Please join us in support to raise funds and awareness of the Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project and World Bicycle Relief as we bike from coast to coast June-August 2010.

Our goals:

To provide a well for a community soccer field in the compound of Ng’ombe in Zambia currently used by the Chikumbuso Grassroot Soccer Team. Chikumbuso provides free education and meals to 300 orphans as well as empowering widows and single moms through microenterprise projects.

Estimated cost- $10,000

Raise funds to donate 100 bicycles for an entire school through WBR- Bicycle Educational Empowerment Program. WBR has pledged to supply 50,000 bicycles to schools in Zambia. Recognizing the particular vulnerability of female children and the importance of educating girls, 70% of student recipients will be girls.

Cost- $13,500

To create awareness of Hasbro’s http://www.projectzambi.com/ inspired by a visit to the Chikumbuso Project.

To donate:

Click on the Donate Now link to make donations directly to World Bicycle Relief through our sponor page.

Or mail checks, payable to Friends of Chikumbuso or World Bicycle Relief, to Sabrina Buehler 350B Cossaduck Hill Rd, North Stonington, CT 06359. For more information email Sabrina at sabrinabuehler@aol.com

100% of Donations go Directly to the projects

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pioneers now and then

Oregon was beautiful to look at but we didn't have too much time to go off the beaten path(too many hills) but Idaho has a different landscape and appeal. It seems we have been following the Oregon/Mormon/California trail backwards. We stopped in Glenns Ferry were the famos crossings of Three islands occurred. Every year there is a reinactment but I guess horses have drowned so that stopped that event. The next day we biked to Declo and took a side trip to City of Rocks where the immigrants signed their names in axel grease. Next stop on the trail for us was Massacre Rock where we actually saw the wagon ruts in the ground and from there we biked to Blackfoot. While biking to Blackfoot I realized that I was visiting my parents past.
This is were my father met my mother. We found the house that my mom lived in with her sister, Dea, very cool. They bought a trailer after they were married and lived in Blackfoot for a while before they pulled it all the way to New Hamphire, where Wayne was born. Two weeks after I was born, my Uncle Benny(Ben's namesake) and cousin Anthony drove my mom back to Idaho where I spent my first several months with mom's family while my father was stationed in Hawaii. In our last week of biking we will be biking through West Point, NY where I was born. It is just something that I thought was cool as we follow these trails of pioneering history as well as Butler/Berardi/Buehler history.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Piece of Cake

Twenty-eight miles with light traffic and a flat road seems like nothing after yesterday. No problems until we got to Idaho Falls. Highway 91 was a nice country road, but no-one told us to get off onto 17th street. We were waiting to take a left onto Midway and the next thing we know we’re leaving Idaho Falls. We stop a girl on the sidewalk and ask about Midway. A questioning look appears on her face and she says the only Midway she knows goes into Ammon, which is about 10 miles?? Behind us!!! Call Wayne to the rescue. Short day and even though Wayne picked us up, we rode 35 miles. Finally, we get to Aunt Evelyn’s and tomorrow will be our first day off from riding since we started June 16th.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Making Memories !

