Crossing For Cancer

Archive for October, 2008

Family Support…

Posted by crossingforcancer on October 24, 2008

Hi everyone,

To begin, I want to say a huge thank you to Gerri and her mother.

The entire family was incredible (even you Josh). I had the most amazing time; Gerri, your strength is indestructible.  Every moment I spent with the family was like Christmas.

Day. I was struck by the hospitality and kindness of these people.   It became very difficult to maintain my composure while I sketched because I felt like I connected with this family on such a spiritual level.  It was truly incredible.

I’m now off to St. Louis University High School to sketch Mark Tychonievich, who is not only a teacher at SLU High, but also one of the football team’s coaches.  I believe a defensive coordinator.  I was given the honor to draw Mark and I wanted to thank him and his family for their generosity.

One of SLU High’s students actually interviewed me for a feature in the school paper, which is great.  I’m really looking forward to reading it.

Another individual I met in St. Louis whose generosity was so overwhelming was Jeff, who helped me out over at the Blick Store and printed out an entire bike route for my brother and I to follow into Chicago.  I’m really looking forward to finishing this leg of the ride with my brother, Lee.  After over 2,000 miles of cycling alone, it will be nice to talk to someone other than my bike.

If anyone is ever visiting St. Louis, definitely check out Forest Park- that place was incredible. I rode through North East St. Louis – a really interesting area. Anyway that’s where I snapped a photo of the dangling shoes.

October 18

I finally met up with my brother at the Alton Tallest Man structure. It was like a dream seeing Lee pull up with his wife and my dad. Lee is a triathlon athlete, with the craziest spaceship looking bike. I am feeling really good as we begin our ride toward Bluffs.  Everything is coming together and every time I ride I feel like I have hundreds of people riding behind me or with me. Everyone that I have encountered thus far are all things that are good about this world.

The color tour was going on (the changing of the leaves. When we reached Bluffs Lee was exhausted and sore. We looked around somewhat lost until a local approached us. Sat read our minds and told us about an area we could set up camp. A little while later another local approached us, he mentioned a local bar called Sleepy’s. The staff was incredible and brought out extra catfish and shrimp – the hospitality has been amazing in all of the towns that I have ridden through. I wanted to say thank you to Sue and Jenny for the excellent homemade jam. I also picked up a coyote tail to ad to my bike for decoration.

After setting up camp we started a fire. A local called it in and a truck pulled up. I asked the man if he was the local cop “Kevin.” He replied, “No I am the mayor.” I felt awful.  I really wanted to make him some food but it was really late. “Just wanted to make sure nothing was burning down.” He drove off. It’s been getting freezing cold at night now, which has been really unpleasant. We woke up Sunday and everything in the town was completely closed except for the local ice cream shop “Plakies.” We entered and the town had prepared a huge breakfast for us, it was amazing – a slew of towns people just came to talk to us and ask about my journey.

Well time to continue onward. We were doing about 70 miles for a bit with a great tail wind, we were averaging about 20mph. So we are about 30 miles from Galesburg and I’ve almost broken 2,500 miles on bike. About 140 more miles to the finish line. I wanted to thank Pan Can for everything they have done and give a special thank you to Natalie.

Hope to see you all in Chicago,

Scott

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Posted by crossingforcancer on October 16, 2008

October 7

It’s raining hard in Clinton.  I sit waiting in the café in Clinton for hours.   I have to admit, I kind of like the rain, while I’m inside or in the tent – not really riding.  It finally lightened up enough to ride with rain gear.  I was looking for the Katy Trail, which is a 250 mile crushed limestone bike trail that used to be the old railroad.  I just kind of cycled up and ended up running into it.  I felt it was a dream.  The sound of the hard packed limestone under my tires – literally a tree lined path for bikers.  It was such a  perfect atmosphere with the intoxicating smell of wet fresh leaves under me, the changing colors, wow.  And I have only gone 17 miles on it.  They say it will get even better.  I came to a town just before dark, went for a sandwich and found camping.  The guy wanted to charge me $4 for a campsite with no showers or anything, so I just kept rolling and found a nice clearing in the woods and parked my tent there.  I was waiting to cross the main street in that last town and actually had to wait for a horse and buggy covered wagon to cross.  It was an Amish community – beautiful.  Simple, happy and pure.

