt off they don't wave as much.

Back to scraping everything. My sandals, the tires and the insides if the fenders. Must have been some seen. A guy with a big knife, crazy hair, muddy, half naked and working on a bicycle.

Ended up making it to our destination tonight at Rod from Manhattan parents house. Sweet folks who had homemade dinner ready to go for us. They live on a huge farm here. Unfortunately due to the rain there is not much work that can be done. They needit to be dry to harvest the wheat and bail the hay. My farm work will have to come down the road.

Super greatful to still be in good spirits, safe, healthy and in a comfortable place to stay. Thanks for following along. Almost to the next tome zone.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Chasing down the sunset

Was just checking out where the next time zone begins. Not to far away from here. Just in the end of western Kansas. Made it to Beloit tonight. Just before 9 o'clock and another fun 100 mile day. Fortunately the sun was in my favor. It didn't set til almost 9 making me think we were close to wst.

Got another late start today. That's wrong, the day starts when I begin pedaling and that's it. This is a tour, not a race. Left Manhattan just after noon today. Took Rod who cooked us dinner last night and Jeff who hosted us out to breakfast. It was perfect timing. We got to watch some of the opening ceremonies.

After breakfast went over to the bike shop/outfitter they work at called Pathfinder. Another great shop with amazing staff, the service and knowledge is epic and they have everything you could need. Wanted to put my bike in the rack cause I noticed the small chain ring in front looked bent. Well sure enough, one of the two Evans that worked there noticed right away I was missing two bolts. That sucked! But I'm glad they found it there. Then after going threw the gears we found some more problems. My real derailed cable was crimped and causing shifting problems. Then realized the chain had to much play and replaced that as well. Guess the chains they supply with the bike are sub standard. Rich had to replace his in Lexington.

So after Evan spent about two hours on my bike it was time to hit the road. Boy, it was one if those days I just wanted to crawl back into bed so to speak. It was a hot one! With over 90 miles to go I was not feeling it. Ok, 10 miles under my belt. Then 20 miles. Oh yeah, don't forget to eat.

The Garmin(gps) comes in handy once in a while. It has a feature where you can find places to eat. So I hit it and nothing for ten miles. That spot is a pizza place too. Been trying to eat somewhat healthy. So far I've burned over 200,000 calories this trip. Anyways, get to Gambinos pizza in this small town and get the best lunch deal I've gotten thus far. All you can eat and this kid Micah that worked there hooked me up for $3.80. They were just wrapping up so they gave me a good deal. Got to talking to him about his band and how he's from San Diego. Then chatted with the other lady that worked there and ready to hit the road.

Today I was on my game. Made all the right stops at the right time. Stopped at a super market about another 12 miles down the road to get some fruit and baby powder. After that it was nothing til here in Beloit. Almost 60 miles with no services. You really have to be on your game or your in jeapordy.

After about 25 more miles I was out of water. Didn't see anybody outside their houses that I could ask for water. Then there was this fueling/pump station. Where big gas trucks go to fill up. The gate was open so I leaned my bike and walked up to the office. Keep in mind, haven't seen a soul except for cars whizzing by and dudes out in fields in tractors.

Proceed to knock on the office door and see this guy with his back to me on his cell phone. Could only imagine what he's thinking. He gives me this look like, "what does this guy want and why is he hear?". So I show him my water bottle and mouth to say can I fill up my bottles. He peers his head over and sees my bike out there. He comes walking out still on the phone talking to one of his buddies. So I say, "nice...1986 Toyota tercel.". He then repeats to his buddy threw the phone what I just told him. So after being weirded out by me we get to talking and he's off the phone.

Theres a car parked there and it's an 86' tercel. One of the best cars I've ever owned. So we hit off right away and Kris is his name tells me he has 4 of them. Tells me how he just bought this one. Super clean and he got a smoking deal. Hooks me up with some bottled water and we keep on talking. We spent almost the next hour together just shooting the shit.

He's a big time outdoorsman. His website is He also owns a 1980 TA that he's the original owner of. Only my favorite ride in the whole world. Then we were talking about which route I'm going to take and we start checking all that out by atlas wiki mapia which is a great site. Just an awesome interaction between two strangers. Told him about "Breaking Bad.". That's the car that Jessie drives in the show. Still need to catch last weeks episode. Some kid almost ruined it for me today while I was waiting for my bike. Took a walk and this kid was working at this shop and watching "it's always sunny in Philadelphia.". So we we're talking about different shows and stopped him just in time. Kind of have an idea of what happens.

