July 2022 in the Books


Well, July was an interesting month. I managed to ride 1,321 miles even while taking a week off because of travel and quarantine. All but 60 of those miles were part of my bike tour. I finished the tour with 3,449 miles, my second longest tour ever. And it sure felt like it. 66 is not the new 62.

The longest ride was 95.5 miles from McKenzie River to Corvallis. Corey had started the day joking about riding 100 miles. We nearly pulled it off.

This was my third month in a row with over 1,000 miles. I didn’t come close to breaking my month record which was over 2,000 miles on my 2018 tour.

For the year I have ridden 6,839.5 miles, on a pace for 11,776 miles for the year. If only I can squeeze in another tour, I might just make it. (Not gonna happen.)


After two months on the road I bought two books for my trip home. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien us about storytelling and about being a kid soldier in Vietnam. I was watching an episode of the old WWII TV show Combat! and one thing stuck out: all the actors are in their 30s and 40s. O’Brien’s book is about kids just out of high school. It’s also about the art of telling a story. Strangely the book works really well.

The other book I read was Larry McMurtry’s Horseman, Pass By. It was the basis for the old Paul Newman movie, Hud. I am now interested in watching Hud to see how much the original material was changed. It was McMurtry’s first book and he captures life and language on a ranch in north Texas with great skill.

I have a stack of reading – Adventure Cycling Magazine, National Geographic, and two books that arrived while I was away. It’ll take me all of August to get through it all.


I watched two movies this month. The Fundamentals of Caring. It has Paul Rudd. I’ll watch Paul Rudd in anything. The Bucket List is a weird buddy movie about two old guys on their last legs. It was directed by Rob Reiner. Mediocre with Nicholson chewing the scenery in every scene. The chemistry between the two leads was never quite right. Also, there were multiple continuity errors that were really annoying.

I have fallen behind all the Star Wars and Marvel shows. Once I can be in the same room as my wife (three more days of masking) I’ll cue them up.


I am out of quarantine but still need to wear an N95 mask. My wife and I are living on separate floors to the extent possible. Next Thursday we can revert to normal. Unless I relapse.

Bike Tour 2022 – Update and Pictures

My Covid symptoms are milder by the day. I am taking Paxlovid and staying indoors which has given me plenty of time to get most of my tour business done. (I still need to make my Cycleblaze journal but that will take a few days.) I expect to be released – masked for the first five days – on Saturday as long as I have no symptoms. Right now my worst symptoms (minor though they are) seem to be side effects of the Paxlovid.

While I’ve been lolling about I’ve read two books, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, a memoir/novel about a platoon of soldiers in Vietnam. It won a Pulitzer Prize back in the early 90s. I bought it more or less on impulse after reading a couple of pages. It is extraordinarily well written. Today, I finished Larry McMurtry’s first novel, Horseman, Pass By about a family in turmoil in north Texas in the 1950s. It was the basis for the movie, Hud. I liked it a lot as well.

Today, I went through my pictures from the trip. Some were uploaded to this blog. Others were put on Instagram or sent to friends. I tried to find all of them but I am sure I missed a few shots trails and roads and rocks. I sorted them by date so you can take a quick 3,449 mile bike trip across the country by accessing my Bike Tour 2022 album on Flickr.

Bike Tour 2022 – The Journey Home

About a week before I expected to finish my bike tour, I booked a flight home from Portland on Southwest Airlines. I chose Southwest because I had enough points on my Southwest account that I could fly for free. I chose a flight between 10 and 11 on Saturday morning. All the other flights left before 6 am. I also chose this flight because it had only one stop, Chicago’s Midway airport.

I was about to call a cab to go to the airport when I received a notice from Southwest that my Portland to Chicago flight had been canceled. Southwest re-routed me on a two-stop flight leaving Portland at 5:40 am on Sunday. UGH!

After much agonizing about getting a hotel, I decided to extend my stay at the hostel. I did some laundry, read a book, and took a walk. At 10 pm I went to sleep for five hours.

