Monthly Archives: May 2015

We Should Have Seen the Signs 6

Beautiful riding today

Beautiful riding today

John and his monster cat Cougar, owner of Waitsburg Mercantile

John and his monster cat Cougar, owner of Waitsburg Mercantile

Someone in Dayton, WA, made this jumbo Green Giant, it reminded me of the Silver Chair

Someone in Dayton, WA, made this jumbo Green Giant, it reminded me of the Silver Chair

The other day, as we pulled into Walla Walla, a man and his wife whipped off the road to chat with us. They turned out to be Bob and Emma, our hosts through Warmshowers. Robert fired out an entire clip of complex directions to his home and drove off with us tailing along behind. Robert and Emma were the bests hosts ever. They did our laundry, fed us pizza, gave us use of their internet and showers . . . Also, Emma is from the Philipeans and uses this banana sauce instead of catsup, so Lizzy had a new condiment to add to her vegan hot dogs (also provided byBob). We even got to play with their lab pup Millie. It was quite fortuitous that we ended up there for the above mentioned reasons, but also because we awoke to a complete downpour. Bob let us stay in the basement and gave us an entirely accurate account of the roads ahead. We eventually left around 3:00. Bob, who was driving back to Walla Walla from Pomeroy, met us again on the side of the road and we had a final chat. That night we ended up in Waitsburg.

This Waitsburg building had some super horns. I forgot to ask what they were for

This Waitsburg building had some super horns. I forgot to ask what they were for

Lizzy and I were both blown away by Waitsburg. It is the only town in Washington that is still operating under its original territorial charter, and is celebrating its sesquicentennial this weekend. There will be a parade, performance by the men’s quartet, and I’m sure an appearance by Izzy, the town’s camel–because every town needs a camel! I found a brand new, unopened, fresh bag of Cheetos in the park too, something I take as a sign of greatness. We camped by the river and decided to get coffee from the local grocer the next morning.

Stink feasting in Waitsburg

Stink feasting in Waitsburg

lizzy's sister camel, izzy

lizzy’s sister camel, izzy

Most of the buildings in the town are original structures, and are really well maintained. We chatted with several of the locals and got to watch the installation of several bronze statues that will grace Main Street for years to come. While we were sipping coffee, I noticed an animal adoption sign across the street, so of course we had to check it out.

The animal adoption facility was part of the Waitsburg Heardwear and Mercantile, and is run by a wonderful man named John (he gave me a post card and a maple bar!) The store has been in operation for 103 years. John bought the store ten years ago, well before that he lived in Salem and ran milk samples in McMinnville.



His adoption set up was squeaky clean, which he says is the only way to do it. He had a 28 pound monster cat named Cougar, a blind cat, and even a cat with stub legs. Not sure how to describe it other than that. Seriously, the cat was full size with 3 inch legs. He called it the munchkin kitten. Cats aside, the store was awesome, just a little bit of everything you could need. He even had an entire isle for sturgeon fishing bits.

We left Waitsburg begrudgingly and pedeled out to Pomeroy. We were a little knee sore and bum-hurt by the time we got there. We stopped a terrible, outdated forestry service informational sign. We also stumbled upon a man’s private enamel sign collection/Pomeroy museum, and then a mini mart where we  got ice for our achy knees.

sittin on our butts, giving our knees a break in pomeroy

sittin on our butts, giving our knees a break in pomeroy

We met a man there who told us to camp in the city park, which we did. When we got to the park there was a young military man doing excercises in jeans and combat boots with three highschool kids. I’m fairly certain he was showing off his strength for us, but what he didn’t know is that Lizzy and I were laughing hysterically at the situation. . . At one point he asked us to tell them what type of exercises to do next.

There was this fabulous pagoda that we decided to camp in. We didn’t take note of the fact that the main light fixture in the pagoda was full of water, or that there were puddles in the pagoda, or that we couldn’t find any dry grass for Beefy to nest in, or that all the acres upon acres of grass that we’d been riding through the past eight hours had all been scratchy dead and that we were in a lush, green park.

So it was that 4:00 this morning we were all awakened from out deep slumber by a torrent of water upon then tent. Honestly my first thoughts were: “that’s funny a storm blew in that quick,” then, “how wet would are stuff actually be if we slept through it. . .”, and though I’m not proud of it, “I’ll just let Lizzy get the bikes.” Tempting as sleep was, commercial strength sprinklers in the face at 4 am prevent snoozing. We popped up and moved everything to the next covered area, and just as we we’re climbing back into the tent, another sprinkler went off. Up we got again and moved everything one more time.

