Sunday, September 16, 2012

Episode 17: Twitter 101

Before you do anything else, follow these instructions:

A) SMS "follow @across2worlds" to 40404 (Twitter),


B) Go to Twitter, sign up and follow me.

If you've been living under a rock the past 6 years, or one social-media website is enough, I give you Twitter. Not actually giving you, but educating you with the facts. Twitter is a micro-blogging service to tell the world what you're up to in 140 characters. You can follow famous people like the U.S. president (@barackobama) or your favorite actor/actress (@tomhanks/@zooeydeschanel). And find trending topics classified under hashtags (#monasticpilgrimage) to classify what's happening in the world. Yes I am simply using you to increase my followership.

If you kept on reading to this second paragraph and haven't followed me already, shame on you; you must have been one of those problem children in school. Just kidding, I still love you. Many people have been asking where I am at exactly this moment (Shawano, WI) and where I'll be the next few days so Twitter becomes better than Facebook because, unlike Facebook, you can follow and unfollow whomever you please and is more social-media acceptable than a Facebook unfriend. *gasp* If I indeed unfriended you on Facebook, it's because we haven't talked in years. I'm sorry and you're welcome to friend me again. I simply don't need 1,200 friends.

After this simple passive-committal step, you'll be able to get up-to-the-minute report of everything (via SMS, mobile app, and stationary app) that I don't post on Facebook or this blog. It's like one of those stalking relationships where you look at pictures of your 1st grade elementary crush. Yes, I just admitted that publicly... but this is rather useful information, like where to eat if you happen to be in Shawano, Wisconsin.

Woo. Completely transparent. Like Lance Armstrong, who for the record, passed every in-competition test. A winner in my book, not some sports politics on who has jurisdiction in deciding his fate. Doped up or not, he still won the Tour de France 7 times among others. He bested Miguel Indurain at the 1993 World Championship before cancer, the 5-time winner of the TdF and physiologically better than Armstrong with a resting heart rate of 29 compared to 33, and a VO2 max of 88 ml/kg/min compared to 84. And he survived cancer treatment. How many people do you know do that and accomplish more thereafter? Food for thought.

Last but not least, the two people I miss at the moment:
Cousin David and Kyle
Until next time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bicycle Banter: Numbers, Maps, and Things

For the rest of my tour route, click here. If you are remotely (~25 miles) close to this route and would like to provide your front yard, please contact me at Thanks!

Some numbers so far for y'all:

Days: 32
States: 7
Miles by bike: 1,200
Miles by train: 1,200
Miles by car: 100
Days of sun: 30
Days of rain: 1
Days of snow: 0
Mountain passes: 3
Hikes: 4
Average daily mileage by bike: 62
Average speed (mph) by bike: 12
Showers: 16
Laundry: 8
Flat tires: 0
Ounces of white gas consumed: 28
Calories burned: 160,000
Days with monks: 5
Days with family: 9
Bears: 3
Bald Eagles: 2
Animal noises I've learned to make: 4
AND a picture, for kicks- Gus the touring cyclist, and Gus the dog:
Until next time.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Episode 16: The Rising Sun

Kootenai Falls
We approach West Glacier in the late afternoon via treacherous highway 2. Some clouds with mild weather. We eat at the taco truck by the name of "The Wandering Gringo" and it doest indeed wander- south to Arizona (maybe that's why their tacos are darn good). The Apgar Village is recommended to us by bicycle path located at the mouth of Lake MacDonald. Canadians are our neighbors and share original Coors (the good kind, and stuff that can't be had in Canada) and good stories up to the night.

A highlight, if not the crowning jewel of the Northern Tier of the Adventure Cycling Association route is Glacier National Park. The look people get when one mentions Glacier, something happens- they swoon, or their eyes focus into the distance, or become animated, telling you the best hike to a lake or pass they've been to. It has become, for some, a place to be one with nature, become a place to go to for spiritual enrichment, become a place to be awed, inspired, fulfilled, and nourished. So I thought, "ok nature, show me: do your best."

The Highway to the Rising Sun. Sounds epic. Going-to-the-sun highway is the actual name but it doesn't roll of the tongue quite well.We set off by eight o'clock on a freezing morning. They close the only road that goes through the park to cyclists because it's a two lane road that has practically no shoulder when two-wheeled velocipedes carrying person and pack would certainly be secondary to motorists because of the view. A picture is worth a thousand words? Well, these will be the grandest thousand for a while:

The ascent took 4 hours (for me) to get to the top. We took pictures and did the tourist thing at Logan Pass, located at 6,646 feet above sea level. After descending into Rising Sun to set up camp, we met with Graham, an old high school buddy who tours people around St. Mary Lake, the second largest lake in Glacier to Lake Macdonald. The next day we spend lunch at Piegan Pass after getting to St. Mary Lake, a 4.5 mile hike that ascends 1,750 feet higher while a little creature's curiosity nagged our picnic of chili and rice.

After spending a week in Minneapolis, Kyle got a call for a potential job offer and had to head home. He made it to Washington by train safely and wish him well in the real world. So I'm on my own starting tomorrow, heading into Wisconsin in anticipation for the Great Lakes. I'll miss you Kyle. The one thing I've learned is that it's the journey that matters, not the destination. And so part two of the journey starts tomorrow.

Until next time.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Bicycle Banter: Travel

We travel day by bicycle.
Drink, eat, bike. Drink, eat, bike.
Drink, eat, sleep.

We travel afternoon by train,
plains running slower than the power lines.
The lounge car with people perusing-
city folk, farm folk, Omish folk, mountain folk.

We travel evening by train,
all wandering folk, all to leave a place to get to a place-
Glacier, The Oil Boom, Fargo for farewell,
Mom at the hospital, St. John's.

We travel morning by train.
The rising sun calls for listening with the heart,
a stranger pouring his life into my story.

I travel day by car, with monks.
Pray, eat, work. Pray, eat, work.
Pray, eat, sleep.

I travel day by foot.
Alone with God.