3: Bicycle Coast To Coast Across
By Frosty Wooldridge
“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” ~ Heinz Stucke, bicycle touring around the world for 50 years and still traveling
(Wayne at the top of Crane Pass on Route 20 heading east toward Corvallis, Oregon.)
Next day, we pedaled into Eddyville, Oregon. A roadside marker reported that a man named Israel Eddy homesteaded the area but when the train came through, he gave up the land as long as the railroad owners named the town after him.
To this day, Eddyville remains a thriving community of two broken down trailers, a junkyard and a prefabricated U.S. Post Office with a zip code to service the various vagrants that inhabit the mobile homes around the town. Nonetheless, the good name of Eddy marks its famous founder.
“That guy got his wish,” said Wayne. “He’s famous in this town right up to this day.”
“Fame is overrated,” Howard said.
We followed the Little Elk River to 770 feet elevation to Crane Pass and headed into Philomath where we stopped to take pictures by the city sign. A couple gave us $20.00 for breakfast on them. They said, “We pedaled a tandem all the way from Oregon to Alaska.”
“Holy catfish,” Howard said. “Fantastic!”
(Just a little snow in the high country on the passes. Bicycle touring lets you know you’re alive.)
No matter where you travel, someone finds a way to live his or her own adventures. When I think of Heinz Stucke, he’s bicycled all over the planet for 50 years. That’s a bit extreme to me, but it’s normal for him. You can read about him: www.HeinzStucke.com .
At the city sign, Wayne laid down on his back to look like a bug with his feet up in the air. “I’m worn out after climbing that pass,” he said.
(Wayne made it over the pass, but felt like a bug on his last legs.)
Another ten miles, we reached Corvallis, Oregon. Beautiful city! The University of Oregon Ducks, famous for their football team, highlighted the city. A huge stadium dominated the skyline.
We visited Howard’s old college lady friend. As we pedaled into her yard, a mountain redwood greeted us as it shot skyward. Incredibly large! In her yard, she featured placards, “Shock and Awe” with George Bush in March 2003 where he bombed the heck out of men, women and children in his attack on Iraq. It showed women crying over their dead babies. Each poster showed little children missing body parts along with all sorts of annihilation of people.
“What do you do for a living?” I asked Joyce.
“I am an anti-war activist,” she said.
“That’s the reason for those posters,” I said.
“You betcha’,” she said. “Somebody needs to keep our corrupt politicians exposed for their lawlessness.”
(Pictures of what war does to men, women and children. Shock and Awe by George Bush meant death and destruction to countless tens of thousands in the Iraq War.)
While the U.S. press reported on the dramatic scenes of Bush’s war on Iraq, now exposed as his lies that Iraq possessed “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, our president killed hundreds of thousands of women and children, and caused the collapse of an entire civilization based on his lies.
In my years of traveling around the world, I wonder why some leaders must assert themselves with violence through lies. More so, how do they get away with it? George Bush never faced a world court for his actions. Was that much death and killing worth it to the Iraqi people? Was it worth it to kill off 4,200 of our own young men and women let alone the 35,000 horribly wounded in that 10-year war? Was it worth it to spend $1 trillion on that war? Will it be worth the expected 200,000 young men committing suicide for their service over there or the severe PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction countless thousands will suffer for their lives?
(An old logging cabin high in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon on Route 20.)
Joyce’s quest reminded me of the MIA flags and decals that still dot the landscape by people who care about happened in Vietnam. We lost 58,300 men in that 10 year contrived war and killed 2.1 million Vietnamese. Men like Johnson, Nixon and Bush do not understand the human misery they create because it doesn’t touch them.
Joyce’s posters brought it all back to me. I am thankful to have lived through that war and come out in one piece. About 350,000 wounded didn’t do so well.
As shown in 2014, that war accomplished nothing other than mass mayhem and countless deaths. If the dead could talk…I bet they would rather still be alive under their dictator instead of six feet under.
Ironically, as intelligent and aware as Joyce proved herself, she lived in a virtual dump of a house with a collection “things” that reminded me of uneducated people who don’t see the junk they allow to accumulate in their yards and homes. She stacked broken bicycles and cabinets in her side yard. Barrels and boxes filled the back deck. Junk stacked up in rooms with bedsprings, glass frames, crates and worn out washers.
No order anywhere! I witnessed this kind of living when I taught in the ghetto. I wonder what causes such human behavior? Answer: illiteracy, culture, lack of self-respect. I can’t or wouldn’t allow myself to live like that.
Out of Corvallis, apple blossoms exploded along the city streets. We pedaled up the Santiam River into rich, thick, stately pines. White water rushed along the road and through the woods with its magical music. A robin belted out its anvil-like chirp while we stopped by the river to soak our feet in the ice-cold waters. A ladybug landed on Howard’s knee. Adventure can be as subtle as a ladybug sharing the morning sunshine as it perches on your knee or as strenuous as hammering up a mountain pass. That’s the magic of bicycle touring.
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