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  1. #1
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    Ok so here I am in La Crosse Wi. now. I got here via train from Oregon. When I got to Eugene I pretty much knew I got done for now. Some one asked is it OVER? I donít know that it is ever over, just time to do something else for a bit.

    The train was full of interesting people as usual. I didnít get a chance to buy some groceries before hand so I was stuck with buying the over priced stuff on the train to eat. I arrived at the station early to box the bike and load my gear into a couple canvas bags I picked up at a surplus store. Then headed out for some lunch and to buy a new shirt that didnít smell like the road. For lunch I was able to find a Middle Eastern restrante and got a Scharma plate with a side order of humus and pita. That satisfied my hunger and I went off to find a new shirt.

    At Nike town I found some nice stuff on sale and got a t shirt and turtle neck then it was back to the station and got on a bus to Portland where the train was waiting
    At the Portland station there was a couple of English women in their early 20ís playing guitars and singing I donít know for sure but their voices really sounded like angles singing. It turned out they got on the same train and were getting off in Glacier park to go hiking for a bit. The fellow across from me (Josh) was fresh out of the army and looking to play some cribbage, back gammon and spades I was able to give him good games on all of them. There were others including a good number of Amish families travling on the train. Some ruff looking dudes and a guy that was drunk on hiss A** before we even left the station.

    This drunk guy I thought was at first just joking but he never let up and at he very next stop there were a group of police waiting to take him off the trainÖ. A group of 3 women were a few seats ahead of me and were hitting the drinks pretty heave also. At one stop maybe Spokane they found a bar and brought back 3 12 packs of beer but they wernt too smart they didnít even try to hide it as they walked past the conductor and he immediately told them they couldnít bring it on board unless he locked it up, Amtrack wants to sell their own product at a inflated price. They gave up the beer rather than risk being put off the train.

    I was getting hungry but there was no dining car until we got to Spokane and picked up the rest of the train cars coming from Seattle and they would not be open for food service till the morning. The lounge car had some snacks that got me through the night. In the car I was in we all had 2 seats to our selves so we could stretch out a bit to sleep but there was just no way to get comfortable and I slept maybe 15-30 minutes at a time. The train was non smoking which was fine by me but many smokers were ďdyingĒ for a cigarette. Every few stops we were in the station long enough for a smoke break I got out with them and stood up wind for fresh air and to stretch some.

    In the morning at 6 am the dining car opened and I was one of the first in for a 9 dollar egg dish well I could now make it till dinner this evening. The day was spent reading and playing cribbage and cards and back gammon in the lounge car some were drinking constantly and were getting a little bit edgy for a smoke break. When the train would stop it was like a heard of cattle headed for the doors.
    Another night sleeping in a chair, didnít get much sleep again but made it through. After we stopped at the twin cities I changed into my riding cloths to be ready to get off at La Crosse and ride south along the river back to Desoto. Gathered my stuff put the bike together and left the 2 canvas bags with the ticket guy and id pick them up first time oi came to la Crosse. My plan was to ride as far as Stoddard and get a motel to sleep in a bed and shower and watch Monday night football with e packers. There was a strong head wind blowing up the river valley and to me that meant a storm was coming in. The wind was a stedy 15-20 mph. First stop was just out of la Crosse at the kwik trip for some real coffee and a cookie. Stoddard is only 7 or so mile out and I decided to keep going and make it in to my place rather than take a chance on the weather tomorrow. Next stop was in Genoa at the gas station for a OJ and a cheese burger. I sat at the only table in the place and talked with a couple guys then headed out I passed more miles and still fighting the wind got to Black hawk park and knew I was getting close then the Pizza place and Rosieís then pulled into the gas station ion Desoto for a juice. The woman that runs the cash register it was funny to me because she didnít say hi or ask here Ive been or anything she just asked ďdonít you ever get sick of riding that bike?Ē for some reason this made me laugh inside I looked her right straight in the eye and said ďIm sick of it now, do you want the bike ? Take it free of chargeĒ I laughed for some reason the whole thing just seemed funny to me.

    While I sat on the bench out side of the station enjoying the juice and thinking about the last climb up Lawrence hill I was glad I decided to make it all the way in instead of holding short. Id never climbed This hill on a bike before but know it is steep not much traffic mostly local . it may be in places 7-10 % grade im not sure. There are a few places it flattens out enough to stop and catch your breath and grab a drink of water.

