Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm on my way!

It finally arrived. My send-off was great, thanks to my parents!

The first order of business after I got everything moved out was to return the cable box, then I donated my station wagon to the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, a fantastic homeless shelter for families. I'm sure someone there will get a lot of use out of it.

Then it was back to the apartment for a final cleaning, turn in the keys to my landlord and we headed to Portland! We made a quick stop in Lake Oswego (just outside Portland), ate a nice dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (wonderful salads, soup, cheeze bread and more), then to a very nice hotel right near the Portland Airport.

My flight to Orlando is scheduled to depart at 8:30 am, and I used the hotel computer to make sure that there are no weather delays (all clear!).

Carter, a 2007 thru-hiker from Orlando, is planning to meet me at the airport in Florida, and will help me get my bike ready for my trek to San Diego.

Now it's time to hit the hot tub, and then TRY to get some sleep.

Miles riden today: zero
Weather tongiht: Cool and raining in Portland - 42 degrees
Weather tomorrow in Orlando - Partly cloudy, 78 degrees! Yahoo!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mail Stop Information

I've been trying to create a list of towns that I plan to stop to check for mail. It's turning out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be, because I really don't know what kind of pace I'll be able to maintain on the bike ride.

So, I've decided to commit to the first three mail stops, and I'll post additional mail stops once I'm on the route and I know more about my ability to keep up a pace.

The first mail stop will be in Wellborn, Florida 32094 on Wednesday, February 7, 2008. This is about 180 miles into my trip, and I'm planning on taking it slow for at least the first 5 days, just so I don't over do!

My second mail stop will be in Caryville, Florida 32427 on Wednesday, February 13, 2008. This is about mile 410 or so.

My third mail stop will be in Perkinston, Mississippi 39573 on Monday, February 18, 2008. This is about mile 620 or so.

To send mail to my first mail stop, the envelope should look like this:

Stephen Fosdick
General Delivery
Wellborn, Florida 32094

Make sure you send it in plenty of time so it will arrive before Feb. 7, 2008. Any mail that is not picked up by me within 15 days will be returned to the sender, so don't send it too early.

Once I get to my third mail stop, I'll know how I'm doing as far as my pace is concerned, and I be posting additional mail stops for the rest of my bike trip.

This will be my last post from home, as I leave for Florida in 2 days, and I have to get everything in my apartment packed and moved to the storage unit.

I said "Good Bye" to all my friends at the Math Learning Center ( this morning. I'm going to miss them, as I really enjoyed working there.

Now, back to packing!

Monday, January 28, 2008

I said "Good Bye" to an old friend today

It was a sad departing, but I know it was the right thing to do!

After 8,740 km, I decided that it was time for my 2003 Hunter 50 cc scooter to find a new home. I pushed it about 2 miles from my storage unit to McKay High School Automotive Shops. I'm sure they will have as much fun with it as I had.

The kick starter broke, and the electric starter just wouldn't start it anymore. Once it was running, it would run like a tiger (or, maybe more like a kitten!) I remember that I used to park it next to all the Harley-Davidson Motorcycles at work, hoping that some day it would grow up to be a real motorcycle!

And if I can't find anyone to buy my Toyota Station Wagon in the next two days, I'll be donating that one as well!

Thanks to the snow, and my office closing down, I was able to get a lot more packed and carted over to my storage unit! That was good thing. I have a truck reserved for Wednesday for the larger items, like my bed and the washing machine / dryer combo, two love seats and a couch, plus some odds and ends yet to move. I also have some help lined up for Wednesday, so that will work out well.

I can't believe that I'm leaving in 3 days!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One last hike to Bagby Hot Springs

It's going to be a long time until I can go to one of my favorite hiking destinations: Bagby Hot Springs. So on Friday evening, with my back-pack loaded and my car full of gas, I headed out for a snow-filled adventure.

