Saturday, July 26, 2014

Coos Bay

View of Coos Bay from the bay bridge

The bay bridge into north bend & oregon's Bay Area.  Me thinks these bridges are getting higher & higher.  HOB HOB

Isthmus slough south of coos bay

The Oregon dunes pushed us back Inland so far that yesterday we had to once again cross the coastal mountain range

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oregon dunes

Made it thru oregon dunes 40 mile stretch to the bay bridge outside N bend. Dunes as high as 500ft

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Little Green Man

I've been dying to share this story but the last 100 miles have been hard and I've been biding my time. 

It seems my avatar on Tagg's site has become somewhat iconic.  I didn't realize this until I was enjoying an evening with my good friends Vince & Diane a few weeks back when she shared just how addicted he'd become tracking us on this site.  To the point that he'd check the website in between making rounds and seeing patients.  The folks at Tagg update it typically once a day but there have been a few exceptions and when it's not, it drives Vince nuts.

YBD's Notes - You have to read this in the voice of George castanzas dad's (from seinfield). 

"Why isn't the little green man moving?  What's going on?  Why hasn't he moved?" And then Vince called Diane.  "Get ginger on the phone & find out why the little green man hasn't moved.  Has something happened?  Are they OK?"  And this goes on for like an hour.  

Have to admit I rather like my new status since on the first walk some people called me the dog cancer boy which kinda made me feel like a circus carny.  

I was looking for a JPEG to go with this blog & dontcha know it I came across this musical tribute to the little green man and from Breaking Bad no less.  Here's the link 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pacific Coast Highway

Tomorrow marks our first week on the PCH and wow what a wicked week it's been.  And I mean wicked in the boston sense - wicked cool, wicked pretty, wicked dangerous, & wicked wicked.  Let me start out with the stretch leading up to it. 

Highway 20

It helps to have native knowledge on the road and I'm grateful for Cindy & Rob & Vince & Diane who on separate occasions took me scouting which convinced me it was way way too risky for the boys and me.  So I did the Salem to Corvallis to Newport stretch alone.  

Without exception it was singularly the deadliest road I've walked. Ever.  I should've known something was amiss by the complete absence of cyclist on Hwy 20 & that was the week of the 4th.

I stopped about midway at a church in eddyville to charge my equipment and the pastor remarked that they should receive hazard pay for living on the highway given the number of deaths.  Great. Thanks for that padre.

The droves of holiday boaters were one thing, the elongated lumber trucks to and from Philomath another but what really posed the greatest risk was the road itself.  The last 15 miles were virtually shoulder less.  That's fine - seen that done that before. But over time the road had eroded to the point that all that's left is inches of composite material that barely provided perch.

Guardrails separated me from 20-30 foot slopes and since I had very little leeway on either side I spent a lot to time straddling them.  In poker you always want to have an out. On the road I call them bailouts.  If you're on a collision course at least you have an option.  At best I had half an out and my odds were no better than a coin toss.

I can assure you, had I walked that stretch of highway 20 with the boys we would not have made it through alive.  Thanks to the folks who helped. 


Newport OR

Was a welcome sight and the start of a new chapter in this journey.  

I reflect back on our first walk when we took the port Jeff from Long Island ferry to Bridgeport CT and our plan was to take 25 up to new town and then over to Hartford.  Everyone I met said you knucklehead, take Route 1 along the New England coastline to boston.  So we turned south and walked back down to west haven and it was one of the best decisions I made.

I feel that way about the PCH and the timing was perfect.  For the most part we've had fair weather but just as I was taking on 20 and cresting the coastal mountains, temperatures in the wilamette valley, a basin that runs from Portland to Eugene, were topping the upper 90s and that's meteorologically significant to the coastal climate.  

As high temps in the valley rise and pull winds and mist off the Pacific Ocean and since we've been on the PCH it's been in the 60s during the day and 50s at nighttime perfect walking conditions for the fuzzybutts.

Except I'm cold.  I've since shed my gloves and neck gator and I'm kinda regretting that now.  There's a weird wettiness even to the warmth with which I am unfamiliar and the chill is sometimes unshakable.  

Whoever said 'the coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco'.  I'm not that far south yet but I have an inkling what they were saying.


For four months we'll be on this road - longer than any other we've travelled and I'm just learning her secrets.  The beauty of the Oregon part of it is if not unparalleled, unsurpassed by any coastline I've walked.  

Still.  I'm quite certain.  She has many secrets left. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Scenes From the Roadside 2

Dog in bubble window. Never seen the crap outta me. Thought it was alien in a space helmet.

This one messed me up for days... In this context is pud a noun or a verb because I could be a pud & just not know it.  Or if I've been pudding all this time why can't i do it here at this street corner? I hurried along just so's I wouldn't be caught.  But maybe I shouldn't because I just like to pud...

