As you will see in the words below, Andrew Heckman http://webpages.charter.net/200a/AndrewHeckman2.htm , the man who nearly gave his life for the NBG cause last year, made it to the City of Portland's NBG Day on Friday with his wife and guiding light Lisa and a worthy number of other cyclists and interested others. The Portland Bureau of Transportation System Management (hats off to Eileen Argentina, Kristine Shigley and Cynthia Thompson) did a tremendous job of not only honoring Andrew, one of their residents, by giving him a platform from which to speak and dedicating part of the proclamation to him but they also made Rocky Brown, who rode in from Boise, feel more than welcome. Rocky used his time at the lectern to also introduce Dirt Bag (DB), his traveling rubber lizard talked about in final report below. Three more Portland residents, George Wu, Don Park and Mark Chen were also made to feel like kings for their part in moving the NBG torch to Eugene for today's NBG Day there. Not only were they and all the riders treated to a free lunch by the city but when Pat Franz of Terra Cycle discovered a broken drop out on Don's bike, Cynthia got on the phone and arranged for a donated loaner bike from the nearby Bike Gallery bike shop.
BTW: Special THX to Andrew Morton, last year's Portland to Santa Cruz http://www.bikeroute.com/NatRelayRide2002.html powerhouse for his many photos of NBG Day that are at the below page and at our NBG Photo Gallery. He even snapped a photo of DB. See http://nbg.bikeroute.com/gallery/Portland2003
T H A N K Y O U P O R T L A N D !!
All of the day's excitement is now on line at: http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide/Portland2003
News Flash: Arcata Mayor, Bob Ornelas, just called me back. He expressed interest in riding to Chico and will get a posse of riders together to meet Skot Pashcal, one of the most popular math teachers in the California Central Coast at http://www.skot.web-page.net/when he comes in from Eugene!!
Rocky's Road to Portland:
It was easy to see from a long ways off that 26 was disappearing into a deep canyon. I told DB to hang on as we started down the long steep grade with the "Watch for Falling Rocks" warning signs. I rode mostly on the wide shoulder on the way down and only had to go around a couple of rocks that had fallen from the beautiful cliffs above.
At the bottom of the canyon, the clear deep blue green waters of Deschutes river flowed on our left. Up ahead there was a little park with a boat ramp just before the "Entering Warm Springs" sign. Down 26 there was a gas station on the left while some other buildings on the right were within view before a bridge crossed the river. DB and I decided that we would make the boat ramp our first stop in Warm Springs to cool down.
I told DB to hold on again as we made the left turn down the steep gravel road to the little park. After we rounded the turn by the bathrooms on the way to the ramp, I nodded to two men as they looked my direction. They were talking under a shade tree by a pickup truck.
There were a couple of guys fishing so I just waded out half way to my knees and did my bike jersey fresh up routine. As the shoes were going back on, one of the fishermen was picking a bag of apples from the tree next to the boat ramp. I told DB those would be good for later. So I went into the tall weeds under the tree and picked four of the small greenish yellow fruit as the fisherman finished filling his bag.
As I was walking towards my bike, one of the men from the truck got out and walked towards me. No doubt the heavy set darker man 35-40 was an Indian as he smiled at me. I said, "These apples look good ." He answered by rubbing his belly telling me that they had been there awhile and had eaten more than they should.
We saw another man go towards the tree as he told me he was from Kahneeta and then asked about my travels. I told him about leaving from Boise as I told him I was going to pack my apples for later. As I did so, I saw him give the Indian man some money. So when the Indian man came back over I gave him one of my peanut butter grain bars to go with his apples. He wished me and my lizard a safe journey.
Warm Springs to marker 67
DB and I stayed on 26 through Warm Springs not going into town. I did stop at the Gas Station Store for a cool drink and left with full water bottles for the long climb out of Warm Springs. The first marker (117) I remembered seeing was close to Madras. At the summit, as I now rode into a strong headwind. I could see the Cascades again on the treeless plain ahead of me.
