Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coast to Coast

            This is a map of my biking route that I'm planning on taking come March of next year. There still exists a few flaws in my plan, but I am working through them and have so far come up with a strong concept of everything that will be involved on this trip. First off, the distance that I will be traveling I cannot set to the exact mile, to do so would be completely unrealistic due to the plethora of variables along the way. However, I've estimated that the trip will run around 8,000 miles. When I rode to Salt Lake City and back for a combined 84 miles (7 hours of combined riding time), I know that I will be able to at the very least make 60 miles per riding day with a loaded bike; meaning  I would need 133 days of riding. Though I'm sure I can ride 80 per day easily, I like to have a little leeway in case of the unexpected.   
This is the bike that I will be using on my trip.
It is a Trek FX 7.3 commuter bike I bought a
little over a year ago. (This picture was taken
a few weeks ago during my ride to SLC.)
I would like to head off by March and September will be the longest I plan to stay out, giving me seven months and 137 extra, non biking days if needed. I will most likely return home earlier than that, but like I said, I like to keep it open just in case. I also will be spending a day or two site seeing in most of the major cities I visit, if not more depending. Include into that a day or possibly two if needed of down time per week you'll probably find that most of that extra 137 days to be well used.
Like I said, there are still some variables I am working out before I can do this, but I'm really going to gun for it and try to be totally prepared by the end of February. I will also be starting up a new blog (which will hopefully include video of my prep and progress) that will be devoted solely to this journey. Meanwhile, I will keep this blog up to date on my progress until I find a good site for my new blog.
If anyone has any comments, ideas or even criticisms they'd like to share, please feel free. I could use all of the support, information and challenges I can get!  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Voting Independant

                 When it comes to politics, I can either be very vehement with my stances, or overly cynical. With the 2012 elections just around the corner, I've been seeing both sides of the coin in an almost continual rotation. This duality of perspective stems from my absolute hatred of the two party system. They split America by red state and blue state, bipolarize stances to the point where it's barely comprehensible and shepherds the sheep of the country into one of two ideological slaughterhouses.
Okay, maybe that last analogy was a bit over the top, but my personal opinion is that political parties shouldn't exist at all. How many people do you know that will vote for someone just because they have a pachyderm or jackass plastered on their signs and commercials? And how many of those people actually have differing ideals from their party, but just go with the flow anyway? I once met a man in the Bible-belt who called himself a "Blabtist" (meaning Baptist). He would mock the inner workings and doctrinal stances of his church all the time, but he would never leave it because it was the one thing that was familiar to him and he didn't want to deal with the inconvenience of change.  I believe that there are more "Blabtists" in the U.S. than we might think. People who disagree with something but, for some reason, choose not to act, instead they fall in with what is familiar. The only thing worse than a fence sitter is someone who chooses without thought.
Though I would eventually like to see the end of the political party system, the first step is to bring third parties into the spotlight. Parties such as the Constitution, Green and Libertarian parties, each having wide, differing stances, need to be more politically and socially recognized to enhance our choices come election time. We are voting for people to represent us in government and, more importantly, people to represent you. Now I'm not saying that no one should vote Democrat or Republican. If you've studied their stances and agree wholly or mostly with that candidate then definitely vote for them.
Gary Johnson,
Libertarian Candidate
As for me, I will be voting Gary Johnson for president come November sixth. He is the Libertarian candidate and the closest I can find in representing my ideals. His platform offers real change compared to the nitpicking that both Mitt Romney and Barak Obama are offering. Changes like reforming the tax system and removing the IRS for the FairTax proposal, ending the futile Drug War and legalizing marijuana to save billions of dollars and reduce the power of drug cartels in Central and South America which are funded mostly by the American dollar. And finally, reforming the immigration laws to make legal immigration easier and increase pressure on those who just want a free ride.

Do I think he has a chance to become president? No, of course not.  But I am not going to vote for someone that does not represent me. To do so would completely undermine the concept of a democratic republic. And this applies to all levels of government, what I want is for people to wake up and vote for who represents them. Gage the stances instead of the color of their affiliation. Alternative choices need media attention as well and debates need more than just the two candidates. If we can do these things then the facade will be thrown off and the real democratic republic will emerge just as the founding fathers envisioned it to be centuries before.

