Day 56: 71.4 Miles — Tillamook to Astoria, OR

Since this is the last post to this blog, I’ll keep it short and to the point and forgo the time I woke up, hit the road, and where I stopped and ate along the way. I arrived at the official end point of the TransAmerica Cycling Route, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, in Astoria Oregon, today at 3:20pm. It was a great day of riding—perfect weather. This has been a great adventure…better than I thought it would be. Some basic stats:

  • 4,265.4 Miles 
  • 10 States
  • 56 Total Days — Average 76.2 Miles a Day
  • 54 Riding Days — Average 79 Miles a Day
  • Three mountain ranges—Appalachians, Ozarks, and Rockies (and a bunch of other hills scattered around)
  • 5 flat tires and 5 broken spokes
  • 2 or maybe 3 turtles saved from the road (admittedly, I could have saved a lot more, but was either going too fast down a hill or too tired going up one…I hope the others made it across)
  • Survived at least 3 thunder storms
  • Chased by at least 30 dogs…most in KY…caught by none 🙂
  • Have the best suntan of my life
  • Lost a lot more weight than I did on that juicing diet I tried a couple years ago
  • Had a great adventure!

Took a lot of pics along the way today, but am posting only one. 

I’m 58 and feeling great….already planning my next adventure for when I’m 65.

Signing off for now…hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed riding and posting. 

Steve

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 56: 71.4 Miles — Tillamook to Astoria, OR

Day 55: 96.5 Miles — Monmouth to Tillamook, OR

Up at 5:30 and on the road at 6:15 this morning. 56 degrees now with a high of 80 today…looks like another perfect weather day. Nice bike path out of Monmouth for the first 5 miles to Rickreall then back on heavy traffic road…good shoulder most of the way to Grand Ronde, about 30 miles in, but lots of traffic and very uninspiring riding. About all that’s in Grand Ronde is a big casino and gas station — stopped in the gas station/cafe and had a breakfast burrito and coffee. Picked up some orange juice and snacks for the road then headed for the coast. 

This far I would have to rate Oregon as near the bottom of the 10 states I’ve ridden through just because of the high traffic and generally poor to no, shoulder on the roads. I expected it to be among the top given all the PR I’ve read about how beautiful and bike friendly it is…the traffic from 18 wheelers, logging trucks, and RVs make it one of the less appealing states for cycling in my opinion—at least up to this point and at this point I’ve covered about 80% of the route in the State. The coast road had better be spectacular to make up for the poor riding I’ve put up with in this state to get there; otherwise, this sate may rate dead last mont the 10 on the route.

10:41 and topped Murphy Hill at 760 feet…that’s right, a whopping 760 feet…seems a wast of a sign to mark that one 🙂 

Made it to Rose Lodge at 11:30 and 45 miles in. Stopped at a grocery store and had a Diet Coke and sneakers bar. Been very cool all morning….wore my jacket until about 10:30. Decent shoulders to ride on today but on busy roads with heavy traffic all day…nothing but road noise from the traffic and watching for big trucks and RVs…not ideal cycling roads.

Turned off the busy hwy 18 at Rose Lodge for a nice, quite, traffic free, peaceful 15 or so miles. Lots of huge moss covered trees…very nice 15 mile ride before getting on busy hwy 101 near Neskowin.

Got my first view of the Pacific Ocean at 1:40 from an overlook off hwy 101 in Neskowin. Still a little over 100 miles to the finish in Astoria, but as of now I have ridden coast to coast 🙂 Sat there for about 30 minutes looking at and listening to the ocean while I ate the banana nut muffin and drank the bottle of tea I picked up at the market this morning. 

Rode along the coast going through Oretown, Pacific City, Sandlake, and Netarts before heading about 7 miles north to Tillamook where I’m staying at the Red Apple Inn tonight. 

The ride along the coast was very windy—in my face, of course—and cool. In fact it has been very cool all day—I have finally found the England kind of weather I was expecting in Oregon….if Rob was here he would be doing his Kenny impression for sure 🙂 This is supposed to be one of the most beautiful costal rides/drives in America—it is pretty impressive.

Rolled into Tillamook about 5:30 pm and checked into the Red Apple Inn. Got cleaned up then went out to dinner at the Dutch Mill Diner, a 50s style diner on main street. Had hot turkey on bread with gravy, mashed potatoes, ice tea, and a strawberry milkshake. Then for desert I had a hot fudge Sunday. Ummmm….good. Stopped at the market on my way back to the room and picked up a bag of Cheetos and a 23.5 oz can of Mikes Harder Lemonade—the Cheetos didn’t last long and I’m working on the lemonade now 🙂

Felt great today. Didn’t really intend to do a 90 mile day but felt good so just kept on going. Have about 70 miles to Astoria, so looks like I will finish tomorrow. I’ve read about people who do this and get depressed at the thought of the end being near. I’ve enjoyed this a lot, but I’m not depressed. I’m excited to finish, accomplish my goal of riding across the country, and looking forward to getting back home to June and Tori….even looking forward to getting back to work next week 🙂 

So, here’s to one more day on the road, one more update to this blog, and one more adventure being checked off my list….already thinking of what’s next—maybe when I’m 65 🙂

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 55: 96.5 Miles — Monmouth to Tillamook, OR

Day 54: 70.6 Miles — Eugene to Manmouth, OR

Up at 6am this morning and on the road at 6:50. Another nice day today…58 degrees now with a high of 85. Supposed to be cloudy today so should be a little relief from the sun. 

Stopped in town at the pancake house (the Original pancake house) for breakfast — oatmeal, strawberry waffle, coffee and orange juice. 

Stopped in Harrisburg at 9:40 at 24 miles in for a V8 and candy bar. Cool this morning so far with slight headwind. But riding across flat ground so making good time….so far good shoulders to ride on….hope that holds out. 

Passed through Peoria about 10:45 and stopped for a snack by the largest clover field I’ve ever seen. There were a couple dozen bee boxes in the middle of the field—kept thinking, surely they didn’t plant all this clover just for those bees. 🙂

Pulled into Corvallis at 11:45. Been a perfect day of riding this far. Flat all the way from Eugene to here — 47 miles — with nice wide shoulders and bike paths and very little traffic. What a change from yesterday. Having lunch here Murphy’s—hamburger, fries, ice tea. This is a large college town—reminds me a bit of Lexington—home of Organ State University. 

