Access Across America
A 20 year retrospective
Photo Journal of Tim Wheat
Today starts nearly a week off for me, twenty years ago. I had just finished the ADAPT vigil and I made plans to go to the memorial service for Justin Dart in Washington DC. The service was on the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, July 26. I had to make plans and travel arrangements, but mostly I had time to relax and spend with Judy.
This starts the third and final leg of my jornada.
For these upcoming days I thought I would share more photo scans from my cross-country bike trip thirty years ago. I will share four photos and write a little about each one. I will compare some parts of the 1992 bicycle adventure and I will contrast other portions, like the photography. While I was limited by my camera and skill thirty years ago, I was not limited by the spectacular scenery around me. During the Memphis break, I showed photos from Yellowstone and the next set is from Glacier National Park.
Photo left: This is the "Going to the Sun" highway. I was taking it from west to east across the Continental Divide. They tell cyclists they may only use the top section of the road from sunrise to 11:AM, because it is a very narrow, winding road. I was worried about making the climb in time.
Photo next page: The ride into the mountains on the west side is spectacular and the peaks look very intimidating from a bicycle.
Photo two pages ahead: The dramatic clouds make the scenery even better, but the glacial alpine is the highlight from the west side. The east side by contrast shows more slope but is still very beautiful.
My lonely bike on the side of "Going to the Sun Highway." That is my parka liner drying out on the back. It was July, but cold.
More photos from 1992. The four photos today are all landscapes. I did not stick my bike in any of them. The first part of this bike adventure thirty years ago, I really struggled to find landscapes and put my bike in almost every shot. It was my dad who saw the photos and suggested some improved perspective.
I was really limited by my camera, but I hope that I can make some reasonable shots with Adobe Lightroom. On the right is a rare portrait aspect shot, and I blew out the sky. With software I was able to bring out some of the vibrant color, but I really think I could do a much better job with my camera today. Thirty years of experience and technology later.
These 1992 photos are from an album I made that includes maps and some quotes from my journal. There is no digital part of that album. I am putting the photos on the web as I scan them, but I have not decided how I will tell the story from 1992. I suppose this is a test drive.
Photo right: The west side of Logan Pass starts with the beautiful Lake McDonald. This is one of the many streams that flow into the lake.
Photo next three pages: Along the "Going to the Sun" road, the climb to Logan Pass. All scans from the 4x6 photos my parents printed backs in 1992 and I put into an album I have had for 30 years.
Not much of a photo, but it is a very unique stopping point along the Going to the Sun road. This is a window of a tunnel and if you are driving, it is not a place you would stop and take in the view. It is hard to see my bike, but I did get to stop here and view the overlook as well as the construction of the road up Logan Pass.
Looking west climbing Logan Pass in 1992.
Photo 3 pages back: I stop at a turn-out along the Going to the Sun road and try to get a landscape. I didn't know the woman had run into the frame, but it still is a great sample of what the west slope of Logan Pass is like.
Photo 2 pages back: The same turn-out as the previous photo from just below my bike. The range of peaks along this side of Logan Pass is called the Garden Wall. I thought that the steep rocks in the alpine above this point looked great.
I could not stop long at each spot because I had to reach the pass before noon. I still was amazed at the landscapes all along the climb.
Previous page: Another photo of my bike and the incredible views along the climb. Much of the road had that small fieldstone barrier, but it still felt very narrow. I was lucky not to have too much traffic during my climb, but I did take all morning to get to the top.
Photo above: A closer photo of the Garden Wall near the apex of the climb. One minute you could see the peaks, and the next it was covered by clouds. The western route was spectacular looking uphill and down.
On my bike trip thirty years ago in 1992, I did make it to the summit before the noon cut-off. I am not sure what they would do if I took longer to climb the west slope, but I was glad to get to the summit.
The other side I had planned not to take any photos and to enjoy the descent. The photo on the right is my bike at the peak, 6,680 feet. The weather was changing quickly, but I notice now just how cloudy it was at the top.
The plastic container on top of my front pannier is where I kept my food. Typically, it was inside the pannier, I don't recall why I made this climb with it on the outside.
Photo next page: You may be able to see the small tunnel the "Going to the Sun" road passes through. Imanaged to get another person I did not know in the frame of this photo. I was amazed by just how beautiful it gets up in the alpine.
Photo right: Yes, that is a bear. I did not have my camera out for the ride down the east side of the Going to the Sun road. I saw the bear move down out from the brush toward me as I passed by on the road.
I sped up, but the bear stopped and while straddling my bike I got this photo.
My first Bear encounter on this trip was on the C&O Towpath with a small black bear. I cannot tell, but I believe this is a brown bear because of his nose and fur color.
The road was not steeply downhill, but I was moving pretty quickly on my bike. When I saw him bound down out of the trees he was moving pretty fast.
All of the sudden I was standing up on the pedals and moving really fast on the bike. He stopped and I caught his eyes as I zoomed past. I slowed down and stopped, pulling my fanny pack around to my belly. I think I was at a pretty safe distance when I took this photo, but you cannot really tell here because I cropped the photo some.
Photo next page: Once I was down from Logan Pass, I began climbing back up toward Many Glacier on the east side of the Garden Wall. It was also beautiful here along Lake Sherburne.
On my great bike adventure thirty years ago, back in July of 1992, I was trapped in a summer snowstorm high in the mountains at Many Glacier. I was at the campground that cleared out that night until I was the only person camping. I did not feel too isolated because the Many Glacier Hotel was less than a mile from the campground and there was a collection of people enjoying the snow at the luxury hotel.
As a result I took some photos of my tent and the surroundings in the summer snow. I didn't go anywhere for a week, but I didn't consider it a week off because I had to find food and supplies everyday. The Many Glacier Inn had a small store and I was able to hang out in the huge lobby of the hotel with a massive open fireplace in the middle with a huge metal smoke collector hanging from the middle of the vaulted ceiling.
Photo right: My tent and bike in the first night's snow at the Many Glacier Campground. It looks like a wilderness campsite, but the bathhouse is really close by. I was the only camper following the first snow.
Photo next page: In the morning the next day I made an assessment if I could stay at the campground or ride down the icy road. I couldn't make it down riding my bike, but I found the Many Glacier Inn was my lifeline. This photo is my bike with Mt. Tabor in the background.
Photos above: This is a scan I made by placing two photos together on the scanner. It is a panorama I shot with my disc film camera and didn't see until after the trip. I had placed this in the album as a "pull out." Tape on one photo you may pull-out and get the panorama effect. I cannot match these photos close enough so that Lightroom would treat them as a panorama. If you look closely, you may wonder if these are a contiguous scene.
This is from the east side and the peaks in the distance make the Garden Wall. I was able to hike up to Iceberg Lake, in this area with a couple I met at the Many Glacier Inn. Of course, by that time everything was covered in snow and amazingly I had a winter coat and I bought some gloves at the Inn. The hike was listed as two to three hours, but because of the snow, it took us more than six. We had a make-shift pot-luck lunch at the spectacular lake and ran into many more hikers.
When we returned, we learned that a hiker on another trail was mauled by a bear. The US Park Service closed down all the trails and it was the topic of conversation of the little community at the Many Glacier Inn. I was a curiosity in the lobby. I got to meet quite a few people at the Inn, but it was all small-talk and question-and-answer sessions. I sat by the fire and read during the day and made my way back before sunset at night. Fortunately, I had purchased extra film discs and I did not have to ration my photos. I still did not know how long I would be stranded in the snow.
Photo Above: While I could not create a Lightroom panorama with the non-snow photos, I was able to stitch these two photos of nearly the same area together. Being able to edit this in Adobe Lightroom makes a big difference. Of course there is also a dramatic difference because of the snow, but I am so pleased that I was able to think of comparing panoramas. I was awestruck by this scene on my way to Many Glacier Campground, and I am so pleased that I had the foresight to try the panorama again in the snow.
You may see a selection of my 1992 photos that I have edited at my Flickr.com account. The Album's link: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzTeBM
Twenty years ago I was on a bus that left Denver Colorado at 6:35 PMM headed 13 hours and 35 minutes to Washington DC. I would make one scheduled transfer in Cleveland Ohio. On this trip I called The JD Mission, I was going to share a hotel room with Greg Jones from Kansas, who was at the Boise ADAPT action last week. I also made the trip without my computer but I did bring my camera.
Below I will provide my written journal in black type with my current thoughts in blue. I use a shorthand in my journal with time: 6:35 pmm is PM Mountain Time; 6:36 amc is in the morning Central time; and 6:37 pme is Eastern Time. While typically riding my bike I set my camera time to the local time, I didn't on this mission.
6:40 pmm (July 24, 2002) The bus is scheduled to leave at 6:35. It is unbelievably hot on the bus, stagnant and humid air - hot air. Bus 2111.
I believe that Greyhound split the ridership west onto 2 buses -although the line was long there is room on the bus and I think most people have double seats to themselves. I have my backpack in the seat next to me and my extra shirt and hat in the overhead above me.
At 6:44 the bus begins to move, but the heat does not seem to dissipate at all. The windows are closed and there is still no circulation of air. This is a really poor start - the heat is horrible and I am sweating. I expect to hear or feel some breeze soon - surely there is some kind of air conditioning. Bob is our Greyhound driver. At 7:16 because of passengers complaints, Bob opens the top hatches to let cold air in. At least it seemed cold. I am covered with sweat.
At 7:30pmm the open hatches in the top of the bus do the trick and the ride seems bearable. We enter the great flatness of eastern Colorado as the sun goes down behind the bus. At 8:11 we make our first stop in Brush CO. Bob tells us we can get something at McDonald's, "but make it quick," he says. I need water.