Just can't say enough about how pleasant Kansas has been. Ever since we stepped foot into Nicks mom's house we've been treated so well. Thanks again for the mid-western hospitality. Even tonight walked into the super 8 we're staying at and sparked up a conversation with this family that is staying here going to a championship football game tomorrow between Kansas colleges. Believe it's an all stars game. Just great folks spent almost a half hour or so talking too. We were just cracking up. Granted after a long day I'm a bit delerious but in a good mood. Bill the outlaw of the family, a rodeo/cowboy legend...I could barely understand a word he was saying. It was cracking me up. This guy was Kansas through and through. He just got beat up by a cow who kicked a fence into his head. Broke his glasses, bruised his eye and put a bunch of stitches in his head. But he's a tough solid dude. That was a great way to end the night. Wished em luck in the game and promoted my blog while I was at it.

Love to hear everyone tell me they enjoy following along. Tomorrow headed for Damar, KS. Meeting up with Rod again and staying at his folks place. How sweet and random is that. Just under an 80 mile day. I'm hoping he works on Sunday. Gonna try and put a days work in with him. I've never worked on a farm before. Rod told me they were harvesting wheat. He also told me his dad would let me drive the equipment. If that's the case I truly am excited. Kind of a farm boy at heart.

Kansas is something special. People were warning me how flat and boring it was going to be, how wrong they were. Just biking along and watching the wheat get blown to and fro is such a spectacular sight. It's just like the waves if the ocean the way it moves. But it also changes colors as it's moving like art work. Sure do feel lucky to be having such a close look at the rest of America.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Manhattan day 33

Well it was day two biking through hilly Kansas. Another great day of about 100 miles. Tomorrow looks like it's going to be close to a 90 mile day. But we'll see where we end up. We're shooting for this town called Beloite.

Rich and I regrouped tonight here in Manhattan, KS. Found a great place to stay through the site, I hit this kid Eric up who is actually biking across country right now himself. He connected me with Jeff, one of his nine roomates. Jeff was like "bring it!". So Rich and I met up at their house here in town.

Then we rolled through town to one of Jeff co-workers places for some grub. Rod and Jeff work at the local bike shop here in town. So it was fun to just hang out with some nice folks eat some food and just shoot the breeze. There were a few other folks there hanging out including another guy named Dusty who works at the shop. He's also a nutritionist. Which is someone who I would love to have on this trip with us. Someone to guide you through the day to help you get maximum performance. After that we hopped back on the bikes for a tour of the university and some more of the town.

Got another late start today. Didn't get on the road til about 11:30. Instead of back tracking the two miles back into the town of Lawrence I just headed west. Hoping to see a place to stop for breakfast. Nothing! Got through one town and didn't stop at the supermarket which I had mind to do. Then it was over ten miles til I saw anything else. Then that anything else I passed up as well. Was looking for the perfect spot. Then it was 40 miles before I finally found anything. Ended up at this small cafe in the middle of no where. Had coffee and oj in the morning. Then a cliff bar a little while later. Have to learn not to be so picky. Anyways I'm glad I made it. Also need to always have some reserve food and water with me.

After lunch got another 10 miles down the road and found another of Kansas's great community pools. This one cost three bucks and only had one slide and diving board. But totally refreshing after a long sweaty day.

My feet look so funny. My riding sandals leave these great tan lines. It's looks like I have gills on my feet. Will definitely maintain a sweet tan the rest of the summer.

Thanks again for reading along. Things are still hauling along just fine. The bike and my body are holding up. My mantra for the trip is, "have fun dude!". Really looking forward to the rockies and the west coast but trying to enjoy every minute along the way. Super greatful for all the support along the way so far!

Thank you!

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who said Kansas is flat?

Another amazing couple of days of the journey. Still super greatful to be on the road happy and healthy. Right now laying in bed at the Holiday inn holidome in Lawrence, KS. Got a great deal through my priceline negotiator app. Such a cool app you have to check out. I'm watching David Letterman and catching up with my current events.

Today started in Kansas City and was supposed to wind up in Topeka. I texted my buddy Kansas in NYC and he told me Topeka is a "shithole.". I heeded his advice and stopped in Lawrence a great college town with a vibrant energy. The main street through town is called Michigan street. Everything you could want in shops, restaurants and bars in one town. They even had the coolest outfitters shop I've been to thus far. Great layout with all the best in gear you could want. Didn't need anything but still fun to browse around. Great layout in an old brick building.

