From October 19 2009

Back to the Lower 48!

Written by: Ward
Edited by: Jacky

Entering the lower 48 on August 11 was again a different experience. We had
just come from a great 3 day experience in Western Vancouver with David and
Alice. Our royal treatment there was hard to beat. We were wined and dined and
got spoiled with steak, sushi and halibut. Even though this was hard to leave
we were ready to be back in the lower 48.

As we entered the state of Washington it was soon apparent that we could go back
to buying fresh milk and cheap fruits and vegetables. Jacky and I were
salivating at a local roadside fruit and vegetable stand. The purchase of a
tomato, 2 apples and a cucumber did not ruin our daily budget. I even bought a
quart of milk and drank the whole thing because it was less than a dollar as
compared to a $1.75/quart in B.C. (B.C. not only stands for British Columbia, it
also stands for "bring cash".) I love America.

Our goal is to touch the 4 corners of the Continental USA. We will ride down
the Pacific Coast to Chula Vista, CA, then go to Key West, FL, then up to
Bangor, ME and then back to IA. Now that we are in the US our friends and
relatives are going to be a more important factor in our travel.

Our first stop was in Bothel, WA at Chris Mequet. Chris is the nephew of Angela
and Russ Carll. We had a great visit and the hospitality was superb. Our next
stop was at Jacky's cousin, Cindy's, in Isaqua, WA. King Salmon for
dinner....hard to beat that and a welcoming change from our pasta and rice.

Our travel then brought us to Portland, OR. Jacky's Uncle Dick and Aunt Barb
were a pleasure to visit. They helped us design and rig up our "Living the
Dream" sign. We were talked into staying an extra day. Relatives have a knack
of making this happen.

Visiting the relatives was really fun but now we need to get some miles behind
us. Off to the coastal Highway 1 and 101. This portion of the trip was a
repeat for Jacky as she had cycled this same route in 1996. She had found it
amazingly beautiful and scenic and I have to agree. The scenery was spectacular
with sheer cliffs, blue oceans and forested mountains. We went through the
giant Redwood Forests that just made me speechless. We actually rode our
bicycles right through one of the trees. Cars were also able to pass through
it. These are truly "huge" trees!

During this portion of the trip we were camping at the "Hiker/Biker"
campgrounds. The hiker/biker areas were small communal areas of a larger
campground. This was a great way for us to meet other cyclists, learn about
what they are doing and what the route was like that laid ahead. One of the
best features of these campgrounds is that they only cost $3.00 to $5.00 per
person per night with 50 cent showers. You just couldn't go wrong.

We met a variety of cyclists doing variations of our trip. We rode with
Phillipe from Chile who on a whim decided to earn some money doing lawn work.
He purchased a bike and cycled the coast. Scott and Missy, a young couple from
CT, really enjoy hiking but their beagle dog, Buckaroo, wasn't able to keep the
pace when they started their hiking trip in AZ so they decided to change their
plan. They bought bikes and a trailer to haul Buckaroo and started cycling
along the west coast. They are a very lively couple and we had alot of fun with
them. They are around 26 years old and have hiked from Mexico to Canada, the
Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide. When you complete these trails
they say you earned a "triple crown". That's 8,000 miles of hiking! Yes, there
are crazier people than us out there.

As I rode my bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, I had another sense of
accomplishment. All the textbooks and all of the television programs now had
reality. It was a special day for me and Jacky as well as this was a second
time for her.

Our luck has been very good. As we arrived at the Fisherman's Wharf my brother,
Aaron, was there to welcome us to San Francisco. He was there for a Medical
Conference and he had an extra bed in his hotel room for us to use. We were
located next to Union Square and only a few blocks from China Town. What a
great location for exploring San Francisco. Jacky and I took the Alcatraz tour
which was very interesting and eery. But, even with all San Francisco has to
offer, we mostly enjoyed spending time with Aaron (especially when we would see
the city after dark).

