Day 35

I leave my tent and whom do I run into? Alan! I swear to god this guy is following me! Lol! We decide to kick start the day together by walking the hill side by side. Let me tell you: if you have to start your day off by walking your bike, you know it’s going to be a tough one… We then part our ways, each of us going at our own pace. When I finally get to the top of Lolo Pass, it turns out Dorota, my Franco-Polish friend from Toulouse, has been able to hook me up with one of her friends from Missoula, Debbie. The message I get is that I should call her whenever I want and her landlord is cool with her hosting me as he’s actually a WarmShowers host himself. Unfortunately, with no network in s

Day 34

The Lowell to Powell stretch is a 66-mile area with no services and no habitations what-so-ever. All going uphill. I wake up fairly early to get it done and over with as soon as possible, except that my plan is one thing and its execution is another. After some 40km, I just cannot take the heat anymore and decide to go for a nap. Four and a half hours later… I get back in the saddle. It is actually pretty nice to be cycling in the cool of the mountains’ shade… But having over 60km to go at 5pm, it means I need to keep pedalling and stop fooling around, unless I want to cycle in the dark and be eaten by a bear. I make it to Powell well after sunset, 9.30pm, and just collapse in my tent. I gue

Day 33

The morning come, it is very difficult to leave to Reyna, my long-lost and finally-found sister of the soul. She attempts bribery to make me stay: yet ANOTHER piece of her delicious ice-cake (which has now made its way to the very top of my favourite food’s list). I want to stay but I need to go. It’s the very paradoxical nature of these kind of encounters: if you’re lucky enough, you get to meet some remarkable people but the more wonderful they are, the more difficult it is to leave them… But off you go, leaving the door open to new chance meetings. And some incredible people I do stumble upon this very same day. Riding through an area with very few services, I hail cars and knock on peopl

Day 32

Today is all about one 12-mile hill climb. It’s long. It’s hot. It’s slow. And it’s painful. Totally different from the McKenzie Pass experience. I think I simply do better with snow than I do with sun. The climb takes me 5 hours. Only 5 cars pass me by. 4 stop. Only 2 have any water. It’s tough. I should have sooo left earlier. And not spent the entire (cool) morning hanging at a café in White Bird. And then an hour surfing the web at the local library… When will I learn? In the meantime, I am paying for my sins and I am paying hard for them! The sun keeps bothering and pestering me all day long. I make it to the top at around 5pm. It’s then and there that I decide I will not be able to mak

Day 31

I can feel yesterday’s 14-hour-on-the-road in my body: it’s tired and my eyes won’t stay open. Half an hour out of New Meadows, I knock on a random door and ask whether I can have a siesta in the garden (all the neighbouring land being fenced off and with barley any shade). The owner agrees, so I pull out my sleeping kit and have a nap until 4 in the afternoon. Once I emerge back into life, it’s pretty late and I have barely done 10 km. The sun having a go at me and is eating me alive. And it turns out that I left my sunscreen at the place where I had a nap. I therefore decide to stop at a random house and ask for some cream. There’s a residence with a confederate flag and a guy whiter than

Day 30

The hill awaits and so I start super early to get it done and over with before the sun gets nasty. And let me tell you: it makes hell of a difference whether you climb in the sizzling heat or in the morning cool. The miles are long and steep. I walk most of them. I look at all the passing pick-up trucks with a certain longing… Will it really be that bad if I hitched a ride? Nobody will know. It’ll save me 2 to 3 hours of a climb. It’s just 12 kilometres. Where’s the harm? And Alan said yesterday that it was okay to cheat once a day, didn’t he? Well, nobody would know if cheated except that I WOULD, so uphill patiently I walk. I am motivated to get as far as possible, for someone told me ther

