Day 147

Ghost Bike

August 20th, 2010

More info


  1. John in MI says:

    Where? All I see is a seat.

    • John in MI says:

      Read the “More info” link before posting. These bikes are sad reminders (and I learn something every day.)

      • Lori says:

        Matt took this photo one block East of the tiny apartment my husband & I lived in as newlyweds 35 years ago, which means he walked by THAT historic site about 2 minutes later as he heads West through The Rose City.

  2. John F. in CA says:

    As Matt’s journey draws near to Rockaway Beach, OR, I’d like to add my two cents to the sentimental tone some of the posts are beginning to take. Today will likely mark a new milestone: 20,000 comments. Many will thank Matt, as we all should, for his role in bringing the Hobo Planet community together, but I want to thank another group. The commenters. If one takes a look at the comments posted elsewhere on the internet, whether they be on blogs, news stories, or even product reviews, it is easy to become quickly depressed by the mean, negative, nasty threads that develop. Although I’ve read less than 50% of the comments on I’m Just Walkin’ (and they appear to be unmoderated…perhaps Jason Eppink has deleted some?), I am awed by the civil, polite and friendly nature of those following Matt. Thank you, Hobo Planet !!

    • Jose in Chicago says:

      Amen to that!!!

      • Karen says:

        I agree – Those who have commented have become a community. Thanks for the memories.

        • Wouldn’t Matt love the thought that he brings out the best in us by Just Walkin’?

          • Michael in Atlanta says:

            Amen to all of that. This has been a place where I have known that it’s safe, and a place to have fun. I think it is part of the rite of passage into becoming part of the HoboNation/Planet (hobnat or hobplan, take your pick). From the beginning I was impressed with Matt’s plan, goal, approach, etc. I sent him an email and he answered it. I knew he was real, and I knew he was decent. And he attracted us all here. Thanks to all.

            • Jeff says:

              amen…and my comments are Michael’s comments. Unlike some I took a couple hits from a hater or two but Hobo Nation/Planet members came to bat for me…so I agree with all even in that we even protect one another. That goes along, long way. When it is over…we should take this peace, the smiles, the laughter and share it/pass it on to others. The world is a mallable place…I thank Jason for not putting a delete button on here….for it all remains intact. When matt is done, soaking his feet…he can have a good read.

              • Craig.. (Yeah in NC!) says:

                I second that Amen, and raise you one!
                ….I LIKE IT.

    • Ruthie in CA says:

      Thanks John, I have never posted on any blog until now and I have only posted on this one because of the very lovely and kind people who post on this site. Thank you to all of the Hobo Planet for the civility and informative comments. Proud to be included in the Hobo Planet.

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        Ruthie, This is the ONLY blog, I’ve ever been caught up in. I’ve seen a few, read a few snatches of other blogs, here & there, but this is the ONLY one I’ve ever gotten hooked on.

        I admire greatly Matt’s courage, fortitude and SISU.

        I won’t be totally sad when it ends, because I will know that Matt has met his goal.

        I will most certainly will be perusing the comments for a long time after his trek ends.

        I wonder if the comments will be “STOPPED” or allowed to continue? If not STOPPED, I’ll be reading this blog forever then.

        I am so happy for Matt and for anyone else who takes a chance on doing something they really WANT to do and has the MOXIE to get it done.

        Thank you Matt – for sharing your journey and for perhaps inspiring other to do the same.

        Best Wishes to ALL, Candice in Alabama

    • Gentle Giant says:

      Yes AMEN to thank. A really Super Group. I wish I could be there in Rockaway Beach OR when arrives but unable to be there. I think alot of use at least me wish we could have gone along the with Matt. Yes Thank You Matt and the Hobo Planet!!

      • Gentle Giant says:

        Sorry been up all night working and just tired and missed alot of words today . Anyway this is a Super Group and Matt is great for letting use all go along with him on this group.

    • Gigi says:

      I’ve been following Matt’s blog since it came out on Yahoo but didn’t post comments until a week or two later. I went over the site starting at the beginning and thoroughly enjoyed Matt’s pics and the comments. I really liked it that Matt was able to comment/answer on some of the earlier posts. Love the camaraderie here and I thank Matt for bringing us together.

      On a side note, I notice on my posts wherein I put 2 or more links, I have to wait for a couple of minutes for it to be posted as there is a note that pops up saying my post is being checked. So I guess the comments here are sort of moderated especially the links we provide.

