Sunday, July 31, 2005

Eventful Ending to a Great Seattle Trip

Well, I should have known things were going to well on this trip! ;-)

I was thoroughly enjoying my ride home. Took a nice ride down the coast, stopping at a few casinos for a little entertainment. Everything was going great. Then, I hit California.

I stopped for gas and made a few phone calls. At my next stop, some 180 miles later, I reached for my phone (my brand new, Motorola RAZR phone that I bought before I rode to Seattle) and found my velcro pocket on my riding pants open and my phone gone. OK, so I need to call the phone insurance company and get a new one. No big deal.

150 miles later, as I near Solvang, I pulled to the side of the highway to put my jacket on -- Friday night at 5pm. As I downshift my bike, the shifter falls off. This happened once before, oddly enough on the ride home from the All Crew training in Phoenix. This time, I know how to fix it. Two zip ties and 5 minutes later, I am back on the road. Now I have a zip tied motorcycle and no cell phone. Probably shouldn't ride much further tonight. I decided to head over to Lompoc where I know of a bike shop and a hotel.

Saturday morning I head over to the bike shop and they adopt me immediately. For $25 they fix my shift rod ends and I am back to factory standard on the bike. Time to call this ride done and get home. Unfortunately, the traffic on the 101 was terrible the heat challenging. I made it to the top of the Sepulveda Pass on I-405 when I noticed that my Check Engine light was on. Damn. OK, let's get off this hill, out of traffic and down to Bartel's Harley to get it checked out. Then my Volt meter showed zero. Then my Odometer went blank. Oh, how exciting.

I made it do Marina Del Rey and to within 4 blocks of the dealership before the battery ran out. Now, on the side of the road without a cell phone, I start looking for a solution. Hey, look there! Across the street from my breakdown spot is a Cingular Store. They let me call the dealer and the service department went beyond the call of duty by sending a personal truck out to get me and my bike.

Now the bike is in Marina del Rey being repaired and I am home thanks to my son.

The only thing left to do is get my phone replaced. Of course, according to Cingular, I don't have insurance on that phone (apparently they didn't even offer it when they sold me the phone three weeks ago) so I have to buy a new phone now. How exciting again!

Well, folks, that wraps up the Seattle event. Next event on my calendar, San Diego in October.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Road Less Traveled

This is the value of exploring. Off of a two lane highway between Portland and Lincoln City, I found this restored covered bridge.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Can't Forget our Support Teams

On other events, I have seen bike cops and other city, county or state support staff that are helpful. The walkers usually love them (especially the cute bike cops from San Jose in their little biker shorts). As crew, they are helpful but not really a part of the team.

This event was very different and I really want to thank Tyler Espinoza, the Crew Coordinator here for putting this team together.

The first day, we had the support of Bellevue police at many intersections. They did a great job and were respectful and friendly to the walkers. They were truely a part of our team on Route Safety.

We had city paramedics and fire fighters on bikes running the route also. Those guys were great. Just a cute as the SJ bike cops ;-) but much more active in the support of the walkers. They stepped up to each challenge on the walk and were vigilant in their efforts to support all walkers. They asked us about the status of the walkers and their current locations so they would know where they were needed most. Fantastic.

The ambulance teams were great also. Sending out cheers and encouragement over their loud speakers, talking to the walkers and stopping when they saw folks on the side of the road to see if they could help. They brought water to us in the hot spots while we waited for the very busy sweep vans and even transported three of my walkers who could not continue on and couldn't make it off the trail to a sweep van. Thanks guys!

Lastly, to the firefighters who where there for us and set up sprinkers in spots to cool off the walkers, thanks!

I hope we get to see support like this in all the cities! Thanks to all who come out to support the cause!

Another one in the books

The Seattle event is now over and I have reclaimed enough sleep to update this BLOG. I apologize for the lack of updates, but I think this is proof that the life of a walker and that of a crew member are radically different. As a walker in Boston, I was able to update my posts during the day and in the evening. As a crew member in Seattle and elsewhere, I have no time to write during the day lest I leave walkers hanging in the middle of an intersection. By the time I am off the route, I am too tired to think. Basically, it is eat, clean and sleep, then do it again.

So, the recap for the event. AWESOME! The Route Safety/MotoCrew was amazing. One of the most agreeable, talented, creative and attentive crews I have seen anywhere. Able to think and react on their bikes and in the streets, they were, to the end, consummate professionals. Thank you all for letting me be a part of that.

The walkers were a pure joy. Happy, fun, well trained and willing to let us help them. As we repeated during the walk, WE LOVE YOU, WALKERS!

The route, well it was tough. Days two and three included many hills. Long hills. Many of them. One after another.

The layout was reverse of the pattern I usually see where we walk two long days and end on a short, 15-17 mile day. This time, we started with a short first day which was helpful considering it rained for several hours in the morning, then got cold. Unlike Boston, however, the sun came out in the afternoon and the rest of the day was beautiful. We were able to fully enjoy the camp experience in the warm Seattle evening with daylight until very late. It was just great.

Days two and three were longer at around 20 miles each, but the weather was absolutely amazing. Hot, sunny and beautiful. As you can see by the map below, we were able to enjoy many scenic views of the lakes and mountains in the Puget Sound. Day two definitely had an impact on the walkers feet, knees and backs. I have never seen the medical teams as busy as they were on this event, but I am told Dallas was also a very tough event for them.

From the new Microsoft Virtual Earth website of Aerial views, here is what the route looked like from space!

Day three really took its toll on the walkers. Many made it out of camp with shear determination and strength of spirit, but were unable to make it very far into the day. My sincere respect to the walkers who walked the whole 60 miles. The heat of the day combined with the hills and the pace required to make it into camp in time for closing ceremonies were pretty big obstacles. I respect all of the walkers who tried to make it and could do the distance, but just couldn't make the pace to stay ahead of the closing Pit Stops. I know many got swept due to time rather than physical pain or ability.

So, Seattle 2005 is in the books. The Event-360 team (3-Day employees) are on a 6 week break now before they start their second and final six events in Chicago. Red is heading back to Orange County today and I am staying in Seattle one more day to recover, do laundry and plan my route. Then I head home on a four day journey much the same as my route up. If anything exiting happens that is rated PG, I will share it here. ;-)

To see the wrap up by the 3-Day team, click here.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Let's face it, I'm pooped...

[Extra credit to those who can name the show the song lyric in the title came from]

The first day of the Seattle 3-Day is in the books and I am ready for bed. It was a very short walk day, but a very, very long work day. The route was only 17.5 miles today (very short by 3-Day standards) but with a crew call of 4am and a day filled with rain, I am dog tired. I am not really sure what that phrase means, but I know I am exhausted.

We were soaked to the bone by 8am and it continued raining until mid-day. Then, unlike Boston, the sun came out and dried up all the rain. By the time most walkers got to camp, the ground was nearly dry and the sun had taken the significant chill off. Warm showers and excellent food put everyone back in 3-Day spirits. Someday, I may tell you about the MotoCrew singing the Mickey Mouse Club theme song for Karaoke.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I have arrived

I am in Bellevue, WA now at the hotel the Event-360 staff use. This is also the hotel the walkers and crew members will use on Thursday night before the walk. I am crashing with my son, Red, for the next two nights, then will take over the room during the walk. The good news is that I get to be an official member of the crew now. They are making an exception in Seattle and letting me register late to augment this awesome team. Thank you staff and coordinators!

Now that I have an internet connection and a real keyboard, I am going to go back over the past few days and edit my posts. As you know, those came from my cell phone, not a Blackberry with a keyboard. I was pecking out BLOG entries like TXT messages from the side of the highway most times. Please go back and look at previous posts again as there will be more explanations for the pictures and some totally new entries that I couldn't type on the cell phone. I had to resort to pen and paper each night to record my thoughts. Luckily, I don't have many to write down.

And a major thank you to someone special who called tonight when I was feeling pretty dogged after riding 1,400 miles alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ;-)

Sign for a Motocrew Member

First, I apologize for the quality of these shots. I assume I smudged the lense of my new camera phone. That damn thing is so small, it is hard not to with gloves, glasses, helmet and jacket on.

If you can't tell the sign is of an Oregon State Park called "Hug Point". I wanted to steal one and take it with me on all walks so the walkers knew exactly where to stop for their hugs! :-P

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday in Review

Today I rode from Brookings to Lincoln, OR. I had thought about riding to the Washington border but then I saw a beautiful city, with a great hotel right on the Pacific Ocean. Did I mention it had a casino? And a buffett? And a poker room in the casino? Woohoo!

