Bob Across America

Bob Mueller is unicycling from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon to raise money for the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.

And We’re Off!

Cold wind and dark clouds hung around the Portland Head Light as a small group gathered to observe the first step of Bob’s epic unicycle journey. Most were dressed for a mild mid-May, so there was much squinting and self-hugging against the unseasonable coolness. We gathered for pictures, handshaking, and hugs – and then Bob climbed onto his unicycle and sailed for the park exit, Laura following shortly after.

Bob across a parking lot.

While Laura and Bob navigated their way out of Portland with power and ease, I strolled around the park until it began to rain, and then headed for the mall. After a couple of hours, I got the call..

“Laura’s feet are cold,” Bob said. “Better start heading in our direction.”

I sprang into action. Two large cartons of takeout in tow, I sped west and found them, wet to the bone but still rolling. I pulled over and we loaded up their one- and two-wheeled machines and saturated thin sportswear. We headed to a handy travel station and stopped the car to dry out wet gear, eat lunch, and take a short nap.

A couple hours later, I tried to start the car to take them back to their stopping point – and realized that I’d left the lights on and drained the battery. Enter Jimmy, the first hero of our journey. With some borrowed jumper cables he restored life to the poor dead van, and we were on our way.

The heroic Jimmy.

Bob and Laura disappeared into the rain once more to ride another 30 miles. When I picked them up at a closed hardware store, they were once again soaked.

“We can dry out our clothes in restroom hand dryers,” Bob suggested, as a fresh wave of wet clothes blew into the van.

“Pretty brilliant. I would never have thought of it.”

“I have a lot of time to think on the road,” he admitted. This is the first day, I thought. He’ll have solutions to everything by the end of this.

Damp, chilly exhaustion overlaid excitement as we talked about what had happened that day. Bob had seen a scarlet tanager for the second time in his life, and they had spooked some deer. Laura had fallen off her bike sometime during the second push, to Bob’s amusement. We had all seen an establishment unfortunately named “Mediocre Deli” – sadly, no photographs exist to prove it.

We bedded down at 8:30 (earlier than even our childhood bedtimes), after receiving hospitality at a handy Dunkin Donuts, which also became our recharging base the next morning.

Riding a unicycle in the rain pro vs. con list coming soon.

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for more exciting news!

11 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Wow! I’m kind of jealous for all the adventures you’re going to stumble upon. But not jealous for all the hills you’ll be climbing…. Glad you got the van started. Lights off Annah 🙂
    I was proud to be able to see you off Tuesday morning at Portland Head Light. Rock on Bob, Laura, and Annah! I’m going to make my sizable donation to the RC soon, just waiting for my ship to come in 🙂

  2. Jim Leighton

     /  May 19, 2011

    I’m so proud of you all. Call me with technical, mechanical or electrical problems that I can help you with. I still have low friends in high places that can help along the way. My son lives in Virginia and a brother in law in Maryland and as a Sears retiree I have folks all over to help you. With your talent and resourcefulness I know you will conquer the trail. Good luck and you will be in our prayers and thoughts daily. Jim.

  3. Site looks great and I wasn’t going to go around town mentioning the dead battery on Day 1 but it makes for interesting reading!

    Our house is wayyyyyyy too quiet but I know that America, the Red Cross and the National Disaster Relief Fund need you more than I do right now! Rock and roll on!

  4. Toni Cavanaugh

     /  May 19, 2011

    I am amazed! I also was excited to be part of your send-off. Such fun to read your blog! You are all blessed and talented in many ways! Looking forward to tracking your progress! Maybe the web cam caught the deli with the unfortunate name or is that not up and going yet? Prayers for safety!

  5. I am intrigued and excited by this amazing Mueller adventure. Go, BOB! (and Laura and Annah!!!)

  6. George Mueller

     /  May 19, 2011

    Great success Bob! Hope you have a easier time pushing forward on your third day!

  7. Lesa

     /  May 19, 2011

    Looking forward to reading all about your adventures!! Know that our thoughts are with you as you three encounter adventures ahead!! The Beans think you guys are awesome for doing this!! I’m going to miss you Laura for my Monday afternoon coffee!! Stay safe, the boyz wish you guys well also!!

  8. Grandpa

     /  May 20, 2011

    Bob, Annah and Laura Prayers and Godspeed on your adventure. Can you make it to the Colorado area before we leave? 🙂



  10. Bob,
    As a uni rider (sort of, I have been on one but a half -dozen times in the past 30 years…now I’m afraid I’ll break a hip and my wife will put me in a low budget assisted living facility. Maybe I should say former?) I know the kind of effort it requires to turn that wheel to go up a hill and not crank it to go down a hill. A cool adventure for a great cause. We were hit down in NW Ga a few weeks back with some nasty tornados that caused a tremendous amount of damage and loss of life, but nothing compared to MO. I am glad your grandparents are okay. My best to your sisters. As they used to say back in the 60s, Keep On Truckin’!
    T. J. Brown
    Dalton, GA

  11. Vanette Hensley-Salyer

     /  May 25, 2011

    Bob, Laura & Annah,
    I am OVERWHELMED at your tenacity! Way to go!
    You probably don’t know me, but Bil and I are friends with your Grandma & Grandpa here in Poplar Bluff. They are keeping me up to date on everything. Gosh, I cannot believe you are doing this. I wish I knew more about computers because I really want to put you on my facebook but I am not up to date like you youngsters are.

    May God bless and keep you safe. Please know you are in our prayers.

    Your Mom and Dad sure raised some smart children.

    The death toll in Joplin now is up to 122 with 1500 more missing. They don’t know if some of the 1500 left Joplin or perhaps they may not have made it. Scary times.

    You all are going to be famous by the time you get back. Praise God for people like you.

  • 2014 Update

    Welcome to the online chronicle of Bob Mueller's 2011 unicycle journey from Portland, Maine to Cohasset Beach, Washington. The display order of the posts has since been reversed for your chronological reading pleasure. Thanks for browsing and enjoy!

    ~ Annah

  • Donations are accepted online through the link above, or by check payable to:

    The American Red Cross
    2401 Congress St.
    Portland, ME 04102

    Don't forget to reference Bob Across America! Thank you so much.

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