In Brush CO, the Greyhound stops at a Conoco Station with inaccessible bathrooms. The McDonalds next door may be accessible, but their is a very iffy path there. As a matter of fact, the store is not accessible. Possible lawsuit?
At 8:27 the bus is off again. The rumor is that the air conditioning is working this time, but the overhead hatches are still open and it is very hot and stuffy in here. A bicycle sign as we get on the Interstate tells cyclists to keep rar right- evidently bikers can use I-78 out here.
9:13 pmm It is dark out now and I think I may have crossed into Central Time. The bus behind me is totally dark, only the first 4 rows have lights on for reading. Maybe the "back of the bus," is a carry-over from grade-school; good students in the front, discipline problems in the back. I set my watch to Central Time.
9:02 pmc The bus seems to be about 20 minutes behind at this point. The air conditioning is working and the trip is now smooth and pleasant.
Photo right: At the REI in Denver, I purchased a bike trailer called a Uni-Bob. I thought it was the solution to my constant problem with rear spokes. It is a single wheel trailer that connects to the rear axle.
In my journal I made a little diagram of how I would load my bike (right). My sleeping bag remains on the back rack, toiletries, food and cooking gear in the front panniers. Everything else is in the Uni-Bob. I did not determine a place to store the tools and ground sheet.
12:04 amc (July 25, 2002) I should have moved my watch Forward, for Central Time. I survived the Ogallala Nebraska stop. I did not buy any food and refilled my water. I also got out the GPS and found that it is 1,300 miles to Washington DC. I will try to get running speed in the morning.
I called mom and dad to tell them where I was. Dad is still working on the house in Georgia. Strangely, my breathing is not good and I left my inhaler in my checked bag.
I did not call mom and dad after midnight. I must have been just reporting this here because I called at the previous stop. Dad drove to Adairsville Georgia during this time to build a house for Mr. and Mrs McPhereson, who were great friends and the second preacher they had a Huntsville Christian Church.
2:01 amc I was able to sleep very little at a cost to my neck. The bus stopped at Lexington Nebraska, 1,212 miles from WDC and I bought some Pop Tarts to eat. Oddly, when I returned to the bus, the guy who in in the seat behind me was in my seat. I think he smells. No one could mistakenly sit in this seat, it has a bright yellow backpack that clearly was not his. Why he did that is a mystery to me, I cannot help but think that Smelly had some evil intent.
Nothing happened, but I did have anxiety trying to sleep with this weirdo close to me. I grabbed my backpack and set a row back and across the aisle from him. I wanted to stay close to the items I had in the overhead. I still did not feel safe and looked through my pack to see if anything was missing. I don't know what I would have done if something was not there. I thought twice about leaving things on the bus after that.
3:41amc The bus stops at an Interstate Rest Area that tells of the Fort Kearney Cut-off. Everyone on the bus had their lights off before we got to this stop, I was sleeping also. There is a full moon tonight which is noticeable at every stop.
6:32 amc Omaha Nebraska - The bus stops here for an hour for cleaning and refueling. There is no place to go in Omaha and zero to see from the Greyhound Terminal. I got a newspaper but was uncomfortable the entire time. I got onto the same bus I got off, bus 2111, but I do not understand the line concept of Greyhound. It seems that all lines go to the same place - maybe it is the herd mentality, everyone gets in line because it is a line.
The new driver introduces herself as we leave Omaha, her name is Marcia.
Photo above: This is me on the bus somewhere in Iowa. This is the only photo I took on July 25. Note the wire rim glasses, I did not wear these on my bike.
7:49 amc Sunrise in Iowa. Des Moines is 66 miles to the east. I woke up with my neck hurting. We arrived in Des Moines right on time at 8:50 amc.
10:57 amc I was able to use the GPS from the bus to find that WDC is 787 miles to the east. I am still about 24 hours from Union Station. Lots of corn here in Iowa, there seems to be no photo opportunities. Interstate and corn.
12:03 pmc Walcott Junction Iowa. I have some roast beef sandwiches and call Deborah Cunningham to ask about MATA. Nothing new. I forgot water and brushed my teeth. I must remember that I can check email at that Pilot Stop on the way home.
Before I began the JD Mission, Deborah and Reneé had blocked a bus for failing to stop and made the news in Memphis. Michael Heinrich had sent me photos of the event and I published a story on the MCIL site. Apparently, the Pilot truck stops offered a way to check email. I didn't have my computer so I must have done a quick web search while we were stopped.
12:44 pmc I know I was not impressed by Illinois roads earlier this year on my bike, but this Interstate looks great. What is bothering me now is that Deborah Cunningham had no idea what I was doing. That hurts me personally, but as a result I think I will send her a paper version of my trip so far and future plans.
What I meant by the personal harm was that the phone call made it clear that she was not following what I was posting on the MCIL website. She was the audience for my bike jornada and I felt that I was being very productive at this phase. I had just finished the Colorado ADAPT vigil and made the trip to Bosie. It hurt that she did not know about the work I was putting in.
2:35 pmc Outside of Chicago the bus gets a little rain. I will have an hour and 15 minutes layover here and worry about the rest of the trip. I am not scheduled to get to Cleveland until after midnight. I put down my book for this segment and take time to watch the endless expanse of suburban Chicago pass by.
6:28 pmc The hour layover in Chicago was not an hour of "free time." I spent my time mostly in line for the bus to Cleveland. I didn't know what happens if you are so far back in line that here is not a seat for you on the bus, but by the way people are eager to get into lines, I don't want to find out.
For the leg of the trip between Chicago and Cleveland I have to share the pair of seats with some long-hair who does not say a word to me. He sleeps with his back to me, pushing into my seat with his butt. He seems to be an experienced bus rider who perf;ers he back of the bus.
Northern Indiana is pretty typical from the Interstate. I overheard a fellow in Chicago explain why he was on the bus as "a great way to see the country." Well I think that this method does not compare at all with the bicycle. The experience I am having is with the bus and bus passengers.
7:27 pmc The diver stopped the bus and made a woman with at least 4 kids move into the seats where people had complained about her kids putting gum in their hair. She made an announcement to everyone on the bus not to disrespect others.
I am sorry that I did not explain more clearly what had happened. I don't know where the bus driver had made the woman and her children sit. I believe she made them all sit together so the mother would have more control.
This continues my JD Mission Journal. Link to the explanation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Qr-YvyDEG7_FXZkWyD_PZZ_vZ8IojxxR8GDNEmHNhTk/edit#heading=h.q3vbcherf5i9
1:44 amc Cleveland was just standing in line. The bus to WDC is packed.
8:14 ame July 26, 2002. North of Hagerstown Maryland the driver of the bus is the "captain of the ship." Before I got to Cleveland, the driver responding to complaints of passengers, made a woma trade seats so that she had to sit with her delinquent children. Before we left Pittsburg, the current driver made a guy get off the bus. He refused and the Pittsburg Police came to help him move to another bus. Some passengers had complaints about his behavior and he seemed to be whacked-out to me.
Photo right: Justin Dart's iconic hat. His wife, Yoshiko Dart often brought Justin's hat when he could not travel. I used this symbol for many graphics that I made.
At a short stop in Breezeburge PA I tossed my shirt up into the overhead and left a sleeve dangling down so I could grab it from my seat. I saw the bus driver's eyes in the mirror, she scanned the cabin and he paused seeing my shirt.
"Would the person with the jacket hanging out of the overhead," the driver said over the public address system, "please stow it properly."
You don't question the bus driver. I quickly pulled my shirt down and smiled in complete compliance to Laura the bus driver.
I had very little bus experience before this 1,300 mile trip. This was my first experience on an Greyhound and I did not have much experience with the city bus service in Memphis.
There is good coordination of people on the bus. Stops are not excessively long. People move onto and off of the bus quickly and bags are moved around quickly. The woman with the delinquent children - she really smelled had and many people on the bus complained about it. But unlike an airplane cabin, the air seems to circulate more on the bus and I was only bothered by her stench when she walked past me. And when we were in line at the Burger King.
Photo: The main speaker at the memorial service was former President Bill Clinton. While Justin Dart had been a Republican when he worked to pass the ADA, President Clinton caused him to change political parties and work with Democrats and Republicans throughout the 1990s. I met Clinton at the event and shook his hand. I also talked to him in Memphis during his campaign. My friend Jay never forgave Clinton for stealing his camera at an event in Little Rock. Jay had no evidence, but he was pretty sure that President Clinton was the one who took the camera.
It is rainy here in Maryland, about two hours outside WDC. approximately 40 hours on this bus. I have spent many rainy hours in Maryland this summer.
Thirty-eight hours of bus travel has brought me from the Mile High City to the Nation's Capitol. The bus is not a good way to "see America," the environment dominates the experience. I am here for the JD Memorial Service and I will write about who is at the service and what is said in the MCIL Journal.
8:59 ame The bus maneuvers through the downtown streets of Fredrick MD to a multi-model area that has little cover from the rain. Frederick is a good looking community and marks only 10 minutes behind schedule.
End of the July 26 entry.
I made the trip to go to the Justin Dart Memorial Service on the twelfth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may recall, back in May, I included a photo of Justin Dart, often called the Father of the ADA, in this retrospective. He died on June 22, 2002. Following is my report for the MCIL Journal of the service:
Memorial Service and Celebration of the 12th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
By: Tim Wheat
(WASHINGTON DC July 26, 2002) A memorial and celebration of the life of Justin Dart was held today on the twelfth anniversary of the singing of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Justin Dart was truly the father of the ADA and a great humanitarian,” said Dick Thornburgh the former US Attorney General and a featured speaker at the memorial, “but most of all, he was our friend.”
