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ED GROSS EMBARKING ON FOURTH LONG-DISTANCE RIDE

The first State of Jefferson Coast Chamber of Commerce membership meeting will be Sunday, Sept. 14, from 1 to 6 p.m. at 650 Mardon Court in Brookings.

The purpose of the meeting is to have a get-together to start organizing a State of Jefferson Coast Chamber of Commerce. Interested business owners and the public are invited to bring their own drinks, hot dogs, burgers or anything that can be prepared on the provided grills. Participants are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

Membership dues consist of one can of food per person to be donated to the food bank.

For information, call Don or Vikki Nuss at (541) 412-0244 or send e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ed Gross loves to travel the nation's countryside, but prefers the view from his Cannondale bicycle to an airplane or car seat.

"I love the soil, rocks, vegetation," Gross, a former soil scientist, said.

"Typically on a bike you can see it a little slower than if you were in a car."

Gross, 67, will embark Tuesday on his fourth long-distance bike ride in five years.

A friend will drop Gross off in the Utah-Nevada border town of Wendover, he said.

He then plans to bike south across Nevada, over the Sierra Nevada, then up California's coast back to his home along the Winchuck River.

Gross estimates the 1,200 to 1,300 mile trip will take 25 to 30 days.

His longest journey so far was also his first; in 1998 he logged 4,000 miles in an 80-day ride from El Paso, Texas to Minneapolis.

In 2000 he rode from Washington to Michigan, he said.

"I want to see the territory and a bike is a good means to do it," Gross said.

He camps wherever he can and only stays in motels when there is no alternative, he said.

The cost of even cheap motels adds up after a few nights, Gross said.

He said he likes staying at campsites, but has made camp at many less obvious spots.

He has camped in the sand hills of Nebraska, forests of Montana, behind a church in Kansas and beneath a Texas highway, sheltered by a concrete culvert.

"You sleep in just about any old place you can find," Gross said.

Being resourceful is key to having a successful trip, he said.

He carries a small gas camp stove and a small stainless steel cook set.

"I like to buy (food) on the road and keep it absolutely as simple as I can," Gross said.

He said he eats a lot of tuna and pasta, which provides a high amount of energy.

He can carry a little more than one day's supply of food at a time, he said.

He always carries at least three quarts of water, but in Nevada he plans to have an extra gallon on hand because of 80 to 90 mile stretches between water sources.

"Heat stroke is a biker's worst enemy," Gross said.

He is aware, but not wary. "It's really a matter of just learning how to manage things," he said. "You've got to have water, you've got to have food and you've got to have a place to sleep at night."

Gross said he started cycling seriously in 1990 after 20 years of running started taking its toll on his body.

He bikes an average of 300 to 400 miles in town every month, he said. When on a long-distance trip he averages about 50 miles each day.

"Basically the reason I bike is to stay in condition," he said. "I don't think it makes you live any longer but maybe it makes your days a little more pleasant."

He hopes on this trip the weather will be dry and he can maintain his 50 mile-per-day average.

"All my trips are great," he said. "There's always something that's over the next hill that's exciting. There's always a new view."

Gross tries to use secondary highways whenever possible to avoid the kind of traffic that can ruin an otherwise serene ride.

He said he loves "just having the wind and being able to hear that front wheel hum."

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