Well, today started off early with lots of promise on the horizon. Sabrina, Wayne and I started off early enough to make the 95 mile trek in plenty of time to arrive for our host Rotarian’s planned dinner meal. Wayne planned on riding half the journey, about to American Falls, and then switching with Ben riding the remainder of the way. We even figured we’d have enough time to stop at Massacre Rock State Park. Now, do you want the good news first or the bad news?
First the good news – We made it to Massacre Rock and got to actually see the ruts from the Oregon Trail where the emigrants crossed through the area near the Snake River before they decided to either follow the California Trail or the Oregon Trail. We rode on Highways 84 & 86 and the road surface and the traffic condition were excellent. The last good things for this day were that we made it to Blackfoot alive, the campsite at the East Idaho Fairgrounds was great and we were treated to a wonderful dinner at our host Rotarian’s home. Brendon Bird and his family put on a feed fit for the hungriest of travelers and even invited us back for breakfast the next morning. I guess we didn’t make too bad of an impression, considering that Sabrina and I had rolled into camp right before Brendon’s daughters arrived to take us to their house and we didn’t even get a chance to shower or change clothes. I even forgot to change my biking glasses and arrived at their house looking like I had frog eyes! Can you guess why we didn’t have much time to clean up?
Well this is where the bad news starts. Of course you’ve guessed that we finished the day late, obviously as the result of the days trials and tribulations. To start the day off, highway 84 had road construction for the first 10 miles, so we bravely opted to go on country roads that ran parallel to the highway. Great choice for the first 4 miles, 300N was a smooth road that we had all to ourselves. At the end of 300N, we went left for a short distance and then onto 400N, which was not quite as nice. It started out running through a diary farm next to the barn and now it was a gravel road. Not too bad on my hybrid bike, but Wayne and Sabrina have skinny tires and that caused some added difficulty to their riding. It gets better. Highway 400N ends at a “T”, left goes ???? and right says “Dead End.” Wayne figures the DE ends up at the highway which we can see off in distance about 3/4 of a mile away. We play follow the leader. Well again in about ¼ mile, sure enough it Dead Ends, but there are 2 rut along a fence line that run in the direction of the highway. So, we follow them until they end at the highway? No, they end at an irrigation pump station. Who’da thunk that? Well, the highway is still ½ mile away and we only have a hay field and ¼ mile of sage brush to cross. Go back? No way, we’re pioneers now! Through the mowed field, over a barb wire fence into the sage brush, one more fence and we’re there at the edge of the highway and ready to ride. Wait! Out of the blue, my phone rings. Ben informs us that we’ve left him and Charlotte in the camp with NO KEYS TO THE TRUCK! Oh s___! Now it’s time to part ways, so Wayne returns to camp with the keys and Sabrina and I head towards Blackfoot. Poor Wayne has 8 miles to ride into a headwind! All’s good, right, for about 4 miles and then I got my first flat tire. No biggie. Replace it and back on the road in 10 minutes. Wayne gets to the truck and meets us at the next rest stop for the next 12 miles to Massacre Rock State Park. Riding into the park Wayne says something’s rubbing on one of the brakes. Upon inspection, I discover that the rear wheel has a broken spoke and has a whoop in it that’s making the rim rub on the brake. This is starting to wear on me now, we still have about 65 mile to Blackfoot and it’s now 1:30. Ben replaces the spoke, replaces the tire and puts it back on the bike. Now we can traipse off to see the ruts of the Oregon Trail. Back at the park information center, we prepare to get on the road again. Check tires, I decide and guess what? Now Ben’s got a flat! Fix the second one today and hit the road, for another 4-5 miles and Ben gets another flat. He fixes this one and as soon as he pumps it up, it goes flat. That’s it, Ben gives up and we call Wayne to pick him up. This road has a lot of tire debris (blown out retreads from trailer trucks) and the wires pop tires like nobody’s business. Sabrina and I continue to Blackfoot and I only had ONE MORE FLAT TIRE! I run out of water with 10 miles to go and we finally make it to camp around 7:30. It was a great day of riding, flat and fast; four flat tires and a broken spoke. Total today = 95 miles and 100 headaches.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Lone Ranger goes side saddle & Sabrina goes down again

Day 10 - Glenns Ferry to Twin Falls, ID. Ouch, on both counts. Two days ago after about 40 miles I asked Sabrina for the gel saddle pad, which she gave me without question. Well, I finished out that day and the whole next day in relative comfort. Today I returned it to her and after about 30 miles I found that I had to resort to side saddle, left cheek only if you know what I mean. My discomfort was nothing compared to the event that Sabrina encountered ! While riding on highway 84 to Twin Falls, she took a tumble when trying to deal with traffic at an oncoming entrance ramp. Those damned clipless pedals. She just can't get out of them when it's a crisis situation. Anyway, she was slowwing down anticipating the merge and crossover when it was too late. She went down with trailer trucks zooming by on the left and cars merging from the right, it scared the death out of the both of us! She got scraped up on the knee and elbow but the worst part was the fright. She walked it off like the trooper we all know and I assured her that I would change her pedals the next day. To add insult to injury, she wanted to get off the highway miles before and go on an Idaho Scenic Road, old highway 30. But, since I was so far ahead of her, I didn' hear her yelling at me and I rode past the exit. Well, on we rode arriving in Twin Falls about an hour after the SAG wagon expected us. Still alive though. After getting settled into the motel rooms that were provided to us complements of Rotarian Eric Watti, we enjoyed pizza and brew in the old town section of Twin Fall while enjoying viewing of an antique and hot rod car show that was going on one block over. A good time was had by all.

Day 11 - Twin Falls to Declo, ID (20 miles past Burley)

Up and at'em early. Since we didn't have the pop-up open and couldn't cook breakfast, this was a good opportunity to get out early. We loaded up the truck, changed Sabrina's pedals, got a quick bite to eat at a local ice cream parlor (Eagles) and were on the road around 9:00. We met our host Eric and had a nice chat before hitting the road. This was sheduled to be a short day, 48 miles, but we decided to take the scenic route today and it still was relatively short even though we went past Burley into Village of Trees campground in Declo (52 mile). We were very happy today because Wayne rode with us today for the last 10 miles into camp. At Burley, Ben took over driving the truck and Wayne hopped onto Ben's bike. Wayne loved it and said he would split riding with Ben whenever he wanted a break. It'll be good having 3 bikers on the road all the time now. The campground is very nice and we're very lucky that out host Rotarian, Paul Lyons was able to get us in as the place is completely booked up because of the Burley Boat Regatta. Paul and his wife stopped by and we had a very nice chat. Them appologized for not spending more time with us, but they were hosting a family reunion the next day. Everything that they did was far beyond what we hoped, as the arranged for the campsite, dinner and breakfast. Our thanks go out to all the Idaho Rotarians for their support. The regatta is the annual speed boat race weekend with boats coming in from all over the country. The campground put us right next to the bathooms, but told us they could probably move us if it wasn't acceptable. They warned us that it was a pretty rowdy the night before with karioki blasting until 1:30, when the police arrived to quite them down. After we were settled in, we took a side trip to City of Rocks, a national preserve about 45 miles south of the campground. Sabrina and Wayne went wild exploring the rocks and caves. It was a beautiful place on the Oregon Trail that I would recommend to everyone who comes through here. But we had a really quite night and no problems. Once again, we had great time and are looking forward to a long ride, about 100 miles to Blackfoot on the next leg of this unbelievable adventure.

