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Monday, May 31, 2010

5-Star Camp Site ???

Well, SAM & ME made it from Gresham to Mt. Hood Village...which turns out to be a 5-Star Mobil Home Resort, Tent, and Yurt playground.

What is a Yurt? A Yurt is a single round room; it is about 15 feet diameter, about 12 feet high with a skylight in the center. Inside is a couch/bed, two chairs, four folding tables, electrical outlets and two marine-style wall lights. I believe it originated in the Gobi Dessert.

Upon our arrival at the Village. they plugged SAM into their electrical outlets at the front Office. Me, they escorted me to the Fitness room. Fitness room is a first class body pampering center, including showers, steam Room, Hot Tub built to hold at least 15, a well appointed swimming pool with warm water and a Exercise Room to equal a Carnival Cruise Ship (yes, I have been on a Carnival Cruise)

Manager says...$5.00 for Guests, $4.00 for Seniors, Members are free, as are walkers to Key West.

After completing 25 grueling miles today with SAM, I welcomed a bit of pampering. I sit in my Yurt on one of the 2 chairs at one of the 4 folding tables, trying not to fight this itsy bitsy excuse for a computer. Skin still tingles from the Fitness Room experience.

SAM performed again today like her ole' magical self. I had to run to keep up with her on the many steep long hills leading out of Gresham to Sandy, Oregon. SAMs RED battery pack normally lasts 7 hours. Today, it gave up the ghost after 4 hours. The hills take a lot of electrons to climb.

Tomorrow,. we climb in earnest up to the "road" summit of Mt. Hood. It is only 15 miles, but very steep. I Will strip ALL things out of SAM to lighten her up. Then, I will look for wide spots in the road well short of the summit. Upon arrival at these weigh-stations, will take a hour or so to top off SAMs batteries with the Generator. The Sun might shine..if so, SAM will be fed electrons on the fly..

One way or another, we WILL crest Mt. Hood tomorrow...Mother Nature willing.

Did NOT sleep well in the Van last night. Kept getting severe leg cramps which bounced me off the roof. Tonight, plan to make up for that.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gresham, Ore

Sitting in the rain under the open back door of the van...It

Today was asmashing success for our new logistics. Worked just as I planned. Choose Fred Meyer Parking lot as our destination, where we all (Van, Trailer with SAM and Mogtorcycle inside for ;he night. Have used the APU (generator) to top off SAMs batteries. so we are ready to roll in the morning.

Route is Gresham on Route 26 up the Mt. Hood highway to Mt Hood Village, an RV Resort 26 miles out. We will encounter our first real hills tomorrow.

SAM performed beautifully today. We walked 16 miles with no problems...even i kept pace with SAM.

Spent a long time reorganizing the Van & Trailer so i could set up the air mattress in the Van. Must work that out better for tomorrow night. Seems I, as usual, brought along too much stuff and have difficulty finding a place for everything.

Had a super meal from Fred Myer kitchen. Couple guys stopped by to chat & threatened to bring the media (paper & TV) from Gresham to intercept me tomorrow...we shall see...been down that road before.

In any event,..SAM is fed & trucked in. I am well fed to bursting and about to tuck in too

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Off We Go


SAMs axles arrived at noon in Portland. SAM has received her new axle and is performing better than ever. Tested the trailer. Both the Motorcycle and SAM fit nicely into the trailer together.

Tomorrow morning (Sunday), SAM & ME recommence our walk. We start in Vancouver, Washington; cross the I-205 Columbia River Bridge; transit Gresham; walk Hwy 26 up Mt. Hood to Mt Hood Village, a RV Resort 26 miles from downtown Gresham.

We may not make it all the way to the RV Resort, but will check it all out tomorrow morning with the Van to see how goes the terrain and road conditions.

We are planned for the best, but in respect for Mother Nature, we will do what She dictates.

I will sleep in the Van. Motorcycle and SAM will hang out in the trailer. Our new (used) AC/DC generator will top off SAMs batteries; provide power for our Teflon grill (oh, boy, Flapjacks and French Toast and poached eggs...Yummmmmmm). Also added a portable table and 2 folding chairs (taken from the yacht). Van has a scrumptous air mattress and king size down pillow, plus a duvet; should be comfy...and why not. Walking America does not mean I must suffer excessively.

Also, I now have room and accommodations for 1 or 2 others for a day or 2 to join us. We walk at 4 miles per hour and do so for 2 to 3 hours nonstop. May be a bit strenuous, but wow, what a high. Hope folks WIll join us.

SUNDAY; Post Script...Ralph is preparing Toast & Coffee; It is NOT raining - yet; SAM is loaded into trailer; In a few minutes, we are off to continue our odyssey.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Axle Arrives Saturday

UPS has confirmed that the Chariot axle(s) for SAM arrive tomorrow (Saturday) at noon. Should have SAM whole again by early afternoon. Plan to be walking again with SAM early Sunday morning.

Our route will be the From The Tire Store in Vancouver, Washington to the Bike Path over the I-205 Columbia River Bridge, through Gresham, Oregon; on Hwy 26 to the Mt. Hood RV Park about 20 miles outside Gresham. Could be a long day, especially if it continues the current steady downpour. SAM & ME will give it a shot.

Will be good to be walking again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Axle Ordered

Chariot Carriers, Inc, the Calgary, Canada factory who originally designed and build SAM, has agreed to ship 2 new axles overnight to Portland International Airport.

They disclosed that SAM’s original axle had a hole drilled in it to receive a parking brake system. The axle snapped in two at approximately that point.. The new axles have no hole and are much stronger than the original. Chariot is also sending two pair of brake pads as spares …will surely need them coming down off the Rockies in a few weeks.

Have not received shipping confirmation, as promised. So, must wait until tomorrow morning to find out what is going on.

The Tire Company (remember the TV commercial where the old lady throws a tire through their plate glass window), where SAM’s axle broke, has agreed to store SAM & Trailer when we recommence our walk…hopefully tomorrow or Saturday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SAM Has A Hitch In Her Getalong

Offloaded half of SAM's load. 12 or so miles down the road...just before entering the bike path over the I-205 Columbia River Bridge...SNAP.

SAM's main axle broke in half.

So, for the moment, we are dead in the water. SAM and Motorcycle are back at H-D. Too late to order a new axle from the factory in Canada today, so will do so first thing in the morning. Will have it flown to the Portland International Airport. Hopefully it will arrive by Friday.

When it arrives, should take only an hour or so to replace. All preparations are already done.

In the mean time, Ralph has kindly offered me a second night in his Camas home.

Will update again tomorrow.

Rain and More Rain

It's why we love this place, the Pacific Northwest; Rain Rain and more Rain. Just look around you. Moss hanging from the near Rain forest vegetation. Gutters and ditches running free with clear life giving liquid. Roadways brimming with standing/flowing water passing vehicles give your auto a complete cleansing...just have the wipers on full and hold that steering wheel tight.