The service was held at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC and drew dignitaries and grassroots civil rights activists from around the world. The church was filled with signs from the Disability Rights movement and memento’s of Justin’s life.
Photo above: Bob Kafka of ADAPT spoke at the memorial. He was dressed like an activist. You may recall, I stayed with Bob and his wife Stephanie Thomas while I was in Austin Texas. Stephanie gave me a ride to the airport rental car.
Photo right: The New York Avenue Prespertarian Church in downtown Washington DC.
“Hillary and I were just nuts about Justin,” said President Bill Clinton. “He stood by anybody big or small that he thought was the victim of arbitrary discrimination . . . I was profoundly honored to give him the Medal of Freedom.”
The highlight of the service was the reading of Justin Dart’s final message. His granddaughter, who Marca Bristo reported was the “light of his life,” read the powerful final communication of Justin.
“Justin Dart always identified himself as an ADAPT member. He believed in direct action,” said Bob Kafka the national organizer for ADAPT. “Justin, we will free the two million people in institutions, we will free our people.”
Much of the tribute was directed at Yoshiko Dart who had a long and special relationship to Justin. She and members of the Dart family sang the song “Sakura,” a song in Japanese.
“I will remember the boots, I will remember the hat, but most of all Yoshiko,” said Ralph Neas of People for the American Way, “I will remember you (and Justin) side by side.”
“He loved with premeditated passion,” said Joe Washington for the Dart family.
Following the Memorial Service there was a celebration at Union Station that featured music by the Dart family. Hundreds of people came to the gala where Senator Tom Harkin made a toast to Justin Dart.
“In the 16 years I knew Justin he never talked about yesterday,” said Sen. Harkin. “Justin Dart’s tomorrow is MiCASSA ... Here is to Justin Dart’s tomorrow.”
When she spoke at the Justin Dart Memorial service Elaine Chao was the Secretary of Labor. Later she became the Secretary of Transportation. I thought I may have a use for this photo but never used it anywhere. She gave real Republican balance to this event and Justin's past conservative history. Justin Dart, back in the Reagan Administration, did a lot to start the Independent Living movement as well. Many people don't credit the long conservative history of IL.
Photo top left: The iconic boots of Justin Dart. I remember when Yoshiko Dart brought his hat in his wheelchair to the ADAPT action in San Francisco in October of 2001. She put only one of these boots in the leg-rest because he had recently had his foot amputated. I do enjoy thinking about what that symbolizes.
Photo Above right: I don't know her name, but I believe this is one of Justin Dart's daughters who lived in Boulder Colorado.
Photo right: I did get this flash photo of President Clinton in the scrum following the memorial service.
Photo above: Now you know about me and Jim Glozier. We were at the reception following the memorial service and I took a photo of Jim kissing his wife Laura. Laura took this photo of me, I think I am really attacking Jim. If you recall, I stayed with the Gloziers back in Pennsylvania. That is Yoshiko Dart in the background.
Photo above right: Senator Tom Harkin giving a toast. Sen. Harkin was the most accessible politician to ADAPT in these years. He introduced the ADA in the Senate and he gave a speech on the Senate floor in American Sign Language. I got to meet him many times, including in 2017 in Iowa with Tom Olin driving the ADA Legacy bus.
Photo right: The reception was a party at Union Station.
Why I am not on the bus is a sad tale of my own stupidity, costing approximately $314.00. I forgot my ticket, I left it in the hotel room and Greyhound does not replace tickets. It is just as if I lost $158.00 in cash.
I didn’t want to carry my ticket to the memorial or the reception, so I put it in the desk drawer. I should have kept the ticket in my backpack, or with my camera because that ticket is the only thing I “unpacked” during the trip.
Photo right: This shot taken out the window of a moving train is not good at all. But I was really amazed to see the C&O Towpath, it was like running into an old friend. If you cannot make it out, that is understandable, but the brownish area in the middle of the frame is the two tracks of the path. The canal is between the pea-gravel path and speeding train. The canal is overgrown and long dried-up in this section. It was the rail traffic that put the great American canals out of business in the twentieth century.
I got the ticket as a round-trip and they printed two tickets for me. Even if I had the ticket, I had to make the bus or I could not get any discount for a later bus. I was really bothered by the money. On the road I had become frugal and saw the loss as many days I did not have resources to camp and cross the country. What I didn’t say in the journal is that I only had only a few minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave. I argued at the counter until the bus was gone and I had no option to return to the hotel. If I had noticed the missing ticket and just returned to the hotel, I think I could have made it. We stayed at the Harrington and the Greyhound terminal is at Union Station. Twenty years ago I think I could have ran to the hotel, grabbed the ticket and ran back in about 30 minutes. But I didn’t, I got in line used up this time searching for a Greyhound solution.
My good consumer decision was not to purchase a second ticket from the folks that already had my money to get me back to Denver. I took my cash to AMTRAK and bought a ticket there.
The agent asked me “when?” And I said: “now!” The agent told me I should run because the train leaves in three minutes. I signed the receipt and the next thing you know I am looking out the window at Rockville Maryland.
I rode intercity buses a lot when I lived in Boulder, but my first and last cross-country bus adventure was over. This is my first cross-country train experience.
Photo: I took a photo out the window of the train in New Brunswick Maryland. I remember this city along the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath that I biked the entire distance back in May.
Losing my bus ticket really sucks. But the train seems very cool. I am currently sitting in the lounge car as Maryland quickly slips by. How fast? I think I will go check the GPS.
Wow! I cannot express how neat it was to look out the train window and see the C&O Towpath. I was really shocked, it was a great feeling. I don’t know why. I guess I have a connection with the towpath; a kinship, bond. I don’t feel so alone.
I used the GPS to find Brunswick Maryland. Of course, I recognized it. We left the C&O as we crossed into WV at Harper’s Ferry. I remember having breakfast and coffee, calling Mom and Dad from the train terminal there.
Only two photos today. I caught the train sometime just afternoon and had no time to buy supplies for the trip. I didn't know what to expect on the train, it was a great new experience for me. I actually made three photos, but the other one of the C&O was more blurred than the one on the previous page. On the train I am using the low-resolution format, because I don't have confidence that the photos out the window will be any good. Also off my bike I feel that I am just taking snap-shots and not the kind of photography that will be displayed anywhere but my website. I will move from taking photos to making pictures, but not until I am back on my bike.
6:07 amc Sunrise on the train somewhere in Indiana, I think. I slept great and may get more sleep. I am wondering about Chicago, how long I will be there and if I can catch a ballgame.
I had always heard that you could get off the train and if you missed getting back on, your ticket was good for the next train (assuming there was room). A better explanation is that it is a ticket to Denver, you may take as many trains to get there as you need. I was thinking about trying this out and stay for a game and catch the train tomorrow. If the Mets were playing in Chicago, I would go to the game and either get a hotel room or try to bunk with one of my Chicago ADAPT friends. They were not in town or they had a day game Sunday, twenty years ago, but the Mets were in town tomorrow, but that would mean I logistically would have to stay two days in the windy city.
I used the GPS to find out that we are in Toledo Ohio. The conductor was on the public address this morning telling us the delay was due to a "derailment" ahead of us.
This was before the iPhone. It really was unique to have a navigation tool like that. I am sorry I do not seem to have recorded the trains speed, I would like to know that. I am sure it traveled at various speeds and I checked that on the GPS, but I didn't write it down.
8:40 amc A hard rain outside. The train is by my guess three hours behind schedule. I suppose I will be getting into Chicago around noon. Food, headphones and music or DVD in Chicago.
Photo: I did have enough time to get a photo of me in the Chicago Terminal.
New estimate of arrival time in Chicago is 1:20 pmc. The GPS tells me I am only 23 miles from Chicago, be there in an hour.
11:21 amc The train gets to Chicago - what about my transfer to Denver?
I recall running around downtown Chicago searching for food and headphones. I did not find either. Because of my experience with Greyhound, I was concerned about missing the train.
3:40 pmc I was not able to find headphones in downtown Chicago. I walked several blocks over the river, under the loop and found only closed drugstores, Walgreens, CVS and something like Ogelmans. But, I got on the train without a hitch and I am headed to Denver. I cleaned-up and put on my last set of clean clothes (except for one sock). I am going to try dinner tonight.
Missing lunch in Chicago was my justification to try out the expensive dining car. I thought that I may eat with other passengers, but I had a table to myself and I got the steak.
7:18 pmc Now twelve hours from Denver.
8:24 amc Looks like I am close to Denver.
At this point I realized that I was still on Central Time.
7:58 amm Forty-two hours on this train and I am anxious to get to Denver for the 90 minute commute south.
Riding the train west
(DENVER, CO) From Washington DC I caught the Amtrak "Flier" to Chicago and the "California Zephyr" to Denver. The train is really great and nice to sleep on. Sleeping is essential when you spend 42 hours on the train. I also met a few interesting and intelligent people on the train. You have the ability to get into lengthy conversations on the train that I don'ts think is possible on other types of transportation.
Photo: Me on the train headed to Denver.
I am resting today in Denver, packing up my bike tomorrow and leaving for Salt Lake City.
This was a short piece I prepared for the MCIL "Where in the World is . . . Tim Wheat?"
Photo next page: This was the only high-resolution photo I took on the train. I remember passing through much of the rust-belt at night. I didn't take a photo of the lights in the distance, but there were also many times when the train stopped passing through cities at night.
Photo above: I don't recall how I engineered this photo, but I guess I am holding the camera with a shutter delay. I try to look candid for the shot of me looking out of the train window.