I can appreciate the way the Amish live.  I noticed there were quite a few horse and buggies in town.  I got to the trail, went up a few miles and found a little clearing for the tent.  I find myself seeing the finish line and daydreaming about what I used to do before this…

Oh yeah, I live in L.A., fight traffic, congestion and angry people – including myself – it’s really incredible to reflect on my Los Angeles life, compared to what I’ve been doing day in and day out since the beginning of the Crossing.  I actually think it’s normal to bike across the country now, as if it’s what everyone does. 

Well, breakfast is done.  The suns out.  It’s a refreshing 70 degrees.  No wind, no grasshoppers, plenty of deer and I’m wearing 98 percent citronella oil to keep the mosquitos from eating me alive and carrying me away.  I honestly don’t think I have enough blood in my body to live past two miles.  This trail is out in the sticks and I love it.

Slept well in the local park after I called the sheriff to see if it was ok to camp there, Pete was his name.  Woke to another beeautfiul day in MO.  The night before I stopped at the KC general store.  They’re like the Starbucks of the mid-west.  Bought a bag of cheerios and some milk so I can have breakfast ready for the rest of the week. 

Rolling down the trail, to describe it is hard.  The trees surround the trail almost as if I’m riding through a tunnel of foliage.  The morning light slivers its way through to hit the moist leaves from last nights dew. Because of the dense air, the light-rays are almost visible as I cycle through this wonderland. I’m expecting Dorothy and the Tin Man to pop out at any time to ask if I want a bagel.

I came across one place that night, called Lucy’s Burgers, Beer & Grill and ended up sleeping in the back yard, they let me pitch my tent in the back there.  Woke up, had a tall glass of milk for the cheerios, some coffee.  The people in the town – the 50 or so – well, maybe 5 or so, are real nice.

I’m back on the trail and have had several flats on the rear tire.  I have about 16 patches on one tire.  Actually, that’s exaggerated.  It’s more like 6.  I’m on my spare tire for the spare tire, which I already patched with a dollar bill.  Good thing I had some small change and didn’t have to use a twenty.  

I ended up meeting up with this couple – Danielle and Caleb.  They’re a really nice, young couple, also just riding a couple of days on the Katy Trail.  They told me about this bunkhouse, where I arrived at a town called Pivot, for another unusual sleeping arrangement.  It is a building or bunkhouse donated by an elderly lady in the town, for the Katy Trail cyclists basically.  It’s a town of 11 people and a cool old funky bunkhouse.  It costs five dollars, you mail the payment in and the key is actually hanging on the light pole outside the building.  “The Turner Katy Trail Shelter.”  Turner is the lady’s last name.

I had a great night’s sleep.  The bar, post office and pizza place are the only establishments in this town, so I went and got a pizza and headed to the bar.  The bartender was actually sharpening a straight blade on a piece of leather when I walked in.  Asked if I needed a shave.  Yeah, probably not from that blade…

So, I chatted for a minute with the 11 people at the bar, which was the entire town.  The place was cool.  Equipped with it’s own Karaoke machine and the music was from the 30’s and 40’s.  It was pretty funny.  As I was leaving the shelter and old salt rode in.  He didn’t appear to have had a steady home for years.  He was riding an old bike held together by welding and some duct tape.  He told stories about when he’d ridden on a freight train across the country, walked across the country and has been on his bike for as long as he can remember – just a bohemian going around the world. 

So after meeting this guy, you know I’m never surprised to meet someone who has exceeded my bohemenian ways.  He was an interesting fellow but a bit jumpy, with due reason.

October 12

I rode through a small German Town called Herman.  Rolling through town, I heard rumors that it was Oktoberfest for the weekend.

Yup, it was.  Headed to the park where it was a sea of tents.  Met some very nice folks and ended up camping, unknowingly, by the couple – Danielle and Caleb again.  I wanted to thank them for putting a couple of my shirts in the wash.  They were great, very cool and helpful.  Nice people. They’re actually both army medics stationed in MO – just out for the weekend.  The last day of a very great weekend.