My cab arrived at 3:30. 20 minutes and $50 later I was at the airport. I tried to use a kiosk to check in but the software wouldn’t let me. So I got in the long line to see an agent at the check in counter. The line moved fast. I explained calmly to the agent that I had been rebooked. She immediately gave me preboarding status on all three flights. This was a courtesy I was later to learn was extended to others who had been re-scheduled.

When I lined up for my first flight and saw all the people waiting to board, I was feeling burnt out and a little angry, despite my preboarding status. I started chatting with a woman standing next to me. She was traveling with her family to DC to attend a conference about disabled people. She, her husband, and younger son were traveling with her elder son who was obviously disabled; he could walk but needed to much assistance and persuasion to board the flight.

To make matters worse, the family had missed the first day of the conference.

So much for my personal pity party.

When I left the plane at Denver, I was met by a woman with a wheelchair. I turned it down, of course. It gave me a good laugh, though.

The next two flights, Denver to Dallas and Dallas to DC, had more disabled people in the preboarding line. This included five people in wheelchairs in addition to the family I met in line in Portland.

During the descent to Dallas my ears plugged up and became very painful. The pain went away but the “plugging up” worsened. By the time I arrived in DC, I couldn’t hear a thing. I attributed the hearing loss to sitting next to one of the plane’s engines.

With two connections, I assumed my bags would be delayed or lost. In fact, I had only a five minute wait for them once I arrived at baggage claim.

I hefted my tent bag and my duffle and headed outside for a cab. There were none. I took an airport shuttle to the main terminal where the shuttle driver dropped us about 150 yards from the taxi line.

For the previous two weeks my back and legs had shown little sign of my stenosis problems. Hauling those bags around at the airport brought my stenosis symptoms back.

Once I arrived home, I realized I could not hear our whole house air conditioner running. I did some laundry and couldn’t hear the machines working. I had a stuffed up head and felt tired. I attributed this to jet lag.

Today I went to the pharmacy to get a prescription refilled. While waiting I went to the barbershop. I returned home with my medicine and some ear drops to unplug my ears. Curiously, I was now coughing up drainage from my sinuses.

After tending to post-ride business, I took a nap. After dinner I decided to test myself for Covid. Knock me down with a feather, I’m positive. After two months on the road, I finally caught the disease. I had previously made an appointment with my primary car doctor for tomorrow so I’ll probably be zooming with him.

We have a winner! I tested myself twice. So far it feels like I have a cold in my nose. Luckily I have a doctor appointment tomorrow anyway
Might as well test myself twice, right?

I am four times vaxxed and eligible for Paxlovid. No worries.

Bike Tour 2022 – Stuck in Portland

About an hour before I was going to call for a cab, Southwest Airlines informed me that my flight had been cancelled.


They rebooked me on a series of three flights, the first of which leaves Portland at 5:35 am tomorrow. After checking for alternatives, I decided to go with the glue and extended my stay at the hostel, and booked a cab for 3:15 am.

My flights are Portland to Denver, Denver to Dallas, Dallas to Washington National. I would guess that my probability of arriving at home tomorrow is no better than 25 percent. Hence I am doing laundry to feel somewhat productive.

I should point out that Southwest has been unable to provide any guidance except for the new booking. They didn’t answer their phone (I waited an hour on hold), their online chat was useless, and their email response told me they’d get back to me within ten days.

I am hoping to get reimbursed for my additional lodging costs.

Bike Tour 2022 – The Mule Abides in Portland

The day began with coffee and granola in the hostel cafe. Afterward Corey packed up all his cares and woes and took off for a nostalgia tour of Portland (he has a daughter who attended Reed College) and then head to the Amtrak station. We confirmed last night that his bike tools will remove his pedals, essential for boxing his bike.

This morning I rode a half mile to West End Bikes and turned over The Mule for shipping. West End shipped The Mule home in 2018 and it arrived intact.

Corey and I shared a room last night with a bike tourist who just did a loop ride in western and central Oregon. He’s now headed north. He wasn’t exactly chatty but that’s okay.

I’m killing time here at the hostel. My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon which should give me plenty of time to chill. (I hate to bring this up but it’s actually kind of cold here.)

