Here is is for your viewing entertainment. Part 1 of our Alaska to Argentina Bike Journey. This begins in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and ends at our halfway(ish) of Costa Rica. Please comment, email us, share us, let us know what you think! We hope to get feedback for Part 2...(click link below or copy and paste into browser)
We limped into Portland on fumes, but Jordan (Kristen's brother) picked us up and we soaked in a long and much needed stretch of rest, relaxation and catching up with friends and family. We spent time with Jordan, Lisa, Sean and little Braydon (Kristen's sister, husband and little one), and met up with JBro! We had great times hiking parts of the PCT with JBro back in 2011 and he had just completed the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) a few days prior. After a few days in Portland, Oregon, JBro, Ville, and I got a ride from Suzanne (Kristen's Mom) to Bend, Oregon and our hometown where we finally put our stuff down and took some time off.
Once in Bend, I, Kristen, had to undergo PRP injections in my neck to try and heal an old bicycle injury I had when I was, of all things, doored by a car. The recommended time-off for healing is 2 weeks, and although really stubborn and wanting to get back on our bikes and hit the road, we decided to be good and actually take the time off. Here is some pics from fun times spent in Portland and Bend enjoying our friends and family while here. Thanks all for making the time to see us and for all the love and support you have given us!
Hello all our friends, family and supporters!
To celebrate our, Ville and Kristen's, arrival in our hometown of Bend, Oregon, we are kicking off a fundraiser for Carly's Kids. For those of you that don't know about Carly's Kids yet, Carly's Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to provide underprivileged children access to outdoor education school. Your charitable contribution is tax deductible and directly impacts, enriches, and inspires kids.
Would you like to help support Carly's Kids mission to help kids AND get a cool postcard from us from somewhere cool that we travel through while on our crazy Alaska to Argentina bike tour? Well, here is how you can help:
1. Click on the Carly's Kids link below or on the Carlys' Kids box on the right side of our page.
2. Click on the button DONATE
3. Donate a minimum of $20 to help kids in need get to outdoor school and before you checkout, fill out the following information in the comments:
We Lost The Map
Name (of who will receive the postcard)
Mailing Address (where to send the postcard)
Thanks all for the continued love and support along our journey! Cheers to Bend, Oregon, Carly's Kids, and 3400 miles. Keep on keepin' on!
Ville and Kristen Jokinen
We Lost The Map
This stretch was, um, depressing, stressful, and took a LOT of patience and compassion on our part. That is a wide array of emotions so I'll explain. We had heard great things about the Olympic Peninsula before heading there. Enough to decide that if there was some extra miles involved to go north again, west, then south before having to head back east to get into Portland, it would likely be worth it. And let me say this first, if you are driving a car around the Peninsula and make your way into the Olympic National Park to hike, camp, or check out the handful of rainforests there and then get back in your cozy car out of the rain and turn on your windshield wipers and drive yourself back to a warm shower somewhere, it was probably epic! If your on a bike, in our personal opinion (and keep in mind folks this is our opinion based off our experiences that may be different for everyone), SKIP IT.
First of all, the scenery was not very memorable other than beautiful forests hacked into a patchwork of clearcuts and fairly recently replanted forests. The whole whopping' 15 mile stretch along the coast had only peekaboo views of the water and then we were back inland until we were nearly to Astoria. However, the brief road winding the shoreline of Crescent Lake was pretty and the very southern Bone River Natural Area Preserve was georgous. The road itself, Highway 101 along this stretch was terrible for a cyclist! Chipseal pavement, mostly little to no shoulder, and a constant stream of traffic and logging trucks flying by you at excessive speeds. Every town we passed or stopped and spent time in; from Port Angeles to Forks to Humptulips (no, I'm serious this is a real name of a town, Google it) seem to exist in sheer part thanks to logging. And the occasional tourists, but mainly logging.