    On the way up there were about 6 cars passing me in either direction I didnít recognize any of them there is so much building going on here now if you are gone a while you feel like a stranger J Ok I got to the top and felt pretty good in less than a mile the road turns to gravel, I hoped it has been maintained. It was pretty dry so when I got to the gravel it was dusty when the school bus came by but there were few other vehicles and a couple farm tractors. The road being dry was all loose and hard to ride on almost like riding in sand or on ball bearings. I knew I had to go down a fairly long hill into the valley and wasnít looking forward to it I had to alternate riding the breaks to avoid getting out of control.

    When I pulled into my place it looked and felt good to be here the yard had been mowed recently so it wasnít a jungle thanks to Edith there were weeds that took over the gardens though and I found a lot of nice sized green peppers and squash I walked around and everything looked ok then got my pick up out of the garage and changed into some real cloths I found my pants were too big and the belt needed some more holes cut into them.

    I decided tonight I would spend one of my last 2 travelers checks on a 38 dollar motel room shower watch the packer game and sleep sound in a real bed up near la Crosse. I needed to be ther in the morning to renew my license plates on the pick up anyway and could pick up the bags I left at the station too.

    Before I headed for L C though I stopped at he farm to see Larry and Edith and being close to 5 pm I figured I could get a coffee there with them. I walked in and Gordy was at the table with them drinking coffee too. We talked some and someone made a comment about my belt being too big ha ha ha

    I got 36 more pictures to get processed and will post them later this week (hopefully) Need to make some money for a while got to build a chimney and install a stove before it gets cold Apple picking season is about to begin here and the fellow that owns the orchard stopped me on the road and talked to me about picking ILL drive down to Milwaukee this weekend to visit and check out the situation concerning some things then come back here and enjoy the fall season and get some work doneÖ. If the fall is nice I can still take some short local tours on the bicycle get work done on my place and make some money all at the same time

    There is more to say but I am not finished thinking it through yet the trip was a lot of things, good and bad weather, easy and difficult roads, always worth while allways moved forward, I did not back down to any challenge I didnít look for anything but a lot came my way

    More later~~~~
    Catfish

  2. #2
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    Hi George!
    I'm so glad you're back! I missed you around the club but I've enjoyed being part of your adventure via the computer! Classes are getting a little bigger again. New people are starting to come too! The bikes are in pretty bad shape since you've been gone. Some are down and many others are clanking and squeaking. Call when you get back!
    Talk to you soon!
    Marla

  3. #3
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    George
    Glad to hear you made it back to the land of cheese safe and sound.
    It is a real treat to share your experiences and energy for life. Must have been one heck of an experience.
    Well I relocated to Boise, Idaho a couple of weeks ago but am still planning on doing the riding 4 research event in Feb. Look me up if your ever out this way. You have my e-mail.

    Tom Abbott

  4. #4
    Zin
    Zin is offline
    On your what?!? Zin's Avatar
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    Thanks, George.

  5. #5
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    Great stories, Catfish!

    Thanks for sharing... I really enjoyed reading your stories. No one can tell 'em like you!

    D

  6. #6
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    Catfish,
    Read your wonderful journal entry. Wow, what a trip that must have been. I hadn't seen any of the latest entries until this last one. You made it to Eugene, WOW! It is a beautiful place, my sister and brother in law live there. I am sorry I didn't know you were heading there or I would have hooked you up with them. They live on a perennial farm, Mary is a teacher and Dan a carpenter, and both are avid cyclists having ridden from Eugene to New Jersey, (years ago). Did you get beyond Eugene to the coast?
    The train ride home must have been beautiful too, heading through Glacier but I suppose once you have seen the country on a cycle it is nowhere near the same, albeit a lot more relaxing, or at least an easier ride.
    So, you are back in LaCrosse. I thought that you found some place that you decided was the place and were planting your roots there. I guess it is still La Crosse for you! Glad you made it HOME safely. We all miss you at Le Club. Please keep in touch and visit often.
    Lifemoves

  7. #7
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    Welcome back. I hope your ride was everything you wanted it to be.
    Cheeze

  8. #8
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    Hey George,
    Welcome back to Wisconsin. Can't wait to see yu and hear more of your adventure. Don would like to head out to your place and give you a hand for a while this fall. Seems as though he will have some time. Tell you about that latter. Hope you stop out here if you head to Milwaukee for the weekend. We miss you. Talk to you soon.
    Love.
    Sue

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    I wanna be like Catfish when I grow up!

  10. #10
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    welcome home again and thanks for letting me live vicariously through you for a few weeks. kk

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