Bike America 2K4 Diary - May 25-31, 2004
Baylor University sophomores Chad Anderson and Drew Mitchell are spending more than half their summer bicycling 3,700 miles across the United States to raise funds and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.
Their journey, called Bike America 2K4, will take the business majors through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia. By the time they complete their trip in mid-July, the students hope to have raised $37,840 - or $10 a mile - for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, where Anderson serves as a Big Brother. For more information or to donate, go to Bike America 2K4.
As they pedal across America, Anderson and Mitchell are filing a diary from the road so fellow Baylor students, faculty, staff and alumni can keep up with their progress. Alums along the way are providing support and lodging for the students. (See their route here.)
To reach Anderson and Mitchell, e-mail them at Chad_Anderson@baylor.edu or Drew_Mitchell@baylor.edu or contact Lori Scott Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 710-6275 or Lori_Scott-Fogleman@baylor.edu.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - Milford, Cedar City, UT
Today was another great day for the trip. Day 9, baby! Days are adding up quickly. We woke up around 8 a.m. and hit the road by 8:45 after two granola bars for breakfast. We then biked for awhile and made it up to Milford, Utah, for lunch in a little diner called Penny's Diner. I had an amazing chicken fried steak sandwich and french fries, and Chad had a Hickory Baked Burger. Very delicious meal that was donated here today.
We then biked on and through the rest of the valley, Chad and I filled the time in the lonely valley with stories about our past and our ideal places to live when we grow up. We biked over the next summit and then made our way down into Cedar City, Utah. We got to Cedar City after hot sun and heavy headwinds coming against us. On the way down we ran over a million little cricket things that were all over the road. We found out later today that they were called Mormon Crickets and were migrating for the season, and that's why they were all over the place. They were kinda disgusting bugs because they would eat their own dead ones as they got run over. They crackled under the tires of our bikes as we biked down. Yuck. Anyway, we got into Cedar City and stopped at the Artic Circle, the first little hamburger joint we saw, and got some cheeseburgers donated.
We then met up with one of my Dad's friends, Greg Mosdell, who met us in front of Lin's Grocery as he noticed our bright Baylor-colored jerseys coming down the road. Very nice to get to hang out with Greg and his family while in Cedar City for the night. He had pizza waiting for us when we got home. We then unwound in the living room and talked to our parents on the phone and showered up and just got to relax for a little bit. Chad was excited to see his Pistons were on the road to the finals still. We then went to Albertsons where Greg bought us some groceries to get us through the next few days. Anyway, we then drove up to look at the big mountain we'd be climbing tomorrow. We have nice beds tonight and great hospitality from Greg and his family. Thanks guys.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - Cedar City, Panguitch, UT
Today was a great day to be biking. We woke up at 6:30 a.m., which was hard to do because we were in a nice house with beds and nice showers and good food. However, we DID have a reason to get moving because Greg was taking us to Sullivan's Cafe for breakfast. We packed our bags with the groceries we got the night before from Greg and then biked up to the cafe where we met Greg. When we got there, we sat down and ordered big ham and cheese omelets with three pancakes each. Very good meal to prepare us for the great climb we had before us. We were done eating by 8 a.m. and headed up for Cedar Canyon and went to Cedar Breaks National Monument.
On the tough climb up we didn't have very many problems with cars, but it was hard because there were no shoulders, just narrow two-lane roads with lots of blind corners. No problems really though. We stopped about 12 miles up by a great recreation area just ahead of the Southern Utah University camping area and enjoyed the scenery and fresh mountain water from the canyon. We then biked on and jumped onto the closed road that took us up to the visitors center where we were able to enjoy the whole place to ourselves because it wasn't opening until tomorrow. We then peaked at over 11,000 feet in elevation and then headed down the mountains. We exited Iron County and entered into Garfield County. We stopped in at the Lakeview Resort Restaurant and the lady, Laura, gave us a free lunch. It was good company getting to talk to her, and then another kid our age who was working there for the summer joined us. He was a student at the University of Idaho and was into backpacking and riding and stuff as well.
We then went into Panguitch, Utah, and stopped at the KOA. They gladly gave us a free tent site for the night. We came in and talked with a fellow biking guy named Tom. He was biking from San Francisco to Pueblo but had to stop there because of work. After sharing some stories and wisdom with Tom, Chad and I headed into town to get a bite to eat at the Arby's. In there we talked to an older lady and man who were touring out here in Utah and Nevada. We had a good time talking with them. Then on the way out a man asked me what we were doing and I told him a little about what we were biking for and he gave us $10 for the trip.
Anyway, we headed back to our beautiful campsite where we can see Bryce Canyon and enjoyed writing in our journals on the tables outside in the 60-degree weather. Now it is 8 p.m., and we're hittin' the hay. Night!
