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Written by Subject: Entertainment: Outdoor Recreation

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.”


“Bicycle adventure: if the roar of a wave crashes beyond your campsite, you might call that adventure.  When coyotes howl outside your tent--that may be adventure.   When the wind rips at your tent pegs—that too, may be called adventure.  While you’re sweating like a horse in a climb over a 12,000 foot pass, that’s adventure.  When a howling headwind  presses your lips against your teeth, you’re facing a mighty adventure.  If you’re drenched from head to toe in sweat as you pedal across a desert, that’s adventure.  If you’re pressing through a howling rainstorm, you’re soaked in adventure.   But that’s not what makes an adventure. It’s your willingness to struggle through it, to present yourself at the doorstep of Nature.  That creates the experience. No more greater joy can come from life than to live inside the “moment” of an adventure. It may be a momentary ‘high’, a stranger that changes your life, an animal that delights you or frightens you, a struggle where you triumphed, or even failed, yet you braved the challenge.   Those moments present you uncommon experiences that give your life eternal expectation.  That’s adventure!”  FW


On June 3, 2010 at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, Bob Johannes, Denis Lemay, Scott Poindexter and Frosty Wooldridge lined their bicycles up at the viewing area on the north side of the legendary span.  Ahead of them, Pacific to Atlantic, 3,300 miles, 50 miles a day in mountains, 80 to 110 miles per day on flats.  Temperatures in the 80s and in the south heat indexes 110 degrees for 20 days.  They anticipated being drenched in sweat from eight in the morning to six at night while pedaling through the heat and 95 percent humidity.  They carried shower bags for our own hygiene and comfort after a long day’s pedaling.  Adventure is not always comfortable but it is still adventure.  San Francisco, CA to Savannah Beach, GA. 


“By now, a million pedal strokes have etched the muscles in my legs with a single purpose: to power the crank and move the bicycle forward. Movement is the lifeblood of bicycling.  Food flows into my body, bringing it power and energy.  It is no longer a question of struggle.  Now the journey evolves into a spiritual realm—where the pedaling becomes incidental. Nothing I do on the bike encumbers my mind. It’s a free-flow energy that comes through my body and expresses itself in the flight of the pedals.”  Frosty Wooldridge, on the road.


“Let’s stop gabbing and get this show on the road,” said Scott, clicking his brake pedals.   “We’ve only got a whole continent ahead of us.”

“Ready to ride,” said Frosty

“Keep it vertical,” said Bob.

“Let’s go climb Lombard Street, the curviest road in the world,”  Denis said. “And, and ride down it.”

“Yippee ki yo ki yea,” said Frosty


Starting at the Golden Gate Bridge, we crossed in front of Alcatraz, then on to the curviest road in the world, Lombard Street, but we had to climb 27 percent grades to reach the top.  Later Pier 39, Chocolate Factory, artists and jugglers, street cars, Tony Bennett singing, “I left my heart in San Francisco….”


San Francisco proved crazy and loaded with gridlocked traffic and extreme people:  one car driver on purpose ran down four cyclist the day we started our ride in the streets of San Francisco. I think one of the four he ran down died. All suffered severe injuries.


Californian John Muir the great original ecologist said, “Tell me what you will of the benefactions of city civilization, of the sweet security of streets—all as part of the natural up-growth of man towards the high destiny we hear so much about. I know that our bodies were made  to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found.  If death exhalations that brood the broad towns in which we so fondly compact ourselves were made visible, we should flee as from a plague.  All are more or less sick; there is not a perfectly sane man in all of San Francisco.” 


We rolled south along the great Pacific Ocean to Santa Cruz.  Beautiful sunsets, eternal waves, dolphins in the surf, craggy cliffs, rocky islands, sea birds, graceful pelicans and flowers.  We met other touring cyclists at campgrounds and on the road. I dipped my small glass vial into the Pacific Ocean for a sample.  That evening at sunset with mist rolling in from the ocean, we cruised along a bike pathway filled with flowers five feet high—like pedaling through a mystical dream.


From Santa Cruz, we cut across the crop-filled fields of the Central Valley as we headed toward Yosemite and climbed to 4,000 feet along the Merced River at full blast from spring runoff.  Energy shook the road and carried us upward in wonder and awe and inspiration. 


Denis said, “I have never ridden a road that gave me so much energy!” 

Bob said, “For what it’s worth, it exhausted me!”


We visited all the great waterfalls blasting massive amounts of water to the valley floor.  Half –mile high Yosemite Falls, romantic Bridal Veil , raging Nevada Falls,  soothing Vernal falls, Mirror Lake, Merced River at full blast, Half Dome, John Muir Trail and Trail of Mist where everyone suffers a mini-rain storm.  We saw a bear jump into the Merced and swim across.  One night, two bears frolicked through our campsite while they non-cha-lantly played the mating game.  We climbed for hours to Nevada Falls for a spectacular sight!  We listened to Lee Stetson perform his rendition of John Muir, the first environmentalist and world traveler who lived in Yosemite and created the National Park Systems along with Teddy Roosevelt.

For those of you who would like to read Scott's blog and his many pictures of the ride, you may visit for a wonderful history and pictures of the tour.  Scott did a fine job and he's fighting to bring about greater awareness of obesity and childhood diabetes.  Thanks, Frosty

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Frosty Wooldridge
Entered on:

Hi Powell,

 Thank you, and you're most kind. Yes, I pedaled in unknowing bliss all summer, and really got an earful from Arizonans as I crossed your state.  A most interesting ride from the 100 interviews I conducted across nine different states.  Will be reflected in coming columns.  Thank you for your always excellent work and insight.  Carry on!  Best wishes, Frosty

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

Welcome back Frosty.   It must have killed you to time your bike ride when SB1070 went national!

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