These were the conditions on our drive from Bellingham to Vancouver yesterday. And, yes, we do love the rain. SAM is built to keep snug and dry in the downpours. Walking 20 to 30 miles a day gets me wetter on the inside (perspiration) than rain ever could from the outside. Mist swirls between the many forested hills along I-5...kept a close watch for Dinosaurs peeking from behind the brilliant deep green evergreen trees or mint green deciduous branches in every direction.

Then, magically, a shaft of sun plays on the roadway berm following along as we keep our distance from the guy in front and an eye in the rear view mirrors on the guy behind...is he following too close?

Strawberry shortcake and Seattle's Best Coffee are waiting at Ron's. Don't forget your helmet and boots standing by the front door, Dad. Need help hooking up the trailer? No? You did WHAT? left the keys in the motorcycle ignition while in Bellingham...battery is dead as a doornail. Looks like SAM has plenty of room to snuggle into the trailer beside the Motorcycle...will ask H-D, Vancouver to suggest ways to inch the Motorcycle rear wheel sideways to gain a few inches for SAM to slip in.

Well, I get the rear springs to bouncing and on the up stroke, jerk the rear wheel up and to the right...LIKE THAT...; as H-D's Mark jerks Motorcycle rear end 2 - 3 inches to the right...Oh, sure...looks easy enuf; I try it. Motorcycle doesn't budge. It's all in the timing...bouncy bouncy bouncy...jerk up and to the right...YEAH, just like that. And so, I manage to move Motorcycle another inch or so. Must repeat that process each day as we move vehicles back & forth to support the daily 25 miles gained daily.

Oh, this is gonna be fun !

Cudo's to Ralph ! My sailing buddy from the Cascadians (internet sailing organization with members from far and wide joining for cruises on the Salish Sea (Puget Sound), offered to share his magnificent condominium for the night in Camas, Washington. Fascinating talk...wow, Ralph was a TV producer in the early days of TV...enlightening views of world calamities...Nibiru,,,Cuniform Tablets of Iraq...and a superb bottle of White Wine (2005 Pinot Gris "SASS" from Oregon Willamette Valley ... a vineyard owned by Ralph's friend). Then off to din din at the neighborhood Camas restaurant "Around the Table". Crab Cakes w/grits for me and Etouffe for Ralph. Sampling each others dish, had to agree "Around the Table" offerings were truly unique and VERY pleasant.

This morning, mist hangs heavily in the branches of Ralph's yard...I just know there is a Dinosaur peeking thru that bush. Misting still and look for rain later in the day as SAM & ME walk from H-D Vancouver to Gresham, Oregon...our jaunt for the day over the Interstate 205 bridge spanning the Columbia River.

Hope Motorcycle battery is charged up. Eager to get SAM shed of her massive amounts of supplies we have moved across Washington State from the Canada/USA Peace Arch to the Washington/Oregon border (Columbia River). What a pleasure it is going to be to walk with SAM carrying only half the previous weight.

Ralph appears into the Kitchen...Good Morning, Bruce...you got an early start...ready for a second cup of Seattle's Best...Yep...how 'bout toast to go with it...Yep... Ralph pours his first cup of the day. The MR. COFFEE is recycled and the first "plop" of aromatic liquid falls into the pot...Yummmmm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are SAM & Motorcycle Safe

Thank you for discussions regarding yesterday's post.

Major question that has been put on the table is: Are SAM and Motorcycle Safe for the time left parked unattended - sometimes in VERY isolated and desolate places - while moving the Van/Trailer/Motorcycle from place to place.

I have often been accused in my life of being too trusting. Being an on-the-top-of-the-table kinda guy, perhaps I AM too trusting.

Reminds me of the contract I managed many years ago for my employer, a well known Tacoma Industrial Crane manufacturing company, now out of business for over 40 years.

We were designing, building and installing the (at the time) largest container crane in the world in the old Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in New York City.

The customer asked for numerous design changes. Being Contracts Manager, I was entrusted to fly to a Manhattan meeting to negotiate the changes. During the discussions, I was told bluntly by one of the 30 or so client members in the meeting that (paraphrased): What you people out West have not yet learned is that you don't come here without.....etc. My response (paraphrased) was that... Out West we did or negotiations on top of the table...etc.

The phone rang. It was for me...I took it in the outer office. My boss asked what the he_ _ did I think I was doing because he received a call that I really pis_ _ _ off my client(s). The conference room door did not open again until after 6 pm. I was told the meeting had ended and I was free to go.

I was never again allowed to speak to the client...but did my Contract Management job through a colleague.

Point of the story is...oh, forget it... It was a lesson well learned. Many years later, I lived in a New York City suburb for 20 years primarily to learn about the mindset of the wonderful (and they are mostly VERY wonderful) folks there.

Still doesn't change my characteristic of trusting.

So, I have decided to protect SAM and Motorcycle in the best way my characteristics allow.

I will openly advertise on this blog, where and when SAM and Motorcycle will be alone. I will hang SAM's banner (a blowup of our "business card") on each vehicle to identify them as belonging to SAM & ME walk. If someone wants to steal or vandalize my babies, then so be it. They will have to do so with the whole World watching.

I trust in my fellow man; but, just in case, I will inform the State Police, etc., what I am about and that SAM & Motorcycle will of necessity, be standing alone by the roadside for a few short hours during the daytime. Doesn't hurt to make certain the entire World does know. Safety in Knowledge?

Can I be so naive?

We shall see !

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Logistics

Sunday afternoon in Bellingham and new logistics have zapped me in the head. How can I be so stupid not to have seen it before.

I have been moving Van/Trailer/Motorcycle/SAM around all backwards.

Change #1: Vehicles will move forward the distance SAM & ME can walk in a single day...not out 100 - 200 miles as before.

Change #2: Van/Trailer will be parked at SAM & ME destination (one day walk). When we arrive at the Van/Trailer, I no longer must erect "camp". We can put SAM in the Trailer for safe keeping. I can sleep in the van using a very comfy air mattress.

Change #3: I will procure a APU; aka generator. Since the Van/Trailer will be with SAM & ME every night, we can charge up SAM and have power for the computer. No more concerns about solar panels providing enuf electricity to keep SAM going. Her two battery packs will run for 12 hours total and we will limit a day's walk to 8 hours or so ( 20 - 30 miles depending on difficulty of walking terrain).

Change # 3: Upon SAM & ME arriving at Van/Trailer, SAM goes into the trailer; we drive back 30 minutes to pick up the motorcycle, which goes into the Trailer with SAM and all three return to former parking spot for the night.

In the morning, out goes SAM. Van/Trail/Motorcycle drive one day's walk. VAN/Trailer get parked. Out goes motorcycle. Ride Motorcycle back to SAM. SAM & ME walk to Van/Trailer.

Because of this logistical masterpiece of convoluted wizardry, We all three spend every night together. SAM & ME walk every step across America.

Change # 4: SAM is divested of ALL excessive baggage. She needs only what is required to support a single day's walk. Will keep the tent & camping gear just in case we get stranded before reaching the VAN/Trailer and must spend a night out.

