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Grants Pass




By Frosty Wooldridge
22, 2014

“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.

“What does a man (woman) need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

“The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?” — Sterling Hayden, Wanderer

As you live your life, Hayden gives you something to think about. Are you making the most of it? Is your spirit growing brighter or dimmer with the years? You decide.

We walked into a restaurant next morning.

The waitress said, “What are you guys doing on those bicycles?”

Howard said, “Coast to coast. Pacific to Atlantic.”

She said, “You boys must be insane.”

Wayne said, “I think Forrest Gump said, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’ We’re just crazy enough to ride instead of run like Mr. Gump.”

Riding out of town, we pedaled past 120-year-old buildings. I love the old architecture with its flavor, taste, style and history. I once visited a 1,000-year-old church in Italy. Walking up the rock steps, I noticed the rock worn down over one inch on each step. That meant that countless thousands of people tread upon those steps over the centuries, lived their lives and died. I added to their numbers, and I too, one day will die, but I also wore down those steps. Isn’t life amazing?

As I pedaled out of town, a guy on the other side of the street yelled, “Hey, can I talk with you?”

“Sure,” I said.

He ran across the road, looked at my sign, “Across America.” And, my website:

“Your buddy passed a few minutes ago so I figured a friend would follow,” he said.

“Yeah, that’s my brother Howard,” I said.

“You guys are the first of the season on a coast to coast ride,” he said. “Hey, I own a bike shop just down the street. I’m the regional director for cycling routes in Central Oregon. We’ve got nine routes of every grade coming out of John Day. If you come through again, there’s lots of day rides.”

“That’s great,” I said.

“I like your website about “How to Live a Life of Adventure.” I bought your book. I loved it. I’m amazed to meet the author. My name is Jack,” he said. “Can I stock your book in my shop?”

“Yes sir,” I said, shaking his hand when he gave me his name as Jack. “Just call the publisher at 1-888-280-7715 for wholesale copies.”

“Thanks,” he said. “Take care and ride safely.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Jack,” I said. “Thanks for creating riding routes here in Oregon.”

(Oregon provides beauty all around you. Mountains, plains, endless forests and beautiful lakes.)

The road remained flat all the way to Prairie City. We followed the “chip” trail of debris left by the lumber trucks pulling endless trees out of the high country.

Suddenly, the road climbed toward Dixie Pass at 5,279 feet. We enjoyed 40 mph tail winds, but dark clouds followed them. At the top, hail hit us, then rain, and then more hail. We took a quick picture with hailstones pounding us, and then, down through the cold air, through endless curves. We pulled up another pass to see a huge Conestoga wagon that signified the settlers riding along the Oregon Trail.

A sign near the wagon reported that Honey Mushroom spread over 35 square miles and it’s the largest living organism in the world the size of 1,600 football fields.

We climbed another pass at 5,100 feet and coasted down to some flats with more rain pouring down on us. We stopped at the Unity Café with Tangie an ex-Registered Nurse, the new owner. She featured a fish tank and an ornate bar that welcomed guests.

After dinner, we slept out back with a raging rainstorm pouring down on us. My tent suffered a rain-soaked floor. I wiped it down before setting down the air mattress and sleeping bag. During the night, it dropped to 20 degrees. We froze our butts off. Adventure may not always be comfortable, but it’s still adventure.

Ice in the morning covered our tents. We broke the ice off and folded up the tents. We ate breakfast at the Café. As we shoved off, Howard’s rear tire suffered a flat. Long and short of it, it took two hours to get the fat fixed after several leaks.

We rode 50 miles over two passes at 4,100 feet and 3,900 feet. We climbed and descended all day through the barren hills and ever-drier bush scape.

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We camped in a little park with a fireplace, spare wood, picnic table and spring grass shooting up from the long winter. Hot stew sure tastes good after a long day in the saddle. Oh, and don’t forget the soothing joy of a cup of hot chocolate. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

You might call this a “hard” couple of days of riding, climbing and coasting. But in reality, we pedaled some miles, carried through beautiful landscape, lots of birds, a few deer and some nice people. Life is good.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

© 2014 Frosty Wooldridge - All Rights Reserved

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Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His published books include: "HANDBOOK FOR TOURING BICYCLISTS"; “STRIKE THREE! TAKE YOUR BASE”; “IMMIGRATION’S UNARMED INVASION: DEADLY CONSEQUENCES”; “MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE TO ALASKA: INTO THE WIND—A TEEN NOVEL”; “BICYCLING AROUND THE WORLD: TIRE TRACKS FOR YOUR IMAGINATION”; “AN EXTREME ENCOUNTER: ANTARCTICA.” His next book: “TILTING THE STATUE OF LIBERTY INTO A SWAMP.” He lives in Denver, Colorado.






We rode 50 miles over two passes at 4,100 feet and 3,900 feet. We climbed and descended all day through the barren hills and ever-drier bush scape.