We took a quick flight home from San Francisco to see our youngest son, Ross,
before his deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan. We also saw John and Molly, Jacky's
family and our Decorah friends. We are very hopeful that Ross will have a
"quiet" time during his deployment. John was very fortunate to have come out of
Iraq unscathed. Everyone please pray for Ross and all of our military.

Upon returning to San Francisco we then headed for Lake Tahoe. Keith Averill, a
Decorah friend who now lives in that area, hosted us. Our friends, Eric and
Denise Clement, came out from Cresco, IA and spoiled us for 3 days. Jacky
enjoyed a 3 hour massage and facial with Denise. Eric and I rode bikes and did
our own version of a Reno, NV scavenger hunt. We also enjoyed some fabulous
meals. But, the true highlight for me was mountain biking the "Flume Trail"
with Eric. (The Flume Trail gets its name because of a pipeline of water that
it moved.) Eric and I had perfect weather to do this 5 hour loop. The vistas
above Lake Tahoe are some of the best we have seen on our long trip. (Lake
Tahoe is the 26th largest fresh water lake in the world.) As we are back in
the US we are having more people come and join in our adventure. We really like
this. It makes us appreciate the Midwest more.

From Lake Tahoe we went back to the coast to travel down through Monterrey,
Carmel and Big Sur. We were still camping at the hiker/biker campgrounds but
the nice quality cars made it apparent we were in much wealthier areas. The
coast was covered with a marine layer of fog that obscured our view of the
hilly, windy coast. It also made us a bit fearful on the narrow Highway 1 as
cars and trucks had very little room to negotiate to get around us. We did stop
at Clint Eastwood's hotel and bar to see if he was there but I guess it wasn't
his lucky day. Mary, a friend that we met at the orphanage in Peru...originally
from MI, joined us for a few days. She rode her bike with us one day and
completed her first 50 mile bicycle ride. Way to go Mary!

As all good travelers you listen to the locals for the best travel routes and
travel times. Nick, whom we met in Carpenteria, was like an angel that was sent
to us. We were about 100 miles north of Los Angelos and we were fretting about
getting through L.A. in one day. Low and behold Nick lives in Costa Mesa (just
south of L.A.) and knows exactly how to navigate through the city. Nick was our
tour guide for 85 miles that day. We saw Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Long
Beach and had little or no traffic during our ride. Nick even invited us to his
home where we enjoyed some food and conversation with his family.

Our next goal is to get to Chula Vista, CA to see my Uncle Maury and Aunt Maria.
Prior to reaching San Diego we were able to ride through Camp Pendleton. Our
son, Ross, was on the base making his final preparations for his Iraq
deployment. We stayed at a Motel 6 across from the base with the hopes that we
could see him again before he left. He was very busy so we chatted on the
telephone. But, just knowing he was across the freeway gave me some

Our time with my Uncle Maury was uneventful as his health is guarded. We helped
out as we could and spent time visiting with Aunt Maria and the rest of the
family. Jacky and I enjoyed a San Diego Padres baseball game with 2 of Uncle
Maury's children. It was really fun since the Padres won.

Our trip now takes us from San Diego to the Grand Canyon with a stop in Phoenix.
We cycled through alot of desert and mountains. One day we saw a "VFW Deep Pit
Barbecue" celebration. Our lunch stop turned into an overnight stop in the
village of Campo, CA. We enjoyed a smorgasbord of food, live music, horse shoe
tournament and good conversation. The told us the history of this area and
shared their personal experiences living here as it is only 1/2 mile from the
Mexican border.

Here's a little bit of history. During World War II the Buffalo Riders were the
last of the mounted calvary. They were stationed at Campo. German POWs were
stockaded here. The Buffalo Riders were an all black troop. A small group of
15 motorcyclists that wore the Buffalo Rider coats came to the VFW to support
and enjoy the "Hog Wild Barbecue". They explained how they are planning on
placing a Memorial for the group under the VFW's US flag.