Keep Them Wheels a Rollin'


Thursday, June 24, 2010

The hosts with the most

Once we arrived in Fruitland,ID to cell phone service and internet we had several e-mails from rotarians throughout Idaho offerring their hospitality. This was largely due to the efforts of The Rotary Club of the Stoningtons in Ct.We made some phone calls and set out the next morning for the capital of Boise. Within a mile from the start we could smell onions and mint before we actually saw the fields (where are the potatoes?) There was a beautiful home with a front lawn of green onions, not grass. Great idea, but I imagine hard on the pet dog. We were in the Emmett valley then climbed the hills to Freezeout Hill. Not too difficult after the climbs in Oregon. It was the first very hot day, over 100 by Paul's bike reading. Ben was looking for shade and found a spot by a vineyard Woodriver Cellers,( in Idaho??) Turns out, there are many. This one was setting up for a wedding and produces 20 varieties. Their newest favorite is a vine from Argentina, Malbec.

Ben, still looking for shade rested 5 miles outside of Boise when suddenly his tire popped. Luckily there was a bike shop across the street, 2nd new tire for Ben, the same thing happened at Unity Lake.

We arrived at the home of Ray and Carol Frechette, our hosts for the night. Mom and Wayne had already arrived. They greeted us with cold drinks and an offer to swim in their pool. It was so refreshing! Ray called a neighbor over, also named Carol to share her connection with Africa. Turns out her daughter, Rebecca traveled to Zimbawe where she met and married a man. They both do missionary work and are familiar with World Vision. Yes, Bruce Wilkinson sounded very familiar to her.....small world. Carol was invited to dinner, RIBS!!!yum and afterwards a walk across the street to a nature center complete with rainbow trout, sturgeon and a doe and fawn crossed our path.

Ray and Carol couldn't have been nicer. He compared rocks and pictures with us and biking adventures. Both Carols loved the Chikumbuso bracelets. Carol bought the 2 off my wrist, the ones I was traveling with since the beginning. After a great breakfast with homemade bread, Ray joined us for a bike ride out of Boise.

We had a fast ride to Mountain Home were another rotarian Ed Sharpe arranged a complinentary stay at a KOA, thanks to the owner Don. We met Ed on the road going to Glenns Ferry to add miles to the day. We chatted for a while, he gave me a donation and an offer for breakfast the next morning.

The sun came out in the afternoon and after traveling 60 miles Ben was again looking for shade. The guys were out of water and happy to see Wayne. Wayne and Mom spent the last two days fishing(dinner) and exploring.

