Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm a Radio Star!

Monday June 28th: I got a flat tire today. No problems the whole trip and now two flats in less than a week. Thanks to Dewey in Laramie at Pedal House for fixing it so quickly and cheaply.

I went to the designated meeting place at Grayrocks Reservoir after 72 miles today. I waited for an hour and a half in the dark for Laura. I was real tired going against the wind all day, but there were a million mosquitoes so to keep them off of me I kept riding or power walking about 200 yards up and down the same stretch of road. Luckily I stopped a policeman that went and found Laura before I was carried away by the mosquitoes. I have bites all over me. I ended out with 85 miles on my bike today.
Tuesday 29th: At Fort Laramie there was a funny sign. See the picture on the left.
Above is a photo of me on radio KGOS in Torrington, Wyoming. I also have a sound bite at
Just fast forward to the 4 minute 50 second mark. All the media are nice but Anita at the station was simply wonderful. She is going to follow my blog to give her listeners a weekly update. I hope all you other media members are doing the same. Remember the whole purpose of this adventure is to raise money for Shriner Hospitals for Children. I don't know why but there haven't been many donations lately so please go to the home page and find the donate buttons within the text.

Today was a rough 72 miles to Scottsbluff, Nebraska. I left at 7:30 AM and had a 20 mph wind at my face all day and barley made it in time for my 7 PM speaking appointment that night. Thanks to Taylors' and Tom Townsend for setting it up and for all their help.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where the Deer and The Antelope Play...

Friday June 25th: Last night we stayed at the Ross' house in Rawlins, Wyoming. They had us speak to a small group of Boy Scouts and took great care of us. This morning I was on the Rawlins radio station and in the newspaper (that is number 15). Poor Skyler hasn't been able to ride with me the last few days. His ankle is swollen and hurts bad. He snapped a ligament years ago so he went to the doctor to check it our. He got a brace and new hard shoes made for biking. Next week he will try riding more and more each day to see how it goes.

I want to thank Penny and Monty Sheridan of Hanna for being so nice to us.

Saturday 26th: I saw about 70 wind mills. They are 350 feet tall. The tallest structure in Wyoming. At Medicine Bow they were having "Bow Days" It was a real small town activity. There were about 6 little booths. The mayor was walking around with Whip cream all over his face from the pie throwing booth. The fast draw (gun) shooting contest was cool. But most exciting is that here lives the buffalo chip throwing world champion. There was a huge storm quickly developing and I decided to try and out run it. I was pedalling like crazy for over an hour. Even going 20 mph up hill. The storm was slowly catching me and I was staying on the outside edge of it while I got rained on. The clouds behind me where real black and there was lightning. The houses are far apart but I finally I found an old trailer house that looked like a rowdy lived there. I knocked but no one answered. I went in the barn to get out of the rain and lightning and was worried that I would see a shot gun come around the corner and be put in my face. I got even more worried when I saw the shelf lined with a hundred empty beer bottles. I was preparing my death speech and looking for sometime white that I could hold around the corner as a surrender flag. Then the rain lightened up so I quickly took off and pedaled like crazy but barely moved against a 30 mph wind. I went 64 miles today.

Sunday 27th: We gave a constitution talk to a church group tonight. I have to say that the Lehmitz family were a blast to spend time with. They have a church magazine called the New Era. I was surprised to see that an article I had wrote for that magazine was in this months issue. We were so excited to see it. It's about an experience I had as a boy rafting down a river without a paddle and comparing that to going through life without goals.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Adventures In Wyoming

Monday June 21st: After Evanston, Wyoming we passed about 100 of those big huge windmills.

I have heard about the Three-Sisters for months. The road goes down, down, down, a mountain and then up, up, up a mountain - three times. We made it with no problem. There was some road construction and up one hill the road workers gave us a standing ovation. One yelled out, "Great job, I could never do that."

We went by Fort Bridger named after the most famous mountain man, explorer, trapper, tour guide, of the west, Jim Bridger.

In Lyman we got a special treat. The Gateway Inn let us stay in their motel for free. Thanks to them and Mike Buckner for that.

