Crossing For Cancer

From here to Baker, CA

Posted by crossingforcancer on August 19, 2008

August 15, 2008

Hi, what’s up everyone…


I left from Long Beach a few days ago and touched the seawater to my lips as the pelicans soared across.  I love those birds.  Coming up the River Trail I was approached by this old timer on a recumbent bike.  He was great and recommended a bunch of stuff for the trip – one of which was to get one of those orange triangular reflector things for the back of my bike.


I want to make sure to be open to suggestions this whole ride and not blow them off.  I believe there’s a reason anyone who talks to me has advice – follow through.


I arrived in Whittier, CA at Marilyn and Jim’s place, my first portrait, 30 miles or so from Long Beach.  Marilyn was incredible – she’s being treated for pancreatic cancer now.  I got two portraits of her and gave her the one of her choice.  I really feel like we connected on a level of artist to subject.  I signed her chemo blanket and talked to her husband who has done a ride like this before.  His name is Jim, he’s actually the one who changed my route.  They gave me dinner and showed me some pictures from an album of their family.

 From her place I rode to my studio where I packed, unpacked and re-packed to get rid of some weight on the bike.  Checked the screws and of course got the orange triangle.  The bike really needed to be lightened up – it’s estimated to be about 75 pounds, now that I took my guitar and some other stuff off the back, like the poncho I always travel with (it’s the one with the cool lion cut out).


August 15, 2008

I got up this morning and headed for Blick in Pasadena, where I was officially launching the Crossing.  I was so amazed with all of the people, the balloons and the support that was lent to me before this trip.  I’m so grateful to know I have a community of friends and loved ones like this behind me.  Jared, the Blick store manager, gave me some markers so I could have everyone sign my pannier bags.  I think it will be an inspiration as I ride.


Leaving my studio earlier, I felt a strong wind at my back.  I know it’s my mom – she’s here with me and will be here the whole time.


My friend Harold rode about 8 miles with me from Blick.  After we parted ways I stopped for lunch, sitting in a Starbucks waiting out the heat.


Already in this short part of the journey I have talked to many people.  Everyone is so interested in learning about the bike and the Crossing… The key to unlock people’s anger with nothing but a smile.  Eric and Gabbie, who I met at the Azusa Starbucks were really nice. 


Lunch is over and I’m back on the road.  I plan on popping into Fontana, CA or somewhere so I can camp.  I get there, am looking around and thinking where am I going to camp?  I look as far as I can and see ONE bush.


So, I take my bike off the road and put my tent next to this bush.  I pick the ONLY bush in the entire desert that these two birds were chirping in all night, they must have been mating or something.  There were kangaroo rats running all around the tent, it was so hot – I barely slept at all.  


August 16, 2008

My alarm clock, which is actually just a cooking timer, went off at 6am so I could get an early start.  I shut it down and feel asleep for an hour or so.  Around 7, I got up, sucked down a Clif Bar shot and rolled out.  Still heading over the Cajon Pass.  As I get back on my bike, I look down at my feet and they look like little furballs – I have cockleburs ALL over my feet.  It takes almost a 1/2 hour to get them all off.  So much for an early start.


But, you know, sitting there, picking all of those cockleburs off of my socks, I realized that I saw some amazing photo opps that I wouldn’t have otherwise.


I start back up over the Cajon Pass  – brutal.  This is the day my electrolytes are so low.  I made it all the way to Barstow, pushing 100 degrees the whole time.


I’m rounding down Route 66 and of course, the road ends.  These two guys are sitting there, at the end of the road, and tell me you haven’t been able to pass this way for a while.  One of the guys offers me a ride – I wish I could.


I did stop at a Starbucks on Roy Rogers Road in Victorville.  I talked to a guy named Jeremy who was great – he donated to the Crossing right there on the spot.  If you’re reading this, thanks Jeremy.

August 17, 2008

My mind and heart are feeling more open every day, being on the road alone and exploring why art is art.  It’s this ability to let an object pass into your eye and go out through your hand, or your camera.  But the challenge is allowing it to first go through your heart.

 I realize 50 miles in today that I sat on an anthill a while back.  These ants have been in my pants the whole time – they’re so displaced now!


The extra weight is killing me on these inclines.  I can only maintain the lowest gear on my 27 speed bike, but the semi-trucks weren’t doing much better.  For me, it’s probably because I really didn’t “train” for this trip. 


I feel my bike wobbling for a while and think it’s the ridges in the road.  Turns out, my tire is flat.  Had to change it, in this insane heat.  Still hovering around 100 degrees.  I stopped at a McDonald’s earlier in Barstow to pick up some salt packets – someone told me water wouldn’t be enough to keep my electrolytes up – I’m glad I did.  


I finally make it to Barstow.


August 18, 2008

Now I’m sitting in a Motel 6.  I took the Sunday off from riding to try to recuperate.  But finally I’m feeling better and head out to Baker.  Leaving Barstow, it’s 103 degrees.


