Breaking Out 2021: Leaving US-89

On Friday, the 23rd of July, we rose early. I drove back to Torrey for ice. We noticed that the gas station at the intersection of US-12 and US-24 had block ice, which lasts much longer in the cooler we bought in Salt Lake City. Continue reading

Breaking Out 2021: US-89 and other great roads

As we broke camp on Saturday, the 3rd of July, the air around Mammoth Camp in Yellowstone National Park was cool, though the cloudless sky promised severe sunburn to those who forgot their sunscreen. We rode to the commercial center around the Visitor Center. There, we saw the homeless guy we met last night hitchhiking home to Santa Barbara. Continue reading

Christmas chapter: Virginia

[Enjoy this chapter from my novel, Emily & Hilda, the first of its series. Free on Smashwords until New Year’s Day]

“Enough slack, you two,” Emily shouted and grinned. “Race me home!” Emily opened up on them until she was a small dot in the distance. Mark and Katherine were already drenched with sweat, but the effort was keeping them warm on a freezing day. Fortunately, it had not rained or snowed since they arrived in Lancaster, Virginia, but this was the first day of a long cold snap. Continue reading

Breaking Out 2021: US-89, The National Parks Highway

Welcome back to the present. This week, I suspend my ride through Europe to publish my school essay “What I did during the summer.” Remember those assignments? This will be the third and final installment of Breaking Out 2021, my life on a bicycle as we emerged from lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We may return to River Run 2017 next year, but you can always follow it by selecting the category “River Run 2017” from the list to the right of this post. Enjoy! Continue reading

The Somme and Seine: Rouen and Chartres

dscn4246.jpgSaturday the 22nd of July, I saddled up and rode to the main train station in Boulogne-sur-Mer. I had not planned to run alongside the Somme, but the tracks followed the swollen river all the way to Amiens. I needed to get off at Saint Roch to change for Rouen, but, mesmerized by the scenery, I almost missed my stop. Continue reading

France: the last frontier

DSCN4173On Wednesday the 19th of July, I lay in my tent at 05:00, ready to go back to sleep, when I heard thunder. The storm front predicted for 13:00 must be early, I thought. With little more than four hours of sleep, I decided to break camp to avoid packing a wet tent. While I struggled to wake up and get moving, the storm rumbled over the fields well to the south. It never did rain on me. Continue reading

If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

dscn4089.jpg(I never saw the 1979 movie, but the title stuck with me.) On Wednesday, the 12th of July, Marianne and her husband Hans had invited me to dinner. I spent the morning waiting for the rain to stop. After lunch in my room, I rode to the Mauritshuis palace, officially the “Royal Picture Gallery”. I planned to visit it, the Escher Museum and take pictures of the Binnenhof (Parliament) and maybe another museum. The plans fell apart quickly. Continue reading

The Rhine: Auf Wiedersehn, Deutschland.

DSCN4027Under an overcast sky on the 4th of July, I rode to the Hauptbanhof in Köln (Cologne) and caught a Regional Express to Düsseldorf. Before checking in, I rode to the river, where I wanted to see the modern architecture on the waterfront. Continue reading

The Rhine: Koblenz to Köln

DSCN3985Thursday morning the 29th, my host Nasr went to his German class. I did my laundry, then walked east along the Mosel River to the Deutsches Eck (“German Corner”), the point of land formed by the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhine. There, I caught a cable car to the imposing Festung Ehrenbreitstein that overlooks the east bank of the Rhine River. Continue reading

The Saar and the Mosel: Kaiserslautern to Koblenz

DSCN3906On Saturday, the 24th of June, I left Kaiserslautern. The Regional Express went all the way to Koblenz, but I got off in Trier, the medieval fortress town at the confluence of the Saar and the Mosel.

DSCN3910

From my studies of Modern European History in high school and college, I had expected the Saar valley to be industrialized for its entire length. Wrong: in this fertile, winegrowing region, the Saar weaves through a floodplain covered in crops, vineyards and woods. Continue reading