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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tiny Towns

I live in the Los Angeles California area. The population is approximately 4 million people.

Almost immediately, I was struck by the population size of the towns we we traveled through. Towns where the population is less than the altitude of the town. Towns were everyone really does know each other and each others business.

In one town, more like a collection of a handful of buildings, we were in a store looking at a wall calendar. We commented on that the calendar was too large to take with us on the bikes. The store keeper mentioned that across the street we could get post card versions of the pictures. We then apologized that we would then buy the post card versions from across the street. The store keeper said that it was ok, because her mother ran the store across the street.

In Townsend Montana the walls were covered with photos of the graduating students. Some graduating classes were 6 or 7 each year, some years as large as 12.  I bet that each of those students received individual attention!

Aston Idaho was a larger school but you could see the same couple of family names popping up year after year reaching back to the 30's. What is it like to grow up in a community that almost everyone in town is an uncle, aunt or cousin?

Long as I'm thinking about small towns and schools, for the majority of towns I was blown away by the quality of the education facilities and the libraries. In California, many of our schools are tired. To expand the class rooms, the schools are dragging trailers on to the former school yards as class rooms.

The schools in these small towns, for the most part were modern buildings with very nice physical education facilities.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

post ride follow up stories, Oh my aching butt#*&^%$#!!!

After a couple of continuous days on the bike certain parts of your body starts to complain. Even parts of your body that during training didn't offer any issues at all.

For me, and many other riders, the ride into Spokane WA was very painful on the rump. The ride into Spokane was the fourth day of the ride and the second high mileage day, more than 95 miles. My bike seat that has served me well since 2005 became very uncomfortable to ride on. I just had to get some relief or the rest of the ride was not going to be any fun at all. 

I located The a nearby REI and found a padded seat cover. It's the silliest cover that I have ever seen, but it looked soft and crushingly and at that point I didn't really care what it looked like.

The funny seat cover worked just fine. I rode on it for the rest of the trip. Over the next couple of days I noticed that several other bikes began to sport cushy seat covers as well.

Now the question becomes, Do I remove it or leave it on?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 19, Gillette - Devils Tower, WY

I joined this ride for three wonderful weeks of riding, over 1,500 miles. Today's ride is the last day of my 2010 adventure. I'll have some further posts on this great trip.

Today was a pretty short day, just a bit over 70 miles. Well when the ride is fairly flat and you have all day to do it, 70 miles is pretty short. No reason to rush the ride and maybe linger at the stops and take a lot of photos because you'll get to the end of the ride soon enough.

The ride left Gillette and lead us out into the countryside along some very quiet roads. The route eventually wound back to track parallel with the interstate and the railroad. The trains carry coal in this part of the country. Long long trains, must be more than a mile long. You can't see both the front of the train and the end of the train at the same time. One of the train, I counted 120 coal cars, 3 engines pulling and one pushing. Though I didn't see them, I understand that there are huge open pit mines in the area.

Our lunch stop was in the town of Moorecraft (pop 807). We arrived minutes before a parade started along the main street and right past our picnic stop. according to the website:

Moorcroft celebrates its heritage every year at the Moorcroft Jubilee held the second Saturday in July. The Moorcroft Jubilee is a fun-filled day of a Chuck Wagon Breakfast, Parade, Free Bar-b-que, Rodeo Playday, and a Street Dance

As I said earlier, today was a day to linger, we stayed and enjoyed the entire parade. It was lots of fun.

As the ride progressed, we spotted an osprey nest, Since the beginning of the trip, we have spotted them frequently. As you can see from the photos, they are hard to miss. Often you can hear the chicks calling to their parents who are always nearby.

We often encounter bike riders, not with our group, who are also riding coast to coast self supported, meaning that they are carrying everything on their bike. Today we met a couple towing everything behind their bike on trailers. Looks like a lot of work to me, I wish them well and tailwinds.

We had the chance to stop at a general store, in Carlile. I'm not sure where the rest of the town was, but the store was the only structure for miles.  We lingered for a while drinking chilled Starbucks drinks. Fire had sweep the area 6 years ago and the burnt tree trunks were still evident, like tall toothpicks stuck into the soil.