On the way, I stopped at Jasper’s CafĂ© in Molalla for a Prime Rib dinner. It was fabulous, to say the least. Then, I drove through Estacada and on to the trailhead. It was a little more difficult getting to the trailhead than I thought it would be. The last 10 miles, snow on the road was anywhere from 6" to over 12" deep, and since this is a very popular destination, even in the winter, the snow had been packed down by other vehicles to a single lane track. It appeared that my Toyota had a lower clearance than most other vehicles attempting to make this trip, so my rear axle was dragging on the ridge of snow between the two tire ruts. I stopped and put my chains on the front, and off I went without too much trouble.

The driving was slow, and it was a good thing that no one was coming out at the same time as I was going in because there was no place to pull over. I made it to the trailhead at about 1:00 am, and started to hike to the Hot Springs with my flashlight. The trail is about 2 miles with a slight climb in elevation. Even with the snow and ice, it was very easy to follow the trail.

Bagby Hot Springs has two separate soaking areas. The main building has 5 semi-private rooms with a hollowed out cedar log for soaking, and a very interesting system that channels the 136 degree steaming water from the source at the spring right to the tub. In addition, there is an open deck adjacent to the 5 semi-private rooms with a large round tub and 3 more cedar log tubs. A large group was out on the patio, and a couple was in one of the semi-private rooms, so I decided to check out the second area, about 200 yards away. This area has a small deck behind a privacy wall, and a nice round tub that can easily accommodate 4 people. Three people were already there and the temperature was just right for soaking.

After a couple of hours, enjoying the conversations, the candle and moon-lit night sky, and the soothing warmth of the hot tub, I decided it was about time to hike back to my car and begin the journey back to my apartment. I wanted to get an early start on Saturday to finish up my packing. It had started to cloud up, so the moon didn't light up the trail as it had on the hike in. No problem, though. My flashlight did the trick just fine. When I got back to my car, though, I had a bit of bad luck. The cold air seemed to take its toll on my battery and my Toyota would not start. It wouldn't even turn over!

I had all my camping gear, so I rolled out my sleeping pad and curled up inside my down bag, in the back of my Toyota Station Wagon, of course!

About 2 hours later, I was awoken by the noise of the large group that was soaking on the deck. I jumped out and ran over to them before they left the parking lot to see if they had an jumper cables. No luck! Oh well, there'd be someone coming in on Saturday, and certainly one of them would have jumper cables to help me start my car. So I went back to my warm sleeping bag and went back to sleep.

I woke up early, about 7:00 a.m. or so. I couldn’t' tell for sure because the car clock stopped working, and my cell phone clock was not in range of a tower. I ate some of the extra food I had packed, and decided to hike the 2 miles back to the hot springs for another soak. It was a great hike, and I had the whole place to myself. I also cleaned up a little after the large group that was on the deck. What a mess! Then I hiked back to my car, hoping that someone would come in soon with jumper cables.

As I got back to the parking lot at the trailhead, I saw some people trying to push their vehicle out of the snow. As they were heading into the parking lot, they drifted into the snow bank and couldn't get back out. They were lucky to have a shovel, and with all of us pushing and the wheels spinning, they finally got out! And to my surprise, they also had a jumper-pack with its own battery! Yahoo! It worked like a charm to get my car started!

The drive out was a little slow. For 10 miles in the deep snow, there's only one lane and very few chances to pull over to let someone pass. Sure enough, there were 5 cars that were headed up to the Hot Springs as I was trying to drive out. The first car in the line was Jeep with a winch on the front. He decided to use the winch to pull off the road, hoping that I could also pull into his tracks to allow the other cars to pass. It didn't work, though, as my car would not get out of the tracks of the road and into the new side tracks made by the Jeep. So, the other cars drove back about 1 mile to a spot where another truck was able to make a passing area. With a little work and about 30 minutes later, all of the other cars were able to get around, and we were all on separate ways.

About another mile or so down the road, still in the deep snow, there was another Jeep that was off the road. He was trying to put on his chains, but it wasn't easy as he was in the snow drift. He had a towing strap, so we hooked on to the front of my Toyota and after about 3 attempts we were able to get him back on the road. First, he put his tire chains on. Then he drove about 2 miles to get to a spot where he could pull over far enough to let me get by.

All in all, I had a great time on my hike, and I'll really miss going to the hot springs. I'm sure it will be one of my first adventures when I get back to Oregon in October. But now, I have to get back to the task of packing all the things and getting ready for my flight to Orlando on Thursday. I start my big trip in 4 days! I have so much to do! Will I get it all done?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shipped my bike via FedEx

I made it to FedEx yesterday afternoon, just in time to make the last truck to Portland! My bike and some of my gear, packed in two medium sized boxes and one very large box, is on its way to Orlando. If all goes well, we'll both arrive there next Thursday!

There is still quite a lot to do before I can leave, though. I have to finish packing my apartment and get it all to the storage unit. I also have to sell my car, or decide exactly what I'm going to do with it.

Here's the link to the bike route I'll be using, thanks to Adventure Cycling Association: ( The route is called the Southern Tier Route, and it is divided into 7 sections, with a complete map for each section. You can click on the "overview" to the entire route over-layed on a small map of the USA, or you can click on "detail" of each of the seven sections to see some of the towns I'll be going through. I'll be starting the ride on Feb. 2, 2008 from St. Augustine, Florida, and will try to make it to San Diego, California by around April 1, 2008.
After taking a short break in San Diego, I'll work on getting my income tax forms completed and mailed, plus I'll pack up my bike and ship it back to Salem, where it will wait in storage until the next biking adventure! I’d like to take a short cruise to Mexico from San Diego ... depending on how much time I have and how I'm feeling!
Then, hopefully, somewhere near April 10th, I'll continue on my journey by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Campo, California to Manning Provincial Park in Hope, BC, Canada.

Here's a link to a map of the trail: ( While this map doesn’t show a lot of detail, it does give you a general idea about where the trail goes. I'm working on a list of towns and the likely date that I’ll be there for anyone that would like to send me mail. I’ll post it on this blog as soon as I have it completed. I'll be asking the post office in these towns for my mail (addressed to General Delivery) along the bike ride and along the hike. It would take too much time to stop at every post office, so wait until you see the list with the addressed and dates before you mail me anything.

Of course, you can always send me an e-mail or post a comment to this blog. While I'm on the bike ride, I'll be stopping from time to time at public libraries and internet cafe shops to log on and check for messages. I'd love to hear from you if you are following this journal.

There's only 6 days left until I leave for Orlando! Time is really starting to buzz by!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bike in a Box

I made a major accomplishment tonight! My bike is in the box, and it's ready to ship to Orlando, via FedEx Ground. It was a big job, and I'm still a little worried about the shape it will arrive in, but what can you do? I still have to box up my trailer, and some of the bike components that I'll add once I get to Orlando, but that will be easier.

Two exciting items arrived in the mail today. First, I received my new GPS from Office Depot. My old GPS just wasn't working very well, and it was time to upgrade. I have a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx mounted to my handlebars with a RAM mount. It will tell me my speed, daily mileage, elevation, and it will track my route. I'm hoping to get the waypoints pre-loaded for the Southern Tier Route. That should help me to stay on the route!

Also in the mail are the 3 Pacific Crest Trail Guidebooks from the PCTA. I'm really glad these arrived. I wasn't sure how long it would take for my order to be shipped, but it only took just a little over a week. These will be packed in separate boxes and shipped to me in San Diego and at other mail drop locations along the trail.

I also made some progress on getting my apartment packed up and carted over to the storage unit. It was nice having the extra day off this week, and I'll be very busy this coming weekend getting it all finished. Time is really flying by! Only 9 more days until I start my trip!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More Gear for my trip

It's a good thing money grows on trees! I did some shopping today for the trip.

I went to Joe's Outdoor Store for rain gear and biking gear. I'm not sure yet if I'll keep what I bought, but I know it will keep me warm, make me a little more visible, and keep me dry. Best part was its all fairly light weight, so I don't have carry a lot of extra pounds. I know the rain jacket and pants will work very well on the hike. Time will tell how they'll hold up on the bike ride. And I'm not sure if the Brooks running pants will be necessary on the hike, but they'll sure keep me warm on those cooler mornings of riding.

