Clark Ludahl is biking across America, and he’s doing it to help bring attention to the continued need in Nepal and to raise money for ongoing support of the relief efforts there. His journey—which will clock in at just under two months—is in the understanding that the road to recovery in Nepal is also a long one.
“I am inspired to ride knowing that as I press hard against those pedals and climb those steep hills, it will be worth it in the end as the people of Nepal receive help in the name of Jesus,” he said.
Clark will be keeping everyone in the loop through posts on the NCM blog. Read on for an account of his first two days on the bike seat.
After months of preparation and planning, the long awaited day to start the ride across America was finally here. With my bike and cargo trailer loaded into the truck, my wife and I drove from our home in Vancouver, Washington, to Twin Rocks State Park Beach near Rockaway, Oregon. We pulled up around 4 p.m. and started unloading the gear. Then I rolled my bike across the beach sand and performed the ceremonial dipping of the tires into the Pacific Ocean surf. I also filled a small bottle with Pacific Ocean water, which I will carry with me to pour into the Atlantic in just under two months.
With the ceremony and preparation complete, I embraced and kissed my wife goodbye and, exhilarated, set my tires on Oregon Hwy 101 South. “This is really happening!” I thought. But it was already late in the day; I needed to get to Jones Creek Campground, about 37 miles away, before dark.
I traveled along Hwy 101 South about 15 miles into Tillamook, OR before making the turn inland on Wilson River Hwy 6. I stopped for dinner at Alice’s Restaurant and had a Reuben sandwich, and then continued on to Jones Creek Campground, making it there at 8:15 p.m. with just enough daylight left to get the tent set up and to start a campfire.
Mileage Accomplished: 37 miles and 725 feet climbing
I rolled out of my sleeping bag at 6 a.m., breaking into an oatmeal raisin cookie and apple juice I picked up at the restaurant the night before. By the time everything was packed and loaded into the cargo trailer, it was just after 7 a.m. The early start felt good. The temperature was cool, the traffic was light, and the birds were chirping. It’s a strategy I plan to continue on this trans-continental journey. Getting on the road with the bike early is a routine I want to continue throughout this journey across America. The temperature is cool, the traffic is light, and the birds are chirping.
The first half of the trek for Day 2 would be long. I needed to summit the Coast Range Mountains, which sit 1,584 feet above sea level.
But the other side was, literally, all downhill, and I ended at The Log Cabin Inn, where I stopped for breakfast. There, I got my first opportunity to share with someone that I am biking across America to raise money for the Nepal disaster relief efforts. I shared my story with the waitress, and she was very excited for me.
As the day wore on, the temperature rose up into the low 80s, and I encountered more challenging hill climbs. Eventually, I approached the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, where I was rewarded with a long and steep descent to Oregon Highway 30. I was thankful for good brakes on the bike!
After more challenging hills, I finally crossed the Willamette River on the St. Johns Bridge into Portland. From there, it was a comparatively short ride back to Vancouver, Washington, where I would spend the second night.
You can learn more or support Clark’s ride here: http://ps.ncm.org/project/125174