Alan Jacobsen's Ride Across America Travel Blog

My purpose for the ride is to raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Donations can be made directly at I will be posting daily blogs on this site, so please subscribe to the RSS feed to get the daily updates.

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  • 04/22/2023 6:10 AM | Deleted user

    Another big day today and an early start. 167 miles and nearly 8,000 feet of climbing are ahead. With the aborted ride yesterday, I was able to recover and hope I can complete the distance. The ride was originally going to end in Globe Arizona which was less than 100 miles away. However, due to the lack of satisfactory accommodations, we decided to extend to the next town that had something more suitable. Hopefully I didn't bite off more than I can chew.

    I roll out at 5:30 am and the temperature is a icy cold 38 degrees. The Phoenix Metroplex is so large and sprawling that I really had to pay attention to my navigation to make it though the city and surrounding suburbs. Due to the cold and navigation issues, it took me two hours to go just 27 miles. Yikes, a 13.5 mph average on flat ground?!

    I stopped at McDonald's to get a coffee and a biscuit for breakfast since I was feeling sluggish due to the cold. I don't know if I should feel offended when the McDonald's employee called out my order as "biscuit and a senior coffee." Do I really look that old?

    After warming up a bit, I headed back out and reached the end of the Phoenix area. I was now on the highway leading towards Superior Arizona where I will take my next break. One of the best things about riding in this area is the conditions of the highway pavement. You can definitely tell which counties have the money and resources to maintain their roads. This area not only had smooth pavement, but it was clean and free of normal roadside debris. This made for swift traveling.

    A few miles up the highway I came across a ranch that had a Renaissance Fair in the middle of a Saguaro Cactus field. I turned into the property to check it out, but unfortunately they were only open on weekends. I just seemed unusual to me to see an attraction like this in the middle of the desert.

    I proceeded on and the day was finally warming up under the desert sun. I was also beginning one of the first of the big climbs of the day. I was about 50 miles into the ride and was facing a five mile climb averaging a 5% grade. Surprisingly I felt really strong and made good time. I don't think I dropped below 12 mph on any portion of the climb. However the sun was shining right in my face and I felt that my sunburn was getting worse, despite the sunscreen that I was applying regularly.

    I crested the summit and had a nice down hill run of around four miles before starting the next climb towards Superior. This climb was over 10 miles long with Superior at the midpoint. The climb to Superior only averaged 4% grade but the climb after would hit sections of up to 10% and go through a tunnel about 1/4 mile long. I would worry about that later, first I wanted to get to Superior and take another break.

    I reached Superior and wanted to find a place to get some coffee and snack. However, most of the businesses were along the highway and consisted of gas stations and mini-marts. In my experience, not the best places to find good coffee. I noticed a sign that directed me to "Historic Downtown Superior Arizona" and some local businesses that was located off the main highway. I decided to take that route to hopefully find a place to get coffee. But first I had to check out the "World's Smallest Museum" which was located across from the downtown turnoff. The "World's Smallest Museum" turned out to be a shed filled with "artifacts" (to use the term lightly) with the most notable feature being the roof that was made of hundreds of aluminum cans. Imaging the noise it would make during a hail storm.

    I turned up the road to "Historic Downtown Superior" and found it to be nearly deserted. Most of the businesses were closed. I kept going in hopes that there would be a place to eat. I passed the "Superior Police" station. I don't know if "Superior" is a noun or adjective. About a mile into the downtown I came a cross a small coffee shop and it was open. Yea! There were also customers inside enjoying a beverage. I parked my bike next to a horse hitch rail and went inside. There I found what turned out to be the highlight of the day.

    Statue in Historic Downtown Superior AZ.

    I bought a coffee and a peanut-butter cookie and sat back to enjoy the live music of a local musician, Billy Shack. He was sitting in the corner playing a guitar and singing cover tunes of country music and rock and roll. As I was sitting there enjoying the music, cookie and coffee, I realized I was almost missing an opportunity. I quickly got up and went to my bike to retrieve my GoPro camera. I went back in and when Billy had finished his song, I asked him if I could film him performing. He graciously said yes and I set up my camera on the tripod in front of him. He then played me an original song that he had written and performed for a movie soundtrack. He also gave me permission to publish the performance on my YouTube channel. Click the link at the bottom of this post to enjoy the song.