Onward to Devil's Tower, not a lot more miles to go, but there was one more stop, this time for ice cream. Before turning into the National Monument, a saloon called "Crook County Saloon" was spotted. There was a large number of us that swamped the place ordering shakes, malts and cones.  We were trying to stretch out the day and in no hurry to push on.

Finally we headed on to the Tower. We were camping at a KOA Kampground complete with wireless access, very nice to catch up with our blogs.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 18, Buffalo to Gillette

Today was the interstate day, after a breakfast at the same restaurant in downtown Buffalo we headed out. We took our time. It was going to be a fast day on the interstate to Gillette, about 71 miles. Take a look at the photos, one is all the bikes in front of the restaurant before breakfast followed by the bikes that remained as we were leaving. With 71 flat miles in front of us and all day to do it, why rush?

Within a couple of miles from the start, we were on the interstate heading almost directly East, with a tail wind mostly woooo-hoooo.

Riding the interstate has it's good points and bad points. The best part of riding the interstate is the wide, well maintained shoulder. We've been riding on some pretty chopped up roads on this trip and the shoulder was smooth and wide enough for riders to ride side by side. We were also lucky that the traffic was very light. Of the traffic that was on the interstate, many of the drivers took the left hand lane staying a lane away from us. All in all a very nice arrangement. The issue with the interstate is the remains of blown out truck tires. While driving I don't normally notice it, but when truck tires blow the chucks of rubber and the steel belts get swept on to the shoulder. The steel belts consist of tiny, almost invisible wires that quickly puncture our thin bike tires. The tires remains are called "road snakes". Before replacing the tubes, sometimes it takes a while to locate the tiny wire and remove it from the tire before we can get going again. As we were riding, the warning of "snakes" was shouted often today.

Jim got caught by one of these snakes this morning. As the tire was being repaired, we had time to take photos of a oil well that was being drilled near by, right off the interstate.

Lunch was off the interstate and as we passed under the overpass, I spotted bird nests attached to the bottom of the overpass. They were made of dried mud. I wonder how they make the nests. On either side of the overpass, the birds were making low passing dives, perhaps catching insects.

As I said earlier, we had a nice tail wind most of the day and the climbs were pretty gentle most of the day so we made really good time getting in by 2PM. I did not get away cleanly from the snakes. About 4 miles from the end of the ride, I noticed that my front tire was getting kinda soft and pretty soon I needed to stop. With the end only a couple of miles to go, I pumped it up again and proceeded on. Fortunately the leak was slow and I make it to the end before needing to pump it up again.

After setting up our tents and showering we had enough time to shop for a new computer at Walmart. Philippe had decided that to keep his blog up to date that he needed his own computer and not rely on library computers. Being the resident computer geek, I was happy to lend any advice that I could give him. The four of us, Jim, Lauri, Philippe and me cycled to the Walmart and select a note book computer.

Over a nearby bar, we powered up the computer and configured it. After dinner Philippe and me headed to a Starbucks to get on-line and download some additional programs and to practice how to access the wireless access points. On the way back to the school, we stopped at Walmart one more time to pick up a wireless mouse and computer cover for the new netbook. You should check out Philippes blog (, I enjoy reading his insights.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 17, Worland - Buffalo

Powder River Pass, the most challenging day so far. The distance was going to be long and the most feet climbed in a single day, over 8000 feet.

We started off a bit earlier than usual. It was chilly, but not as cool as in the past couple of days. Within a 10 miles or so, we had to stop to take off the outer layers. At 25 miles we rolled into a great stop called 10 sleep. The small village had a couple of coffee shops, we pulled into the first one, 2nd street Cafe and Bakery.  We sipped our coffee and pastries for a bit over 30 minutes before hitting the climb that would take us over the pass.

I hope that the photos capture a fraction of the beauty of the landscape. Like yesterday, the canyons that we ascended were carved by glaciers long time ago allowing us to view the layers of sediment that had been laid down millions and even billions of years ago!!

After several water stops and I finally reached the launch stop at about 1PM. Then I departed lunch with Lauri and Jim for the final assault of the pass, two long hours later we reached the top of the pass. Jim's bike had been giving him problems all day and couldn't make the final drop into Buffalo.

