UPDATE, 22 October 2008

David and Chiva are taking a break from the Tour de Dog but are sure to plan another ride in the near future. A sincere thank you to all of you who helped David and Chiva in countless ways. The Tour de Dog would not be possible without your support. THANK YOU!

View a Photo Documentary of Tour de Dog by Jason Houge

Tour de Dog is past states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and New York.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tour de Dog 21st Century Students

I have received another set of excellent questions from the 21st Century Students in Maine! They are keeping journals of their life dreams as Chiva and I travel the country. It gives me great pleasure to interact with the future of our country, and I hope you enjoy this question/answer posting.

On a side note, I was proud and ecstatic to hear the students are raising money for their local animal shelters as well as learning bicycle safety tips. They plan to sell popcorn in bags labeled with information describing how to be a responsible pet owner and cyclist. When the popcorns bags are complete, I will list the information on the website. I also would like the 21st century students to help me develop a list of what we can do to help the environment and why it is important to do so.

Best wishes to all and please continue to keep up the good work!

Sarah: What tools do you need for a bike?
Hello, Sarah. You asked a very important question, as I must be prepared to fix my bicycle at any time. I am still learning from my experiences as to what to bring and have somewhat of a “figure it out” as I go attitude. The better prepared and more experience one has, the more efficient he/she will be at fixing a bicycle. Although other cyclists may have different opinions, below is a list of what I carry with me. Please let me know if you think I should bring something else.

Patch kit, extra tubes, air pump, levers to remove tire from wheel:
These items are needed to fix a flat tire. I have probably had 7 flats thus far.

Survival knife:
Contains blade, screwdrivers (flat and Phillips head), and pliers that come in handy with a bicycle.

Bicycle multi-tool:
Allen keys, spoke truer, and wrenches are all needed for bicycle maintenance.

Cloth, lube and grease:
Needed to maintain bicycle chain and bearings. I clean and re-lube the chain about once every couple days. This is very important because the chain acts as my motor.

Spare parts:
Brake pads, screws, nuts, washers, springs (for connecting the trailer to the bicycle).

Vince: What kind of food works best for you on a bike trip? What is your favorite?
Great question, Vince. If I am to be biking 440lbs. up mountains day after day, I better be eating LOTS of healthy food! My goal is to eat ~6,000 calories a day. I lost 15lbs. at the start of the trip but now seem to have leveled at 200lbs. The biggest challenge thus far is eating and drinking enough. One thing nice about this lifestyle is that I never worry about eating too much. My body constantly needs heavy doses of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The healthier you eat, the better you will perform. Here are a few of my favorites:

Larabars: high energy, nutritious, non-processed, tasty bars (http://www.larabar.com/)
Ola Loa energy: essential minerals, vitamins, and protein that fuel my body (http://www.drinkyourvitamins.com/)
Oats, dried fruits, bananas, oranges, apples, nuts, almonds, raisins, trail mix, granola, crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (although I am currently tired of PB&J’s!), quinoa, and pasta are what I usually pack with me. I do eat a fair amount at restaurants to mix things up. Cheese, burritos, quesadillas, chicken, eggs, and pizza always do the trick. It is also vital I eat my vegetables: salads, carrots, and broccoli are my favorites. I really will eat anything and am constantly hungry! But remember, you are what you eat.

Jake noticed a few architecture pictures. Do you have an interest in old buildings?
Good eye Jake! I love to compare and contrast older buildings with modern buildings. I enjoy both being in the outdoors for its beauty and the city to see buildings and its people. What do you prefer more: the city or wilderness?

Johnny: How do you get people to let you stay at their place?
Hello, Johnny. One thing I am noticing more and more with this trip is that there are many wonderful people in this country. I think it makes people feel good when they help someone, and I have been extremely fortunate with the help I have received. As I continue on the Tour de Dog, my network of friends continues to grow. They are watching over me and will tell me if they know a place I can stay. The more friends I have the better chances of having shelter for the night.

A lot of times it is simply being at the right place at the right time. I was lucky to run into Grandma Stump at a restaurant, and Mark the rancher saw me as nightfall was approaching. These people are goodhearted people that opened their homes to Chiva and me.

When staying with others I try to be respectful and courteous and simply treat others how I would want to be treated. A good guest does not ask for too much, and I never want to impose. My only hope is that the hosts enjoy being a part of the Tour de Dog.

Pam, the teacher: I wonder what you are missing the most, though you seem in awe at every turn!
Now this is a good question! There are many modern comforts I have given up including a car, apartment, paycheck, bed, washer and drier, refrigerator, stove, bathroom, and even running water. I am making do, however, and determined to make this work. Overall, I would say I miss my friends the most. Luckily with technology these days, I can do a fairly good job of staying in touch...even from a bicycle in the middle of nowhere. In addition, I am making new friends and hoping old ones will join me at some point.