At the campsite we called Ray to let him know we made it Ok. He said Carol would like to come to CT for the Ben Taylor concert in August! She already booked her flight.Wow, with my cousin, Michelle, that makes 2. The challenge is on, one from every state..and I thought it could not be done. Book your tickets now, it will be a sell-out! More on that later.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rain at bed time, rain in the morning! We had to wait until 11:00 to get on the road again. Sabrina had enough with the riding downhill in the rain yesterday to not want to start off in the rain today! Finally a break in the clouds, let’s go. We did meet a very nice couple in the park yesterday who were riding coast-to-coast self supported. They were very happy to set up their tent under the pavilion, out of the rain. They had a very interesting setup, as he was riding a recumbent bike and pulling a trailer with all the heavy gear and she had full front and back panniers. He was a wheat and beef cattle farmer and she was a music teacher on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. He had an interesting story about the recumbent bike he had built and started the ride with in Florence, OR. But his engineering of this homemade rig wasn’t quite perfected and he scrapped the whole attempt after 40 miles. He went to a bike shop and bought the new set up and started off on their C-to-C adventure on a new rig! They seemed to be a very determined and confident couple, they must be, to be farmers from S.D. Best of luck to you Lindy and Carolyn. May our paths cross again somewhere on the roads of this great country.
Well, start off at 11:00 with 7 miles of uphill. About 5 miles up the hill are Lindy and Carolyn, stopped talking to a young biker, Dave, who is coming riding down the hill. He has been on the road for a week and is trekking from Salt Lake City to somewhere (?) in CA. Today he came over the pass from John Day and just biked up 30+ miles of 4-5% grade and was still enthused enough to be videotaping us riding up the climb towards him. It seems very freaky that you can be riding uphill, yet the road looks flat or sometimes even downhill, but you get a reality check when you look behind and know you’re pumping hard and going slow. Almost to the top and here comes the rain again! Now, 30+ miles downhill in the pouring rain. Out comes the rain coat and my leggings. But, this time it’s to keep warm. Forty-eight degrees, rain and 15 mph make a bone chilling ride, not to mention that we’re coasting so you really feel it. With all that complaining said, it’s a beautiful trip. The scenery is gorgeous. After the downhill trek, we came through “Picture Gorge” and onto the flatland and through the John Day Fossil Beds. Wayne,Mom and Ben found another great campsite just before John Day called Clyde Holiday State Park where we tried to out bike yet another rain cloud. Wayne cooked a delicious Father’s day feast, on our first camp fire, steak, baked potatoes(Mom being from Idaho, was very excited about that) salad and chocolate cake! We ate before the rains hit for the night to play another game of Bid Exact, our evening ritual.
The next morning sunshine! Ben was ready to join us, after a day of rest and he SMOKED us the entire 57 miles to Unity Lake State Park, yet another spectacular Oregon state park. Wayne and Ben decided we should change the course to cut off some miles so we continued on Rt 26, Oregon’s Scenic By-Way up 2 summits, Dixie, 5277 and the Blue Mt summit 5109. The road was lightly traveled, perfect for biking through the state forest. I sighted 2 mule deer but no bears. Unity Lake was beautiful with snow capped mountains in the distance. We had another camp fire with a dessert treat, peach cobbler. Ben decided a cherry cobble with chocolate cake should be on the next campfire dessert menu. No rain, a good day.
This morning we had a long ride to Ontario, 88 miles. We pilled on the sun screen and headed on Rt 26, another beautiful stretch of highway with no traffic except for the occasional logging truck. The summits were not a big as the previous day with mostly rolling hills of sage brush. We spotted an eagle in flight (we think a young bald eagle)lots of horses, cows and a big goat farm. Ben is very interested in finding a goat milk source back home so he can make some cheese. We met Wayne and Mom outside of Vale where Ben called it quits. Paul and I continued 15 miles of new surfaced roads with loose gravel. Not fun after a long day. We decided to camp in Fruitland, which is over the border in Idaho! One state down. We truly enjoyed the beauty and bike friendly roads of Oregon.
Paul and Sabrina

Stop and Smell the Roses

After the rough start on the first day, Paul and Ben decided I should take it easy the next day and spend some time with my cousins. Taking their advise, I biked to Portland with them, nice bike lanes, and fun bridge crossing to a multi-use path along the river. I started to have knee pain (from the previous falls?) so after 50 miles in Milwaukee, Wayne and Mom picked me up to spend the afternoon with Michelle. They have a beautiful home with a mini farm in the back yard with horses, goats, ducks, chickens and the guard animals, llamas. After diner we decided to see the city of Portland (I wanted to see some green boxes for the bikes that I saw on TV and Ben knew of Voodoo Donuts from the Travel Channel) The donuts were HUGE, but we did bike all day and the city was bigger than I imagined. The rose gardens were spectacular, which inspired the new way I am now viewing this trip.
The next morning, Paul set off from where he and Ben left off and I settled up and visited some more. Ben and I joined Paul after the climb around MT Hood, just outside of the Warm Spring’s Indian reservation where I finally peed in the woods! We rode through some beautiful plains with horses and snow capped mountains in the distance. Ben and I were looking for buffalo, seemed like a place they would be. We realized how the town of Rhododendron got its name , so many wild bushes along the forest. Speaking of plants, so many wild lupines, pink mullen, sweet peas. After the plains, we suddenly crossed a bridge over a huge gorge, somewhat freaky, where we stopped at a marker explaining it was an ancient Indian trading spot. We biked onto a long downhill into a canyon where we camped for the night, Beautiful spot! It felt like we were in Arizona.
The next morning Paul, Ben and I set off for a long day of biking to Mitchell, ~90 miles. We started up hill to flat land with fields of alfalfa and “strawberry fields forever”. Going through Madras we still had bike lanes in town and turned onto a road 75 miles to Mitchell. We stopped at a cowboy mounted shooting competition. So much fun to see all the cowboys (one man in a blond, curly wig) cowgirls (one as young as 7 or 8) all carrying pistols to shoot at balloons as they rode in the ring. We saw two men watching the event sitting in lawn chairs with a horse on a lead next to them, similar to a leashed dog. Very funny. We rode through Prineville, still bike lanes and onto beautiful lake scenery with pelicans that we spooked into flight. Ben called it quits and Paul and I continued onto the Ochoco National Forest, a slight uphill climb for about 40 miles. We saw deer and otters and then got caught in the rain. Not bad until we rode a steep downhill (slippery when wet!) for 12 miles. A very terrifying finish for me, white knuckles all the way. Seeing Wayne was a sight but he said the “campsite” was in a “park” with no showers and it just so happened that it was in Wheeler County. No worries, the rain washed me and I was happy to be off the wet roads. -Sabrina

