Rocky's Plastic Lizard Talks to Him - Jim Redd's Notebook Lady

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Cycle America/N

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. in the interest of restoring some sanity to today's report, we
end with more from Jim Redd's magical writing about his foiled Salt Lake City to Boise ride. And in
H U G E News, the Pocket Mail Poet is back, Skot Paschal signed on for three legs today. He is going
to ride Eugene to Sacramento! Too exciting indeed. And then there is DeWayne Quinn who is
celebrating his birthday by organizing a mobile party from Sacramento to Naoa where is working out
the details for a free lunch for his growing group at the Berringer Winery!!

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.

Over Ochoco

Going down a slope for a little way but it is pretty much up 15 miles, down 15 miles into

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 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.

Local access to PocketMail mobile e-mail now available in Europe, North America & Australia

**Gravity and wind are fickle friends** Dear Notepad Lady,

Last year about this time, I was riding with my friend, tour guru George Christensen, on the Upper
Mississippi River, heading south from Minneapolis. Bungeed to the top of my Bob trailer was a
collection of DeLorme Topo Atlases, one for each state we were to travel through: Minnesota,
Wisconsin and Illinois. As we rode from state to state, George picked up AAA road maps from gas
stations, and we eventually got into a dueling map game, each of us interpreting the landscape
according to our respective map.

I came to realize that most of the advice I got from George, including that regarding maps, was well
worth taking. So for this trip I left my large scale DeLormes at home and picked up a Utah road map
at the Mexican-Arab convenience store in Salt Lake City, mentioned in my first email of this trip,
and I haven't regretted it. The map even had light gray contour lines of elevation interlacing the
roads and interstates, an unusual feature for a motor-map, but probably not noticed by your average
driver, who can gun those lines right into irrelevancy with the twitch of a big toe.

But to be truthful, I hadn't noticed them either, even by the fourth day of my trip, when I
descended from Monte Cristo Campground into the oven of Ogden Valley. Otherwise, I wouldn't have
headed out from Huntsville on Hwy167 toward East Canyon on that 109 degree afternoon.

I had been lulled into complacency by the recent 23-mile downhill; surely there were more downhills
where that one came from, I thought. I even felt entitled to downhills, so smug was I. Hwy 167's 10
miles held no threat for me. I expected to coast into East Canyon just in time for the evening rise
of the moon, which was waxing close to full.

But as I have mentioned, this part of Utah is a jumble of mountains, with ridges running every which
way, popping up in unexpected places. Some of them have names. There is one called Horse Ridge.
Horse Ridge is so high it has its own gray contour line on the motor-map. Hwy167 straddles that
8,300-foot Horse of a Ridge. Today I began paying attention to those little gray lines.

After biking through the Uintas and Wasatch Ranges, I have learned that the introductory slope of a
Utah mountain gives little clue of the climb to come. And this one was no exception; after the first
switchback a serious seven percent grade set in and didn't let up for five miles.

Gravity, like the wind, is a fickle friend; I turned my back and it changed my bike from a
wing-wheeled chariot to forty pounds of dead weight which I pedaled and pushed and shoved up that
shadeless desert of a road and in my heat-induced delirium found myself craving the air-conditioned
comfort of a passing steel coffin. But I finally mounted the top of Horse Ridge, head high,
untainted by internal combustion, where the good side of gravity kicked in and gave me a long
guilt-free free-wheel down to the off-ramp community of Mountain Green.

Jim Redd Bike-Writer-At-Large Back in Chicago

Jim Redd can be found at:

Rocky Brown can be found at: wn.php His email on the
road is: [email protected]

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
<>, point to their blog at
<>. All of this excitement will
al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest  on Sunday August 17 c/:eek:

btw: If you want to become a rider, we WANT you!! Go to
<>, to find out how!! btw2: We
have pictures from the various ride legs on line at btw3: If you want to see who these
cyclists are, go to <>.
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