Made it to Monmouth, home to Western Oregon University, at about 3:30….thought of going a bit further today, but don’t really need to…saw a nice looking motel and decided to stay here. Actually, I saw this motel (The College Inn) on the way into town and I’ve been following a general rule not to stop at the first thing I see in a town whether it be a motel, store, cafe, etc.—the thought being there probably is something I’ll like better on down the road a bit. That strategy has served me well, except for today. I passed the College Inn figuring I’ll see something else as I get into town—well, two miles down the road and nothing as I headed out of town and into the abyss…ended up having to turn around and ride the two miles back to the motel. And of course, I’ll have to cover those same two miles out of town tomorrow…oh well, win some and lose some 🙂 But I did get a nice clean room for under $70 so I’ll take that deal and by now two miles is about like riding around the block anyway 🙂

Got cleaned up and then found a laundry in town and washed all my cloths—I don’t have washing detergent, but I figure water is good enough 🙂 Now, will have clean cloths for the remainder of the trip—I’m sure people who sit near me in restaurants for the rest of the trip will appreciate that. In the “for what it’s worth” department, it cost $3 to wash a load of cloths with cold water…if you want warm water it’s $3.25…I went ahead and sprung for the extra quarter 🙂 Not sure what hot water cost, but figured I didn’t need that anyway. 

Felt great today. Was an excellent day of riding—great weather and great road surface. Should be seeing the blue of the Pacific Ocean tomorrow. 

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 54: 70.6 Miles — Eugene to Manmouth, OR

Day 53: 92.6 Miles — Sisters to Eugene, OR

Up at 5 this morning and on the road at 5:45. 51 degrees now with a high of 95 expected today…supposed to be sunny, clear sky’s and hot—again. Not complaining though….could be a lot worse weather. 

Topped McKenzie Pass at 8:30 this morning—5,325 feet…not a bad climb. Nice cool morning riding through pine Forrest. A recent fire burned a lot of the trees and closer to the top it turned into a massive lava field. My last major climb of the trip. Now to enjoy some downhill to Eugene. The downhill was great…switchbacks through thick Forrest all the way down below 1,000 feet.  

41 miles in and at the bottom of the mountain. East and West Oregon are like two different worlds—east is dry and brown like the southwest and west is green and lush. I was actually cold coming down the west side of the mountain with the masssive pine trees (or maybe redwoods?) thick and completely blocking the sun. Stopped at the bottom at a store and had an early lunch about 10:30—turkey sandwich, Diet Pepsi, chips, ice cream sandwich, V8, and can of lemon water. Picked up a chocolate muffin for later down the road. Still have over 50 miles to go and now that I’m out of the Forrest it’s getting a bit hotter, but nothing like yesterday. 

1pm rolled into Vida at 66 miles after a long stressful stretch on hwy 126. The logging trucks and 18 wheelers are thick on this road with very little shoulder to ride on…still have about 14 miles on this road. Taking a break at a gas station with Diet Coke, pure leaf tea, ice, and bottled water…..getting hot. Have dropped down to below 800 feet…lowest altitude since I entered Kansas. 

This is just a note to others thinking of doing this ride and reading this blog. This stretch of hwy 126 from the bottom of the McKenzie Pass drop to Waterville is probably the most dangerous stretch of road on the entire trip. Forget anything I said earlier about Oregon drivers giving cyclists plenty of room on the road—that does not apply on this stretch of road. My eyes were glued to my mirror and I had to run off the road and stop just out of self preservation more during this stretch of road than all other times on the trip combined. The 18 wheelers, log trucks, and Wide-load trucks do not move over or slow down. Given this is on the ACA main route and presumably thousands of cyclists have ridden this stretch of road over the past 40+ years, I would bet (and I don’t know) that more than one have been hit on this road. When you ride this stretch of road, you have got to be alert and be ready to run off the road as a defense mechanism—you can curse and flip birds later if you want, but you’ve got to watch out for yourself—the crazy truckers are not watching out for you. I would go so far as to say it’s irresponsible for the ACA to route cyclists down this road. I don’t care if it was part of the original route or not, it needs to be changed.

Rolled into Eugene about 3:50 and staying at a cheap motel a couple miles outside the city. Had dinner at Memos Mexican Restaurant—very good, very large steak burrito, fried rice and iced tea. 

Down to my last ACA map with officially 234 miles to go to Astoria—although I do have about 10 miles to get back on-route in the morning. Still not sure where I’ll stop tomorrow…will figure it out as I go. But finishing Friday or early Saturday is well within reach and I’m feeling strong and good tonight. 

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 53: 92.6 Miles — Sisters to Eugene, OR

Day 52: 95.4 Miles — Mitchell to Sisters, OR

Up at 4:45 this morning. Got a big ride today—95 miles—with a big, steep climb at the start. Supposed to get up to 95 again today so want to get that climb done and as many miles behind me as I can before the heat moves in. It actually got over 100 by the time I made it to Sisters. 

Went out last night to pick up something for breakfast this morning….forgot it was Sunday and everything was closed. So, broke out the emergency cans of Beanee Weenees I’ve been carrying in my panniers for a few weeks. Have 50 miles before first store this morning so they’ll have to do me 🙂 On the road at 5:35 am.

Topped Ochoco Pass at 4,720 feet at 8am. It’s still cool out….getting an early start this morning was the right thing to do.

Made it to Prineville at 10:10 with 49 miles in for the day. After the climb to Ochoco Pass it was just a long gradual downhill to here. Having an early lunch at Subway then back on the road….still a lot of miles to go, but I’m making good time today and feeling good. 

12:30 pulled into Terrebonne at 68 miles. Getting hot. Stopped at the Thriftway grocery store and picked up a bottle of cold Pure Leaf tea, Perrier, and a cold jar of red grapefruit….sat outside and downed them all 🙂 

Getting my first glimpse of the snow covered mountain range I’ll be going over tomorrow, but don’t let that snow fool you…it’s hotter than heck here. That’ll be my last big climb of the trip tomorrow….then it’s pretty much downhill to the Pacific.

For about the last 25 miles or so into Sisters I was riding on fresh paved road. It was so hot—my garmin read 101 degrees—tar was bubbling up from the road and as my tires rolled over it it sounded like I was rolling over bubble wrap—have a video of it I’ll post once the trip is over. I was expecting to have flats anytime from my tires just melting away. For some reason, in my mind I pictured Oregon being sort of like England…cool temps, green, etc. But from what I’ve ridden through so far it’s more like Tucson AZ….hot and brown. 

Pulled into Sisters at 3:45 very thankful that I had started a little early this morning…finishing 95 miles before 4 pm is good. Not only was it hot but the wind started picking up coming out of the west directly into my face…and even the wind was hot. 

Sisters seems like the typical tourist trap sort of town. I found a motel just out from the touristy area and checked in. Next door is a pizza place—went there and ate a 12” veggie pizza and drank about 4 large glasses of ice tea and three glasses of ice water.  Then went across the street to the Dairy Queen and had a hot fudge Sunday. Then stopped at the super market next door and picked up a 52 oz bottle of orange juice with high pulp—because I like to chew my juice :-)—a large bottle of Perrier, some plumbs and a plastic tub of pealed and ready to eat pineapple. It’ll all be gone by the time I leave tomorrow….I just can’t seem to get enough fluids. 