Change # 5: A number of folks have indicated an interest to join SAM & ME on our walk. Up to now, I could not support another person. With this logistic change, I will have ample supplies for another (perhaps 2), including vehicle transportation in the event someone does not wish to walk all day. & perhaps visitors can bring along a favorite treat of theirs...which I would be ever-so-pleased to share.

Because of the generator, we can cook REAL meals...how 'bout bacon, eggs & flapjacks...smothered in Maple Syrup...WOW. Maybe even perked coffee. Because we have the Motorcycle, we can make side excursions to interesting places along the way and have ample time to make some meaningful video and photos. I carry two helmets...one for a passenger.

I know it all sounds confusing. I would welcome critique and comments. I would also welcome company at any time along our walk.

Frankly, I'm quite excited about this change in my thinking. It has instantly made our walk a potential pleasurable outing.

For the record...not all the above are MY ideas. I listen to others and am pleased to say that the best ideas come from them.

Therefore, our next leg will NOT be Vancouver to Bend. Our next leg will be Vancouver to Gresham, a Portland suburb about 25 miles away. The leg after that will be half way to Government Camp on Mt. Hood...etc, etc.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sun Also Shines In Bellingham

After sharing a bowl of Raisin Bran with Ron & Grandson Braden, drove the Van sans trailer from Federal Way up I-5 through Seattle to sunny Bellingham. Rush hour traffic was nice to me. Arrived around 10 am. First up was to get my hair cut...Boy, was I shaggy after a month on the road.

Checked in with my Battery Man, who tested our backup set of batteries (we carry a complete set of new fully charged batteries in the Van for SAM...just in case !)...all checked out as fully charged. Then visited Dave at Harley-Davidson to thank him for all he has done. Dave says H-D all across America are standing by for SAM & ME to arrive. What a Company !!! and with free coffee and cookies, too.

Then stopped in to see Jim, my Shoe Store Man. Bought a third pair of Brooks Walkers. Tested at least 10 different shoes (anyone need some nearly new size 12 walking shoes) before I settled on my Brooks. Started wearing pair # 2 today (pair # 1 was soggy).

Really goofed riding the motorcycle up from Vancouver...forgot my motorcycle boots (have 3 pair) and also forgot my rain gear. Arriving at Ron's, I was soaked thru and thru. My beautiful Brooks Walkers which have taken me over 500 miles were filled with water... far beyond "soggy".

Those 18-wheelers whizzing by 18 inches away at 60 miles per hour during 3 hours of downpour created tornadoes of spiraling stinging water coming at me from all directions, including up my pants legs and down my shirt...I must be really crazy. But what a high !!! Must be kinda like jumping out of a speeding jet at 20,000 feet in the midst of some hammerhead cumulonimbus clouds... or a simple smile from a pretty girl.

I know, I know; I gotta start acting like a 75 year old is supposed to. But, I'm ornery...I won't do that. Gonna squeeze every ounce of living there is remaining for me. I still wonder what I'm gonna do when I grow up...so many choices...just so many choices.

Was going to go to my office to post new orders, pay a few bills & catch up on POGO. Instead, I cooled my heels all afternoon - and mowed & trimmed the lawn - waiting for Comcast (the Internet whizzies) to come fix our busted connection. Finally, got it going around 4:30 pm. By then, was no longer interested in the office.

Instead, I met my dear friends, Les and Lynn (Les & wife Lynn are both PHD professors retired from teaching at Western Washington University) at Fahri's Bistro...our many-years' Friday Night TGIF. Actually, I don't like TGIF. It smacks as the end of something. I'm a half-full guy and do not like endings. The trip is everything for me...arriving is just an excuse to start a new trip.

Gosh...I'm rambling. Well, I have been told, it is my blog and to simply write what comes off the tip of my fingers. Perhaps I should plug in my brain first ?? Criticism is always welcome and I do listen.

Have received a monumental invitation...to come meet the Students of Whatcom County Juvenile Detention School. Replied with my acceptance by return e-mail. If "Teach" Suzanne is interested to have SAM & ME, I'm her guy. Too bad SAM is in Vancouver...Students might be very interested in my marvelous green machine walking companion.

So, I am delaying our walk to Bend for a day or two pending Suzanne's response. After all, our walk is not just about walking...equally important, our walk is about people...you and you and you.

I have so very much to learn from you and will not knowingly turn anyone down (except Darnell's breakfast...sorry Darnell...have been punishing myself ever since).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

SAM Is Resting

This morning SAM led me across two I-5 Bridges over the Columbia River to Vancouver. Was not easy to find our way as the "bike path" was well hidden...no signs to mark the way. But for local businesses guiding us, we would most likely still be bumbling about. But find our way we finally did.

Arriving back in Washington State, we were again guided by passing walkers...again, no signs to be found directing us onto the ongoing bike path. We walked West under the I-5 Bridge approach, turned up Columbus Street through downtown Vancouver to 39th Street. Took right turn onto 39th as directed to find the I-5 Freeway, beyond which was supposed to be Pacific Highway - Old 99. Fortuitously, we stopped to piddle at a gas station, asking how much further is Old 99...Why, that is Old 99 right there...pointing to Main Street facing the gas station. OMG...we would have walked miles out of our way but for the piddle stop. Success is found in the strangest ways.

That short walk up Old 99 was again bittersweet. During World War II, Dad was a truck driver for Lee & Estes, hauling live bombs between Seattle and Portland. In those days Old 99 was a narrow twisting 2-land road. Brother Jim and I took turns "swamping" for Dad; i.e., we went along to help load and unload the bombs. On the ride on Old 99, our job was to shift the truck gears...not an easy job, as there were three gear shift levers: Primary = 4 gears. Secondary = 3 gears, and the Brownie = 2 gears. All three gear shift levers had to be synchronized into and out of gear as Dad pushed the clutch.

For every gear we scratched, we got a grease pencil mark on the windshield. Best (least marks) score for the week got either Jim or me congratulations and at the end of the year, a $25.00 dollar War Bond (Bond cost $18.50 which Uncle Sam returned $25.00 after 10 years).

Memories Memories...where ever I walk, seems full of memories.

Walked up Old 99 to 102nd Street, where Harley-Davidson employees met us with knowing greetings...took motorcycle out of storage and put SAM in.

My motorcycle ride up I-5 to Ron's home in Federal Way was thankfully uneventful...if 10,000 buckets of drenching downpour can be called uneventful. Arrived at Ron's just as thunder and lightening boomed and streaked across the sky...God's welcome after thoroughly drenching us for 3 hours.

Motorcycle is safely in her trailer. Tomorrow, I leave the trailer behind and drive home to Bellingham to catch up on administration; process orders into computer accounting program, pay some bills, and express my appreciation to Raleigh for holding down the fort while SAM and ME are out playing on America's highways and byways.

On Sunday, will return for motorcycle/trailer, drive to Bend, Oregon where Harley-Davidson is waiting for motorcycle to be put into storage. Then, drive back to Vancouver, park Van/Trailer and SAM & ME begin the long walk over Mt. Hood and eventually to Bend...and the saga continues.

