BICYCLE COAST TO COAST ACROSS AMERICA
September 18, 2014
Part 13: Discovering where the Teddy Bear originated
“While bicycle adventure-touring turns from days into weeks and weeks into into months, you turn a corner in your mind, your heart and your spirit. You tap into a wellspring of eternal emotional bliss. You push two pedals that give your body renewed energy with every stroke. You see things differently while gaining whole new perspectives. You transform from one person into a whole new individual everyday. Ironically, no psychologist can figure it out. But you know! The energy of the universe charges through every cell in your body to create pure magic.” —Frosty Wooldridge
Route 40 runs high and low over the semi-arid Utah desert. A line of sedimentary mountains fences the highway providing geological marvels that keep your eyes interested the entire ride.
(These big guys roamed Utah and Colorado millions of years ago.)
The rush of Nature opens to you in little ways, different ways and interesting ways. A hawk may catch your attention as it flutters over an intended pray. A jackrabbit hops across the road. A songbird entertains you from a nearby fence post. A coyote howls from a distant hill. An endless parade of Mother Nature’s wonders appears before you.
From that “parade”, you gain a spiritual peacefulness within your soul. Sometimes, you might find yourself pedaling down the road with a song erupting from your lips. “Zippidy do dah, zippidy aaa, my oh my, what a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine coming my way, zipiddy do dah, zipiddy aaa…oh Mr. Blue Bird is on my shoulder, it’s a fact, it’s actual, everything is satisfactual….” (Or, your favorite song.)
We pedaled our way in Roosevelt, Utah. It proved a simple town of less than 10,000 stuck out in the middle of nowhere. However, you never know what might lead you to new discoveries.
We stopped at the Frontier Bar and Grill with a picture of President Teddy Roosevelt over the fireplace from 1902.
(President Teddy Roosevelt, one of the most popular U.S. presidents, also featured on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.)
Ironically, and I never knew this factoid; above the mantle next to Roosevelt’s painting, an 8”X10” framed note said, “In 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt visited Mississippi to participate in a bear hunt. The good citizens of that state wanted to make sure that he bagged a bear, so they chained a young bear to a tree while the guides maneuvered Roosevelt to the vicinity of the bear. The president immediately noticed something wrong because the bear behaved abnormally. Upon closer inspection, Roosevelt saw the chains and demanded an explanation.
“After they gave him their reasons for chaining the bear, the president said it would not be sporting of him to shoot a chained bear. He let the bear go. From that point, the local media ran the story about the president saving the bear. It became known as “Teddy’s bear.” An enterprising man started making “Teddy Bears” for little girls. The bear caught on and today, endless millions of Teddy Bears lay in cribs, kids rooms and homes around the world.”
“I’ll be darned,” I said. “I never knew anything about that story.”
“Pretty neat,” said Wayne.
(This is a discarded Teddy Bear we found along Route 40 heading into Roosevelt.)
We passed several more towns on our way into Vernal, Utah, the land of dinosaurs. We visited the museum. More fun than you can imagine as you watch those 50-ton monsters prey upon anything and everything that carried a heart beat.
(No one would like to get in the middle of a fight with these two guys.)
Nearby, you may visit Dinosaur National Monument where you see how the dinosaurs died in mud banks that preserved their bones.
Visit the Quarry Exhibit Hall, located over the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry. The Quarry Exhibit Hall allows visitors to view the wall of approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones in a refurbished, comfortable space. You can gaze upon the remains of numerous different species of dinosaurs including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodicus, and Stegosaurus along with several others. Exhibits, including an 80-foot long mural, reveal the story of these animals and many others that lived in the Morrison environment during the late Jurassic. You may touch real 149 million year old dinosaur fossils.
(Vernal, Utah features a great museum and tons of flowers.)
“Can’t imagine how such creatures grew to such size,” said Howard. “As I pedal through all this sedimentary rock, I see from the geological records that this area saw 29 incursions of the oceans and 29 recessions in the last five million years. That’s a lot of upheaval and a lot of living and dying of different species.”
“Yeah,” said Wayne. “And, we are part of the grand march of time. Just glad to get a chance to see it on our bicycles.”
“Let’s head east toward Colorado,” I said. “Seems like we can find a campsite where dinosaurs once stopped for a rest themselves.”
“Let’s git ‘er done,” said Howard, sticking his foot into the straps and shoving off. “This has been a heck of a day.”
“The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” — Christopher McCandless
(Watching an everchanging sky at sunset while sitting around a campfire after a great day of pedaling. Life well lived and an evening of magic.)
© 2014 Frosty Wooldridge - All Rights Reserved
Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His published books include: "HANDBOOK FOR TOURING BICYCLISTS"; “STRIKE THREE! TAKE YOUR BASE”; “IMMIGRATION’S UNARMED INVASION: DEADLY CONSEQUENCES”; “MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE TO ALASKA: INTO THE WIND—A TEEN NOVEL”; “BICYCLING AROUND THE WORLD: TIRE TRACKS FOR YOUR IMAGINATION”; “AN EXTREME ENCOUNTER: ANTARCTICA.” His next book: “TILTING THE STATUE OF LIBERTY INTO A SWAMP.” He lives in Denver, Colorado.
His latest book. ‘IMMIGRATION’S UNARMED INVASION—DEADLY CONSEQUENCES.’