Damaris’ Aug 8 Blog Entry ~ SnR Tour of Discovery along #acaLewisClark route and #acaPacCoast while visiting #NatlParkService Parks
This entire tour (Lewis & Clark Trail, Buffalo Soldier Trail, and Pacific Coast Highway) has been one life changing experience. It’s been especially life changing for me because I’ve never been to this part of the US before and before my senior year in high school I’ve only been to Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Not only did I learn an awful lot about myself I’ve also learned how to push myself both physically and mentally. Two of the most important things you need to learn how to accomplish in order to succeed in life. This tour has also strengthened my love for biking and camping that I definitely plan to continue doing for as long as I possibly can.
I’m also very appreciative, not only on this trip but, for everything, I have and everyone around me.
Jeimy – SnR 2012 Tour of Discovery Completed! Traveling Along the #acaLewisClark and #acaPacCoast Routes
We’ve done it again! Spoke ‘n Revolutions Youth Cycling has managed to have another successful cycling tour. This year, as a returning cyclist, I expected somewhat of the same conditions we had last year but boy was I wrong! Cycling the Underground Railroad was nowhere close to cycling the Lewis & Clark and Pacific Coast Hwy routes. We faced different terrains, weather patterns and above all, history.
From the start of the trip to the ride home it was interesting to see us cycle/ride through mountains, deserts and grasslands. I remember complaining of how flat Iowa was and how after a while I needed to see something else other than fields and fields of corn. Once we hit the rolling hills and grasslands I started to miss those flat road days. But it was nothing we couldn’t handle, especially now since we have gone up some of the toughest passes in the mountains. The best part of those passes is when you finally reach the top after suffering through going up that hill and just looking straight ahead seeing the most beautiful downhill ride view you’ve ever seen. I LOVED going down the hills because if felt like you were on a rollercoaster! It gave you an adrenaline rush and only lasted for a few minutes. The only part I didn’t like were the sharp turns because they would freak me out and I’d have to ride my brakes so I wouldn’t crash into the woods or rocks (poetic license in use here to add more drama).
Not only did we do lots of cycling this tour but we did our fair share of hikes, as well. We climbed (hiked) around in the Badlands, Redwoods, the trail to Jerry Johnston Warm Springs (outside of LoLo, MT), Grand Canyon, beaches, Yellowstone, and so many more places. We were able to see things we’ve never seen before like Banana Slugs (haha), elk, prairie dogs, bison (buffalo), hot springs, national monuments and national parks! I find it incredible how we managed to visit so many places in so little time. Doing this has definitely inspired me to continue doing this in my future. I really wouldn’t have changed anything about this trip. It was fun and we got to meet so many new people and see new places.
Well, there is one thing I would change, or should I say be more prepared for, and that would be next time packing more longsleeve shirts and sweaters because it got extremely cold (to me) when we got to Yellowstone National Park and most places west of there. Those that know me understand that I do not favor the cold. During the cold nights I would sleep with my fuzzy PJ pants and sweatpants. If I still got cold then I would do the next best thing and go ask my sister if I could get into her sleeping bag. When we got closer to Nevada you could immediately feel the heat. The tables on the weather had definitely turned. In our in Las Vegas the temperature was 103* outside (it was a “dry” heat) and I couldn’t stop thinking of how much I wanted that cold mountain weather. Because in the cold you could always put on another layer (if you had it) but as a woman you can only shed so many layers before your image changes (haha). Anyway, the one thing I will take from this is to always pack appropriately and check the WEATHER beforehand to know WHAT to pack.
In addition to noticing changes in the weather and our surroundings we began to notice how we all were changing mentally and physically. If this tour does anything it would be the fact that it challenges a person to work as a team and be more open-minded. A very good skill to have in any environment. I know that I have learned to become more open socially and took the opportunity to grow a bonding friendship with more people than my sister. The skill to become more open socially came in handy as we cycled and encountered other solo cyclists who joined us for a few miles to a few nights. We met Balthazar who is an English professor in New York. He flew to Seattle, bought a bike from a shop very much like The ReCYCLEry and began heading east. We met Rob who stayed with us for about three days. He was extremely nice and even played Apples to Apples with us. Last, but not least by any stretch, is Michelle who cycled from Chapel Hill, NC to Portland, OR. As you know we had a chance encounter with her in Yellowstone as she was heading west ALONE. She joined us in Portland and rode the Pacific Coast Hwy with the SnR group. She’s definitely an inspiration to all of us!
The historical aspect of this trip granted me a lot more opportunities to learn the history of the Native Americans. In school we sometimes cover the mistreatment of them and how they were forced onto reservations but we never actually focused on how that has affected them as a people and their lives today. We got the chance to bike through some of the reservations and you could always tell when you were in one. Some neighborhoods wer run down and the schools looked like they could use a little bit more support. The times we did talk to local residents they all seemed extremely nice and always commented how they hoped they could have some organization that helped their young teenagers to do better in school and in their lives.
When you actually think about it their tragic story of demise began shortly after the end of slavery and is just over 150 years old. Something interesting that I learned is that there were over 200 known treaties between the nations and the U.S.; not one was honored. Every single one was broken.
On the 4th of July in South Dakota I got a chance to experience the effects of how the Native American identity has been transformed over the years. We were running some errands that day and a Native American man came up to a few of us and asked some questions. He seemed nice but what caught me off guard was his last comment. He said that he was Native American and “not worth anything”. I was shocked to hear someone say that about themselves but is just shows the harsh reality in which many people live in and how depressing it can be.
Overall, I really enjoyed getting a chance to be on this tour. I had many unforgettable experiences. For example, I will most definitely NOT forget my big accident where, even though I literally flew into the air, I got no major scratch on myself. This is the day I realized how much we all cared for one another. I did have a major headache the next day and some whiplash (muscle strain in my neck) but nothing I couldn’t handle. It is something I can cross of my list of “must do’s” on a cycling tour, just like being getting interviewed by a little kid.
When we were in Seaside, OR we took a short break at the beach to take a picture with a statue of Lewis & Clark. There a little boy, no older than 11, came up to me with his family and started asking hundreds of questions about what I was doing. After the deluge of questions was over (interrogation) I asked him if he would ride his bike one day. At first, he said no but after I told him it would be SO much fun he changed his mind and said YES. That was one of my favorite moments. Getting the opportunity to talk to a kid and maybe get him interested in riding his bike, too.
This will always be an unforgettable journey for me. The chance to see several National Parks and monuments in such little time while exploring another part of our vast country. Even though most of the group is getting ready to go to college this fall I know that the friendships we made during the summer will keep going on. I enjoyed being part of this group and feel extremely lucky to be getting the opportunity to do this again next year. And knowing Kevin and Ms. Sue they will not let me down and will plan another fantastic tour next summer. It’s amazing to say you’ve cycled the Lewis & Clark and Pacific Coast Hwy routes but even more rewarding is the fact that you did it on recycled bikes with a group of friends that helped create some of the most memorable moments in time.
It’s a bitter-sweet feeling to know that the trip is basically over. I’m happy that I can finally see my old friends and my family. But, I made new friends on this trip that are just like family. When we get back to Chapel Hill I will tell my friends all the stories but they won’t understand me fully because they weren’t actually there. If I want to talk to Mahlique or Jeimy about the things we did on the trip they will, of course, know exactly what I’m talking about. For example, the clothespin game! It was lots of fun while it lasted. This is where you secretly attach a clip-on clothespin somewhere on a person’s clothing. Very similar to a game of “Tag” but with a big surprise in the discovery that you’ve been TAGGED!
Also, Jo Jo would laugh hysterically when I reminded him of the time that he tossed a frog onto Maysa’s back but no one else outside of the tour really knows that story. It is one of the many things we share amongst the group. I am never going to forget this trip and the people who I journeyed with. The North and South Dakota Badlands, Yellowstone and the Grand Teton are only a few of the memories of the National Parks that we’ll share. Natural beauty, the friendships that were strengthened or the new friendships that were created made those locations some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of my life.
There are a lot of people out there who can’t say that they’ve been to half of the places that I have this summer and I’m proud to not only say that I’ve seen the places in person but, most importantly, that I was able to enjoy those places with people close to my heart.
Damaris’ Aug 5 Blog Entry ~ SnR Tour of Discovery along #acaLewisClark route and #acaPacCoast while visiting #NatlParkService Parks
As an aspiring marine biologist and travel-loving biker, biking down the Pacific Coast is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done, so far. Not only did I see some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States by visiting the National Parks but I also got to see some fo the most interesting marine animals on earth; such as seals, starfish, carb and gray whales. Seeing and interacting with these creatures has always been a dream of mine. Doing this trail has got me planning another coastal tour in the future.
We are finally on the coast and it is gorgeous! I have never been out here and it is everything I dreamed it would be and more. After a long day of riding it feels nice to know that I can sit down, relax and watch the sun fall beneath that gigantic blue horizon. On days we would stop and just take a break on the beach most of the time we would find starfish or crabs. If we found them we would take the time to take photographs so our families could see what we did.
Once we made it to the campground we often had ocean lookouts and we would go as a group and search to water for signs of life. Almost every single day we would see whales resurfacing for air or see seals sunning themselves on large rock formations and often large colorfully billed birds. I have never seen anything like that before in my life.
Once we made it to California we decided to go to the Redwood forest, the tallest trees in the world that can only be found in this one specific spot in California (and as I just learned there are four here in Chapel Hill). When we actually got a chance to hike through the Redwood Forest we saw trees so tall that you would become dizzy in the effort. Banana Slugs, a sign of a healthy forest ecosystem, were found everywhere. We were able to walk through a hollowed out base of a tree and you could tell that the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees! Now I have bragging rights in saying that I have been to the Redwood National Forest.
Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement that folks in Whitehall and the area are not representative of the person in Cardwell.
For the record, the gas station/RV Park/Casino is in Cardwell. It doesn’t have septic and folks have to drive to Whitehall and use the Whitetail RV Park there. I can’t find where we’ve written the name of the RV Park but it changed name and owners and are trying to get back on its feet from the actions of the previous owner.
The list goes very long for our stay there in Whitehall because from the very beginning Justin, who was managing the property that day, was gracious, obliging and welcoming. He moved his trailer so that we can pitch our tents, he gave my wife a soda after her long ride (which was big for her), he allowed us to use his grill and even broke bread with us. He was fantastic.
The Whitetail RV Park (I think that’s the name) also has a laundry that they allow the townspeople to use as well as a car wash. Justin was great and from the comments of residents of Whitehall he would have made you proud. Justin is how we remember Whitehall, MT.
I’m sorry if there was some confusion about where the event occurred. We remember Whitehall fondly.
THANK YOU, JUSTIN!!
Joseph ~ Expressions Along the Lewis and Clark Trail (#acaLewisClark) on The Tail End of the SnR Tour of Discovery
I’ll never forget the day we reached the west coast. We had only left Portland, OR a couple of days before
and we made it there cycling all the way. The closer we got to the beach the stronger the headwinds became. Once we reached the end of the roads and were cycling alongside the sands and the ocean I knew the ending of the Lewis and Clark journey was near. As usual, Mr. Brogden was in front and the rest of us followed. While maintaining my balance, I leaned my bike to the right to look ahead beyond the line of cyclists. There, in the near distance, I saw a large crowd of people gathered around the gigantic statue of Lewis and Clark. A big sign in front of the monument spelled out the words “End of Trail”. I think we all were relieved to finally reach the end of the trail. It was a personal goal of Itza, Mahlique and I to cycle the entire route and we had achieved that goal. I was proud of our accomplishment.
I thought about how hard it must have been for everyone on the expedition to walk the distance. With that thought came a greater respect for the men, woman and child who had the courage to help link the eastern United States to the west.
Jeimy (Luis)~ Tour of Discovery along #acaLewisClark and Pacific Coast Tour along #acaPacCoast Complete!
Once we started this part of the tour you could immediately notice a major difference in the terrain. I really enjoyed cycling the coast because for almost the whole trip we were riding along the ocean. Even though it looked the same at every turn you could never get tired of looking at its beauty. My favorite moments were during the late mornings because when you looked out to the ocean it almost always seemed as the sky and the sea became one at the horizon. After a long day’s ride the sunsets were just as breathtaking and lovely.
Like the Lewis and Clark part of the tour we had so many memorable moments that I will never forget them. Most of them having to do with the relaxing times when we all just “hung out”, climbed around the shore cliffs and explored our surroundings for the evening.
