Retired teacher Jim Ostdick makes a stop in Oracoke, N.C., on his cross-country trip.

San Juan Bautista resident Jim Ostdick retired from his teaching job at San Benito High School and hit the streets—about 8,000 miles of them.
Ostdick, then 61, took his trusty bicycle, “The Dream Machine,” from Portland, Ore. to Portland, Maine and then kept going to see many of the nation’s other states between breaks at his sister’s home in Texas and his own place in sunny California. Almost two years after he set off on his adventure, the retiree published a 364-page book of letters called “Palomino and the Dream Machine: A Retired Dude’s Bicycle Tour Around the Lower Forty-Eight United States” logging his adventures.
Punctuated with a wry sense of humor, Ostdick tells the story of the trip he made solo across the nation.
“Nothing much happens here, which is the way I like it,” Ostdick wrote as he explained his quaint hometown to readers. “A few days in San Juan will make you relaxed, lazy, aimless and inexplicably sane, so don’t fight it. Why bother? After a few days, though, sorry, you will have to leave. Like every place else in California, we’re full.”
Each note is signed with the words “Peace, love” and a third word that changes depending on the entry and it includes everything from geography and ZZZs to Coca Cola. Yes, Coca Cola.
The reference to the soda comes at the end of an entry from rural Montana where Ostdick felt quite out of place among the ranchers and a young bartender who saw him in his Lycra biking gear and looked at him like he “might be some new kind of rattlesnake and she might have to whack him with a shovel.” Then, Ostdick discovered that everyone in the place held a can of Coca Cola, so he ordered the same and that broke the ice.
The book is now for sale in ebook version on for $3.99. The paper copy is on the way and will be $17.99.
“It started out as emails to my family and friends,” Ostdick said. “The email list grew and grew and grew until they said, ‘Why don’t you just put it into a blog?’ So I turned it into a blog and I turned the blog into a book.”
Ostdick admits most of the book is true, but maybe not quite everything. At least 99 percent of it is true, he said.
“I exaggerated a little bit but the stories really happened,” Ostdick said.
Among the best lessons he learned on the road were that people can be kind.
“Sounds corny but it gives you a good feeling about people,” he said. “It’s not as bad as the TV news makes it sound. People are good. Most people are good.”
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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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