Today was about 70 miles of riding.

Tuesday June 22nd:

On the freeway there was construction causing a long line of cars to form. For some reason I got great satisfaction being on a bicycle and flying by all the cars that where moving at a snails pace.

I went by Green River, Wyoming. The cliffs and buttes are a pretty color green and so is the river, hence the name of the city. We got into the newspaper again

We gave a presentation at the Pilot Butte church. I guess they liked it because they bought us dinner and let us stay the night inside the church! That was cool. I have never sleep over in a church before. It was tough trying to decide which of the dozens of rooms to sleep in. Thanks to Bishop Rose and all those that were so kind to us. At Little America we meet a couple of cross-country bike riders like us, Chris and Colton from California. They were great help. They changed Skyler's tire that had a chunk missing. They stayed the night at the church with us.

55 miles today.

Wednesday 23rd: Yesterday I was so proud of myself for passing cars on the freeway. Today I was even more excited to pass a train of coal cars. I caught and passed it. I know it was going up hill...but so was I! As I was basking in my glory I suddenly realized that I had gone the wrong way for a few miles. That's the first time I've done that. I've been careful not to do that because it's not like in a car if you go the wrong way on a bike it takes a lot of time and I am already pedaling all day as it is.

It accidental got on a dirt road on the open rang and far off, eight wild horses saw me and started running towards me. It was cool until they looked like a stampede coming toward me, but luckily they crossed the road just behind me. I saw several Pronghorn Antelope and got close many times. One ran along side of me for a while. I constantly see prairie dogs. They are all over. They screech out a red alert signal and then run down a hole. The rabbits startle me the most because they dart out lightning fast just feet away.

68 miles today.

Thursday 24th: Last night we camped out just off the freeway in the middle of no where. It was the only place we could find. So happens we where very close to the train tracks. The trains came about every 45 minutes. There was a dirt road across the tracks so they would blow their horn and it seemed like they saw us so they would blast the horn a few extra times for fun.

I got my first flat tire of the trip near the Continental Divide (7000 feet). Believe it or not I've never changed a flat and couldn't get anything to work right. We were blessed, like so many times on this trip, to have a man that was in the right place at the right time to fix my tire.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One Third The Way Done!

Monday June 14th: We made it 65 miles to Kimberly, Idaho just past Twin Falls. We sleep in a church parking lot. Since we weren't allowed to put up a tent, all five of us crammed into the van full of luggage and two dogs. I was so tired it didn't matter much.

Tuesday 15th: Skyler's mom and grandparents lived in Burley so when we got there I took Skyler to the newspaper office so they could write a few things about him. Go to the link and scroll down to the article, That is the twelve newspaper that we have been in.

We went 71 miles to Malta tonight. We stayed with Jeff Johnson. He and his daughter are great people. He set it up for us to speak to a group of people in the park that night.

Wednesday 16th: We made it to Utah! And boy did we have a nice welcome-40 mph side wind. We were riding our bikes at about a 30 degree angle leaning to the side. The wind was blowing us all over. It made it even more challenging when a big truck would go by. Then we got rained on. But we still rode 85 miles today! And then Skyler went swing dancing (to be young again).

Thursday 17th: Skyler missed out last night. He went home while the rest of us slept in the van because it was pouring rain. We didn't want to bother getting our sleeping bags out of the cargo carrier (it is like sardines up there) and it was soooooooooooo cold all night. We had some appointments this afternoon so I had to get up at 5:15 to start riding and my bike had ice on it! The speedometer was cover in ice thick enough that I couldn't read it. I had to scrap the ice off the seat before I jumped on and took off riding. After half an hour of shaking I started to warm up. I stopped at the ATK Thiokol Rocket Display. Here they had booster for the Minuteman and Patriot missiles. The Shuttle booster was huge.

I went to my favorite town today, the town of Willard. It has my favorite mountain peak - Willard Peak. Also my favorite bay - Willard Bay (part of the Great Salt Lake). And my favorite cemetery...I could go on and on but I won't. I wonder if we will see any towns named something like Skylerville? Ironically the town named after me (even though it was established in 1851) is where my fourth great grand fathers, John Woodland, is buried. He is the one that came out west with the pioneers.