If you didn’t know, I collect shot glasses and have been able to pick one up from every state we’ve visited so far. On our second to last day in Oregon I realized I hadn’t purchased one yet so in almost every town we passed through I’d stop to look but at each stop there were none to be found. Our last day in Oregon I only had a four mile window (not much time in cycling terms) to find one before we entered into California. This is the day I realized how everyone on the trip had bonded with one another because everyone, including the adults, helped me find a shot glass to add to my collection. It was fortuitous that we stopped in a little shopping area to get our touring coffee addicts their daily fix (I mean their thrice daily cup of coffee) and there it was, my Oregon Lighthouse shot glass! I enjoyed this day so much because it was like a man-hunt, except for a hunt for a shot glass.
Another moment I enjoyed was the last day of the Pacific Coast Highway where we made it to San Francisco. We stayed at a hotel right outside the city. Once we unpacked we piled back into the van and headed to Chinatown. Uncle Rich treated us all to “I ♥ San Francisco” t-shirts and I, of course, got my shot glass. Afterwards we walked around until we found a nice Vietnamese restaurant to have dinner. The food was great and we got a chance to watch the track and field events in the Olympics.
With dinner over we walked around a little more, poking our heads into shops here and there. In one of them Rich bought some candy in which he let me help decide which flavors were best to select. We also hit up a bakery and got deals on quite a few delicious baked goods. I got some sort of paper cupcake which turned out to be so delicious that I decided to learn how to make some when I got back home.
On our way back to the hotel we were looking out into the city when we saw a random group of people dancing and figured it was a flash-mob. Of course we stopped and went to join them and dance for a while. It turned out to be a pre-wedding event and they wanted anyone who desired to join them in their celebration. So we did. It was extremely fun. Everyone was laughing and having a great time. That was a great idea. Watch out Chapel Hill/Carrboro there might be one coming to town soon. It was a perfect ending to our tour and another moment to add to our collection of beautiful, unforgettable moments.
Cycling to Astoria, OR was chilly, windy and full of hills, yet it was still pretty great! We arrived to the campsite an hour before it started sprinkling rain. We set up our tents and started “cooking” ramen noodles for dinner. Even if it was sprinkling nothing could place a damper on our arrival to Astoria!
Rich took a handful of us to Fred Meyer (a chain similar to a Super Wal-Mart but BETTER) to buy our celebration desert which consisted of pies, brownies, s’mores and (haha) salad. This was a specific donation in honor of our arrival to Astoria and completion of the Lewis & Clark tour by Tod’s friend in Japan, Portly Joe. Thank you SO much, Mr. Joe! We were going to have a sugar overload that night but decided to eat only the ice cream and have deserts for the next couple of nights.
The next morning we cycled to Seaside, OR to officially end the Lewis & Clark SnR Tour of Discovery. Prior to reaching Seaside we visited a sunken ship just outside of Ft. Stevens State Park. Now that was cool as it was full of barnacles. This was also we saw the Pacific Ocean. Wow, not really what I was expecting. It was cold and cloudy; but we still wanted to jump in and swim. So, we did! Mahlique, Jeimy, Maysa, Jojo, Sammy and I went in for a quick dip. BUURRR, it was ice cold!! We lightly dried off, got back on the bikes and headed to Seaside. When we arrived we took out last Lewis & Clark photo at the statue. What a bittersweet moment.
WE DID IT!! The SnR crew successfully completed the Lewis & Clark Trail. I was in amazement. Nothing could top or come close to the fun times we had. We saw so many animals, built camp fires, went through tons of beautiful places, raced Mr. Brogden, met many cyclists, saw many bikers, wrote songs, and picked and ate blackberries that grew wild along the side of the road. As a result of our experiences we’ve become more like a family. We all have each other’s backs, no matter what. The adventure doesn’t stop here it continues on.
Pacific Coast Highway, here we come!
Damaris’ July 26 Blog Entry ~ SnR Tour of Discovery along #acaLewisClark route and #acaPacCoast while visiting #NatlParkService Parks
I‘m sad to say that we’ve arrived in Astoria and the SnR Tour of Discovery along the Lewis and Clark Trail is over. The Lewis and Clark Trail was amazing! We saw everything from bison and bald eagles to wild burros and elk. I thought I had already known everything about their trip from taking the Civil Ware and American West courses in high school but I was terribly mistaken. I learned a great deal more from not only the random historic sites on the roadsides but the interactive museums, as well.
Biking the trail was hard so I can imagine how hard it was for the Lewis and Clark corps to do it on foot while carrying all of their materials. This trail also made me appreciate history a lot more because learning all that I have I would be one clueless American.