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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  • 03/26/2023 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    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:

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    Intended Route:

    Check out my activity on Strava: 

  • 03/26/2023 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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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