This is a web page for Pilgrim 2001, also called Pacific Eastward, being the traveling by Avram and Elijah Brown on bicycles from Oregon to Maine in the summer of 2001.
Pilgrim 2001 Home Page
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The start of the ride is delayed because Avram's bicycle needs some new equipment put on. A shop in Eugene promises to give his bicycle priority even though they are busy.
Avram telephoned from a Mexican restaurant in Florence. The bike shop in Eugene telephoned at ten in the morning that the bike was ready. The boys and their mother stayed for a while at Uncle Wally and Aunt Chrissie's, and walked around the property. Their land, some acres, has a kitchen garden and blueberries.
They went to 5:30 vigil mass in Florence. The priest introduced them at the beginning of mass, and prayed for them at the intercessions. Someone gave the priest $20 for the boy's trip after mass. The priest lives "in town," and the rectory in Florence is empty. He let the boys and their mother stay in the rectory. It is the Memorial Day weekend, and the first campground they tried was full. Avram talked to the folk choir after mass, and they told him how to get to a good beach, where they will not have to roll their bikes through sand dunes.
From the rectory, they could hear the music at the seven o'clock mass. One of the hymns was America, the Beautiful,
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
from sea to shining sea."
Avram and Elijah got a late start, as their bikes needed several adjustments that they made. They went to the beach, carried their bicycles over the wet sand, and dipped the wheels into the Pacific Ocean. This is not good for the bicycles, but makes a tip top photo op (the pictures aren't developed yet). Their mother went to the eleven o'clock mass at the same church, and the boys started riding. After mass Judith caught up with them fixing a flat tire by the side of the road. This brings back nostalgic memories of their older brother Aryae's bike trip in 1983, on the shortest day of the year, when he started out for his grandmother's house, and had a flat tire outside of Chico where we lived. He was thirteen. Judith then drove home to California, arrived safely and went to bed.
The boys' destination for the first night was Triangle Lake, and they had noticed the sign for the turnoff when they drove from Eugene to the coast. That however was the turnoff near Eugene, and they missed the one from the coast. When they got to the turnoff they had seen and looked at their map, they realized what they had done, and decided to go on into Eugene. They went to the Ukranian Catholic Church in Springfield and knocked on the rectory door.
The priest remembered them from years ago, when we went to liturgy there each summer on our way to family camp in Oregon. He said he would have liked to put them up, but had a meeting. He said if they had told him ahead of time, he would have canceled the meeting. But he drove them back into Eugene to a house some parishioners are fixing up to sell. It sold for $250,000 four years ago, and is a fine, big house. They ordered pizza and telephoned home. Thus the second night of their trip, they are indoors again. Avram's joke is that between here and Maine they will stay in their tent maybe one night (just a joke).
Their plan for tomorrow is to go to McKenzie Bridge, which would put them on schedule, as it was to be the third night's stop. The route from there to Sisters is over McKenzie Pass, 5,342 feet, on State Highway 242, a scenic route, closed in winter (not 126 for those of you who are following on maps).
The report for this day comes from a telephone call from Sisters, late Tuesday evening, May 29. The boys' host at the house in Eugene recommended Saint Benedict's Retreat House as a place to stay at McKenzie Bridge. They found the place a little way out of town; there were few or no guests, and the house put them up. The retreat house was founded by Benedictines, run by Franciscans, and is now operated by Dominicans.
Avram called home when they left McKenzie Bridge, but his mother and I had gone to Susanville, and a big truck passed by Avram, while our answering machine was playing, and he could not hear my message about a place to stay in Sisters, with a friend of Nancy Allen's, a childhood friend of his mother's. Instead they knocked on the door of the rectory (the priest's house) at the Church of Saint Edward Martyr, who was the uncle of Saint Edward the Confessor, and who was murdered by his aunt or somebody, who wanted her own son to be king.
On the climb to McKenzie pass they rode at four miles an hour for three hours. The view at the top was beautiful, with lava beds everywhere making it look like they were on the moon. They sped down the other side at 27 miles an hour. Arriving in Sisters at seven, they found Saint Edward's.