Photo top right: Another attempt to look candid on the train. I am wearing my ADAPT shirt with Sher's drawing on the front.
Photo right: This is actually a merge of two low-resolution photos of the Chicago terminal. The train was very late getting into Chicago and I only had a little more than an hour. I set out looking for food and some headphones, but everything was closed downtown on Sunday.
My journal has a lapse of two days at this point. I got back to Littleton and my bike, but Judy had already left for Chickasaw State Park in Tennessee to see her family. Judy and I had laminated about our logistics, but neither the bus or train were going to return in time for me to see her. Additionally, I was in a time crunch, I was headed to Salt Lake City for the ADAPT strategy meeting that started Friday, August 16.
There was clearly enough time for me to make that trip on my bicycle, however, I had planned to start heading north out of Littleton and heading over the highest paved road in the US: Trail Ridge Road. This was going to be a tough climb, but it was going to be difficult from anywhere in Colorado. The real time constraint was going to be how much time I would spend in the Rock Mountain National Park and the Dinosaur National Monument.
Twenty years ago today I began to get ready to get back on my bike. The only photo I have today is of Judy's cat Jinx. She is lying by the hub connection of the new bike trailer I purchased before I headed out on the JD Mission. The Uni-Bob trailer connects with the bike's axel. I had cleaned the bike up and was working on a completely new method of loading my bike.
Photo: Jinx in Littleton Colorado next to the hub connection with my new bike trailer.
Twenty years ago I was preparing to get back on the road, but I have no photos and no journal about this day. I did make a list of items I wanted to accomplish. First, I wrote down "look up CCPWD v. RTD and see if the settlement is on the web." I am pretty sure that this is what we consider to be the ADAPT lawsuit against the public transit system, RTD. Wade Blank was known for creating organizations and being pretty lackadaisical with their names. Barry Rosenberg told me this when I was looking up early 1970s information about the beginning of ADAPT and Atlantis. I didn't write down the name, but it could have been Colorado Coalition for People with Disabilities. I have never found this case.
Second, I wanted to find a brochure on the RTD website. Third, I had a reminder to post to MATAplus.com. This is a website that Michael and I had produced to accept and note complaints with the Memphis paratransit system. That site is gone, but it was a thorn in their side that Michael owned it and not the public transit authority.
Fourth in this list of things to do is to "send book to DC." Well I just returned from Washington DC, but I don't think that is the reference because I typically abbreviate the nation's Capital as: WDC. You may have noticed that from my journal already.
I think DC stands for Deborah Cunningham; but, what book? Right under this I had written: "- Most recent sighting on the web." I suppose that is what I wanted to get done before I left, but I may have meant to put all the text on paper and send it to Deborah, calling that a book. I had written earlier in this retrospective that I knew Deborah was not reading my stuff. It did hurt, I may have done this just so she knew what was happening and all the things that I had done. But I may have just wanted to send her the book I had recently finished, I did just spend 42 hours on a train.
I also have a short "Albertsons' List," that includes "dry food;" which I believe refers to food that I would pack on the bike. My favorite was to have Rice-A-Roni (it is really Pasta Roni) Angel Hair Pasta and add a tuna-size can of chicken. I never had a can of tuna growing up because my father did not like fish. We just did not have it around the house. But riding my bike across the country, I had learned to make-do with the items and food that you can find in any convenience store. I was surprised to find this canned chicken almost everywhere.
I had one full-sized pot that was the basis of all of my hot meals. The idea is what can you add to the one-pot meal, there were no sides. I often would add a whole can of corn or peas, to a can of Chef Boyardee pasta. It does not sound very appetizing, but it would make a whole pot of dinner and be easy to clean up one pot when you are done. That was the general thinking as I would look around the shelves of an out-of-the-way gas station convenience store: "Will that can go with that can for dinner tonight?"
Finally, my journal has a "to do" list with two items. Number one, "chain." I am sure this is a reminder to clean the bike chain. Number two: "money." I am not sure what this is, but probably just a reminder for me to get some cash before I get back on the road.
Today is the trailer test. I know from my photos that I took the bike and trailer out for a test ride twenty years ago today. As I look at the photo I have a great feeling about the machine and think it looks great. However, that feeling is obvious "choice bias," because I know that in reality the bike and trailer did not work. At this point I was overwhelmed by the sleek look and the large amount of stuff that the trailer would hold.
I was mainly concerned about the cornering feel that I would experience on long dowhills. I was afraid that my muscle memory would feel that I could take downhill turns quickly. Even with the large cross-country bike load, I did not have any problems with control in fast downhill turns. The trailer was not only shifting the weight, but I had a third wheel on the ground with my center of gravity shifting back and lower. I thought that this would make a big difference. I thought it would not only feel different, but I would have to learn new mechanics for the turn. The next step in that reasoning is that if I did not learn the new dynamics of the bike and trailer, I would ride off the road or into traffic.
I also worried about braking. I had added another wheel and weight, but there were still only the two cantilever brakes on the bike rims. I was worried that going fast, it was going to be hard to stop that train. I knew that it would be different, but I had to know just how much farther it was going to take to stop the new load. Bike breaks also have a difference. The front brake can cause instability or if you break too hard you can "face plant" over the front handlebars. It is a lot harder to get that kind of braking power with the rear brake, but I was just not sure how good my brakes were or how they would hold up with the trailer and load.
As I look at the photo I made on my test ride, I see the rear bag seems full. I have moved the rear panniers to the front and I have the tent and sleeping bag on the rear rack, with no rear panniers. It looks like it would be helpful. You can see the rear wheel. Those heavy panniers are not right on top of them, the bulky but light sleeping bag and tent are stored on the back rack, but most of the mass moved to the trailer and distributed between another back wheel.
I did not record the results of my test ride, but I look at photos from the road and see that I did not make many changes from this set-up. The general load was simple, the heavy stuff was on the trailer and the other stuff was on my bike. I thought I could carry more clothes, food and water. For convenience I added a backpack with my computer, journal and a fleece.
There is a flexible mast with a yellow flag that did not put on the trailer for this test ride. I also have everything in the yellow bag that came with the Uni-Bob trailer. The bag is waterproof and would be great in the rain. I sold the trailer when Judy and I moved to Memphis, but I still have that yellow bag.
I took the two photos of my test ride on the road just behind Judy's apartment complex. I'm sure that the open field is filled with apartments now. I recognize that area and the Front-range in the distance. In April I rode into those mountains and into the snow. Now, at the end of July it is hot and sunny.
One more day of delay before I head out west with my new trailer. I don't have any photos from twenty years ago, but please step back thirty years ago on my bike adventure in 1992. If you recall, I was snowed in at Many Glacier in Montana. I was spending my days in the huge lobby of the Many Glacier Inn.
One morning I joined a couple of women who were hiking up to Iceberg Lake. I had to wear my running shoes in the snow because it was all that I had. I was able to borrow some work gloves from the hotel. I am sorry that I do not recall anything else about my companions that day. Their names are Carmella and Lynn. At Iceberg lake we met another couple and had a trail-luck lunch together. They joined us for the hike back to the hotel.
Photo: Carmella and I trade photos of each other. I suppose she has a photo just like me.
The people we met at Iceberg lake and hiked back to the hotel.
I really didn't have the camera for wildlife, but it was great to have a photo of a Marmot, a critter that you don't see much in Alabama.
Photo left: Iceberg lake from the shore. This was the best photo I took on the hike. It really was spectacular. We watched the weather move in from the west, over the "Garden Wall." The hike was great fun. The snow was unexpected and beautiful.
Photo above right: This is from a clearing on the hike back to the hotel. Glacier National Park is fantastic and really unique. I was so fortunate to be able to see it with snow and without in the same week.
NOTE: My 2002 Journal will be in black and my 2022 retrospective thoughts will be in blue.
I have come down with a bad case of the blues. The trigger has been that the trailer I bought to improve my traveling capacity and better distribute weight has failed. Actually the rear wheel of my bike is not adequate for the weight that I have been carrying this entire trip. It is so frustrating that my solution to make a solid cross-country machine is not functional. What makes it more frustrating is that I have learned by experience the type of bike that is good for this and I ignored my own experience.
Twenty years ago today I was back on the road with my bike and a new trailer. I had packed more clothes, food and water. I see from the first photo I made of my new rig that I had added a tripod. I was motivated to head into the mountains with this new mobile ensemble.
Photo: The Flat-Irons from Chautauqua Park in Boulder.
I headed northwest to Red Rocks, took photos of me crossing I-70 and rode through Golden and north to Boulder. My route was to by-pass Denver to the west and I thought the ride went very well and the trailer was working well. I was able to climb and make high-speed turns without trouble. I really felt that the new system was working well.
About 50 miles down the road, just as I was coming into Boulder, I could feel that not all was well. I stopped right as I got into town at Martin Park to tighten my spokes. I had felt the loose spokes, something I had learned on this bike adventure, but I thought it may be just an unfamiliar feeling of the trailer. It wasn't. Many of the spokes were loose to the touch. I had taken extra time to "true" the wheels myself, and this was really unexpected. I didn't unpack the bike, I only tighten spokes that were loose, but I knew that meant that the rim would warp some.
I would end up living near Martin Park, and buy a house near this spot in seven years, but at the time I didn't know much about the city. I struggled on the highway until I noticed the bike trail off to my right. I stopped in Central Park at a large oak tree near Boulder Creek. I noticed at this point that I had to intervene and do something about the rear wheel. I took off the trailer and unloaded the bike. For years I remembered this spot as I would pass by on my bike after I moved to Boulder. I was sad when the city cut down that oak.