Well we thought it was a drop into Buffalo with a single 1.7 mile climb, as per the route directions. It turned out to be 7 significant climbs remaining, even as we were dropping in attitude toward Buffalo.

We finally dragged ourselves into Buffalo at almost 6PM.  We quickly put up the tents, showered and took the shuttle into town for a pasta, pizza and calzone dinner. We then headed off the to the Occidental Hotel for a bluegrass jam. The place was packed!!

Pretty soon it was time to head back to the high school to call it a day.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 16 Riverton to Worland

What a difference a day makes! It was cool at the start but the ski was blue and clear. We warmed up quickly and needed to stop pretty quickly to take off our jackets and such. Then it was on to the first stop of the day, a cafe about 22 miles from the start. They had great cinnamon buns.

The ride today was spectacular. You could see the mountains where we were heading for miles. We even had a slight tailwind sometimes. As we approached the a opening in the mountains appeared and we slipped through between huge stone walls. The mountains were at one time the floor of a sea and since up lifted then glaciers cut their way though leaving exposed layers of sediment, the oldest being over 650 Million years! I just couldn't stop taking pictures. As you can see from the photos, there were some tunnels that we even biked through.

Lunch was at the Wedding of the Waters where to rivers combine to form the Big Horn. I was a wonderful spot to enjoy the views.

We departed and quickly ran into an espresso coffee stand. We all had coffee, the shot off to see the dinosaur center. It was easy to find, just follow the painted dinosaur tracks on the road. I should have taken more pictures of the center, but it was a great stop.

Next up was the hot spring of Thermopolis. We could have stopped and soaked in the hot springs, but needed to get going. By the time we rolled into town, many riders hailed us from the patio of a cantina. It was obvious from the number of beer bottles on the table, that they had been there for a while. We decided to join them for a beer or so.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 15, Debois to Riverton

This morning it was very cool, damp and overcast as we headed out from the Middle School to the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast conversation centered around the topic that the wind was not going in our direction but against our direction, in our faces most of the day. With 80 miles to travel, it was not going to be fun today.

We hit the road with one destination in mind. At the 30 mile mark was a single gas station. Hot coffee was the treasure. Most everyone was under dressed for for the ride. I had my cycling tights on with a cycling jersey and yellow riding jacket with full gloves, but should have had something warmer. The hills would warm me up and the descends would cool me down. When we got to the Exxon station, there were several other riders there as well, emptying the coffee pot and grabbing snacks. It was so nice to get warm. We must have been there for over 1/2 hour.

When we got back on the road the skies started to spit at us. Had the sag wagon come along at that time, I would have waved them down and gotten a ride to Riverton. That did not occur and eleven miles later we were at the picnic stop. We ate the warm soup on stone picnic benches and did our best to warm up.

Leaving lunch we picked up one more rider for our pace line, Philipee. With five in the line, each rider would only need to take the lead twice every 10 miles. With forty miles to the end we headed out.

Our next destination was another gas station at about 82 miles. The cold miles ticked by one by one. We piled into the gas station when we found it and may have stayed longer than we needed to, but it felt good to be warm and it was our first chance in several days to read the newspaper.

We only had 20 miles to go as we left the gas station. I have a 10 mile commute to work normally, so I placed myself in the mind frame that I all needed to do was ride to work then back again.

We arrived in Riverton about 2:45 and I dashed off to the nearby public library to upload yesterday's blog entry and to complete todays. Now it's back to the school to shower up before dinner at 5:30.

Wish us warm weather tomorrow,


Day 14, Jackson to Debois

Woke up to 43 degrees, very cool, but not as cold as it can get in Jackson. Put on my long riding tights, riding jersey and yellow riding jacket. We got on the road by 6:45. Our destination was Dornans for breakfast. It was about 16 miles into the ride. The view from the outdoor picnic table for the Tetons was spectacular. After breakfast, a moose was eating his breakfast in the river. I took several photos of him.

As you can see from the photos, we were riding north along the Tetons for about 50 miles until the picnic stop. From there we turned east, then south east while climbing. Much of the road was pretty chopped up from road construction.

By the time we got to the top of the climb, we were at the attitude of some patches of snow. Imagine that, snow on the 5th of July!

We descended to about the 83 mile mark to the Lava Cafe where we stopped for some much needed coffee and snacks.

The remaining miles was downhill with the wind to our backs. About 6 miles from town, the scenery changed to exposed layers of red sediment hills. The view from the road was striking.

Arrived in town tired but memories of the ride will stay with us.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 13, Jackson Wy

Hello, I'm writing this blog while in a laundromat on our weekly day off. It was so nice to sleep in to 7:30 this morning then head off to breakfast with at a local cafe. The collection of dirty clothes need to be washed and this laundromat has wi-fi wooo-hoooo.

Yesterday's ride started off pretty chilly. My thermometer indicated 46 degrees. The Ashton to Jackson ride included a climb over the Teton Pass of almost nine thousand feet. It would be a lot of work today.

Shortly after we got on the road I looked over my right shoulder to see a line of approaching dark clouds. I was not looking forward to biking up a mountain pass in cold rain. Our luck held out as the potential storm blew by us leaving blue skies and puffy white clouds for most of the rest of the day though it was pretty chilly for the rest of the day as you can tell by the jackets that the riders wore most of the rest of the day.

Coffee was at about the 20 mile mark before we hit lunch about 40 miles in the town of Driggs. As always the picnic stop was great. Today the special was Thai pasta salad. Very yummy. We then jumped on a bikepath that ran parallel to the main road of route 33 that dumped us out in the town of Victor. Though it was the 3rd of July, the town of Victor was celebrating the 4th of July. The main street was packed with traffic and the village park was wall to wall people. It was a great experience.

Before heading of of town a quick stop for espresso was made to give us a caffeine jolt before heading up the Teton Pass. As you can see in the photos, the pass claimed to be 10 percent grade, but my computer indicated 12 percent in spots. I was a long haul but we all made it to the top followed by a screaming drop to the Jackson Valley floor. 

We headed to Teton Village for fireworks that started at 10PM. The rest of today will be relaxing and preparation for next weeks's ride. The first part of Monday's ride will be heading north on the eastern side of the Tetons for more spectacular views.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 12, Ashton, ID

It was very chilly as I woke up in my tent today, 41 degrees. Packed up my stuff and jumped on my bike and rode down to the Bullwinkles where we also had dinner last night for a buffet breakfast. It's almost embarrassing the amount of food I piled on, except that everyone else has at least as much as I did. I'm not sure how Cycle America can afford to feed the entire group.

The ride today is pretty short, only 69 miles. Not a lot of climbing was required. We even started off with a slight downhill for several miles before climbing a couple hundred feet to the elevation of slightly over 7000 feet to cross the Continental Divide once again. We dropped down and headed south directly into a headwind. We quickly formed a pace line and like yesterday, took turns at the lead position at one mile intervals. We had planned on stopping at Mack's Inn at 22 miles. Mack's has a wonder sunny outdoor patio. We quickly dismounted and ordered up coffee and pie. We lounged and chatted for about an hour and a half before the cycle sweep came by and encouraged us to get going before the lunch stop was to close.

I'm currently being kicked off the library computer. I'll have to finish this up later as well as upload the photos from today.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 11, West Yellowstone.

I heard the rain as it hit my tent early this morning. As I rolled over to go back to sleep I just hoped that it would clear by the morning because starting a ride in the rain is just no fun. I was in luck, it turned out to be a beautiful sunrise with mostly blue sky.

Erika, a friend from the 2002 cross to coast ride arrived today to join Jim, Laurie and me for a couple of days of riding as well.

By the time we left Ennis most of the other riders had already departed. The air was very crisp and a hint of possible rain. The ride was mostly south with lighter traffic than yesterday. As you can tell from the photos, we passed many ranches on both sides of the road and mountains on both sides.

The wind started to become a factor with light headwinds.

As you can see from the photos, we had a wonderful view from the lunch stop. It was a heck of a climb to get there, but it was worth it.