Then after that it was time to figure where I was going to stay. That's one of the best parts of this trip. Almost never know where I'll be the following day. Even when I plan on being somewhere anything can get in the way. Going the wrong way or a mechanical failure. Even the route I'm going to take is a moment by moment experience.

Like today for instance. Google maps you got me again. Should have known something was up when the paved road ended and the gravel alley began. Then I passed into the university of Kansas's horticultural property. It said to take this access road. That road ended with locked gates. Oops...time turn around and figure out a new route. That fence was too high and dangerous to try and attempt to hop. Even if I did who knows what would have been next.

The cool part of that detour was the tornado shelter I got to check out. There were signs leading up to it on the access road and then it was in the woods. Something I wouldn't have come across if that detour didn't happen. Have to try and remain positive when those things happen. Especially when the back tracking is all up hill.

Got over 40 mph today. Been a few states since that has happened. Hence who said Kansas is flat. Especially this town. Biked through the whole campus here. It's a really hilly campus that is dope. Love the layout and the architecture. There are private homes and cool artwork/sculptures spreadout amongst all the college buildings. It's also at the highest point in Lawrence so everywhere you turn you get a great view.

The past two days were spent in a beautiful home in Leawood, KS. Nicks mom was kind enough to host us for two nights. Even cooler to loan us her car to go into Kansas City to explore. She lives about 20 miles south of the city.

The first night we ened up eating BBQ. We went big that night, too much food. The portions in KC are huge. But it was all good. Then we ened up driving around to some different spots but the city was dead. Nick and Rich were drinking so I drove home. Thankfully the leawood police were kind enough to pull me over. Come on dude! I asked why he pulled me over. I've been driving for 20 years now. Yup, I'm old'. The cop told me he pulled me over because i went into the left lane before making my right hand turn. Caught a bit of an attitude with him. It's like come on bro, you've been tailing me for a few blocks. Not too many cars on the road and your looking for drunk drivers or some action. Really wanted to say show me video proof. How would you even ticket it me for that. Can he really prove that I went into the left hand lane? We showed him Nick's mom INS cars and my license and everything checked out. He let me go with a warning.

Then yesterday was a day off. Nick actually left to go to Austin. His mom still let us stay with her which was sweet. We didn't have to worry about finding another place and we could stay off the saddle. It was also raining all day. We got some shopping and errands done, had lunch and went to the movies.

This was the coolest theater I've ever been to. You purchase your ticket at the kiosk and pick your own seat. Not only was it super high tech but clean and beautifully designed. Rich was super excited about beer they served in actual pint glasses. After the flick I was taking some pix and found out they have the $25 option. You not only get to pick your own seat that is ultra plush but $15 to spend towards concessions. The art of entertainment is changing. Best sound system I've ever experienced as well. The only downer is the movie started 20 minutes late. Not cool! But the movie was a laugh a minute. Get him to the greek.

Then after that it was time for the Lakers game. Found a great sports bar and hung til haltime. Then back to leawood with no coppers.

Thanks for reading along. I'll post some pix with me in them. There has been speculation that this trip has been contrived and I'm in my apartment.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Ryan 4.2

Can you believe it has been 30 days already? I'm ready for a day off in Kansas City. Been riding for the past straight 8 days. One of them was a half day, but that day was hilly. I'm not complaining just need to rest.

Having a great day of riding so far today. Sitting in a gas station charging my phone and gps so I have some juice. Last night there were noboutlets at the campground we stayed at. It was the Missouri state fair grounds. Looks like a fun time when it's going on.

There were a couple of other bikers there as well. A dude we met a couple of dats ago that was just riding the Katy trail. Then three other dudes riding from San Fran to NYC in 35 days. They were on day 18 yesterday with just over 1900 miles. That is a sick ride. Century after century after century. They are on road bikes and light on the gear. They all have a schedule to keep as well. It was good to hear about their trip thus far.

Im glad to have a little more liesure time. Trying to muscle through the whole trip would be a fun challange but take away from the experience for me. There also all about 25 years old. Read my palm if you know how.

Got a real late start yesterday. Didn't get on the road til just about 2pm with almost 70 miles of trail riding to go. Not a fun day for me. Fortunately even though the naked hippee wasn't helpful. The next morning someone in the campground who lives on a houseboat there loanede their car to go into town. The bike shops didn't open til noon. Columbia is a pretty big college town about 13 miles away from the campground. That was super nice of then to do that. Filled up their tank and bought them a pie for the gesture. Then while I was in town Rich called and asked me to pick up some inner tubes for someone who just ed in with a flat.