As far as bicycling goes, the tour is now officially over. Thanks to everyone who read these blog posts. Your encouragement of my insane little adventure is most appreciated.

In the coming weeks I will convert these blog posts into a proper journal on Cycleblaze.com when I get the time.

I’ll also post a few more entries reflecting on the tour.

Miles today: 0.5 Tour miles: 3,449.5

Bike Tour 2022 – Kelso, Washington to Portland, Oregon

Our hotel was enormous. Its long hallways reminded me of The Shining.

The hotel cannot find enough staff to operate properly. Breakfast was a disappointment. At this stage a couple of bowls of Raisin Bran and some coffee gets the job done.

After a tour of industrial Longview we rode back across the Lewis and Clark Bridge to US 30 in Oregon. The bridge is downright scary. It’s noisy and shaky and has shoulders filled with debris.

We were glad to be off of it except for the fact that US 30 to Portland is nearly as nasty. The shoulders were adequate and the debris was less but the trucks made for a deafening bike ride.

We rode. All business. Get her done. No need for excess hemoglobin because there were no hills to speak of.

After about 50 miles we left the highway to ride the street grid to Union Station. Corey went inside to check out the bicycle-on-train situation. He could have put his bike n the baggie car unboxed but decided to box it for protection anyway. Amtrak will provide the box and tape. He also learned that for a reasonable price he gets to head home tomorrow, a day earlier than planned.

After scoring an Amtrak win we decided to check into the NW Portland Hostel where I stayed in 2018. It’s located a few minutes from the train station, the bike shop I’m going to use to ship my bike home, and lots of hip places for bike tourist celebrities like us.

Note also that we have N95 masks for the event that we have to share our room with a Covid vector.

Tomorrow we’ll prep for our respective journeys home.

At the hostel: Postcards. And Stamps. Very retro.
My bike shoes died a hero. Made it all the way thanks to Gorilla Glue and duct tape

Miles today: 56 Tour miles: 3,449

Bike Tour 2022 – Astoria, Oregon to Kelso, Washington

And you thought the tour was over?

Our night as bridge trolls worked out okay for me. Corey was kept up by the clomping of feet in the room above us.

We began the day with breakfast at Pig and Pancakes, a chain apparently. We ate at one in Cannon Beach. Fortified with pancakes (good), coffee (not bad), and scrambled eggs (meh) we headed east out of Astoria on US 30 headed for Portland.

Traffic was heavy, the shoulder was debris-filled, and the air was filled with mist. The road rolled up and down with the occasional somewhat serious climb. No matter. Our blood is still teeming with hemoglobin.

I began the day with a very sore lower back. The pain abated with every mile, and a couple tablets of Vitamin I.

Corey stopped and pointed out Mt Rainier. After about 30 miles we stopped at a gas station for snackage. A fuel truck driver gabbed with us. He said it wasn’t Rainier. He also told us the next climb would be four miles at six percent grade.

Corey and I agreed that it was a serious climb, made much worse by the incessant traffic and inadequate shoulder. We also agreed that it couldn’t have been four miles.

During a leveling off we saw two snow covered mountains in the distance. I have no idea which two it was. I think the one on the left is Mount Fuji but I could mistaken. I’m any case the one on the right was Mount Vesuvius for sure.

Fuji and Vesuvius

We had a crazy fast descent to the exit for Longview, Washington. Longview is halfway to Portland and has many motels and restaurants. According to Fuel Truck Driver there are many methheads there too.

The ride across the Columbia River was very stressful. Logging trucks go to Longview to drop their loads at the port and a paper mill. The shoulder was littered with chunks of bark. The crossing was not a lot of fun.

We stopped at Walmart where I bought a duffel bag to consolidate my panniers into for my flight home and a t-shirt to wear on the plane. (Laundry opportunities are unlikely between now and Saturday morning.)

Next we went to a bike shop for air for my rear tire and recommendations for motels and lunch. The lunch restaurant one of the bike shop guys recommended was right around the corner.

I had a cup of pig butt stew as a side dish. It was very tasty. I wish I had ordered a huge bowl of it and skipped the chicken caesar wrap.

