A man, a plan, a bicycle – Elcycibanalpanama!

Another journey begins! Nick and I made the drive from Oakland to Florence without incident. It turns out that the wages of 10 weeks on a bicycle is 9 hours on I-5 in an oversized SUV.
I’m now on a bus heading back to Florence after dropping off our car in Eugene. Almost finished with the logistical acrobatics so that we can finally start riding bikes!

Tatonka, eager to get out on the road
Trigger from 20 years ago – note I’m still using the same rear panniers!

Bums United

  • Yesterday, I pushed my bike over a sand dune to do the requisite ‘wheel dip’ in the Pacific Ocean
  • Had a lovely ride out of Florence with a pretty nice tail wind most of the day
  • The campground we were aiming for was closed, but we ended up finding a decent spot tucked in behind the volunteer fire department at triangle lake.
  • This morning, we hit up the father’s day pancake breakfast at the local Grange – 5 stars, would eat again
  • Pretty gentle ride to Eugene to meet up with Michael
  • Decided to stay in Eugene whilst Nick reconsidered his relationship with his knee

Excelsior! To the summit

Mike here, it’s been a while. I flew into Eugene, unpacked the bike, and ride straight to Mago Gilson’s lovely AirBnb where she taught me to play La Bamba on the Jarana into the wee hours of the night.

The next morning I wandered around Eugene until the other bums arrived.

Nick’s knee was bothering him, so we decided to take the rest of the day to let him recover, which culminated in a late night hot tub rental.

The next day Nick was feeling better enough to ride. We rode 67 miles, which was longer than we intended, but the McKenzie forest fires of 2000 destroyed several of the campgrounds we were looking for.

We camped at McKenzie bridge campground, 26 miles from the peak of McKenzie Pass. Today we climb!


  • Last night was pretty chilly – probably lower 40s/upper 30s – but we all had the gear for it
  • We got a good start this morning, but got a bit waylaid at the weird boutique general store/restaurant in McKenzie Bridge
  • We began our ascent of McKenzie Pass – we know the eastern side was closed due to repaving, but a cyclist we met yesterday assured us we could just wait until after the crews had finished to descend. The prospect of a no/low traffic ride over the pass seemed worth it, plus the alternative was 20 miles longer and not as scenic (it’s pretty common that when a gate on a road goes up, the cyclists come out to play)
  • We made decent time riding up the pass, and to our joy there was very little traffic since there was no through route for cars. And wow was it gorgeous! It was a nice, sunny day but the thick foliage provided plenty of shade
  • We were about halfway up when we stopped for lunch – we cooked up some fancy veggie burgers with onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Pretty lux.
  • Unfortunately, while we were cleaning up from lunch, a couple of cyclists heading down informed us that there was a guard posted at the top of the pass that wasn’t letting anyone through, and that guards were posted 24 hours. We had been led astray
  • We didn’t have much of a choice to turn around and descend back down the near-2000 feet we had climbed, and then take the alternate route over santiam pass. I wouldn’t say it was worth it, but the blazing descent was really fun
  • The main road wasn’t awful, but it was a let down after what we had just done – more traffic and less shade
  • We knew we were too cooked to make it over the pass – we did probably around 5k of climbing today – so we aimed for a campsite near the top, only to find it was full!
  • No worries – the ever-adaptive bike bums found a cozy spot to pitch off a forest road. After a tasty quesadilla dinner, we’re now snug in our tents
  • Tomorrow: santiam pass, Sisters, and a hang with some Pandora nerds


  • Woke up, packed up, and headed to the resort on the other side of the lake which the website said opened at 7am for breakfast. Found out when we hit there at 8:15 that they didn’t open until 9. We didn’t end up getting our food until 10:15, and then had to crawl back up to the highway on a crazy steep road: 300 feet over 0.4 miles. But the view from the dock was gorgeous.
  • Had a long slog up to the pass with heavy traffic most of the way. I think all the climbing we did yesterday caught up to us
  • The descent down into Sisters was a nice relief, and the 20 miles went by quickly
  • Met my work friends Daniel and Chris at a nice taproom/food truck area. Very cool to see them
  • Decided to take it easy and stay at the city park in sisters. We have to say goodbye to Nick tomorrow as he is going to ride down to Bend to visit his brother.

All the Feels: another day in Dayville

We spent the night in sisters, at the hiker/biker campground, which had a lovely shower facility, and a creek that was perfect for chilling a six pack.

After a nice breakfast with Nick, Greg and I headed out for Terrebonne and beyond.

We had a minor misdirection in Redmond, but wound up on a beautiful backcountry road before having a late afternoon beer in Prineville.

We made it most of the way up the Ochoco Pass, before my sit bone pain— which had been accumulating over the past day and a half— finally forced its attention upon us. We camped off a national Forest Road among the mosquitoes, had another pasta dinner and were in our tents before sunset.

This morning, we rode around 30 miles into Mitchell. It’s worth noting that the last time we were there there was a bear in a cage downtown, and the town was under siege by a gang of rambunctious bikers. Mitchell appears to have grown up quite a bit since then, with a swanky beer garden, and a bustling gravel/mountain bike scene.

At lunch, I made the executive decision to take the remainder of the day off from riding in order to rest my aching butt. From there, Greg headed east toward Dayville by bike, and I spent around an hour and a half thumbing a ride out 26. I was picked up by a friendly, bikey couple from Bend, OR, Elisia (?) and Chris (?). They had a tricked out sprinter van and were headed to Colorado for some mountain biking. They’re both transit/bike advocates by profession. They gave me a beer when they dropped me off!

We are now staying at the Dayville community church where I was met by Cindy and Skip who showed me the Wi-Fi and gave me a tour of the church. What am amazing place, and such gracious hosts!

I relaxed on a pew for a while until Greg arrived, then we had a terrific dinner at the Dayville Café. We’re now doing laundry and having showers back at the church.

I’m hoping for a fresh start tomorrow morning where will continue east toward toward Prairie city and eventually Baker city hopefully my butt holds out.

Sad wrap up, from the Boise airport

Saturday morning we woke up in Dayville and had another great meal, including pie, at the Dayville cafe. We visited a bit with the new owner of the Dayville mercantile, and then headed out toward Mt Vernon. Sadly, the antique shop where I played music with the locals 20 years ago was no longer. We passed thru John Day during the hottest part of the day, so we sat and had a couple beers at a brewery before Greg insisted on a blizzard at the local DQ.

We ended the day in Prairie City, where 20 years ago we sat in a hot tub with a high school kid overlooking the Strawberry Mountains. We didn’t see trace of him, and his parent’s restaurant— the Branding Iron— appeared to be gone. We are Mexican food at a place called El Cocinero, stopped at the grocery store, and then headed back to camp.

However! On riding back to our campsite, we happened to see a back alley entrance to an apparently secret bar, the Branding Iron! We walked in, and Greg quickly realized that we were in the back of the Mexican restaurant in which we’d just eaten! Wild. We had a couple drinks, played some shuffle board and then retired.

The next day was perhaps the most challenging day of the trip. Three separate climbs totaling over 3000 feet, and heat over 90 degrees. We ran out of water just as we reached the 3rd summit, with another 12 miles to go before the campground (mostly downhill). It’s only the 2nd time ever while touring that I’ve flagged a passing truck to see if they were willing to give us some water. Fortunately a very nice British lady driving a white Ford F450 was willing to oblige with multiple bottles of cold water.

Union Lake campground on Phillips lake was really splendid. We got in with a couple hours before sunset, and had a swim before dinner and an early goodnight.

Today was just about 20 miles into Baker City, where once we spent 2 days carousing with world traveler and adventurer extraordinaire Brian Barrows. Greg tells me he has an entertaining YouTube channel now!

Anyway, we picked up a UHaul, and Greg delivered me to the Boise airport after we’d dropped off my bicycle at Bob’s bike shop in sprawling Boise.

I think it’ll be a few days before my butt fully heals, but it was well worth it to catch up with old friends in hauntingly familiar places. Till next time, keep the rubber side down friends!

Lone Bum

After sadly dropping Mike off at the airport, I made the lonely drive back to Baker City. I’m now staying at a very cool hostel – the owners, Brian and Corinne, moved here from New York City for the art scene. They bought an old schoolhouse and put a lot of work into it to transform it into a combination art space and hostel. Check it out! https://www.churchillbaker.com/


  • Left the schoolhouse bike hostel and headed out into the eastern Oregon prairie yesterday morning
  • Met a group of eastbounders, two of whom were from Troy, Ohio… Buckeyes are well represented on the Transamerica this year
  • There was a roadside stop where you could see the ruts made by the wagons on the Oregon trail… But forgot to take a picture. There was also a Oregon trail museum, but it was like 500 feet up switchbacks, so I skipped it
  • The nice thing about doing this route again is that I can verify my memory of different places. For example, yes, that hill east of Richland, Oregon really is as brutal as I remember
  • Despite the oppressive heat (someone told me it was 104 when I rolled into the campground), I still managed to pedal 72 miles yesterday – mostly because I got around two feet down for every foot up. But man, that Richland hill was pretty rough in the heat
  • At the campground I met a guy who was touring around on a scooter. He said he was training for a race called the scooter cannonball. He had like 1/4 the gear I have, cuz it turns out you can’t pack too much weight on a scooter
  • Got an early start this morning because I had another big climb – about 2400 feet. Strangely, I didn’t remember anything about this climb. It was steeper and longer than yesterday’s – I think it took me an hour and a half to go five miles. Thankfully, there was some cloud cover to veil me from the angry orb in the sky – it even rained a bit, which was a nice change
  • Stopped at a grocery store/cafe with a large “No politics” sign on the door, directly above a “Trump 2024” sign. Again, forgot to take a picture
  • I picked up the Weiser River bike path from Cambridge to Council – about 16 miles. It was nice to be out of the traffic, but the gravel trail really slowed me down, which isn’t ideal for the end of the day
  • Saw a black bear on the trail – I think it was a small adult, but could have been a large cub, which made me nervous since we surprised each other at a distance of about 15 feet. I made a lot of noise, and was not mauled, so that’s good.. But also, no pictures
  • Managed to eke out 62 miles, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider my average speed was 7.9, meaning I spent almost 8 hours in the saddle today. Oof.
  • Had some really good pizza and beer for dinner, and now I’m in my tent, about to pass out