Last night had a thunderstorm move through and got some cool pics of the sky posted below. Also, there were bathroom scales in the hostel so I stepped on them this morning and I weigh 166 pounds…I weighed 182 when I started. So, as a sample of one, I can verify this is a great weight loss program while at the same time eating as much of anything you want 🙂 

Tomorrow in the first 15 miles I’ll be climbing over McKenzie Pass—5,325 feet—within the first 15 miles of the day. That’ll be the only big climb of the day and my last big climb of the trip. I’ll be doing about 100 miles tomorrow so will be very similar to today—big climb early followed by a lot of miles. I like the way today turned out, so will be hitting the road early tomorrow as well to get the climb done while it’s still cool…should be in Eugene by end of day tomorrow. 

Looks like I’m on track to finish on Friday or maybe early Saturday morning. I bought my plane ticket for Monday morning to give me a day of flexibility…once I get to Astoria, I’ll need to take pics at the finish in the Pacific then find the bike shop and ship my bike home. Then I’ll need to figure out how to get to Portland—about 100 miles…I thought about riding my bike there and shipping it from Portland, but then I woke up and it was just a bad dream 🙂

Feeling strong and good…ready to knock out a mountain and another 100 tomorrow 🙂

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 52: 95.4 Miles — Mitchell to Sisters, OR

Day 51: 69.6 Miles — John Day to Mitchell, OR

Up at 6:15 this morning….only about 70 miles to do today so slept in a little. 63 degrees with a high of 94 today. Have a breeze to my back this morning….did 8 miles in a snap and stopped in Mount Vernon for breakfast — eggs, sausage, toast, and coffee. 

A few miles out of town I started seeing people on fully loads touring bikes headed east. Within a couple miles I had seen at least 15. On down the road I saw a group of about six of  them taking a break on the side of the road so I pulled over to talk to them. Turns out they’re a group of about 50 cyclists doing a two week tour around Oregon. Talked for a bit, shared tips then moved on. 

Rolled into Dayville at about 9:30 at 31 miles in….making good time this morning…feeling good and cranking. Must be a law here about pumping gas…sitting outside a store here drinking Pure Leaf Tea and Diet Coke and watching the store attendant pump gas for people. The sun is out and it’s starting to get warm, but there is a bit of cloud cover today so should provide some relief. 

About 100 yards after pulling  out of Dayville my rear wheel feels like it’s about to fall off and I look back and have a flat tire…I was just thinking this morning how I haven’t had problems in a while now….oh, well. Spend 30 min fixing that…have 3 spare tubes do didn’t even try to patch—just popped in a new one and back on the road. 

10 or so miles down the road a lady stopped up ahead of me while I was riding through this canyon and held a can of La Croix sparkling water out the window. I stopped and she was concerned that it was hot and there was nothing around for a lot of miles. She gave me two cans of ice cold water—very good and tried to get me to take more. I thanked her and assured her I was fine—it was getting warm, but I have been through a lot hotter, for a lot longer time, and a lot more desolate areas than this. That cold water was good all the same 🙂

Met John at about noon around 22 miles from Mitchell where I’ll be stopping tonight. He was headed east to Yorktown…started in Astoria 11 days ago. John was feeling a bit down. Said he  was having a hard time and trying to do 40 miles a day, but had been feeling bad and was cutting to 30 a day—giving himself 100 days. Said his legs weren’t getting as strong as he thought they would. I give him some words of encouragement, but I’m really thinking he’s not going to make it. I give him big credit for giving it a shot and I hope he makes it, but I have a feeling he is not going to make it much further before hanging it up. I remember the young couple Steven, Rob, and I met back in VA who were doing this for their honeymoon and pulling trailers with their dog, dog food, and all kinds of stuff—weight—behind them. We all three were pulling for them, but felt they were woefully unprepared. I think they finally called it quits somewhere in Eastern KY. John is probably headed for the same fate. 

A couple miles after leaving John I see this big old tree on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere. It was covered with shoes…see pics below. No sign or obvious reason for it, but it’s just there—strange. I’ll have to google it tonight and see what it’s all about. Ok….Googles it….seems it’s a known “thing” of mysterious origins and reasons 🙂 Google “show tree Mitchell OR” if interested. 

Topped Keyes CR Summit, 4,369 feet, at 2:25pm. Now a 6.5 mile drop to Mitchell where I’ll Be spending the the night.

Hit Mitchell at about 2:45—nice to do 6.5 miles in less than 15 min…probably closer to 10 min 🙂 stopped at the Spoke’n Hostel….the coolest cycling hostel yet. The Baptist Church is Seebree, KY was cool, but this place even tops that. Huge, cool (as in AC) building with large, barracks style bunk beds, comfortable areas to sit and relax, kitchen area with breakfast food, ice cream, coffee, etc. shower with towels. Tools and bike stand for working on bike. Every amenity you could possibly want for a relaxing day after a hard ride and a good nights sleep. 5 stars for Spoke’n Hostel….they even have ear plugs to help block the noise and help you sleep better….very cool place. 

Today’s ride was great. It was hot, but there was some cloud cover so it wasn’t scorching like the past few days. Had wide shoulders on the road all day and the motorists generally gave a lot of room when passing. I did notice that a large majority of the cars on the road were Subaru’s and many of them had bikes loaded on the back….got more “thumbs up” from cars going by today than during the entire trip. I think Oregon has a reputation for being one of the more bike friendly states and it showed today….hope it continues for the rest of the trip. 

Felt strong today….the 70 miles seemed easy. Got a couple longer days ahead—around 95 miles tomorrow and the next day then it should be smooth sailing to Astoria on Friday or early Saturday morning.

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 51: 69.6 Miles — John Day to Mitchell, OR

Day 50: 80.7 Miles — Baker City to John Day, OR

Up at 5:30 this morning and on the road at 6:30. Stopped at the Oregon Trail restaurant in town for breakfast…didn’t eat dinner last night so am starving. Feeling great this morning….it’s amazing what liquids and a good nights sleep will do to rejuvenate the body….I was feeling completely exhausted last night, but feel ready to go this morning. 59 degrees now with a high of 95 expected today…going to be another warm one and it’s over 50 miles and two of the three 5k passes before the first services at Austin Junction. 

Back in national Forrest today with trees—yes!

Topped the first of three climbs at 30 miles in at 10:50 am….it’s a lot nicer climbing in the  Forrest vs Hells Canyon. 

Topped the second climb of the day at 12:30 with 44 miles in. 

