Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tiptoe Through The Tulips: Euphorbia Milii splendens (Crown of Thorns)

Euphorbias encompass an enormous amount of variety among the different species. Some look very much like a cactus, with large diameter stems and branches, and then some look like really spiky rose bushes with dainty flowers. This week I'm profiling the latter type (the other type is also in the yard and will get it's own day in the spotlight).

In researching this plant, I have found that mine is way too tall and gangly. This is supposed to be more like a bush than the four-foot-long spiky stem ending with six leaves and a smalle cluster of pink flowers like I have now. These tolerate significant pruning, and should be pruned to promote a fuller plant. I also found out how to propagate this plant, and it's one of the more tricky cutting propagaters to deal with (cut it, soak in water to prevent the sap from all leaking out, let it dry and callous over the cut, and then plant it with sparse amounts of water until the roots come out). However, if I cut it back, using the cuttings to make new plants and to promote the existing healthy (but lanky) plant to grow fuller, maybe I'll be in a position to replace the plant with rooted cuttings if I ended up pruning too far. Hopefully I don't go the other direction and kill the plant by too much pruning while also failing to get the cutting to root. I just keep hoping that my brown thumb is getting a little greener through all this research and learning.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Random Ten

I hadn't done a random ten since my concert roundup this summer, so I was ready to get back to my iTunes list (and away from the homogeneity that was the Pandora selections). Here is what it sent my way as a welcome back present.

"You Picked Me" by A Fine Frenzy on Single of the Week
"Overture" from The Phantom of the Opera
"Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" by Neil Diamon on The Essential Neil Diamond
"I Hold Your Hand In Mind" by Tom Lehrer on Song & More Songs
"Acrobat" by U2 on Achtung Baby
"Big City" by Merle Haggard on His Epic Hits: The First Eleven
"On the Wings of a Dream" by John Denver on The Very Best of John Denver
"The Everlasting" by Geoff Moore & The Distance* on Pure and Simple
"Needful Hands" by Jars of Clay* on God of Wonders
"X Amount of Words" by Blue October on Foiled

And the randomizer wins! This has got to be the weirdest collection of songs I've ever had come up. Current rock, old rock, Christian rock, old country, show tunes, and novelty music. How does that all fit in a single random ten? It's wacky, but I liked it. Welcome back, indeed.

* Acts I've seen live

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tiptoe Through The Tulips: Crassula perfoliata (Propeller Plant)

After a bike-riding hiatus I'm back to chronicling my backyard plant identification journey. Thanks to Amy for the tip on this week's plant. We both have this in our yards, but she was faster at figuring out what it was. I did look up the official name, though.

Sometimes called a red crassula or a scarlet paintbrush, this succulent took a very long time, probably three weeks, to come to full bloom. Initially, the flower was a set of barely-colored buds, like you see here, and then the red color became more prominent, and then each of the little buds opened into small red flowers with yellow centers. My camera appears to have eaten the pictures from that stage of the blooming, so you'll just have to take my word for the fact that stage was really pretty.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day Seven Summary

Thursday was another long day, but motivated by the knowledge that we were "almost there" for the last three or four hours, GB just kept going. Let me step back a bit, and share some pictures from previous, as well.

We spent parts of Tuesday in the Muir Woods. There is something about really big trees that makes a person only able to take pictures of very small things. Well, at least this person.

Here we have some of the ferns that were everywhere in the cold dark underneath of the forest. I think they make the air cooler just by being there in the shade. It's probably psychological, but I couldn't help feeling like I was in the frozen foods part of the grocery store instead of the cereal aisle whenever I was around them.

The bark of the redwoods and the enormous douglas firs is just wild to look at. It's so intricate that I felt like I could have taken bark pictures all day long and still not actually expressed how different it looks from each angle and on each tree.

Speaking of bark, this is a closeup of another tree with some of its bark stripped off and moss growing on it. I think I want these colors in my kitchen one day.

We headed north, and spent the next day driving through the redwoods, and spent the next afternoon in the Jedediah Smith park, with these beautiful views along the river. We camped there for the night.
We'd packed the camping gear in case we ended up having to stay in an unpopulated place at the end of one of the ride days, and it came in very handy for an enjoyable night in the woods.
Amongst all the enormity of the trees, I loved capturing the delicacy of something like this dainty white flower in the groundcover. And sorrel is just one of my favorite plants, so I love to photograph it any time I find it.
This redwood sorrel that we saw everywhere in the park was large like the trees and purple on the undersides of the leaves. It still had the great tart taste of the more common yellow wood sorrel.

Out of the camping site, we knew there was still a ways to go, so GB headed out the "door" and was on the road around 8am. It was a little later than other days, since camping requires you to live by the setting and rising of the sun, which wasn't until about 7 in the morning. He headed into the cold mountain air, and I went back to the last town and got a bit of work done.

Once I left town to chase him down, I got the pleasure of the beautiful scenery GB had been enjoying all morning. The mountain streams. The neverending lines of trees. The sunshine warming everything up. The reflections off the water. I could have stood there and soaked up the natural beauty for days. But there was a bicyclist that was waiting for me to catch up. Apparently I lollygagged a bit too long, and he was well passed our rendezvous point by the time I caught up with him.

In fact, he had passed this sign before I caught him:

We met at Grant's Pass, ate a bit and tried to decide what to do next. GB was tired, but he wanted to just go until he was completely out of steam. We were so close, you see. So we mapped out the rest of the route to keep us off the highways, and I leapfrogged him in the car pretty close. That turned out to be a good idea, since he was going through the liquids really fast. We'd started the morning in our coldest start of the trip, and we were ending it in the hottest afternoon. The temperature was up in the mid-30s (mid-90s), and the sun was beating down on him hard. At Medford, we saw a sign that said we were just 7 miles to Ashland, so GB pressed on, and we arrived in town about 6 in the evening. The route for the day ended up like the map below.

It was such an impressive ride, and so much was learned about future trips we might want to take. One lesson is the next time we come to Oregon, we're taking the train. It was a great experiment, though. Now we're enjoying our weekend, and we'll head back on Monday taking all the freeways we've had to avoid for the last week to get back in a fraction of the time it took to get up here.

Statistial Summary:
  • Time on the road: 10 hours
  • Time in the saddle: 7 hours 37 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 67.4 km/hr (42 mi/hr)
  • Average speed: 25.4 km/hr (16 mi/hr)
  • Distance ridden: 194 km (120.5 mi)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Days Five and Six Summary

Short entry today from the tenuous internet connection I have in this fast-food restaurant. The VERY long ride into San Francisco was pretty hard on the knee. I think there is a reason the bike leg of an Ironman distance triathlon is 112 miles -- the body is not really supposed to go longer than that and be able keep going. So we slept in on Tuesday, and took it as a rest day. We toured the Muir Woods a bit, and were completely enthralled by the redwoods and a recently fallen huge douglas fir. We spent the night in Eureka, and spent yesterday in the various redwood forests, culminating in camping in the Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest last night. Beautiful stuff, and it was nice to be outside with the sounds of birds chirping and chipmunks scratching rather than ice machines running and traffic zooming by.

Today GB left from the campsite headed north. It's all in the mountains from here on out and it's way colder than down at the coast (though the sun does come out), and both of those things make life much tougher on the knee, so we'll see how far it goes.

Assuming we have an internet connection later tonight, we'll keep you posted on how today goes!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Day Four Summary

Today we're going to start our summary with the end of the day.

Woohoo! GB made it all the way to, and across, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! There's just nothing like following up a difficult day cut short with a really, really great day -- the longest ever, in fact! I know I'm using a lot of exclamation points, but it just seems appropriate for today.

I have to confess I was a bit dejected after Day Three's ride, that it was going to be all over. I was hoping we'd get to Half Moon Bay for the day, but was expecting a similar knee-induced end of the day about Santa Cruz. Instead, I left the hotel in Monterey in time to meet up with him in SC, but he was doing great, and just kept going. I then proceeded to get lost trying to follow the route. And now I understand why GB was getting lost -- there are large sections of highway where bikes are not allowed (primarily through cities), and so you have to take these winding routes through residential and city streets. Just find one turn not labeled, or the street name changes since the maps we have were made, and you're completely out of whack and trying to find your way back on track. This time, he had no problems, but the Soquel Drive to Soquel Avenue transition was too much for me. Go figure.

I did manage to take some pictures, though. As I proceeded past this cliff up the way, I found they were growing strawberries up there. I hope those berries are as happy as the cows and sheep from the day before.

Since he was continuing on, I continued, too. When I passed him back on the highway, we went with the five-minute refueling stop, and he kept going. I stopped to take a picture of the beach village of Pacifica in our rear view mirror, first, though. I do love how I managed to catch this lunch-time surfer with a wave building behind him. I have no desire to learn to surf, myself, but I like watching them. This guy was the last one finishing up, or I would have tried to get some pictures of them catching some waves.

I don't really have a reason for this picture, but I took it the same day, and just like it. It's where the train meets the beach, and resulted in me getting sand all over the car.

Since things were going well, so far, I went on to Half Moon Bay, got gas for the car and found a cafe to sit in and use the internet connection to get a little work done. GB wandered in behind me within about fifteen minutes (how does he do that??). He sat there about 10 minutes, reloaded up with food and liquids, and said "Golden Gate or bust!" as he headed back out the door. I worked for a little bit more, and then collected my things and headed north. My plan was to find a hotel for us to stay in near the bridge, and then if I had to go back and pick him up, at least we'd have a stopping point already lined up and ready for us. And then I kept not hearing from him that he was too tired to go on and needed me to come get him. After getting settled into the room, I headed out to the far side of the bridge to pick him, and the timing worked out pretty much as perfectly as it could have, and I caught him just finishing the ride across the bridge.

What changed for today? A lot, actually. GB wrote a retired cyclist coworker asking for strategies for riding with a bum knee. He heard back on two primary pointers -- keep the knee out of the cold wind and let it warm up slowly for the first hour or so. He did that -- he wore his warm polar fleece-lined pants, and rode real slow for the first hour. But that wasn't all. There was also the hot-tub therapy and the rest day the day before for at least an hour. And there was the mountain of Advil consumed to keep inflammation down. Or that the sun actually came out for the day, lifting one's spirits and making for a more pleasant day in the outdoors. And he didn't eat anything but Clif bars the whole ride, after a day of eating lots of carbs. Who knows what actually did it, but I'll take the results.

Statistial Summary:
  • Time on the road: 10 hours
  • Time in the saddle: 9 hours, 37 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 65.5 km/hr (40.7 mi/hr)
  • Average speed: 24.9 km/hr (15.5 mi/hr)
  • Distance ridden: 193.6 km (120 mi)
  • Calories burned on the ride: 6573
  • Calories consumed: 3670
  • Protein consumed: 120.5g
  • Unsaturated fats consumed: 61.5g
  • Weight: up 1kg from the start
  • Number of wrong turns: 0 (but 473 or so for Heather)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Day Three Summary

The knee was a problem before the day even really got going. But GB tried anyway, and he still got a pretty good ways up the road before officially succumbing to a rest day. It didn't help that the day was so foggy and cold that he never could warm up, or that the route was so confusing that wrong turns were made and additional mileage had to be covered. By about 11:15 this morning, we made the call to go back to Monterey and hit up the Aquarium and stay in a more comfortable place than last night. We did find a place with a hot tub, so he also soaked some sore muscles in that to try and recover some go-juice for tomorrow. We had certainly built in about a day and a half contingency on the trip, and we only used about a half day today, so things are still looking good for the overall trip, even if today wasn't the perfect ride. Here was our route for the day:

Regardless, we made the best of it, checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, eating on the water, and doing some serious relaxing and recuperating. And since I don't have a lot of stuff to write about the riding today (and because I have a high-speed connection today, and not just a wimpy one), I'll leave you with some pictures from the first three days.

This is from day two, where you can see the wax paper effect that the fog was having on us. Even with the fog, though, the craggy rocks breaking up the ocean's approach to the beach is awfully pretty. I think I could watch waves crash into rocks for hours without ever getting bored.

Here we have the bridge to the mountain that floats in the clouds. Honestly, the ocean is just down there in the whiteness, but it was really odd to be able to hear the waves but not see any confirmation through all those layers of wax paper. Most of day two had scenes like that. It was nice when we were up on a hill above the clouds, but as you descended back into them, it turned cold and wet.

And this is what most everything looked like below the fog level. The colors get washed out and visibility goes down quite a bit. I still love how the cliffs dive into the ocean, even if the overall look is clouded over.

And then this one is almost like a mountain scene with some white stone that looks like snow and those dark evergreen trees.

Check it out! I found a road mileage marker sign that is actually in both miles AND kilometers! It's a metric-conversion-proponent's dream to see such a thing in this country, and I was so excited to find it that I pulled over and took a half-dozen pictures of a road sign.

This morning we came across this bridge -- the Bixby Bridge. It spans two cliffs that overlook an ocean inlet, rather than any kind of creek or river, and that added to its coolness factor.

Here's a cow and some sheep enjoying their bit of pasture land overlooking the ocean. Well, at least I sure hope these animals are enjoying their prime bit of real estate while they eat up some tasty grass. Of course, I suppose they had access to any of this land they wanted before we came along.Wait. Domesticated animals weren't in this part of the world until we came along. So I take back my take-back -- they should appreciate what they have and look up from that tasty grass every once in a while. And not just because crazy people with cameras are around.

Continuing with the animal theme, I like this picture of the jellyfish that I got at the aquarium. Such simple and complex creatures at the same time. They sure do move through the water beautifully.

And, of course, the obligatory on-the-bike photo. See? GB really is riding his bike! This was from the first day as GB was cruising along through the relatively flat part of the route. Oh, how I long for those days of innocence. :) Just kidding, but there really are only so many ways I can take pictures of him as he rides by.

Statistial Summary:
  • Time on the road: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Time in the saddle: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 57.2 km/hr (35.5 mi/hr)
  • Average speed: 22.7 km/hr (14 mi/hr)
  • Distance ridden: 73.8 km (46 mi)
  • Calories burned on the ride: 2356
  • Calories consumed: 3180
  • Protein consumed: 91g
  • Unsaturated fats consumed: 74 g
  • Weight: Not too worried about this today
  • Number of wrong turns: 2

Day Two Summary

GB left around 6:30 in the morning, after realizing that I managed to forget the bike pump (it's probably sitting right there by the door saying "don't forget me!" as we speak). After he left, I finished up my Day One summary, got myself together, and proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes playing back-of-the-Mini-tetris. I didn't do quite as well this day as I did on the first day out of Santa Barbara. It didn't help that I purchased more food the night before during food adjustment mode than we'd consumed so far, so I actually had more to pack in this time. It still worked, it just wasn't as neat.

And then I went on a hunt for a bike shop open early enough to help me out and get me out of town to meet GB in time for our planned refueling. Third try was the charm, and I was leaving San Luis Obispo about 9:30, a good 90 minutes later than I'd intended to leave, so GB was on his own a bit longer than planned. Part of the issue with this leg of the trip is that after the first 30 miles or so, he's into a part of PCH (the Pacific Coast Highway) that is uninhabited. This makes for great vistas and lovely scenery, but it means there is nowhere to stop for lunch or more water or places to stay and no cell phone reception in order to stay connected.

Another challenge was lots of fog in the morning from the ocean. I don't really know why people refer to that as pea soup. I've never tried to look at anything trough pea soup, but it would likely be greenish, and this was not greenish. I think it was more like looking at the scenery through wax paper. It was a bit surreal to have the mountains look like they were floating on clouds, and also to be able to hear the ocean, but not to be able to see it. From the biker's point of view, though, it was more about the fact that in the midst of the fog, the temperature was significantly cooler with lots of moisture in the air, making for uncomfortable riding. When leaving the fogged over area, the temperatures would climb under the efficient sun, and that switching back and forth (between 59 and 75 degrees in the fog or in the sun) takes a lot of energy.

More fun was the emergence into the seriously hilly part of PCH. GB would spend 20 minutes climbing a hill to be ecstatic that it was over, just to be at the bottom of it 30 seconds later to start up the next one. The whole day was pretty much like that -- hill after hill after $%&!@ hill. The positive spin for that was there was a lot of solidarity on the riding. There was some sort of bike race going south on PCH while we were headed north, so we passed a lot of riders along the way. It also meant that as the bike lane shrunk to nothing, the passing cars couldn't help but notice that there were bikes on the road and be nice to them. I ended up talking with a couple that were towing a camper behind their Mini, quite successfully, a guy taking a break during a long motorcycle ride, and a couple that was trying to navigate the same trail I was using to make sure the ocean was still there.

The last 20-30 miles were pretty brutal. GB was out of gas, knees were starting to revolt against the experiment, and the hills were trending upward into Big Sur. So Day Two was called completed as soon as we found a motel on the side of the road with space available. It was 2:45 in the afternoon, and he proceeded to eat a half-pound burger and go to bed.

Here was the route that was followed for the day's riding, which actually matched my driving route:

Day Three ran a bit later on getting started this morning. Our goal for today is Santa Cruz, and less knee pain. We're trying to take it a little easier, and there should be a bit more downhill today to help, as well.

Statistial Summary:
  • Time on the road: 8 hours
  • Time in the saddle: 7 hours, 2 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 60 km/hr (37 mi/hr)
  • Average speed: 24 km/hr (15 mi/hr)
  • Distance ridden: 170.4 km (106 mi)
  • Calories burned on the ride: 5743
  • Calories consumed: 5685
  • Protein consumed: 248.5g
  • Unsaturagted fats consumed: 156.5g
  • Weight: no change from yesterday
  • Number of wrong turns: 0

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Day One Summary

My network connection is pretty iffy at this place, so I'm hoping I can put together all I want to to describe day one before it decides to disappear again.

GB left early in the morning, while I stayed behind to get a little work done, and then to load up the car, secure the house and catch back up to him. I ended up leaving about 2.5 hours after he did, and that turned out to work fine. The first scary part was a tunnel at Gaviotta peak, which GB described as pure terror for 200 yards. The bike lane is a couple inches wide and the car lanes are narrower, too, so the passing vehicles were very close to him. Plus it's dark and really loud in there to go with the tight conditions.

Once he got through there, it was on to Lompoc, for our planned food stop and refreshing of his on-bike supplies. However, I got through the town, and never saw him. How could I have passed him and never notice him? Are bicyclists really that anonymous and commonplace on the side of the road that I never saw him? And then I got a text from him about how he'd taken a wrong turn (two, in fact) and now he was trying to find his way back to the right track. As I was trying to figure out where he was to try to help with that, he figured it out, and was outside of Lompoc headed north again. Apparently he went north a different direction than we'd planned, though, because as I got back to the route, I still never passed him. It turns out he went the other side of a diamond and we ended up at the same point on the other side, even though I was ahead of him. My way was a lot prettier, but his way had a lot less hill climbing to do. I'd call that a win-win.

After turning back to the only other route I could imagine he was on, I eventually saw him northbound while I was headed southbound. 700 miles later, when I could actually turn around, I did so, and caught back up to him, and spent about an hour leapfrogging him and taking pictures. Our modified plan had us stopping in Guadalupe for lunch, and we got there about noon. The last 15 miles coming into Guadalupe had GB riding straight into a pretty fierce wind, so by the time he got in he looked pretty spent. It was a good thing we planned to stop and regroup there. We ate at a Mexican restaurant there that was nice enough to let GB bring his bike inside (Heather forgot the bike lock -- oops!). We ate well and did a good job selecting light foods. GB ate a grilled tilapia fillet with some rice and a small salad. He ate it slow, to give it time to digest a bit before heading back out. Then we set him up with a better route plan, more liquid and more food to eat on the ride and sent him on to San Luis Obispo. There was some talk of going 40 miles further to San Simeon, but I was just so tired from driving that I pushed for stopping at SLO instead. :)

I passed him up and headed to the rendezvous point, sending text messages along the way at confusing intersections. I stopped at two bike stores, looking for a certain gel GB likes that we couldn't find in Santa Barbara before we left, and eventually found it. I put gas in the car. Then I got to the hotel and checked in and started unloading the car, and GB was right behind me. How'd he do that? Apparently, he took another wrong turn and ended up shaving about 20 miles off his trip!

And thus, Day One was completed. It was about 3:15 in the afternoon, and the rest of the day/night were spent eating or sleeping. We are watching three main consumables that he needs a lot of this week -- calories, protein and unsaturated fats. He needs water, too, but he's pretty good at hydration, so we're not watching that with quite the same insanity. Today we ended up doing great with protein (targeting between 100 and 150 grams per day), okay with calories (targeting 7000 per day), and terrible with fats (targeting about 350 grams per day). We'll see how that translates into today's ride, and we'll adjust from there. Well, actually, we already started adjusting, so I hope we're adjusting correctly.

Here was the route that was followed for the day's riding, as opposed to my driving route:

Day Two is already underway with GB having left just a few minutes ago, on slightly under-inflated tires. Ugh. I forgot the bike pump, so I'll be working on correcting that this morning. Our goal is Carmel-by-the-Sea, but it's a pretty agressive goal, so we'll just have to see how that goes.

Statistial Summary:
  • Time on the road: 8.5 hours
  • Time in the saddle: 6 hours, 46 minutes
  • Maximum speed: 72 km/hr (45 mi/hr)
  • Average speed: 26 km/hr (16 mi/hr)
  • Distance ridden: 177.4 km (110 mi)
  • Calories burned on the ride: 5876
  • Calories consumed: 4250
  • Protein consumed: 214.5g

  • Unsaturagted fats consumed: 90.5g
  • Weight: Up 0.5kg
  • Number of wrong turns: 3

Friday, September 05, 2008

First Day Arrival

We made it to San Luis Obispo. There was talk of going further, but I was concerned about burnout on day one, so we stopped on the north end of SLO. There is more to come later, but right now we're in rehydration and calorie consumption mode before some hardcore napping, and then I'll write more.

And...He's Off!

It's 6:30 in the morning, and GB is off to the races. He weighed himself (so we can keep track of his weight during the trip and see how low he's really getting), ate some fruit, loaded up with food he can eat while riding, and jetted out the front door like a man on a mission. I'm getting a little work in, and will be heading out the door mid-morning to try to catch up to him before noon.

The plan is to get up to San Luis Obispo for day one. That's about 110 miles, and he was feeling good this morning, so that seems to be no problem at initial check.

The Final Preparations

Sigh. There is nothing like doing six loads of laundry at the laundromat to point out how bad ones clothes really look. The muted light in the basement where I usually do my laundry is much kinder than the stark fluorescent tubes at the coin-operated washateria making my clothes look dingy and unloved. Plus, everyone there gets to see your dirty (and clean) laundry. The only plus to all that is that six loads of laundry were washed, dried, and folded in 90 minutes. You may ask why I did our laundry at a laundromat, but that has to do with the foundation project I haven't gotten back to writing about. The pertinent part to this story is that we've been without our washer and dryer for two and a half weeks at this point.

Otherwise, we'd made a list, and all the items were assembled this evening for car loading in the morning. The list of non-clothing, non-toiletry items looks something like this:

bike pump
spare tires and tubes
baby powder
allen wrenches
bathroom and food scales
laundry detergent
cotton balls
betadine cleanser
chamois cream
aloe vera
GPS device
bike light
rain jacket
etra water bottles
cleaning rags
chain cleaner
repair stand
sleeping bags
first aid kit
California atlas
beef jerky
energy and protein bars

We'll see how well that all fits in the Mini. It's been fun getting ready for the trip. The bike got a major tuneup and is running great. Now, I just hope that the trip itself will be good. Tomorrow morning, the biking starts north on the 101 out of Santa Barbara, and we'll see how far he gets. I'll be keeping you posted on the progress we make as I have internet access along the way.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I Know, I Know, But There's a Good Reason

So I've been MIA for a couple of weeks. Mostly I've just been depressed and had no motivation to write anything about my boring life lately. But I've also been catching up on the well-written Crash Course Widow blog, as should you. She writes so clearly about the process of grieving the of loss her husband in a freak bicycle race accident.

We leave Friday for GB's bike ride to Oregon.

I'll let that just sink in for a moment.

Yep, I'm a masochist. I've been reading about bad things that can happen while bike riding just before we embark on the 700-ish-mile ride to the state CCW lives in. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Meanwhile, we've been in the throes of final planning this weekend. The route is almost set, and the list of stuff to bring with us now spans two pages of the notebook. The bike is in the shop for a final tuneup. Additional supplies are on their way to us via UPS and the USPS. Shelf-stable groceries have been purchased. Food for the week has been planned to maximize protein intake.

And we leave Friday.

The basic plan is that I will drive and he will do all the riding. He'll eat some fruit and a protein bar in the morning, and then ride about 50 miles. I'll leave in time to meet him at that point in the ride, and then we'll eat brunch, replenish his liquids and food to carry with him for the next 50 miles, and I'll continue on to the rendezvous end point for the day and get checked into the hotel before he gets there. He'll eat as much as he can at that point, which should be in the early afternoon, and then he'll take a nap. I'll wake him up for dinner and then he'll go to bed. Repeat for about a week, until we reach Ashland on the south side of Oregon.

You'll be hearing from me a lot during the trip, as I try to chronicle this trip in all its strangeness. To start the week off right, I'm adding a poll on the sidebar of the blog for you to weigh in on your thoughts on our trip before we start. As such, this poll is coming down on Friday when we leave, so get your votes in early. If you feel your choice for a response to this plan is missing from the poll options, let me know in the comments.