Also along this stretch was more garbage (diapers, whole bags of trash, bottles, car parts, tires, and even an entire back seat of a car) scattered all along the road. There was a handful of houses along the road, but mainly trailers, (one had a cool Playboy Bunny towel covering a window and the other a Duck Dynasty towel), the characters in Safeway where we stopped in Port Angeles to eat and hang out tent to dry were just that, characters. We stopped in Forks to eat breakfast in a park under a shelter and watched 6 different drug transactions go down in the 20 minutes we were there and even met a few nice junkies with soars on their faces and everything!
What we very quickly realized, was all the locals and loggers HATE bicycles and the cyclists. There was broken bottles and glass everywhere, and I really mean everywhere in the bike lane. We had more glass just on the Olympic Peninsula in about 200 miles than we had on the entire rest of the 3,200 miles! It became really obvious quite quickly that it was not coincidental. We even had quite a few cool people in trucks gun it right next to us mere inches from us on purpose to let us know we were not wanted. So after our 3rd flat tire (on the Olympic Peninsula alone) our blood was nearly boiling and now we are left trying to change a tire on a busy road with no shoulder and no where to pull off. Sweet, thanks.
What we had to keep reminding ourselves as our stress and anxiety level rose, was that most of these people are poor, uneducated, unhappy, underpaid, under appreciated, and they are taking their anger out on cyclists. I feel really sorry for them. They must feel stuck in their situation with no way out and when their stress and anxiety levels rise, they look for someone to blame. We also saw more TRUMP posters, stickers, banners and such on this stretch than anywhere else. If you are asking yourself why, reread this paragraph. There is a correlation. Needless to say, we HATED this stretch and it was a good lesson in patience and understanding for those less fortunate than ourselves and really unhappy in their lives.
After kicking our asses and riding over 90 miles a day for 3 days (we were soaking wet and really ready to be done with this stretch), we camped just north of Astoria on the coast in a campground where we finally met a super nice couple, Deano and his gal pal, who welcomed us to their fire and invited us over for breakfast and coffee in the morning before we hit the road. Keep rockin' it in your birthday suites you two!! And with a 4.1 mile ride over the Astoria-Megler Bridge first thing (we had to see over 100 dead birds smashed on the bridge), we jumped right on Highway 30 and made a beeline for Portland. Having never driven the highway, I made the assumption it was flat following the Columbia River. Wrong. It had at least 3 giant passes full of fast cars, completely blind curves and no shoulder to climb. By the time we limped into Portland for the 4th consecutive over 90 mile day, Ville's knee was hugely swollen and back locked up from being blown over the handlebars by a passing truck!
But boy were we glad to see J-Lo (this is Jordan my brother who lives in Portland)!! He drove to pick us up just outside the city (thanks so much to the guys at Barlow Bikes & Boards who got Ville's bike back riding straight after his fall) and after putting bikes in his apartment in North Portland, we headed out for some damn fine Thai food and stiff drinks. The next day we were able to connect with JBro (our good friend Jonas from Germany who we hiked the Pacific Crest Trail on and off with in 2011) who made it to Portland after completing the Continental Divide Trail a few days prior and waited for us in Portland to show up. We went out for beers to celebrate and share travel stories at a walking street fair before all heading to Tualatin where Lismeister and Alejandro (my sister and brother-in-law) live with our nephew Braydon. Mr. Braydon was a crawler and only being gone for 2 in a half months, he is now a full-on runner. Spent a day being tourists in downtown Portland, eating and drinking everything in sight, and then Mrs. Magoo (my Mom) drove up from Bend to pick up this motley crew and take us to Bend!!
I made my way again out to Mindy's home and studio on the outskirts of Bend, Oregon where Meliloo Designs began. Mindy's small studio is meticulously well organized with every bag of stones, leather, string, and metals all in their place. She was sitting with large headphones on deep in conversation with someone and hunched over her large wooden desk with tools in hand, working on a jewelry piece. Watching her work is like watching a surgeon performing a triple bypass, with the utmost care and concern for every tiny detail. Even down to the packaging her pieces are shipped out in. Bagged, boxed, wrapped in string. When the tiny box is in your hand, it is but a work of art.