Got to Austin Junction at 1:10….initially I didn’t see anything and thought I was out of luck for a restaurant or store. That wasn’t a good feeling…was hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. Then I saw a flag that read “food” and it was the best thing I saw all morning. There was a restaurant hidden away at the corner. The service was slow, but at least it was food and drink to help fuel me over the last climb. Had buffalo burger, fries, ice tea. And for desert a double scoop of butter pecan ice cream. 

Back on the road at 2:20 for the final climb of the day and last 29 miles to John Day where I have reserved a room…been being passed my motorcycles all day so am not taking a chance on not having a motel room. 

Topped the 3rd and final pass of the day at 59 miles in at 3:30. Pretty much downhill the final 20 miles to John Day from here. 

Rolled into John Day about 5pm….small town with about 5 motels, so I don’t think a room would have been a problem, but lot of motorcycles in town. Checked into my room and got cleaned up. Walked down the street to the 1188 brewery and cafe. Had pizza and a couple beers. Stopped by Dairy Queen on way back to motel and had a chocolate ice cream cone. 

Was hot today, but riding through the National Forrest allowed me to stop in the shade under trees for breaks today…much better than yesterday. Am now checking flights and thinking about what day to make my flight reservation for home….may wait a couple more days to reserve….just keeping an eye on ticket prices. 

80 miles felt good today…wish there were services where I could do that each day for the rest of the trip, but that’s not going to work out. Will need to do about 70 tomorrow followed by about 95 the next day and 100 the following day….not ideal, but doable. Still feeling good and strong….hope the weather holds out for one more week. 

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 50: 80.7 Miles — Baker City to John Day, OR

Day 49: 110.4 miles — Cambridge, ID to Baker City, OR

Up at 5am this morning and hit the road at 5:45. Had everything packed and loaded last night so I could hit the road quick this morning. It’s 60 degrees now, and is supposed to be sunny with a high of 99—going to get a little warm and I have a long way to go today—sunscreen and lots of liquids today.

8:30 and 16 miles in topped the first climb of the day at 4,131 feet. Nice morning so far…cool breeze and clear skies. On hwy 71 this morning that has size restrictions so no logging trucks and very little traffic….nice change from yesterday. 

8:45 stopped at the Gateway cafe after a big drop down the mountain I just climbed…was fun but I know I’m going to have to climb right back up it 🙂 had eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast and coffee…should get me through till lunch. As I was leaving a couple from the Netherlands came in….they are headed west as well and are on Day 71….they thought I was a crazy American for going to Baker city today—2 days for them. They were having a great time—said it was a big country…amen to that 🙂 And reflecting at the end of the day…they were right—I was crazy for going to Baker City in one day—probably the hardest day of the trip so far.

10am and crossed over the Snake river into Oregon—10th and final state. Put me back in the pacific time zone so gained an hour again. Biking along the Snake river and it’s lined with cherry trees….hundreds and hundreds of them 

with ripe red cherries. Strange that the birds don’t seem to be eating them. I had to stop and sample a few—very good. 

Have seen lots of deer and wild turkey today. This is open grazing land so coming around curves going down the mountain had to look out for deer as well as cattle in the road….and saw both in the road today. 

Topped second climb today 3,653 feet at 1:20pm with 62 miles in…..and 95 degrees….hot, hot, hot and no shade…the sun is just beaming down on me. The first time during the trip I’ve put on sunscreen twice the same day—it’s HOT! 

Stopped at the Shorthorn restaurant and lounge in Richland for lunch…roasted turkey sandwich, tater tots, lots of ice tea and ice water and German Chocolate Cake for desert. 42 miles to Baker City and nothing else between here and there but road, mountains, and sun. Feeling great, but it’s going to be a hot ride….I shouldn’t have eaten those tater tots—forgot my rule about deep fried stuff….doesn’t sit well on the stomach in the heat. 

Met guy pulling a cart behind his bike with his dog in it about 40 miles from Baker City. Can’t remember the guys name, but the dog name is Mona. I had been seeing motorcycles on the road all day going in both directions—lots of them, so I knew something was up but didn’t think much about it. The guy asked me if I had a place to stay in Baker City and I told him no, I would just figure it out when I got there. He told me there was a motorcycle rally there today and all weekend so finding a place may be tough. So, I got on the phone and called the first of the two motels listed on my map and the first full. I called the second and they had two rooms available so I grabbed one…this was around 3pm….thanks to Mona’s owner, I got a room for tonight. Had I just rolled into town like normal, I would have been out of luck and most likely sleeping on the side of the road tonight. See a pic of Mona below with her ski goggles on to protect her eyes from the glaring—and did I say HOT sun 🙂

The third and last climb I had to do before getting to Baker City was at 3,684 feet. I thought I would never get to the top of that thing. It was HOT, HOT, HOT (98 degrees by 5pm) and I was tired, almost out of water and just seemed to keep climbing forever. I remember looking at my GPS and seeing 2,800 and something feet for what seemed like forever—would just keep going up then dropping down, then going up, then dropping down….I had a few choice words for the GPS that I can’t put here because I made myself a promise to keep this blog clean and positive 🙂 

Stopped at a rest are with one tree—the only tree for miles around—and sat under it for a bit to cool off…still had 28 miles to go, was hot, and was still climbing to the top of that last climb. 

Finally, around 7pm I made it to the top of the last climb—the longest 36 hundred feet ever—and then had a short drop into Baker City. When I got to town I was more exhausted than I remember being at the end of any day on this trip. I stopped at the first gas station I spotted, bought a large (I think 1 liter) bottle of Diet Coke, a cup of ice, and an 18 oz bottle of ice tea. Sat out front of the gas station on the ground and drank it all. 

Made my way to the Motel and checked in…I had enough salt on my skin and cloths that I could have filled a nice sized salt shaker with it. Turned on the AC, took a shower, and crashed on the bed for about 30 min before getting up to write this and then I’m going out to find something else to drink—don’t need food—just need cold fluids. 

Today’s ride was one of the, and maybe the, toughest ride of the trip. I’m feeling good now that I have cold, fresh fluids in me and a shower, but I was completely drained when I rolled into town. So, going to get a good nights sleep then get up and do it again tomorrow…three back to back climbs all over 5,000 feet in the first 60 miles going out of Baker City tomorrow 🙂 Not sure where I’ll stop tomorrow, but most likely won’t be another 100 mile day 🙂

Posted in Oregon | Comments Off on Day 49: 110.4 miles — Cambridge, ID to Baker City, OR

Day 48: 82.6 Miles — Riggins to Cambridge, ID

Up at 6am and on the road at 6:45. 60 degrees this morning….supposed to be sunny all day with a high of 90. Climbed for the first 2.5 hours this morning heading to New Meadows. Not a steep climb just long and on a busy highway…the high today was actually 94–got a bit warm toward the end of the day.

Met a couple on a tandem this morning from Missouri. They started in Pueblo (said they were only interested in seeing the Northwest) and are going to Florence, Oregon. They are stoping in New Meadows tonight because they wore out their rear break pads going down these mountains…there is no bike shop in New Meadows so they ordered a set of pads and are having them shipped to the post office there General delivery….they’re hoping they will arrive today. 

10:20 made it to New Meadows about 35 miles in. Stopped at Subway for a turkey sub, Diet Coke, and since those oatmeal raisin cookies were so good last time I got three more this time 🙂

Lots of logging trucks on the road this morning…riding on hwy 95 all day and the shoulder isn’t that great, so having to keep an eye on the trucks…have had to just run off in the ditch more than once to keep from getting run over. 

Pulled into Council at 1pm…stopped at the Cenex gas station for Diet Coke, orange juice, cranberry grape drink and snickers bar. 59 miles down for the day…making good time…starting to get hot. 

There is a dirt/gravel road that runs about 22 miles from from Council to Cambridge. I tried it for about 2 miles hoping to get away from the traffic on 95, but I don’t have the tires on this bike for it—my tires are road tires and they’re getting pretty slick and they sink into the loose gravel too much. So, had to jump back on hwy 95 and fight the logging trucks and RVs to Cambridge. 

Got to Cambridge about 4pm and checked into the Frontier motel. Have my routine down pretty well now…,when I finish the day and check into the motel or set up camp, then before I go to a restaurant to eat, I stop by a gas station and get lots of liquids to rehydrate—for example, this evening I stopped at the Sinclair station and got a large Diet Coke, cup of ice for it, a sparkling lemonade, and a V8 (I’ve rediscovered V8 juice on this trip. The original vegetable juice before all the swanky juicerys started popping up). I sat outside the station and drank those to help get caught up on liquids, then I went down the street to a cafe (can’t remember the name) for dinner. I just can’t get enough liquids at dinner, so have to get a head start. Had the super duper sandwich of pulled pork, bacon, and bratwurst—very good. So good, in fact, I ordered a second to go and ate it in my motel room. 

As much as I’ve eaten during this trip I should weigh 300 lb, but I’m burning calories like crazy. I think I’ve probably lost at least 12-15 lbs…the cloths I have with me that used to fit are falling off me now. The challenge will be to keep that weight off when I get home. This time last year before I started training for this trip I weighed just over 200 lb. I started training in Sep last year and when I started the trip in May I was down to 182. When I got to Lexington and took a day off, I was down to 175. I’m guessing I’m under 170 now—which is good. I feel good and want to stay at this weight.

Need to start no later than 6am tomorrow morning. Tomorrow my goal it to make Baker City, Oregon—that’s 112 miles with a couple climbs to get there. It’ll be a tough day, but doable as long as I get an early start and the wind is kind to me—it’s been good for the past couple days, so hope that holds out. 

If I make Baker City tomorrow, then I’ll have exactly 575 miles to Astoria. I should be able to make that easily by next Friday or Saturday. I called the bike shop in Astoria today about shipping my bike and found out they are open 7 days a week. That’s a relief….was a little concerned that if I didn’t make it until later in the day Saturday, and they were closed then I may have to wait until Monday to ship it. So, will wait a couple more days to make sure I stay on track with my daily miles, then will start looking for a plane ticket home—hopefully on Sunday, the 22nd. 

If I make it to Astoria on Friday that’ll be 56 days….one day later than I predicted, or Saturday will be two days later. But who knows…I may feel energetic, put in two or three more centuries after tomorrow and finish on Thursday—exactly on time 🙂

Not a lot of pics today. Was on busy hwy 95 all day and not a lot of great scenery to be honest. Some people have told me that Oregon is the most scenic of the entire trip—hope so, but that’s going to be a tough standard to live up to if it’s going to beat what I’ve already seen. 

Feeling great—did 82 today and felt fresh and strong when I finished. Hope I wake up tomorrow feeling as good as I did today…big day tomorrow and going to need the strength. 

Posted in Idaho | Comments Off on Day 48: 82.6 Miles — Riggins to Cambridge, ID

Day 47: 69.3 Miles — Kooskia to Riggins, ID

Up at 6 am this morning and on the road at 6:45. Nice and cool out…ready to attack the big climb then have breakfast about 20 or so miles down the road. 60 degrees with a high of 87 today and sunny…at the risk of jinxing myself I sure have had some great weather lately…hope it holds out. 

What a climb. No more of the Rocky Mountain 6% stuff….it seems they just spread asphalt over the mountain as it is here like in the Appalachians. Back to the kind of climbing where it’s not enough to just push on the peddles—you have to push the peddle and pull back with your arms to get up this mountain. The road is Called Lamb Grade road….they should rename it Mountain Goat Grade Road. 

Back into wheat fields….starting to look like Kansas with mountains. Saw at least a half dozen deer in the wheat fields today…all you can see is their head above the wheat. When they spot me they try to duck down and hide. 

Stopped in Grangeville at 25 miles in at the Cenex gas station and Taco Johns for breakfast….Diet Coke, orange juice, banana nut muffin, and two breakfast burritos.

Topped white bird hill at 11:30. Must be out of the Rockies now since they are calling them “hills” instead of mountains or passes 🙂 it was a tough climb regardless of what its called. 

Along the Salmon river there is a white sand beach every few hundred yards….you could take your pick of your own private beach here…lots of rafting on the river. Riggins seems to be the place to go if you want to do some me white water rafting—everything I saw of the river seemed to be rather mild, but would be great for the family. 

Crossed the bridge over the Salmon River into Riggins and saw a sign telling me I’m back in the Mountain Time Zone….feel like I took a wrong turn and am headed the wrong way :-). Checked the map and I’ll be back in the Pacific Time Zone when I hit Oregon in a day or two…so, going the right way just not really sure what time it is 🙂 

Still feeling great…another big(ish) climb tomorrow morning. Seems climbing up to 4,000+ feet then dropping back down to 1,200+ feet then doing it again is the order of the day now….not bad though…makes for a good workout 🙂

Posted in Idaho | Comments Off on Day 47: 69.3 Miles — Kooskia to Riggins, ID

Day 46: 88.3 Miles — Powell to Kooskia, ID

Up at 5:30 today and on the road at 6:30am. The store and cafe were close this morning when I left so will need to skip breakfast do 66 miles and then have a good lunch. The ride today follows the Lochse River and is a slow downhill most of the day. 

66 miles in I made it to the Wilnerness Inn and Cafe in Lowell. The pictures of the pine/cedar Forrest and river is what I’ve seen all day…no Idaho potatoes here…just a lot of wilderness. I could have taken a hundred pictures like the ones below…that has been the scenery all day. Having lunch at the cafe—turkey sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, fries and iced tea. 