And so ends another thoroughly satisfying day. All is well........

Why The Walk

A VERY difficult moment for me...to share with all, just why I am walking across America.

How much to tell? All the background leading to taking that first step from beneath the Peace Arch? Include others who led me to this?

So many thoughts running through my head.

Consider a bit of a little white lie...or maybe a few stretchers...tell one and another is almost always needed to cover the first; then forget what you told to whom..pretty soon, you ARE living a series of lies and in danger of disaster for yourself and those who believe in you.

I have found that the simple truth is ALWAYS the best...but not necessarily ALL the truth.

So here goes.

Thirty years ago, I and my wife, Christiane, started our Company importing and wholesaling beautiful decorative packaging. Today, May 2010, Christiane is gone, losing her 10-year Breast Cancer Battle. Today, May 2010, our Company is hanging on by a thread ... and losing ground quickly; Today, May 2010, I sit in the DAYS INN Motel in Portland, Oregon asking myself just what in He_ _ am I doing here.

My (totally plutonic) Significant Other, who has not been mentioned in this blog because she TOLD me not to, has many months ago made it clear to me that WHEN my Company failed, I would not be welcome to sit around the house; she made it clear that is her domain and I must find something else to do.

There is the crux of the matter. Clear to me some 2 years ago, our Country was in great peril and so was my Company. I started looking for "something else" to do.

Two years ago , Jim, my younger Brother died. Jim and I had always been very close. We even shared the same cat under the covers to keep our feet warm when living on the Stump Ranch in our house built from wood shipping crates of WWII B-17 Bomber Wings ...a house with no heat ...no running water; Jim's death has been my wake up call...my eyes still get misty and I sure do miss him.

And, so I asked myself what Jim would enjoy if he were still here. I decided he would not like it if I sat on the couch, drinking beer, eating chips, and watching the tube. I must not, I decided, waste a single moment from the time I have left. To do so would be an insult to Jim. I had to find something that would make him proud of me.

And then, Mark came to visit from Switzerland last June. We walked a lot together.
Mark went back to Switzerland, but unknowingly left me a spark...why not walk somewhere ! Walking someplace exotic meeting new people learning how others are faring in these difficult times. That would surely please Jim. That would certainly keep me away from my Significant Other's home for a while.

That, my friends and so dear people, is why I began my saga ... walking into what future I may be granted to live; meeting some of the finest folks on this Earth; finding new friends who I have come to understand are often also looking for "something to do".

I am a simple old man - perhaps not so simple - who has been blessed to have a fantastic life (from time to time, I plan to share more with you) and is "looking for something else to do".

I lay awake for many nights searching where to walk. Corner to Corner; Water to Water; I walked to Blaine and back 3 times just to see if I could do it. I could...I just knew I could walk from Water to Water. I filled a vile with water from Blaine Bay and when I arrive in Key West I will fill another from from the waters of Key West Bay; I will mix the two and have the most precious vile of water...my symbol of what I can do...where I can walk...and keep important people pleased with me.

Thank you for joining me...I do need you ...and hope I am giving back something precious too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

US 30, Oregon

Gave SAM a rest today.

My backpack has become so heavy as to create strain in my upper back...soooo, I mounted it on the tush-end of SAM...WOW...should have done that weeks ago. All of a sudden, the center of balance moved back of over the 20" rear wheels, creating an almost effortless forward motion. SAM's batteries should last much longer and I can now PUSH SAM up some pretty challenging hills without her motor at all.

Today, SAM & ME walked something like 35 - 40 miles...from St. Helens to Portland; across the St. John's Bridge...what a wonderfully beautiful bridge...then the length of St Johns (suburb of North Portland) to Delta Park at the foot of I-5 Bridge to Washington State. We checked into DAYS INN and am very pleased we did. Cost 2/3 of Best Western (Delta Air Miles program turned out to be false), and much better accommodations.

Leighann caught up with us on US 30 just before the St. Johns Bridge. Treated me to a super lunch and we chatted for 30 minutes or so. Nice lady...pleased to have you as my friend, Leighann. Just moments before meeting Leighann, one of Portland's Best stopped me. The usual question...Why...Where ???...and then handing me a large SNICKERS says...you need this mor'n me....have a super walk...and so he accepted our (SAM & ME) business card and Viola...we have another follower

Because of the change in center of gravity, SAM did not run her motor at all today. I pushed all the way from St. Helens, including up some spectacular long (2 - 3 mile) hills. This ole' body is a wonder to behold...not a bit of strain and no huffing & puffing..just like 21 again...now if I can just convince...never mind !!! The mind & body is willing & ready, but no-one it seems takes me serious. As I often for years tell myself...just make it to that corner up there, Brucie Baby...someone/something spectacular is waiting just around the bend...and so, I keep striving for that corner...one day - one day...

Tomorrow early am, SAM & ME walk the bike trail across the I-5 Bridge into Vancouver, Washington and on to Harley-Davidson. Should take a couple hours at most. Then motorcycle back to Federal Way. Plan to drive back to B'ham for a couple days to do paperwork for my Company. Then return to put the trailer back on and drive to Bend, Oregon (Son, Tom's home) to begin leg 3 of our saga. Route will be US 26 from Gresham to Madras (over Mt. Hood), then US 97 to Bend.

Please keep the contacts/comments coming...I really do treasure them.

A number of you have asked WHY? Why am I doing this walk. Tomorrow morning, before SAM & ME leave DAYS INN, I will post my reply.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh My...Another Soft Bed

Cannot believe it...four days in a row at better than 25 miles and this ole' bod is really hanging in there. SAM & ME pulled some goshawful hills today on Oregon Hwy 30 overlooking the Beautiful Columbia River on our way to St. Helens. SAM performed again superbly and I had to literally run up those 3 - 4 mile long hills to keep up with her. Cannot remember getting short on breath WOW. Arrived at St. Helens at 6 pm after our late start from Longview at 10 am.

Had 5 folks stop us along US 30 marvelling at our hill climbing ...just cruising on up. Some had seen us yesterday in Washington and others saw us earlier today and simply could not let us go without an explanation. So, we have 5 more Blog Followers.

About mid afternoon, cell rang & a friendly young female voice says...You don't know me, but I read your blog and think I can be of some help in your walk. Well ! Was I surprised. Turns out Leighann is refereed by another blog follower, Melissa and Thane, who apparently have put out the word that SAM & Bruce are coming. Tomorrow Leighann & I meet somewhere along US 30 before Portland. We Skyped a bit & found nothing revolting, so look forward to tomorrow's encounter. By the way, I have Skype on my mini laptop and would welcome contacts. If Skype is not available, e-mail, blog comment, or facebook also work...then there is cell....I answer all rings even at 2 in the morning...provided I'm not caught in a cloudburst as happened today.