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        I’ve had the same experience, Gigi, when submitting more than 1 link. I assume Jason is making sure it’s appropriate links and not some spammer.

    • young says:

      Well big kudos to you too John F. for reading nearing 10000 comments! That’s no small feat in itself.

    • Ashley in MD says:

      Well said, and I fully agree. Some of the comments on MSNBC are just cruel and it is depressing to read those mean words, so after I read some daily news, I come here for my daily cheer up. Thank you Matt and all of Hobo nation/planet for the memories.

    • Anna One in CA says:

      Great observation, John. Aaawwww, I’m gonna miss you guys…

    • MN Roxanne says:

      I agree…. I love everyone’s humor and take on things… makes me LOL

    • April from CA says:

      Thanks John! My thoughts exactly!

    • Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

      Yes I know Jason has deleted a few along the way but most of it has been civilized mature comments along with all the fun and humor one could want. I love it here and I, like you John F. in CA, can’t stand all the negative on other places of comments. Everyone here has become like family. And like Jeff stated we have each others back. Some of the “negative” things said along the way(and there are only a handful if that) were best ignored. The less attention they got the quicker they went away. But all in all this is the most positive uplifting up beat up spirited group of people. Full of life, loving life and all the beauty in it. Glad you posted here with us and have been following along in the sidelines. We are just a big bunch of Matt addicts who love a good walk in the park and the pics to prove it! lol.

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        I like that Dorinda = “Matt addict”. We are all perhaps going to be in withdrawal, soon. I’m sure there will be more of Matt to follow, though, when he gets back to his normal life (although, I wonder if he will have a normal life after this).

  3. LaraPenny, CA says:

    Yes, John – I’ve commented before about how great Matts fans are – so supportive and loving!
    I’ve learned quite a bit from visiting Matts site every day – here’s another post with info I would have never gained knowlege of and I’m appreciative!

  4. EDL in MN says:

    Let’s hope that people see these and think about it when seeing bicyclists on the road. I seen too many occassions where cars will almost intentionally hit a rider. Scary!

    • I have a son who USE to ride bikes long distances. Freaked me out because he would come home and tell me some pretty scary stories. Now I give bicyclists wide berth, try hard to not scare them…respect them. Etc. That ghost bicycle is something I knew nothing about….a somber thoughtful photo.

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        Karin, I have always tried to give bicyclists/walkers a wide berth. It’s hard sometimes when there is oncoming traffic. If I can’t give them a wide berth, I at least slow down and try to creep by them, or wait for that WIDE BERTH chance, to occur.

        This GHOST BIKE is a sad reminder to us all, to watch out for all who share the roadway with us automobile drivers.

    • Dee in Alaska says:

      We have a recent white bike in our town due to someone running a red light and killed a 14 year old girl. Sad in the extreme. : ( Don’t run red lights!

  5. Dennis in So Cal says:

    Well said John. Matt and his Hobo Nation are a sunny place in what can be a dark internet. Thank you to all for making my day a bit brighter. I’m going to miss you all when our journey comes to an end.

  6. Michael in Atlanta says:

    Very sobering, this pic. I’m sure glad for Matt’s safety all the way accross this great country and I appreciate that he took the time to point out the dangers for bikers here. Share the road!

  7. Flavia says:

    I agree, this is one of the few sites that I look forward to coming to everyday and seeing Matt’s pictures and funny captions, along with everyone’s posts. I am glad to have been able to share this experience with all of you!!! hope to see everyone on the Facebook page!

  8. Linda says:

    I have to say I’ve enjoyed coming here and following Matt on his journey. We all hear, on the news, how dangerous it can be out there, all the crime and nasty stuff that can happen. And I’m sure Matt’s parents have worried from time to time as he trekked across country. BUT coming here and reading about his encounters just warmed my heart. So many people opened their doors and hearts to this stranger that appeared in town. Gave him shelter, food and money to help him on his way. It just reminds me of the kindness that are still in people’s hearts. And I have to thank Matt for reminding us of that.

    I am wondering if Matt will write a book about his journey, I know it would be a best seller if he did (just judging by how many people have come here to follow Hobo Matt and became part of this hobo nation. )

    Thank you MATT! safe trip (I wonder how he plans to get home. And I bet he’ll miss his time on the road)

  9. Jeff says:

    So do you all think that Matt will eventualy run (oops I mean walk) for President?

