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August 5th through August 30th...

posted Sep 4, 2010, 3:25 PM by Matthew Gorzlancyk   [ updated Sep 4, 2010, 3:28 PM ]

August 5 on…


***Since the last date I worked on the blog, tons of things have happened!!! It has been very difficult to keep up with my writing due to inadequate internet availability and lack of battery power, to just not having enough time available to keep things updated. It appears as if I may be stuck in a rainstorm today (9/1/10), so this is my chance to get things updated while sitting here in my damp tent.

Anacortes, WA to Brookings, OR


It has been quite the adventure thus far. I have met a very wide variety of people along the path. From wonderful and inspirational people (, Stephanie Yakobina, my current riding partners, and even many of those I have just happened upon outside of gas stations and burger kings), to very weird and awkward folks, this has been a section of the trip to remember. The sights and terrain have also been quite memorable. My last update left off just prior to riding Logan’s Pass in Glacier National Park…


So we woke up bright and early for the climb to the top of Logan’s Pass. We drank up a ton of coffee and had a nice hearty breakfast (The energy was going to be needed). It turned out that we could not have picked a more perfect day for the ride. We stopped every few miles on the way up the pass for photographs and as a way to dodge much of the car traffic that was all over the road. The road was under construction, making it a much more difficult ride than anticipated, but all in all it was a very manageable ride.


We finally reached the top of the pass around 11:00am. What an accomplishment! Although this climb was not the biggest we had done, or I would be doing later in my tour, it felt great to achieve this goal! I think my photos provide a much better description than any words I could muster up could display. We made our way down the pass and took tons of photographs. Upon reaching the bottom of the mountain, Lily and I saw Paul in his bicycle shorts readying himself for a plunge into a beautiful glacial stream. We all ended up diving in to celebrate what a beautiful day it had been (holy nuts was it cold!!).


After our dive into the chilly waters we decided to find camping. Unfortunately we forgot about the bicycle riding ordinances in Glacier National Park. We were apparently not supposed to ride between the hours of 11:00am and 4:00pm. We all believed that this ordinance was just enforced on the pass itself (we were sadly mistaken). Around 3:45pm following a nice lunch, a park ranger stopped us and issued us a $125 fine for riding during the restricted hours. Mr. Michael J. Ober (a.k.a. Stooge McGee), the sweetheart of a ranger, gave us a big lecture prior to taking our identification cards and issuing us the large fee for bicycling in the National Park. We tried getting out of it, but Mr. McGee wasn’t having it. He acted like he was doing us a favor by giving us a ticket (as if $125 for bicycle tourists is just small change). **I was quite disgusted by this man and by the ordinance. He was unwilling to reason with us (probably due to the high bicycle traffic and recurring instances), but the fee was really quite outrageous ($50 or even $75 would have been reasonable, but $125!!!). He even let us know that traffic really did not decrease until closer to 6:00pm. So, either way, by being on the road even following the restriction, we were still in danger of being hit by some poor-driving tourist with an obnoxious RV. Oh well. It was still a great day. We ended up camping at Apgar Village campground with our friend Reinhard and enjoyed a nice relaxing evening by the lake.


August 6 and after…


We reconvened with Kristy (a fellow tourist heading cross-country) following Logan’s Pass and continued toward Sandpoint, ID. The girls separated on a different route than Paul and I on the 8th of August. We ended up enjoying the ride we chose, did a little stealth camping along the way (one site had bones scattered all over the place and appeared as if there had to have been some sort of predatory creature in the area we chose to camp), and dealt with a little bit of rain. I even saw a black bear crossing a highway prior to entering Idaho and the new time zone.


We arrived in Sandpoint, ID on August 9th. We were very fortunate in that there was a large assisted bicycle-touring event going on called ‘Bike Idaho’ in town. The public park on the lake was being used as a campsite for these riders, so we jumped on in and took advantage of the free camping opportunity. We also were able to even sneak into their shower facilities!! This is also the place where we met the cycle20ten riders ( I ran into the lead guide Brian upon reaching the campsite and over the evening we decided we would ride their route for a while. This turned out to be a pretty awesome decision. The crew was very enjoyable and fun to ride with.


The cycle20ten group had planned a day off in Sandpoint, so Paul and I chose to do the same. They welcomed us to share in their site at the Best Western RV Park right by the city park we had camped in the previous evening. This was great! Paul and I did some much needed shopping and even caught the movie Inception. I picked up a new $10 camp stool (for I was sick of sitting on rocks when stealth camping), and a netbook (since I needed to keep up with the blog…lol). 


