Nov. 1, 1999:

Left Portland on our way to Henderson Nevada. We will live the next month with Monika's daughter where it is dry enough to get in some training rides before the start of Odyssey. We've both been swimming, running, and working out at the gym for years, but have not done that much biking recently. We know the key to surviving the first few days of riding Odyssey depend on getting in some miles on the bikes just before the start.

Dec. 7, 1999:

We've had our new bikes for just three weeks now and have been building the mileage.
Mostly, I've had to ease up a little for Monika to keep up, but yesterday I was working
to keep up with her.
Today was not a good day however. It started out with me crashing a few miles after
the start of our ride. Just made too fast of a corner coming through the seven-hills
housing development here in Henderson, NV. The road was slicker than I judged, and
the wheels slid out from under me. Got a pretty good scrape and bruise on my butt and hip.
Had to lay down on the sidewalk for a couple of minutes after dragging my bike out of the rode.
Wasn't much to do except get back on and keep riding, which is what I will have to do
if this happens during our trip. If I didn't keep moving, my leg would have stiffened up.
After and hour or so I got used to peddling without too much pain, but if I moved my leg
a little differently, it proved to be stiff and painful.
We planned to head south to Jean NV, on the secondary highway which has a decent shoulder
and little traffic, and then go west to Goodsprings and back.
The wind looked fairly mild when we started, but picked up to around a 20 knot headwind before
we got to Jean. After a short break, we headed west for about and hour uphill and
into a wind coming from about 10 o'clock. We spent about 50 minutes struggling into this
wind and made about 5 miles, then turned around and headed back at about 25-30mph, with
gusty cross winds. The road was steeper than I realized during the climb, so I guess gravity
was giving us as much trouble as the wind. On the way down I got hit by a tumble weed,
right in the crank, fortunately it didn't jamb in the gears (or knock me off).
On the way to Jean it looked like we'd at least have a tail wind on the way back, but
it changed to more of a cross wind from about 8 o'clock.
On the way back, Monika got blown off the road by a sudden gust and crashed in the gravel
on the shoulder. She wasn't scraped up much, fortunately. I was ahead and heard her bike
rattle as she go knocked off the pavement, I checked my rearview mirror and couldn't see her,
so I stopped to look back (didn't dare turn to look over my right shoulder,
or I would have probably been blown down too). From there we had about another 20 miles
to return home, which were fortunately uneventful.

Moral for the day:
You make much better time if you DON'T fall off your bike. (And you feel better too).

December 16, 1999

Dan: Still recovering from my spill last week, riding the bike is OK,
but sitting in a car seat is uncomfortable. We we're both sick all day
tuesday, but OK by wednesday. Went for a 30 mile ride yesterday, and
today did 40 miles in much better conditions than we had last week.
The air was calm today, so we took the same route as last week when
we both crashed. This is a relief, the last few weeks have been
rather windy around here.
Got a digital camera yesterday so I can start adding
some photos to make things more interesting.

Monika pausing on SR604 south of Las Vegas.
You can see Interstate 15 in the left of the photo above. We are on SR 604
which parallels it down to Jean. It eventually changes into Las Vegas Blvd.
(the "strip") about 10 miles north of here. You can see the little trenches
in the pavement just outside the white line. These probably do a good job
of waking up drivers who fall asleep at the wheel on their way to "sin city"
but are murder to cross on a bicycle.

Close up of the wake-up trenches
Below is our turn-around point for today. With only two weeks till we have to
meet with the rest of our group in Burbank, we are feeling really pressed
for time, trying to finish all the details we need to take care of before
we disappear from the normal rat-race for a year. We will be traveling kind
of like an army, camping in a new place every night, and getting up to
march (pedal) down the road each day. (Actually we get about 100 days,
during next year when we don't pedal, some of these are relaxation and
site seeing days, but a lot of them will be taken up by making flights,
ferry, or train rides to the starting point for the next bicycle leg.

SR604 20 miles south-south-west of our temporary home in Henderson

December 20, 1999 :

Yesterday Monika's HP LX620 Palm PC suddenly started smoking,
and burned out. After just sinking another $300 in upgrades to it, plus
buying and acoustic phone coupler and making sure I got a digital
camera that uses compact flash so we could upload the images to
our site. ITS FRIED! Its out of warrantee and we can't afford a
replacement. This means the updates to the site will be difficult
once we start our trip.

I'm still working on some perl scripts for our site that will allow me
to add at least text (like this) whenever we can get to a "cyber-cafe".
I don't know if we will be able to send photos this way, probably not.
I will have to find a computer that I can transfer the images to that I
can run ftp on to upload them to the site.

It looks like the only chance to send/receive email and update this site
might be when we find cyber-cafes or similar access. I got a B I G
memory card for the camera, so I can store over 400 images, so you
might see a lot if pictures appear in May when we get back into the US.
I might find OK access in Europe earlier, but don't be surprised if we are
incommunicado for a couple of months at a time. Now that we are
falling back to the old reliable pencil and paper, at least we don't have
to work about it being Y2K compliant.
- Dan