Around the 93 marker, there was a bridge over a narrow canyon. Mill Creek was sure a long way down as I pedaled across the bridge that shook whenever cars crossed it. Around the 86 marker, in a pine forest that had burned a year or two ago, I found a Schrade pocket knife. Just past the 85 marker after crossing over Warm Springs River there were signs beside the pines. Looking back, I was able to see that I was 33 miles from Madris. The ones for my direction of travel included Kah-nee-ta 21, Simasho 7, and Indian Head casino.
DB and I had to cool down in Beaver Creek about five miles from there still in the pines. Good thing because about five miles after that we were on a very long climb again, this time the Mt. Hood National Forest. By 5 pm we reached the summit where a very thick tall tree cover cooled us off once again. Marker 67 was the last Hwy 26 marker before turning left on Skyline Rd. Another sign said Timothy Lake 10, Olallie Lake 47.
As we made the turn onto Skyline I told DB we were heading for Timothy Lake because I wanted to set up camp before dark and would feel better if both water bottles were full before that. After about eight miles of more down down than up we made the turn off Skyline towards Timothy Lake. We passed two or three camps before pulling into Lake View Camp. The camp host was not at home so I asked one of the campers where I could get water. She told me the faucets were a bit hard to find but she knew there was one by the curve sign down the drive. So I thanked her and went down and filled the empty water bottle before then going to see the great view of Mt. Hood over the lake. Camp sites here were posted as $14 and there were lots of people around so I decided to go further along.
At this point, DB and I planned to set up camp then figure out where to go from there but the next camp the host was there. After talking over rates, $45 group to $10, I asked about rates further up the road. After I told him and his wife where I had been, he told me about free sites up the road and where I needed to go to find them. And as he talked his wife kept telling me you are going to enjoy this as she read the excitement on my face.
So they sent me on my way as another camper drove in him repeating to this guy, "we have em as high as $45 but that is for a group site ..."
Clackmas River Camp
It was not far to the Timothy Lake Dam that I crossed over it and made the left turn and before going through the gate I saw the old 57 sign marking the road the host had shown me on his large area map. Not far past the gate down the 7 mile gravel road I heard a small old pickup pulling a boat come up so I stopped and let the dust settle before going on. I met two others shortly. DB and I thought busy for a bit after 7 at night but that was it.
At first I was riding above the Clackmas river looking down a canyon about the same depth as Mill Creek earlier that day! The gravel road was rough in spots but what a great place to be. It was all down hill as I was told and did level out for about five miles down where the free open area first come sites showed up. I passed a couple of them that were occupied and agreed with DB on one about a half a mile away right next to the river.
Rocky Brown can be found at: http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios/rocky_brown.php
Rocky Brown didn't have much to say today as the beauty of his riding likely kept him away from his Pocket Mailer. In fact Kristien Shigley from the Portland Mayor's office and Portland to Eugene NBG relay rider, Mark Chen, had been trying to contact Rocky all day so that they could determine a route for the police escort we were trying to get for him. Whether we can still pull that off is unknown. And yet we did hear from another newsmaker. Andrew Heckman tells us that he will be there tomorrow July 18!! For those of you who don't know, Andrew, a new Portland resident, flew out to Chicago to take the Chicago to Des Moines leg. As per http://webpages.charter.net/200a/AndrewHeckman2.htm , on his first day out, just a few miles from the Dixon, IL home he grew up in, he got hit by a car and was left for dead.
Andrew and his wife Lisa returned to Portland after he stabilized from his horrific accident because it was the only place that would be friendly to his efforts as a cyclist working to move beyond the prison his body had become. A true sweetheart that everyone loves, it was his winning personality that moved him beyond almost certain death!!
Another NBG Giant who will be there tomorrow is Andrew Morton. Andrew Morton rode from Portland to last year's NBG Fest http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Festival in honor of Andrew Heckamn. So many Andrews and Jims -- hmmmmmmm........
And as promised after Rocky's words below, I have some more Jim Redd for you!!
Stopped at the Black Bear in Madra to try and pound on these little keys some more. Ordered the Trucker's Special which came quicker than expected. It was a 1/2 lb slice of ham, 3 eggs, hash browns, and 3 pancakes. It took me a while, but I ate the whole thing. DB was outside doing his job. I saw several customers of the place go by with funny looks after seeing him on the back of my bike.
I already had most of the night's menu which I picked up from the little quick market. I told DB on the way out of town that all we would need to stop for in Warm Springs for would be water and something cool to drink, as we approached the long climb out of town in the warm late morning air.
When I reached the top it flattened out again as Mt. Hood came into view. I was heading directly toward it. Mt. Jefferson was to the left. The Sisters mountain range was fading in a haze. I told DB tonight we would be camping under Douglas-fir trees close to Mt. Hood in the Oregon Cascades!!
Sent from Estacada, Oregon
Salt Lake City
July 13, 2003
Monte Cristo Campground, though 9,000 ft up in the Wasatch Mountains, was not as spectacular as Mirror Lake, reflecting Bald Mountain like, well, a mirror, every morning. But neither did Monte Cristo have the army of mechanized campers, which suited me just fine. Should I worry that I feel more connection with the old growth spruce here than with them? Do I need therapy?
Walking through an alpine meadow near my campsite, I felt the urge to take photographs, but I had no camera. Damn! Couldn't capture that Kodak moment! So I walked into the frame of what would have been the photograph to investigate the living, undigitized scene and walked out with much more than a picture. Try it sometime.
Shortly after leaving Monte Cristo, I saw a sign pointing to Mt. McKinnon saying it was exactly 9,081 ft in elevation. Even though I was already at 9,000 ft, I was compelled to take a half-mile dirt road detour for that extra 081 ft. Why? Same reason I hiked 2 hours up Bald Mountain three days ago. Same reason mountain climbers say they climb a mountain: because it's there. When you're so close, nothing short of the summit will do. I stood on that treeless peak-let, just a little hill on a big mountain, for 10 minutes and for those 10 minutes I was King of that Little Hill, surveying the realm to the east which I had in some visceral sense made my own.
Wasatch conquered, I clipped in and headed toward the Ogden Valley, 23 miles west and 4,100 ft. down. This freewheel was the longest and most sustained of the trip; every time I thought the road was going to level out, it took a dive around a bend and another view of the mountains unfolded. The grade started steep, but became moderate and I could coast brake-free, hands resting lightly on the bar extenders. Wow! What a feeling!
One glorious descent, I tell you, curving and carving the wind back down through the canyons, the road shadowed by spruce and oak, down, down through the fresh fragrance of pine until the sparse growths of sage and pinyon began peppering the rounded foothills and finally blending into farmland as I bottomed out in the heat of the Ogden Valley. There I went and sat on the floor beneath the geology shelves in the cool of the Huntsville library to try to make sense of this jumble of mountains and valleys I had been riding through and found that much tenure has been earned among academics explaining to each other the origin of these landforms with diagrams of stratigraphic processes and such.
Jim Redd can be found at: http://www.cyclechicago.org/pocketmail/jimredd.php
Rocky Brown can be found at: http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios/rocky_brown.php
His email on the road is: email@example.com
If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Jim our other NBG relay riders as they move forward in the National Mayors' Ride at
btw: If you want to become a rider, we WANT you!! Go to
btw2: We have pictures from the various ride legs on line at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/gallery/2003Mayors
btw3: If you want to see who these cyclists are, go to
As we've seen all throughout this ride, the weather that one finds him or her self riding in can do odd things to that person's view of the world but in the words that follow we have a grown man taking directions from a plastic lizard that he found on the side of the road. His lizard even has a name. He calls it Dirt Bag or DB for short. If not the heat, maybe this is what 28 years as a Manufacturing Engineer does to you.
Breakfast - July 15, 2003
In the little town of Mitchell, the main street runs parallel with Rt. 26. After I had paid for my shower, I went back and asked the grey-haired lady when the café next door opened. She told me they closed on Tureday for the season but the Bridge Creek Café just a little further on Rt 26 was open. On the Café sign, down in the corner were the words "Pig Out" and that's exactly what I did. The steak and eggs was almost the same amount I had had in Willow Creed when I had the thick cut T-bone.
The waitress told me that her husband was a fire fighter and a fire had just started around Eugene. They were just cleaning up the one around Strawberry Mountain - the one that made my sunset on Saturday so smoky. I told her about the man from Vancouver sitting next to me on the plane Friday. He was telling me how clean the air was there as compared to San Jose. Just as he said that, we were looking out the window and saw an ugly black line along the Cascades. The guy felt pretty silly after just bragging about the local clean air. So far, Saturday has been my least smoky sunset after those strong winds blew it away.
Going down a slope for a little way but it is pretty much up 15 miles, down 15 miles into Prineville.
About a third of the way up, DB ("Dirtbag") told me the bike should be shifting better than it was. I remembered then that I forgot to lube the chain this morning in my great haste to get some grub before it warmed up. I stopped, drank some water, then lubed the chain - hoping DB was right and that's all it was. It did shift better and Dirt Bag kept saying "told you so" with a big grin.
A short distance later, I stopped again to pick up some sort of throwing knife. DB objected to holding it for me but I told him that he had to earn his keep - and that was about all a hollowed out mangy rubber red spotted lizard was good for. A few feet up was a matching smaller knife but the two knives inside DB's rubber belly rattled too much. The blade was loose on the smaller one so I took it apart and packed it away.
The bike was shifting much better now and DB started up again. I told him I might just throw him off. He said he didn't mind as long as he could keep the knife - and then let those cars try to run over him again! I had to ignore him after that.
Ochoco Pass is at 4720. I was at the 50 marker. A ways down is Crook County. There were just a few Douglas Firs, Spruce trees and Noble firs up at this higher elevation. DB and I enjoyed seeing the Pine trees appearing again on the way up and down through the Ochoco Divide. It was warm so DB swam in a creek while I dipped my jersey and then cleaned myself with it. By the time we reached Ochoco Lake, I had to jump in. Temperature in the mid-90s. By the time we reached Prineville, we were out of the forest into farmland.
PRINEVILLE TO MADRAS
Prineville is a town of 8000 people. I had a quick bite to eat and set off again. The bike lanes were nice and wide. I rode a bumpy paved trail for a while and then I tried to keep on the narrow shoulder of the road because it was well traveled. About an hour out, it looked like that big grey cloud was going to cross the road. It was blocking the sun. DB and I agreed it was getting cooler so I picked up my pace a bit. The cloud changed directions as I started up a hill. I figured I was going to get rained on! We entered the Crooked River National Grassland and, just as I was approaching the camp ground, the rain started. It was slow at first but DB said to try to outrun it. So I picked up speed as the hill leveled off. A set of high voltage wires overhead was hissing and those drops stung. Hail was mixed in and the spray from passing cars was as warm as the air. I got soaked since I rode 5 miles before I reached the rest area. I ended up pushing the bike into a large men's room outfitted with a chemical toilet. It was still warm in there from the earlier heat of the day. The storm did pass quickly which gave me 20 minutes or so to wring out my clothes.
At the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, I spread out my stuff in the tent to dry out. What doesn't dry can wait for the morning sun in Madras, Oregon.
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Rocky Brown can be found at: http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios/rocky_brown.php
His email on the road is: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is coming to you as best Ro Fischer and I can piece it together. Rocky had the wrong address for me, so after days of no email, I received a flood of separate messages that lacked any real sense of order. With Portland fast approaching, his reports will become more regular before Mark Chen and his madcap group of musical cyclists bring our momentum From Portland to Eugene. In addition, so as not to infuriate our readers, when Rocky's posts get shorter, I can also bundle in some more of Jim Redd's awesome trip reporting.