After lunch we rode across the Cowlitz River to Kelso where we found a hotel for $120. It’s not bad at all. The lobby is rather posh.

Tomorrow it’s back across the pine bark bridge and another 50 miles to Portland, this time without the long climb. We plan to go to Union Station to get some definitive answer about whether Corey had to box his bike up for his train ride home. (In some cities you can just put your bike in the baggage car. Also, if a bike box is needed we’ll have to find out if Amtrak supplies them.)

Miles today: 57 Tour miles: 3,393

Bike Tour 2022 – Nehalem State Park to Astoria

Nehalem State Park was the best campground we stayed at during our trip. We camped in a huge stand of pine trees. The pine needles and sand made for a perfect natural mattress. The bathrooms were clean and the showers refreshing. The windy evening gave way to cool breezes at night. The roar of the ocean off in the distance lulled us to sleep.

We broke camp after breakfast. Oatmeal for Corey and Mark, an apple, a banana, a Clif Bar, and three spoonfuls of PB&J without bread for me.

We climbed back up to 101 by backtracking then started the first of several climbs. None of them broke 1,000 feet but they certainly gave us a workout. The first climb out of Nehalem to Oswald State Park topped out at about 625 feet. Quite a way to start the day. We next descended into a tunnel. We all wore blinkie lights in anticipation of darkness but the tunnel was extremely well lit. No worries about not being seen.

We had light winds for most of the day, a blue sky with puffy clouds, and temperatures in the 60s.

It was yet another day of superb scenery. Ocean views out the wazoo.

The traffic was a bit of a drag but we diverted into Cannon Beach and stopped for proper breakfast after 20 miles or so. After climbing back to 101 we descended into Seaside where we rode along the boardwalk next to the beach.

After Seaside we left 101 for Lewis and Clark Road, the back road into Astoria. The road was windy and hilly, cutting through countryside and away from the ocean. After much exertion we stopped at Fort Clatsop, where we checked out a replica of the fort used by Lewis & Clark during the winter after reaching the Pacific Ocean.

We’ve been bumping into Lewis and Clark for hundreds of miles. Too bad they didn’t have bicycles and paved roads.

After our tour of the fort we rode over the Lewis and Clark River then over Youngs River into Astoria. I was gritting my teeth on the steel deck of the second bridge when the genius driver of a passing pick up yelled at me to “use the sidewalk.” So helpful.

Astoria forms a rounded point at the mouth of the Columbia River. We rode around the point then, mostly, along a bike trail along the riverfront.

Because of pedestrian traffic and sketchy trail design (the trail goes along some trolley tracks) I fell behind Corey and Mark and missed their big finish. Actually there wasn’t a big finish because there is no sign indicating the end of the trail. (The same is true at the eastern end I’m of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail in Yorktown, Virginia.)

Mark’s wife Tracy was there to greet us with a phone for picture taking and a rental car with a trunk full of drinks and snacks.

While we were talking about our travels, Billy and Greg, whom we had met a few days ago, pulled up to finish their TransAm.

As we were about to leave, three riders appeared, heading south. Really south. They were bound for Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina!

Mark and Tracy went one way and Corey and I another. Corey and I are sharing a room in a Motel 6 underneath the scary bridge across the Columbia River to Washington State. We feel like a couple of trolls.

Tomorrow we head toward Portland, most likely a two-day trip. Corey is taking a train to Chicago on Sunday. I’m flying home on Saturday.

Miles today: 50.5 Tour miles: 3,336

Best Hiker/Biker Site Ever
Looking down at Neahkahnie Beach
Arcadia Beach
Replica of Fort Clatsop
Looking up into a cool tree with a foggy lens
Me, Corey, and Mark at the finish of the TransAm
Greg and his Tour Easy after his first bike tour, across the country!
Headed for Tierra del Fuego
The view from our hotel window. People bike over that!

Bike Tour 2022 – Kiwanda Beach to Nehalem State Park

After a moment of profound reflection (Dang, that’s a big rock) at Chief Kiwanda Rock we set out on our mission to edge frustratingly closer to the end of the TransAm Bike Trail in Astoria, about 95 miles to our north.