Thursday, May 27, 2004 - Panguitch, Bryce Canyon, Henrieville, Escalante, UT
Today we woke up at 7:10 a.m. but were supposed to be up by 6 a.m. It was freezing cold, or at least that was our excuse. Tom, the cyclist we met the night before, had left us a note that said, "You two got me psyched for an early start. I think I'll check out Bryce. Hopefully I'll see you down the road. Ride Safe! Tom." Anyway, we ate some bagels with peanut butter and a granola bar and hit the road by 8 a.m.
We started out of Panguitch and about five miles out, I looked in my mirror and saw an orange biker behind us. Sure enough it was ol' Tom catching up to us. We got to ride with him for about 20 miles that morning until we got to Bryce Canyon. On the way up we talked and rode with Tom, which made the 20 miles go a lot faster. He grew up in Wisconsin and was into biking. He moved when he was 11 to Sacramento and now lives there and has two kids. His son, Kevin Watson, is our age and a junior at Cal Poly. It was fun riding with Tom. We took some pictures with him and then headed off.
On the way down we stopped at a little, very nice restaurant and had all-you-can-eat pancakes and bacon. The manager was very nice, and we enjoyed talking a little with her. We left there at about 11:30 a.m. and headed through Henrieville, Utah. The canyons today were beautiful to bike through, although it was hot with clear skies. We passed through Escalante, an interesting city, but just rode through.
When we peaked out right after Escalante, we stopped at a view point to look at the scenery, and that's where Tom, a different Tom but the same guy who gave us $10 the night before, saw us and pulled over. He offered us cokes, but we refused saying it wasn't good for the riding. He then gave us ice cold bottles of water which tasted so refreshing. He was from Chicago and was out visiting with his family. We also talked to two British people while we were there. They now live in New Zealand and were biking from the southern United States to the northern United States. It was fun talking to them.
We then went down a little past the Escalante River about 20 miles before Boulder Town and camped in the campsite there. We had to stay in a day-only site because it was too full already. We unloaded our stuff and cooked what will probably be our first of many Lipton Dinners. We ate and talked through the previous 11 days with each other, remembering all that we had done so far. We then set up camp and paid the campsite registration fee with the $10 Tom gave us. Chad then went to talk to the Ranger and found out there will be slight showers for the next few days but we'll see. We might be biking through our first rain storm. Anyway, tomorrow morning we have a big 3500-foot climb right at the start. Bed time!
Friday, May 28, 2004 - Escalante, Boulder Town, Torrey, Dixie National Forest, Capitol Reef National Park, Hanksville, UT
Well, today we had the alarm set for 5:30 a.m., but we got out of bed at 7:15 a.m. Another late start, but it would end up being all right. We ate some dry oatmeal and granola bars with peanut butter and were on the road about 8 a.m.
We started right off going uphill with grades at about 10-12 percent. It wasn't that bad because traffic wasn't bad and it wasn't too warm yet. It was also very beautiful biking through the canyon, but then we hit the Hogback. The Hogback was probably the most dangerous part of our trip as it was steep up and downhill with no shoulders, heavy traffic and cliffs on both sides with 500-foot drops. Very fun riding right on the edge of the road though. Almost fell off a few times...just kidding!
Anyway, we continued uphill into Boulder Town and stopped at Hell's Backbone Grill where the kind manager offered us a free breakfast. We accepted and both had plates of french toast and glasses of orange juice. It was a nice restaurant. We then headed off and continued uphill toward Homestead overlook in Dixie National Forest. We finally peaked and then flew downhill into Torrey, where we stopped at a Subway and they gave us two foot-long sandwiches for lunch. Very much needed after climbing close to 4,000 feet in elevation on the day. While there we talked to two other guys who were doing some biking and then heading up to Idaho. They were about our age and talked with them for about 20 minutes.
We then headed out again, now around 4 p.m., and went through the most beautiful part of our trip so far, Capitol Reef National Park, where we even stopped to sightsee a little bit. We coasted downhill for about 15 miles. Very beautiful seeing Chimney Rock, Castle Rock and other scenes. We then hit nice tailwinds and jammed toward Hanksville, Utah. We stopped at the camping/RV place and got a site to stay in for the night. We then headed up to Blondies', where Blondie herself gave us two double cheeseburgers and two malts, mine marshmallow, and Chad's Oreo. Probably the best malts we'd ever had. Then, we were riding by a restaurant and saw a dollar hanging out of one of the coke machines. We both got really excited because now we had money to do laundry for the night. We are still at $0 spent and zero flats. "Knock on wood" as everyone we pass says. We're out.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 - Hanksville, Blanding, UT
Today was a rather interesting day. A car came in at 2:30 a.m. and set up camp right by us, so we were up for awhile during the night. I also had lots of weird dreams last night. We were going to wake up at 6:30 a.m., but it was raining so we had to wait til it stopped raining to get out. It was about 8:15 a.m. when we headed out.