We took the bikes to where we bought them, Taylor's bike shop, for a tune-up. If you are in the Salt Lake area go to these guys. They are great.

We have been real blessed with no break down of flats and no big injuries. One day I did count 25 little blisters on one foot. I've been sore in various places but surprisingly my legs haven't really been sore until the last few days and lately I've been real tired. It could be due to the fact that the last four days we rode 65, 71, 85, and 6o miles. Before this trip I would have never thought that I would say that 50 miles is an easy day.

Friday 18th: We spent the night at Skyler's house. After a few minutes of riding today we hit one of the toughest short stretches of our trip. About 5 miles of a 40 mph head wind going uphill on the freeway (I-84) through Weber Canyon. My legs were killing me.

At 10:30 I called in to be live on an Evanston, Wyoming radio show. Then we made it to where I live, Morgan. Jim Francis, who originally was going to ride across America with us, was there on his three-wheeled cart. All three of us where escorted into town by the city firetruck. We went to the park to be welcomed by great friends and family.

I need to say thanks to our friends at Romero Graphics for putting our website on the van. It looks real cool.

Saturday 19th: Today was about 60 miles total to Evanston, Wyoming. There were some good mountains to climb but the 25 mph tail wind was very helpful. Most days we have a tail wind. We are staying the weekend with our good friends Bill and Julie Housely. Bill got us on the radio and newspaper and set it up for us to speak at an amphitheater at Bear River Park. The city provided refreshments and we had a camp fire. It was a fun evening and we got some donations for Shriners Hospitals.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Who Says You can't Go Home" - Bon Jovi

It's been an eventful week. Wednesday the 9th we rode into Parma, Idaho with a police escort to the park and was meet by the newspaper lady and others. I graduated from high school here in 1981. That night Skyler and I spoke to a group of 50 Boy Scouts and Leaders. Thursday we went to my brother Eddies in Nampa and celebrated Faith's 9th birthday. Friday we road to my Aunt Verna and Uncle Pete Merricks near Bruneau. Saturday we made it near Bliss. The last two days (and next several) we have been on the old Oregon Trail route from wagon train history. We drove the van two hours back to Parma. I was the honorary speaker at the all class reunion (anyone that had graduate from Parma High School). There were about 200 there and they were a fantastic group to speak to. They donated nearly $200 to The Shriners cause. Sunday night we also spoke to a church group. All the nights in Parma we stayed with my best friend from high school, Alan Weber.

The picture is from Hagerman Fossil Museum. It is a horse/zebra like animal (I call it a Zorse) that is 3.2 million years old.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Solar Power by Goal0

I have to show you a few pictures of our solar equipment from our sponsor The first picture, above, is the battery. The next picture shows the solar panel over the battery. They are both relatively light and come in very handy. You can put on as many solar panels as you need and it charges the battery, from the sun of course, whether you are riding or not. You can also charge the battery in a regular house outlet or from the car. The battery then is used to charge cell phones, Ipods, what ever. One day we were behind schedule. Since we were on a secluded road with no cars we rode at night. We had three lights hooked up to three Goal0 batteries and where lit up like a Christmas tree.

The third picture shows all the equipment for the girls in the van. I don't know much about car batteries but since the van only goes about 50-60 miles a day I am afraid of it not being charged enough for all the girls electrically needs so we use two sets of Goal0 equipment. It looks like a lot of stuff, but it all fits into a small bag. It is all very durable to last through my daughters setting on it in the van and dropping things all the time. They use it to watch DVDs, listen to music, lights for around camp. It works so well that they really only need one set of equipment for all their needs. Go to to see more (also to post from Friday April 16h).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Don't tease Badgers

Friday June 4th: All I see is miles of sage brush with the mountains all around in the back ground and I love it. I saw a badger today. I put my bike between me and the badger and slowly inched myself closer and closer until I was about two yards away. It started hissing louder and louder and flatted itself out to look big and did this little bounce up and down thing to try and scare me. I was too stupid to be scared until I remember hearing that if threatened badgers will tear you apart with their sharp claw. Finally the badger ran off and I had to laugh at its cute waddle. But then I realized that it all wasn't worth a possible trip to the emergency room. I learned a good life lesson that sometimes in life harmful activities or behaviors might give us an adrenaline rush or seem exciting at the time the consequences are never worth it.

