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TRIP 2008

Update #12 - May 15th
Pocatello, Idaho
2859 miles (4574 KM)



This is the seventh update from the road. It has been almost a month since I've been able to post an update. I'm not sure when the next time will be. I'm just lucky today that there was a way for me to use the laptop and also to have wifi access.

Back on April 20th while I was spending a day off the road at the First United Methodist Church in Columbus, Nebraska, the liquid crystal display of my laptop got accidentally broken. It was a freak accident and I'm still not sure how I will get it repaired. I was staying in one of the youth classrooms on the second floor and I was synching up my Ipod and charging the battery. I thought that the laptop would be safe while I went down to the kitchen in the basement to help the youth group cook a meal that they were going to take to the local homeless shelter.

I didn't know that there were going to be two little kids under four years old coming along to the church. I thought that they were going to be supervised but for a while they had free-range of the church and their loud voices were heard throughout the halls of the church. The Fujitsu Life book laptop has a touch-screen and a stylus can be used instead of the mouse. When I got back to the classroom, I found the stylus out of it's slot and there was a big gash in the display. It looked like there were two large wet spots in the display and black holes instead of color and text. I estimated that I had lost a quarter screen usage. By the time that I had gotten downstairs to the kitchen, everybody had left so I wasn't able to tell anybody what had happened and if something could have been done about it right then. For a couple of days after the accident, the screen seemed to work even though the holes moved around but then the back-lighting of the screen finally gave out too.

I was able to use the laptop by connecting another monitor to it a couple of days later at the Lutheran Church in Kearney, Nebraska so that I could copy over my logs and journals onto a 1 Gigabyte thumb-drive. For the past four weeks, I've only been able to get on the internet for brief periods of time and check my email at public libraries along the way. Today, I was quite lucky at being able to use a monitor in the youth room of the First Presbyterian Church in Pocatello, Idaho and they also had wifi. I do not know when the next time I'll be able to post another update and also to update my website. I hope to be able to do it around the end of this month somehow.

The past month has been a little different than what I had hoped that it would be. Because of some later than normal cold weather that also included snow flurries, I changed my route and took a more direct path to Idaho from central Nebraska. My planned itinerary was going to have me travel in a southwesterly direction from Ogallala, Nebraska into Colorado so that I could climb over Cameron and Rabbit Ears Passes between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs and then I would travel on to Salt Lake City, Utah before turning northward to Pocatello, Idaho where I would turn westward for the last section to Portland, Oregon. I was really concerned with being caught between towns during snow storms. There would have been several days in western Colorado where I would have had to camp out in my tent.

Instead what I did was to keep on riding west across Nebraska along U.S. 30 and cross southern Wyoming through Cheyenne, Laramie, and Rawlins. I cross the Rocky Mountains between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. I got up to 8,750 feet (2,667 meters) above sea level. For about two weeks in Wyoming, I rode along the shoulder of I-84 because U.S. 30 merged with the interstate. I was really glad that U.S. 30 finally left the interstate in western Wyoming and then into southeastern Idaho. Here in Idaho, I'll be riding along the shoulder of I-84 and I-86 because there are quite a few times where U.S. 30 merges with the interstate also. I did have to ride along the shoulder of I-15 for about 20 miles today. From Pocatello, I'll be cycling through American Falls, Burley, Twin Falls, Buhl, Glenns Ferry, Mountain Home, Boise, Nampa, and Caldwell. I'll be happy when U.S. 30 leaves the interstate in sections.

For almost two weeks, I didn't get below 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) above sea level. Breathing at that level was hard. Also, I had to deal with temperatures between thirty and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. There were quite a few days that I had to stay off the road because of either freezing rain or snow (I was waylayed in the Cheyenne, Wyoming for almost two and a half days (three nights) because of blowing snow and wind gusts between thirty and fifty miles per hour). I had to take unplanned days off the road in Green River and Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Today, I lost 1,700 feet (518 meters) of elevation. I am finally down to 4,400 feet (1,341 meters) above sea level. When I get to Nampa, Idaho on the west side of the state, I will be down to 2,140 feet (652 meters) above sea level. Today was the first time that I've been finally been able to get out of my jacket in almost a month and ride just in my short-sleeve cycling jersey. It's great to finally feel warm again.

What is so unique about the trip now is that even with all of the days off the road I'm five days ahead of my planned schedule. I was planning to arrive here in Pocatello, Idaho on Tuesday, May 20th. From western Idaho, I was going to take U.S. 20 across Oregon through Juntera, Burns, Riley, Brothers, Bend, Sisters, Sweet Home, Silverton, to Portland. I've taken that route before heading eastward but this route is hard because the towns are far apart and I would be travelling through the high desert without much sources of water.

What I might do is to ride along the shoulder of I-84 in a northeasterly direction through Pendleton to the Columbia River and then turn westward to Portland with a trip through the Dalles area. If I do that, I could even make the distance shorter to Portland, Oregon (I'm now around 711 miles (1,138 KM away)). This could have me arriving in Portland as early as sometime in the first week of June instead of beginning of the second week of June. I could even be halfway across Washington state instead of being in Seattle, Washington on the fifteenth of June that would also be my 52nd birthday.

I'm hoping to find some way that I could post another update the end of this month.




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