I flipped the bike over and used my newly acquired skills to true the back rim. This took me longer than usual, but although I believe I am competent at this, I still do not have much experience. I also felt that there was something else wrong. I put the bike back together and I headed out. I had been working to take care of the rims more since the pea-gravel path of the C&O. I expected that this may become a more frequent maintenance issue.
Photo: My bike and trailer at Chautauqua Park in Boulder.
I started out the wrong way. I rode east down Boulder Creek for a while before I realized that I was not paralleling the highway out of town. I rode past the University of Colorado and I was able to consult a map along the multi-use path to reorient myself. I turned around and rode past the Boulder Library. I parked my bike and visited the bridge over Boulder Creek, checked my email and looked at a map of Boulder to try to unravel the web of bike paths.
The trailer made the bike much more difficult to walk, the center of gravity was much further back from the handlebars. I wanted to walk my bike down Pearl Street to see the downtown while I was there, but there were too many people and it was inconvenient. I got on my bike and headed north.
Not far past the last building in Boulder, I could feel the insecurity of my rear wheel. I was devastated. I was looking forward to being in the mountains tonight, but this feeling was devastating. I got off my bike and confirmed the diagnosis: My back rim was coming apart. I tightened up some spokes, like I had done on the south side of Boulder, and headed back into town.
After two days of attempting to fix the problem myself, I have turned around and spent most of the day in Boulder looking for a new "beefier" wheel. I thought Boulder would surely have it, they have many bike stores and more bikes on the streets than cars. I visited three stores and called around to two other stores, but no dice.
The day after my test ride I noticed that my wheels needed to be trued. At the time I did not think that the weight or the trailer was causing the problem. I had not been out on my bike loaded for cross-country since Mt. Carmel, Illinois. I took the time on August 1st to true my wheels, which made the discovery of my loose spokes more concerning.
The problem is that my rear wheel is not designed to carry the weight that I am putting on it. The trailer is not a fix for the weight because as the bike shifts from side to side, the trailer puts torque on the back axle and therefore the back wheel. Although I have divided the weight among three rather than two wheels, the rear wheel is still not strong enough to carry the load.
Photo: Another view of the Flat-Irons above Boulder.
It was nearly 5:PM and I did get a photo of my bike on Pearl Street. I also found a bike shop on the west end of Pearl Street: University Bikes. They confirmed my fears that my rim would not work. They also explained that the trailer was putting not only more weight on the back hub, but it was also "twisting" the back hub and putting strain on the spokes. This made sense, but I had not even thought of it. What they did have was an idea of how to fix it. It was the "MAVIC T-519 700c 36 holes rear wheel 9-speed." They told me that it had to have 36 or more holes and there were rims with 48 spokes.
I have not had a catastrophic failure yet, but the rear wheel spokes continue to come loose until the feel like spaghetti. I can feel the loose spokes especially when I am climbing. I have been stopping frequently and tightening the spokes, which has the effect of making the wheel wobble, because some spokes are tighter than others. To prevent the wobble, I have to take everything off the bike, flip it over and "true" the wheel. I can get close with this method, but without a special stand to true the wheel the wheel also is getting more out of the typical "round" shape.
I am avoiding catastrophic failure, but it is slow going. I plan to return and attempt to get a stronger wheel in Denver. The T-519 is a double wall and has four more spokes than my current wheels. Roughly the same set-up with a stronger wheel.
This current set-back is in addition to my car unable to start and my wisdom teeth being extracted. The mountains out here are beautiful, I really expected that once I was underway, that I could leave the set-backs behind and concentrate on some serious cross-country cycling.
This is the end of my journal for this day twenty years ago, but it is not the end of the story. It was getting late and I needed to find a place to sleep and I had a few ideas as I had passed through Boulder. First, I returned to NCAR, thinking that it may be a good place for some urban camping. But as I waited along the multi-use path, I saw a security truck drive around. The large building was probably mostly empty, but my plan to camp on the far side of a small clump of brush would either be visible from the road, or by the security guard.
Photo: My bike and trailer on Pearl Street in Boulder.
I just knew there was some edge of the city and Flat-Irons that would be invisible and a great place to camp. I headed uphill to Chautauqua Park, I didn't know anything about Chautauqua at the time and when I got there I felt it was perfect. I would wait until dusk and sneak into the woods just to the south of the park and camp. While I waited, I took some photos of the Flat-Irons and one of my bike and trailer.
Just before sunset I pulled my bike and trailer into a secluded area and started to set up camp. It wasn't long before people started to walk through my area that I thought was secluded. I had chosen a spot that was between the Chautauqua Auditorium and the neighborhood, it was actually close to the bus stop. I did not have experience of people who rode the bus and walked to events. I thought if I was away from the parking, I was away from the public.
I was wrong. I don't know what the event was that evening, but people just kept walking through. I packed up. Most people were nice, but they had to know what I was doing. I didn't know if they had reported me. I just know that this attempt was very different from downtown Cincinnati, I was busted. I packed up the bike, and started back for NCAR. If I had thought about it, Martin Park would have been perfect, and close. But I am thinking about what I know about Boulder now, not back then. I had not expected to be flushed out by so many people. I ended up heading to the Motel 8 on 28th Street near campus.
Back on the road. I was proud of my new rig and took this photo with I-70 as a backdrop. I have the yellow "Bob" flag up on the trailer and I can see that I added a tripod to the rear rack. I have the backpack and ground sheet above the yellow Uni-Bob bag.
Photo next page: I recognize that mine from the drive between Golden and Boulder.
Twenty years ago today I was retracing my route into Boulder, headed back to Littleton to get the holy grail of rear bicycle rims. I spent my morning in the Boulder Motel 8 truing the rear wheel and reinforcing the evidence of failure. The trailer had a terrible effect on the rear wheel.
Photo: I was still making photos in high and low resolution so that I could quickly get them on the web. This photo I made as I left Boulder to the south. There were so many bike routes in Boulder I got lost on them again headed out of town. Twenty years ago I did not know that I would come to memorize those bike paths.
On my 1992 trip, I did not have any problems like what I was experiencing here. The bike I used then was a mountain bike. Rather than having thick knobby tires to get traction on dirt, I used thin high-pressure tires that had no tread at all; they were slick. The real difference was that the rims were about an inch less in diameter and about three-quarters of an inch more width. The spokes were thicker and it had fewer gears, making the spread of the spokes a little wider from the rim to the hub.
The reason I had the cross bike for this trip was to be more efficient. The thinner wheels and tires are more efficient and wider selection of gears make the bike more versatile and a better climber. Obviously, I have discovered after three thousand miles is that it is not as good at carrying weight.
From the Boulder bike store I had learned of the ultimate rim that would fit my bike and I headed back to Denver to find it. I had started early on August 2, but I had spent so much of my day in Boulder, I thought of it as a short trip back. I was also motivated by the beautiful route. On my way back, over the same road that I was on the day before, I took seventeen photos, as opposed to four. I may have felt that my desire to move on down the road kept me from stopping and smelling the roses, or in this case cactus blooms.
I was captivated by the beautiful mountains just south of Boulder. I loved the road in from Golden, there was not much of a shoulder, but there was open space and wonderful landscapes as you approached the town. There were also some dramatic clouds on this day as I headed away from the Flat Irons.
This is a landscape south of Boulder. Twenty years ago I took side-by-side photos to make a landscape of this area. But, twenty years ago I did not know how to meld two or more digital photos together. It was one of those things that I thought I would do later. Really my thinking was that I would just digitally lay them beside each other and violá, instant panorama. I don't know if I ever attempted this and failed. But here are those photos, twenty years later stitched together by Adobe Lightroom.
Above is the combination of two photos. I may have actually intended it to be a five panel spread. But as I put it together, I did not make the panorama level enough to where the photo looks good stretched out that much.
This photo is also a combination of two adjacent photos. It is clearly not as dramatic as the other combination photo. I also don't think it really adds to the previous panorama. I could not match these up and it may be that they just are not adjacent photos.
The reason I did this panorama is because of those that I produced back in 1992. I did not have any idea how to shoot a panorama back then either. But when I got home and simply put those 4x6 photos next to each other in an album, I thought they looked great. I like the panorama for landscapes and so I attempted the same thing with these digital photos.
I am amazed that twenty years later I can go back to edit these photos and be able to combine these sets. I hope they are good, however, looking at the next photo, makes the stitched panorama seem not as dramatic.
Riding south to Golden, Colorado I looked back at the Flat-Irons. This may have been intended to be another part of a panorama, but I could not fit it into another photo. It is interesting that this part of Boulder would become an important part of my life and so significant years later. This was the first time I had been to Boulder and I seemed to have a connection to this landscape.
I got these photos as I left town, I think the photos that I didn't get were of Boulder Creek. I spent some time at Central Park near Boulder Creetk and followed the creek east without snapping a photo. I also didn't get a photo of the Boulder Library and the café on the bridge over the creek. I did take a photo of my bike on Pearl Street, but now that I know the town, I think I would like to have photos of many other landmarks.
I believe the reason I made so many photos today is that I did not take these photos yesterday when I had traveled over the same road. I think that I am documenting my regrets. Maybe I am attempting to make this repeat trip more meaningful.
I stopped frequently along this highway, not only to take photos, but I was also checking the back rim. I was concerned that I may have a catastrophic failure of the wheel and I constantly was stopping to tighten the spokes. I had planned out in my mind how I would get home with a broken wheel. I would take off the chain. Switch front and back wheels and walk the bike as far as I could. I thought I could camp overnight and make it to Littleton walking the next day from any point south of Golden.
