Three time NBG Mayors' Ride relay rider, Skot Paschal, 250 miles into his ride, called me from a pay phone in Brigham City, Utah to get me up to date on his travels. And his run from Boise to Salt Lake City has been one fun adventure after another that, I will offer, he earned with weeks of research before he even left. In fact, I can't wait until he returns with pictures and the route so we can get a lot of people out on this relay leg next year and the year after, etc. Thank U Skot.
He bubbled with excitement as he described how his days have been. In bearable 90 degree heat, Skot told me there have been few cars and the quiet has been deafening. Despite the fact that his route has placed him in the middle of nowhere he still has been able to locate a store or restaurant every 50 miles or so.
And through Skot's eyes, I was able to see a desert that would be true a joy to behold. He says he regularly sees the biggest animal of the desert, the graceful antelope. While the day before yesterday in the City of Rocks, after being cooled off by a hailstorm that lasted 10 minutes, he laid his eyes on a double rainbow that filled the sky for half an hour. It was so stunning, it moved him to tears.
And the people, just like Unicycle Patrick was telling me last nite from the Nevada desert, have been a tremendous boost to his faith in the genuine kindness of the human spirit. Even Stinky Hot Springs was made fun by the people with whom he shared it. Announced by a sign at the edge of the road, he and several other would be bathers laughed and joked as they cleared away the debris covered pools just so they could sit in its tepid waters. For Skot, the soak was a welcome treat!
And then there was the highlight of his tour to date. Late in the afternoon, as he was pedaling out in the middle of desolate nothingness, a chubby, cheerful man in his 60's called out to him from the side of the road. Skot stopped and soon Malcolm the Monk was inviting Skot to come and see his spread which he claimed also included one of the largest, little known wonders of the Great West. Always up for new adventure, Skot left the main road and following the mystery man's directions ended up at a farm filled with livestock, including a three legged cow, and row after row of newly planted fruit trees; a true desert oasis.
Malcolm, a Viet Nam vet living on disability led Skot to the back of the large compound to a massive structure, a good number of stories tall. What lay behind the doors took Skots breath away. It was a massive Buddha made of concrete so spectacular that monks from all over the world come to Malcom's farm to bask in its splendor. Soon the blessings continued as Skot was not only offered a night's stay but Malcom even fed him a wonderful dinner.
When we spoke, Skot was located pretty close to the shores of the Great Salt Lake and was headed next for a campsite at Willard Bay,. He can feel civilization pressing in on him as he gets closer to Salt Lake City. Not only have the cars returned but so have the stop lights and he says that it looks like it is going to be one big strip mall all the way into Salt Lake City. And yet his adventure is far from over. He plans to camp on an island in the middle of the immense Salt Lake before he rejoins humanity for the rest of his ride to Utah's biggest city.
I can't wait to hear what he discovers next. Or as Skot said, "it's amazing what kind of adventure can be had when U just get off the couch!"
- Our 3-rd Annual Mayors' Ride can be found at http://www.BikeRoute.com/NationalMayorsRide2004/
- Bios for Skot and all of our riders can be found at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios
- You can follow our TransAm unicyclist or Don Loomis or our East Coast riders and Rowbikers when they come on line at http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php
Skot Paschal called from a pay phone he found at a resort along the the Thousand Springs Historical Trail, where as he says, water can be seen exploding out of the rocks everywhere. Nor did he stumble upon this liquid heaven by chance. After researching a route from Boise to Salt Lake City that would avoid the interstates and knowing the general area where places like this existed, he still had to work to get here. Today, for example, he reported that it took him 5 hours to go 15 miles due to hellacious winds and road construction. And as he told the Boise Mayor when they met last Wednesday, Boise does a poor job of signing its roads. As does the entire state of Idaho. Nonetheless, unlike Jim Redd and Rocky Brown who rode the route before him, a route Rocky completed and Jim did not, Skot is loving the ride. Made even more pleasurable by the fact that he sees very few cars.
He tells me that the entire area thru which he is riding is steeped in Oregon Trail history. He's even seen ruts left from the wagon wheels of yesteryear. In the next couple of days he plans to visit a ghost town, wants to the see what is left of Promentory Utah where the Golden Spike connecting the first TranAm railroad was laid, a historical marker, and even plans to camp on an island in the middle of the great Salt Lake! Skot is really making true adventure out of what is truly a barren wasteland. Yahoo!!
In Boise, Idaho, Mayor Dave Bieter, who is a familiar sight around town on his 1969 Schwinn Typhoon one speed bicycle, had his staff cook up a worthy send off for two time NBG Mayors' Ride relay rider Skot Paschal yesterday. As a new Mayor with a new staff, all of his vibrant and alive people greeted our offer to visit them for a third time this year with not only excitement but action. In fact their media person, Michael Zuzel made no promises but he did tell us that our news, which he has been following, had given him lots of ideas! And as per Skot's brief report below, Michael Z delivered - Big Time!! Look for pictures and a report soon!
As for Skot, a popular middle school teacher in the Santa Cruz, CA area, he is always up for summer vacation adventure. In fact, it was Skot's epic ride that inspired Arcata Mayor Bob Ornelas to make the ride from Arcata to the San Francisco Bay Area that he recently completed. Here then is Skot's poetic return to the road. It will be fun to see what he discovers out there in the 338 miles of desert nothingness between himself and Salt Lake City:
Hello Friends, especially Martin,
The reception went well with two camera crews and the mayor & Mr. Z.
Left at about 2 made it to Mt. Home at about 8.
In town there is a replica of the Viet Nam wall: very moving.
Great weather...Great life.
IN the heat and quiet back roads there is
to think....to dream...to be grateful.
On the wall are so many names,
some are friends...all are Family.
Why ride on out of the way roads and forgotten highways?
Because i can,
time is a waiting beast,
so leave the house...kiss the kids..and meet me under the
tomorrow is no lock,
and there is so much to feel.
On the road again,