Subject: Lucky Peak Sunrise
Hi Martin and Everyone:
I only got two or three hours of shut-eye on a greenbelt park bench on my first night in Idaho. I knew it was not very safe to ride in the darkness - but the sunrise was worth everything that I risked. I rode East in the morning darkness to get here - a mile uphill past the start of the greenbelt trail. This was something I had wanted to do last year but ran out of time.
I have a few more Kodak moments - and then the bike shop should be open so I can take care of the rear wheel wobble on my bike.
I had a great morning ride back into town. The young man at the bike shop told me it would take a couple of hours so I'm writing this while I can. The front wheel is done and he started on the back forks - that's what will take time to fix.
It's already warming up - I found a shady spot on a quiet street - my shoes are off and my feet are hanging over the curb.
Subject: Nyssa Idaho
Spot check - Nyssa is right on the border of Idaho and Oregon. I am camped just two miles from there. The next town I pedal through will be Vale, Oregon - 22 miles from here.
I got my bike fixed at a shop in Boise and I am getting much better at packing and riding with my load. It was sort of a rush job at the bike shop. They didn't open until 9 am - I left the bike, went to eat breakfast, came back at 11 and it was still torn apart when I got back.
Best get going while it is still cool out. The temperature the last couple days has been in the triple digits so I was really dragging last night.
Subject: Malheur County
I crossed a bridge over the Snake River into Nyssa, Oregon yesterday morning. On the left was a small park with a boat ramp where I was told I could also camp. There was also a big sugar factory. I found a payphone to send back some PocketMail messages. I passed a sign indicating there was a City Park but I was a little too far from it to see much of it. Three quarters of the way through town, they were setting up for a Geode Convention. Leaving town, I had to look back at the sign which was in the shape of the state of Oregon. It was a "Welcome to Nyssa" sign and at the bottom in smaller print, it said "Geode Capitol of the World." There was a painting under it with Dinosaurs half-covered with weeds.
During my first 10 miles to Vale, it was easy to see the tree line where the Snake River establishes the Northern Border between Idaho and Oregon/Washington. About 5 miles later I stopped to read a roadside marker and found that the large rocky peak that I was riding alongside was Malheur Butte County. Due North of this spot was Burch Creek which has visible original ruts from the Oregon trail. Less than a mile from town, I had trouble with traffic moving around a dead mule deer buck with his bloated belly facing me on the side of the road. I felt bad for the big guy when I went back to him after the traffic slowed down. I could tell he did not suffer much - it had been quick. His horns were still in velvet and more than a 3 point. I grabbed a couple of his legs and dragged Mr. Big Ears into the gravel so he would not cause any more trouble - and, also, to save some of his dignity.
Staying on Rt 26 out of Vale took me to the edge of town where I met up with a truck driver working on his semi. I inquired about a place to eat. He said he was going to stop at Willow Creek about 11 miles ahead. I went on my way and about 3 miles later, I found an American Flag - so I stuck the dowel beside the barbed wire fastener on the top of a rusty metal post. Still looking down, I also found a good pair of sunglasses.
It was about 1:30 when I stopped for lunch at Willow Creek. The pay phone was gone - just a wire hanging out. Everyone was friendly. It was lunch time so two ladies were running the café and store. I washed the salt from my face and arms before ordering anything. The man I began talking to was Kenny Drogen from the next town up the road called Brogan. Everyone knew him and he was considered the town drunk. He was a bit hard to understand. He sat beside me just before my thick T-bone was done and drank a beer.
I saw an ant crawling on Kenny's shoulder and told him as I flicked it off. He said that it was OK - that he got a lot of that. The 68 year old guy had not had a shave in a while - and needed a shower like me. Turns out that Kenny saw me on TV on Channel 12!! He brought it up telling me that he saw me with one officer in front and one in back. He had to repeat himself several times before I understood what he was saying. The waitress did not understand either when he asked for a bag for the excess fat and bone from my steak for his dog. He told me he raised his dog from a pup and kept repeating......"my dog is going to love you."