"I have been making jewelry since I was little, like 12 or 13. I use to sell bracelets that I made for my friends when I was 11." Jewelry making began as a hobby, but Mindy spent many years working in the serving industry in Bend to pay the bills. While waitressing and bartending, she attended University of Oregon Cascades Campus and finished a degree in Archeology. After her degree, she spent a few rotating seasons out to areas around Eastern Oregon and Burns working for the BLM on digs. "I didn't start doing the wire wrapping until I was inspired by all the rocks in the desert when I was working for the BLM. About 5 years ago is when I started working with melting metals."
Mindy's attention to detail and love for natural stones and metals has made her an amazing jeweler. Mindy encompasses the child inside us all that collects rocks, stones, shells, and trinkets and turns them into works of art. "I believe that through the simplicity of nature, beauty is created. The rawness of nature is what inspires me. I am excited about creating jewelry that is very minimal; with the addition of my belly jewelry, I feel this is what expresses my philosophy of a beautiful style that embodies simplicity, class, and comfort."
A few years ago, Meliloo Designs had become so sought after, that Mindy left her job with the BLM and became a full time artisan and jeweler. Her dream of living a life doing what she loved had came to a reality. " I love directing the attention of my work on the natural uniqueness and organic rawness of each stone and feel excited about expressing my designs into reality by pairing them with the elegance of soft and strong metals. Each stone I work with inspires its own design, the metals help to accentuate them. I have an appreciation for the geology and history of the earth and I am always looking for new and different stones to inspire me."
Ville and I here at We Lost The Map have been so grateful to have Mindy sit down with us and create some beautiful We Lost The Map bracelets and necklaces for our supporters and fans! You can get your very own necklace or bracelet in our STORE and pair it with some stones from Meliloo Designs. Find Meliloo Designs on Etsy or simply click on the links below to get you there...
Ville and I are in Bend, Oregon now and busy getting our bicicletas dialed for our trip. First, we got our bikes new with some help from a friend. New bikes are cool and shiny, but most importantly for us, they have less use and abuse on the frame and since we will be riding 20,000+ miles, this matters. Since we both got the same bike, different sizes, we have pretty blue matching bikes soon to be covered in gear and stickers. We also bought some leather Brooks saddles that are currently hard as rocks and we are riding every day around town to break our butts and saddles into each other. If you see us out there on our pretty blue matching bikes, wave, honk, yell, or toss us a beer.
Last week was a big week. We were in The Bulletin, and thanks all for reaching out to us with all the love, support, and well wishes for the trip. We are excited to see you all along the journey and share in the excitement of being on the road. Then, we were asked for an interview to be on 101.7 fm, which will air next week sometime on the morning show at 8 am. Stay tuned for the air time!
And now to equipping our worthy steeds that will get us the distance. Last week we sat down with John Frey at Hutches and dialed a list of goods needed for the ride. John is awesome, we went through the gear list part by part and made sure we will have everything we will need, including custom built wheels, to make the journey. He also walked us two newbies through the workings of the bikes and the must-dos to keeping our rigs trucking along the way. Thanks John for taking your time, after hours even, to help us out!
Then there was Chris, THE wheel builder, at the East Side Hutches. Wheel builder you ask? Well yes. And it is an almost lost art, now that most bikes are standard machine made, not many kids are building special wheels up for their most special application these days. We decided to build our wheels because of the miles we will ride and how remote many places will be. Maybe best to spend the $$ on hand picking the best hubs, rims, spokes, and tires for the job and then not get stranded with broken parts in the middle of nowhere and wish we had dialed them when we had the chance. Thanks so much Chris for showing us how you put a wheel together and letting us ask a million dumb questions about them. See you in Oregon when we have broken those bad boys in!
Thanks also to Mike Fusaro and Paul Karr, you guys were incredibly helpful and generous with walking and talking the bike talk needed to get our gear dialed. We are incredibly grateful. And to everyone else who has liked us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kristen.grund.7 or https://www.facebook.com/welostthemap2/) is following us on Instagram (www.instagram.com/welostthemap) and just plain making the time for a beer, walk, or dinner before leaving. We love you all.