This one is just creepy. We stopped at a dilapidated broke down house for shade & water & discovered this altar?  And to whom? The god of outdated toys? 

Got nothing on this one

Pretty sure there's a serial killer on the loose in woodburn OR

The flora of Oregon Coast

Must admit I'm unfamiliar with native plant life since it's my first time here and haven't yet found a teacher to guide me but the coastline is full of an awesome array of beauties.  Here are just a few I've seen. 

Perhaps you can help us in identifying these.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Leave The Light On

Last nite I slept here
Tuesday nite in a swampy mosquito infestested Burnt Woods trail
And the nite before in a gravel pit just outside Philomath. 

The upside - 7 more nites in places Iike these & I get a free stay!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Made it Boys

Welcome to the Pacific Ocean. 51 miles thru mountainous terrain & treacherous roads. Made it in 2 days time.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mangos tabasquenos

I love these lollipops and I found them in a Hispanic grocer in Canby OR.  Coated with chili powder it's an esquisitely unusual experience that I'm addicted to.

I save the last on for my last nite on the mountain and savored every lick!  Reminds me if my days as Chef Big Dog.

Newport in my sights

Long day but successful one. 6.5 mi outside of Toledo. Found this spot just off hwy20, a disused driveway leading up to a barricaded area..  Should be an interesting nite.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sliver of Red

As I was just falling asleep I saw a sliver of red the briefest glimpse of what lies between these northwestern cedars and over and beyond this mountain.  


I think I know the origin of that onamatopia -yep spell chk didn't even help me with that one.  Some dude wearing a French frock coat with ruffles for cuffs & a white wig on his head on an expedition and his porter carrying his instruments and such remarks at the size of the mountains.  The dude says, Tis merely a Big Ass Hill.  Bah! This is what I think of when I'm up in the mountains all alone.

Climbed a few of them today but the best is yet to come.

Monday, June 30, 2014


To sum up today it got so hot that I started chaffing so I went commando under my kilt and then as I was desperate for shade I sat under a pine tree not thinking about the bed of needles.  Learned a new lesson.  Still I made good progress left philomath and said goodbye to the cascades. 

Al Fresco

Have no time to tent so I sleep few hrs at a time in places like this grainfield

IN Corvallis OR

Made it to hwy 20. 49.3 miles to newport OR. Temp up to 96 tues.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Constant East

Tomorrow I'll close the distance to Corvallis Oregon and begin to bestride Highway 20.

This is significant in several ways.  First of all, we'll lose the Cascade Mountains, our long spanning and looming friend to our left since the Canadian border and replace it with the Coastal Range we'll have to cross over to get to 101.

Hwy 20 is the last remaining inland road and the bridge to the Pacific Coast highway (PCH), our home for the next four months.

Second I've scouted it twice and without question it's unfit and unsafe for Hudson & Indiana so I must go it alone.  Some of our new Oregon friends will look after the boys til Thursday.  Still even solo it represents significant risk. The mountainous region I'll have to walk mostly at night when traffic iss lighter and my line of sight is farther.

Add to that cell service is poor and there aren't any c-stores or restaurants for most of the 55 miles.  I'm paring my pack weight down to the absolute essentials.  Will try to post updates here... See you on the other side

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Damn dove

A few weeks back I was walking south of kalama WA. It was a crappy day & had took ill the day prior & wasn't feeling any better.

Even still I had the firmest intention of making 25 miles that day but as I left the town a damnable bird jumped right out in front of me.  Clearly he/she was injured & I almost walked right by thinking I don't have time for this.

But I couldn't leave an injured little feller on the side of the road either. The host family I was staying with helped me get the dove to the Portland Audubon society & I just got off the phone with them & he's/she's doing okay.

They're administering antibiotics.  I gave them what cash I had in my pocket and thanked them.  I think it's time for us to name him/her. 

Even though I lost 17 miles I have to make up, 'damn' dove just doesn't do justice.  


The Road

The road is like a reckoning.  It settles accounts.

It doesn't suffer fools and you have no hope of making it if your motives are in the wrong place.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I've got one more night in this hotel until we start the next leg of the journey to 20 and up into the mountains and my thoughts return to High Street.

I almost got hit by oncoming traffic like a half dozen times and I do not exaggerate here.  I took this photo of a warning sign about falling rocks and I was like, screw that, beware of the rocks in the heads of the drivers coming down this mountain.

There was one driver who came around a hairpin curve texting and she came within inches of hitting me.  And I swore to the top of my lungs at her.  And then came the voice from up high.  



Shaking, almost pasted against a rock wall in hesitation to continue up this mountain, I looked up and there was this old guy calling out to us.  'I saw you on TV', he said.  'I was worried about the dogs'.

'You and me both' I thought to myself unsure how to respond or what to say to this godlike figure although his Lebowski-esque attire didn't fit the whole supreme being image in my head.