After leaving the cafe I met two young ladies doing the trip west to east. I think one had just finished college and wanted to do this and talked her friend into joining her. They have been on the road for three weeks this far and seem to be really enjoying it. They asked me about some of the highlights for me and I shared some of my favorite spots along the route. I asked them if they had bear spray and they didn’t, so since I’m now officially out of Grizzly country I gave them mine. 

I rolled into Kooskia at about 3:30 pm and am spending the night here. Checked into the Western motel…Clean with AC, shower, comfortable bed, and fast WiFi all for $50 tax included—the retired military rate 🙂

Feeling good and would like to do another 20-30 miles, but I’ve got a steep climb coming up so figured it would be best to tackle that when I’m fresh in the morning….also, there is a laundry across the road and I really need to wash my riding cloths 🙂 

The last photo below is from the town market parking lot. Main Street in Kooskia is only about 1/4 mile long with old buildings and most of them open and in business. The photo captures 4 American flags flying above businesses on Main Street…doubt people around here sympathize much with the spoiled millionaire football players complaining about the new NFL rule requiring them to stand for the National Anthem or stay in the locker room. I like this town 🙂

Feeling good and strong….will be riding through Hells Canyon Wilderness area tomorrow—that sounds fun 🙂 

Posted in Idaho | Comments Off on Day 46: 88.3 Miles — Powell to Kooskia, ID

Day 45: 64.5 Miles — Missoula, MT to Powell, ID

Up at 8 am this morning and headed back over to the side of town where the ACA is located. Ate a really bad breakfast sandwich at a swanky little cafe while I waited for the ACA to open. Then stopped in and signed their riders log and got my pic taken for their riders wall. Bought my jersey, declined the tour of the building, took a selfie wearing my jersey (my overpriced $80 jersey) in front of the ACA building, then headed the 13 miles back to Lolo where I was yesterday to take highway 12 to Idaho. When I think about it, I did about 35 miles off-route just for the privilege of paying $80 for a TransAmerica Jersey I could have ordered online—I must be crazy 🙂 oh well, it is a cool riding jersey 🙂

Made it back to Lolo at 11am. Stopped at a gas station/market at the hwy 12 turnoff for some liquids—Diet Coke, orange juice, and a bottle of Perrier, before heading out of the sprawl and back into the Wild West. As I was leaving the gas station I saw a guy with a loaded touring bike sitting at the side of the building. I stopped to say hello. Turns out he is from Australia and he had left his bike unattended earlier in the morning and someone stole his handlebar bag that contained his passport, money, credit cards, etc. He was trying to figure out what to do…he was headed East but thought he may have to head back west to get his passport replaced. I gave him $40 to help with food and stuff until he could get his CCs replaced. I’ve been ultra paranoid about keeping an eye on all my stuff this entire trip. Every time I go into a market, cafe, gas station, etc., I take my handlebar bag with me—it contains my cash, phone, cc, etc., and I park the bike in front of a window so I can see it. A few days ago I heard of a couple from Europe who were riding west to east. They were staying with a warm showers host in Denver and both their bikes were stolen. Only takes one crook to ruin your entire tour. 

43 miles in today and stopped at a restaurant in Lolo Hot Springs. This is a little camping, horse riding, swimming area on the edge of a national forest in the Bitterroot mountains. Been riding through thick pine and cedar forrest since leaving Lolo this morning—some massive cedar trees here. Still not sure about exact services ahead but think there should at least be camping and looks like maybe a bike only camping spot. Will be climbing Lolo Pass when I leave here…looks like a steep climb back up to 5,234 feet. 

Started the Lolo Pass climb and seems when you see a “chain up” sign you know you’re about to start a big climb 🙂

3:45 entered my 9th State, Idaho and the Pacific Time zone at the top of Lolo Pass at 5,234 feet….in the home stretch how. Was a hot climb—over 90 degrees and full sun, but the climb itself wasn’t that difficult. 

At 3:45—again—arrived at the Lochsa lodge, campsites, cabins, restaurant, and bar….a little oasis out in the middle of the Idaho wilderness. Next services is 66 miles away, so I’ll be spending the night here. Camping here is free for cyclists, so I’ll be setting up the tent tonight and fighting off the mosquitos. Sitting outside the county store here cooling down with a Diet Coke, a sparkling grapefruit drink, and a cool breeze. 

Overall a very good day of riding after I got out of Missoula. It did get hot this afternoon….didn’t have phone service so not sure the exact temp, but I’m sure it got close to the 95 degrees that was forecast. 

Posted in Idaho | Comments Off on Day 45: 64.5 Miles — Missoula, MT to Powell, ID

Day 44: 54.1 Miles — Hamilton to Missoula, MT

Decided that I really want to go to Missoula and stop by the Adventure Cycling Headquarters (ACA) so slept in late this morning—up at 8 am—since Missoula is only about 50 miles away. The main reason I want to go there is to buy my TransAmerica Cycling Jersey—I could order it online, but it wouldn’t be the same 🙂 since they are closed today, this will be a short riding day and I probably won’t hit the road tomorrow until noon or so resulting in a short riding day tomorrow, but it’ll be worth it and will give my body a little recovery time before the last 1,000 miles of the trip. 

Stopped on the way out of town this morning for breakfast at the Coffee Cup Cafe—waffle, oatmeal, orange juice and coffee. Nice day this morning—calling for a high of 89 and sunny all day. 

Nice bike trail by the road all the way to Missoula, but that is really the highlight of the day. From Hamilton to Missoula I’m on this bike trail right beside a very busy 4 lane highway. Missoula is a big city—at least the largest I’ve been in since Pueblo. Lots of industrial/sprawl between the two places—not a lot of great scenery. Missoula is actually about 8 miles off-route. Once I’ve visited the ACA tomorrow I’ll have to ride the 8 miles back down to Lolo then head out into the Wild West again…should cross over into Idaho tomorrow. 

Lots of log home and ranch gate/entrance builders here and for the past two days I’ve been seeing a lot of little casinos out here. These are attached to everything from McDonalds to gas stations to grocery stores to cafes. Seems like a lot of places with electronic gaming they call casinos—pretty unattractive actually. 

Stopped in Lolo for lunch….turkey sub with Diet Coke and I ordered 2 rasin and oatmeal cookies but they were 3 for a dollar so I had to take that deal 🙂 

Rode the last 8 miles into Missoula with a local bicyclists who was very interested in what I was doing. He lives in Missoula but never heard of the ACA. Got to town early and decided to swing by the ACA headquarters just so I would know where it is tomorrow, so I can get there when it opens, get my jersey, and hit the road. The headquarters is on the far end of town in the swanky, high rent area—very nice building. Judging from the building they are occupying the ACA is doing very well for a nonprofit. I think the Missoula university (or maybe college) is just down the road and there was a Holiday Inn just a couple blocks away. I stopped there to see about getting a room for the night—$210. I declined that deal…remembered a motel I passed on the other side of town (the low rent side of town) that had a sigh that read something like “a nice motel for ice people” so rode 3 miles back there for a room—$70—much better 🙂 of course they have a card with room safety tips on the bed (don’t remember seeing that before) but I’m sure everything will be ok 🙂 

Tomorrow I’ll ride the 3 miles back to the ACA for a visit and to pick up my jersey (my luck they will be out or won’t have my size :-)), then I’ll head toward Idaho. 

When I started this trip I had a 12 map set for the entire trip. It’s mapped west to east, so I started with map 12…today I finished map 4 and will start map 3 tomorrow—in the home stretch now. 

Feeling great and strong….looking forward to getting out of this city and back to the Wild West 🙂

Posted in Montana | Comments Off on Day 44: 54.1 Miles — Hamilton to Missoula, MT

Day 43: 91.7 Miles — Jackson to Hamilton, MT

Up at 6am this morning and on the road at 6:30…was hard for me to get out of that comfortable bed this morning. Some rain clouds in he sky and a little windy—don’t like that to start off with. 

Got to Wisdom about 7:40 at 18 miles in….had breakfast at The Crossings. Having country ham, eggs, toast, biscuits and gravy. Small town, but does have a convince store…it’s closed now, but hope it’ll be open by the time I’m done with breakfast. Need some Gatorade and snacks…long way before next services. 50 degrees this morning….cloudy and cold. 

No, not open and I don’t want to wait so am hitting the road with two bottles of water and half a pack of peanut butter M&Ms 🙂

Very nice morning for riding…making great time on the road. The climb to the pass is gradual and I’ve been on my large chain ring a lot this morning. 

Topped Chief Joseph Pass and the Continental Divide at 11:25 am. I can’t remember how many crossings I’ve made but its been a few. Beautiful day….resting at the top for a couple minutes before heading down the other side. 

Riding off the pass was the best downhill of the trip so far. Wide shoulders and sweeping switchbacks where I did between 30 and 40 mph that straightened out and continued going down…rode it for over 12 miles all the way to Sula hardly had to peddle the entire 12 Miles. Stopped in Sula at a camp store/gas station for lunch—turkey sandwich, Diet Coke, V8, and Orange Juice. 

The route continued on a downward slope all the way to Hamilton where I’m staying tonight. From the top of Chief Joseph Pass at 7,400 feet, I dropped to about 3,600 feet in Hamilton. This is the lowest altitude I’ve been at in quite a while. Didn’t take many pics today…was having too much fun flying down the mountain 🙂 

Got to town after the bike shop closed and it won’t be open tomorrow—Sunday. Also, will be hitting Missoula tomorrow morning as well where the American Cycling Association (ACA) is located, but it’ll be closed since it’s Sunday. So, I’ll either have to take a day off (short day) tomorrow and stay in Missoula until Monday or press on and miss visiting the ACA. Wanted to buy my Trans America bike jersey there….not sure what I’ll do….thinking about it tonight.

A very good ride today….feeling good and strong. 

Posted in Montana | Comments Off on Day 43: 91.7 Miles — Jackson to Hamilton, MT

Day 42: 86.3 Miles — Sheridan to Jackson, MT

Up at 6 am this morning. Had a hard time falling to sleep last night…don’t know why…I was exhausted. Hope I’m not dragging today. Supposed to be a nice day with a high of 89. 

Stopped at 9 miles in Twin Bridges for breakfast. You always know where the cafe is in these small towns by looking for where the trucks are parked. The cafe in this town is in a grocery store…a couple tables in front with some pre-made breakfast burritos. Sat with some locals talking about big game hunting and politics—no doubt this is Trump country. 

About 18 miles in stopped to take some pics and this guy was in a field on his 4 wheeler spraying weeds. He came over to the fence and said good morning and ask where I was headed. His name was Ross. We talked for about 30 min….he owned a couple hundred archers there, was a retired saddle maker and leather worker. His second wife was a western hat maker—his first passed away and a couple years later he met his current wife in her hat shop—said he didn’t expect Cupid to be in a hat shop 🙂 She retired and their daughter is still running the hat shop. He lived in Montana all his life and didn’t want to live anywhere else. He had a few cattle grazing on his land and he was spraying weeds before the county came by and sprayed them for him and sent him the bill—weed free hay and fields seems to be a big thing here—see signs all over about inspecting hay that is brought in from another county. Ross struck me as the definition of a true cowboy gentleman. 

Made it to Dillon at 10:45 about 38 miles in. Stopped at a subway for an early lunch….I like their turkey sandwiches and the fact that I can drink unlimited Diet Coke 🙂

Stopped at 48 miles in as I was starting the first climb of the day to dig out my super lightweight, sleeveless crash test dummy jersey. The one I was wearing (and have been wearing since Pueblo) was itching….not sure why, but it’s a heavier material for the cold and today seemed to have a bit of humidity that I haven’t experienced for a while now. Anyway, my crash test dummy jersey made it all better 🙂

Saw a Golden Eagle sitting on a fence post (pic below) and was able to get one pic of him before he took off. He flew about 1/4 mile down the road and landed on top of one of these huge field watering contraptions that I’ve been seeing since Kansas, that was right beside the road. I pulled up beside him and was able to get several good shots — when I rode off he was still sitting there. 

Topped Badger Pass, 6,760 feet, at 2:30 pm…tough climb, but not as tough as the next one to come later today. 

Stopped at road construction light for the longest time on record…had to have been held at a red light for 30 minutes while trucks went In and out of the work site delivering blacktop to the crew a couple miles ahead. Stood on new black top surface burning up in the sun….not fun. The only saving grace is there was a nice cool breeze. 

Topped Big Hole Pass at 5:15 pm….man that was a workout and a half—I underestimated that sucker….brought back memories of the Appalachians. Rolling down the other side wasn’t as great as it should have been for all the work required climbing it due to a stiff headwind, but it was still a good break and recovery from the climbing. It was mostly downhill all the way to Jackson where I’m staying tonight. 

On the way down the other side of Big Hole Pass I looked off to the right and saw a Bald Eagle perched on top of a huge rock in a field with mountains as a backdrop. I was able to get a pic before he saw me and took off—it’s below. 

I rolled into Jackson after a hard 83 miles today mainly due to the two tough climbs and the road work. When I got to town which is composed of a few buildings within about a 200 yard stretch of road, I checked into the “Hotel” in town which is really a hostel with 5 beds—I got the last bed available….good thing because the next place is 18 miles away and I’m exhausted. 

There are a couple of hikers and one other cyclists here tonight. Had a steak at the restaurant/bar next door—it was pretty full because there is a rodeo in a nearby town—when I say nearby, I think it’s about 40 miles—didn’t ask which town since I don’t think I’ll be riding my bike there to see it 🙂 

Another good day of riding….except for the headwind near the end of the day and the roadwork, almost another perfect day. The climbing was tough but I’m getting to the point that I really don’t mind that—just get in the zone and crank. 

