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Coquille Valley Sentinel
Coquille, Oregon
June 13, 2001     Coquille Valley Sentinel
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June 13, 2001

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FOURTEEN--Wednesday. June 13, 2001--THE SENTINEl. l,'yclist finishes first leg cross-c,guntry trip After 1,300 miles, Wicka rolls into town 'let's see what's over the next hill,'" Wicka said. "Rarely do we get to do an adventure anymore. What used to be an adventure, get- ting in the car and going across the country, is now you're on an inter- state stopping at every Howard Johnson's along the way." Over the hills are some great people. Wicka has kept busy mak- ing new friends: fellow bicyclists, including one from Scotland and an older couple from Minneapolis; a group diving for abalone in Westport; two ladies in Big Sur who kept running ahead of Wicka and meeting him with cold sodas and snacks. After helping a man put a sickle bar on a tractor, the man chard him down 20 miles later with a bag of burgers. Before get- ting to Coquille, Wicka stopped at the Riverton Boat Ramp to talk to a fellow throwing sticks tor his dog. Meeting the people of America, that's what Wicka's trip is all about, and some of those folks are envious. "In one breath, they say 'you're crazy,' in the next they're saying 'I wishl was going with you,'" Wicka said. "It gives you a warm fuzzy when you fall asleep exhausted in the tent, you say, 'I can do this, it's an epic, I can tell this story.'" So far, the story is inspiring. Wicka rode and camped his way up what he expected would be the toughest part of his trip. Wicka described cruel headwinds slow- ing him down: pedaling like mad downhill and not going anywhere into one of the friendly wind gusts he ran into. Even less friendly was the thief Wicka ran into his second day out. Sometime during the night at a campground, a packet containing Wicka's specially pre- pared maps and cash vanished. By Jake Wilhelm "So far, so good," grinned Ron Wicka as he rolled into town last Monday and parked his trusty bicycle. Far -- that word .just begins to describe Wicka's epic. Try 1,300 miles. So far, 1,300 miles clocked on a 24-speed bicycle. On May 6, Wicka left Hermosa Beach and came up the Calitbrnia coast into Oregon. Twenty-seven days later, Wicka rode across the Coquille River bridge and stopped lbr a drink of coffee at Caboose Lady Coffee. "Some things stick in your mind," Wicka explained as he sipped the coffee. "One of the things that kept me going was thinking about stopping here for coffee." What else was on the 59-year- old Coquillian's list? To park his bike outside Oregon properties Realty and see his friend Jim Fleck. Then go get a haircut from Wayne at Country Cuts. There's more on Wicka's list. Much more. Coquille was only an overnight stop on the agenda. Wicka and his bike have 3,500 more miles to cover before this journey is called done in his brother's Worchester, Mass., backyard. To get there, Wicka will bicycle across Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, by the Great Lakes and to the East Coast. "It's a 'what's over the next hill' syndrome. There's something in the American psyche that says, Gold Impressions 24k gold plating Emblems Faucets Vehicles Homes Boats & more 396-5937 wdg.guptill GARLAND HOMES INC. We've Got Something Special Coming! South of Bandon 347-9536 Highway 101 "The three hundred bucks was bad enough, but the real injury was the maps. Maps are impor- tant. You don't want to override campgrounds, stores, stuff like that. Without a map, it's easy to get out of sync and get in trouble," Wicka said. Wicka didn't discover the theft until a week later as he prepared to enter San Francisco. He almost got into trouble. Local maps, meant for automobiles, were bare- ly adequate for Wicka's .iourney across the tough city. The Golden Gate Bridge was the toughest part. After crossing the bridge, Wicka had to carry his bike below the bridge and up the other side in order to get on the road he needed. "Thirty-seven steps each way. Believe me, 1 counted them. Carrying a bike with 40 pounds of gear is no fun," Wicka said. " Tough days like that factor into Wicka's careful cross-country plans, if he's going to make it to Worchester, days like that meant break-time. "1 can't fry my legs. I've gol another 3,500 miles to go; now is not the time to pull a leg muscle," he said. "When it's time to