The priest, Father Tom Faucher, belongs to the Diocese of Idaho, but is judicial vicar of the Diocese of Baker (Eastern Oregon) in Bend, and pastor at Sisters. Some years ago a priest named Bill Weigand stayed with him during a time of transition before he became bishop of Utah. (For those of you who do not know these names, William Weigand is Avram's bishop in Sacramento.) Father Faucher took them to dinner at a restaurant in Sisters where they had fettucine.
Elijah was in the shower. In the morning they will go to the 8 a.m. mass at St. Edward's. They are tired, and may go only as far as Ochoco Reservoir, the next day's destination, as the ride is level. If they feel stronger they will go on toward Mitchell, which requires climbing.
Avram telephoned June 1 in the late afternoon from a pay phone in front of the feed store in Mitchell, population 206. Across the street was the market, the Lone Pine Cafe and the hotel, where Elijah was reading a book on the porch.
Arriving in Ochoco (accent on the first syllable, an Indian name), they knew there was a store up the hill at the campground, so only bought a bandage and ointment for Avram's sore ankle. However the store looked like it had been closed for ten years, and they ate the chocolate chip cookies left over from Aunt Chrissie's. They had had a burger and fries in Prineville, so were ok. The campground was empty, and the woman who managed it let them camp free. They set up their tent on the grass and spread out their things on a picnic table. The woman brought them some very nice port. The tent and their self-inflating mattresses -- their first night actually camping! -- were very comfortable.
In the morning the manager gave them coffee. The store was open! They bought chocolate milk and orange juice, and started down the hill. On the climb up from Ochoco the land for the first time was like home, forests and mountains like Clear Creek. On the other side of Ochoco Summit it became very dry -- Elijah thought it looked like Texas (he has never been to Texas).
In Mitchell they ate supper at the Lone Pine Cafe, and ordered the Trucker's Breakfast, paying cash. They stayed in the hotel for $35. The woman who runs the hotel does not take credit cards, and they did not have enough cash left.
They might have skipped their rest and continued riding, but Avram's ankle is sore. In the morning they went to stores looking for one that had an ATM. The market did, and they bought some things. But the ATM was a different network from their card, so they ended up with less cash than they had before. The owner of the market had a truck to unload, and the boys helped unload it, and he paid them $20. The owner's wife invited them to dinner this evening. The manager of the hotel lowered their rate to $25, so they would have some cash in their pocket.
Tonight after dinner they will camp in the town park, or if it rains, the manager of the hotel will let they stay in the bunkhouse, and use the showers free. Avram says the big thing they look for is showers.
Father Faucher in Sisters is from Idaho, and discussing their route over maps, they changed their plan from the northern approach to Darby, their stopover in Montana, to the southern. They will avoid a climb out of the canyon of the Snake River (Hells Canyon), and truck traffic on the road to Lolo Pass.
Avram telephoned Sunday afternoon, June 3 -- he was in a hurry because the weather had just broken after rain, and the sun was out, and they had three hours of uphill riding still to do before tonight's stop at Dixie Pass.
The ride has become hard. The weather has been miserable, 45 degrees and raining, with snow down to 4000 feet. Their campground is at 5000 feet, but the snow has melted off the roads. Two spokes broke on Elijah's rear wheel outside of Dayville -- they don't know why -- and he tightened the other spokes to compensate, and is able to keep riding. Avram had a tight muscle in his calf that made his ankle sore for the last two days, and now his knees are sore.
The descent was beautiful after climbing out of Mitchell, in a rugged landscape in the John Day Canyon. They kept riding past their planned overnight stop, and arrived in John Day late, in the dark and in the rain. They stayed in a hotel off the highway.
Mass this morning was focused on honoring four high school graduates. There is an ATM in John Day, and they have plenty of cash. Now on the way to the campground at Dixie Pass, they have plenty of food in their bags, although they understand there may be a restaurant.