He had another beer before ordering the pie, the reason he came here. He left about the time I started on a big basket of fries that came with the steak. The lady that had cooked my steak was giving instructions to the waitress because she was leaving. She came over to me and said she was sorry about Kenny. I said it wasn't a problem and told her that he had seen me on TV. She did not believe him until after I explained the details. She said the old buzzard must be sharper than she gave him credit for.
I asked about the phone and she told me the phone company took it out because it was not worth their maintenance. After explaining my 800 PocketMail number, she said it was OK to use theirs. After I finished eating, the waitress lead me back where the phone was. There was a B&W monitor set up from a camera on the store. There was a long cord on the phone so I showed her what monkey business I was up to. Later, after filling my empty water bottle, I told her about it: costs and contact information.
I had a flat tire on my way to Brogan. I stopped in Brogan, drank two bottles of water, then filled the bottles up and headed for Buttes which is on an 8 mile grade! (By the way, I found a used but not "road-killed" pocket knife.)
It was great to see the full moon rise between two peaks. My buddy, Moon Shadow, was riding along with me. I saw more rabbits than I could count. They were more the cotton-tail brush bunnies than the jack rabbit variety.
There were some very strong winds after the Sunset and I could smell hints of smoke when the wind shifted.
Around midnight I stopped in Unity to fill my water bottles. The place had just closed so I knocked and held up my bottles to the window so the lady inside knew what I needed.
On my way to Baker County, a big elk ran across the road in front of me. Passing the Baker County sign, the road narrowed and I lost my white line along the edge. The highest marked point that I saw was 6523. I camped at my first Nation Forest under some very large pine trees.
Dear PocketMail readers:
First thing in the morning, I had another long climb to the summit of Blue Mountain Pass - 5109 feet. Near the top was sign that I was entering Grant County. Soon the road widened. I also saw a bike route sign going down the other side on a long hill.
I stopped in Austin - 15 miles from Prairie City - and had an Elk Burger Special. I spend the night at a camp with showers in Prairie City. To get to Prairie City, I had to climb up five miles to the summit of Dixie Mt. Pass (5277 feet) and then I had the last 10 miles all down hill!!!! With the extra weight from my pack, I felt safer and could go faster but I am sure that I was doing over 50 mph at times. I was sure glad I had fixed the damage to my bike that happened on the flight.
I would like to stay here and camp a lot longer - but best to pack up and get going.
Riding along the John Day River into town had me thinking I was in Boise again. Lots cooler this time of day - can't ask for more! I am not on a bike trail but there are very wide shoulders. I was told it would level off for approximately 30 miles. Back at Dog Cr. Road, it was at 3083 feet.
It's just about 1:00 pm now in John Day, Oregon and I just finished a milk shake. I'm on the road again.
At the edge of town as I was leaving John Day, a muley doe ran about 10 feet in front of me narrowly escaping traffic from the other direction. She seemed very confused as I watched her hop past the logs in front of an old drive-in movie screen.
I picked up a hitch-hiker outside Mt. Vernon. Dirt Bag (just one of his names) was laying there beside the road playing dead. He was belly-up! Upon closer examination, the 8-inch Red Spotted Curly Tailed Rubber Lizard was injured. His lower jaw is missing and he has a few small rips in his body.
It was getting warmer and drier as I approached Dayville. I spotted a park on the edge of town and what looked like campsites beside the South Fork of the John Day River. The river here was not much more than a creek. DB (Dirt Bag) needed cleaned up more than I did - so, I tried to clean the black tire marks off his head (OUCH says the Ed.) before letting him swim around.
I put my jersey back on after wringing it out, then walked barefoot up the gravel road with socks, shoes and a happier DB on the pack behind the seat of my bike.
Traveling through the little park which had a sprinkler turned on, I pushed my bike past a lady who had stopped to eat. I was thinking how good her grapes looked when she looked up at me to exchange smiles and a few words with me. She said she was a vegetarian and offered me a tomato. She said she was going to Boise and, after I inquired about camp grounds and food, she told me about the Fossil Beds Visitor's Center and a nice little market in town.
At the quick stop market, I picked up some snacks and packed some peanuts away for later since I would be in Mitchel after everything closed.