Boy, did it rain when crossing the Lewis & Clark Bridge over the Columbia River from Longview. Reminded me of one of my visits to Geneva, Switzerland a few years back. Geneva Old Town borders France. French in times past often invaded the City/State of Geneva. At Cannon Square four cannon face down each cobble street (about wide enuf for a VW Beetle). Word goes that as the invaders charged up the street towards the Cannon, Grandmothers above the narrow street dumped tubs of boiling water on the heads of the Frenchmen below. Of course, Switzerland/Grandmas won the day.

Today's rain was like that...me, playing the part of the invaders and God playing Grandma/s/
Tubs & Tubs of water pelted SAM & Me for a couple hours. Strangely tho, it really invigorated me and SAM is built to take such punishment and keep on climbing.

We are again holed up in a Best Western. Complained about the goshawful high price and was told to join their "club" & I could use Delta Skymiles...now they tell me. I have something like 400,000 Delta Skymiles. So, if all is true (will find out in the morning from the Manager) I will most likely swallow my pride...eat some more crow...and check into Best Western from time to time. Stand by for the update on this !

Sam LOVES best Western. She gets her voltaic tummy filled. Somehow, the Solar Panels are not keeping up with her appetite on the hills. Must find a solution, as these itty bitty hills are only tasters for what lies ahead.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oregon Tomorrow

Arrived i n Longview @ 5 pm after a 7:30 am start from our overwhelming campsite of last night. SAM & ME walked another 27 miles today up and down some very difficult roadways.

Yesterday, we took it kinda easy, leaving Centralia at 10 am, stopping for Chinese Buffet lunch in Chehalis. We then walked into the farming country West & South of Chehalis, stopping at a seculded side road going some 400 feet or so off the highway. We set up camp in a breathtaking grove of evergreen trees reaching easily 150 feet into the brilliant sunfilled Western Sky.

We enjoyed an uninterrupted peaceful night, broke camp at 7:30 am, and were on our way. Must say I kept looking over my shoulder for Susquach...but nary hide nor fur to be seen. A few screeches rang out...owls, I imagine. As we left our sanctuary, it started to drizzle from the foggy sky and did not let up until about 10 am.

SAM, as usual, performed flawlessly. She repeatedly dragged me up steep curvy hills and I repaid by easing her back down dozens of equally steep curvy hills. Even had to use the rear brakes on one hill...shades of coming events when we reach the mountains.

Our walk was long and demanding today. The sun came out about noon. Upon arriving in Longview, it became windy, cold, and the first drops of rain fell.

I have met so many just plain nice folks every day. I am confused/cocerned, however, that no one has commented on the blog...maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places. If anyone wants to take the plunge, I sure will be pleased to hear from them (you).

Office work goes on even while walking hundreds of miles away. Thanks NASA for the technology that allows this.

Tonight, we arrived cold, wet & hungry in the center of Longview. Not much opportunity to set up camp, so SAM & ME have holed up in the Best Western. Tomorrow, as already said, we will cross the Columbia River Bridge a couple miles away and start walking East on US 30 to Portland, Oregon .

I then put SAM into secure storage at Harley-Davidson, Vancouver (across the Columbia back into Washington), take out the motorcyle & drive to Ron's home in Federal Way. Also plan to driver back to Bellingham for a couple days before returning to Ron's, putting the motorcycle into the trailer and driving VTM to Bend, Oregon, our next leg destination. Bend is also the home of my Son, Thomas. Look forward to spending a couple days with Tom and his family before returning to Vancouver for our walk Vancouver-Bend.

Gonna slip into hot tub of water & soak for an hour or so...who knows,..perhaps my cell will ring. I would like that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

AhhGood Nite Sleep

Man was I out of it last evening.

Do NOT LIKE THIS COMPUTER !!!


SAM'S MOTOR RAN ALL DAY YESTERDAY FOR NEARLY 9 HOURS...DRAGGING ME ALONG BEHIND TRYING TO KEEP IN HER PROPER LANE. SHE TRIES TO CONSTANTLY TURN LEFT. MY FINGERS ARE RAW AND RIGHT THUMBNAIL HAS PULLED AWAY FROM THE 'MEAT UNDERNEATH. OUCH ! MUST MAKE A PERMANENT FIX FOR HER WHEEL ALIGNMENT. OTHER THAN THAT, SAM PERFORMED FLAWLESSLY UP SOME IMPRESSIVE HILLS.

JUST LOST THE REMAINDER OF MY COMPLETED BLOG. I REALLY DO NOT LIKE THIS COMPUTER.

OFF TO B'FAST...WILL REWRITE LATER, THIS UPDATE.

OK...NICE WAFFLES...BUT NOT DO GOOD AS YOUR PANCAKES, TANNER.

27 MILES SAM & ME WALKED YESTERDAY FROM OUR CAMP IN THE CITY PARK OF RAINER, FOLLOWING JENNY'S SUGGESTION AFTER EXPLAINING SHE COULD NOT INVITE A COMPLETE STRANGER HOME TO HER FAMILY...THANKS, JEN...PARK WAS COMFY.

IT WAS 15 MINUTES AFTER BREAKING CAMP THAT DARNELL INVITED ME TO SHARE HER BREAKFAST THAT I REALLY GOOFED. SON RONALD SET ME STRAIGHT WITH A 30 MINUTE CELL PHONE LECTURE...YOU KNOW, DAD, YOUR ARE NOT THE ONLY "GIVER" ON THIS PLANET AND YOU MOST CERTAINLY OFFENDED AND PROBABLY HURT HER FEELINGS BY NOT JOINING DARNELL. RON IS RIGHT...NOT TOO OLD AND NEVER TOO LATE TO LEARN FROM ANY AND ALL.

WHEN YOU READ THIS, DARNELL (AND ABBI), PLEASE ACCEPT MY SINCERE APOLOGY. A MISTAKE IN HUMILITY AND PLEASURE OF LOSING YOUR COMPANY FOR THOSE PRECIOUS MINUTES...THIS WALK IS CHANGING ME...I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR PROMISED VISITS ALONG MY WALK TO KEY WEST...FOR YOUR COMPANY AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO SET THINGS RIGHT.

IN ABOUT 45 MINUTES, SAM & ME SET OFF ONCE AGAIN , HEADING TO CHEHALIS, 5 MILES FROM CENTRALIA. THEN WE ENTER BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE WALKING THE NEXT 2 DAYS TO LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON, BEFORE CROSSING THE COLUMBIA RIVER INTO OREGON.

WE WILL WALK BISHOP RD, LABREE, NO. HAMILTON, RUSH, KOONTZ, NO MILITARY, AND FINALLY HWY 411, WHICH WILL TAKE US TO THE LONGVIEW COLUMBIA RIVER BRIDGE.

HOPE YOUR TACK MEET WAS SUCCESSFUL, DARNELL.

FOR LAINE: YOU MADE MY DAY LAINE...THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTACT.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blooded Toes & Sore Back

Today I did what I said I would not do...SAM & ME are all tucked into a motel for night.

We walked 27 miles today in 7 hours; i.e, 4 mph. Got bloody toes for my effort plus a very sore back from carrying the backpack all day. Motel is in Centralia, Washington with a view over a small lake not 50 feet from our room back door/window. Vehicles rush by on I-5 just beyond the lake.

But, getting ahead of myself.

Upon leaving Aaron's home yesterday about 10:30 am, SAM & ME walked 168th to Pacific Avenue - the Ave to the locals - and on to Highway 507 heading to Roy, McKenna, Yelm, Rainier, Tonino, and Centralia, a total distance of 50 miles.

The 507 is almost flat with 3 - 4 ft bike lane both sides. Speed limit is 50 miles per hour. Traffic is very heavy with big 18 wheelers blowing past 10 - 12 inches from my shoulder...I ignore them all and stay within our alloted narrow lane. SAM runs her motor all day, helping me along the 23 miles we walk to the City Park in Rainier. Jenn, a pretty lithe 30 something with flowing blond hair reaching below her hips, stops us while walking the 14 mile long bike path beginning in Yelm. ...You can put your tent up in the Rainier City Park...and so, we do just that.

Police come by two times, but do not stop. I have a comfynight after a not so spectacular day of walking.

I am having a terrible time trying to type on this itsybitsy computer. Will post it as is and try again in the morning. Guess I over did today @ 27 miles...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spanaway, Tacoma, Washington

SAM & ME covered 24 miles yesterday, after a grueling climb up Portland Avenue hill in Tacoma. Left hip started acting up during that climb...one more thing to occupy my time...goes with the territory I guess.

Bright sunny all day. Solar Panels pumped out watts into RED which ran nearly 8 hours, consuming tons of electrons on that big climb. SAM performed beautifully all day and literally pulled me up the hills. Been a week & half since we did any serious walking and wow am I out of shape.

Stopped in at Harley-Davidson, Fife, where Owner, Ed met SAM & ME. We thanked Ed for hosting the (Wednesday) Discovery Channel interview, which did not happen...after the fact, Discovery folks said they postponed the interview until later...and were so busy as to not think it important enough to let me know of the postponement...so, wasted a 1/2 day. Ed was the magnificent host...admiring SAM and offering me lunch at their inside Deli. All in all, a most pleasant visit to H-D Fife.

After the postponed interview, I drove the motorcycle to Vancouver H-D, where she is safe inside their storage building. Then drove Van/Trailer back to Federal Way, parked at Son, Ron's home.

Yesterday, SAM & ME left Ron's about 10:30 am and SAM promptly had a flat tire from a blackberry thorn. Cell-phoned Ron..."Help"...a few minutes later he showed up with Van/Trailer. We loaded SAM into the trailer and drove to the "Bike Shop" on 336th avenue, where in 30 minutes or so, the ever-so-kind/efficient owner replaced both of SAM's 20 inch tires and tubes with heavy duty ones lined with Kevlar reinforcing (put baby powder to lubricate the tube-tire interface). Ron drove SAM back to the point of the flat. SAM & ME resumed our walk while Ron drove Van/Trailer back to his home...to be recovered when I drive the motorcycle back from Vancouver after SAM & ME complete our walk there in the next week or so...still 120 miles to go to Vancouver.

As evening approached while walking down Pacific Avenue , a curious fellow standing along the roadway hailed us. Saw you walking earlier climbing Portland Avenue...and here you are again on the "Ave". You really walking to Key West....we chatted for a few minutes...Where you staying for tonight?...Well, why not come stay in our yard...have dinner with us...Maybe a shower...Perhaps you could put SAM into our garage with power to charge up her batteries...And maybe you would like to sleep in our motor home instead of setting up your tent...

Oh, my! Another 3 miles along, Aaron & his puppy meets us along 168th and we walk through his "average America neighborhood" to his home on a culdasac in a neighborhood just full of young kids playing in the street. Met Christie & Sons Tanner & Kevin. Enjoyed lengthy conversation...did a bit if HD filming...and devoured the Alaskan Halibut Aaron cooked up. Two neighbor girls, Bree and Bianca came over to join the conversation which went on until after 1100 pm. Then all went off to bed. In the early morning, Aaron went off to his truck driving job; Kevin got a ride to his concrete barrier construction (for freeway walls) company, and Christie fired up her beautiful Bethel School District bus, which she brings home every night for the past eleven years to get an early morning (6 am ) route picking up kids for school.

Sensational news: A stabbing (between students) in the High School classroom.

Now 10:30 am. SAM is all loaded up ready for our day's walk. We head down Hwy 507 behind the Army Base, Fort Lewis towards Centralia 40 miles away. Bright sun again and promise of more of the same the next 3 days at least.

Hard to leave such nice folks, but "bye" to Aaron, Christie and boys...and cannot ever thank you all for taking in this "lonely" walker.

For Fred, Melanie, Lanie & Muriel....please keep in touch.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In Forward Gear - Finally

All dressed up...SAM loaded with Her power on...Saying goodbye to Son, Ron in Federal Way...ah yeah, Federal Way...one last piddle call because non-customers cannot piddle in Federal Way.

The last 3 days have been very emotional for me. After years of ...well, lets say striving to be accepted by ones I love, a very fine (and beautiful) lady sat me down and bent my ear. She has left me VERY confused and upset. I am not accustomed to praise and real deep interest in ME and she shook me up real good. No names, but she knows. Thank you...I needed that.

The motorcycle is in bed with the security that Harley-Davidson can provide. Dave, Bellingham HD, has arranged nation-wide "home" for the Motorcycle while SAM & ME walk to her (motorcycle). In this case, from Federal Way to Vancouver, Washington...145 miles. Van/Trailer are parked at Ron's until I return on the Motorcycle. Then Van/Trailer/Motorcycle (VTM) will drive to Bend Oregon (the home of my Son, Thomas), where once again, HD will put up the motorcycle. Then drive Van/Trailer back to Vancouver where they will be parked inside HD secure lot until SAM & ME walk to Bend and I return to Vancouver to retrieve the Van/Trailer...and repeat the process all the way to Key West. I know, I know...very confusing and perhaps nonessential; however, this arrangements allows me to take along needed supplies, reconnoiter our walking route, leave supplies along the walk route, and provide security and transportation. SAM & ME will still walk every step of our odyssey.

For those wishing to follow along: Leaving Federal Way by 9:00 am; walking on Pacific Highway South to Tacoma; pick up Hwy 7 through town to Hwy 507; follow Hwy 507 for 40 miles to Centralia; take Hwy 411 (and a few smaller roads) to Longview. At Longview, we plan to cross the Columbia River to Hwy 30 in Oregon; follow Hwy 30 to and through Portland; cross the Columbia River again into Vancouver to retrieve the motorcycle and put SAM in secure storage at HD...Thank goodness for HD...what a wonderful company.

This leg should take about two weeks...time enough for me to absorb my "talking to" and pull myself back together.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Regrouping

Taking another weekend off is not of my choosing, but here we are, still in Bellingham.