Avram wanted the telephone number of a couple in Boise whom his professor at the Josephinum, Mrs. Mulligan, the director of Theological Field Education, said might be able to give them a place to stay. They may have to spend some time in Boise to get Elijah's bicycle fixed. (Theological Field Education is what Avram did this past year at St. Joseph's Parish in Rio Vista, California, not what he is doing now on his bicycle pilgrimage, lest you misunderstand.)
Avram told his mother they are tired, and she asked if they were discouraged. Avram said they were. He did not say that to me, but I am telling the world, on the Internet. Somewhere between what he told his mother, and what he told me, is the truth. Those of you who pray, might pray. The ride has gotten hard.
Avram called in the morning of June 5, as they were leaving Vale, and did not have time to report on the ride getting there. They are feeling much better. Those of you who pray, are good at what you do.
On the telephone, I told Avram to conserve his strength, and that his health was the most important thing he had, not his bicycle. He agreed that it was a mistake to go past their overnight stop and keep going to John Day. They are only a week into the ride, and learning how to pace themselves.
I gave him a message from Father Faucher in Sisters. He read the web page this morning, and is going to Boise tomorrow, and offered to help them find a place to stay, and get the bicycle fixed. He had already given them the name of friends in Emmett. Avram called them and said it sounds like they can stay there tonight.
I talked to Elijah for the first time since the ride started, and asked him if he had anything I should put on the web page. He thought briefly and told the following story: When the two spokes broke in his rear wheel, it wobbled pretty badly. But while they were stopped at the side of the road looking at it, a man and a woman came by on a tandem bicycle -- a mother and her son Elijah said. The son said, "Do you know you can fix that by tightening some spokes and loosening others?" I think Elijah was surprised that the son knew that. There were no other people around. Elijah was able to fix his wheel in John Day, so that it has hardly any wobble. He has 30 spokes instead of 32.
When I told Elijah's mother this story, she immediately thought of a very famous mother and son, but I have not had a chance to ask Avram or Elijah all the questions I have about what they looked like, how old they were and exactly what was said. Of all the things that have happened in the ride, this was the incident Elijah chose to report, and he sounded impressed.
Avram telephoned from Emmett at ten at night. When Avram called Father Faucher's friends this morning, they said they would work something out. It turned out they had a funeral and a graduation, and were leaving on vacation at four in the morning. They put the boys in a motel, but it was full, so they are in a bed and breakfast outside of town, not a Victorian house, but one built in 1979, built into a hillside for insulation.
Both Avram and Elijah had time to talk, and I have three pages of notes, and for the first time on the ride, I have to leave some things out of the web page for now -- later I can write them up. The reason is that I am a college teacher, and my grades are due. I have been preoccupied with this ride for some reason, and neglecting my professional duties. And so a shortened report follows:
They will go to Boise tomorrow. I asked about the mother and her son on a tandem, and learned a lot. Avram said the son is about 40, the mother about 65. Elijah said the son told them he quit his job, and was going on a bike ride to become a new man. Elijah was very discreet and did not ask what his job was, or what the old man was like. The boys met mother and son at the hotel in Mitchell, and ran across them several times, as they are traveling cross-country in the same direction, going to Virginia, with no time limit. Elijah knows their first names, but thinks they might prefer their privacy.
It was at the grocery store in John Day after mass, that mother and son pulled up, and Elijah told them about the broken spokes and the wobbling wheel. The son told Elijah about a third couple who were riding the same way, Jock and his sister -- Jock crashed because the rear derailleur broke several spokes. A man in a town knew how to true the wheel by adjusting spokes. The son held up the bike, and Elijah tried adjusting the spokes. Elijah made it a lot worse until he figured out what he needed to do. He suggested to the son that he put the bike down on its seat and handlebars, and Elijah would keep working. Elijah said the son is very relaxed. Avram said he was encouraging. Elijah did fix the spokes, so the wheel hadly wobbled at all.
At Dixie Pass, there was no one in the campground, except Avram and Elijah, and the mother and her son in the next campsite. Elijah said it was fun to be really camping with a campfire. They had roasted salami. The roasted tofu didn't work, and he ate it cold.