After lunch, we had about 30 miles to the end of the ride. We figured that it would be a piece of cake. We were wrong. Under the increasingly warm skies the wind started to blow... the wrong way. A combination of strong headwinds and continued climbing, made the progress pretty slow as we headed east. About 8 miles from West Yellowstone we turned south. Guess what? The direction of the wind was now coming from the South! I'm not sure how that occurred, but by now we were all getting pretty tired of the ride and just wanted to get it over with. We bunched up in a pace line and started to take turns on the lead position every mile and we finally got into town about 3:30. We quickly ran into other riders at a coffee shop and stopped to join them. Since West Yellowstone is a tourist town, coffee and ice cream was easy to find.

Tomorrow we head to Ashton Idaho then the following day we cross the Tetons into Jackson Hole and a day off for the 4th of July.

Wish good weather for us.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 10, Ennis MT

Woke up a couple of times to the sound of rain on the tent. It had stopped by the morning but still threating to rain any any moment. About 9 miles into the 80 mile day, the rains finally in let loose with large rain drops hitting us. The traffic was pretty awful as well, with trucks zipping by on our left hitting use with a shower of misty rain.

About the 10 mile mark we passed a saloon on our right, all the riders that had left before us were huddled on the porch trying to stay dry. Since we were already soaking wet, it wasn't worthwhile to stop. We waved to them as we passed on by.

We could see that in the distance the clouds were breaking up and pretty soon the rain slowed. Our goal was a bakery (Wheat Montana) at the 30 mile mark. The sky was still overcast as we pulled in. We ordered baked goods and coffee and soon the Sun started to shine outside. Other riders also came spilling into the doors as well. You can tell by the photos below, that most of the riders were sitting outside enjoying the weather and trying to dry off.

Lunch was another 20 miles down the road and a gentle tail wind helped us along. Shortly before lunch an unexpected climb was encountered and with a lot of effort we rolled into lunch.

Today they had chilly on the menu as well as fruit salad and other sandwich fixings. With only 25 more miles to the end of the ride we rolled off. The reminder of the ride was lots of ups and downs and at 12 miles from the end, a very long uphill that seemed to go on forever!!

I'm being kicked out of the library and will have to finish this up later this evening.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 9, Townsend, Winds and Winds

This morning I woke to a unique morning view, Rainbows!! During the night I awoke a couple of time to the sound of rain hitting the tent, but you can see by the time I was waking up, it was starting to clear.

We had heard that the ranger station had a stuffed bear. The 12 year old bear was killed by a car a couple of years ago. Inside the small ranger station, the bear filled the small room.

Twenty mile in we reached the Flesher pass which is a crossing of the continental divide. The continental divide is the point where the water runs off to the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean.

oops.. the battery of my computer is close to zero. I need to log off. I'll finish this off later.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 8, Lincoln Mt: It's nice to have a picnic every day

A day off lifted the spirits of many of the riders. A day off allowed many of the riders, including me, to rest and recover from the 7 days of riding last week.

During the day off we mostly did laundry, slept later, had a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and cleaned the bikes. One of the things we tried to avoid was getting on the bike.

Today we started off in chilly temperatures, about 52 degrees. As the sun rose it felt nice to feel the sun shining on us. Since the ride was only going to be 80 miles we really weren't in a hurry today, making sure that we stopped and filled up at every water stop and stopping at almost all historical markers.

The title of today's blog is "It's nice to have a picnic every day". One of the other riders had mentioned it to me today. The picnic has become the highlight of each day with wonderfully thought out menus and tasty food to fuel our days. If you click the photos below, you can see some shots of the picnic.

Today would not be complete with out a short description of the hamlet of Orando. You had to go slightly off the route to find Orando but it was worth it. The town consisted to a cafe, general store, fishing store and a closed museum. The cafe was serving up espressos and cherry pies. I had the espressos and after talking with others, should have also had the cherry pie.

Tomorrow promises it have climbs in the morning followed by downhills then tailwinds in the afternoon. Sounds like paradise to me.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 7, Missoula MT

It was nippy today, some folks said it was downright cold as we left the school to the Elks Lodge for breakfast. After a breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes and coffee we were off. The morning was clear as we rode through a valley. Depending on our position, we were either warmed by the morning sun or chilled by the valley's shadow. Mostly flat but with some gentle climbs.

We stopped at 25+ miles in a town of Paradise that had more folks on Harley motorcycles then bicycles. Jim and Lauri convinced some of the tough looking guys to have their photos taken with us. We also had coffee and sweet rolls in the small cafe.