The Lone Ranger

This morning I started the ride by myself from Sandy. With our ride coming up 20 mile short of RHODEDRENDON yesterday, I was obliged to go back. Sabrina and Ben joined me after I crested the summit of Mount Hood and they coasted down the next 25 mile to Warm Springs. During the leg we crossed the 45th parallel, half way between the Equator and the North Pole. When I passed summit at Government Camp, the elevation was 4024 ft. BIG NEWS – Sabrina, 50 years old, went pee in the woods! We biked down into this gorgeous canyon and ended up in the Lake Simtustus campground on the Warm Springs Indian reservation. Wayne cooked us up a delicious chili dinner and the campground was beautiful. Sabrina was especially impressed with the BATHROOM! So my total mileage for the day was 85+, NO PROBLEMO.

Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Friday, June 18, 2010


Biking is Overrated

Yesterday morning we got off to a little late start, but not too bad. It was worth it for the great breakfast. We started just at the St. Helens boarder so it seems that all of our actual rides are longer than our planed routes. The start of our ride was mostly flat which was nice for a change compared to the first day’s hills. We made it into Portland area no problem, but like usual, we didn’t see the turn. Needless to say, roads don’t just end like Dad says, they merge into BIGGER roads. We almost got on the major highway bridge. I quickly told dad we need to turn around so we walked back and asked for directions. Eventually, after asking several times for directions, we crossed the Willamette and followed the esplanade along the river to the Springwater Trail Corridor. It is a converted railway so it’s now a beautiful 34 mile long bike path. We passed a submarine and Oak's Park, an amusement park that has been here since the Lewis and Clark exposition. But they are doing improvements right now so we had to take a detour. We had our pit crew meet us during the ride to refill and pick up mom so that she could spend time with her cousins. Me and Dad continued until the detour signs ended. And yes they ended, not at the beginning of the corridor, but just in at the end of the street. Yet again we were asking directions and even less people know where the trail is than major areas of Portland. We eventually got back on it and continued to our planned route. Let me tell you, the Springwater Trail was not on our original plan and again we added extra miles. I ran out of steam probably 20 miles from our destination and called in the back ups. We drove back to Oregon City for dinner and a tour of Portland. And where do all great tours start? Doughnuts. We went to Voodoo Doughnuts and got all kinds of delicious sweets. They even had one with my favorite ingredient, BACON! We figure if we’re riding all day it’s ok to have junk. We went around the city and got out to see the rose gardens, much nicer than any we have back home. Well, as you can see I am writing this blog this morning and mom is around packing. Dad got up this morning to start where we left off and we’ll join him this afternoon. We know that we’ll be the ones driving once we lose our pit crew so why force ourselves now? Today Dad will bike over Mt. Hood and we'll join him on the down hill.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We're off and falling

Our first day was eventful as we got a late start on the coast just beyond Astoria, OR. Ben, being a purist insisted that we touch our wheels in the ocean. Wayne and I had a long day of travel so we left at 7 in the morning for the 2 hour drive. We settled on Fort Stevens State Park and were very excited to see the ocean. My new Reef sandels were stolen on the beach, bummer, then for a photo shot, I didn't think I was cliped in to my bike, boom on the ground. So that was funny but not the flat tire going into Astoria. After the tube change we turned to a train track walking/biking path along the Columbia River where I heard seals, when I unclipped( not) the second fall. A few yards later on a wooden bridge I tried to avoid a couple with their baby in a carriage and landed perfectly into the tack and fell a third time, twisting my wheel. OK, not funny, all in the first hour of our ride! Luckily there was a bike shop up the steet where we got the frame replaced but I was questioning this whole trip and dragging the guys down.

The rest of the ride was on Rt 30 nice wide shoulders, two groups of LONG hills but the downhills made up for them, beautiful to see the bridge going to Seattle. Ben smoked us on the flats but I was in the lead the last 20 miles, mostly because I just wanted to finish and see my cousins that were all waiting for us at Karel's house. Karel and Alan hosted a great dinner at the end of a long day. Today we go through Portland alitlle soar with a few bruises.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 6- Let's ride !