See June 9 & 10. Avram telephoned late in the evening of June 10 with a major report on their stay in Boise. Details later.
Avram called in the evening from Stanley. The sun was still up in California, but it was getting dark in Idaho, and they had three miles to go to a campground, where there would not be a telephone. They are two days out from Boise. They stayed last night in Lowman, in a place that had no phone. Their destination tomorrow is Challis. The scenery is stunning.
They did see Father Faucher in Boise. Elijah's wheel was fixed in fifteen minutes in Boise, while they went swimming. Since then Elijah broke one spoke and fixed it. Now he has another broken spoke. Avram's left knee is pretty tight. He is asking his mother's cousin to send some miracle gel to him in Montana. He needs to call our friends in Montana for directions to their house.
Avram called in the late afternoon from a gas station at the intersection of Highways 75 & 95. The ride today has been downhill with a tail wind. From here they will go seven miles south on 95 (in the wrong direction) to a campground that has a hot spring, and maybe a telephone.
Tomorrow will be a long ride, downhill along the Salmon River, to the base of the climb to the Continental Divide. The next day (Tuesday) they will climb 4000 feet, and then it will be downhill to Darby in the Bitterroot Valley (still on the west side of the Divide).
Last night they stayed at the Salmon River Campground, where a camper brought them firewood and trout wrapped in aluminum foil with butter, salt and pepper. They barbecued it over the campfire -- it was really good. The camper let Avram take a shower with hot water from his RV, hand-held, outdoors.
This morning they rode seven miles to the Sunbeam Hot Spring, and had breakfast there, bagels, peanut butter and honey. The hot spring flows into a creek, and people arrange rocks to make channels and mix the hot and cold water. Avram said the rock channels were exactly like the ones they built in Chico Creek in 1983, when Elijah was two and Avram was six.
The scenery today has been dry, like New Mexico. Yesterday it was like you would expect the Rocky Mountains to be, green meadows, forests and snow-capped mountains.
Avram called late from Challis Hot Springs, a resort that has been in the same family for five generations, and where guests have been coming since the 1880's. He gave a detailed report of their day of rest in Boise, that I will have to write up tomorrow. Father Faucher's friends were wonderfully hospitable, and the boys were able to have dinner with Mrs. Mulligan's friends, who live in the Wilderness Ranch, a huge acreage with gravel roads, rugged hills and spectacular scenery. They also met the governor of Idaho.
Avram called in the evening. They need to find a place to stay tonight, and have not been able to reach our friends in Darby for directions for tomorrow. In the meantime our friends are wondering if they should go to meet them, because it is supposed to snow.
Our friends are Tom and Jeannine Block, and their children, who were our neighbors in Clear Creek when the boys were younger. Gail and Loren were in home school when Avram and Elijah were. Their younger brothers were little when they lived here, Ethan, Caleb and Seth.
Jeannine thought she should get in the car and look for them, but hesitated among other reasons, because Gail thought Avram would want to do everything in a certain way, such as ride bicycles on their bicycle ride across the country. I said I was surprised Gail knew that about Avram, and Jeannine said "she spent every waking hour with those boys" when they lived in Clear Creek.
Avram's mother's cousin Kelley Gibbs writes that he is sending Miracle Gel to Montana and Minnesota both, and that "if it works" he would like mention of it in the web page. There's no charge for Avram.
Avram called in the early morning. He called Darby and got the answering machine. They are starting out to ride up to Lost Trail Pass, the border of Montana. There is supposed to be slush at the top. This writer (their father) hopes it will melt off by the time they pedal up three or four thousand feet. Jeannine writes that she kept off the Internet all morning except to write me -- the moment Avram called. By midday she and Avram had talked. They didn't actually start riding until eleven.
Avram called from Darby at 5:30 or 6, said they would try to talk to their older brother Aryae about Elijah's wheel, and said he would tell us more later.
Pilgrim 2001 Home Page
The author and web master is their father Dwite Brown.The URL of this page is case sensitive: http://www.psln.com/brown/pilgrim1.html