So, as I cycle through these mystical woods, it reminds me of the vine-filled forests of Harry Potter.  I can’t seem to capture it with film or words.  This magical place in MO, the Katy Trail.  I have to say, I’ve enjoyed this state a lot, so friendly and beautiful.  I’m now approaching a big city, St. Louis.  I’m a little freaked out about it actually, but excited to do portraits and experience the people I will meet and stay with there.

I met three other cyclists on the trail, Jeff, Dan and Mike, who were cycling the entire Katy Trail.  Jeff bought me breakfast at this little farmhouse in the morning.  I did a portrait of the owner of the farmhouse – he was waiting for our arrival and invited us for breakfast.  We rode for about 15 or 20 miles together.  IT was really nice and I wanted to thank them for their genorisity and friendship. 

I ended up staying near Jeff, Dan and Mike’s campsite.  They wanted to hear the story of the Crossing around their campfire.  The man’s portrait I did at the farmhouse – he has a history of relatives who have passed from cancer, so I decided to do two portraits of him on the spot.  It just seemed right.

        

I ended up going through a town called Augusta – a vineyard town.  I stopped for a wine tasting, it was really nice.  Lately, this trip is seeming like more of a vacation rather than such a grueling experience.  The weather is perfect, the leaves are changing – it’s beautiful.

October 13

I’m now in St. Louis and met up with Gerri, a pancreatic cancer survivor.  I’m going to save her incredible story for the next blog.  For now, so long and I’ll talk to you all soon…

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Closer to home…

Posted by crossingforcancer on October 8, 2008

September 29

Hi everyone, to pick up where we left off, I’ve been riding in Wichita, or a small suburb south called Haysville, which is where Tom and his family live.  They invited me into their home upon hearing about the Crossing, so I could complete a portrait.  Tom lost his wife Tammy to pancreatic cancer.  His love for her is undeniable.  His family is so great – such a wonderful bunch and very accommodating.  I felt so fortunate to have met them, learn of their struggle with pancreatic cancer and enjoy some much needed hospitality.

Tom, by Scott Glazier

Tom’s mom is quite a firecracker – so young at heart.  At one point she was jousting with one of her grandson’s and gave him a sucker punch right in the ribs!  Granted, they were just playing around and no one was actually hurt, but pretty funny none the less.  She’s a great lady.

I’m planning to do the portraits of Tom and Chris Davis, who I mentioned in the earlier blog entry.  Chris lives just outside of Kansas City and caravanned down with her entire family.  Tom agreed to have everyone over to his place and I did the portraits outside in the yard.  I felt honored that they all drove down and it was the perfect environment for these portraits, just a great, loving, family environment.  Not to mention the natural outdoor light.  It was a beautiful day.

It was so great to combine two families with such a specific commonality and similar passions.  It’s this incredible feeling of the family unit.  It’s so strong.  I feel the same way about my family – how we all pulled together when my mom got sick.  How my dad was so caring and did everything for my mom.  This is something that I’ll vow to never take for granted.  It’s going to be really hard to leave Haysville, I’ll miss everyone and especially this sense of family.

September 30

I’m moving onward to El Dorado, where I’ll take a bike path around a lake that a local told me about.  I may camp there if it’s the right time and the mood strikes me.  Riding again after feeling so at home is difficult, but necessary.  The moment’s with families always lift my spirits and keep me pedaling.

What’s going on, I’m realizing, is something much more than a bike ride or an art exhibition.  It’s an eye opening and life changing experience.  Not just for me, but for all of the pancreatic cancer survivors, fighters and others who have felt the effects of this brutal disease.

Many people have asked me, along the ride, how long I’ve been cycling and what the training was like for a journey like this.  Well, to answer honestly, the training was slim to none.  I’m not a professional, or even amateur cyclist and that’s part of the reason I chose to embark on the Crossing for Cancer.  I want to mirror the tragic shock and surprise it’s like when someone is diagnosed with cancer and becomes sick.  Tom’s wife, Chris, Cindy, Cheryl, my mom – none of them had time to “train” for their fight with pancreatic cancer.  They just hit the ground running.  That, to me, is the most inspiring thing of all.  In a way, the Mojave desert was my training, I suppose – both mentally and physically.

