Saturday, July 11, 2009

kingsport, TN to Chico, CA Milage 3289 miles

So...I started out on two wheels and ended up on four wheels (after the crash). Some of my "wonderful" friends have suggested that I equip my bicycle with "air bags" or at least "training wheels". Thank you for that...I am now able to laugh at your jokes! These two angels, Jerry and Muriel Paregien, live in Kingsport, TN. This is the town that I was "Life-Flighted" to for my stay in the trauma center. Jerry is a retired California Highway Patrol Officer who was stationed in Yuba City for 15 or so years while on duty. I practiced dentistry in Yuba City for 40 years! So what are the chances of two families living in the same small California city meeting by chance in Tennessee? But wait, there's more...Pam and I would have never known that they lived there except for the fact that my father-in law, Bob, who is also a retired CHP, is best friends with the Paregiens, since both he and Jerry served TOGETHER in the CHP in southern CA! When Pam's mother asked where the hospital was...she about jumped through the telephone. "That's where Jerry and Muriel live", she cried! Jerry and Muriel invited us into their home for my recovery...fed us...gave us warm hospitality, and treated us like their family...what a couple of angels! We stayed with them for 10 days, and they even gave us a ride to the airport at 4:30 am for our flight home. It has been said, that nothing happens by chance...and even though it might be hard to understand, there seemed to be a greater plan at work here. I'm still trying to put together the pieces.....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 12, Rosedale, VA to Kingsport, TN Milage: Unknown

Except for
these photos, Day 12 is entirely gone from my memory bank. I don't remember the crash, I don't remember the ambulance ride to the first hospital, nor the Helicopter Life Flight to the Level 1 trauma center in Kingsport, TN. My first recollection is waking up in the center with chest tubes IV tubes, and catheter tubes coming out of me everywhere. We were heading to The Breaks Interstate Park, so I know that I was 10+/- miles into the ride. I evidently crashed on a downhill going pretty fast...and hit pretty hard. As in; 10 broken ribs, a separated right shoulder, both lungs collapsed with hemo-pneumo-thorax. and a concussion. Ouch about sums it up! Now for the good news....I'm alive with no spinal or cerebral injuries, and I will recover. I spent 12 days in the trauma center where received the best in medical and personal care. The food not-withstanding. Pam flew out the next day and has been with me ever since, bless her heart. It's very difficult for me to tell you how disappointed I am in not being able to complete the Trans-Am trip...But, Like I said, I am alive and I will ride again another day. Thank you for all that have been following this blog, and especially to those who have donated to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters foundation that I was raising funds for. For those of you that would like continue to follow rest of the group as they bicycle across the USA, here is another site for you to check out. Also, if you are so inclined, the on-line donation site for my fund-raiser is: Thank You for your Prayers and Expressions of Concern. Pam and I are sincerely touched, Ollie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 11, Damascus to Rosedale, VA

Day 11, Damascus to Rosedale, VA, 36 Miles:
I love Virginia! Our ride today was through lush forests, farms, homes with gardens, and beautiful rural scenery. THe forests consist of oak, maple, ash, beech and dogwood. The routes that Adventure Cycling map out are the nicest roads to take even if you are in your car. Hopefully the photos will give the feeling of the country side that we are cycling through. Everyone grows a garden, everyone has to have a weed eater and a riding lawn mower, (everywhere you look, folks are mowing their lawns) and house has a front porch with rocking chairs that seem to say; “Welcome, come sit a spay-el”. We stopped in Weadowview, VA at the Farmers Guild Garden Center for coffee and berry pound cake. The store is filled with local crafts, which were varied and very nice. Even though it was a short day, we had a very long climb through Hayters Gap. We are the heart of the Appalachians, where the fighting between the locals and the Brittish continued for 13 years after the Revolutionary War ended. And then on to our nights “lodging” at the Elk Garden Methodist Church Hostel near Rosedale, VA. It’s raining cats and dogs, so thankfully, we are under an outdoor shelter and I didn‘t have to set up my tent. Don’t know what diner is tonight, but I’ll eat the cardboard boxes that the food comes in, I’m so hungry. Tomorrow, we head into the "Hatfield and McCoy" contry area where their families fueded for 30 years.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 10 Damascus, VA Rest Day