We all got back on the road on August 11th with Panhandle State Park as our camping destination for the day. We arrived at our site in the early evening and found that there were no stores or services that were on our side of the Pend Orville River. Given that a few beers would be nice after the hot day of riding, and that many of the scouts had already swam across the river, I decided to swim the width of the river for beer (I would say that this was a noble enough cause for the added physical exertion). I made it across, picked up beer, and was able to get a ride back to camp from a very kind gentleman who had a boat (thank goodness for his generosity. It would have been a challenge swimming the river with the amount of goodies I ended up grabbing!!).


We headed off for Colville, WA the next day (August 12th) in order to get close to the base of Sherman’s Pass, the beginning of a week of climbing. The ride to Colville wasn’t too bad, 62 miles, but it stormed intermittently throughout the day. I decided at this point that I wanted to cruise with this crew for a while. The guides, Mr. Ruston, and the kids in the crew were very solid and enjoyable to ride with. Riding alone was nice early on, but there is something to be said about the camaraderie that comes with riding in a group. It makes the whole experience much more complete.


August 13 Sherman’s Pass (total climb of over 4,000 feet for the day.)


We ended up climbing over 4,000 feet on the day in 40 miles!!! The elevation of Sherman’s Pass is 5,575 feet total. If it hadn’t been for my pal Paul’s linguisa sausage and egg dish in the morning this pass may have been impossible to conquer. It was a big day and I know I slept real well overnight.


August 14


We all got up nice and early and hit up the pancakes at a little café prior to Wauconda Pass (elevation 4,310 feet). The group got split up for the day due to the distance and climbing. Paul and I camped in Okanogan, WA at a city park that was infested with some real interesting people. (On the way to the site though we went through about 30-40 miles of desert. It was absolutely beautiful. One of the kids, Mike Ruston, had a little spill that crushed his wheel. Fortunately the crew found a wheel to throw on his bike at a nearby antique shop. ***Those darned Ipods…). 


So the Okanogan city park was pretty rough. It appeared alright until the townspeople showed up late in the night. I heard a struggle between a couple outside the bathroom/public shower at around 2:30am. What a terrible night of sleep. This park with its shower attracted some interesting folks all night and the next morning as well.


August 15


After listening to a fellow tourist tell us of his astrology career and his having been on ABC’s hit television program, WIFE SWAP, we got back on the road. We did Loup Loup Pass on this day (elevation: 4,020 feet). This was probably the worst pass thus far. It was grueling and there was very little scenic value. It did feel good to reach the top though. At the top I ran back into the cycle20ten group and a cool Canadian bicycle tourist to speak with.


We all headed for Twisp, WA to camp at a nice little city park with a municipal pool. (Man! That pool felt unbelievable! On a store sign we read that it was over 100 degrees!).


August 16


Woke up, did some coffee, and hit up ‘Cinnamon Twisp’, the local coffee shop. Pretty sure they had the best cinnamon rolls ever (Next to Serlin’s in St. Paul, MN). Upon heading out with Winthrop, WA as our destination for the day, Paul and I made a couple of stops. I ended up picking up a $20 French Press (probably the best camping utility ever for a coffee drinker. This has been my favorite purchase of the trip), and a new tire for $43 (my front tire was completely shredded. I have photos of the wear. I don’t know how it did not pop while going 40+ mph down the last pass!).


I sat up at our stealth site for the night with one of the guides of the crew I was riding with, Brian. He spoke of his biz, trips, the Appalachian Trail, and told some bear stories. ****The best one: His buddy had been reading a survival book when a grizzly appeared. Brian told him quietly that there was a bear, and he said, “good thing I have been reading this survival book!” He then wound up and threw the book at the bear!! The bear looked surprised and then ran off. Frickin’ hilarious!!


***This was also the night where Madsen introduced me to the ‘Bear dance’. We had all had our bags of food hanging in a section of the woods and he pointed out that this would be a great location for a bear party. He then displayed to me how they would dance in this food-filled fiesta made for a bear. We would later perform this dance while singing ‘Play that funky music white boy’ in Concrete, WA. ***This was just one example of how great these kids were. What a great and inspirational group. Please take the time to check out their website.


On this day we had done Washington Pass (elevation: 5,477 feet). It was really a pretty huge day. Not an easy climb in the least, but the most beautiful since Logan’s Pass in Glacier.


August 17 Concrete, WA


We all headed out of the stealth site early and headed for Concrete, WA. This was the last city these kids would be free and on the road for the rest of their trip. They would soon be on a plane and back to Chapel Hill, NC.


Paul decided to continue on for he was to be watching a house in Seattle, WA for a friend. I decided to hang with the crew on their last night prior to Anacortes, WA. We all camped at a city park and went out for dinner. (I made sure to have whiskey available for Mark Ruston, Sam, David, and myself). We went to the sweet Concrete bar that ended up having karaoke.


We enjoyed a nice dinner and I snuck a couple of delicious Washington cervezas. While eating we were entertained by a number of young children singing karaoke. (One of the kids actually sang ‘In da club’ by 50 cent!! It was completely unedited. This kid was absolutely hilarious on stage. He could barely read fast enough, but we encouraged his singing and he was soooo excited to have fans. He sang countless songs and started to even expect the high-fives we had given him early on. (I think he even moon walked into somebody later in the night, he was so happy!).


Many of us rocked the microphone throughout the night. It really was amazing how talented we were. From Spice Girls to Shaggy, our voices seemed to drip gold…


One of the neatest parts of the evening was the round-up that Brian held for the kids after leaving the restaurant. All of the kids sat around speaking of the experience and reminiscing about their amazing adventure (from Rourke’s inability to unclip, watermelons being carried on a bicycle, to the traveling basketball team they had been). Brian, Sam, and David all explained what they would feel when they got back, and let them know how to handle the drastic change they would experience. It was really a very special way to remember and commemorate what this group had done.


August 18 Anacortes, WA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


We all awoke to a disassembled bicycle in the middle of the Concrete, WA tennis court. It turned out to be David’s bike (it was his birthday). What a great birthday present. It was quite hilarious.


We made it to Anacortes, WA!!! I finally got my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean on the trip! This was super-exciting. We all dove in to celebrate the arrival. For the kids, it was the finish of their tour. For me, it was the close of one chapter along my extensive journey. I had ridden over 2,000 miles to this point. I would now begin my long venture south from here. Originally I had not planned on heading this far north, but the road definitely provided an adventure I would not trade for anything.


Many parents were in Anacortes, WA when the group arrived. We all went out for pizza to celebrate (Thanks parents of the cycle20ten group!!!). The guides, some parents, and I all went out later in the night for a couple of beers. David and I tried our hand at foosball, but were schooled by David’s father and Mark Ruston. Definitely not our game.


August 19 Anacortes, WA to Seattle, WA (104 miles!!)


When I awoke I found that the kids/group had stacked my picnic table with food they were not going to be taking with them. They were headed for Seattle (Seatac airport) that night and would no longer be needing their peanut butter, Gatorade, or ramen. This was an amazing gesture by these guys. The goodies were definitely appreciated and have been put down the hatch. Thanks guys!


I decided I would meet these guys at their hotel in Seattle. Turned out to be a little further than I had planned originally, but I made it by 9:30pm. Mark, Sam, and I ended up having a few brewskis and some whiskey to celebrate the journey and our separating ways.


***This is the night that Mark Ruston passed the SPOT on to me. Thanks to this kind gesture I now have the live gps tracking on my website. Thanks Mark!


****** It was nice to meet all of you guys. Zach, Mark, Jonah, Matson, Miles, Brian, Alex, Mike, Sam, Aidan, Charles, Ty, Josh, Preston, Rourke. You guys all rock!


August 20 Seatac Airport to Tumwater, WA


Fortunately prior to making to the Seatac airport my friend John Centko let me know that he had a friend in the Seattle area. He contacted his friend Stephanie Yakobina in Tumwater, WA and let her know that I had stayed with them and would be in her area. What a sweetheart this gal is. She contacted me early in the morning on the 20th and let me know I was welcome whenever I was in the area. I decided to make my way there that day. I think her place was approximately 65 miles from Seatac, so even after having done over 100 miles the previous day, I got on my bike and continued riding.


I reached Stephanie’s place in the evening around 7:30pm. We hung out and talked for awhile, played with the funny little gatos, and decided to go out for dinner. She sponsored a wonderful meal in Tumwater (I had a delicious blue cheese burger with fries and a plethora of amazing barbecue sauces!!). We then hit up a cool little Irish pub in the area and enjoyed a nice brewski.


After talking awhile she found that I was a Packer fan from Wisconsin. It turned out her fiancé was from Madison, WI and a Packer fan as well. They had an extra ticket to the game on August 21!!! How sweet is that!!???


August 21 Packers vs. Seahawks


I awoke to Stephanie making crepes for breakfast (amazing!!). She had blueberries and we spread a little Nutella on them, they were delicious. I was able to do laundry, watch a little Louie (Louis CK’s television program), and take a much-needed shower.


When Stephanie got back home from running and taking care of a few things in town we got in her lil’ SUV and met up with her friend Jude. Jude drove us into Seattle for the big game. We met Mike, Stephanie’s fiancé, downtown.


The game was great. The Pack came through and looked pretty decent. What an awesome crew of people to watch the game with.


We then went back to Mike’s place for the night and enjoyed a little SNL and went to bed. The two of them had a big day of pre-wedding photos… This meant I had a day to chill in Seattle and explore.