East of Denver near Red Rocks I unloaded my bike and trued the back rim. I hoped to make sure that I could make it all the way to Littleton. It was a final repair and I would just use up the rim. I still had to stop and tighten the spokes, however, I made it back before nightfall.
Twenty years ago today I was back in Littleton, depressed by the failure of my new trailer and unsure of what I was going to do. I had a meeting in Salt Lake that I intended to ride my bike to, and the leisure time that I had built in to the trip across the Rocky Mountains was evaporating quickly.
Photo: The peak of Chief Mountain. This was visible on the east side of Glacier National Park as I headed down and toward Canada.
While I don't have a journal piece from today, I do have a long list of bike shops that I called. University Bikes, the shop in Boulder, had convinced me that I needed this rim called the MAVIC T-519. It sounds so futuristic, I was determined to get it and continue my journey. It was Sunday and my notes show that some of the stores were not open and some only had only 32 spoke wheels. Other notes show that I must order the rim and I wrote down some prices.
I had learned to deal with so many mechanical issues of the bike and I have experience with repair and maintenance. However; this was different because the problems with the rim and spokes were just those that I had little experience with. You just don't know the things you do not know. Because I did so well with the mountain bike rims, I did not see the veiled problems of using the more efficient bike wheels.
I will turn from my obsession with bicycle wheels to my 1992 bike adventure. After I made that hike to Iceberg lake, the hotel was buzzing with news about a hiker who was mauled on a trail at Many Glacier. I thought about just staying in the lobby that night at the Many Glacier Inn, I could just read in the corner and sleep in a chair. I thought that no one would bother me. I didn't ask how much it would cost to stay at the hotel, I am sure they had rooms available.
I went back to my lonely campsite that evening. My food was in a "Bear Box" in the campground. It was a brown steel box the size of a foot locker with a bolt through the latch. I didn't have any trouble sleeping. To this day I tell people the best nights I have had are in a tent on the ground in my sleeping bag.
Photo: The Swiftcurrent Motor Lodge is closest to the Many Glacier campground, but because it does not have any public area or lobby I didn't get to know any of the people who were stranded there. There was no one in the campground, and I believe a few campers got rooms here when the snow came. This photo was made on my way out. The summer snow had cleared up and I headed down from the Glacier.
I also think about people. I have told the story of the guy in the Paducah bike shop that was sure I carried a gun because of "bears and snakes." I wanted him to believe I had a gun because I didn't want him or other people to know I didn't have a gun. This was another instance where people have much more impact on me. The people in the Many Glacier Inn were very helpful, they loaned me those big orange gloves I took on my hike, because I didn't have any. I was afraid that if someone said I couldn't sleep in the lobby, I would have to walk my bike a mile back to my tent in the dark. For some reason, I was more frightened by the people at the hotel than "bears and snakes."
In the morning I read the notice that the Park Service had posted on the trail head. They closed the trail and said that one person was seriously injured and gave the general area of the incident. The other trails were open, but I don't think that anyone was going out. It is really ominous to see that trail closed sign, it was on my path to the Many Glacier Inn.
This natural lake is very low but very beautiful especially following the summer snow.
Twenty years ago today I was attempting to get the ultimate bicycle rim suggested by University Bikes in Boulder. I think I have been excessive in my description of this problem and in my mind the trouble with my wheels was a significant quality of the entire jornada. It impacted the overall trip and was a concern nearly each day. Even though I got the magic bicycle rim, I did not trust the trailer and I decided the computer was too heavy for me to bring it on this final leg of the trip.
In 1992, I also think I got the bike handlebars right. On that mountain bike they were about 32 inches wide. That is more than twice the width of the bike I was riding in 2002. The width was not about control, but it was great for keeping my head up. On both bikes I had aero bars that stuck out in front of the handlebars and I could ride with my head down to be more efficient in the wind. What I found, however, was that so much of the trip you do want your head up and looking around.
The photo on the previous page is the only one of me on the bike. A couple that I had met at the hotel lobby took that photo for me somewhere down the road. That jacket doesn't look warm, but it is a tight nylon and really kept the wind off me and kept me warm. I also had some long wool riding pants, they were very warm, but I didn't seem to need them leaving Many Glacier.
Photo: The mountains in Waterton Lakes are spectacular. I got to see them with this early snow. The photo is far from spectacular, but notice the small highway that leads into the Canada side of the park.
There is nothing sleek about my bicycle loading. Even with that trailer and bag, I preferred to have things hanging on for easy access. I put the light, bulky items on the top of the rear rack: sleeping bag, tent and pad. My idea is to keep the heavy items: cooking, tools and liquids close to the hubs, lower down not to raise the center of gravity.
I seem to say that there was some work put into the physics of packing my bike; but, there was none. As I look back twenty and thirty years I can't help but see the beauty in the bicycle that I feel no one else can see. I used a bungee cord to stack my coat on top of the front pannier. A single bungee cord held my sleeping bag, tent, pad, tent poles and ground-sheet on the back rack. I also slipped an extra bottle of water under that one bungee.I guess, I am proud of it, except for the part that doesn't work.
Today I will add some photos from thirty years ago. These photos are from after the snow, when I rode down from the glacier and north to Canada. I crossed into Canada from Glacier National Park and into the Waterton Lakes National Park. Together they make a large international park area and at the time I believe the Waterton Lakes was also called an International Peace Park or the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
Photo: Another view of Chief Mountain. It is on the US side, but very dramatic from the Canadian side. Right at the border, looking into the US the peak is really fantastic.
I have included a photo of my bike by the National Park Sign that says Canada, but that is not the border. In 1992 I rode into Canada from Glacier National Park on a small, winding mountain road. I was looking for the border because I wanted a photo. I had a passport at the time, but was reliably told I would not need it. I thought I would have a nice talk with customs and they may wish to search my bike.
Some people at the Many Glacier Inn had suggested I smuggle a carton of cigarettes across the border. They said I could get double the price. I thought it was pretty kitschy, a cross-country cyclist carrying a carton or two of cigarettes on his bicycle. I believe that each person was allowed two cartons of cigarettes crossing the border. The Many Glacier Hotel did not sell cartons, but I seriously thought about this money making idea as I rode.
The story has a very anti-climactic conclusion. As I approached the border, there were signs that noted the border was coming up. There were wide lanes and turn-around areas on the small road that anticipated traffic back-ups if the border were closed. There was no other cars on the road that made me feel like I may have to turn-around because it was not a crossing at this time. At the US - Canadian border there was a guardhouse in the middle of the road. It was about the size of a brick bathhouse with a window facing the traffic on each side. covered with signs and explanations about the international border. However, there was no one at the checkpoint.
The thing that was bothering me was that there was no US side and Canadian side that I could get a photo of. I could have stacked my bike with all the cigarettes I could carry.
This was not the US, Canada border, but I used it as a crossing sign.
Twenty years ago today I made the decision not to continue with the bike trailer. I needed to get to Salt Lake City for the ADAPT Strategy meeting and I just did not trust the trailer to get me there in time. Although I did find the suggested back rim with a second wall and more spokes, I was afraid that it would not be robust enough to handle the long haul I had planned for it. Ultimately, I decided to use the new rim, but also lighten my load to better handle the stress I put on the wheel.
The biggest change was that I decided to leave the computer behind. The computer was the smallest I had seen at the time, it was simply the best machine that I knew about and it was working well. I did worry about vibration, but it had survived three thousand miles already without a problem. But it was dense and I had to include the AC brick and power cord. This really does not seem like much, but if I was really going to shave off weight, that was the heaviest non-essential item I was carrying.
I believe a good decision I made early on was not to carry a backpack on my back. I revisited this as a way to carry the computer because I would act as a shock absorber. But, if you have ridden a bike a long way with a backpack, you know how uncomfortable it is. Back in 2002, I did not have the regular connectivity to the web to get online each night from my tent. As a matter of fact, I did not have any "wifi" at all. I was connecting to a phone or public ethernet to get that computer on the Internet. My regular connection was on public computers where I would keep up to date and update "Where in the World is … Tim Wheat?"
I had updated the site from some motels, but that had not really worked well. I had organized the site by states I had visited, and selected a handful of photos. I linked other things in. It was very labor intensive as far as code-writing can be considered labor. I composed all of the pages with Windows Notepad and edited photos with MS Imagemaker. It was pretty primitive stuff compared to the M1 Mac I am writing this on and Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom that I use for photo editing. I was still crestfallen about leaving my beautiful new computer on the sidelines.
Photo: Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, my fanny pack and inner thigh.
I also cut down on clothes, food and water. I would have to stop and resupply at roadside grocery stores and gas stations daily. I didn't need as much bulky cold-weather clothing and I would rinse-out my bike shorts when I could to keep them ready for rotation. Obviously the tripod was out. My camera created small CDs, or minidiscs that were the photos I produced and what I am reminiscing about in this retrospective.
Of course, today I do not have photos from twenty years go, so I am presenting a handful of photos from my bike ride thirty years ago.
My bike is still the subject, but the Waterton Lakes National Park makes a fantastic background. Note the extra water strapped on the top of the back rack.
Doumont, CO Day x+1
Leaving Littleton at ~6:45 I quickly made my way to Morris where I started climbing into the front range. The view behind me was spectacular but it would not make good photos because the sun was low in the east. It wasn't long however, until the view all around was mountains.
I followed the Interstate up, but have only been on the actual Interstate for about a mile and a half east of Idaho Springs. There are frontage roads and a bike path so far that follow a creek into the pass. I stopped at Burger King and enjoyed the endless supply of Sprite and recovered from my climb. Before noon I had already done 35 - 40 miles of hard riding. I took two hours to relax but now it looks fairly overcast to the west. I still have Loveland Pass to climb.