  10. deb says:

    I was about to say something flippant about the ghost bike until I noticed the “more information” link. What a fascinating and poignant memorial. And I never would’ve heard of such a thing if Matt wasn’t out their walking and sharing the journey with us. Thanks Matt.

    I didn’t hear of Matt’s walk until he was in Illinois (*wail!* I missed my own state of Indiana!) but I was immediately hooked and eagerly joined the hobo nation. Thanks to Matt for his generous postings and to all of YOU for the funny/touching/clever comments along the way!

  11. Dee in Alaska says:

    This reminds me of wonderful book “Miles from Nowhere” by Barbara Savage with a very sad outcome. After hearing this book on “Radio Reader” you feel like you know them, just like we do with Matt. “This is the delightful and often humorous story of an around-the-world bicycle trip taken by two young people, Barbara and Larry Savage. It took them two years and 25 countries. Along the way, these neophyte cyclists encountered warm-hearted strangers, bicycle-hating drivers, rock-throwing Egyptians, over-protective Thai policemen, and great personal joys. They returned to a new life in Santa Barbara, one Barbara never lived to savor. She was killed in a street accident, Barbara and her bicycle vs. a truck. We are lucky to have this memoir, throughout which her vitality, warmth and compassion glow. Slightly edited for radio presentation.”

    • Dee in Alaska says:

      I,too, have really appreciated the tone of all the comments and the kindness of people along the way. A refreshing change from the way people feel about everyday happenings. I am going to miss this site when the walk is over. Almost everyone who under takes something like this does it to raise money for a cause. Matt is doing just “cause” he wants too!!

  12. 1sun goddess says:

    Life is a education…..teaches who to be & who not be. Thanks Matt!

  13. MN Roxanne says:

    “See” bikers of all kinds…. so sad for the crash and loss of life…. glad Matt’s journey has been safe and uneventful…

  14. Barb V from Michigan says:

    I was wondering about the bent front wheel, then I clicked for “more info.” Enough said. {{{{hugs}}}} tears.

  15. NY Scott says:

    I , like alot of people I suppose , have been following Matt’s trip here but haven’t commented until now. I look forward to visiting the site every couple of days to live vicariously through Matt. Matt is doing what alot (most?) of us would love to do but because of life’s responsibilities , we can’t. I have been fascinated by the beauty and assortment of the scenery this country offers. I have learned many things that I not only didn’t know but hadn’t even thought about. Every section of this nation is unique and has it’s own local traditions and items of “local pride”. By learning about and seeing some of these I can’t help but feel we are all closer. Everyday we are bombarded by news and events that , over time, make us cynical. Taxes , politicians , crime etc make our impressions of the world around us glum. By following this site we can see that there are many many fine people who offer help and open their arms for others (even strangers). I believe we are all better because of this. Matt – you have my respect , thanks and maybe most of all —my envy.

  16. lurker says:

    i plan on being in one of the final photos he takes when he arrives. see if you can spot me.

  17. Don in Tennessee says:

    I too almost started to post before seeing the “more info” caption. Glad I did not but early on I did and I sometimes wish I had before posting. I think the white bicycles are good to remind people to watch out just like the meth billboards we have seen to remind people how dangerous and fragile life can be.

    I was a runner for 30+ years and runners are not anymore respected than bicyclists are by some motorists. I had a friend I was running with in the late 70’s who had a diaper thrown at him from a car! He tried to tell me it was his running shoes that smelled-but I was not buying that! I had to have a defibrillator inplanted 5 years ago and I take beta blockers. That combined with worn knee cartilage has me now walking daily. The running saved my life as I passed out after running one day and spent 4 days in the hospital. The cardiologist told me my running saved my life because I had blockage but the blockage had rerouted itself just like bypass surgery!

    I joined the blog when I saw it on my internet provider page. When I went to the site and saw how much preparation and planning Matt put into his trek, I knew he would make it and that it was going to be exciting and informative to follow him.

    As most of you know I have been unemployed for 13 months after 36 years in banking. A few times I admit I have let my emotions show on here when I shouldn’t. I can honsetly say this blog and the people on it have been a blessing to me and I know that people from everywhere have caring hearts. Matt should be encouragement to us all, because of what he is about to accomplish and the fact that he has brought us all together. I feel I know many of you even though we have not formally met.
    I wish the best to each and every member of the HOBO PLANET and I hope Matt continues to be safe, continues to meet the same warm and kind hearted people and continues to follow his dreams!