We were soon on the road again and sped along to lunch. At the lunch stop my cycle computer was showing an average speed of 16.4, a pretty fast speed for me.

After lunch the winds started to pick up. Sometimes pushing us and sometimes showing our progress. There was still one more surprise stop. I had pulled off the road to take some photos of a one room schoolhouse, then looked up to see that group that I was riding with was gone. Normally you can look down the road and see them about 1/2 miles ahead, but no, they were gone. Got back on the bike and within a minute, the mystery was solved. Up ahead the was a coffee stop with truly homemade donuts, still warm from the oven. A dutch windmill was also there as an attraction an two very well fed dogs.

The day was getting late and the total mileage was going to be over 103 miles so we had to get moving. That's when the wind started to turn against use and the road was starting to climb at 3%. The combination slowed me down to 6-8 miles and hour. The directions provided by Cycle America promised a steep downhill toward Missoula. With the promise of downhill ahead I continued.

The final miles into town was fast and the temperatures climbed as we rolled into Missoula.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 6, Thompson Falls, MT

Another great day on the bike. Today was a shorter ride than the past couple of days, 70 miles. The temperature was pretty cool with most of the riders wearing jackets at the stop. We retraced our steps on the bike path, riding in group of about 7 or 8. I stopped on the bike trail to take some photos and noticed that I was near an espresso shack. Lori was at the window ordering an drink so I had a tall latte as well, then it was off to catch the rest of the pack.

The road was quite, flat and fast, with cars and trucks occasionally passing us. We caught the group as they were pulled over at a small general store sipping coffee and hot chocolate. After sunning ourselves for a while, it was time to resume the ride.

The challenge for the day was a climb to Thompson's pass that in spots reached a 12% grade, which is pretty tough for a bicycle. At the top was a great picnic stop. The highlights for me was the banana and strawberry salad and the turkey hot dogs.

From the top of the pass the rest of ride was truly down hill 20 miles to Thompson Falls, MT. After a bit over 10 miles we pulled into a general store/bar/casino for some additional refreshments before the final 8 or nine downhill miles to town.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 5 to Kellogg

This was the single day that becomes burnt into your brain as the day of cycling that you will never want to forget. The day was a cloudless blue sky with perfect biking temperature, just a bit on the cool side. We were routed onto a bike path and enjoyed the views along the river. Jumped on to the city streets for 5 to 8 miles then on to rural roads and finally on to a wonderful former rail road path for over 45 miles. Railroad paths are wonderful because the path is wide enough for bikes and often protected from the winds and in this case ran besides a breathtaking lake and river teeming with birds and even moose. I'll be posting the photos shortly.   

Tomorrow will be shorter miles, 69 miles with some signification climbs, but the spirits are high with only 2 more days of bike until we arrive in Missoula followed by our first day off on Sunday.

Gotta go, the morning will come early,


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 4, Spokane

In 2002 I took the coast to coast ride and to post on the web I needed to find public libraries to barrow time on their computers to update my site. I figured in the eight year difference between then and now, it would be a breeze to find internet connections if I brought my netbook along. Well I guess I was wrong, last night I was bogging from the only site in town, a dinner. Tonight I'm sitting on the stairs of a college student center, that is closed for summer vacation tapping into a very week signal. I guess I need to breakdown a get a cell phone internet connection.

Trip report:

Today was another long day about 95 miles.  After a 14 mile climb from the start we reached rolling roads with the wind in our faces. Almost the entire trip was into the wind. Many riders prefer mountains to wind because mountains have climbs followed by downhills, but wind can be against you all day long and that was the case today

With the multiple days of riding, many riders, myself included, are complaining of sore butts. The evening, I headed off to REI and bought a thickly padded set cover. We'll see if that works better.

The LASER show a the Grand Collie Dam was a average laser show, but the setting was very special. The LASERs were projected on the dam itself the made for a very impressive display, but the show's script could have been written by a 4th grade teacher for the students.

I'll be updating the site with pictures, but I need to find a better link than I've been getting up to now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 3 - Coulee Dam

Just a quick post.... I'm sitting in a dinner that closes in a couple of minutes.