Photo: I don't think I have a subject in this photo, but it obviously started out to be a very clear day.
There is this "No Bicycles" on all US Interstates except where there just is no alternative. I knew from my Bicycling in Colorado handbook, that I got at REI last month, that some parts of I-70 did allow bikes. I had altered my route to be more direct to Salt Lake City and save some time.
4:38 pmm - Miles from nowhere, I got caught in a downpour. At between 7 and 9 thousand feet, the rain is horribly cold. I stopped at the mud trail that leads to Loveland, there was a camping area just off the path. I stood around freezing, with the Alpine giving me some cover until I just had to get warm. Without a coat, I just decided that I would camp here- enough for today. Total traveled is approximately 65 miles.
Well, I did make some changes to lighten my load. The first thing I mention here is my coat. I did have my nylon shell and a fleece, I thought that would be all I needed in the summer, but that nylon seems like it will hold three times its weight in water. It gets soggier than a cotton t-shirt. I had half of a towel and my long wool riding pants. For the cold I had my sleeping bag that would be more than enough if I could get dry in the tent.
If you are driving on the Interstate, this old mine goes past in a flash. I was on the service road when I saw this. I didn't take much time, I made this photo while straddling my bike. It was a good omen, I wanted to take a more scenic route, that I had not been before. Because I was attempting to get to SLC quicker, I thought that this route would not be as spectacular as the northern route I had originally planned through Rocky Mountain National Park.
I love this railroad and it is really a beautiful setting.
The light version of my bike [2 pages back]: Note the many spokes on the rear wheel. I have nothing over the front panniers and only the tent and sleeping bag on the back rack.
Silverthorn, CO. Day x+2, 12:19 pmm
The thunderstorm yesterday is gone and a new one seems to be moving in. Cold and wet, I slept really well last night in the alpine east of Loveland. This morning I mostly walked the dirt road into the Loveland ski valley. There were some deep washes across the road that will be a bike path in the future. I put on the only long sleeve t-shirt I have with a nylon pull-over and my long pants.
Here I am, twenty years later, second-guessing my decision to leave the trailer, the computer and not having a coat with me. Very noticeable to me, when I look at the photo of my bike on this segment of the jornada, is that I do not have the jacket-length coat strapped on the outside of the pack. I had it at easy reach because I would slip it on when I stopped. I would be warm, but the jacket was comfortable as I cooled off. I also did not have the extra canvas shoes.
Photo: In the bright summer sun, these barries stood out in the greens and browns of the high altitude.
Loveland was closed for the season so I started up the pass: 11,990 feet. It was sunny with a spectacular view the entire way. I took some photos and met some cyclists going both up and down. At the top I spoke with some avid cross-country cyclists from Florida. They are in their 70s and use a camper now, but they gave me some advice about the road ahead.
Rain. I am stopped here at Arby's. I believe I will wait it out, by my calculations it will pass within one hour. However, there is no telling how many more thunder showers wait down the road.
At this point the US Interstate goes into the Eisenhower Tunnel and I turn south to climb Loveland Pass. Loveland to Siverthorn on the Interstate is about a dozen miles, climbing Loveland Pass, riding through the Arapahoe Basin, climbing up to Keystone and around Dillon Lake is about 25 very hard miles.
Back to Loveland Pass. Loveland is above the Alpine and has some really cool geology and some rare plants. Few things live that high up and for most of the year the snowpack does not melt. But there was no snow this time as I made that crossing, like there was back during Jornada del Sol .
I remember the first time I climbed Loveland Pass, from the other direction thirty years ago, the weather would move in and out quickly. It would be raining one minute and the next you couldn't see any dark clouds. The winding road also changes your perspective often and the view goes from nothing to a wonderful vista with dramatic skies.
I loved the trip down, it was very spectacular. The trips down always raise my spirits. The rain seems to have passed but it is still overcast and windy out. I think I will head for the library.
NOTE: It was too cold to update this yesterday.
My note is to say that I did not write this yesterday, but I was writing it on August 9, about August 8. The journal up to this point I had written at Silverthorne while I was waiting for the rain to let up.
At the Silverthorn Library I could update the "Most Recent Sighting" but I could not get my email. They only allow 10 minutes use. So I was on the road quickly. It was mostly clear, until I made it up Vail pass.
Photo: The beautiful countryside at every turn climbing the mountain passes.
Vail Pass was a gradual climb from the east, it is mostly a bike path between the east and west lanes of I-70. It is the only pass that has followed a creek all the way up, then down on the far side. Where I camped was spectacular. Rocky peaks on the horizon with a small creek just outside my tent. There was a set of mountain lakes at the peak, it was a great campsite.
To highlight today's ride I took nearly 40 photos. I made Twenty-one photos as I climbed up and down Loveland Pass all before noon. The rest are from Dillon Reservoir up the east side of Vail Pass. From the base of Loveland Pass to the peak of Vail Pass is about 25 miles as the crow flies. But my mileage today was about 55 miles.
Cyclists do not wave to each other. Sometimes there was camaraderie among cyclists and sometimes riders were not social. The riders in this photo climbed with me and talked a little. They passed me but I believe I intimidated them with the large load on my bike, they didn't want me to pass them. It is strange some of the etiquette you experience on the road. Motorcyclists will wave to each other, often holding their hands down below the handlebars. Strangely, all bicyclists wear helmets, but about half of the motorcyclists don't. Motorcyclists are called Bikers and Bicyclists are called Cyclists.
I wish I knew just how much lighter this load was from the one that included the bike trailer. Another advantage of the lighter bike is that I don't have to pull that extra weight uphill. Loveland is such a beautiful ride, I remember it from thirty years ago when I made the climb from west to east over the Continental Divide. This time I am going from east to west.
I took quite a few landscapes in the mountains that have no real subject. I note that because this photo has no subject, but the trees in the foreground help to show the scale of the image.
I am so glad that they have these signs at the peaks of the mountain passes. It makes a natural crossing and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. You also know the rest of the way is downhill. I set my camera on the steps of the lookout area to frame this photo. I have been over Loveland twice on my bike and another couple of times in my car, but I have never climbed those steps.
Highway 6, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, honors the American Civil War veterans association, is a main route of the U.S. Highway system currently runs east-northeast from Bishop, California, to Provincetown, Massachusetts.
It is a very steep descent from the peak of Loveland Pass to the Dillon Reservoir. It is also very beautiful. I note the gray takes over from the brown rock on this side of the Continental Divide, but I don't know if that has anything to do with the geology.
I have produced a lot of photos that show the road in today's shots. Sometimes the road is up ahead, like this one and some show where I have climbed, like many on the other side of the apogee. I believe the landscapes that show the road are what I wanted people to see, not just what I passed by, but also the road, the steep climb and the scale of where I was is part of the road photos.
Similar to the photo on the previous page, this one shows a wider angle. The other shot seems to have a more remarkable sky, but this shot has more drama in the scale.
This image makes me think of all of the great views, simply from the side of the road, that I did not take a photo of. There are even more vistas, mostly behind me, that I never even saw. You certainly see a lot more from the saddle of a bike, but there is also a lot that you miss.
This valley is geologically amazing. There are no trees that have made it up in the alpine and the rocks that have slid down I suppose will soon fill the valley. I wonder what this area looks like today? Twenty years later, I wonder if there are more trees in the valley and maybe higher up in the rock.
The SONY CD Mavica seems to have great color, if only I knew how to compose a good photo. The ride around the Dillon Reservoir was really great. I had just zoomed down the Loveland Pass, and I had the chance to just look around at the formidable landscape.
Photo top left: Tenmile creek that runs into Frisco and the Dillon Reservoir from the southwest.
Photo top right: Another shot of the wild berries that grow along the road near the alpine.
Photo left: The blue skies as I begin to climb Vail Pass
This old mine entrance was along the road. Most of these old mines are closed and covered up. The old wood structure is really great to see and a relic of the past.
I had already run into rain twice on this segment of the jornada. With so much more of the horizon to see, there were often dark clouds in one direction and clear skies in the other.
Photo previous page: The frontage road along Interstate 70 was where bicycles had to travel, but heading up Vail Pass, there was a bike path. Often this path was away from the Interstate, but never so far that you couldn't hear the traffic. The path itself was beautiful.
Photo Above: The blue skies and rocky peaks of the mountains were all around in the Vail Pass.
Photo top left: I liked the small splash of color in the rocky setting. I took so many landscapes on this day, I am glad I also was looking at the small stuff.
Photo top right: This is a 640 x 480 I intended to be able to upload from a public library computer. Without my computer, I had to develop a way to get files from my camera onto the public computers.
Photo left: Near the end of my trek up Vail Pass, the beautiful countryside was becoming shaded by dark clouds. Note the ski runs on the mountainside.
The shadows and dark clouds make this part of the climb seem ominous, but the Vail pass was stunning and I did not have trouble until my hands froze speeding down the other side.
Photo previous page: Gore Creek runs through Vail and down into the Eagle River. I am amazed at just how little gear I have on the bike.
Photo above: The mountains near Vail and climbing the Vail Pass.
It was a cold morning and I had to stop a few times down the Vail Pass in order to warm my hands. It was a good ride into Vail where I saw lots of people in the off-season resort town. I had a good breakfast and found the Vail Library. I only had 20 minutes so I did the essential things, washed dishes and headed out of Vail.