A few things I do NOT miss are city traffic jams, only having a two day weekend, and paying apartment rent! Ha ha!

Emily, the ultimate optimist, enjoys the pictures!
Thank you, Emily. I will continue to use pictures as a way to share the Tour de Dog experience. Please let me know if you would like to see me take any pictures in particular.

Kasidie, a fellow bike rider, states: “I think that it is great that you are following your dream. I bet you are inspiring many students, including myself. Have fun on your trip. I ride my bike further each day!”
Kasidie, this is great to hear and makes my day! A big part of the Tour de Dog is encouraging people to go after their biggest dreams. It is up to you to make it happen, but you must know and tell yourself you can. I am thrilled to hear you are biking further each day. It is a healthy, economical, environmentally friendly, and thrilling experience. When I come to Maine, will you go for a ride with me?

Becky, Johnny’s twin and a free spirit, wonders what it was like at the school you visited and what group you visited. What did you talk about?
How you doing Becky? At the school in Petrolia, CA, I played “20 questions” with the students. They asked me questions as they tried to figure out my job title and what Chiva and I do everyday. The school was very small because the town had a very small population. The students were in the 2nd grade. We also ate hot dogs together! What would you like to do when Chiva and I visit you?

Caleb, the big brother who has brothers wonders if your brother Rob gave you a hard time and wants you to know he really thinks Chiva is a cutie!
Hello Caleb! I grew up with three other brothers, and we were always giving each other a hard time. One of our biggest hobbies was and still is picking and making fun of each other. It is all in good fun and that is just what brothers do, but it is enough to drive my parents crazy. We use to play in the woods and build forts together. How about you and your brothers? Do you guys ever wrestle? What games do you guys play? Here is a recent picture of my family:

From left to right: Allen, me, Dad, Mom, Michael, and Rob

Mike: If you can’t find place to sleep, why can’t you convert the Doggyride Novel trailer into a tent for Chiva and yourself?
Dear Mike, I can tell you are well on your way to becoming an excellent engineer! I currently carry my own tent that is big enough for both Chiva and me. If for some reason I lose my tent or it becomes damaged, I will remember your suggestion of turning the DoggyRide Novel into a new tent. Thank you and keep your ideas coming!

Reggie wonders can you pick a favorite part of your trip so far.
Hello Reggie! This is a tough question. I have enjoyed many parts of the trip and it is difficult to pinpoint my favorite. In terms of scenery, I would have to go with biking and camping at the Lost Coast and Big Sur the best.

There are two things I would pick as the top parts of the trip thus far: 1) meeting so many wonderful people and making new friends and 2) how everyday with the Tour de Dog is a new day filled with new experiences, challenges, and adventures. The lifestyle is extremely demanding, but it represents everything I want to be. I am sure to remember the Tour de Dog the rest of my life.

Megan enjoyed the pictures from the Lost Coast…especially the one taken with the wildflowers.
Thank you Megan! I have been fortunate to travel the California coast during April and May. This time of year is the best to see wildflowers. The Lost Coast has spectacular scenery, and the wildflowers are a big reason why.

The class: Why did the whale beach itself? How often does this happen on the California Coast?
This is a question that I have wondered myself. The Sperm whale was a young one. I would suggest the 21st Century Students do some research on Sperm whales and come up with their own ideas. Please let me know your conclusions. For assistance, I recommend contacting park rangers of the Lost Coast. The whale was beached at the Mattole River outlet.

Thank you again for your questions! Please continue to follow the Tour de Dog and let me know how I can maximize the experience for you.

Yours truly,
David and Chiva


zach said...

Sounds like things are warming up down in California. Liked the pictures. You and your brothers look like clones of eachother. Keep up the good work.


Virginia said...

I love your students' inquiries and your responses! :) You really are such an inspiration...and wonderful teacher too!

Anonymous said...

I'm in awe.... What a great adventure you are on & I wish you & Chiva, who is very beautiful, the very best!!!! Thank you for spreading the word!
Take care,

tiffany said...

I am sooo happy you are doing that project with the students! That is so incredible! So inspiring and I know you are making such a great impression on them :-)
You are so amazing! I love the family pic! Such a goodlooking family.. it was hard to spot you when they are all so goodlooking.. HA HA..
Im sorry I missed out on Phoenix, but I am really looking forward to seeing you very soon!
Please keep your phone calls coming and send Chiva my love!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave and Chiva, I went to visit Trisha (your old uh... I mean previous roommate} a couple of weekends ago, I really missed being greeted by Chiva and of course missed you to Dave. Trisha showed me your adventures, wow you are doing it!!! Her dad and I will be following along and we'll let our friends know too! Give Chiva a big hug and kiss. Be safe and we'll be with you in spirit. Trisha's mom, Tammy