Yesterday Ben and I decided that we should get on the bikes and get our legs going again. Last time we were on the bikes was like last Thur. So we went on MapMyRide.com and found a loop from Michelle's house that looked doable. We wrote down all the turns and so with directions in hand, we started out for a 38 mile jaunt. Everything was going fine, we were following the Willamette river south, mostly all downhill and the road conditions were OK. Turned left in Canby and headed east. That's when we made our first error. Missed a left hand turn, the road wasn't marked the same as our directions, and decided to continue ahead looking for road. About 5 mikes out we ran across a hitchhiker who gave us the bad news. But he said if we continued about 5 more mile that we'd cross Rt.213 which was were we wanted to be. O.K., not so bad. About a mile up the road was a gas station where I asked again and was informed it was more like 6 miles, oh well we just out for a ride ! Finally, up ahead is the road we've been looking for. Maybe, but this is Rt. 211, not 213 ??? It does say North, so we take it. Now is the first time we remember the dreaded headwinds! We're riding along this the top of this ridge with beautiful nursery stock planted on both side an mountains off in the distance, but we can't really enjoy it, because we're going north and the wind is going south at about 15 mph. Remember me saying it was mostly downhill in the beginning? You guessed it, it's all uphill now baby. The other thing that's always been in the back of our mind is whether the roads we're choosing are bike friendly or not. Well, Rt. 213 is NOT, Its pretty scary when the shoulder of the road is 1 foot wide and logging trucks are going past you are 60 mph! Well we got off that onto a really nice back country road that had steep rolling hills. The last 3 mile to home seem like they'll never end. Welcome to the Cascades! AFTER a brief rest I wanted to know how far we actually went. MapMyRide tells us we just did a 53 mile warm up.
The rest of our day was spent resting and hanging out with family. Ben even learned how to make cheese. For hours Michelle and he were perfecting a cheese, mixing the best parts of three different recipes. As said earlier, there are goats on the farm and milk is plentiful. Any cheese can be made from goats milk, and this cheese delicious grilled and it's ready to eat right away or can be kept in a brine for 60 days. We'll see if any of it makes it all the way back to CT.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin'

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 5- All day in one place, that's a change

We made it to Oregon City last night(6/12/10). We arrived after 9:30 but with no one at home, so with both of us dwindling and hungry, and parked the camper in the driveway and went to look for something to eat. When our cousins returned from Zoe's graduation, we were welcomed into their home. Room was found for us in their house which was full of family that came in for Zoe's big day. In the morning we got to see their mini farm outside. Horses, llamas, chickens, ducks, and goats enjoy the pastures and the milk is enjoyed in many ways. We got a tour of Portland and the surrounding areas from Aaron, so many bikes. As many of you know, Portland is one of, if not the, best city to bike in. One thing we didn't think of when planning our trip, how do we get through cities? We figured out how to get through Portland and it looks like the best way will be to ride on a converted railway. We also looked at our maps more in-depth, there are a lot more turns when we zoomed in as opposed to seeing the whole days ride on one page. I think we'll be ok, though there may be times when we have to ride on dirt roads because it's the only non-highway road for portions. Nana got in today and is staying withcousin Ann Michelle and Pete Lord, so now we're only missing two of our crew. Maybe we'll get on our bikes tomorrow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 4- No more 10+ hr driving days

Well day 3 ended similarly to the days previous. We had overly ambitious goals that we didn’t quite meet. We wanted to make it to Salt Lake but stopped instead at a pull off 70 miles from the end of Wyoming. I was already asleep and Dad was dwindling. When he was pulling in there were puddles and he hit one with the truck. It wasn’t just a puddle. While trying to avoid the pothole and find a different space, the pop-up dropped into the hole. We went to sleep for a couple hours and when we headed back out on the road at 2:00 am something wasn’t right. Yup, we had a flat. We started to make moves to change the tire but it was COLD. Wait a minute; we have AAA. We called them up and after several tries we got someone out to change the tire 2 hours later. We put the new spare on, thank God we got that yesterday, and now today we’ll be looking for another tire. Back on the road it’s still raining, even when it’s sunny it’s raining. We have stopped several times already this morning and it’s only 6; pumped up the tires on the trailer, filled up on gas, and Dad needed a couple cups of coffee. As we move west we have noticed many changes from back east. Obviously the landscape has changed from hills to planes back to hills again. But other things have changed too. Gas. Prices have gone downs somewhat but they vary by location and availability. Here in WY we paid over $3/gallon for 87 octane, but that was the only gas for miles. And 87 isn’t regular out here, it’s super. And in Iowa and Nebraska 89 super was cheaper than 87 regular. How does that work out? Answer- super has more ethanol and is taxed less because the ethanol is locally produced. In Idaho and Oregon gas is same as home, even more expensive sometimes. Wide-open spaces is all that can describe the landscape out here. Up and down passes in Oregon has really tested us. The wind was whipping in our face the whole time. Thankfully its all headed east. Dad and me practiced drafting today. I was our truck and Dad was the Tractor-trailer in front, we got sucked right along. And the lack of population has reduced the number of radio stations to choose from. Just about everything seems to be either country or religious somehow. I feel very knowledgeable about current events right now, this is the most NPR I have listened to in a while. I’m not complaining, but I’m just not a fan of country music. Today’s goal is Portland and I think it’s a manageable goal. We’ll stop for lunch sometime and catch the game and hopefully stop driving around 8 tonight. We’ll see.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Days 2-3 Weather could be a factor this summer