Now we are in Lewiston ID, our third state. Everything is dry, Beef Is getting his prescription filled. We met a fellow cyclists who told us a horrendous story about how his body absorbed some of his foot bones and they exploded(he was explaining why he only had 1.5 feet, though we didn’t ask) I’ll spare the details, but I’ll tell you this: SICK MAN!!!

The knees are feeling much better, thanks for the prayers.




Let’s help Zar Zar!

Zar Zar is a farmer from Burma who needs $1,500 for complex cardiac surgery.

Zar Zar is a farmer from Burma who needs $1,500 for complex cardiac surgery.

Click on Zar Zar’s picture to head on over to the Watsi site to view her story and others like her.


“Growing up Zar Zar was often sick and experienced flu like symptoms,” explain our partners at Burma Border Projects. “She feels weak and is tired after doing small tasks or walking short distances. Small tasks also impact her ability to breathe properly. She said her symptoms are manageable but she worries what will happen to her health in the future it left untreated.”


Zar Zar is a 27-year-old woman from Burma, where she lives with her parents. Together, they plant peanuts and beans to support themselves. Their farming income covers food and their basic bills, but does not allow them to save nor address Zar Zar’s ongoing health issues. Our partners at Burma Border Projects diagnosed Zar Zar with mitral valve stenosis, a heart condition that arises when a major valve in the heart is narrower than usual. As a result, blood flow can be uneven within the heart, which can result in heart palpitations, exhaustion or even heart failure.


For $1,500, we can fund complex cardiac surgery to correct Zar Zar’s heart valve, so she can regain strength and endurance. With her increased strength, Zar Zar will be able to contribute more around the house and to her family’s farm, increasing their earnings. She will also be able to have children one day, fulfilling her dream of providing for her own children and helping them go to school!

As always, if you enter the Watsi site through your donation will be tracked in our campaign. If not, that’s cool too. We just want you folks to help folks.


We’ve Got The Legs For It 4

Liz and Haley at the Welcome to Washington sign

We made it to Washington, this time it’s for real.

Today we ended up in Walla Walla Washington, our second time in Washington this tour if you’ve been counting. Riding through the Gorge the last few days I got the sense that everything was melting and slowly dripping into the Columbia to be washed from memory. I suppose that is what geologists say is happening, but feeling it happen is different from knowing it is happening. I have lived in Oregon for most of my life, and I have many memories sturgeon fishing at Bonneville Dam with my dad, so the Columbia Gorge is not a new place to me–but it felt like an entirely new world on a bicycle. Liz, Beef, and I were amazed at the rapidity in which the landscape was changing around us. We pedaled through lush, waterfall laden forests to arid, scrubby ranch land. The East half of the Columbia Gorge is not tired or lonely, but those are the words that come to mind when trying to describe it. I like it out here. There is a tree in bloom that I am quite taken with. I believe it is a flowering lotus tree but I am probably wrong. Anyway, it is blooming like crazy out here and it smells like Jasmine and kisses.

We have been blessed time and time again this tour and it is only our fifth day. A man approached us earlier and though he was out of work, he gave us grocery money and said God put it on his heart to give it to us. We talked with him for a while and I was moved by the amount of love he had for his family, something that I could sense by the way he talked about them. He is expecting a grandbaby this year, its a girl. He said that we had the legs for such long tour–not like those spindly racer guys (his words not mine). We were also given showers, electricity,internet, dinner, and a place to stay out of the rain tonight by a wonderful couple here in Walla Walla. It never ceases to amaze me the generosity and love that can be found in strangers. It is a lesson that does good for the heart to learn.

Beautiful Waterfall

Beautiful Waterfall

bicycle in the historic columbia river hwy

Lizz on historic route 30. If you have a bike, you must ride there.

dry cliffs on the Columbia Gorge

The Eastern half is a bit dryer, but still beautiful

Cyclist riding down a mountain

Lizzy battling the wind

What started as terrible cross winds that sapped any coast we had going downhill, and which literally blew us off the road, quickly turned into tailwinds. We were able to get 81 miles in yesterday, though we are both feeling it today. We were hoping to come upon a McDonalds or a Walmart in Umatilla to loiter in for a while, but were sorely disappointed when we got there. No such luck. We ended up eating re-fried beans on Matzos with some taco sauce Lizzy’s dad gave us for dinner at the top of a hill that overlooked McNary Dam.

girl being blown about in the wind

Lizz and Beef experience some windy gusts

hunqapiller in front of the columbia gorge

Mighty Hunq, mighty river

For a funny look at the crazy steep stairs on Hwy 30, click the video link below.