Day 10, Damascus, VA…Rest Day, 6.5 Miles: A rest day, so not too much to report…laundry, organize, bike maintenance, post cards. However, I did see some interesting things when I rode back into town to look around and go to the PO. The church sign is self-explanatory, but the photo of the man needs explaining. His name is Larry, he lives in Damascus and he runs a “buy, swap and sell” shop in front of his house. (note the Wi-Fi sign as well) Old bikes, old tools, old stuff…but he was nominated for a June Curry "Trail Angel" Award a couple of years ago. The award is given to the person who does nice things for the trans-am bicyclists. Larry spent three years on the Appalachia Trail, hiking, thinking, but mostly running from the law. While on the trail, he had a "come to Jesus" experience and now has devoted his life to helping others on the trail. He rescued a cyclist that had crashed, took him in and cared for him. Larry also provides free land-line telephone service for anyone in need. (the cell service here is spotty at best) Folks leave him money for the phone but it is never enough to cover costs…so he buys Little Debbie sweets with the money and gives them out to cyclists and folks like me who come by and talk to him. (Larry is a diabetic so he doesn't eat them) Yes, I’ll share my Little Debbie snacks with the other cyclists in our group for dinner tonight. Wow, cool, Larry joined our group for our dinner session tonight and told everyone his story. Riding again tomorrow.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 9, Damascus, VA

Day 9, Mon. May25, Wytheville to Damascus, VA, 62 Miles: Question: How many hungry Trans-Am bicycle riders does it take to eat a ‘Possum? Answer: Two, One to eat while the other one watches for cars! We lost one rider today…The hills were a bit too much and his crash didn‘t help. Very sorry to see him go. And finally it is less hilly. Very nice riding today with the final 15 miles being downhill all the way to Damascus. Entering dairy country. Beautiful country roads along wonderful fishing streams. Raining part of the ride. Hard to take enough Photos, as the country is full of beautiful churches, homes and very interesting road names. The last few miles to Damascus I rode on the “Virginia Creeper Trail”…it’s a converted railroad bed to hiking and mountain biking, and it has rejuvenated the town financially. Over bridges, and streams and through the woods. Wow, Thank goodness we are at a campground that has some porch accommodations for my sleeping bag….the sky just opened up…Torrential Rain! Hot Dog, I do not have to set up my tent! AND…It gets better: Tomorrow is a day off! Dinner tonight was spaghetti and meatballs Caesar salad, and cherry pie, my fourth big meal of the day, and I’ll probably go to bed hungry.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 8, Wytheville, VA

Day 8, Sun. May 24, Christiansburg to Wytheville, VA, 63 Miles: Boy, did I luck out. I was cook for last night…we went to Chinese, because of the late evening arrival, and this morning (I’m still cook) we had to vacate the church for their Sunday Services…so we went to Burger King for a healthy Breakfast! The day was cloudy and cool for most of it…more steep climbing (17% climbs), and we made a wrong turn and did 5 extra miles before turning around. Through rolling hills and beautiful valleys with great home sites…everything is green and flowered here. Lunch stop at a small country store that loves cyclists. Today I asked an exiting church member for directions to one of our roads, he said; “Where yaw-all headin” I said “Oregon”…he thought for a moment and said; “May-an, yaw-all cay-nt get there from here”. Finally he told me where the road was. Lodging tonight is the Presbyterian Church here in Wytheville…very nice digs. One more day of riding before a day off…whew!

Day 7 Christiansburg, VA

Day 7, Buchannan to Christiansburg, VA, Sat. May 23, 55 miles: Ok, today I thought I’d give you a typical day for this tour. I’m up at 5:45 am since I am one of the assistant cooks, and I get out the coffee, food for the cooks, and set out the lunch fixings. After Breakfast, I wash dishes and put it all away. So that means I am one of the main cooks for tonight’s dinner and the next morning for breakfast. Break up camp and get on the road at about 8:00 am. We’re usually hungry in an hour, so we stop for more coffee and either eat a sandwich that we have made or buy (like today in Catawba) at a little podunk store, noted for its hot dogs, chili beans and hardware. (see Photo) After lunch, back to the ride (no snakes today). Then on the next town and , in this case, the St. Paul’s Methodist Church. After showers (one shower stall for all of us) we cook the food that we have decided on, call all to dinner, and afterwards, have our map meeting for the following day’s ride. To bed and exhausted! OK, Now for today…the best way to describe today’s riding is “steep, steeper, and steepest! Beautiful continuous rolling hills, but super steep…16 % in some places. 55 miles went by quickly, but we are pooped. I did a dumb thing today. I usually clean off my tires with my hand once in a while as I ride. While cleaning the rear tire, and going 20 miles per hour, I accidentally wedged my hand between the tire and the frame. It locked up the rear wheel and the bike skidded to a stop still with my hand stuck in the frame. I didn’t crash, but came close. Arriving in Christiansburg, there was a hot rod car show going on. My first car was a 1936 Ford “5 window” Coupe. Brings a tear to my eye every time I see one. Dinner was at a Chinese restaurant (we cheated). One other biker crashed today and went to the ER room. Nothing major, but skinned up a bit. We have to exit the church before they start their Sunday Services, so we will get up and out early.