We stayed overnight at a truck stop in IN. We pulled in about 10:30 p.m. and decided we were better off quitting here and not pushing on, besides we were hungry. We devoured the last of the chips, taco meat, sour cream and salsa. Cold food was going to be he norm we figured so we should start now. Got on he road about 7:00 and before too long we crossed into IL. Next was crossing the mighty Mississippi into IA, and boy what a change. It was directly at high noon and Ben was asleep, I tried but didn’t wake him in time. The first rest stop had a computerized information podium at which I saw what we had coming up. Severe weather, I mean it showed a heavy band of thunderstorms on the west side of the state that was coming our way. Ben started diving from here and I took a nap OMG, I woke up to lightning, thunder and torrential rain like nothing we get in CT. What if we run into this when we’re biking????? We decided that if it didn’t stop by 4:00, there was no sense in us stopping for the night as we had planned. It continued for probably 2 hour. A most amazing sight we can across was the Anita Wind Generation Project. For probably 10 miles all you saw was these huge wind generators. From here out through NE, they were everywhere and we saw many trailer trucks transporting the components to build new ones. The blades are HUGE, we estimated that they were between 75 -100 ft. long. So around 4:30 we stopped into Lake Anita State Park in Anita, IA. We set up the trailer and checked what out the place then suited up for a short ride. Well we got a good taste of we would be up against riding across the mid-west. The first 7 miles we rolling hills, but always climbing in elevation. The real kicker was we were riding into a 25 mph headwind. Peddling downhill gave me a real appreciation for Linda Wilkinson’s trials when riding the Cape Argus ride in South Africa. But since we were doing an out and back, now we could really appreciated riding with a TAILWIND! Then back to the park, starving. Cooked our first mean, pasta and got a full belly. After diner we had visitors to our camp, a deer was grazing on the beautiful grass in Anita State Park, and this wasn’t the only one we’ve saw during our stay. Now shower and off to bed around 10:00. About 5:00 a.m. there was a rumbling, which woke me and I though it was my stomach. So I trekked off to the restroom and on my return I realized it was NOT my stomach, but another thunderstorm was approaching. Ben, get up and let’s pack up the camper before it rains! Fifteen minutes later, just as we secured the last hold down clip on he trailer, it started. Lightning, thunder and the heavens opened up! Whoa, we just made it. We stayed put in the truck for about 30 minutes until it passed and then ventured out and hooked the trailer to the truck and off we go. Next up, Nebraska. Just after Omaha, a truck pulls up next to us and motioned to roll down the window. They say we just lost the cover on the spare tire on the camper. Oh well Tracy and Craig, I’ll replace it with one that will remind you of the generous gesture that you made in letting us use your wheels! OOOPS. We stopped at a rest stop down the highway a ways and it wasn’t the cover but the entire spare, mount and all. Our plan is to drive to Salt Lake City, Utah tonight ad hit a truck stop somewhere for the night. We're not going to put up the camper tonight, severe weather announcements have were broadcasting all afternoon with even tornado warnings. Hopefully, tomorrow we can make it to Portland OR, but we are planning on stopping to watch the U.S.A. versus England in the FIFA World Cup and I promised Ben a BIG steak dinner as a reward for his making Dean’s List his last semester at UCONN!

Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’


P.S. Sabrina found this great article about Chikumbuso and everything they are doing. Check it out!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Calling all rotarians

While Paul and Ben are making a mad dash out west with the bikes and support car, I am still in Ct "dotting i's and crossing t's" before I fly out on Tuesday, thanks to a donation by Millicent Gershon. On that note I would like to thank the many rotarians that have lended a hand and support for this bike ride.

Linda Wilkinson, founder of Chikumbuso, connected with a rotary club 3 summers ago with the support growing each year. Last summer 4 rotary clubs, Mystic, Groton,New London and The Soningtons joined forces in fundraising activites that benefited the Chikumbuso project. In April I joined them in Burlington, Vt for an amazing 4 days at the Annual Rotary International District 7980 Conference. Thank you Marti for the invitation.

After speaking to the Rotary Club of the Stoningtons(Club #27547) Elaine Smith offered to help us connect with rotary clubs along our course from OR to RI. With the help of her husband, Ed and John Bradshaw we have a long list of contacts. Yesterday I spoke with the new district 5400 Governor in Idaho with hopes to meet with them as we travel through. It was nice to hear is voice, which reminded me of my many uncles and cousins that live in Oregon and Idaho.