Monday, October 22, 2012

West Coast Vacation- Part Three: San Francisco

So... I've neglected to finish up this easily writeable end portion of my coast trip for over two months now. The motivation to finish it is to get started on another brilliant idea and I need to finish this one up first. Anyways, San Francisco definitely had its ups and downs. It was fun and awesome to see sights that I've only seen in pictures and television, but unnecessary stress marred our day in the Bay City mostly because of unpreparedness. For instance, it turns out that you need to schedule Alcatraz trips two weeks in advance because there's only one ferry on the entire pier that goes out there. Another thing is that we didn't plan out our transport very well and missed the shuttle back to where we parked the RV and instead had to split up between a taxi cab and taking the bus back. Adding on the fact that my brother, Christopher had his bike stolen at pier 39 in broad daylight, the stress was definitely running high that day. Live and learn.
                 However, there were some great sights to see and I managed to cross one of my goals off my bucket list, which was riding my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. Because my brother's bike was pilfered and my family was stuck at the pier because the bus never showed up, I rode solo to the bridge and crossed via the western side of the bridge facing the ocean. The wind was blasting from the direction of the giant puddle with the sun setting in one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen. I couldn't have planned a better time to cross it and I am eternally grateful that I at least had the opportunity to make that one ride.

                After our day in San Francisco, we raced eastward back to Utah, through the beautiful California countryside and into the more barren, though still aesthetically pleasing, state of Nevada. It was a great trip all in all and a great final hurrah for Christopher before leaving to the MTC and on his mission for two years. If nothing else, there is one repercussion I have felt from this trip, being that my travel bug was reawaken. Now the twitch to run off and see the world has hit me harder than it has in quite some time. Already, I'm making some big plans for next summer with two places on two different sides of the world  in consideration. I'll be posting more on this idea and hopefully get back into the swing of things with this blog...perhaps even starting a new 'travel blog' if all goes according to plan.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

West Coast Vacation- Part Two: Northern California

 So to start off this second and second portion of my vacation blog, here are some more thought worthy sea side pictures. Now I can't remember which of these were still in Oregon and which where California, so just picture these somewhere near the border.

- This one I know was in Oregon because I'd been there before when I was twelve. Unfortunately, we didn't get out and swim around there like we did before, but it was cool seeing those rocks again.

- This one I liked because it felt very Scottish; with the misty rocks and the wavy pale grass against the ocean.

- Once we got to Northern Cali, we had to take an in-depth look at the mighty redwoods. We found a nice trail through the woods which came out to the ocean.

 - The rest of my family walked the three miles, but I decided to be a little more adventurous and try riding my bike across it. (note: that is not a mountain bike.) It was a relatively nice ride except for wiping out on a downhill slope and scuffed up my arm. I didn't even get that good of a scar out of it so it's really not even worthy of mentioning.

- These flowers were covered all
over these giant boulders by the shore.

- My brother, Christopher goofing off with the flora.

My new friend, the banana slug

 - There was something on top on that isle out there. I'm guessing it was a lighthouse of some sort but I all of my zoomed in pics were too fuzzy to tell.

Well that concludes the coastal views and redwood forest. My next and last post will be a little closer to civilization, of sorts...San Francisco.

Friday, August 31, 2012

West Coast Vacation- Part One: Oregon

   You know, I was originally going to write this big ol' blog entry detailing every aspect in my west coast vacation that my family and I took a couple of weeks ago, but then I thought: who would really care about all of that? I personally like travel stories, but I'm willing to bet that the majority out there wouldn't give a rat's bottom to hear a long winded story about someone else's vacation. So, in short here's a bunch of pictures I took while out and about with some descriptions below every once and a while.

 So the first place we visited was Pendleton, Oregon. It was more of prolonged stop while on the road. Since we weren't going to be going anywhere for a few hours. I decided to take a short fifteen mile bike ride through the countryside.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pendleton

Above are a couple of pics taken of the Columbia River. First one in the more desert-ish east and then the much greener and mountainous west.

 The left pic is the Bonneville Dam while the one with the train and mountain was right before the dam where they have a fish hatchery.

 When we got to the Portland area, my brother and I rode our bikes a good eighteen miles or so from where we were staying to downtown Portland. As we were going through the suburbs, we came across some awesome street art that we had to take pictures of.

This was just too awesome! While
visiting Powell Bookstore I found
this little tribute to H.P. Lovecraft
and had to snap a pic of it.

Portland, Oregon
 Tillamook Cheese factory. My mom really wanted to visit it before heading south which turned out to be an awesome drive through forested mountains and our first taste of the sea breeze. I am very tempted to move there because it's such a beautiful place. I wish I took more pictures of the area.

 Got to go out and play in the surf a bit before nightfall. It was my second time seeing the ocean.

     Still in Oregon, just a very scenic view of the ocean and northwest coast.  

So then we had a party on the beach... haha! Just kidding. I found this bottle (already empty-why's the rum always gone?) at a view point and wanted to take a picture of it.

Well this got a little bigger than I thought it was going to be. I've still got some more pics and the rest of California to share when I get some more time to write again.