The ride up to Lincoln took us over fantastic bridges, past huge sand dunes, quaint fishing villages and the largest sea lion cave in the US. It was really an nice day riding and sharing lunch with Brian and Connie who were taking an extended weekend away from work on their bikes.

Making Friends

Lunch stop in Coos Bay, OR with new friends Brian and Connie. We had a nice ride together and stopped to share stories, philosophies and life's goals over an Arby's sandwich.

Two days and finally out of California

The amazing coast of Northern California. I am now in Brookings. OR just over the border. More tonight when I get an internet connection.

In my previous post, I talked about the 110 degree part of the ride. As I said, I headed over to the coast where it was "cooler"... like 50 degrees cooler. In the fogged in areas, it was about 60 degrees and damp. This is what I look like when I am bundled for a California winter.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunday in Review

The day started out with a wonderful, but very foggy ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and through Saulsalito. I love this area, but it was not a picture day as it was way too foggy to shoot anything memorable. Still the ride started out lovely. Then I hit the blast furnace called Hwy 101. As I rode up past Petaluma and into Santa Rosa, the heat kept building until I decided it was just too much for the whole day and decided to head towards the slower, more scenic route up the coast. I turned West somewhere in Santa Rosa guided by my trusty GPS.

Now, have you ever made a food dish that was absolutely wonderful, but in your haste to "throw it together" you really don't remember exactly how you made it? Well, I made a few lefts and rights, always heading West or North towards my destination and in the process, had the ride of my life. I remember being on the Bohemian Hwy for a long while and stopping in Occidental, CA for a fabulous Italian lunch (four courses!) before continuing on through Camp Meeker. I rode along the Russian River, amazing tree canopies and beautiful farm and ranch land. I am looking at a map now and can find most of it, but the chance of me recreating that ride is pretty slim. Let me tell you, though, it was truely one of the nicest rides I have ever done!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

On the road again...

On my way to Seattle through central California -- who would have guessed it would be over 110 degrees at road level? That is my bike's air temp gauge which only goes to 120 and it was pegged for most of the day. The expression "fry an egg on the ground" was not sufficient, since I think we could have fried the whole chicken in Bakersfield.

Change in route ;-). I am now in Mountain View, CA closer to the coast in the Silicon Valley. I plan to stay along the coast up through Oregon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My feat but not my feet

I owe some of you an apology for misleading you. In the previous post, I included a picture of duct taped feet to illustrate the text about others more hurt then I was. It never occurred to me that people would think the picture was of me. That picture came off of the Boston 3-Day Kodak pictures website and I have no idea who it is. I just grabbed it for illustration purposes. My feet never looked anything like that. At my worst, I had Second Skin pads and tape on both heels and one wrapped around my little toe on my right foot. No other problems, no shin splints, no swollen knees, no duct tape. Sorry. I am very happy with the way my body held up on this event!

The only challenge I had was walking in the rain. California training had not prepared me for that, but I did have all of the necessary accessories! Check me out walking with my rain jacket, hat and "sloggers". For more info on the sloggers, click here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I am home, rested and clean. I am also one of the happiest guys on Earth. I set a goal in 2003 of doing everything I could to help the Susan G. Komen 3-Day be successful. At the time, I felt that my motorcycle safety skills were the best this I could offer. I raised money, awareness and spirits. I felt good about what I had contributed.

In 2004, I did that times four. I crewed four events, raised a ton of money and honored Sally's memory on the west coast. Still, I had a hole in my joy. I told many walkers that I knew how they felt when they talked about "blisters having blisters" and feet that hurt so much that they were afraid to take off their shoes and look at them. I really did feel for them, but could I really feel their pain? I had never walked 60 miles. I did a 16 mile training walk in San Diego that year to be with the walkers, but that was not the same. With my travel and work schedule, I convinced myself I couldn't train properly and that MotoCrew was the best I could offer.

Early in 2005, I decided to take some time off of work. I told my friends and family that, if I had time to train, I would walk an event. Did I really mean it? I don't know. I started training with my sister's team, the Pink Panters, and felt pretty good. I wasn't working, wasn't traveling much and finally realized that all of my criteria had been met. I had to walk. And I started training. Not too hard. Not as much as the training guide says, but some. I had never done a back-to-back double-digit walk. I lost my last three weeks of training to some sprained toes and a motorcycle breakdown in Las Vegas and realized that, after all my enthusiasm and "chatter" I was now a week away from Boston and under-trained. Damn. So much for planning.

I had butterflies in my stomach the day before the walk started. I wasn't sure I could keep my commitment to walking 60 miles. In the end, I made it because of the other walkers. No matter how badly I hurt, someone was in much worse shape than me and she was singing! A walker would hobble by me with the familiar "on your left" and I would look down and see blood on his socks and shins taped to reduce (not remove) the pain of shinsplints.

What I heard over and over again, though, was this... "My feet are killing me, but my sister went through months of chemo without complaining so this is nothing". I thought about Sally in the last several months when her feet were so swollen it hurt to get off the couch or out of bed, yet she walked with me around the lake because she knew that it was the only way to get better. I know she was hurting, but she didn't complain. I thought about her going months without being able to taste food at all, just eating by texture. "What would you like for dinner tonight? I want something wet, like noodles." Is Endurance really so bad tasting?

I made it with the help of friends, family and Sally's memory. I feel great about that. Now, as I head up to Seattle, then San Diego and Phoenix, I feel I really do know what it takes and how it feels to walk that far. I thank everyone who helped me feel this way. It is totally awesome!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The survivor's circle

I was given an honor today that is unparalleled. I was allowed to walk in closing ceremonies with the breast cancer survivor's circle, carrying the flag of our 3-Day event.

In opening ceremonies, the circle arrives empty, with no flag. Each night, we raise the flag with a standing ovation to signal that the last walker has arrived safely into camp. At the closing ceremonies, the circle returns with the flag in the center in honor of all breast cancer survivors and those who were lost to the disease. I got to carry that flag in and raise it up the flag pole to signal the end of the 2005 Boston 3-Day event!

It was extra special since my son was there to share it with me. He honors me and Sally by working his butt off in the sun, rain, wind and general muck to help all of the walkers and crew as a staff member of Event-360, the event coordinator for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. Thank you Brandon "Red" Landesman!

No Bust

We made it. 60 miles. This is just a quick update before I fall asleep. I'll be more free-flowing with the prose tomorrow.

No major damage. Back, knees, ankles all good. Left foot, good. Right foot, not so good, but it will recover. The biggest thing is I feel good. I am sore and tired, but proud of what we accomplished and happy I did it.

Thank you all for checking in. I will be home tomorrow night and will try to fill in the missing pieces and post some pictures then.

Thank you so much to Sue and Danny Whitt who came out to cheer us on today and then dragged Pamela and I back to their lovely home, allowed us to bathe and relax and even brought in dinner for us. Thank you from the bottom of our feet!

Abandon Ship

I'll have to write more about this later, but the short message is: sudden thunderstorm last night soaks everything so my walking friend, Pamela, and I call Sue and Danny Whitt out of desperation. Danny picks up we drenched walkers and drives us back to his house to dry our and sleep for a while in real beds. We are just waking up now and Danny is about to drive us to start our last day of the walk. Much more on all of this later, I promise!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lunch -- Mile 32

Socks changed, new blister lanced, bug bites scratched, old blisters re-taped. I am outta here.

Mad props to my peeps, Sue, Danny and Jonah Whitt who came out to cheer me on at the Cheering Station this morning. Thanks so much, guys. That is so awesome to see someone you know in the middle of the walk!

Did I mention the sun came out today? Sun. Not rain. Sunglasses instead of sloggers today. Whoohoo!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Staying positive

I am happy. I am warm. I am dry. Repeat. Ohmmmmm.

The spaghetti was wonderful and the Diet Coke was awesome after a thousand gallons of water and sports drink.

A bird bath wash (shower trucks are out in the rain and that seems counter-productive to me) will have to do for tonight. Sleeping arrangements are a little unique -- think coed pajama party for a few hundred friends. No tents, no privacy, but no rain either.

Tomorrow we eat around 5am and catch a bus for a short ride to the start of day 2. The second day promises to be historic as we walk by battle fields and national landmarks. More on that tomorrow night.

Noah, this is God

Build us an Ark, quick.

Day 1 is done. 22 miles down, 36 miles to go. 0K math majors, I know that doesn't add up to 60 but sometimes you have to end where the camps are. 21 more miles tomorrow and then 15 into closing ceremonies.

As for today. It rained. It rained a lot. Did I mention it rained? A lot?

I haven't looked at my soggy feet yet, but I think I did OK. I had a jacket and “sloggers” on most of the day. I'll post a picture of that when I return.