I’m once again being pounded by the wind – damn!  It’s one of those long straight roads that never turns, cows staring at me like I’m insane, grasshoppers popping and I’m chewing on the wind – or that’s what it feels like.  I’m stopping every mile as it seems I can’t keep my legs going.  I pedal over a small hill and see what appears to be a Sinclair Gas Station Sign. 

No, it’s just a mirage.  Oh yeah, I left the desert a month ago, it can’t be a mirage – not a heat mirage, at least, but maybe a wind mirage.  Nope, I pedal up to Lizard Lips Grill,  Gas and Video Rental – fishing tackle store… and probably post office!  They have it all.  It’s one of those places that was supposed to greet me, almost as if the place moved to this spot on my route, even if it was a mile away before.  I walked in and felt the need to sit and talk for a bit – get away from the wind.

I met another world traveler who worked there – a wandering spirit, her name was Jean Marie.  We spoke of travel and keeping open to the world as your home.  Carleen was another local and spoke of a man fighting colon caner – what a great spirit.  From the sounds of it, he will survive.

It was a nice stop, because in the hour or two I spent there it became evening. As I was leaving, the wind actually died and I pedaled the next few miles in.  I love this place and the people.  In fact, I will not be unhappy saying goodbye to the pounding wind, but I will be sad to say goodbye to the people of Kansas, they are good people – like Kevin and Sheri Patterson at Breadeaux Pizza.  Not only were they great, the pizza was too.  They were really kind to help me out and provide a meal.

 

So anyway, I left the Lizard – they gave me a plastic lizard and I just happened to have some super glue, so he could be a permanent friend to Curious George.  I super glued him to the frame of my bike.  I felt George was a bit lonely anyway.  And after watching the B Movie, these guys are probably talking about life as monkey and lizard while I’m not there.

I made it to the town called Yates Center and was greeted by a man at the motel I was to stay at.  He exclaimed, “welcome, your room awaits!”  Which was a great sentence to hear after all of this riding.  Ted Noble of Adventure Cyclist got my room for me.  He was a good man and had knowledge of cancer as many he knew are fighting, or have lost their fights with it.  Thanks again, Ted.

I have to say, when traveling alone as I often do, a lot of various things open up to you.  Ted and I spoke and reminded me of the Katy Trail in MO.  He ran and got me a map and wow – a 250 mile bike trail across MO!  I’m so excited, this trail is only for bikes and is actually part of the Lewis & Clark expedition somehow.

Thank you, again, to the people of Kansas for being so kind and giving my spirits a lift through the pounding wind.  Leaving this place, I feel like I’m starting to see the end of my journey approaching.  Which is exciting, yet somewhat heavy on my heart.

 

After doing thousands of portraits in my career as an artist, the more and more I go on, I can say that the successful portraits are not necessarily the ones that look like the model, but the one that feels like the model, emotionally.

October 1

I’m now at Uniontown, MO.  Covered 45 miles today, it was absolutely no problem – there was no wind – it was as if I didn’t even get out of bed.  If all days were like today, I wouldn’t have to eat so much food.  Once again I came up to a town with football practice going on.  I sat and watched for a bit remembering when I was one of the little football players and mom could be heard in the stands yelling over the loud speaker for me.

I ended up meeting some nice folks.  One guy named Stan, who’s going to meet me at the Uniontown Bar & Grill, which is where I’m waiting for my burger.  Basically, it’s a gutted house that a guy serves beer and cooks burgers at.  It’s the only restaurant in town; it’s got a jukebox and a pool table and I’m the only person here.  The guy serving up the burgers has a big skull and bones on his shirt – we were immediately friends.  Stan showed up and bought me a beer – I can only handle two these days.  He took me out to meet his mom and dad on the farm.  We talked for hours and had a blast.

Roberta at the Wyatt Earp Inn was really great, which is where I stayed the night.  I rolled out of town and Marshall, the bartender at the Bar and Grill, and his mom, who was the cook, made us some great meatloaf and mashed potatoes for lunch.  If you didn’t get there by noon you didn’t get anything because it really is the only place to eat in town!

October 4

Rolled through Fort Scott, Kansas and went to the First National Cemetery.  Stopped at a bookstore in town, met some nice folks.  Now I’m headed to Stockton for some relaxation and days off.