I tried to go as far as I could since I had a 25 mph wind at my back. I made it about 70 miles (for the second day in a row). We stooped in the very small town of Wagontire. "Very small" is an extreme over exaggeration. The sign said population 3 but it is really only 1. It is true, only one guy lives there in a trailer. The cafe, hotel, and gas station have all closed down. He was real friendly and let us camp in one of the RV sites for free.

Sunday 6th: Yesterday (Saturday) we road to Burns. We had a wind in our face all day. I was real tired and glad that today is Sunday because we never ride on Sundays. It is t he only day of the week that we rest. We went to church at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That night we gave an hour presentation there. The people were wonderful.

We stayed with Sharon and Stacy (yes, that is his first name and if you go through town don't tease him about it...he is the county sheriff) Johnson at their ranch. His brothers families, Alan and Kevin, live nearby too. They all treated us so well. They are super great people. They have an interesting health product at Also a special thanks for the great hospitality from Mr. and Mrs. Romans in Vale, Oregon (Tuesday 8th).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Man Versus Wild"

Sorry that I haven't written for a few days. I feel like I was just in a few episodes of Survivor Man out in the Oregon wilderness. No shower, cell phone, or computer for days.

Monday May 31st: We left my mom's house in Roseburg and went to Idleyde Park. We stayed with the Krysky family. They were wonderful to us. Mr. Krysky showed us videos of the civil war cannons that he makes and fires. It was very interesting.

Tuesday June 1st: We continued going east on Hwy 138. It is so green and pretty. There are permanent waterfalls and temporary waterfalls everywhere. We are following the river and it is a pretty green color.

We are without the van support for two days and I didn't bring rain gear because the forecast was only 20% chance of rain but I grew up in western Oregon and should know that 20% here means that's how many people think that it actually won't rain. We did get rained on a little here and there but nothing to bad. Today was all uphill.

Wednesday June 2nd: Did I say that it didn't rain too much on us? Well that was until today. Actually it started when we began to set up camp last night and rained all night and all today. We did find out that our untested tent is not completely waterproof. We waited until afternoon for it to stop but no chance of that so we put on the untested rain gear and away we went. The last two days we went from not much above see level to the summit of the Cascade Mountains at 5,925 feet. We were a little wet under the rain clothes and there was snow all around us so it was getting cold. Luckily it finally stopped raining on the several miles of downhill or we would have froze. I knew if Skyler and I could make it through this two days of straight uphill then we could do just about anything.

What makes this trip so challenging is that we have so many speaking appointments set up on specific days that we have to stay on schedule come rain or shine, which reminds me I forgot to mention that we did get hailed on too.

Thursday 3rd: People here are so friendly. We stopped along side the road for a snack at Klamath Marsh and the first two cars that came by asked if we needed help. We bought hamburgers from a single mom and tried to give her a tip but she told us to keep it for our cause. We have had people along the way donate to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Don't forget that is the main reason way we are doing this, and thanks so much to all those that have donated or helped in anyway. Go to the home page
if you would like to donate. If everyone we talked to only donated one dollar it would be a large amount.

We are sad that Jim Francis was not able to come on the trip with us but he did a great job of calling church leaders along the route to find us occasional homes to stay at and also places to speak. So happens my best friend from Jr. High, Scott Tobiason, is the leader of the congregation in Christmas Valley. We had to ride 70 miles today straight to the church and got there in time to give a presentation. Laura first talked about the miracles with the health of our three adopted girls and I talked about patriotism. After that we went to my old friend's (Scott Tobiason) house. Ironically like my wife and I they also adopted all three of their kids and also like us two are from Latin American countries. Scott got out the Jr. High yearbooks and we had fun reminiscing.