I made it sound like you could only spend 20 minutes in Vail. But what I meant was that the Vail Public Library would only allow 20 minutes on the public computers. I did the essential check of my email, updating the "Where in the World is … Tim Wheat?" and probably sent Judy a message. Without my computer or smartphone, public computers were how I stayed in touch.
Vail is a pretty unwelcoming resort town. There is not a big public park or recognizable space to see and meet people. The streets are narrow and much of the parking is gated. There is nothing to see as you pass through the town and there are few places to stop. After I left the library, I was looking for a place to get coffee, but I remember I spent a lot of time avoiding cobblestone roads. I was on the other side of Vail before I found a palace to stop.
Now I am on US 6 facing sun and a strong headwind. I do not expect to see other bicycle riders as I have the past two days. The postman at the Vail library said I could expect a headwind at about 5, but the wind has been strong and constant since 1:PM.
NOTE: Again it is cold and I am tired, this update is from the next day…
I really pushed hard against the wind. I was helped by the general downhill of the countryside. Strangely, I was able to use the frontage road and bicycle path, not the Interstate, all the way to the east trailhead of the Glenwood Canyon bicycle path. The Interstate through the canyon is truly spectacular. There is I-70, the bike path and a railroad track packed in with the Colorado River in the canyon. I waved to the AMTRAK as it passed, thinking of seeing the C&O out the window of the train last month.
I made a slow trip through the Canyon stopping often at the rest-stops and attempting some photos. Every turn was a postcard. I-70 was interesting, divided into east and west lanes, they often crossed each other and tunneled through the rock. At only one point did the bike path lose sight of the Interstate, but you could still hear the cars coming out of the tunnel at the far end.
I opted to camp along the bike path and found a good poach at the west end terminal called "no name." I read by candlelight for a short time and fell into a sound sleep. Although it was cold I slept great and got up late, at around 6:45 amm.
While it was too cold to write, it was nice and warm with my arms inside the sleeping bag.
Climbing Vail Pass, following the Eagle River to the Colorado River and into Glenwood Springs their is a frontage road and a bike path the whole distance. Without the concern of traffic the ride is wonderful. The countryside is even more stunning. The photo above and the inset in the previous page is a bridge on the bike path over the Eagle River just past Vail.
Photo next page: A bridge over the river, it seems to have been washed out before. You can just make out the manufactured homes on the far side. I can't help but wonder what supports that small village and if it is still there after 20 years?
One thing about biking across the country you realize all of the enchanting little places that you can find. In the overwhelming beauty of the canyon, there are parts that are precious and seemingly undisturbed. That appeal is true for even smaller and smaller parts. My bike trip points out more of what I don't know about and more places that I have missed rather than those places that I have been to and seen.
I cropped this photo to show more of the stream, and I blurred the edges to highlight the subject.
Photo next page: From down in the canyon, it is the rim above that seems fascinating. You can make out some of the twisting Interstate lanes that hang over the bike path, railroad track and river.
Photos: The unique and powerful rock formations that make up the canyon.
It is hard to fit the train, river and two Interstate lanes in Glenwood Canyon. Sometimes the Interstate lanes, east and west, are stacked up one on top of the other. The I-70 lanes will duck into tunnels and curve around and over each other as they snake through the canyon. It is a beautiful drive and a fantastic trip on the train. But I prefer the bike path. I have traveled Glenwood Canyon using all three methods.
I spent the night in Glenwood Canyon, at the rest area near Glenwood Springs. I had the chance to watch a white water kayaker try out his skill in the Colorado River. There are a handful of stops along the Interstate where you can stop to view the canyon. At the most narrow point, the bike path is only as wide as a city sidewalk and just beside one Interstate lane.
9:amm Glenwood Springs CO
I felt like I got up late, but I met my goal of getting to Glenwood Springs by 8:AM. I did dishes at the Rest Area that I poached a campsite at and rode the three miles into GS, to have breakfast at a Village Inn. It was cool at the start, but I expect today will be warm because it is clear and sunny out now.
My journal this morning catches up from what I failed to put in from yesterday. I camped near a Rest Area (often there are signs that say you cannot camp) and that is where I did dishes. Twenty years ago I was not familiar with the Village Inn. It is a restaurant like IHOP or Denny's. There was a Village Inn near where Judy lives in Littleton and we liked to visit the restaurant there.
My journal skips ahead to the afternoon…
Photo: Me doing Laundry in Meeker.
I met all my goals so far today. I rode up Colorado 13 to Meeker, getting there around 5:PMM. The first 18 miles of Colorado 13 out of Rifle were all uphill climbing from the Government Creek watershed (Colorado River) to the White River watershed. I marked the summit of the Government Creek climb on my GPS.
Since I did not have my computer with me, I was using my GPS to set landmarks for my trip. Some of those waypoints were preserved, and I have put them into the Google Map that links to this document: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1aUL80t6rmWdlCbYNce2lRVVEVmUEkQI&usp=sharing.
I was really beat when I got to Rio Blanco, a town that consisted of one closed truck stop. I still had 22 miles into Meeker and I was struggling at that point. I rested and drank all of my water, opened the spare and refilled the 2 main frame bottles with Evian water.
I don't know where I got the water if the truck stop was closed. When I say Evian water, I mean that I had to buy bottles of water. What I am attempting to communicate here is that I finished off all of the water I had on my lighter bike system. There are three water bottles on the frame and I used to carry a large bottle in the rear pannier, or on the back rack. My process changed so that I had to get tap water in route to keep the two main water bottles full. I needed those water bottles full when I camped so I would have water for dinner, breakfast and coffee. If I wasn't near a water source I also needed water to wash dishes and myself, along with water to drink.
There were eight more miles of hilly terrain until I caught Sheep Creek and headed mostly downhill into Meeker. I planned to stop once, before I got there, get off my bike and rest. But I just kept pushing for Meeker. The combination of no shade and no palace to lean my bike kept me going.
At the crossroads of Colorado 13 and Highway 64 I met Trevor at the Kum&Go. Some toothless guy bought me a sandwich and chips, Trevor offered me a place to stay and a shower. Trevor drew me a map of how to get to his apartment. I was interested in doing laundry first. Trevor called his girlfriend to make sure it was alright, but she was not enthusiastic. I have to finish my laundry and then smooth things over with Jessica.
I feel terrible I called the person who bought me a sandwich and chips a "toothless old guy." The Kum&Go was a Colorado convenience store and I don't recall how the guy decided I needed a sandwich, but I had my bike splayed out on the sidewalk while I was doing laundry next door. At this place I also note that I met Trevor.
I did wish to meet people in my travels and I was glad to meet Trevor and I took him up on his offer. I believe his motivation was just that I was passing through and he had traveled some himself. He told me that he had walked from Provo, Utah to Rifle, Colorado. I was interested in how he had made that walk and I assume that he was interested in my travels.
Photo: Lyndon and Levi talk with me until after midnight.
Now twenty years later, I don't recall the girlfriend. I don't know what I meant by "smooth things over with Jessica." But I believe she was not interested in me as a guest.
Trevor, Jessica and Lyndon all live together in apartment 14 in the big city of Meeker.
So there are errors in the first draft of History. I wrote down the apartment number without the Apartment address or name. I looked at a map of Meeker, but I don't recall where they lived. It was a very strange encounter, but I had a shower and a place to sleep. I feel that that is what I wanted.
So these are my notes that I also kept in my journal because it was all I had to write on. An email that I had seen in Vail was about Dexter Lake Apartments in Memphis. They had heard about the MCIL lawsuit, but were not in the survey. They were looking to make sure that they would not get sued and if I had thought about it, that would have been the job that I could excel at. The first item is the case for MiCASSA, which I had done a part one already and put it on the web, this is a note to finish it.
I finished the Laundry at 7:pmm and quickly found Trevor's place. I met Lyndon and Jessica and took a long, hot shower. Jessica was seemingly gone when I got out of the shower and Lyndon was playing a computer game. I took off for the Gofer Foods to get something to drink. I drank some milk, but ended up at CLARKS' sitting at a table waiting for a chicken chimichanga.
It is hard to figure this out and I hate that I am keeping a running journal rather than a diary. I update the journal when I can, and I am writing paragraphs like the last one that make little sense and I write about things with little perspective. So the paragraph above fills in a block of time without any reference to everything else that is happening.
For example, I had written about the rain yesterday, but the rain did not dominate the day, it just started raining and I was able to sit down and work on my journal. It stopped raining and the next paragraph I wrote it was like it had not rained all day. The journal is sometimes piecing things together rather than a diary may help to make an overall feeling of the day. Whatever may be best, the combination of the journal and diary make up what I write.
I need to get an address for a thankyou postcard for down the road. That should include:
Again, my journal is also where I keep my notes. That sounds like a good idea, but I never did send the thankyou cards.
I sat and read until Jessica got to the apartment with Megan and Levi. We listened to Limp Biscut while Levi made some kind of a bomb, he was dissolving stryfoam in gasoline.
I wish I had a good explanation of what I just wrote. But that is what Levi was doing. He was not on drugs, he just saved styrofoam so he could make what he felt was some kind of home-made napalm.
You may think that I would be running for my life. Why would I stay here when my hosts seem so demented, psychotic and potentially violent? But I did not feel that they were dangerous. They just talked about danger, and antisocial behavior. I suppose there was a much better chance that they would kill me in my sleep, but I still felt the overall chance was very low. In fact, I did survive.
They were kids, nondescript children attempting to find meaning in the shadows of existence. My experience, liberal pursuits and groovy stuff were of no interest or use to them. When Trevor got home Lyndon and I talked until 2:amm and I slept on the floor. Lyndon's alarm did not go off (AM - PM mixup) so I woke him for work as I left.
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