We biked close to 105 miles today, and I forgot to mention that yesterday we biked about 96 miles. So, we were on our way trying to make it to Blanding, Utah, but knew it would be hard to reach. We passed by Lake Powell and watched as many cars with boats passed us today on the roads. We rode most of the day uphill - about 50 miles worth - so it was a pretty rough climb. We stopped about 10 miles up from where we crossed the Colorado River and ate lunch, which was tuna and Ritz Crackers. We then headed off again, but had to stop and spend our first money on the trip. We were about out of water and it was still about 70 miles to the next service station. We had to buy a gallon of water, which cost a whoppin' $3. Oh well...
Anyway, we then biked till about 7:45 p.m. then pulled over to the side of the road and are now camping just about 25 feet off the side of the road. We pulled out the macaroni and cheese, sat up the tent and hit the sack by 9 p.m. See ya in the morning. Our last night in Utah!
Sunday, May 30, 2004 - Blanding, Montecello, UT, Pleasant View, CO
Today was a great day! We had the alarm set for about 6:30 a.m., but of course we didn't wake up til about 7:40 a.m. We packed up and decided to wait to eat breakfast until Blanding, about 20 miles away. We ended up getting there about 10:30 a.m. and went to a restaurant called Old Tymers. I went in to try and get a meal donated, but the manager wasn't in. I came out and Chad was talking with some nice folks, named Wendy and Ron, who donated $20 towards our bike trip.
As they said goodbye and were going in to eat, they asked if we were hungry and wanted to join them. Chad and I gladly accepted and joined them for lunch. It was a nice, sit-down restaurant, and I got a double bacon cheeseburger. As we waited for the food we shared stories and found out they were from Tennessee and were out on a business trip, touring before Wednesday. Wendy had Ron beat and had been to 49 states, all but North Dakota, and Ron had been to 48 states. We also got the inside scoop on Alabama sports as they were huge Crimson Tide fans. We then finished our meals and thanked them for the company and the meal and headed out again. Ron told us that it was great and he said the only thing he asks of us is that someday we pass on the good deed. We told him we would be happy to.
We then went about 20 miles to Montecello, Utah, which was very beautiful, but windy, with a head wind going into the city. We headed down the road to the restaurant in Montecello called Crossroads, where the awesome manager there gladly donated two meals toward our trip. We got chocolate milk which was SO good.
Anyway, we then headed out and with the wind behind us went about 45 miles from 5:30 to about 8:30 p.m. We pulled over to the side of the road in Pleasant View, Colo., where some elderly people let us camp in their front yard of the house. About 85 miles of biking today. Not good enough. Peace.
Monday, May 31, 2004 - Pleasant View, Lewis, Dolores, Telluride, Placerville, CO
Today was a beautiful day for Memorial Day. We even actually woke up on time today, or when we said we were going to. We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and got our bikes packed and left Pleasant View at 7:15 a.m. We biked for about a half hour and stopped at a little restaurant in Lewis, Colo. We got delicious breakfasts there. We then biked out for a few hours and reached an elevation of 7,500 feet. We stopped in at Hummingbirds Cafe and grabbed a quick lunch and then headed off.
Before we started up the big climb today, we stopped in Dolores, Colo., at a gas station to fill our water up. While there, many people came to talk to us, as is the usual case in most cities. It is hard to stop in cities because people won't let us leave, they just want to keep on talking to us! One guy we were talking to was a firefighter, who told us to be safe. He said about a week ago, a 17-year-old girl wasn't paying attention on the road and hit a biker, threw him forward and then ran over him, killing him on impact. He said we should be all right, but that the roads were narrow so be careful. It wasn't much comfort either as we headed up the hill and saw big flashing signs warning drivers there had been 24 crashes so far this year. We took it safe though.
We biked up the hill, climbing treacherous passes along the Dolores River, reaching a peak of about 10,222 feet called Lizard Head Pass. We then went through and checked out the ski resort at Telluride and ate quick dinner at a pizza place. It was 1.5 miles off trail, but we decided we were too hungry to go on. We then headed down the hill which was tough riding as it was getting colder and darker at close to 8 p.m. The sun also hit us right on, so it was tough to see cars coming.
We made it down to Placerville, Colo., safely where we pulled over to a house that we thought looked nice enough to pitch our tent at. I walked up the gravel road and knocked on the door. A lady came to the door and a vicious dog barked at me. As she held him back, I told the lady what we were doing and she said we could pitch our tent. She then came out and offered us hot tea and soup, which we gladly accepted and got out of the cold for a little bit. We enjoyed talking with the Tombolato family and then took warm showers for the first time in a week and then headed out for the tent. We didn't get to bed til after 11, so it was a late night, but an enjoyable one. Night.
Drew and Chad