October 5

I did 45 miles today and once again, didn’t even feel like I got out of bed.  So, I’m here in Stockton now, which is, a lot of people don’t know, but where I went to highschool.  My mom used to be the cook at the school here.  I spent part of my time here after my parents moved to Chicago, so I’ve had half city life and half small town.  The local paper, The Cedar County Republican, interviewed me and is running a story.  It will be available online too – I’ll include a link soon.

After this, I’m headed to St. Louis and will be there from October 13th – 15th.  I’ll be in touch with anyone participating in a portrait soon and want to thank you in advance for all of your well wishes and offers to help – it’s what keeps me strong these days.

Until next time…

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The wind at my back…

Posted by crossingforcancer on October 1, 2008

September 22

Hi there.  To pick up where I left off, rolled out of Wells, after the office bought my lunch.  Of course the wind was coming very strong out of the south, with a touch coming out of the west, so I altered my course to head more north by east, that way the wind was more behind me.  I’ve been watching the weather and am expecting a northern front to come through, and bring a more northerly wind so I’ll try to head south.

There’s no way to describe the strength of the wind.  If I were at sea in this kind of wind, I would more than likely have no sails up and be running on bare poles.  I can see thunderstorms moving across the plains and many times I find myself just sitting by the road, rain and lightening free in one spot, yet a mere three miles from a storm passing in front of me from the south.  I enjoy the fresh smell of the rain in the distance as the 30-mile an hour wind blows it to me.  I just watch in amazement and listen to all the sounds.  I made a 60-mile run today and am now in a small motel.

To set up a tent in this would be brutal.  Not impossible, but a terrible pain in the “you know what.”  As I cycle, I find I’m seeing the flowers sprout through the cracks of the road, feeling the flying grasshoppers cling to my shirt as I pass by, or maybe a caterpillar rolling across the road.  I’m looking at all the details of life and realize how simple they are and how complex our minds seem to make it sometimes.

September 23

When I wake up in the morning, I realize that I must be at the border of a time change.  The town has refused to switch the clocks and my cell phone still says different.

My chess move to take the route to the south, in this constant game with Mother Nature, was a good one.  I did get that northerly front and for one day was able to have the wind strong at my back.  It’s always the first thing I do when I wake up, is check the wind direction.  So now I’ve been rolling hearing the steady hum of my tires at 22 miles an hour.  I know it will only last today and probably switch to the east, at which point I’ll be chewing on it again.  But at least I get one day of what seems to be rest on the bike.  The silence is so nice with the wind at my back.  Normally it’s so strong I can’t hear anything – even with earphones (for music) in.  It’s almost weird – the silence, so quiet, the wind with me.

I can see for miles.  There’s something special about being able to see and smell everything from this bike.  One thing though, I won’t have to eat for a while.  It seems as though I’ve eaten about five million bugs, they just fly right into my mouth and I probably have enough protein to last me for the next week. 

One thing that I’ve noticed through Kansas is how much I like that most towns are centered around a football or baseball field, a school or even a water tower.  The concentration of the youth is great.  Everyone waves and has time to talk for hours if they want to.  Today was good, I made good time because of that one day northern front.  Of course, the wind is supposed to be out of the southeast for several days now, so I have some hard days to come.

September 24

Left Syracuse, headed north to Garden City with a 20 mile an hour southeast wind.  I suppose I’m getting used to the wind now… Not really. I have to be honest, the aerodynamic nature of my bike is equivalent to a brick on wheels. 

Kansas is the first place that I’ve popped in my earphones to listen to some music.  The wind is so strong at times, I can’t even hear the music with it on full blast.  Looking around, eating bugs and feeling the strong wind is my life now.  I made an interesting discovery though, pedaling into the wind I began to try to understand it, it blew strong and fast, so I began to pedal strong and slow and steady. 

I’ve been trying to have more understanding with the wind, a symbiotic relationship, sort of a dance if you will.  I began to think of everything I’ve been through so far – the portraits, the people, my mom, dad, family, friends – just to get rid of all this frustration and negativity that’s been building since I entered Kansas due to the constant pounding of the wind.

