Thursday, August 13, 2015

The first week on the road...

Today I awakened in my own private apartment owned by an awesome couple and it sounded like it was raining. My heart sank for I'm not ready for rain again.  It turns out they have a stream in their yard. All the people I have been staying with have been very nice and I'm really learning a lot about adventure cycling.

I got Word to work on my tablet today, so I can now start writing real blog posts. 

Saturday, August 8: Day One 

The first day, I left Portland on Saturday around 4:30.  Right out of town,  on the way to Oregon City, I hit my first big hill and had to push half way up.  It was brutal and I arrived at my host Sandy's home kinda late. They had food waiting for me and chuckled at how much gear i was pulling.

Sunday, August 9: Day Two

I woke up to a nice bowl of oatmeal. Sandy is a health coach and she gave me my first interview. We talked about nutrition and she provided a wealth of knowledge. The interview went well, but being my first interview, I had some of the camera angles wrong.  My last host helped me figure out how to frame my shots for future interviews.

I left Sandy's home around 10 AM, figuring that I could ride 80 miles to Corvallis, OR for an interview with a lady starting chemotherapy the next day. After 11 hours of riding I was still 25 to 30 miles away and was looking for some bushes to sleep in when I came across a small farm house with their lights on and door open. I was running low on water, but had lots of Ensure, so i decided to ask them for some more water and some directions to the next town. I guess I was in bad shape because the lady made me sit down and rest and then told me I could sleep in her camper. God, I was ready to cry!

It turns out that she is a fellow survivor and she gave me my second interview. It was awesome, and we both shared some very personal stories. After I went to go to sleep in the trailer, her neighbor came over to make sure everything was OK. It's nice to see neighbors looking out for one another. It turns out that this neighbor's friend is having his voice-box removed next week. I was right where I needed to be and was able to leave the lady with my brochures that have a list of support groups and suggested that this friend contact me.

Monday & Tuesday, August 10 - 11: Days Three & Four

I set out the next afternoon for Corvallis, OR and again arrived in town kinda of late with no place to stay. I tried calling a few people from the Warmshowers network and got hung up on three times. Again, I wanted to cry, but one lady called me back.  She and her friend ended up coming into town to meet me and they insisted on loading my bike and trailer into their van and driving me to their place. I said I wanted to ride, and they again insisted on driving me because they live up a big with a 20% grade.  Thankfully, I listened and took the ride. 

We arrived at this awesome old country home in a woodland setting with deer all around and a bunch of chickens in a coup. Real down to earth people who prepared a meal and cooked up some of the fresh corn I purchased from a roadside stand on a private farm. We ended up spending most of the night talking. The next day I was too exhausted to move on, so I stayed another day. We talked some more and I took a ride into town to get a new SD card and some food. This was the first time I had spent more than a few dollars since leaving Portland. Everyone has been so kind offering food and drink.

Wednesday, August 12: Day Five

I set out for Eugene, Oregon, but I got a late start and did not make to my hosts home until 10 pm. A four hour ride took me more like seven hours. Today I'm going to try and lighten my load and maybe ditch the trailer so I can travel faster.

The host I'm staying with has a friend who's husband died of throat cancer and I might stick around to try and get an interview out of her. If not, I plan to come back and try to connect with her in the future. Hopefully she will add me on Facebook.

Thursday, August 13: Day Six

The plan for today is to head west down Highway 126 toward Florence. I won't try to make it all the way over the Coast Range, instead I'll stay at a private yurt campground. They have a free yurt for me to stay in tonight. I have to get going soon if I'm going to make it. If my host's friend calls and wants to connect, I'll turn around and come back to Eugene for an interview.

My body is adjusting to all the miles. Last night, after riding seven miles, I made it up a bike hill without having to dismount and push the bike. That felt good and gave me renewed confidence. I'm too concerned with how far or how fast I travel, my main mission is to connect with other survivors. I started posting Craigslist ads in cities I will be visiting looking for anyone interested in sharing their survivor stories.

I'm excited to get my new brochures from Atos medical.  The black and white ones I have now are just not the same thing. I want to present people with something of quality that looks professional. Atos is also sending me some jerseys they had printed. They are also sending me one or two of their new hands-free units that will allow me to talk with having to stick my dirty finger in my hole, my stoma... I call it the hole.
I really looking forward to riding along the coast and doing some camping at the hiker-biker sites that charge $5 per person. I expect to meet lots of fellow cyclist and hope to meet some fellow survivors. 

Thank you for following my adventure and sharing my story, your support has made this all happen.