'Is it always this bad on this road?' I inquired hoping for a hail mary.



Don't Should Me

'You should've taken 7th Street', he answered.  I'm a poker player and there's always a 4th and 5th street bet that you called or should have laid it down but when you're in a hand, you're down in it.   And that's where we were.

Ginger Morgan, the Director of our foundation, taught me that lesson.  There is no 'should' in life.  And I thought about that after almost getting killed on High Street.

I thought alot about why.  Why put myself and moreover and more importantly the lives of my boys at risk?


'Do you need help?'

The old man asked me. 'No I don't', I replied.  And I lead my boys up to the top of the mountain unscathed and untouched.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scenes From the Roadside

We've encountered many curiosities on the road and these are just some of them:

I'll start out with the crazy and curiously artistic:

Longview WA.  Is this an homage to Daisy Duke?  

Off the Old PCH, we saw this curious crammed down version of the statue of Liberty but even though it overlooks the Pacific rather than the Atlantic it's still so inspirational.

The Bizarro 

(Left) Brony Pony?

(Right)  Sculpture in Vancouver WA
Decorative Truck in Milwaukee WA

Indy Turns Three

This week has seen the third anniversary of Murphy's passing and Indiana's 3rd birthday and to me, the two are inextricably intertwined. And this photo captures it.  

On Instagram I entitled it 'Between a Rock and a Jersey Wall' but there's greater context to it.  


Indy the Scrabbler

Didn't have a good feeling of 99E south of Oregon City so I chose to take Google Maps alternative route High street and after scrutinizing it on my iPhone it looked suitable.  So we took the Promenade Park and were greeted with sweeping views of the Willamette River (don't even try pronouncing it).  

I should've known that just like Long Island was, well, long, High street was high and that miscalculation by me nearly cost us our lives.  

Don't have time for the details of the harrowing experience but we made it to the top and in no small part to Indiana who, like Murphy would've, lead the way behind me with Hudson willfully following.  


Murphy Smiles

Still.  In each of us.  

In one of my training blogs I wrote about how I suspected that I'd have to keep up with Lil' Nana on this walk and he has not disappointed.  I see so much of Murphy in him.  

The good, the bad, and the fuzzybutt.  

That's the birthday boy with Vince and Diane and their gal Lucy.

Oregon Ho

A Gathering of Pyrs Is?

We call a group of geese a gaggle.  Of turkeys a rafter.  Quite appropriately enough, vultures are a committee.  And beavers are a lodge.  These things I thought of during Walk 1.  

So when Hudson Indy and I were met on border crossing day by a gathering of Pyrenees from the local club, I wondered what to call them.* 

Thanks to the Columbia Cascade club for coming out last Saturday and cheering us across into our second state.  

The 'Interstate' or I-5 bridge into Portland looked intimidating at first since it's a vertical lift draw bridge and the two that were impassable on our first walk were of similar construct.  The steel grating of those in Baltimore and Philadelphia scared the hell outta the boys but this footbridge was all concrete so we crossed over the Columbia River into Oregon and it was a good day.  


The Garden of 10,000 Roses

The following day one of our supporters in the area took us to one of the most stunning and spectacular places I've ever been.  Portland's International Rose Test Garden.  

It's a testing ground for new varieties and part of the much larger more expansive Washington Park that spans over 400 acres.  What's noteworthy here, aside from the sheer beauty of this place and that it should be a destination point for all, is that my father has had a lifelong passion for roses and on Father's Day I would find myself here.  

Washington in The Rearview

Our first full day of walking in Oregon, from the Delta East Park to south of the Ross Island Bridge, we had two complete strangers came up to us and asked what we were walking for and if the dogs needed any food or water.  And that was two more than the entire state of Washington.  

I must admit I'm bumfuzzled at that reality especially since, well, that's never happened to the fuzzybutts in any state ever.  Granted, the Evergreen State has countless homeless and our best guess is that, unfortunately, we were just being bunched up in the fungible forsaken even though I carried a banner that said, '#PuppyUp'.  

In an area that's home to such tech giants as Microsoft and Amazon, the sign would be clear that it's a cause. So in Tacoma we decided to amend the sign nearby.  But the folks got the dimensions wrong and I had to use my sports tape to make it fit in my backpack.**

Surprisingly, still bupkis.


We Walk On 

Washington is a state of inestimable beauty and memorable but in our short time in Oregon we've made so many new friends and thus far it's been a great experience.  

At present, we've made it to Salem and about 37 miles from Corvallis at which point, we'll pickup Highway 20 and head over the Coast Mountains to the PCH for the remaining 4.5 months of the walk.  


*YBD's Notes:  A Gathering of Pyrenees should be called a Preponderance I think.  

**YBD's Notes:  This was no small feat but we've since had the sign cut down and re-grommetted (is that even a word?).  Going forward, this is OUR sign.