The following journal entries were made by Kaukauna High School graduate Ken Lettau during the first leg of his bike trek from North Bend, Wash., to Kaukauna. He is accompanied by his son Randy and grandson Joe; they are scheduled to arrived in Kaukauna in time for his 50th high school reunion in June. The trip will cover just over 2,000 miles.
Day 1 - April 27, 2001
We left Randy's this morning at 6:30. Got to the top of Snoqualmie Pass at 10:30. The hill up the pass that I have been dreading since the beginning, was every bit as hard as I had expected. In fact, I had to walk up the last two miles. Randy and Joe walked with me but they could have ridden up easily. We made 3 mph walking and I was down to 4 mph riding and had to give up.
Dianna (Randy's wife) drove up to meet us with the boys. We had lunch in Easton. Things went so well the rest of the day we didn't stop in Cle Elum but went on to Ellensburg for a total of 81 miles. We had a great tail wind and cruised - got up to 42 mph on one hill.
We were able to talk to two folks about the trip today. Saw beautiful country at a much slower speed. No animals, just a lot of junk. Joe found a working Nokia cell phone. Randy called on it and the lady is coming to his office next week to pick it up. We are very glad that we weren't going the other way into the headwind. God bless.-Ken
Day 2 - April 28, 2001
Randy, Joe and I took advantage of the minimal continental breakfast at the Super 8 and headed out of Ellensburg at 6:45. We headed south on Canyon Road, leaving the Interstate and following the Yakima River. A short distance into the canyon I started to say something to Randy and he said not to bother him just then as he was listening to the sounds. It was amazing to have lost the truck and car sounds of the freeway and to be hearing and seeing magpies, kingfishers, blue herons, ducks, geese, red-wing blackbirds, rabbits, jumping fish, and, we even saw a herd of Rocky Mt. bighorn sheep on the canyon wall across the river.
There are a couple of killer hills in the canyon and I had to walk my bike twice about one mile each time. We took two photos in the canyon and then rejoined the interstate just before Yakima. We were going so well that we decided to just go on past Yakima, our scheduled Saturday night stop. I will have to call the Union Gospel Mission Monday and thank Rick for offering us a bed and meals.
We did manage to make a lunch stop at Miner's for a burger. If you have never had a Big Miner you need to put it on your "to do" list. They are wonderful. We headed on into the wind to Union Gap again following the Yakima River. We quickly made some left curves and luckily got the wind around behind. Praise the Lord again! We started making great time and stopped at the Darigold cheese factory in Sunnyside for one of their fantastic ice cream cones. The wind got even stronger and we were really cruisin'. There was a lot of dust flying and some other "stuff," too, as we passed several cattle feed lots.
We finally got to Prosser and learned this was the weekend of the yearly Barrel Wine tasting Festival. NO ROOMS IN THE INNS. We finally found a bed at a place built back in the 50's but it wasn't bad, and we didn't care much after an 83-mile day. We decided not to go out for dinner and just dug into our Pop Tarts and other biking goodies. We tried to bring ourselves to do our logs but just couldn't and watched the remainder of the Seattle Mariner game and died. Enough for one day. God bless. -Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau
Day 3 April 29, 2001
Knowing that we had only 30 miles left to Richland to complete this early 200-mile leg, we slept in until 6. I swear the boys cut at least five cords of wood last night as I got a total of about two hours of sleep from their snoring. I will surely be packing earplugs for the remainder of this adventure.
We showered, did our morning Bible study, had more Pop Tarts and bars and headed out of Prosser. I showed the guys the huge sinkhole that I hit near the motel last night. We headed up the tough Prosser hill on the Interstate I-82 and were again happy that the stout wind was coming from the right side and not head-on. Dianna and the boys passed us on the hill and waited for us at the top to visit a while. She was headed to Richland to take Randy home this evening and to visit her dad who is having triple by-pass surgery this week in Spokane. Later, on the Yakitat hill Terry Myers (friends Ken and Mary's son) and his family stopped to visit a bit as they headed to Richland to visit with Ken and Mary. It was very windy and cold and we were shivering in a hurry.
We made Benton City in great time and waved at son Ralph's home across the Yakima River. The Benton City hill is a tough one and we labored on up slowly. Near the top we were overtaken by Ken Myers who had come out to meet us after hearing where we were from his son. We are spending more time visiting on the road than biking but it sure is great fun to have folks care and interested in what we're doing while we are praising God's Awesome Grace in our lives.
Just a short distance later we saw Ralph and Mary heading home from Sunday church. They saw us and honked and waved. In a little bit they had turned around and caught up to us so we stood and visited some more. Ralph's appetite has now been thoroughly wetted and he is talking about taking off a few days and riding the first four days of the next trip leg with us. As we will be starting again on May 17, that means he could join us through the 20th and on out into Montana. That would be great.
We finally got to the long, three-mile hill down into Richland on the Columbia and Yakima rivers. It felt really good to be reaching a goal again. We checked in with wife Pat, congratulated each other, had some of Pat's chilidogs and unpacked. I will have to ride back to North Bend with Randy and Dianna so I can bring back David's van. It will be a long day even if it was only a 35-mile biking day.
We are thankful for this three-day adventure and the learning experience of it. We will certainly use what we learned as we prepare for the takeoff for the May 17 to June 14 leg from Richland, Wash., to Kaukauna, Wis. We'll be talking to you later. God bless. -Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau