Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Oh what a day in Portland. I'm sitting in The Bike Friendly Guesthouse.( 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.( 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!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. The Confedercy of Dunces is on my all time top ten list. See if you can find a copy of Razor's Edge, (W. Somerset Maugham). In it, you might find a lot of parallels with your travels

  2. My x gave me the dame book eat, pray, love for some reason i could never finish it not sure why ..... i think you should turn your blog in to a book ?

  3. Amazing read today Ry! Thx 4 your passion & honesty. Your def inspiring a bunch of us! I'm happy for you & if your ex is reading along I'm sure deep down she is too. Kissing is my all time favorite pass time & I'm glad you've done some of that on this trip too. You're lookin so different, it's a wild transformation! Be easy, be safe, god speed, xoxo

  4. this is my favorite post so far man! i wish i could ride with you to burning man and am pissed (in a way) that school conflicted with it. Be safe on that lonesome (yet crowded) desert highway! you should stop by in Santa Rosa and hang out with sean and I after you come back and begin the trek back down the coast. this journey has really inspired me; I even got a long haul trucker because I want to do this same trip (but in reverse order!) as soon as I graduate haha!
    be safe,

  5. Now I HAVE to go see that movie. Thanks for the good read.