    While I was enjoying my coffee, my wife was nearing Superior and we arranged to meet at one of the gas stations. I headed back towards the highway and met her and helped fill up the support vehicle with gas. I then began the second half of the climb and the steepest part. I also had to traverse the tunnel. My wife would drive ahead and leapfrog with me by pulling over at the various turn-outs along the climb.  This part of the climb was on very narrow roads and we weren't sure what the conditions through the tunnel would be. We though she may have to shuttle me through if the conditions were too dangerous.

    The climb, despite being narrow, was extremely beautiful. When I reached the tunnel my fears were alleviated as it had two lanes going up and a bike line beside it. There was only one lane of traffic descending through the tunnel. The only bad thing about riding in the tunnel was the extreme noise of cars that echo throughout. I safely made it through and continued to the summit.

    View of the climb out of Superior AZ.

    Next was a 14 mile descent in which I was hitting speeds in excess of 40 mph. I would have gone faster, but I was unfamiliar with the road so I wasn't risking it. I'm glad I wasn't riding the opposite direction as the descent would have been a climb with an average grade of 7% for the whole distance. Next stop would be Globe Arizona, where we would have lunch. But first I had to go through "Top of the World" Arizona, population 3?

    Top of the World, Arizona consisted of a house and a building that once housed "antiques" to use the term loosely. However, despite the signs along the way that said, "Save Top of the World", it appeared that there was no saving it. It was abandoned and boarded up. Well, on to Globe and lunch.

    I made it to Globe around and was ready to eat. My wife had driven ahead and found an Italian restaurant and texted me the location. This is when the brilliantly great day started turning bad. Globe Arizona's main road is the highway. It consists of two lanes each direction and no shoulder. The built the curbs right up to the edge of the highway which leaves no room for cyclists. I therefore had to take the right lane for myself. oh, by the way, it was still all up hill through the town in the direction I was traveling. Now, I don't know if it's the residents of the town or just people traveling through, but most of the motorists had no respect or patience for a cyclist. Instead of waiting to pass me on the left, they would just drive up close behind me and blare their horn and shout profanities at me. Stay classy, Globe Arizona.

    I eventually made it to the restaurant and we enjoyed a good lunch. We talked to the waitress and got information about the road ahead. She advised that it wouldn't be a good idea riding through the Apache Indian Reservation that was outside of Globe. She said that the roads are narrow and the drivers are reckless. I dismissed the advice and decided to continue on.

    I still had to climb my way out of Globe for a couple of miles and the drivers stayed true to form. Way to go, Globe. I finally made it outside the town limits and there was a narrow shoulder for the next few miles. The road seemed safe and my wife proceeded ahead. However, soon as I entered the Reservation, the shoulder disappeared. There was only one lane each direction and the white stripe on the side had a rumble strip carved into it forcing me to ride in the lane of traffic. There was also a lot of truck traffic on the road in both directions making it very dangerous. I should have heeded the waitress's advice. I pulled over and called my wife. I asked her to stop at the next safest spot and let me know which mile marker she passed. I was about six miles behind her, so I told her to wait for me and we would shuttle in to Safford from there.

    I reached her safely and placed the bike in the car. We drove the rest of the way to Safford. The Reservation was more than 40 miles wide and the road conditions remained consistent the whole way. With the late afternoon traffic, this road is too dangerous for cyclists. I think it would be potentially safer riding in the early morning.

    Check out the Full Video here:

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  • 04/21/2023 11:30 PM | Deleted user

    Today is a big day as it is 160 plus miles to Phoenix Arizona. I have ridden across California in just two days and will enter the second state in just a couple of miles from the hotel. The temperature at the start is in the 40s so I dress in layers as the temperature is forecast for the mid 60s today.

    I start rolling at 5:30 am and head for the bridge that crosses the Colorado River into Arizona. My navigation says there is a bike-way that travels parallel to the bridge, but when I arrive at the supposed start, it does not exist. I back track to the Interstate 10 and the on-ramp and see a sign that prohibits bicycles. There is also a weigh station on the other side that has several CHP cars. Since it appears that this bridge is the only way across the river, I ignore the sign and head across. The bridge is only about 1/4 mile across so I get to Ehrenberg, Arizona without any trouble and continue riding on the Interstate. I have reached Arizona! One state down, seven to go!

    Welcome to Arizona!