August 22 day off #2 in Seattle and Tumwater, WA


Drank a little coffee, talked with Mike about his adventures to Argentina and Prudhoe Bay, AK. We then got in his car and they dropped me in Seattle while they went to take some photos.


It was a very nice day. Seattle is a pretty cool place. Visited Pike Market and the REI flagship store. We met up at REI following their photos, picked up some food and beer to go with Stephanie’s delicious spaghetti dinner. ***Thanks again you two, for everything. I had a wonderful time. My best wishes to the both of you. Have a nice wedding and good luck with the home search etc.***


August 23


I woke up good and late, hit the Jacuzzi tub, and left Stephanie’s place around 2:00 or 3:00pm. I only made it about 38 miles to Chehalis, WA where I did a little stealth camping by a city park.


August 24


My friend Quinn Baumberger had suggested that I stay with a kid from our hometown of Stevens Point, WI in Portland, OR. He contacted Troy Zdzieblowski and let him know I would be passing through and needed a place to crash. (Kind of a funny situation. Troy was one grade ahead of me and went to elementary school, junior high, and high school with me. We both recognized each other but had never hung out before really…). So, I biked to Portland on this day.


After 97 miles of bicycling I met Troy and his girlfriend Maria at a little Thai place by their house in NE Portland. We hung out and I found that Maria did social work and was in the process of getting her Master’s degree. Troy was getting back into the college sphere after having had a very extensive list of great travels. These two were great. We sat up and talked, walked Ari (Troy’s dog), and enjoyed a couple delicious PBRs.


August 25 day off


Troy ended up having this day off so he gave me a Portland tour by bicycle. We went down by the river, ate some great food by the street vendors, and even got to see Jack Sparrow and his buddy a Jujitsu expert…(bums)…


After a nice day of cruising around Portland, we picked up some IPA’s and frozen pizza for dinner. We then met up with Maria at a bar north of Portland. Upon our return we took Ari to the park and then went back to the house and crashed.


August 26 (day off 2 in Portland)


I had planned on leaving this day but lacked motivation. I ended up cruising around the city, walking with Ari, and worked on the blog. ***I have found that when you have the comfort of a home along the way, it is very difficult to get motivated to get back on the road again. Fortunately Troy and Maria were cool with me sticking around one more night. We watched ‘Arrested Development’ and hit the sack.


August 27


Maria made crepes for us for breakfast. This time I was ready to get rolling. Once they left and I had walked Ari, I got back on the road with Tillamook, OR as my goal.

***Thanks again you two! Good luck with school and the home search!!


I made it to Tillamook, did the Tillamook cheese factory tour, and then headed toward Cape Lookout State Park. I did 100 miles in order to reach the hiker/biker site at Cape Lookout. Upon arrival I ran into Beth from Eugene, and Nick from New Jersey. I ended up seeing these two down the road.


The sunset here was amazing. It was really nice to be on the coast again after having been inland for about a week or so.


August 28


I ended up riding about 68 miles to Beverly Beach State Park where I met a goofball named Joe. He explained to me that the ‘sweetie pies’ all needed to go down, and that ‘conventional wisdom’ was key according to a business book he read. He was an interesting fella. I cannot say that I was able to follow his train of thought in many instances. (This story will really only be acceptable off-blog, it was a really weird meeting.)


August 29


I woke up and got on the road around 11:00am or so. Along the road I hit up a store and got some food, then saw a Burger King (which is very difficult for me to pass up… I love fast food, esp. BK). I met a very interesting and kind gentleman named Ron Fischer outside of Burger King. We spoke of bicycling and he let me know that he was the President and owner of a company that was in the business of electric bicycles. He explained how advanced they now were, and how one may own one and ride it without having to get licensed etc. After speaking for a while he told me that if I was ever looking for work, to get in contact with him!!! Nice!!!


***Take a look at his website: *** These bicycles look pretty awesome!! It is nice to see that there are companies out there creating such useful types of transportation!! These could really aid somebody in commuting to and from work, especially if they have a big hill on the way…


After speaking with Mr. Fischer I made my way to Beachside State Park where I would call it a night.


August 30


I camped with a couple of other tourists, Francine and Nick. When we awoke we realized it had rained all night and still was coming down. We did not make it very far for the day. We only did 18 miles, but the weather was absolutely miserable. While hiding out under some bushes we met another tourist named Kyle (from Los Angeles, a playwright). Turned out he was headed from Portland, OR back to Los Angeles, CA (I might have a riding companion down the road). We all went to Washburne State Park and had a nice fire to end the day. **Fires can definitely change a day’s mood.


RACCOONS. There were tons of them at Washburne. One even hopped on the picnic table while we were by the fire. Everybody went to bed but me, and I saw five crawling down a tree staring at me. This caused me to go directly to my tent and zip up for the night!!