I realized I can’t cure the problem of this wind, but I can cure the problem within it – within my self.  My spirit can be cured with the power of my mind, the negativity can be lifted and it was finally as if a magic wand tapped me.  My speed increased and life became almost easy.  I spent the next 25 miles this way, where a half-hour before I was thinking about giving up.  This isn’t the first time I thought this, but the most persistent. 

Giving up is not really an option, but it seems to creep in when it feels like hell for days.  To make a change within can be difficult at times, but really that’s the only thing that I have the power to change.  The wind’s going to blow no matter what.

I’ve been doing 10 miles an hour for three days.  This is basically fall harvest, so the narrow two-lane freeway is full of trucks driving by with produce and I’ve been riding in the grass to avoid them.  Here’s the problem: the flying grasshoppers.  I stir these grasshoppers up and they shoot out into the wind to get away from me like popcorn.  The wind catches them; they come right straight back at me and pretty much bean me.  Most times they grab onto me and then jump away.  I can only imagine what it might look like grasshoppers flying all over – in my beard, on my legs, in my shirt.

I actually saw one launch and I watched him.  Of course he has that boomerang effect because of the wind and bam – he latched onto my lower lip.  What am I supposed to do?  I’ve got trucks whizzing by me, both hands on the bars and finally jumped off.  I mean – jeeze!  And these things are everywhere out here.

I tell you what – we should have a contest, someone should illustrate what that must look like – me cycling into the wind with the grasshoppers flying all over me.  The winner can have a free trip to Kansas, with a bike and a toothbrush – all expenses paid.

I’ve been at my psychological limit, from the trucks, to the wind, to the grasshoppers.  My odometer is at about 1725 miles.  Even though I get to the breaking point, there is always something that sparks hope within me at times. 

September 25

I made it to Dodge City and took a much-needed full day off.  I wake up to almost a no-wind situation, even at 10 in the morning.  This made me smile for sure.  I packed up, filled my camelback with ice and water, ate some pancakes and rolled.  Rolling at the normal speed of 17 miles an hour-ish headed east.  Trying to make it to Wichita.  I’m making nice time to Kansas.  I had to look behind me to make sure Joe Bob, the local mechanic I met in the last town, didn’t install a motor on the back of my bike – it felt so smooth! It felt so good to have some rest and know the wind finally blew out. 

I’m now at lunch at a town called Mullinville – it’s so cool.  There are iron sculptures all along the road with names and sayings on them.  It was really cool.  I went on this dirt road to try to find the artist, but he was nowhere to be found.  His studio basically said closed: keep out.

The sculptures were really interesting and there were so many of them.  They went on for miles – something so bizarre.  The locals were saying that he’s an older local man, highly intelligent.  He kind of makes waves in the town – questions authority – they said he’s probably pissed everyone off in this town more than three times each… I would have loved to meet him.

September 28

I’m riding through Greensburg.  This town was devastated by a massive tornado about a year ago and looks pretty torn up.  It’s kind of scary to see the power of Mother Nature, where trees were torn to stumps and buildings were flattened.  The attempt to re-build is evident and right now, as I’m writing, I’m laying in a basement in a church in Haviland, KS.  I was at 55 miles for the day and came across this little town on Saturday.  What few stores were around were pretty much closed.

I ran across this guy, Josiah, asked if I could pop a tent up in the park – he said they wouldn’t mind.  He came back to check in later and ended up being the youth pastor for the town church.  He was a really nice guy and offered for me to stay in the church basement.  It was really great, one of the best nights sleep I’ve had on this trip.  If anyone’s ever slept in a church alone at night, then you know it’s… kind of interesting.

The wind today is blowing so hard across from me, that it’s bending my front fender to rub on my tire.  I think that these grasshoppers have been notifying the other grasshoppers as I move east that there’s a taxi service coming though.  They all just jump on me and ride.  When I jump off the bike, so do they – a free ride to the next town!

So today I’m on my way to Wichita where I have more portraits.  I’m set to meet with Chris Davis, a pancreatic cancer survivor, her daughter Michelle and other family members.  I completed a portrait of Chris, which was a wonderful, inspiring experience.  I’ll write more about our day together in the next entry, but for now wanted to express my heartfelt thanks.

Until next time.

 

Chris Davis, center, and family

Chris Davis, center, and family (I am at the top left)

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