P.S. If you have some down time tomorrow, This Saturday, June 11 @ Drake Park is Camp Tamarack"s first annual Community Carnival! 10am-2pm. There will be games , archery, entertainment, music, obstacle courses, FUN GALORE for the whole family! And if your really lucky, you just might see Ville and I there helping support our very favorite foundation, Carly's Kids! Unlimited activities bracelets for $10 will be sold at the event. 100% of proceeds go to scholarship funds for participating Bend La Pine schools to reduce the cost of Outdoor school. Food will be sold separately. Come join us for some fun and family time. Help Celebrate the Magic of Camp Tamarack! Hope to see you there...
Artisan door maker, Gary Grund, has been perfecting his art and craftsmanship as a carpenter for over 35 years in the small ski town of Bend, Oregon. He began with a small Shopsmith in a shed in the backyard and has slowly perfected his craft from his humble beginnings making his children's beds to custom kitchen cabinets and what he now specializes in, entire front entry doors on some pretty impressive homes.
"I started working with wood back when I was young with my Dad in his garage. I think my Dad started building things because I am from a family of 6 and my parents didn't have enough money to buy furniture, so he would just build the things we needed," explained Gary when we sat down for a chat this last weekend. "I then took a shop class in high school and loved to be in there building things".
Gary and his wife Suzanne moved to Bend in 1979 where they built a large blue preschool and kindergarten called Bright Beginnings on 27th Street. Gary put up a small metal shed in the back and bought a Shopsmith and a handful of tools. Being the on-site handyman, he would also build everything from bookshelves, tables, and cabinets for the school and home. Parents saw his handy-work and side orders began coming in for kids beds, desks, and trunks for quilts.
As Bend's population grew and building boomed, Gary became Heritage Woodworks and honed in his craft in cabinet making and took on remodels and new construction homes strictly by word of mouth. As the business and demand grew, he hired an apprentice, but refused to hire more people for he believed in the custom craftsmanship of his own work and didn't want to see that change, even if he had to take on fewer jobs. "Bend is a small town and it's important to build a reputation with solid craftsmanship and a good relationship with the customer. I am able to go into someone's home and draw plans for what they dream their space to look like and then help make that happen. It's pretty rewarding to look back after the work is finished with the clients and see how happy they are."
After about 15 years of mainly cabinet making, Gary realized that the detail and storage space necessary for cabinets was straining his modest shop space and transitioned into specializing in front entryway doors, sidelights, transoms, and interior doors. Stacking doors took up a lot less space than cabinets, while freeing up more of his time for creativity in making each door a masterpiece and less time trying to make cabinets fit into set spaces. Bear Creek Doors was born.
As Gary's reputation has spread through the years amongst well known Bend builders, and friends telling friends about him, his doors has been in high demand. Homes all over Central Oregon and stretching as far south as the Bay Area and Southern California, have been transformed by Gary's elaborate entryways, wine cellar doors, gates, garage doors, and an array of other fine artisan crafts. When potential clients would come to see Gary about a door, they would drive out to his shop on the ranch, passing the orchard trees, ponds, waterfalls, stained glass, barn and be taken into a world Gary had planted or built himself. He sat them down as friends and took the time to explain how their door would be built. He sent pictures as the door came to life and welcomed them to pop in and see the progress. People came to have Bear Creek Doors build their door because it wasn't just picked out from a sea of doors, it was created and the client was part of the creation.
After over 35 years of building and designing, Gary is ready to retire. Although he hangs his Bear Creek Doors hat, his creativity will go on in the never ending projects he constructs on their ranch out Bear Creek Rd. And if you are a Bendite or just passing through Bend, you are sure to see his work in places such as Crux Brewery, if you see the wooden Deschutes Brewery "Woody" Barrel drive by, or on a number of fine friend's homes you may visit. If you open the door and look on the door between the hinges, where the door meets the jam, you just might see the Bear Creek Doors bear stamped into the wood.
It was a fine day for a little drive through Eastern Oregon and after my cousin lent us her hot wheels, PT Cruiser, Ville and I headed off for a spin up to Baker City, Joseph, and back to Bend. Instead of the GPS's most direct route, we opted for back roads. And here are some shots along the way.