Great sleep last night, cool dry air. Had to wake up early because it was a going to be a long day, 103 miles and a climb of over 5000 feet climbing. The weather was nice a cool and about 10 miles in a 6 mile climb at 6% climb began. I really had lots of fun on the the climb an enough energy to drop back down and do a portion of the climb again.

We popped out at the top on to a platitude with rolling hills. In a short time we reached the only espresso stop on today's ride. We hung out as long as we could before heading on. We road in groups of two, three and four rolling along with the wind giving use a pleasant push.

Lunch was a great spread as usual in a shaded park at almost the 60 miles. The remaining 40 plus miles was a bit problematic with the wind. Sometimes helping us, sometimes not as much. The last 7 miles was downhill to Coolie dam with the water roaring over the top of the dam. You can hear the noise more than a mile away.

The coffee shop is closing and I'm heading off the a 10PM LASER show projected on the wall of the dam. Time to go...  Good night

Monday, June 21, 2010

Second Day - Wenatchee

Woke up this morning it was very cool and dripping wet from the rain last night. The scrambled eggs and ham as well as bagels was filling. Left the school about 7:30ish and headed up the to the top of Stevens Pass 18 miles away and 3,500 foot climb. Along the way, stopped at Deception Falls. The power of the cascading water is awe inspiring.

The grade to the top often exceeded 7 or 8 percent, but on the average was 6+. As we climbed to the top I peeled off my jacket that was needed at the start. I have photos of the top of the climb with me hoisting the bike over my head.

The climb was followed by miles and miles for downhill as steep as the uphill climb. I let the bike loose a flew down the hill. Must of have been close to 5 miles til I had to even start peddling again.

An auto rest area was near the bottom of the hill with free coffee and cookies. I really needed the stop. After 2 days of gloomy skies, the Sun had broken through the clouds. I had to stop at the next gas station to buy a set of sunglasses since I had not taken mine this morning.

The picnic stop near the rushing river was only a couple of miles more along the road. After lunch we had 35 more miles to go. With the warm temperatures and the sunny skies the day was a blast. The routing through back roads and the small town of Cashmere added many bonus points. I'll explain in a subsequent how we are counting fun points.

We arrived at the Middle school at about 4PM and had a filling dinner. The amount of food that this group consumes is amazing.

Tomorrow is a big day. Scheduled to be 103 miles to the Grand Coolie dam. It's 10:15 and need to be up at 5:30.

good night.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

First Day - Skykomish

Went to sleep with the sound of rain on the tent. I woke up a couple of times to the sound of the rain continuing. Not really hard, but coming down anyway. By the time I woke it had stopped. I got dressed putting on my long riding tights because it was very chilly and likely to be raining today, my riding jersey and riding jacket. Took down my tent and headed off to breakfast. The cafeteria was almost filled with only a couple of empty seats when I got there. The scrambled eggs and English muffins tasted good.

Were departed about 8AM for the water to dip our tires in the salt water. The on to the ride. The land scape into more agricultural and we stopped at the a small town about 12 miles into the ride for coffee. After about 30 minutes, we were on the road again. Shortly afterwares, a sprinkling rain started. With the overcast weather and cool temperatures, it was the moving forward on the bicycle that keep us from getting too cold.

The picnic stop was serving hot soup as well as salad and sandwiches. It tasted great, but we needed to get back on the road 'cause we were starting to chill just standing around.

After a couple of miles the rain started to taper off and our clothes began to dry out warmth returned to our hands and feet. With only a 17 miles a coffee stop appeared on the right hand side of the road. It was time to stop for another latte.

The rest of the ride was more inclined at a 4-5% grade and sometimes 6%. The traffic that been dogging us on Route 2 began to thin out and the shoulders became a bit wider. Five miles from Skykomish the route took us off route 2 into a very quite road with trees covered with hanging moss. With all the rain, the plants here seemed very happy.

We pulled into the school close to 2PM. By 3 my tent was up and I was showered. The water was even hot for the shower. We took a short walk to the local bar for a couple of beers before dinner.

The ride tomorrow will be some climbing at the start followed by a long downhill to Winachachee. It should be fun and a bit warmer as well.