Elaine Smith has offered to handle all mail correspondence as we travel. If you would like to make a donation payable to Friends of Chikumbuso or World Bicycle Relief while we are on the road they can be mailed to her.
Elaine Smith
7 Omega St
Stonington, CT 06378

Day 1 – Go West (Young ?) Man, Go West

Here we go, Ben ad I out on the road, pop-up trailer in tow. The day started out behind schedule at about 8:00 a.m., today Wed. 6/9/2010. Of course my plan of an o’dark:30 start were way too ambitious. We didn’t even have all the stuff packed in the truck or the trailer hooked up! Oh well, I’m semi-retired now and I’m not going to rush things and get off on the wrong foot. It seems like we got everything, although since we didn’t have a checklist, I mean we got EVERYTHING. Smooth sailing so far and we’re into PA. A started looking at the itinerary and picking out names of places that we’ll stop at on the route home. Wilkes-Barre, Clarence, DuBois, Grove City. As we travel through PA, Rt. 20 parallels Highway 80 so we can visualize the terrain that we’ll be ride through. Long rolling hills, but hopefully it will not be raining. Today it started raining about Scranton, PA and hasn’t stopped yet. We’ve decided that if it doesn’t stop by Indiana, we’ll just drive through the night. We (Ben) just saw a great road sign, BUCKLE UP – NEXT MILLION MILES. Ben just had a flash back from the first time we drove cross country, “Somebody to Love” by QUEEN just came on the radio and he remembered that we had that cassette on the last trip!

Sorry if I’m being long winded, but this is going to be a GREAT trip, Bens driving while I’m blogging. Sabrina reported good news today in that we’ve gotten several responses from Rotarians along our route who are offering places to park the rig over night and possible speaking engagements to raise awareness of Chikumbuso and WBR. That’s what it’s all about. You people reading this already know the wonderful results these projects are achieving in Zambia and we just want to spread the word – spread the love.

Callie-Jean, 2 points of interest in PA, Williamsport – Reptiland with butterfly exhibit and Living (something) Animal Park with camel ride by Grove City.

Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Support Vehicle

We are grateful to have Wayne Berardi traveling along with us this summer. He is going to be our lifeline, our only hope when something major breaks in the middle of nowhere, he is driving our support truck. When we are spending long days in the saddle, we'll be looking forward to arriving in camp with a place to lay down and something warm to eat. Or maybe it's fluids we'll be craving. Unfortunately he can't take the whole summer off like we are. He is giving us three weeks of valuable landscaping time from Oregon through Wyoming. So if anyone out there has some vacation days burning a hole in your pocket and want to have a memorable summer, maybe you'll want to join us for a bit. We need a little help making it through the mid-west and back east. Any time that we don't have a support driver, one of us will have to skip a day of riding, and I doubt Dad will give up any time on the road. So if anyone is interested, just leave us a comment or shoot us an email. Thanks!-Ben

Here we go!

Will we make it ? Can we make it ? That’s what I was thinking last Friday when we set off at 7:30 a.m. for Woods Hole, MA. This is not the C-to-C ride mind you, but our first really looooong ride in preparation for our adventure. Yeah we’ve done 50 milers on local roads, but 108 miles on unfamiliar roads, through downtown Providence and onto the Cape? Routes 44 and old 28. A true test of our manhood. We can do it. I had to keep saying it to myself under my breath. We have to do it, otherwise it's all been talk and dreams. Ben, it seems had no doubts. He reminded me; and not too far into the ride like even before Voluntown, that if we make this ride we shouldn’t have too many problems, as today would be longer than any day on the tour. What a son, I already felt better, it’s going to be a great trip! Yeah, we can do this! And we did, with only minor detours, we made it to Woods Hole, 11 ½ hours later and with 112.5 miles clocked in 9 hour of riding time, but we made it! We even got to put our mechanics training to the test when Ben’s rear wheel developed a wobble and we had to true it up by adjusting the spokes. I guess I should clarify that last statement, from here on out, “we” means Ben and I means Paul. My directing his work, or for that matter just openly listening to him, entitles me to take credit, right?
Now for the trip. You’ll see that “we” have put a lot of info onto the blog site. And “we” will spruce it up as things develop. The trip schedule has a Sponsorship column that calculates how much it would cost to sponsor that day @ $5.00/mile. We hope people or working groups will take our challenge and sponsor a day of the trip. Any day you like, whether it has a special significance to you or someone in the group, or it’s just the shortest day! Every donation will be greatly appreciated! We will make sure to pay special homage to each and every donor that sponsors a day, on this very blog site, on the very same day you supported. Now, you can’t beat that offer so let’s all jump right up and make a pledge. No pushing now, you’ll all get your turn. Fund-raising is such hard work, I think I’ll hit the sack now. Thanks for checking in and y’all come back now, y’hear.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’