Last thoughts of my trip.

Journey across the USA

Jake Grubbs

ACA self supported TransAm 2013 following the ’76ers route

In Missoula, Mt. on July 17, 2013.  # 76

If someone would have asked me five years ago, whether or not I wanted to ride my bicycle across America I likely would have answered no.  The mere thought of crossing the continent by my own power taking back roads seemed impossible to a old man like myself.

I started my journey in an attempt to exploit my limits and anticipated that failure or success would be equally likely.  To imagine a journey such as the TransAm was not possible to me.  It took a few weeks to reconcile the obvious fact, that if I do something, everyday to move forward, I can do anything.  The important point being – don’t make wrong turns.  So I would spend time researching the best option anytime I had any doubt on the best direction.  This was not in my nature as I thought I was a laissez faire type person.   I quickly realized that it was not in my best interest to make whimsical decisions I thought looked good at that moment.  Because, if I am going in the wrong direction, every hour, every hill takes me further away from my nightly destination.

I had done several tours before the TransAm where I learned not to sweat the big stuff.  No matter how intimidating the topographic map looked, it would only take an hour out of my day in most cases.  And in the worst cases, I could walk and that didn’t bother me.   In my mind, forward movement under my own power was the only requirement.

What did bother me were the cooking duties.  I was, and still am uncomfortable preparing meals for myself and especially the responsibility of feeding 12 others.  I expressed my fear to our Adventure Cycling Assoc leader, Jack Pettry.  And I am so thankful that he managed to assign me to cooking duties with other more competent persons.

I retired in 2010 at the age of 58, and had been watching the sun rising daily from my desk for many years.  I was looking forward to the day I would be free to enjoy each breath of the morning air.

The cathartic pleasure of simply sleeping, biking, and eating for days on end appealed to me.  The relaxation induced by buying into the fact that I had no bigger task than remaining focused on being healthy and bicycling safely every moment.  Which meant that I should eat, drink and rest as best I could.  But, this by no means meant I was to close my eyes and relax.   The trip was an intensive trial of being observant and critical every moment.  A cyclist can not take even 5 seconds off from the business of navigating the roadway.

The one thought that occurs to me, as I recall the trip is that no matter how difficult a day had been, that the hardships were quickly forgotten as camp was set up and we were enjoying a beer and the comradery of fellow travelers or the quiet of complete stillness.  The head winds, the cross winds, the heat, the flat tires were only a footnote to the main event, which was going the distance that day.

Jake Grubbs

Portland. Oregon

Our Last Supper

Saturday night we gathered at the International C Food along the riverfront in Florence to celebrate our final destination!


My lovely wife, Suzie, her mom Mary,nephew Nate, and a surprise guest, brother, Jeff Grubbs and other spouses and family members joined us at a dinner.

The following day, Mark Troy, Suzie, Mary and I drove to Portland with our two bikes on the car. I saw many of our group bicycling to Eugene along the road. We waved and shouted our last goodbyes.
I dropped the ladies off at the house and took Mark to get his bike and gear packed up and shipped home. Then off to the airport hotel for his departure Monday morning.

Then Monday, Jan called and he had taken the train from Eugene and was coming my direction. We did a Vancouver Bike Club ride on Wednesday and Friday he packed his bike up for cargo on his return flight to the Netherlands. I took him to the airport on Saturday, and took Suzie’s Mom on Wednesday the 14.


Here is me, Amy, Liam and Mark for a final farewell in Florence. Also you see our new puppy, Poppy making a cameo appearance at the bottom of the frame.

On Friday August 16, I am asking friends and anyone to gather at O’Connors in SW Portland to let me share my experience and show pictures and my equipment off. Leave me a ‘comment’ if you need directions to O’Connors.

I’d like to encourage everyone to go the the page “other bloggers on the trip” and check our their blogs. Granted, Jan’s blog is hard to read in Dutch, but the pictures are the best of anyone on the trip. Also, be sure to check Chris Jones’s blog, as he continues his adventures in Europe. I heard from him last week and he was in Paris getting ready for more biking. Also, Mark’s blog on Crazy Guy On a Bike .com for his perspective on our trip.

Pacific Ocean – Florence Oregon.

The end of the trail. The odometer is at 4,350 miles since May.
Amy and I rode into Waldport from the Alsea camp site a little after 10:00 AM and headed straight to the meeting location at Beachside State Park. Our final 2 miles was a beautiful Pacific Coast view and it was grand. She and I talked that we likely had biked 3,000 miles together the past 3 months and this was our last ride.
Liam’s parents, Amy’s daughter and son in-law, and Forrest and our 2 grandsons were there. Eventually, everyone gathered for the final pictures and congratulations.




Our beefcake, Liam

Jan is happy to arrive.




Alsea, Oregon – day 90

We pedaled out of the Willamette Valley to Alsea on Friday.
After a few miles we pulled into Monroe for a stop at a bakery and to consult our maps. We were all off the Adventure Cycling Assoc maps taking another route to the coast. And every other person was taking different roads to Alsea. Those that took to South Fork Road to Alsea Falls were rewarded with a quiet road with great views. Amy and I took another side road for a dozen miles to get off Highway 99W before getting on Highway 34, but I’d wished we had followed the Alsea Falls trail because of logging trucks and busy roads.
The reason we took this route was to give everyone a nice ride down the coastal road Highway 101 tomorrow. Otherwise, the riders would arrive at the beach and then turn around and head home.
We had one more summit to get over to get into the coastal range.



Jack and I were assigned cooking detail and we chose to order a large number of pizzas from the store that agreed to deliver to the Salmonberry State Campground about 7 miles from Alsea. My wife, Suzie and her mom, Mary arrived with apple pies for desert and breakfast muffins. We were cut off from cell service and Internet but that was good time for us to reminisce about the trip and laugh and drink.

Harrisburg, Oregon – day 89

The day was cloudy from the start and I never took my long sleeve wool shirt off. We enjoyed some mist after leaving McKenzie Bridge this morning, so when we got down to the town of Vida at mile 23 and saw the cafe it was an oasis for the road traveller. The waitress seemed to know us and was ahead of every request. So different from our hosts in eastern Oregon. We enjoyed eggs and sausage for ( you know) – the 2nd breakfast. Finally the mist let up and we continued our path along the McKenzie River. We passed 2 covered bridges and the river and lodges were beautiful.



Our route around Springfield and Eugene worked well and with very little traffic after a few miles. We crossed under I-5 near Coburg, and kept going to Harrisburg. A total of 67 miles with great temperatures and little climbs. Everyone remarked how this day felt like a day in Virginia following along creeks and rivers.
Finally we came to an area of the Willamette Valley that I expect with large fields and agriculture economy.

We are staying at the River Bend Resort north of Harrisburg.

Came across a namesake cafe. It had both signs on the building, but it closed at 3:00 PM

Tomorrow we get over to Oregon 34 and head towards the coastal range for our last night of camping. We will be at Salmonberry State Park and my lovely wife and her Mom, Mary, will drop by as they gather for our wheel dip on Saturday.
The end of the trip is on everybody’s mind.


McKenzie Bridge – day 88

Ka Ching !
the last mountain pass of any significant is the past. We are in the final leg to the coast, and have entered the Willamette Valley!
It was a most wonderful day. I spent the night in a bed last night and caught the group 3 miles down the road at a neighboring house. We rode to Sisters, another 4 miles along the way and had a bakery and espresso stop, Wow!




Met Craig going up the Pass from Sisters. He moved to Sisters from Boise a while back20130731-162859.jpg

Got to the top with plenty of time left in the day20130731-163347.jpg

The rock landscape is a result of volcanic flows from close by Belknap between 1700 and 1500 years ago. There was 3 flows during that period. That wasn’t so long ago.


The clouds had come in and it was cool to ride the down the hill for 10 miles. The forrest and state parks were. Beautiful


Sisters, Oregon – day 87

Left Prineville for a short ride to the Sisters area. I am visiting Stan Pintarich while the rest of the group is about 3 miles away in a neighboring area.
I will include pictures with Stan later.
But we stopped for coffee in Redmond first, after only 18 miles. These are first class baristas.


Isn’t this a work of art?20130730-135949.jpg
The mountains are looming larger and the weather could not be better.


The trip tomorrow takes us to Mckenzie Bridge after we go over the pass.
I had dinner with my friend Stan Pintarich tonight.


Prineville, Oregon – day 86

Today we saw Mt. Jefferson and the 3 Sisters for the first time. That was exciting to see. After 16 miles we were at top of Ochoco Pass.

We stopped every few minutes on the climb to catch our breath. There is hardly a reason to rush a bike ride, best to go slow and enjoy the view.


The ride today was less than 50 miles and we stopped at Ochoco Lake State Park to eat our sandwiches and relax. It was just noon and about 10 miles to go to Prineville. So we made a quick stop at a Tastee Freez and to the RV park. I’m cooking with Howard tonight in a nicely equipped camp kitchen.

Tomorrow we will be going through Sisters.
I may update later, as I have to go grocery shopping now.

Here is my first view of Mt. Jefferson

Mitchell, Oregon – day 85

Another record for me, 82 miles. WOW! Temperature in the low 80’s late in the day, so it wasn’t so bad, But most of the last 40 miles was climbing up Keyes Creek Summit, with no services. Seems much easier to do now. The key for me is to go slow and stop often.
This morning was unexpectedly cold. I didn’t put the rain fly on the tent last night, and the cold air just ran through the tent. I packed up and had warm weather gear on until I got to John Day, Oregon (13 miles down the road) and stopped for biscuits and gravy to fuel up extra. That was the largest town today. Though. I found a latte with my name on it in Dayville ( mile 43). Then we started climbing. The first landmark was the fossil beds and then a remarkable scenic change at the ‘Picture Gorge’




Came upon a tree that people were throwing shoes into. I asked them why, and they said they were doing it because the tree was full of other shoes.


We are staying at the historic Oregon Hotel in Mitchell. And it is beautiful.



Tomorrow will be a stop in Prineville with less that a 50 mile day, so that will be nice. Then we will go to Sisters. It is getting really close to the end. I’m so happy to be calling an end to this trip, though it has been a trip of a lifetime. I have my lovely wife to thank for supporting me on this. She has been extremely busy while I’ve been gone, with getting a rental house cleaned up and selling it in 2 days.
I’m excited that she and her mother, Mary will be joining us for the wheel dip on Saturday at Beachside State Park. My nephew, Nate will join us for the party at Florence later on Saturday.
Then it will be over for me. Most of the rest of the crew are riding to Eugene on Sunday.
Jack is sleeping in this room. He is hoping he doesn’t wake in the middle of a bad dream tonight.



Every room is in a different decor. He has the wild life room