    Since it is early, the traffic on the Interstate is relatively light and I settle in for a long gradual climb towards Quartzite, Arizona which will be my first rest break. About 15 minutes after leaving Ehrenberg, I notice that my watch says it's nearly 7:00 am. I have already lost an hour and I've only been on the road for 30 minutes?! Yep, I've entered the Mountain time zone. Not the Twilight Zone. I reach Quartzite just before 9:00 am and stop for coffee and fuel up on an energy bar. The wind has started to pick up and is blowing from the south-west at about 15 mph. I'm going to be facing a cross-headwind for the next 70 miles on the Interstate with no shelter and traveling up hill for the first half of those miles.

    Saguaro Cactus on the climb to Quartzite

    I set out again and settle into the climb. It's a struggle and the fatigue from the first two days is starting to affect my pace. The wind and noise of the Interstate traffic makes for sketchy riding conditions as a get a cross-wind from one direction, then blow back from the trucks coming from the other direction. I'm also constantly having to dodge road debris that is strewn all over the shoulder. The only upside is that the Arizona Interstate shoulder has better, smoother pavement than what I was riding on in California. After about another hour of climbing, I see a pick-up truck pull over ahead of me on the shoulder. A man steps out and is waiting by his door. I get a little nervous approaching as I am unsure of his intentions. As I get closer, he holds up his arm and he is holding a water bottle. I stop and he offers me the water. His name is Rudy and he is an avid cyclist. I talked to him for a few minutes and explained the Inspiration Ride to him. I gave him a bike bell and postcard and thanked him for the water. We even filmed the encounter for the YouTube vlog.

    Rudy departed and I continued my ride on the Interstate. I pulled into the next resat stop which are spaced about 20 miles apart and took a break. About this time, I had contacted my wife and she was getting ready to leave Blythe and would meet me up the road. I told her I would meet her at the next rest stop which was 26 miles from my current location and about 60 miles from her. I continued uphill and was really feeling the effects of the headwind. The grade was only about 2% but the wind made riding even more difficult. As I struggled towards the next rest stop, I was dreading the slight downhill portion that was about to come as I would no longer be somewhat sheltered from the small mountains on my right.

    I was about six miles from the next rest stop when my wife passed me. I traveled another half hour towards the rest stop and as I was about a mile away I had my first dangerous encounter with a motorist. Some idiot in a raised 4x4 pick-up truck decided he wanted to use the shoulder to pass a big rig on the right. He must have seen me at the last second and pulled back into the lane. After he passed, he went back onto the shoulder and raced the big rig on the right until he was able to pass. I made it safely to the rest area but was very shaken by the near miss.

    With the head wind picking up and the close encounter with the motorist, I decided that it was too risky to continue riding on the Interstate. I put my bike in the vehicle and had my wife drive me to the part of the route that took the back roads into Phoenix. We had to shuttle about 25 miles to the turn off.

    We made it to the back roads and I started riding again. However, I was now facing a direct headwind and it made riding difficult even though it was on flat ground. Since the back roads had no traffic, I used the support vehicle to draft though the headwinds at a steady 20 mph. Once we turned east again the head wind became a cross wind and made drafting more difficult. I road to the left of the car near the middle of the road while my wife drove next to the shoulder.

    After another 20 miles or so we entered some low steep hills. Drafting was ineffective so I settled into the short climbs. As I was descending the last hill towards an intersection, there was a stop sign at the bottom. I started applying the brakes and found that I had no stopping power. The grit that had worn down my brake pads on the first day and the sketchy descent on the second day left me with no stopping power. I rolled through the intersection and luckily no cars were coming. There were several more intersections coming on the run in to Phoenix and I was unable to stop effectively. As much as I was determined to ride every mile of this ride, it was too dangerous to continue today. It had taken me nearly six hour to travel 86 miles. I still had 60 miles to go to Phoenix and with the loss of an hour due to the time zone change. I would not make it before dark. I also needed to get to a bike shop to get replacement brake pads.

    I put the bike back in the car and we shuttled into Phoenix. I looked up the local bike shops and found one close to the hotel. I called ahead to make sure they had the brake pads I needed and they did. We made it to Landis Bike Shop in Phoenix and bought the replacement brake pads. They were kind enough to let me leave some postcards and bike bells to distribute to their customers in hopes of support for the Inspiration Ride.

    We then headed to the Holiday Inn and Suites in Phoenix for the nights stay. When I checked in, I told them about my ride and asked if there was anything they could do about our accommodations. Whether a discount or upgrade. Well they gave us an upgrade to their Presidential Suite at the same price as our standard room. It never hurts to ask! The suite had two bedrooms and two bathrooms in which one had a whirlpool tub. This really helped sooth the aching legs.

    After a shower and dinner, I replaced my brake pads began editing the YouTube video and took a whirlpool bath before going to bed. Tomorrow will be another big mileage day as I ride from Phoenix Arizona to Safford Arizona some 150 miles away and big mountains to cross.

    Watch the Full Video here:

    Donate here:

    Check out my activity on Strava:

    Original Route:

  • 04/17/2023 9:30 PM | Deleted user

    The weather today was a complete change from the previous day's storm. The forecast was for clear skies and sunshine and it did not disappoint. I woke at 6:00 am in anticipation of a slightly later departure since the day was only scheduled for 120 miles and only 4,000 feet of climbing. Almost all of it in the first 50 miles and the rest down hill.

    Before I could ride however, I needed to clean my bike from the ride in yesterday's storm. My chain was completely dry and there was grit and grime all over the bike. I also found that I got my first flat on the front tire. I did plan ahead and brought degreaser, chain lube, bike cleaning fluid and disposable shop towels as well as extra tubes and all the tools I would need along the journey. (Most of this was carried in the support vehicle.)

    I quickly cleaned and lubed my bike behind the hotel, changed the tube and was ready to go. While I was performing the bike maintenance, I noticed that my brake pads had become extremely worn down due to the grit and sand from the rain and trying hard to control my descents. I didn't think much of it at the time, but this would soon become a problem.

    Meantime, my wife and daughter had talked to the manager of the Holiday Inn Express, where we were staying and explained what I was doing. We left them some postcards that advertised the Inspiration Ride along with some bicycle bells that had the QR code for the donation page to distribute. The manager was so excited bout it that he took up a collection from his employees and made a donation. Before I departed for the day, we went outside and filmed a promotion video for the YouTube channel with the hotel staff. (Oh, they also gave us a discount on the room. Yay!)

    I was finally able to start riding by 9:00 am and headed off towards Joshua Tree National Park. Then the first challenge began with a climb of nearly 10 miles averaging a steady 6% grade. Despite the previous days long ride, I had surprisingly fresh legs for the climb and got to the summit in about an hour including a brief photo opportunity at the park entrance sign. 

    Then things got interesting. I initially wanted to take a picture near the "Skull Rock" formation which was a side detour from the main road. My family had already drove ahead and were waiting for me. When I got to the crossroad, to divert to "Skull Rock", I didn't see any signs indicating how far it was. I had just made the summit and the main road headed down hill while the side road continued uphill. I didn't know how far and it was not indicated on my GPS map. I didn't relish going too many miles off coarse just to have to climb back. I also didn't have cell phone service in the park, so I couldn't reach my family to find out how far I needed to go.

    I made the decision to just continue on the main road and skip the detour to "Skull Rock". I figured that when I didn't show up in a reasonable time, my family would backtrack and meet me along the route. (Not my finest decision.) 

    I began descending for the next 13 miles along some of the most spectacular scenery the desert has to offer. I passed Joshua Tree groves, (duh) Teddy-Bear Cholla groves, and Ocotillo groves, Ironwood groves, and Palo Verde trees. I took many breaks to film the plants for the video and to delay my time in hopes that my family would catch up to me.

    Mesquite bushes in Joshua Tree National Park

    As I began climbing the second major climb of the day, my sister, niece, and daughter caught up to me. I inquired about my wife and they said she was still waiting when they had left. We tried calling but still didn't have phone service. They agreed to go back to find her and said they'd catch up to me soon. I continued to climb and they went back. About 30 minutes later, they caught me again and asked if my wife had caught up to me. They said they saw a vehicle that looked like hers going the other direction. I told them she hasn't come by and I was really beginning to worry. They said they would go ahead to the Cottonwood Springs Ranger Station and see if they could reach someone to help or get phone service. I continued on as well and soon met up again, but still no sign of my wife. 

    Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus

    I continued on out of the park and a long 7 mile descent over very rough pavement to reach the Interstate 10 and finally get phone service. Due to the rough road, I had to apply more pressure to my brakes and found that they were getting weaker. (Not a good sign).