Day 29

I have had a bizarre kind of experience at night: some sort of heart palpitations that got me a bit worried. Luckily, I slept at a DOCTOR’s house so was able to consult Kate first thing in the morning: “Do you take sports drinks?” “No.” “Do you take supplements?” “No.” “Well, you better start and you start pronto, because heart palpitations *might* be due to electrolyte imbalance.” Obviously, if the doctor says it: I better do it. Again, the purpose of this trip and the moneyless challenge is not to exterminate myself as fast as possible, so I’ll be popping to a pharmacy the next time I see one. Apart from that, the day is HOT, the Snake River beautiful, the dam is impressive and I run into

Day 28

I must have developed some extra muscle since I started this trip because I start the day off by… breaking the handle of Gayle’s coffee machine (again, so sorry Gayle!). I don’t even get out of the city when I see some elk (deer?) going about their business. And when I do finally leave the town, the nature does not stop surprising me. The road leads through the desert surrounded by snowy mountains. A dozen miles out of Baker City it dips into the magnificent Hells Canyon. And it’s all slightly downhill so the ride is great! You would not call it a day though had there not been at least one hill along the way. And one climb is exactly what I get: Richland Grade. It’s 7 miles long and the fina

Day 27

Do you know what the most difficult thing about this trip is? I’ll give you a tip: it’s not the cycling (duh!). But it’s not the hills either. Nor the heat. Nor the no money part. It’s the NO COFFEE! In French there is the following expression: avoir la tête dans le cul. I am not going to translate it to into English because there is already too much swearing on this blog, but let me tell you that if you’d grab a dictionary to look it up, there’d be a picture of “me before coffee” underneath. I ride for half an hour and I’m dying. I stop at 11am in the middle of nowhere, pull out my sleeping bag and go for a nap. Four hours later, reluctantly, I get back in the saddle. I pull up a hill and c

Day 26

Russ sends me off with plenty of food and a bicycle that feels like brand new. It feels so comforting to be looked after and I feel blessed and grateful for what I have been endowed with. Ahead of me are three climbs and the weather is hot and sticky. On my break in Prairie City I run into Ryan, who has had his bike fixed and is now mercilessly leaving kilometres behind, and a birthday boy called Mitchel. Climbs are not my forte, so I leave them go. The heat is killing me though, I want to sit by the side of the road and not move. A young couple in a truck stops to ask whether I’d like a ride: OF COURSE I WOULD!!! I explain that I have to decline though for it would be like cheating and so I

Day 25

After a solid 12-hour night, it’s Jan’s puppies who come to tell me it’s time to wake up. They are sooo adorable and I am totally in LOVE. I wish I could stay and play with them FOREVER. Jan treats me to some hearty breakfast, gives me a gas stove and provides with some toiletries and food. She also manages to find me a place to sleep for when I’m going to be a little further down the road and gives me directions to the closest bike shop. Is there anything this woman cannot do? Despite a good night’s sleep though, I still feel a little bit weak-ish… I don’t know whether it’s the accumulation of 4-weeks’ worth of cycling (a first for me), the 1000-mile threshold I just passed (another first),

Day 24

I am ready to hit the road when I notice that my rear tyre is totally cooked: the CAP-ply is showing through. I have never seen my wheels in such a state despite having done several long-distance runs in the past. The problem is that the inner tube is barely protected and I can easily get a flat tyre. Again, images of me and my bicycle crashing on a downhill ride, with my jaw going to the right and my teeth to the left side of the road, come flooding in. Luckily, two bike-savvy ladies staying at the Spoke’n Hostel take some time to help me out. They switch the tyres (front to back) so that I can squeeze some extra kilometres out of them before they completely disintegrate. I AM SOOO HAPPY AN

Rest day

My rest day is just how I like them: after a good 10-hour sleep I simply hang out with no plans nor expectations and just observe how it unravels. I have breakfast with Jacque, Maddie and Steve and it sort of goes into deep conversations about life, love, God and the like… (thank you for the “pick-a-question” bowl, Pat and Jalet!). The main conclusion, turns out, is that there is a growing need for social-media one-liner writers so Pat, you should really give it a go! And don’t forget about the tombstone epitaphs either because, in the end, we’re all going to need one! Jacque, Maddie and Steve take me along to the Painted Hills to get some photos. Everyone has been complaining that there are