Motorcycle was FINALLY repaired (gas leak) on Saturday. Since servicing the motorcycle in November, it has developed a -at first slow- fuel leak. Had it serviced three more times through last week, with increasing fuel leakage and "loading up" upon acceleration. Each "service" claimed to fix the problem, but it has persisted and worsened.

Saturday, at the suggestion of friend Fahri, took the motorcycle to Mark at URAL NORTHWEST motorcycle here in Bellingham. After hearing my sad story, Mark agreed to take a look. Instead of tearing into the carburation system, as had been done on previous "service" attempts, Mark put the machine on his service rack and started her up, flashlight in hand. Less than 2 minutes later he says...Bruce, take a look...there is your leak.

Two hours later, Mark calls on my cell...Bruce, your cycle is ready...WOW, you really mean it...Yep!. Drove out to URAL NORTHWEST in the Guide Meridian. Mark says...the problem was a missing bolt from the carburetor bowl. MY COMMENTS: Deceleration stops/slows the fuel pump; open gasket (where bolt is missing) allows fuel to drain out of the bowl; upon re-acceleration (hitting the throttle), excess air is sucked in and the motor stalls until pump again fills the bowl with gas. When engine is shut down, fuel again drains out enough to puddle on the ground. In addition, one spark plug was severely burned from wrong gas/air mixture.

Once again, I remind everyone that I am NOT a mechanic, or an electrician, or an engineer, or any other exotic craftsman...then again, I'm not fully stupid, and try to pay attention and analyse what is going on around me. Much too often, I goof it up. Sometimes I get lucky.

Because U-Haul rejected their previously contracted storage of the motorcycle and Van/Trailer storage in their yard, we have had to look elsewhere for support. A major nationwide firm is at this moment, trying from Bellingham to convince franchisee along our walk route, to allow secure storage of the motorcycle and SAM, as well as parking for the Van/Trailer. Will have results by tomorrow, Wednesday.

Have decided, however, that success or no with our nationwide firm, SAM and ME are going to resume our walk on Thursday.

Our route has not changed...Federal Way via Pacific Highway to Tacoma; Highway 7 to Highway 507 to Centralia...then essentially via Highway 411 to Longview. Over the River into Kelso and back on Pacific Highway South to Vancouver (Washington)...over the 205 /freeway bridge spanning the Columbia River to Gresham, Oregon; pick up US 26 over Mt. Hood. On to Madras, then US 97 to Bend, Oregon.

It has been very nice to be home for a few days, where old and new friends have been wonderful, a chance to mow the lawn & spruce up things around the house. Am, however, very much looking to being on the road again.

We WILL make Key West, SAM & ME.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

OOoops

Yesterday was intended to be Back On The Road Again. It did not exactly work out like that.

Up at 4:00 am. To the office to complete administrative chores. Back home @ 7:30 am for b'fast. On the road with the vtm to Longview. Stopped by Dale's to pick up items left during previous walking. Drive I-5 Interstate to Chehalis, where we continued on the Google Map designated walking route.

First goof of the day: Google Map routed us on Highway 411, turning onto Wren Loop Road...a goshawful series of twisting steep hills...which led back to 411. Drove back up 411 to Wren Loop Road beginning. 411 is a very good highway and no apparent reason Google sent us up the scenic but treacherous Wren Loop Road. A good reason to "drive" the walking route beforehand.

Goof # 2: Arrived at Longview U-Haul, checked in and was shown the storage unit for the motorcycle.

The unit was NOT on the ground floor, but up 2 feet on a narrow rounded macadam ramp leading to a narrow door into a building. Inside the building were a series of "cell blocks" (only the bars were missing to become a jailhouse) with no turning room for the motorcycle to enter from the hallway.

The door at the top of the ramp was too small to get the motorcycle into the building.

Looking into the computer for an alternate storage unit, U-Haul employee casually mentions...You know, of course, that you must drain ALL liquids (meaning gas & oils) from your motorcycle before we can accept it into our storage units...No, I did not know that and am not prepared to do so.

So, I telephone Keone, Manager U-Haul Bellingham who arranged the Longview (and all U-Haul storage units across the USA to Key West) storage unit...Oh, yes. You will probably run into that restriction (drain ALL liquids) in all U-Haul storage units...Would it not have been a good idea to inform me before I went out & bought a motorcycle trailer, drove 250 miles to Longview???...Sorry, Bruce...what do you want me to do...Start by informing me of the true facts/conditions before I invest $$$ and time to reorganize my walk. More was said, but not appropriate for print.

Goof #3. Upon returning the motorcycle to the trailer, a pool of fuel falls to the floor. Chris had worked on the motorcycle all morning yesterday to stop a minor leak...guess he screwed up. I have had the motorcycle serviced 4 times since November when the leak first appeared. $400 later, it is only worse. Believe, however, that I have rationalized the cause.

When removing any parts using a gasket, the gasket must be replaced with a new one. To my knowledge, no new gaskets were installed - at least I was not informed otherwise. Since I was 6 years old helping Dad work on our trucks, I learned that gaskets take a "set" and if reused, will almost always leak fluids and/or suck air. The proper solution is to clean all surfaces thoroughly and apply a thin bead of gasket seal (Permatex or similar paste in a tube). When torquing the bolts, the gasket seal effectively spreads into the (previously used) gasket deformities and blocks out both liquids and air. Today, Saturday, I find a motorcycle service who will do the job properly. Then we shall see.

In the meantime, we are all back in Bellingham. A 500 mile journey with van, trailer & motorcycle (vtm). At least, that went off smoothly.

Should we continue with problem motorcycle / storage units across USA, I plan to return to Plan A and continue our walk unaided. Hope to be on the road again within 48 hours.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On The Road Again

Rest period has gone all too quickly.

Completed administrative work at my office, cleaned up the mess left after emptying the warehouse, and loaded selected items into the van for vtm to Ron's tomorrow.

The motorcycle has been giving me fits. Developed a fuel leak last fall. Had it serviced no less than four times and it still weeps. Seems as though air is being sucked into the fuel line somehow causing one cylinder to load up on acceleration. Not a good condition. Chris, my mechanic worked on her all morning. She ran better, but not perfect. Could not detect any fuel leaks this afternoon, so loaded her into our new trailer. In the morning, will do some last minute office stuff, give the motorcycle a close inspection, and off we go.

U-haul has a storage unit waiting for the motorcycle in Longview.
.

SAM & ME will travel through Tacoma on Pacific Highway South (old 99), pick up Highway 7 South, connecting with Highway 507 to Centralia. Then South once again on Pacific Highway to Longview. Should take 5 - 6 days. Upon arrival, the motorcycle comes out of storage...SAM goes in...drive motorcycle back to Ron's, where it goes into the trailer. Then we drive vtm back to SAM and on to Madras, Oregon, where we will repeat the Longview leg scenario.

By the time we arrive at Key West, the van will have driven the 4,084 miles three times, the motorcycle one time and SAM & ME will have walked it once.

Sure sounds complicated. Just hope it rewards SAM & ME with a safer, more "do-able" walk.