    The next 70 miles were along the Interstate 10 shoulder where it is legal to ride a bike because there are no other alternative routes. I called my wife as soon as I had service, but it went straight to voicemail. I left a message as to my location and direction and continued on. Next stop was Chiriaco Summit where I took a refuel break and tried calling my wife again. Still no contact and worry was taking hold. I continued for another 10 miles and pulled over at an exit when my phone rang. My daughter called and said they had spoken to my wife and she was okay. I immediately called her and was so relieved to hear her voice. I apologized for not continuing to the rendezvous point and was just glad that everything turned out alright, despite the worry for the both of us. At this point she also had just passed me on the Interstate and was heading to Blythe to check in to the hotel. Since it was still about 40 miles away for me, I told her I would be there in a couple of hours.

    Now, riding on the side of the Interstate is very nerve wracking. The shoulder is 8 - 10 feet wide with a rumble strip separating the lanes of traffic and the shoulder. (a rumble strip is divots carved into the asphalt that make a noise and shake your vehicle to alert the driver they are drifting out of the lane.) Rumble strips are not bike friendly either. In California, the shoulder surface ranges from very smooth and clean to chip seal rough and filled with gravel and debris. I often found that I had to weave across the shoulder to dodge pieces of broken tires and other debris all while trying to stay as far to the right as possible. My bike radar was continually going so I was just ignoring it and kept one eye on my rear view mirror and the other eye on my path of travel. Oh yeah, the noise of the traffic travelling at over 70 miles an hour becomes deafening. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience. The upside was that there were no steep climbs on the Interstate. (nothing greater than 2%)

    I went another twenty miles and pulled over at an exit to call my wife to find out if she got to the hotel and let her know my estimated arrival time. While I was speaking to her, there was a couple pulled over trying to secure their bicycles on the bike rack on their car. The husband was struggling to get them tied down. I asked them if they'd like some help and he explained that the second bike kept rising up due to the wind at high speed. I examined how they were secured and showed him how the bikes should be secured to each other as well as secured to the bike rack. I secured their bikes and then they asked me how I came to be out here on the Interstate. I explained my Inspiration Ride to them and they were so thrilled to hear about it and so grateful for the assistance that they promised to donate when they got to the hotel. They were on their way home to Colorado and still had another day to drive.

    I rode the last twenty miles to Blythe and arrived just before sunset. It was a long day despite the distance and an emotional journey that also drained me physically. I also forget to mention, the bright sunshine of the day left me with quite a sunburn as I did forget to pack the sunscreen. I would pay for that mistake for the next two weeks.

    After showering and getting dinner, I spent the next hour and a half uploading, editing and posting the daily video. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was asleep immediately. Tomorrow would be an even bigger day.

    Watch the Full Video Here:

    Donate here:

    Check out my activity on Strava:

  • 03/26/2023 3:30 PM | Deleted user

    February 25, 2023 

    Woke up at 4:00 am to a steady rain. It was forecast to rain all day. I quickly got dressed with several layers to do the best I can to stay dry. I even put thick plastic grocery bags over my shoes and under my booties to keep my feet dry. I just cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag to engage my pedal cleat.

    At 5:15 am, I departed for the start location at Huntington Beach which was about three miles away from the hotel. The roads were slick, so I took my time and arrived safely. Gary Egorov met me there a few minutes later. Gary the legend, was going to ride the first 50 to 60 miles with me then turn around and head back. 

    It was cold and rainy at the parking lot where family and friends gather to see the two of us off. Killer Bee's leader Joseph Cassinerio, called in via Facebook and blessed the ride with a prayer. It was beautiful and heartfelt, and appreciated by all that were present. (Thank you, Joe!)

    Gary Egorov and myself at the start.

    Unfortunately, due to the darkness and rain, we didn't do the ceremonial dipping of the wheels in the Pacific Ocean. However, with all the rain, the tires were sufficiently wet with Pacific waters.

    After the prayer and thanking of all the supporters that were present, Gary and I departed the parking lot and took the Santa Ana River Bikeway for the first leg of the journey. The bikeway runs for about 40 plus miles along the Santa Ana River which kept us out of vehicular traffic until just short of Riverside California. We only had one small mistake on the bikeway, in which we were supposed to cross to the opposite side and ended up riding about a mile on gravel, then having to negotiate a detour to get back on track.