Day 23

Kim and Dennis, who put me up for the night and treated to some lovely dinner (and ICE-CREAM!!!), invited me to participate in a morning yoga class taking place at their house. Had it not been for a 4-hour night due to some logistics needs, I would have been all up. Unfortunately, given my current state, there is simply not enough caffeine to fill my veins and keep me straight. I set off for some of the most amazing views EVER. A couple of cyclists pass by me and they DON’T EVEN STOP to say “hi!” I am shocked… lol! I guess these guys are in a hurry. Halfway along the road Kim and Dennis pass me by and suggest I stop by at a Christian Camp’s open house that’s “just up the road.” After an hour

Day 22

When riding over the McKenzie Bridge the day before, I heard my spokes make funny noises… It’s never a good sign, especially if you’re about to embark on a 15-mile descent. I did consider for a brief while recording a farewell video in case they break, I crash and die. The main message would have been: I died happy and it was all worth it. Luckily for me, die I did not. I knew however that I needed to have a look at the spokes for the tyre was now rubbing against the frame which is NOT what it’s supposed to do. The moment I’m operational, I head straight to the nearest bike shop. I explain my spokes problem as well as the one concerning the cash liquidity issue… But didn’t Dick show me the o

Day 21

Because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words: I do have to add a note however on where I ended after the nine hour climb (and a 30-minute downhill ride) as, once again, I have been blessed with goodness and kindness. I ventured onto the doorstep of literally the first house I came across in Sisters. Expecting a refusal, I coyly asked about the possibility of pitching my tent on the occupants’ land. They did indeed decline, inviting me instead to spend the night inside by the fireplace.

Day 20

The ride from Eugene to McKenzie Bridge is rather uneventful, apart from the rain that decides to cling to me like a leech. Precipitation does seem to be the main difference between the dry and sunny California and the succulent green Oregon: it rains here almost all time! My mind is taken by the discussion I’ve had with Otis in the morning. He’s a Stanford University writing teacher and we’ve exchanged about the written word and the economy of sharing. He made an interesting observation about the American relation to money which is something that often defines people here: how much you earn, how much you spent on your car, how much you’ve accumulated and what social position it has granted

Rest day

Morning come, I move to Otis and Zondie’s whom kindly accepted the evening before to host me for the night. They have two youngsters so it’s recommended that I stay on my best linguistic behaviour. Fuuuuuuuuck… LOL. It’s a challenge for I curse like a sailor and have to admit I rather enjoy it... Oh, you do know this blog is for 18+ and should not be read to children as a bed-night story? Once settled, I am off to meet with Ryan – a first-time touring cyclist - whom I run into the day before. On my way to our meeting I come across a bus with “Occupy Medical” written across its side. There are medical professionals taking whoever’s in need in for a free consultation. I sign up for yet another

Day 19

I sleep like a log. You could have set me on fire and I would have simply burnt to death. It’s Tonia, who’s leaving for the day, who wakes me up to say goodbye. It’s raining again and it’s not looking pretty. I have had no network nor internet for over 30 hours so my mum must be thinking that I got chopped up into pieces and put in someone’s freezer. Luckily, mum, there’s wifi in here and I still have all my ten fingers (which is not something I can say about my feet…). Tonia arranges for me to go over to her neighbour, Alice, for an internet session. I am able to get in touch with my mum and probably save her from a heart attack. And since saving a life is a pretty good score for one day, I

Rest day

It’s all rain and bad weather on the Friday so Hal & Tonia kindly offer to have me over for an extra day. We hang out, I do some writing for the blog, we listen to music and I spend an entire day without… the internet nor phone network. A first for me in I don’t know how many years. Pretty interesting too: I find it quite frustrating not to be able to check everything I want right here, right now. Tonia makes some barszcz (beetroot soup) as well as a cake for my upcoming birthday. I have a go in the kitchen too and we finish the day by some story-telling (bike-related) over dinner. Being so impressed with my recent Jacuzzi and martini experience, Hal & Tonia decide to do top it with their ow