As we visited with many of the VFW members we learned that the close Mexican
border was problematic. In this area, on average 200-400 illegals are captured
and returned to Mexico on a daily basis. Some days the number is as high as
500-600. We were told that our very prestigious campsite under the American
flag at the VFW Post would be safe. They told us that we may hear illegals
running by our tent during the night but we should be okay. The border patrol
along route 94 was out in full force as every third vehicle was a border patrol.
We saw the police walking along the road and through the woods with their
rifles. We knew they were tracking someone. As we cycled further we found
ourselves only 200 yards from the newly constructed border fence. Very cool,
but eery at the same time as at one point we heard 9 gun shots come from the

Our time in Phoenix was spent with Jacky's cousin (Judi), husband (Jeff) and
daughter (Karissa). Jacky and Judi caught up on what has been going on in their
lives since it has been 15-20 years since they had seen each other. We had alot
of fun. I was also fortunate that my godmother, Lorraine, could come over to
the house and visit. 1982 was the last time I had seen her. We also had alot
of catching up to do.

I will close with a fishing story. As we made our way from Alaska to California
(through Canada) I have been purchasing the necessary fishing licenses and
equipment to supply Jacky with fresh fish. I was in Klammath, CA and I heard
the salmon were running the Klammath River. I bought the proper license and
tackle and headed for the mouth of the Klammath River. I was told that it was
one mile away. Great, so I head out about 5:30 pm (The distance was actually 4
miles on a gravel road and then 1 mile on a sand spit.) Since I had spent
almost $25.00 on a license and tackle I was going to fish until dusk or dark or
until I caught a fish. I didn't have any luck fishing but as I was walking back
to my bike, a young Native American yelled to me and asked if I wanted a fish.
(The Native Americans are allowed to net fish during certain times of the salmon
run.) I gladly said "yes". I was given my choice of fish and he even offered
me more than one. I took the top fish in the cooler which was a 25lb king
salmon. I thought, "this is great". But then it sunk in. I am on my bike with
a fresh salmon. I have no lights, it is pitch black and I have 4 miles to ride
back to camp on a gravel road. The campground director told us to be cautious
because this area was heavily populated with black bears and mountain lions.
Was I now a target for one of these creatures that could have easily been
sitting in or along side the road? I could not see much on the road and only a
faint outline of the trees that lined it. My fear level elevated as something
ran out into the road from the dark and hissed and growled at me. Meanwhile
back at camp Jacky recruited the camp director to help look for me. They drove
around in his truck to all the probable fishing holes. They even swung by the
local pub looking for my bike. When I arrived Jacky was relieved. But, now I
have the problem with the big beautiful 25lb fish. What do we do? The
neighboring RV camper offered to take the whole fish to eliminate the problem.
I thought, for all the work and expense I should have some of the fish. He
agreed to take what Jacky and I wouldn't use. He offered to freeze our portion
overnight for the next day departure. Everything sounded good we
went to fillet the fish we had company. We had a 600lb black bear sow eating
the fish guts at the fish cleaning station. The camper shooed the bear away and
it walked to the edge of the woods. Jacky kept a very fearful watchful eye on
the bear as we filleted the fish. She said she could see the glow of its eyes
and the pink of its tongue. I guess 40 feet is not the safest distance to be
filleting a salmon in the presence of a bear. But, it was all worth it. We
grilled it at camp the next night and shared it with our fellow campers. Bon

We have just finished 3 days of hiking in the Grand Canyon. That report will be
coming shortly. It was incredible and we are sore!!!

Check out our blog. It is updated through the Grand Canyon.

Please remember that you can follow us through SPOT (satellite personal tracking
device). You can do this through our website or through

Thanks everyone for following us on our trip. We really appreciate the support.

Jacky and Ward Budweg
PO Box 133, Decorah, IA 52101