    The time on the bikeway went pretty fast despite not being able to draft each other. (The water coming off the tires flew back at least 20 feet.) We soon came upon Anaheim and stopped to take pictures behind Anaheim Stadium. We didn't stop for long though due to the cold. We had to keep moving just to stay warm.

    Anaheim Stadium

    We finally took our first break a little over 50 miles in. We stopped at Starbucks for a coffee and the manager allowed us to park our dripping bikes in the lobby. Boy, did that make a mess. Gary and I continued a couple of more miles before he had to say goodbye and turn back to Huntington Beach.

    Since we started, the course profile was a slight uphill climb towards Riverside. It was gradual but had a few short semi steep segments. Once Gary left, the real climbs began. The first was a climb of about 6 miles with up to 7% gradient. Once I left Riverside, It was a steady push uphill and the temperature dropped quickly. Soon it started to snow. It wasn't enough to accumulate on the ground but it made for cold wet travel and misery was setting in.

    My daughter, Sierra, sister, Jennifer, niece, Megan and myself after Riverside.

    Once I reached the summit at Banning heading towards the pass that would cross the mountains heading to Palm Springs, the weather started to clear. By the time I reached Banning, the sun was shining and it started to warm up. By now I had travelled about 85 miles and still had 65 more miles to go. In Banning, I had the first of quite a few navigation issues with Komoot. The route was to take me from one frontage road to another while avoiding the freeway which I'm not allowed to ride. Unfortunately the route was to go through the Morongo Indian reservation in which travel is restricted to residents or those with business on the reservation. Fortunately, the guard at the entrance was able to advise me of an alternate route that connected the two frontage roads with a gravel road. I headed to the gravel road which bordered the freeway on one side and a railroad on the other and was inhabited by several homeless encampments. To say the least it was a sketchy scenario. I road as quickly as I  could and got through unscathed to the frontage road to continue the route.

    Banning, CA and clearing weather.

    About 10 miles later, I came across the next part of the Komoot route that was less than anticipated. It had me climbing over the mountains of the pass on gravel roads of a wind turbine farm. There were several sections that were so steep and loose with sand that I had to walk. This delayed me nearly an hour as I negotiated the route. I finally came through on the other side and reached the Twenty-nine Palms Highway. By now I was 108 miles into the ride with two very long and steep climbs to go before reaching my destination that was still 40 miles away. It was also getting late in the day and finishing by nightfall was getting iffy.

    Wind Farm.

    I powered my way up the two remaining climbs and made it to Yucca Valley California by dark. However, I was still 20 miles from the finish in Twenty-nine Palms and to make matters worse, my Garmin Varia radar taillight had died. The temperature had also dropped significantly in a matter of a few minutes and I was getting hypothermic due to the sweat I generated on the climbs. 

    At this point I felt it was too dangerous to finish the last 20 miles in the dark without a taillight. So I called my wife, who then came to get me in the support vehicle.

    Day one finished with 131 miles and 6,043 feet of elevation gain over 10 hours and 15 minutes of saddle time.

    It felt so good to have a hot shower and prepare for the next day. Oh, I also had to eat, download and edit the video to then upload to YouTube before getting to sleep. 

    Watch the full video here:

    Donate Here:

    Intended Route:

    Check out my activity on Strava: 

  • 03/26/2023 11:11 AM | Deleted user

    It was my original intention to do these daily blogs while on the journey. However, with the long days riding, trying to eat and prep for the next day, and edit the vlogs for the YouTube channel, I just didn't have time to post. What follows will be my chronicle of the trip for your enjoyment.

    FEBRUARY 24, 2023

    The day before the start of Inspiration Ride 2023 Across America for Valley Children's Hospital began with rain forecasted for the entire day. In fact, it rained all day and shut down Interstate 5 over the grapevine into Los Angeles and Huntington Beach California which is the start location. The alternate route over Highway 58 and the Tehachapi Mountains were also closed due to snow. The only way for us to get to the start was by driving Highway 41 towards the central coast and going the the long way around using Highway 101 through Santa Barbara.

    We picked up the rental car and then packed it it up and departed by 1:30 pm in anticipation of a long drive. It started out well, but then ran into very heavy traffic and construction zone from San Luis Obispo through Pismo Beach. This added an additional hour and a half to the already long drive.