Tonight we are being “relocated” to inside the military base buildings where we were supposed to camp. More on that after a shower and dinner.

I'm up

5am and I am showered, dressed and fed, at least as much as my nervous stomach can stomach. Just waiting for the shuttle bus to arrive at 5:30 to take us to Opening Cerimonies.

Sa far, it is warm and dry. Keep your toes crossed that we stay dry!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Last Supper

Hooters! What place would be more appropriate for the last restaurant meal before a breast cancer walk then Hooters?

We are in the hotel in Nashua and I have met most of my team, Men With Heart. I have my MWH shirts, song books, pins and business cards. I opted to pass on the hats, jackets and fleece pull-overs for now.

I got a chance to say Hi to Red (aka my son Brandon) and Howard and Nancy from the NPT.

My clothes are set for tomorrow and I am heading to bed for a few hours. Up at 4:30am to start my trek. Did I mention we are expecting thunderstorms tomorrow?

Now is the time...

for all good walkers to prepare for the event. I will be shutting down my laptop now and all future updates will come from my handheld Blackberry. No fancy formatting, no pictures. Just my ramblings for the next few days. I will be back online Sunday night if I can keep my eyes open, Monday morning if not. Please check in daily as I promise to post something every day.

In the meantime, if you are not involved with the 3-Day, the video below will get you as close as possible (at least until you sign up to walk with me next year!)

The 3-Day Experience- Take a video tour of the event and see how it all happens on the 3-Day

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

3-Day Welcome Message

I just received an email from the Boston 3-Day folks with a PDF that talks about the walk. Every year, the 3-Day team outdoes themselves when describing very serious issues with humor. Click on the image on right to read the PDF file and enjoy!

Thank you!

Thank you for donating to my walk in Boston. I have almost reached my $2,500 goal for Boston. Thank you for your generosity and help!

That said (here it comes), please note that my $2,500 goal was a low ball goal ;-) Last year, I set my goal at $8,000 and reached it the day before the walk. I felt that I had asked so much of my supporters last year and that so many of those supporters are now walkers or crew members doing their own fund raising I would ask considerably less this year. You have been very generous to Breast Cancer in Sally's name for three years now. You have donated over $14,500 since 2003. Thank you, but please don't stop. If you came here to support our common cause and our friend's memory, please do so. Donations can be accepted up until 30 days after the walk this week. If you are visiting later than that, please contact me by email and I will provide you a link to one of my other 2005 3-Day events (San Diego or Phoenix).

And lastly, to you Baker Housers who just received Berg's email, welcome!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day

What an amazing city in which to spend the 4th of July!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Back at the hotel

As near as I can figure it, I walked a pleasant 14 miles today. Not really too sure since I am not really too sure where I have been. I saw MIT a few times, Harvard Square twice, Harvard Yard once, the river a whole lotta times and some other interesting sites. I circled around Cambridge many times until I finally asked how far it was in my current direction back to the river bridges. The customer and the sales person both turned their back on me and pointed in the opposite direction. Luckily, they gave me directions in a manner to which I am accustomed. "At the KFC, turn right and a left at the Starbucks." We finally agreed that the first street was called Prospect, but no one was too sure what the second one was. So, I found my way back home and have decided to take a map with me from now on. ;-) I did take a lot of great shots of churches, schools and fire stations, as well as the river and bridges. Look for those when I get home in 9 days.

Sushi from the Charles?

Now I know why I was the only customer on a holiday weekend at noon.

Endo-san, where are you?

Last Big Training Walk

What a great city in which to walk. I've been walking for 2 hours down the Charles River, through MIT and Boston U, across Mass Ave and am having a great day. Just stopped into a Sushi Bar for lunch and will continue my walk for another few hours afterwards. I'm not tracking miles today, just my time in my running shoes. Did I mention the weather is amazing? Sunny, comfortable and dry. What more could a 3-Dayer ask for?

Friday, July 01, 2005


What an awesome town. My friend, Danny Whitt, met me at my hotel today and we walked to lunch and around the city. Sitting at Frog Pond in Boston Common now. 78 degrees, sunny and only a little humid. Beautiful.

Lunched at the Union Oyster House, the oldest operating restaurant in the country.

When I get home, I will post pictures of the hotel room. A little boutique hotel called the Onyx right in the north side of town.