On the road again! (day three) 4

Right now we’re sitting at some up and happening coffee shop in Hood River, sharing a large coffee and unashamedly taking advantage of the free wifi and available power outlets. Let me now regale you with tales of our first days on the road:

We hit the dusty trail early (okay, perhaps a little later than anticipated)on Friday morning. Our combined family members & friends behaved like ruthless paparazzi and bombarded by taking roughly one trillion photos and we made ready to take off. It was actually really bittersweet saying goodbye to all the people we love, but everyone including us are real excited about this crazy nut-job tour we’s gunna do.

Down the road  we stopped at Stink’s friend, Tessa house & said more goodbyes. Then off we went… till I had to take a potty break right away in Newberg. (I was so nervous/crazy/excited that I forgot to pee before we left).

We cruised on up Rex hill & things went quite smoothly. I couldn’t get into my granny gear (the super tiny gear up front)so Stink made some minor derailleur adjustments for me once we reached the top. Then, more smooth sailing all the way to Portland waterfront park. The endless hill on Barbur boulevard was … hilly, but we did quite well for ourselves. Beef took sporadic & bumpy naps in the beefbox as we rolled along.


I had hoped to connect with a reporter from the Portland Tribune once we got in to Portland, but he texted & said he was too busy writing about Obama because he’s cooler than us. Whatever. haha. While we were chillin’ out at the waterfront, we met a few interesting characters: Ludwig Sears (Ludwig’s ears, he says), who rapped us some spoken wordz, bike dude who I don’t think we got the name of, a friendly family, and some rat folks.


After a good meal of peanut butter, bagel, and Momma Sue’s vegan cookies, we trekked on across the river and over to Stink’s sister, Heather’s apartment. Heather toured with us a couple years ago up to the top of Washington & then back down to Napa Valley, CA. Anyways, we blew up her & Cody’s back patio with all our crap. Stink went off to her pastor Jeff’s graduation, and Heather got bike tube patching lessons from me & Cody. Good jerb Heather!  Later, my friend Mariah & her boyfriend Jeremy came over with ciders, and Jer chopped off most of my hairs. We all hung about & had a good time as it was a good crowd.


Then they headed out and we all immediately went to bed & passed out. In the morning, Heather & Cody made us a delicious breakfast with vegan sausages, eggs, strawberries, and fresh breads from the bakery down the street. After gorging ourselves on free fodder, we finished packing up and rolled on out of Portland.


We had some wonderful riding and views of road side waterfalls as we climbed to the Vista house on the Columbia river gorge. We scoped out all the beautiful lands about us, ate some snacks, and cruised on outta there, riding the old Columbia river highway on over to Multnomah Falls. Stink ran into a friend from George Fox there, so we had that merry bit of kismet. Leaving the falls, we eventually stumbled onto a bike path that paralleled the highway. It was nice cruising along without cars, and we stopped & ate lunch/rested/wrote/mapped for a bit along the way.


But then, after a nice descent, we turned a corner and BAM! Four flights of super steep stairs we had to creep the bikes down. Duuuuumb, but we managed to do it between fits of laughter at the absurdity of having to cart 100 pounds of crap on wheels down stairs in the middle of bum-truck nowhere.


I was in communication with my brother during all this, as he wanted to meet up & camp together that night. Stink plotted out where we’d be to get our quota of 55 miles, and found a state park there in the Oregon side of the river. So we skipped out on the Bridge of the Gods (which wasn’t as impressive looking as in my head) and headed out towards the park. At one point we were following a road when it forked and we were pondering with path to take, and a nice man in a pickup truck pulled up and asked if he could help us ladies find where we were going. He gave us good advice, got us on the right road, and had a badass feather collection dangling from his rearview. Thanks helpful stranger!


We rolled on for many more miles, then arrived at the park….


This is where I sign off because it’s now eight o’clock at night & I’m in the tent about to pass out. Will continue this riveting tale tomorrow, sorry for the word vomit, just kinda journaling it all right here.





columbia river gorge. just a bit before vista house

columbia river gorge. just a bit before vista house


Okay, nevermind, only one picture because it doesn’t want to let me upload any more at the moment.. Tomorrow! pictures! you’ll see!