    With the bad weather forecast for the first day of the ride, I realized I would need some rain pants to go along with my rain jacket. I started looking on line to get some locally, but there were none available in my size. (I guess since Fresno gets very little rain, most shops don't carry them.) I found a pair at the REI in Huntington Beach which wasn't far from our hotel, so I called them and had them place them on hold for my arrival.

    Well, as the day progressed, it was beginning to be clear that we may not arrive before REI closed. Fortunately, Darrellyn C. from Valley Children's Hospital was ahead of us on the road and would reach Huntington Beach before us. She graciously went to REI and purchased the rain pants and dropped them off at the hotel for our arrival.

    With the deadline of REI closing behind us, we were able to relax somewhat and get some dinner before continuing to the hotel. We eventually arrived at the hotel after a 10 hour ordeal just to scramble to get everything ready for the 6:00 am start the next morning.

    I had to prep the bike, lay out all the clothes, prepare the energy drinks, nutrition and all the gear that would be necessary to ride. We also had to repack the luggage, so we could quickly load up the car the next morning before I started riding.

    We didn't get to sleep until nearly midnight and set the alarm for 4:00 am. Tomorrow will be a long day on little sleep. What did I get myself into.

  • 02/19/2023 9:58 AM | Deleted user

    Hello everyone, thank you for viewing this blog.

    I'm Alan Jacobsen, long time Fresno cyclist about to embark on a journey across America to raise funds for Valley Children's Hospital. I'm inspired to do this ride to honor my grandson, Isaac Montanez, 10, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2021 and was treated at Valley Children’s Hospital for 16 months. He is now in remission with continued chemotherapy treatment at home and monthly visits to the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Valley Children’s Hospital.

    The ride symbolizes Isaac’s journey with the disease from diagnosis to remission. Starting on the West Coast where the sun sets represents the feeling we had when we got the diagnosis. It felt like the sun was setting on Isaac’s life. The journey over the mountains and through the valleys represents cancer treatment's highs and lows. Finally, ending on the East Coast where the sun rises is my metaphor for his new lease on life and a future to look forward to.

    Me and Isaac pre-diagnosis.

    Me and Isaac Christmas 2021. Four months into treatment.

    Isaac post chemo and on the road to remission.

    Traveling across the southern states, my trek begins Saturday, February 25 at Huntington Beach, CA, and ends Saturday, March 18 at Jacksonville Beach, FL. The trip will cover more than 2,600 miles and 57,000 feet of climbing.

    My purpose for the ride is to raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Donations can be made directly at

    The fundraiser is my way of giving back to the doctors, nurses, and staff of Valley Children’s Hospital who took such great care of my grandson and the many other children of the Central Valley.

    I also share my deepest gratitude to all of the sponsors that have supported the ride thus far, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Fresno Area Express, Drake Law Firm, Scratch Labs, We Heart Nutrition, Tower Yoga, REI, Rubber Soul Bicycles, Trek Bicycle Corporation, The Bike Shop @ Woodward, Express Graphics,  Kordova x Ms. Limon, Art Mendoza, and Gabee B Creations.

    Supplies and Nutrition donated to support the trip by Rubber Soul, The Bike Shop @ Woodward, Trek Bicycles Fresno, REI, and Tower Yoga

    I will be posting daily blogs on this site, so please subscribe to the RSS feed to get the daily updates.

    I will also be posting daily vlogs on my YouTube channel Alan Rides. Please subscribe and click the notification bell for the daily updates. You can also leave comments and questions in the videos and I will post a video featuring those questions and answers during the trip.

    I also want to express my sincerest gratitude to the Fresno Cycling Club and the valley cycling community for their support. It means a great deal to me and my family.

    Scott Sehm, Gary Egorov, Dennis Ball and myself at the VCH press conference announcing the ride.

    If anyone would like to join me for any part of the ride, feel free to contact me via email at: I will be happy to accept the company along the way.

    If anyone would like to join me for the start, I will be leaving at 6:00 am from 22345 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92646 on Saturday February 25, 2023. Please meet at 5:45 am as we roll at 6:00 am sharp. The first 60 miles are along the Santa Ana River Trail, so there will be minimal interaction with Los Angeles traffic.

    Here is the link to the first day route:

    Here is a link to the news story:

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