Here as we wind down to a close for our Grand Finale in San Francisco on July 31, two men have emerged from the desert with a story to tell. And theirs, as you will see, was a truly fun adventure made possible by Skot Paschal, a man now fighting for his life against a cancer for which there is no known treatment. All of those who know Skot love this man as you will also see in the words below.
Besides the friends who have committed to riding for Skot when he bikes the Monterey to Santa Cruz relay in an attempt to shine some light on his rare disease, he is especially loved by kids. So much so that in the Santa Cruz area, he is an extremely popular middle school teacher. And if school were in you have to know that the roads and paths along the ocean would be full of his bike riding students.
If you want to get a closer look at a man who has given NBG readers many hours of joy and expanded the possibility consciousness for innumerable others, see: http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios/Skot_Paschal.php
If you want to ride for Skot, visit our 4th Annual Mayors' Ride site: http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide2005 to learn how you can sign up to ride on July 27!
====== Boise to Eugene - FOR SKOT ============
We have arrived in Eugene today, a little early. The trip has been great and the weather has been cooperative. The route we took resulted in a 650 mile trip.
Highway 20 out of Boise to Buchanan (really just a store on the corner) then south to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. That was beautiful, they received more rain than they had in 12 years and the wetlands were full of water and life. the wild flowers were plentiful and the birds serenaded us constantly. In Frenchglen we had a short burst up a 14% grade on highway 205 to the 50 mile dirt/gravel Rock Creek Road.
We constructed some shade with a tarp and on came the knobbies. After a short distance, we saw a car that stopped and asked us if we knew where we were going. We humorously told them, "We barely know where we are." Then we admitted heading to Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge. We rode all day across the Catlow Plain and saw 3 cars, one of which stopped and topped off our water (we were each carrying over 2 gallons.) We spent that night on one of the few side roads that we saw that day and it was spectacular. The stars filled the sky with a ferocity that touched me to the bottom of my being. There was not a single man made light to be seen in any direction.
We pulled into the refuge headquarters the next day and had a great conversation with Rochelle, the refuge biologist. (I had spoken with her before we left for Boise to get some sense of the condition of the dirt road. She had nothing but encouragement and spoke of the beauty of the ride.) When we arrived and discovered that there were no services, she offered us some coffee and homemade banana bread. She even went into town after her shift and brought some provisions to us at the campsite by the hot springs. This was a "down" day for us and we relaxed after our first week on the road.
Next day, back in the saddle and over the edge down a 12% grade in the dirt. TONS OF FUN! Then 20 miles uphill into the wind. We spent that night near the Warner Pass in the National Forest on highway 140. Then downhill almost all the way to breakfast in Paisley. A night at the Summer Lake Hot Springs, some light rain then up and over Picture Rock Pass (petroglyphs just off the road at the top.) We spent that night at an campground halfway between Silver Lake and Lapine. Steve, the host, was extremely kind and accommodating. He also had the most eclectic store we had seen so far out in the middle of nowhere.
The next night we spent on the river at the crescent creek cottages campground. It was a superlative site right on the creek with our very own bench carved from a huge log. We sat on the bench, watched the sunset and drank to the health of our friend, SKOT PASCHAL. The owners took our picture in front of the store with their bear. They said they would post it on their website: http://crescentcreekcottages.com
Our last night out we were in a National Forest Service campground. On our way in along the Willamette River we saw a magnificent Bald Eagle flying along the river. Today we pedaled into Eugene along their fantastic and extensive bike greenway. We are early, but Eugene is a city we can easily amuse ourselves in. In fact, Eugene is the first town of any substance that we have been in since we left Boise almost two weeks ago.
Marty and I have had some great times. We met many wonderful helpful people along the way. We saw beauty, both verdant and austere. The route we took, conceived by Skot Paschal, was definitely not the "beaten path" and our trip was all the better because of that.
This was Marty's first tour and he has been won over to the manifold experience that bicycle touring offers. Skot and I have had many great tours together and I really missed him this time. Skot it wasn't the same without you, buddy and I look forward to going trans Am in 07.
Thanks for the bittersweet ride. I love you.
With Marty Linkiewicz
We received this report yesterday from Marty & Ed, the two riders who are taking over for Skot Paschal who could not make this, a ride he long had planned for:
Things went well with the mayor in Boise, Dave was a great guy, extremely supportive. He arranged for the local TV station to come out and do a short interview with us. He directed us to their local greenway and we pedaled some of it on our way out of town.
One big surprise to us is a local weed called "goat's head" or "puncture weed". It has some nasty thorns on its seed pod and wreaked havoc with our tires at the end of day one and the morning of day two. We can now identify it and avoid it, but I bought some heavy duty "thornproof" tubes.
Marty and I are in the Jenkins Family Museum. The proprietor is letting us use his computer. He is the grandson of the man who built the 100 thousand acre ranch out here. He also built a round barn for training horses in the winter.
Marty has been talking us into all sorts of amenities; free showers and laundry, the keys to the cafe and tavern. It seems that whatever we need is provided for us.
The scenery and the people have been beautiful. Everyone has been extremely friendly and helpful. Some of the people we have met commented on the fact that we are so different from the typical bicyclists that pass through; we're older and we're more relaxed in our approach to the tour.
We entered the Great Basin yesterday and we are riding to Frenchglen for dinner at the old hotel (pop. 9). We are riding through the Malheur Wildlife Refuge today. Malheur is French for misfortune, but we feel the name does not fit for us.
So far all is going very well as long as I keep an anchor on Marty, he likes to fly. We plan on doing a half day today and stop after 30 miles. Tomorrow we go on the gravel road out to Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge. We'll probably camp out in the middle of the desert along the road. I'm really looking forward to the solitude and starry skies.
The weather has cooled off a little and is quite pleasant, now that we no longer have that westerly wind in our faces constantly. we are in a marshland of sorts, so we can play with the mosquitoes.
In honor of Skot, we ride..
Ed & Marty's NBG bios: