Clunking my CX Cross Country

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jlevers, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Yeah, the kid's a beast of a filmer/editor. It's insane...

    I'm still gonna post the rest of my report in writing, just thought I'd add the video since it was done.
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  2. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    At this point, Jonah and I had figured the trip in the float plane wasn’t happening. So when Jimmy told us that Sheryl (of Sheryl and Grant, owners of one bright red Super Cub) had texted him to see if we were available for a plane ride today, we were super psyched! They prepped the plane, and their fearsome watchdog Bear kept an eye on things…

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    The fearsome Bear


    Jonah went first. The plane is so small that the two seats are actually behind each other, not next to each other, so once the pilot is in, the passenger isn’t going anywhere fast. The plane had been modified so that it could take off and land at lower speeds, but also had a lower top speed. It took off at about 35mph! I’ve gone faster than that down a hill on my mountain bike!

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    Then it was my turn. Clark gave me a 20 minute tour of the area, buzzed his own house about 15 feet above the trees, and then brought us in for a silky smooth landing on the lake. Keep in mind, this guy is 83.
    That plane ride made me want to get my pilot’s license even more than I did before. I took a bunch of pictures during the flight, but only a few came out...

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    The next day, we lazed around until 3 or so, and then went to check out Capt. Cook State Park. On the way there, we stopped to ogle the view across the Cook Inlet. It was a very clear day, and you could see the entire Alaska Range, including Mt. Redoubt, which we hadn’t had a good view of since the day we arrived. This picture totally doesn’t capture the scope, but here it is anyways.

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    Then, we drove down a few random dirt roads, found what was left of a moose carcass, and eventually drove past a huge construction crane in the back of a big, mostly empty lot. Hmmmmmmmm. Well, gotta send it...we grabbed some bear spray, jumped a barbed wire fence, and went to check out the crane. Lemme tell ya, that sonuvabitch was TALL -- probably 80-100 feet. I started up it, but the way I was climbing it was sketchy and slow, so I came down. Then Jonah, having much larger cajones than I do, climbed it in about 5 minutes. But, he’s also the one who knows how to use the drone, so he got down, and I climbed up using the smarter way he found. It was scary as shit, but I’m glad I did it. I seriously do like climbing things, but the way that thing slanted forward made it way more frightening, since there was just empty air underneath me the whole way. But I made it!

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    On the way home (we never actually made it to Capt. Cook State Park), we stopped to watch the sunset. Now, for some geographic reason that I don’t really understand, the sunset in Alaska lasts for like an hour...and damn, if that wasn’t the most incredible sunset I’d ever seen. It set on the mountains across the Cook Inlet, and was just completely mindblowing. My pictures won’t do it justice.

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    One installment left!
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  3. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile

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    Hey it’s fun to look danger in the eyes BUT climbing that crane was overboard! Everyone has enjoyed your thread. What none of us want to read is” Jesse died doing what he loved”

    Be safe you two crazies!
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  4. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    We had planned a real hike for our last full day in Alaska. We got up early(ish), drove to Homer…

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    ...and got on a tiny, flat-bottomed boat for what would prove to be the most ridiculous boat ride I’d ever experienced. Note: I am VERY much a land mammal. On the way there, we were going against the direction of the swell, which was easily 8 feet. We were catching air off of every wave, and since we were sitting in the open front of the boat, it felt absolutely insane. No pictures, because my camera would have flown into the water.
    During that rollercoaster ride, we saw a group of what must have been at least 20 sea otters! It was so cool, they were all just bunched up, with tiny baby otters sitting on their stomachs. God, I love otters.
    Eventually, we got to our trailhead. The trail was gorgeous, and looked as if about 2 people a year hike it...just the way I like it. We ended up not having time to finish the hike, but here’re some pics from as far up as we got.

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    I always hike in sneakers, and I just got some new ones, which I didn’t realize have literally almost no tread. The trail was extremely wet and muddy, and on the way down, I must have slipped and fell on my butt (picture what happens to cartoon characters) about 30 times...well, Jonah barely fell at all, but the one time he did, his managed to score a bullseye on the nearest pile of animal poop. Hell yeah.

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    We got back to the trailhead as it was getting a little dusky…

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    That picture is in a little bay, and when we’d gotten there, it was completely calm. Now it was a little choppy, and I was NOT a happy camper. Our water taxi came and picked us up, and when I asked him how the ocean was, he said (and keep in mind this guy does this for a living), “very shitty.” Oh boy.
    Well, he wasn’t wrong...the waves were 10-13 feet. On the bright side, we were traveling with the swell, so we basically surfed on huge waves the whole way back. We got completely and utterly soaked, but by the end, I was having a crazy good time. Another fear (partially) conquered…


    Finally, it was time to leave. We were pretty bummed, but we packed up, and headed for Anchorage. Remember the Tern Lake Outlook from the first Alaska post? Well, there was no snow there when we drove through then, and now there was quite a bit.

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    Well, that was about the last event of the trip. It was seriously one of the coolest trips I’ve ever been on, even if my cross country ride was more “adventurous.” Thank you all for reading!

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  5. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks Jesse for the update. I can see you had a great trip to Alaska to see your cousin and uncle. And your sunset pic was every bit as nice as Jonah's pic of you and the sunset..
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  6. Steve_h

    Steve_h Been here awhile

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    Great trip and then Alaska to top it off. I know you had a great time. I really enjoyed reading your RR.
    Keep getting out and enjoying yourself whether on the bike or not. Those experiences and memories will be with you always.
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  7. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Thanks man! It was the best experience of my life...the next adventure is starting on Wednesday, when my cousin Jonah and I leave for Indonesia. We bought one way tickets...should be nuts! I've never been anywhere more exotic than Canada :lol3
  8. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Just had a great time re-reading this whole thing. Since some people requested earlier in the RR that I periodically update this with what's going on, here's the latest.

    Jonah and I are in Krabi, Thailand. We've been in SE Asia since December 15th, and on February 20th, we're flying back to Alaska to visit Jonah's dad again, since it's actually sort of on the way home -- it's pretty much the same distance to fly east to get home as to fly west. We're having a great in Thailand -- totally different culture, and there's some things I miss about the US, but there's lots of things about here that I'll miss when we leave, too. Especially the utter lack of speed limits :lol3

    I'll be in Alaska for ~2 weeks, after which I'm flying to Seattle to grab my bike, ride it to Sacramento to say hi to Larry (and probably get some stuff fixed -- my bike was sounding pretty bad when I put it away for the winter). From Sacramento, my bike is getting shipped back to MA, and I'm flying home.

    The plan for the rest of the year is to get an (software engineering) internship in the Boston area, spend my weekdays there, and come home for the weekends. If for some reason that doesn't work, I'm going to try to see if I can get hired for very little money as an apprentice's apprentice (or something of similar ranking :lol2) at a local motorcycle shop. I'd love to learn some more about bikes while also getting paid, if that's at all possible.
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  9. LadyFish4

    LadyFish4 Adventurer

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    I've loved reading this story! Thank you for taking the time to post it along with the photography. And, for checking back in and keeping us up to date. It's put a smile on my face more times than I can count! Best of luck with the rest of your adventures. I sure hope you'll continue with the postings as you make your way back down to Sacramento. I know I'll not be the only one interested in hearing..... and see more!
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  10. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

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    man i just watched RED GEROD (SP) WIN THE GOLD on the snowboard.... thought about you u sport that ski bum look :)
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  11. 1/2crazedbikr

    1/2crazedbikr Go Big or Go Home!

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    Great ride report Jesse! I really enjoyed it. Congratulations on your adventurous spirit, I can definitely relate. As a young man I did many long, multi-state bicycle camping trips beginning at the age of 16, including a transcontinental, Oregon to Virginia marathon in 1977. And I must say, you are the king of stealth camping!

    Keep doing what you're doing and try to get a lot of trips in while you're in college and can, hopefully, take summers off. Once you're working full time and have a family it gets harder to do long adventure trips. I had to take a several decade hiatus from long trips to raise my kids but now fortunately I can typically get enough time off to take a several week long moto trip every summer.

    Hang on to your adventurous spirit. Never lose it. Take it from me, you are making memories that will truly last a lifetime.

    And speaking of lifetime, leave the "trip of a lifetime", and "adventure of a lifetime", phrases out of your vocabulary. There's always a way to come up with an even better trip to do than whichever one you just finished.

    Ride safe and God Bless,

    1/2crazed
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  12. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

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    local hero writer of mine always wanted to write with him... maybe one day but... enjoy
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  13. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Alright guys, I'm currently north of Seattle trying to get my bike running again. I think it'll start with a bunch more starter fluid -- it was starting to sound like it was firing right around the time the battery died, so that's on the charger right now. If all goes as planned, I'm going to get new tires today from @Duanob (who's very generously giving me a great deal on two new tires and a drilled front rotor), then start heading for Larry's in Sacramento tomorrow morning, and hopefully get to Sacramento on Friday. I'm guessing it's gonna be pretty cold/wet, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

    There'll be a proper report (with pictures!) once this bit is over, but right now I'm just trying to get the show on the road.
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  14. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Good luck getting it running! I hope your ride is not too cold and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery out there.
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  15. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    The bike is running and new tires have been acquired! Weirdly, after replacing the front wheel/rim/rotor, my front brake totally sucks. But it works well enough to use, and I don't have time to deal with it, so I'll just fix it when I get home. I'm assuming something about the new rotor means the brake has to be bled.

    Today I have my sights set on Portland. It's supposed to rain all day, but that's ok...Portland's only ~4 hours away, so I should be all good. Looking forward to some snowy mountain views if it clears up at all1
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  16. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Make sure a brake pad didn't fall out. I've had pad bases rust and pop the pad material off, so that the only thing holding the friction material in place was the frame of the caliper. Removing the wheel caused the pad to drop out. Alternatively, you might have let the caliper hang by an ancient brake line, and it leaked a little air into the system when it was stretched like that. Or the pads ended up both on one side of the rotor. I've seen that happen before.

    Charles.
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  17. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Thanks Charles! It looks totally normal as far as I can tell, but...

    ...I'm sure Larry will figure it out, since I'm now at his house! It's good to be back! I rode ~600 miles today...I could happily go a while without doing that again. On the bright side, I-5 between Portland and Sacramento is mostly super pretty. I saw like 6 rainbows on the ride down. More detailed updates to come.
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  18. jlevers

    jlevers Been here awhile

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    Bellingham to Larry’s

    I got to Peggy’s house, where my bike had been stored since I left Washington in late October, at like 2am after my flight down from Fairbanks, AK. The next morning, I went out to start dealing with my bike...it’s a gorgeous area!


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    I brought with me: 1) a few basic tools, and b) very tightly crossed fingers. Here’s where the bike was:


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    It took a couple hours, one battery recharge, some calls to Larry, and about half a can of starter fluid, but the bike started back up! Thank god...that would have put a damper on things if I couldn’t even get it running. Whew.


    Later that night, I rode down to Seattle to pick up some tires (and a drilled rotor) from @Duanob, who super generously gave me a great deal on them. He has a CX500 that he’s been working on for a couple years, and it looks wayyy better than mine :lol3 Here’s a picture of him (accidentally) looking mysterious as hell.


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    And also looking less like a supervillain:


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    Duane, great talking with you, and thanks for the awesome deal!


    The ride home was a little chilly, but it was great to be back on the bike. I definitely missed it while I was gone.


    The next morning, I got fully packed up, was given some AWESOME sandwiches (and other snacks) by Peggy, and set off for Portland, to stay with the friend who I stayed with on the way up. Rain was predicted for the entire day, so I decided to just go for it. I only took a few pictures that day, since it was dumping rain and super windy the whole time.


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    When I was halfway there, I stopped at a gas station...I still didn’t have a kickstand spring, so I had to put my bike on the centerstand, but when I got off the bike, my feet were so numb that I nearly dropped the bike and fell over at the same time :doh luckily, I managed to save it. I got gas, walked into the gas station, and sat down on the floor to warm up, along with a bag of food. The poor gas station owner probably thought I was planning to move in :lol2 I sat there for 20 minutes or so, and then decided my hands and feet were sufficiently warm (and the floor was sufficiently wet), so I headed back out. It was only around 250 miles, and I managed to do it in 4 or 5 hours. The shower I took when I got there was one of the most enjoyable experiences ever :raindance


    The next day was a big one. I had to get from Portland to Sacramento -- about 600 miles. My longest day ever was 458, from St. George, UT to just east of Yosemite, and that was plenty long...I decided to break today into gas tank-sized chunks.


    The first chunk was by far the coldest -- I went about 160 miles, and got to a rest stop in The Middle of Nowhere, on I-5 in central Oregon.


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    I met an older guy on a wicked built up Harley, who was from BC and trying to get to Florida in time for Daytona Bike Week. Apparently he’d been on the road for a couple of years, just going all over North America. Totally forgot to take a picture of him :dic


    As highways go, I-5 was REALLY pretty. In Oregon, it was all pine trees and mountains with a little snow hanging on…


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    And as I got into California, it turned into golden rolling hills. I realllyyy like the landscape of the northernmost 100 miles of CA :happay


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    I also saw 5 or 6 rainbows on the trip down -- one double rainbow, the ends of which were only a few hundred yards away from me. Which reminds me -- I posted a video during the Alaska section of this story that had some guy going totally insane over a double rainbow...that was NOT me. I included it as a joke, because it’s a super famous video on YouTube. Yesterday Larry brought that up thinking that it was me in the video, which I now realize is probably what a lot of other people thought it was too. So just to be clear, that is not a video of me. Here’s the video in question:



    Anyways, back to the ride. The sunset was totally incredible…


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    Then it got dark, and I still had ~100 miles to go.


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    Well, time to turn on the afterburners...I hauled the rest of the way to Larry’s. It’s great, people around here seem to all go the speed limit or faster when there isn’t traffic. I could get used to this :super


    When I got to Larry’s, I was greeted with a big pot of spaghetti and sauce, a hot tub, and a very much needed bed. Thanks Larry! I didn’t take any pictures of this part, because I was only half conscious, tops, but Larry managed to get this gem :lol3 :rofl


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  19. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Jesse; good to see your adventure continuing. Ride safe and enjoy the hell out of all of it.
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  20. steingar

    steingar higher life form

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    Stay away from booze, drugs, and fast wimmen and you might just.
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