About 40 miles to go to KC. Looking forward to having a day off and exploring the city. Also going to meet up with Nick who is there visiting his mom. Time to hit the road. Thanks for all the comments and reading along. Gets lonely out here on the open road.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Skinny dipping

Right now I'm laying in a hammock at Coopers Landing campsite in Easly, Mo. Been another long strange hot and exciting day on the road. Planned on being another 20 miles down the road. But you know when you plan God smiles.

Just as we were passing this campground we heard a fun shot. That was my back tire exploding. Luckily we were near the end of the day, biking together and near this sweet campground right on the river. So we rolled vack into camp to survey the situation. Had a full on blow out and a punctured tire. So much for the indestructible expensive Schwalbe tires.

We decided to kick it hear for the night. They had live music, a warm shower, food and a beautiful sunset. Rich befriended this guy named Rick that was overly friendly. I was content with dealing with my tire in the morning. Either trying to make it down the trail the 16 miles to the next bike shop or try and get a ride. This guy wanted to help in a big way. He invited us to come up to his house where he had a few bikes and old rims laying around. He wanted to get it done tonight.

So as the live music was finishing up, the sun was set, people were starting to take off. At first Rich didn't want to take the ride but changed his mind. I'm glad he did. Rick said his good byes to another couple he was hanging with and we hopped in thier mini van with my rim and tire and headed up to there house. We were with Ricks wife Debbie.

As we were going up to the house he was telling us about his 20 acres. We pull up, get out and his wife dissapears. Rick proceeds on offering us drinks and takes on a tour of the property. He built the house back in 1977 as a bachelor. Since them there has been a lot of additions. He's an architect/engineer.

On and on and on he goes about the property and the weddings he's had there. How the realtors love his house and so forth. He did say let's hang for a little while then we'll get to the tire. We walk around the perimeter of the house which has a deck that goes all the way around. We can see one of his two daughters watching tv with his wife as we walk around. We both have our coal miner head lamps on as we're doing the tour. Who knows what's going on in anyones mind at that point.

Thought we were coming up here to look at some other tires. Next thing you know we're in the back part of his property where he built a little town. There's a bank, jail, outhouse and some other stuff. He's like this is where I keep the mower. This is where I keep some other stuff. In my mind next is this is where I keep the bodies. We keep meandering around the property. He asked if we want to get high. Telll him no thanks. He proceeds to embibe. Then he's like, let's go for a swim. Let me back up. Not to long before that he did mention he was going to build a sweat lodge. Rich and I told him we built one a few years ago. At the time I didn't pay no mind to the fact that he said, "ya know it will be nice to do for a weekend. Just get the guys up here and get naked.". Now we went and grabbed three towels from the changing house and heard to the pool. I'm at this guys house and he takes off his clothes and jumps in the pool. Wife and daughter right there in the house next to us. It's dark out without the headlamp so we follow suit. Three grown men skinny dipping at night.

Anyways, he goes on to tell us how he walks around the property all the time naked. I'm still wondering what his wife and daughter are thinking. We all get out if the pool and are just hanging out. Him literally just walking around his garden still yammering away. Don't get me wrong, super nice guy and all. Great house, but dude...we don't even know each other. As we're sitting there drying off this amazing electrical storm is happening over head.

Got dressed and headed back towards the garage. Well some of us got dressed. He was walking around in his scivvies and a shirt. Oh my god, that reminds me. He did have a water tower in his town that had "free bird" written on it. All the signs were clearly illuminated. You just had to read between the lines.

Lo and behold back to the business at hand. We do another tour of the property looking for that tire. We walk behind a shed and there's just a few rims, no tires. Then he ends up giving me some residential sticky on one side big patch thing. So I cut a piece and put it on the inside of my tire. We'll see how that plays out tomorrow. That was after he gave me a schwinn pacth kit from the 1970's where the patches were dried out and also offered me some type of roofing material.

A little bit awkward but definitely interesting. We got back in the mini van after chatting for a spell and headed back to camp. He was driving slow. Think he was glad to have some company of men.

This campground is great though. I love being right on the river. Made some more friends earlier with Rob & Tonya who boated over here to eat at the thai restaurant in the trailer attached to the campgrounds facility.

Other than that it was just over a 60 mile slow hot day. I do like being on the trail for many aspects, but it is a lot slower than the roads. Thanks for reading along.

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