take a break, I take it. I see a likely place to eat, 1 stop in. I didn't know 1 could eat so much..." Several days into the trip, Wicka found the rhythm he' II need to carry him across America. It's a sweet rhythm where he is riding along, enjoying the scenery, yet in the back of his mind, he's running a constant check on how his body is doing, making sure he doesn't over-do anything. . It was a difficult rhythm to acquire. Wicka's son Karl rode with his dad for 60 miles. The Wickas had time to talk, time to look at the scenery and time for Karl to get worn out .... "He said 'it's a long bike ride for me, are you st, e you want to do this'?' Not that l've trained for it. You can't train for this -- you just tnd up doing it," Wicka said, ROAD WARRIOR Ron Wicka stopped in Coquille last Monday full of stories about the 1,300 miles he's cov- ered so far in his quest to bicycle across America. Jake Wilhelm photo Of course, Wicka's family is concerned for their dad. "Russell, my son the park ranger, thinks it's very cool, he says go for it and wishes he was coming with me. My daughter still thinks this is kind of sketchy..." Wicka said. "There's a certain amount of com- petitive challenge to it - I started it, now I have to finish it." Two reasons Wicka knows he'll make it are those two tough California hills he's put behind him; one hill south of Eureka, then a monster hill from Eureka to Crescent City. "I knew if I made them, I'd have this thing licked." Wicka said. "The one going into Crescent City, that was the scary part. The road was all torn up, there was just enough room for two cars to pass, and no shoulder. I rode through busted pieces of cars, busted bottles, you name it, you got it. I got to the top of that hill and it started raining. "Well, I stopped on the side of the road and put on my rain gear. What else are you going to do, go home'?" Editor's note: An updated map of Wickak trip is available for viewing at Oregon Properties Real Estate on First Street in Coquille. SOLUTION to the Sentinel Crossword on page 5. R E N i E I A R I 0071 INTERIOR * EXTERIOR RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL (541) 26 ave twice. Take our Customer Energy Challenge and you'll save twice! Beginning in June, if you reduce consumption by at least 20 percent compared to the same month last year, you're eligible for a 20 percent credit on your bill. In July, we're adding a !0 percent option as well. The Challenge runs through September. No enrollment is necessary. You're automatically eligible if you've had the same account with us since last year. Here are some tips to help you earn the savings: Set air conditioner thermostats to 80F or higher, health permitting. Use fans instead of an air conditioner when outdoor temperature is below 90E Wash clothes in cold water and if you can, take advantage of sunny days to dry laundry outdoors. Use microwaves or outdoor grills instead of ovens. Use the air dry function on dishwashers or turn off during dry cycle. Cut back even more on lighting. Replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescents that use one quarter the energy. If you will be away from home for more than a few days, unplug TVs, VCRs and computers as they draw power even when not in use. Do the bright thing. For mope Information o'n the Customer Enerlw Challenge and other warm-weather ener/tips, call us tit |-8OO-222..4335. pACIRC POWER American l Bay county from memoration three y; mer's, of the ration, Depa Revenue Coquille The Oregon Revenue has Coquille Broadway, North The office as Wednesday, and a.m. to noon and 1 or by "Our move to location will serve the residents coast," said Tern staffs the office. resolve problems questions about And the de any requests for or training on grams from all area." Pullen remindat parties to make address, which is not current telephone The Oregon Revenue laws and collects 30 tax programs. Ocean Blvd. Coos Bay A The Boomin' Y SPECIAL OF THE (P1378)- 3.8L, V-6, AT, ABS, Am/FM/Cass., Power Tilt, Cruise, Power Seats, Leather Interior, Alloy andPremium Sound. ONt GREAT '93 Plymouth Colt (P1385A) 4 cyL, 5 ,ilxl., '99 Chew Metro LSI, 4 DR. (P14t'7)4 CyI..AT. 34K mite= '99 Chew Metro LSl, 4 DR, (P14iil) 4 cyt.,AT, 331( miles '99 Pontiac Sunfire SE, 4 DR, (Pi419)4 C '01 Chevy Cavalier (Pl40s) 4 c, AV. '01 Chew Cavalier (P41s) 4 ., ATi 12300 miles .............. '97 Ford Ranger XLT , (Pi408) V-6, AT, all power, k 13,000 miles. 2001 PacifiCorp I