We climbed straight up about 800 feet, the down, then up a few hundred more, then down. Unlike a week ago we are now dealing with hundreds rather than thousands so, except for the steepness, the climbing is no big deal, and we get the bonus of views of the Pacific coast from time to time

Along the way we met two southbound riders who warned us of a nasty 15 percent grade downward in which the road was covered in gravel. They had stout tires and rode up the bloody beast but we decided to divert from the main routes and check out the Three Capes Scenic Route. It was plenty scenic and, of course, hilly AF. We endured the roller coaster for about a third of the loop before Mark pointed out that a landslide had knocked out 1 1/2 miles of the route. It was scheduled for repair by 2030.

That was a tad more time than we were willing to wait so we doubled back, re-climbing most of the hills then turned inland to get back on the main TransAm route.

This wee shortcut involved a monster hill that went straight up. A boy on an e-bike sped by me as I ground my knees to dust. Curse you, you little twerp!

A second climb took us to the main road which we used to bypass the gravel hill of doom and ride straight into Tillamook, a cheesy place if ever there was one. A field just outside of town was filled with enormous black and white cows. I presume that milk from these animals is used to make chocolate chip ice cream. I could be wrong.

After lunch of chili and a taco in a bar in Tillamook, we started north but now that hill with the electronic kid had given me a screaming lower back ache.

Oddly once I was in the bike my back felt fine. Our route now coincided with US 101, the Pacific Coast Highway. I don’t mind hills and I can tolerate traffic but the combination of the two makes for unpleasant riding

After 27 more miles we arrived at Manzanita where all the motels were booked. We decided to camp one last time at a state park with hiker/biker sites. We lucked out again. Our tents are nestled among a stand of pine trees. Soft ground and cool ocean breezes should make for a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow Astoria!

Miles today: 62 Tour miles: 3,285.5

Corey: It’s big. Mark: Yep
The Pacific, I think
Yet another cool ocean rock
Our final camp site, with laundry

Bike Tour 2022 – Monmouth to Cape Kiwanda near Pacific City (July 17)

We started the day with our third trip to the Gastropub next to our hotel.

After a fine feed we headed north on a bike path to Rickreall, which I have no idea how to pronounce.

We turned west on highway 22, the direct route to the beach from Salem and the middle of the Willamette Valley.

Even on a Sunday morning traffic was heavy. And loud. After spending so much time in the middle of nowhere the noise was its own kind of stress.

I was in the zone and managed to miss a turn. I heard my name and turned around. I had blown right past Corey and Mark. I would have been fine turning onto the now combined highways 22 and 18 but the proper route took us off the main drag onto a peaceful side road.

Alas the serenity ended after four miles when the road intersected with 18/22.

After another two miles 22 and 18 split, with 18 going due west and 22 going northwest. Corey’s GPS map has an updated version of the TransAmerica Bike Trail that, unlike by paper map, took us off the busy highway 18 and onto the windy, hilly backroad highway 22.

Up, down, and around through farms and past country houses. Highway 22 is a short cut to Pacific City on the coast. Impatient drivers, some pulling trailers passed us with little room to spare. Several times we were passed on curves with oncoming traffic. I guess we’re not in Wyoming anymore.

Toward the end of the road we passed a smashed up car in the ditch along the opposite side, no doubt the victim of a car passing on a blind curve.

We reached highway 101, the Pacific Coast Highway. Our unintentional short cut placed us several miles north of where my paper map would have led us. The shortcut turned a 60+ mile day into a 50+ mile day and put us within 100 miles of Astoria, the end of the TransAm.

We ran into a couple of bike tourists we’d been seeing the last couple of days and had lunch with them. They called ahead and booked a motel room. The less expensive motels in town were booked do we went to an RV place on nearby Cape Kiwanda and rented a campsite for $80. It’ll do.

We ended up doing 2,000 feet of climbing and a bit more descending. I barely noticed the uphill sections.

Tomorrow we ride 50 or so miles up the coast.

Miles today: 56.5. Tour miles: 3,223.5

Not Haystack Rock. Chief Kiwanda Rock
Big dunes. Kids use board to slide down them