I can only imagine the hardest part of the trip is starting tomorrow.  Look at the Google map everyone – pure desert.  Through all this hell, sometimes there is a 20-mile wind directly at my back.  When it gets to feel like that, it’s that cool air – just for a second – that keeps me going.


I pedal one stroke at a time these days.  Mom, if you’re with me I can tell.  Same with the rest of the people I’m riding for – pancreatic cancer survivors, fighters, my friends and family.  I look down at the pannier bag everyone signed at Blick to see all of the encouraging words.


While I’m on my way to Death Valley, no more than 20 miles into it, the rim of my bike starts rubbing against the brake pad.  I’ve got a broken spoke.  I don’t have the right tool with me to fix it, so I’m going to have to ride the next 160 miles without any back brakes.


I’m riding on a McGyver, loose-spoke, bent-rim, no back brake at this point with 160 miles to go.


It’s 2:30 and I find a spot where it’s only 106 degrees in the shade.  I’m trying to make it to Baker today.  Where the high is 108…  I finally make it to Baker, crossing all of these crazy ditches along the way.  I’m so glad I made it to the hotel tonight.  I’ve slept in ditches before, but never in “Sheep Ditch.”  That would have been a first.



So now I’m shooting for Primm, Nevada where I’ll do a portrait and then Vegas.  This portrait isn’t of a pancreatic cancer survivor, I’m doing a portrait of a friend to trade it in for a night’s stay at their place.


This is no man’s land.  I have to say that the trip so far has been a hard test to my physical and mental being.  I even had a conversation with my bike after the spoke broke – I cursed it out.


August 19, 2008

My spirits are better today.  I’ve endured the cockleburs, the ants in the pants, the close encounter with Sheep Ditch and, how can I forget, this heat.  But I’m still going. 


Thank you to everyone.  I’ll write more soon,




11 Responses to “From here to Baker, CA”

  1. heather said

    damn, scott. you rock!

  2. Marissa said

    We love you handsome!….Those good looks of yours aint gonna do you a bitta good out there in the desert though!unless, that is if you come up on one of them sheep!!LOL Be well, and make sure you have at least one square meal a day.
    love and kisses and cool breezes from Echo Park
    Mr. and Mrs. Benny and Marissa

  3. Keep up the pace Scott, temperatures are cooler in Missouri.

  4. Sonia said


    Your dedication, perserverance, strength and incredible compassion inspire me. I am proud and honored to be your friend. Be safe out there!

    With much love,

  5. Renee said

    Thank you so much Scott! My prayers & heart are with you through this ride. You are the best!! I know my grandmother, rest her soul, would be proud that some one is giving this cancer a voice to be heard.

  6. Gareth said

    Scott, nothing but respect man. You truly are doing something great!!
    Good luck on your journey, I’m sure you will do amazingly!!

    Just like math class… hehe


  7. Donna Lenahan said

    Scott – I didn’t know you were undertaking this incredible journey. As a breast cancer survisor – any awareness you can bring to cancer is a blessing – THANK YOU! Also, here is some marathon training advice: get to a running or sports store and buy some powder electrolyte mix (NOT gatorade – too much sugar); also bananas for potassium; salted peanuts are great snacks on the go. Be mindful that too much water can create a deadly effect hypotremia (too much water in the blood) – and I really do mean deadly.
    I don’t know what kind of clothes you are wearing – but get into anything that says Cool Max or Dri-Fit, which can readily be found at Targets, Walmarts and discounters like Marshalls and Ross. They will wick away the water and keep you dry in the heat and breathe. Never wear 100% etc. (they also make socks with the same material). Please let me know if you have any questions or I can help with anything. If you want more info on endurance sports info – drop me an email and I will send you links.

  8. Phil Lindquist said

    Scott – where are you…no entries since August 19? Not only do I look forward to seeing your comments and photos, I worry about your well being in the desert in this heat!


  9. crossingforcancer said

    Hi Phil,

    Scott is alive, well and still persevering through the desert heat! Each week, Scott calls in to the Crossing for Cancer headquarters to leave a voice mail journal entry, which we will post as soon as it’s received. Check back every Wednesday for updates, photos and a new location map.

    Thanks for your support!

  10. Annie Shear said

    Dear Scott,
    What a wonderful and enormous undertaking this is. Thank you for making people aware of the need for more pancreatic cancer research. I didn’t know anything about this disease until my brother-in-law was diagnosed with this it 2 and a half years ago. My entire family is looking forward to meeting you when you stop in Deerfield this October. Stay safe and we all wish you well on your journey. Thank you so much for your tireless commitment.

    Annie Shear and the entire Paset family

  11. Brenda said

    Hey there unc, You know you loooove those grasshoppers!! lol I sure do miss you cant wait to see you. Keep up the good work i cant even begin to imagine how hard this journey must be but i want you to know you are amazing and very inspirational to me!! I know Who Who is so proud of you and shes gunna keep pushing you through this! I love you Uncle Scott take care of yourself out there!! YAY ITS PA’S BIRTHDAY!!!!

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