    Matt has brought a lot of sunnshine to us all – I can’t resist –

    Peace and Love

  18. Barb V from Michigan says:

    {{{{{GROUP HUG!}}}}}

  19. Chad Mitchem says:

    Hello to Matt and to all of Hobo Nation! I have been a faithful follower of Matt’s journey since he was somewhere around Chicago. As also stated by many people of the “Nation”, I so look forward each day to see what is around the “next bend” for Matt. As I have not been one to comment, I couldn’t go any longer after reading the sentiments given today. I too have been amazed at the positive and caring atmosphere of what has become the Hobo Nation. It is in stark contrast from what can often be read in comment strings in the daily media which is so sad. Thanks to all of you out there who have made this such an unforgettable experience for me and thanks to the many people on the route who have personally made this journey unforgettable for Matt. “See” you all at Rockaway Beach!

  20. Tna says:

    The ghost bike is sad. I often wish the world would run out of gas faster so it would be safer to do what is natural for all of us….walk. (and since the invention of the wheel self propelled riding) I am glad that more and more trails to walk and ride are popping up across the country so those of us who can’t resist the urge to get outside are a little bit safer.

    Oh and the folk here are cool.

  21. Barb C. says:

    I think that every rules of the road book in each state should have these rules in them;
    1. Always give bikers/bicyclers and walkers a wide berth==if not possible SLOW down. They are not protected by a engine/hood, trunk, doors,etc.
    2. Always be courteous to semi’s==after all “They” are bigger than you are and cannot stop on a dime.

  22. Doug in Oregon says:

    I too was hooked the day I found Matt’s site. I have not posted a lot but you will probably sense I love living in Oregon. Born and raised the Klamath Falls area. Another absolutely beautiful part of the state. Have lived in the greater Portland area for the last 40+. However I want to point out that our whole country is beautiful. Yes there are some not so desirable places but we still live in the most wonderful country in the world. I want to add my thanks to Matt for letting us “travel” with him vicariouly. I would really enjoy being in Rockaway when he gets there but just can’t. I have been there many times and can assure those of you who haven’t that he will end on a good note. Also I echo those who have talked about the civil posts here. You all are very gracious people and I have enjoyed reading all your comments.

  23. Janette says:

    I think most people are good. We hear so many sad stories of the meanness in a few, albeit, a good number, but I think the good outnumber the bad. Matt is such a nice guy, you could hardly be rude, mean or disrespectful to him.

  24. Roe says:

    Think somebody should try and give the Ghost Bikes link to the Canadian riding around the world…

  25. Melody in Oklahoma says:

    We had two men killed while bike riding on the same morning here in Oklahoma City a few weeks ago. One of them was killed on the road I take to work. There is a white bike there in his memory. The district attorney thinks it was done on purpose (it was a hit-and-run at 5:30 a.m.). The have signs all over the area with a bike on it and a phone number to call if you know anything. I hope they catch them. So sad.

    • Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

      Oh my gosh. I hope they do get caught if it’s true someone did it deliberately. That’s just sick to me to take you’re anger/vengeance out on an innocent person. Just so sad.

  26. Karen Too says:

    I’ve said this at least once, maybe more, since posting here.

    It was Matt’s story that brought me here, and pulled me in. It was, however, the people commenting on here that got me to join into the fun of commenting, too, and I’m so glad that I took that next step.

    This is the first, and only blog (so far), where I have participated on this level, and it has been, is, a wonderful experience.

    Many thanks to all those who made this possible.

    (Wow; I’ve read every comment on here, too, along the way. I can’t believe it’s up to 20,000 now!)

    • MT Walt says:

      This is also my first and only blog where I have posted. So Thanks Matt and wishing you the best in your next Journey. WOW there has been alot of great Picture’s and everyone has been so nice to Matt in this day and age that is so hard to fine but this group is very Special. Oh Thanks Barb V for the Hug I needed that today.

  27. Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

    At first when I saw this photo I thought it was a joke/prank pulled on someone who had their bike chained to the post. I was like “oh no, they are gonna be mad when they see what someone did to their bike!”. Then I clicked the link and found out different.

    As to all the warm fuzzies coming our way today to each other I too have had the time of my life writing and reading on here. I really love coming on here all the time and bantering back and forth with ya’ll. It’s become like an addiction for me! lol. I guess I’ll have to resort to eating more chocolate to fill the hole that will be in my heart and gut from not being able to talk to everybody each day. LOL! Then I will need to walk across country to lose all the weight gained.! But really, it may sound corny to some but I just feel like saying this “I love you man!” I love all of you for allowing me to be myself on here and not judge me and send me packing. This has been so much fun and I’ve gotten to see the country better than reading about it in a book. But this book, if Matt does one, will be better as I’ve already experienced so much of it and have enjoyed it so. And all the links people have given to history lessons, geography and so so much more have helped me to know more. I hate to see it end as well but will have it to live on in my heart. Like Matt’s sign reads “We may never meet again”. Love you all. : ) and hugs.

    • MT Walt says:

      It would be so neat for all of use to meet Matt sometime down the road as some of use are unable to make it to OR at the end of Matt’s Journey. Lets have a Hobo Party.

  28. Saun in Ohio says:

    Like Karen, It was Matt’s story that brought me here. I’ve been following Matt’s journey since Illinois and haven’t missed a day since. Today I learned something once again. Thanks Matt :)

  29. phyllis from mississippi says:

    it has been a wonderful journey. i for one wish matt could just keep walkin’ so that I could continue to live vicariously through him. thanks matt for the great idea. thanks also to you “mom and dad” for posting all these pics for him. this so far has been one really fun journey. i had worried earlier that some of the “mean” we hear about every day in the news would befall him. it has been great to see warm and caring people all along the route.thanks to all

  30. GreenMtBob says:

    It’s been great watching Matt’s progress and reading the wonderful comments. I never commented until 07Aug but the response has been uplifting. I read that one could go between each state capitol without using the same road twice. I “google – walk” using the list. It’s about 13,000 miles and would take between 10 to 18 months. My dreams about this seemed eerily similar to Matt’s adventure. If I can’t find work soon ….. I might just have to investigate further.

  31. deanna valenti meyer says:

    First, the Ghost Bike is something I’ve never seen before…and I’ve traveled a lot around Portland. Since moving to Vancouver, WA, I have become VERY aware of bikers, runners, walkers, etc. because we have a LOT of them around. When I lived in SoCal, there just weren’t as many on the roads, so it wasn’t in the front of my mind. Now, I am sure to give them the space they need.

    Second, I’ve been here since day 12…and have truly enjoyed this “ride”. Like many others, I came here interested in Matt and his journey…then enjoying the “icing on the cake” with the comments from all of you. While i was on vacation this past week, I shared with my friends the story about Matt…they teased me…but I didn’t care. There is so much great stuff on this blog, and I feel blessed to be a part of it with all of you…what was once a tiny Hobo Nation…that grew to a Hobo Planet…

    I’m going to do my darndest to be there in Rockaway to celebrate with Matt. He deserves all of the kudos for this great journey of his. Thanks for the wonderful experience….

    • Don in Tennessee says:


      I hope you are able to make it to Rockaway Beach to see and greet Matt. If you do, please give best regards to Matt from Don in TN.

  32. Laura in TX says:

    Like many of you I have followed for months and just started posting a couple of days ago. I felt it in my heart that I needed to say thank you to everybody and especially Matt for bringing us together through his journey. I have never posted in any other blogs due to me not liking what was being said. This one is different. This is a family teaching each other with Matt at the head of the class. Everyone is so down to earth, loving and caring for one another. I hope some how some way we can all meet again. This has been a great trip for everyone.

    I also want to thank Matt’s parents for allowing him to do this and giving us the opportunity to travel with him. I’m aware he is a grown man but mom and dad still have a say…so…THANK YOU

  33. charlie says:

    OMG! sixty-three comments?!?! I’m exhausted.

  34. Lori says:

    Two thoughts:

    1. Ghost bikes – I haven’t seen these around N. Florida./S. Georgia. What a beautifully visual way to memorialize a loved one and remind people of traffic dangers. The bike image affects me much more than cross memorials.

    2. The Hobo Nation – I love this site and don’t want it to end! Matt has shown me so much of the U.S. that I have not been able to personally visit. His and other’s comments have been fresh, creative, funny, insightful, amusing, supportive (I could go on and on). How else would I have learned about ghost bikes, palimpsests, the Wells Fargo Wagon song, and all those other awesome things you all shared?

    Matt, if you (and your team) lead this Hobo Nation forward to new adventures, please post a notice of it here because I want to be a part of it!

  35. Candice in Alabama says:

    How sad. Just checked out the “more info” link. I’ve got to back up and read all the comments, now.

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