After loading the stylish, yet refined PT Cruiser with snacks and camping gear, we headed off from Bend, Oregon east on Highway 20 towards Boise, Idaho. The 20 gets you rolling at a heart-pounding 55 mph through wide expanses of ridges of dry grass and sagebrush cut with small creeks watering the sprawling ranches out east. Keep it slow and make take a nod or wave at the passing ranchers.
Highway 20 turns into the 26 right before you land in Ontario and connect with I-84 going north towards Baker City. Be forewarned, you will be flying on this until you reach Baker City. We had a quick stopover in Baker City and what a cool little town it is. There is a very lively small downtown, a few blocks long, with rows of old brick storefronts and cafes. It is a very similar feel to what Bend use to be before it was Californicated. Go ahead, wet your palate at the brewery or at a few of the old watering holes.
After leaving Baker City, this is where the real fun driving begins. We headed east on the 86 (also known as the Baker-Copperfield Highway) where the road winds upwards along a beautiful creek as the dry grass slowly unfolds into sweeping ponderosa pines and wildlife aplenty. A few miles past the turnoff for Halfway, make a left onto National Forest Service Road 39 and drop the cruiser into low gear because it's a couple hour beautiful climb into the mountains. Sweeping views and vistas of the grassy valley below while climbing higher into the trees. We had to slow for a few cows mozying along chewing their cud and even saw a mother elk with her young calf walking down the road. After a couple hours, you will pop out onto the 350. Take this hard left and head on up to Joseph.
Joseph, population 10 or something, is a really neat little town way up in some pretty spectacular sky scraping mountains. Here is where we took the road through Joseph's Main Street to Wallowa Lake and set up camp in the State Park there. WOW! There is everything from tent camping to a Lodge there for the cushy traveler. There is food at the lodge or 5 min. back through Joseph is a scattering of cafes, restaurants, and even brew pubs. Inhale the clean mountain air and buy some local goods to help support the economy here.
On the way back towards Bend, we took the 82 through Enterprise and down to LaGrande. Here is a great spot to stop and fuel up, because the only stations onward are very small towns and spendy gas. From LaGrande we hopped on I-84 again briefly before jumping off onto Highway 244 heading southwest to Ukiah. Pull over often and stick your head out the window letting your hair tangle in the wind and your eyes go dry. It's worth it.
After Ukiah, we headed south on Highway 395 towards John Day where you will land in Mt. Vernon just east of John Day. We stopped randomly along the road a few times to wade in the creek and snap some pictures of the steep jagged cliff walls cut by the small creek meandering along. Here nature presents herself in a time long before people built roads and buildings all over the landscape for the road you are traveling along had to be built in places of least resistance and it shows. Along this road we saw a fire lookout towering in the distance and decided since there wasn't a gate to go have a look see. The man working and living in the fire lookout welcomed us inside and gave us a detailed run down on how to locate exact positions of spot fires to radio in. Sadly, he told us his job was soon to be replaced in the next couple years by cameras because they are more accurate and don't require a person to live out in a tower all summer. Imagining this little social butterfly living in the remote wilds for months at a time was way too much for me to fathom, but a few days or week out would be rather enjoyable.
Onward from Mt. Vernon we headed west on the John Day Highway 26 towards Prineville and winding through the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. As the giant rock mound towers into the sky, we realized as the car edged closer that the road was swallowed up by a giant crack in the big mountain of rock in front of us. Thousands of years of the creek flowing through these rocks made this windy path much like a ride at Disneyland. And then you pop back out into wide open fields of yellow grass on the other side, unscathed. And on to Prinetucky, before climbing up and out of the canyon onto SW Highway 126. Just past Powell Butte, take a left onto the Powell Butte Highway heading for Bend and past the old Bend Airport. Sadly, this is where the farms get smaller and more crowded and the realization that your road trip is almost over sets in. A right on Highway 20 and your a straight shot to Bend. What a trip.
K.G. & Ville
In Cuenca, Ecuador. Next stop, Loja.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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