Monthly Archives: October 2006

October, 1974 by Laena Caprice Brown

(The following is a short story by Laena Caprice Brown, about her dad’s 1974 bike trip from the Kootenays South to Mexico)

October 1974

by Laena Caprice Brown

No tent, no water bottle, a slab of plastic, and next to no money. If anyone saw the amount of cash on Doug and Dennis, they would of thought these two were making a quick stop to the grocery store, and nothing more. The West Kootenay weather was quickly becoming frosty and bitter, and Doug and Dennis were heading South. Planning and goodbyes weren’t given much thought. They just got on their bikes and rode.

“You surprised we made it this far the first day?” Dennis asked through exhausted huffs as he placed his feet on the ground.

“I kind of figured we could make it to the border in a day,” Doug walked his bike beside him, ran his fingers through his long brown hair and scratched his Jesus beard, “but we’re going to be hooped crossing. There’s no way we should even try to get across tonight. They’ll think something’s up.”

“Yah, no doubt. Where you want to set up camp?”
“How about in those bushes over there? It’s still on the Canadian side, and no one can see us.”

“Sounds good. Shit it’s cold.” Dennis looked up at the sky, now covered with thick gray clouds. “I hope it doesn’t rain.”

“Don’t jinx it man.”

They sunk into the bushes, bikes and all. They spread out the plastic portion where there weren’t too many rocks and other jagged objects, and camp was made. Propping their backpacks under their heads, a few mumbles were exchanged, and then they dazed away into slumber.

Doug awoke at what he thought might be one in the morning to a gentle tap on his cheek. Through hazy eyes and blurred thoughts he couldn’t figure out what was going on. There was another cold tap on his forehead. Doug sat up on the plastic, it was wet. Through pine branches by distant moonlight he could barely make out what was going on.

“Shit Dennis.”

“Huh? What man? What’s going on?” He rubbed his eyes, then realizing what was happening, opened them wide. “No way. What should we do?”

“There’s not much we can do. Let’s just pull the plastic under this tree more.”

The guys rearranged camp, and laid back down, cold, and curled in the fetal positions. Neither of them got much sleep that night, just waited for morning to come. Neither of them spoke once they woke up. Camp was silently repacked into bags, and they wheeled their bikes out of the trees.

As they approached the U.S. border, two clean shaven, middle-aged border guards stood outside, arms crossed, and intimidating handguns at their sides, watching the two young hippies, long beards and unbrushed hair, ragged jeans, and ten-speeds approaching them.

Doug glanced over at Dennis. “Why do I have a feeling this is going to be a drag?”

“Good morning gentlemen, could I please see your ID.” Doug and Dennis handed over their macramé wallets.

“Where are you headed on this chilly day?” The guard holding Doug’s ID wasn’t as harsh as they thought he might be.

“Just planning on riding our bikes in the states for a few days sir.” Dennis sure knew how to talk out of his ass.

“Really?” The other guard raised his eyebrows until his forehead crinkled. Do you guys want to step into the building, please? He wasn’t quite so friendly.

The two pairs went in the side door of the border crossing building. Doug and Dennis instinctively handed over their backpacks. They had nothing to hide, so volunteering their possessions for a check might have proved something to their advantage.

So you guys are planning on visiting the states for how long? The kinder of the two guards asked.

“Yes sir. We’ll be back Tuesday of the latest.” Dennis replied confidently

“Shouldn’t you boys be in school?” The guard inquired towards Doug.

“We actually decided to take a year off. You know? See the world.”

“Well, I’m afraid that won’t be happening today. We’re going to have to ask you to turn your bikes around and head back home, boys. The weather is bad, and judging by your financial state, you won’t last very long. Sorry guys.” The guards handed the guys their things back in arm fulls, failing to put it back in order.

Doug and Dennis weren’t prepared to give-up that easy. After packing there stuff up, they finally convinced the guards that they were “good boys,” and would only be in the states for a couple days, three at the most. They continued their journey and peddle the rest of the day, only making one stop to piss. They didn’t drink much sense they started their ride, so there wasn’t much to get out of their systems.

By the time it got dark, they were both very thirsty. Very thirsty didn’t even begin to describe it. Although the water in Roosevelt Lake was in sight, they were a long way above it. It was simply a tease. Determined to get water, they rode through the night. By morning they snuck into a campground, and drank from a water fountain. Their throats were raw, and it was painful, but necessary to drink.

Everyday they rode non-stop from the time they woke-up in the morning, until dark. Then, they stopped riding and slept wherever they were. If they were lucky, they would find a campsite, and sneak into it to avoid paying. But there were nights like the one in Southern California when it rained, and never stopped. So they had to give into the rain, and stop instead. That night, they ended up sleeping standing up in an outhouse.

“Hey Dennis.” Doug whispered through the dark and stench.

“Yah?”

“I finally understand that song.”

“What song?”

“It Never Rains in Southern California… It Pours.”

They made checkout time an early one after that night. Stepping out of the outhouse and breathing fresh air, Doug reached inside the bag of dried figs he had bought at a convenience store. About to put one in his mouth he noticed a small, black bug on it…. “Ants.” Doug looked into the bag, and saw dozens of tiny ants feasting on their figs. He was hungry, and those figs were like a fortune at this point. He dumped the bag out on the back of his pack, and sifted through the figs until there weren’t any ants left. He never did tell Dennis about it.

By late morning they had made it onto Highway 101, along the Pacific Coast. Being avid hikers and true nature lovers, the guys were completely astounded by the splendor of the scenery. The foliage had already changed to the wondrous colours of fall. Vibrant reds, profound browns, and rich greens lined the highway. Through large trees, the sometimes-panoramic ocean view stretched to the end of the world. With the predominant Northwest wind generally at their back, they used garbage bags for sails by placing the bags over the handlebars and hanging on to the opening of the bags and the bars at the same time. It would have worked quite well; except for the difficulties they had controlling the movement of the bikes. They were quite the sites as cars, and semis drove along past them.

After that, it was easy riding for eighteen miles downhill through the Redwood Forest. Doug and Dennis were so occupied stretching their necks into the sky to gaze up at all the old growth trees that they almost collided with each other several times. They maneuvered their way through vehicles, passing rows of traffic lined up behind slow chip trucks. “Quite a change, eh?” Dennis laughed.

That evening they set up camp on a beach by the ocean. Dennis jumped in as soon as they got to the water and a huge wave knocked his glasses off.

“Hello?”

“Hi mom. It’s me, Dennis.” He was talking a payphone outside a gas station.

“Dennis. How are you? Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s great mom. We’re almost in Mexico. But, I umm…. broke my glasses. Do you think you could send my other pair ahead to the hotel we’ll be staying at in San Francisco? Great. Thanks. I love you too.”

For several days of riding Dennis, half blind, followed behind Doug, who yelled cautions like “bump ahead,” over his shoulder. They crawled off into the desert one night to sleep.

“Look out Dennis! A scorpion!”

“No way! Where?”

Doug laughed.

“Stop fucking doing that.”

That night, they both got little sleep worrying about scorpions, and snakes, and whatever else awaited in the desert for two boys from the boonies. A few times Doug scratch his long hair and itched is beard to ensure no creatures were making the beginnings of a home.
The guys peddled hard to reach the Mexican border. The tough part was finally over, and the guys were finally approaching their final destination. In the late evening Doug and Dennis felt utter exhilaration, laughing as the two Kootenay boys peddled into Mexico, no hands.

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Home Sweet Home

Sorry it’s been so long since the last update, I hope no one was nail-biting wondering if they’d made it.

The guys are home safe, and back into the swing of things. I’ve talked to my dad a few times since they’ve been back, and we’re planning a “book meeting” for some time in the near future.

What comes next is a bit of a treat. I met a guy named Dane Brown at an event called Barcamp, and again at Casecamp, where I talked about this site. He said that his dad had done the same route years ago, and his sister had written a short story about their ride.

Well, the author of that short story, Laena Brown, has given me permission to publish it here.  By the sounds of things, there’s quite a bit of contrast between the ride my dad took this year, and the ride their dad took all those years ago.  No support truck, no tent, and next to no money.

Laena’s story is in the next post.

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Padres Game and Flying Home

Yesterday the guys caught a playoff Padres game and packed their bikes into boxes for the flight home. Just after 5pm tonight, they should have arrived home in Powell river.

Since my last post about how they had reached the border, there’s been alot of congratulatory comments. I’ve posted most of them below, including an email from Kevin Segouin, Real’s son:

“Well, these guys have caused quite the stir in Powell River. All I hear day in and day out is “Where are those men with no underwear? Have they made it to San Diego? Who was it that crashed in Nanaimo?….and that must have been some eye candy?” I think the boys are going to have lots of explaining to do when they get back to PR. If not, I’m sure the book will shed some light on the many questions Powell Riverites have? There’s one question I would like an answer to. So now that the tour has come to an end, what stretch of the continent do you intend to bike next? Jordy, great job on the site! It could not have come together without your patience and perseverance.”

Kevin, Laura, Payton, & Paige Sigouin

Hi Al,

Haven’t had much time to track your adventure. What a trip!  Congratulations to all of you.

Way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!

Give me a call when you get home.

Les

Congratulations boys,

You guys have been inspiring.
Keep up the good work!

Patrick

Hey PJ!! and the gang…

Congratulations on making it to Mexico! Now go put your feet up with a bucket of Corona’s!

Can’t wait to read the book!!

Love Alex Behan

Congraulations!!!! to all of you, you must be so excited, and maybe a little sore!!!!!!!!!We should all have 1/2 your energy, way to go. From Diana(Al ‘s cousin in Port Alberni)

Congrats to Allan and the guys.  We are living through you this month and have enjoyed all of the pics.

-Vicki Cook and Ron Zwicker

You made it! Congratulations!  Can’t wait to hear your stories when you get home. Have a Corona for us….Shelley

Hey boys, so glad to hear you made it!  We are thinking of you as we hike through the Cinque Terre.  It is beautiful here, weather is fabulous, we are going swimming this afternoon.

See you when I get back P.J.

Love Barbara and Janis  XOXOXO

Congratulation guys

knew you’d make it and on schedule too. wish i could have been there. can’t wait to hear the stories. i guess a ride up to mt. washington will be a piece of cake now see you sat at pr.

tom & lo

Over the next few weeks, we’ll try to publish some stories from the road, and make some headway on the book. Also, if we get any other stories from contributors and riders, we’ll publish those here as well.

Don’t stop reading now, the good stuff is coming!!

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Touchdown.

The time right now is 2:39.

Photo by dmealiffe
At 1:07 this afternoon, my dad left me a message on my cell phone, saying they had touched down at the border.  At 1:31, I received this comment from Laura Craigen:

Allan called today and at 1:06 they hit the border, made it safe and sound,  photo shoot as proof they made it and then back to the motel.

And so there you have it.  Just a few minutes after one o’clock today, a dream that was over a year in planning and 28 long days of pedalling in the making, was finally realized.

I can’t wait to see the pictures.

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The End of the Road

Another call from Dad tonight, from a place called Lahoya, by the airport in San Diego. They’re a mere 20 miles from the Mexican border, and will ride there tomorrow for some photos before pedalling back to their motel.

They rode 105 km today, and then Dad and Al walked all over town in Lahoya, that he called a “surfer’s paradise,” all bikini shops, cruiser bike shops and of course, surf shops.

And last night I received two more pics from Real, and it seems they are from all the way back in Oregon. Here they are riding through a tree:

In Other News:

Calling All Artists and/or Graphic Designers!

If you would like to lend a hand to this project, we could use your help. We’d love it if someone would volunteer to help to make a few graphics, including a map of the route the guys took. Anybody know how to make an animated movie in Google Maps?? It’s beyond me…

If you think you can help, email Jordan: jordanbehan@gmail.com

Cheers!

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Rollin’ in the LBC

Not sure whether they ran into Snoop Dogg or not, but last night the guys were in Long Beach County, so you just never know.

(PJ orders a beer at Duke’s Suds Shack. Those calves are ridiculous)

My Dad called last night, and then I spoke to him again tonight. ast night they stayed in Long Beach, which he guessed was a mere two days of riding away from San Diego. The day before they had rolled through Venice Beach, and today they made it past Huntington and Newport Beaches, and arrived in Saun Juan Capistrano. As he explained, they ride through these beach towns on the beachside bike paths for miles and miles, where they can watch the girls, and one can see “more volleyball nets than you would find in all of Canada.” There’s a dozen of them and a lifeguard tower every 50 meteres or so, he says, and the beaches go for as much 5 miles each.


(Don Tataryn looks down a long beachpath stretched out ahead of them)

He said there was one stretch in Anaheim they pedalled through where if they were in a car, the windows would be up and the doors locked. Alas, they were on bikes though. I’m sure they felt quite safe.
Tonight they’re safe and sound just across in the street from Dana Beach in Capistrano, where dad says the palm trees are wrapped in rope lights and there’s a fire burning every few hundred feet on the beach in concrete fire pits. “This is just as good as it can get,” he said of the setting. He was at the BBQ monitoring chicken and pork chopes, while half the crew sat in the hot tub next to him. He said their hotel tonight was especially nice, as they’re taking advantage of off-season rates.

Close to the end of their voyage now, I thought maybe he’d say they were exhausted and looking forward to the end, but it sounds like they might just take it easy and enjoy their last few days. “We’re celebrating our accomplishment.”
“It’s been fun,” he said. “We’ve only got two days of pedalling to do at the most, and about four or five days to do them.”

Soon they will arrive at the end of their voyage, right at the Mexican border, where they will get some photographic evidence that they accomplished what they set out to do. They’re taking it easy now at the finish, and plan to get a hotel tomorrow night near the Mexican border, so they can get there for photos and return for their second night in the same room before they pack up to leave. Janine and Real will take the truck and trailer home, while the guys will fly home.

Their triumphant return is October 7.

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New Pics from Doug Peel

Doug has been trying to send some of the photos I uploaded today for some time now., so some of them could be from early in the trip. I got three emails from him, containing several photos each, including the one below. The rest can be seen on the flickr page. (Click on the images on the flickr page to view larger sizes)


(Fred, Don, PJ and Real on the Boardwalk)

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