Attached (I hope) is our "Business Card" developed by Son, Ron & his wife Leaanne. We have made it into decals which now adorn the trailer. SAM will carry one made into a banner.

Sorry, but blog will not accept the Card format. Will have Ron modify it tomorrow & try again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

SAM To Receive Support

One of the greatest challenges SAM has encountered is the excessive weight loaded onto her to get from point A to point B. Not that all that stuff may be necessary, but what she does not have might just be what we need.

So, along the way, SAM has shed a number of "critical" items in the name of slimming down. And Bruce is grateful not to have to push such a heavy weight SAM for 150 miles (about what we have covered so far). SAM's motor, you see, is only for up hills. All the rest of the time (say about 90% of the time), Brucie Baby Pushes !

Then, too, we have taken advantage of family and acquaintances along our walk to help us out by taking into safe keeping items which we plan to ask be mailed or USP'd to us further along our walk.

All this is well and good, but as we venture out into the wilderness ... a wilderness sparsely dotted with friends and family, we become more and more dependent upon our own abilities to carry critical items along. SAM simply cannot carry all that we would like. So, we have implemented Plan B.

Before we get to Plan B, here is an update regarding our reason for returning to Bellingham.
As our Bus approached Bellingham, I cell-phoned Dr. Woo. Nurse Kim answered the phone...BRUCE !!!! where are you...how far did you get. So I told her...also said I was on the Bus from SEA-TAC and would arrive in B'ham in less than an hour and may I have an appointment with Dr. Woo (my knee surgeon). Just a moment...(I wait)...Dr. Woo says when the Bus arrives in B'ham, come immediately in...he will work you in...(took nearly a week to get my first appointment to see Dr. Woo before surgery).

Raleigh met my Bus and drove me directly to the hospital. Dr. Woo had me wait a few minutes and Kim led me to his office...we met in the hallway, but he said..."not yet, Bruce, I'm still with a patient." Kim kept me company wanting a blow by blow...guess she didn't read my blog. Dr. Woo showed up a few minutes later; looked at my 19-year old knee, and said looks great (he still hitting on me ???)...no water...no swelling...but owie, huh? Yep. OK, lets see the photos...he pulls up the images on the computer & says...yes, looks really good. Don't see any damage. See some strain; probably from climbing that awful hill (meaning 277 out of Kent valley). What you need is a medication to reduce the inflammation. On the spot he wrote a computer prescription to Rite Aid at Seaholm for NAPROXEN. Then gave me a lecture on not getting squished by a 18-wheeler and said I was good to go. Keep me informed, he says, gets up and shakes my hand and says I was kinda gutsy for 74.

Picked up my NEPROXEN & took a tablet. 30 minutes later, no pain...now 30 hours later and a 6 mile rapid walk to my office...still no pain. Yippie. I owe Dr. Woo and Kim.

Plan B: Plan B is not new. For 3 months, I have mentally worked on it. Today, I brought it to fruition. It involves bringing into our walk, my MPV van (has 230,000 miles) and motorcycle (a 600# 650cc twin manufactured in South Korea). Also added is a new trailer, totally enclosed with back ramp and all tricked out for the motorcycle to comfortably ride long distances).

I will load the motorcycle (I need a name and am open to suggestions) into the trailer (also has no name yet). We will drive to various friends/relatives to recover items discarded so far as well as add more items for SAM and ME for our long walk. Car/trailer/motorcycle will become our support system, as no one else had come forward to assist us.

Plan to drive van/trailer/motorcycle (vtm) from Bellingham to Ron's house. Reprovision SAM and relieve her of ALL superfluous items for "leg 1" of Plan B. Will drive vtm to Longview, Washington following SAM & ME's walking route, reconnoitering stopping/camping places along the way and perhaps stashing supplies (water/food/clothes, etc) in hiding places for SAM & ME to use/recover as we stroll along to Longview. Motorcycle will be offloaded and placed in a waiting storage room. U-Haul and I have arranged a system whereby the B'ham office on the Guide Meridian will arrange storage rooms as we approach designated cities/towns all the way to Key West. Cost is +/- $35.00 / month. I will then drive the van/trailer back to SAM, park it for the duration, and SAM & I will then walk to Longview. Upon arrival, motorcycle comes out of storage and SAM goes in. I ride motorcycle back to the van/trailer; motorcycle goes into the trailer and we all drive back to SAM.

Whew...long paragraph. SAM gets reprovisioned and stays in her locker. Vtm drive on to Leg 2 destination (perhaps Bend, Oregon), where motorcycle is placed in a new locker and van/trailer returns to SAM...SAM & ME walk to Bend...etc. etc. etc. repeating the leap-frog all the way to Key West. At Key West, motorcycle and SAM get loaded into the trailer and we all take a leisurely cruise back to B'ham.

Alternatively, SAM & ME return to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, board a ship for Lisbon and walk to Beijing following the silk road. Google says there is a pretty good road.

Ah, dreams dreams dreams...but then what do I do upon returning to B'ham...sit on the couch, beer in hand, Dallas Cowgirls on the tube...I don't think so.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Knee Needs A Rest

SAM and ME took the day off today, Sunday.

My recent surgery has not healed properly and climbing the 277th hill Friday, caused serious pain which I shrouded with codeine. This evening, it is again becoming quite painful and I will return to Bellingham tomorrow by SEA-TAC Shuttle Bus. I plan to immediately see my surgeon for further evaluation , which will most likely require a few days off my feet. Then we shall see.

SAM, in the meantime, has received a thorough overhaul. Upon arriving at Ron's, her 120 Volt input simply quit on both GREEN and RED and would not take a charge. After discussing the condition with Bob Young, our Bellingham Electrician who got me started on Solar Panels many months ago, I traced the problem to a factory-supplied quick disconnect between the 120 Volt charger and the battery pack. On RED, simply cut the plug out of the system and hard wired it. Worked beautifully.

On GREEN, the same plug had come disconnected. I plugged it back together and securely locked into place with wire ties and taped it with electrical tape.. GREEN now also works beautifully. Within 2 hours, AC charger boosted both RED and GREEN to over 39 Volts. 6 hours later; i.e., this evening, both are still holding at over 39 Volts with each of the six individual batteries holding at 13 Volts.

Grandson, Thomas, had his 19th birthday this weekend. House was FULL of teenagers yesterday and family today to celebrate. Glad I was here to be a part of it.

I fully expect to continue our walk within the next week and have set my route for our next leg; i.e., to Centralia, Washington. We will leave Federal Way on Pacific Highway South through Tacoma and pick up State Highway 7 to Roy. Then, we follow Highway 507 to Centralia via Tonino and Yelm. Am told it is slightly downhill all the way.

Today I received some expert advice in the function of my new Canon HD video camera. Will be in a much better position to obtain quality footage for Jon & his film magic.

Ron and his lovely wife Leaann today created beautifully crafted business cards for SAM & ME. They should be a big help when confronted by future constables and when knocking on a homeowner' door asking permission to set up our tent in their yard. Next Post, I will include our new business card as an attachment (assuming I can figure out how !).