Next was some cooking gear. I found a set of Lexan utensils (knife, fork and spoon). About a stove, I'm fairly sure I'm going to use my Pepsi Can alcohol stove that I built for about $3.00. I've already field tested it on backpack trips, and it works great. It's about as light as you can get, in my opinion, and it will boil water in about 6 minutes.

I don't have a pot yet, and I did look at a small titanium pot at Joes for $50. It's very light, and strong, but I'm not sure I need to pay that much. I also need some sort of windscreen / support for the pot I select. I've seen a pretty easy set-up that uses an empty tin can (the size commonly used for canned peaches ... it's just a little wider than the standard can that beans or corn would come in). Start by removing both the top and the bottom, then use a pointed can opener (like you would use to open a can of pineapple juice) to make about seven air vents on the side at both the top and the bottom. I'll use pliers to bend these pointed pieces back and forth until it falls off, to reduce the weight just a bit. This now forms a nice wind screen that can fit right over the Pepsi Can Stove, and it will support whichever cooking pot I decided to purchase.

Other than that, I think I'm set with the rest of my gear. Down sleeping bag, light weight two man tent with a small rain fly, my sleeping pad (self inflating), my fleece sleeping bag liner, and my clothes. I have not weighed my base pack yet, but I'm really trying to stay at or below 25 lbs for both the bike ride and the hike.

I also did some major packing today at my apartment, moving clothes and non-essential kitchen items to my storage unit. A couple of more trips with the smaller stuff and I'll be ready to start with the larger items. Anyone need a couch or a love seat?

Happy trails! I leave for Orlando in 11 days!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My New Tour Easy Recumbent Bike

I tried a lot of different bikes for my Southern Tier ride, but none were as good as my new Tour Easy from Easy Rider. The staff at Coventry Bike Works in Portland, Oregon (Sherman and Tom) were outstanding, and they really know recumbents there! I know I made the right choice.
I've taken it on some practice rides, both with the trailer and without the trailer. I think I'm ready to dis-assemble it now and get it ready to ship to Florida. I had just a few last minute accessories to add: a bell, a rear-view mirror, a bike pump, up-graded pedals, and up-graded brake pads. Everything is now ready to roll. Thanks to the staff at South Salem Cycleworks for helping me with my gear.

Planning My Route

Wow! I can't really believe that I'll be leaving for Orlando in 12 days. There is so much that I need to get done before I head off: Get all my stuff in my apartment packed and carted over to my storage unit, pack up my new Tour Easy Recumbent Bike and ship it to Orlando, along with my Insight Trailer, sell my car (I posted it on Craig's List last night), and get all my financial matter in order. How will I ever get it all done?

I'm not sure which will be more difficult ... the 3,100 miles of biking or the 2,700 miles of hiking. They both will have their challenges and rewards. I'm planning on starting both off slowly, and I'll pick up my pace as my endurance and strength increase from the experience. Someone asked me if I've been training for the trip. To be honest, not as much as I would like to be. This will be a little like "on the job" training. Only time will tell if this will work, and I'm not sure I'd recommend this approach for everyone.

At the same time, I'm determined to keep going. Oh sure, I know there will be days that I'll probably feel like throwing in the towel. And I'll be asking myself "What is the real reason I'm doing this?"

So here are a few of my thoughts: I turned 50 this year, and it's about time I experienced some real adventure. I need to test the limits of my abilities and my survival skills. I'll never do this trip any younger, and I'll never know for sure if I can do it unless I actually get out there and give it a try. It doesn't really matter what your dream is. What matters is your willingness to give it a try and your determination to make it happen. Learn a new language, try a new sport or hobby, go on that trip that you've always wanted to take.

I love this new quote that I heard recently: "Don't let the GOOD things in life keep you from enjoying the GREAT things in life." I was settling for GOOD, and it was keeping me from ever trying to reach GREAT.

I hope this blog will inspire you to dream, to consider the cost of following your dream, and to really understand that time is short ... don't waste any of it.