Supposed to be another nice day tomorrow with a high of 79…got to love that 🙂 

Posted in Montana | Comments Off on Day 42: 86.3 Miles — Sheridan to Jackson, MT

Day 41: 105.6 Miles — West Yellowstone to Sheridan, MT

Up at 6am this morning and on the road at 6:40. 38 degrees, sunny and clear sky’s. Supposed to be another nice day…hope it’s like yesterday—got a 100+ miles to do today. 

Stopped at 11 miles in by lake Hebgen Lake for breakfast…orange juice and the hostess cupcakes I bought yesterday 🙂

11 am and 48 miles in for the day. Still no place to stop for a real breakfast…the cupcakes just aren’t cutting it 🙂 There were a couple places marked on my map but they either weren’t open or weren’t there. Looks like Cameron will be the first place with any kind of services…maybe 8-10 more miles. Been following a river most of the day….lots of river boats with fly fishermen—this looks a trout fishermen’s paradise. 

Rode about 4 miles through a black nat storm. There were continuous swarms of them…it sounded like it was raining the way they were pinging on my jacked as I rode through them. Hard to breath without sucking them in….I think I ate quite a few just because they were sticking to my teeth. 

Pulled into Cameron at noon with 61 miles down. Hungry and ready for lunch. Having a BLT with fries and ice tea at the Blue Moon Saloon. Still a perfect day for riding—except for the nat storm. 11 miles to Ennis where I will have dropped back down just below 5,000 feet then I start the climb back above 7,000 feet before hitting Virginia City. That is going to be a heck of a climb. I will have lost just over 2,000 feet over 70+ miles before I start the climb, then I will gain that 2,000 feet back in about 9 miles. I have done tougher climbs during this trip, but this one is going to get my attention—especially since I will have over 70 miles under my belt before starting it. 

Stopped in Ennis at about 1:30. Nice little western tourist kind of town. Had an ice cream and Diet Coke from Yesterdays Soda Fountain and restaurant. Sat in the park for about 30 min and rested before starting the climb out of town back up to about 7,000 feet. This would be a nice place to stay for the night, but too early in the day to stop just yet. 

Got to the top of the pass at 4:10 pm with 83 miles for the day. It wasn’t the toughest climb I’ve done but it was tough enough. 

Virginian city is 5.5 miles down from the pass and I was there in no time. I was riding in the middle of the road because I was going as fast as the cars on the road….no one needed to pass me. When I hit the Virginia city city limits they have one of those flashing speed signs telling you how fast you are going—I was doing 42 in a 30 mile per hour zone—the sign was flashing its yellow lights at me to slow down 🙂

Virginia city is on the side of the mountain and is like an old western town, but you can tell it’s a tourist spot. So I stopped for a minute to jot down these notes, snap a couple photos and then pushed on. 

Hit Alder at about 94 miles in. The only thing in town was Chuck’s Motel and Bar. It looked a little run down and I wasn’t feeling it. But it was still early and I was still feeling strong so didn’t need to stop there for the night. 11 miles down the road is Sheridan and I knew it was a bit larger with motels and restaurants. What sealed the deal though was I would be turning north out of Alder to Sheridan and there was a nice wind coming out of the south—so I would have a tail wind for the first time I can remember. So I cranked the peddles and headed for Sheridan—got there about 5:45 and checked in to a nice, clean motel—the Moriah Motel — $75. Ate at a local restaurant—chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, ice tea, and a couple beers. 

Burned 6,099 calories today and my top speed was 47.2 mph—-I don’t think that’s a record….think I was over 48 mph in VA, but it was still pretty fast and lasted for a long time on that long switch back down the mountain today. 

Another excellent day of riding. Feeling strong and looking forward to blasting out more miles tomorrow.

 

Posted in Montana | Comments Off on Day 41: 105.6 Miles — West Yellowstone to Sheridan, MT

Day 40: 92.6 Miles — Colter Bay, Wy to West Yellowstone, MT

Up at 5:30 this morning. 37 degrees and cold!!! Had a great breakfast at the park cafe. Hit the road at 8….late start but this has been the coldest morning yet…was soaking up the heat in the cafe 🙂 

It was freezing cold this morning…toes cold,  hands cold, nose cold….just cold!!!!

Exited the Teton Park at 9:25 after about 13 miles to some beautiful sunshine and warmth. No wind….perfect riding day thus far. 

Entered Yellowstone at 10 am….nice weather. Parked at a pullout a couple miles in to walk down a trail and see Moose falls…posted pics below but have some good video I’ll post after the trip is over. 

Found a US Flag by the side of the road so being the 4th of July thought it only appropriate to attach to my bike 🙂

Stopped at 11 am with 25 miles in at the top of a big climb to put on mosquito spray. Too cold to do it this morning and they were feasting big time on me and I didn’t even realize it. Lots of mosquitos yesterday and today. 

About 11:40 with 30 miles in stopped to take photos of Lewis Falls. The scenery is spectacular here and it’s perfect riding weather. Feel like I need to stop and take photos every 5 minutes. But have a lot of climbing to do today and if I’m going to make west Yellowstone I need to keep moving. 

40 miles in and Stopped at the mini mart at Grant Village. It was about a mile off route but not much after this so needed to stop to fuel up. Had a turkey sandwich, Diet Coke, orange juice for lunch and picked up a Hostess frosted chocolate cup cakes for the road. The three others I camped with last night are staying here tonight, but I’m feeling great and am moving on. It’s 12:45 and I plan to do another 50 or so miles as long as the great weather holds out and the wind doesn’t kick up in my face. 

At 1:50 crossed the Continental Divide for the second time today and at around 2:45 crossed it for the third time today…my climbing legs are getting a workout today. 

About 3:15 arrived at old faithful…didn’t go see it though….just ate a grilled cheese sandwich and fries in the restaurant. Sent Tori and June something from the gift store. Still got a few miles go today. No cell service all day. 

At about 6:30 pm Arrived at West Yellowstone — which isn’t in Yellowstone — it’s a town just outside the West  (Montana) entrance to Yellowstone. Checked in at Al’s Westward Ho Motel—no, I don’t get the name, but it’s a clean, comfortable, affordable room, so it’s all good. 

Was a fantastic day of riding. The weather was perfect. The wind was calm. The scenery was spectacular. I rode completely through Yellowstone today….saw one buffalo, one Moose, one Bald Eagle, and endless beautiful countryside. I crossed the Continental Divide three times today—I think that makes 7 for the trip thus far—covered 92 miles, and entered Montana, my 8th state of 10. And I feel strong and ready to do it again tomorrow. 

Happy 4th of July everyone—I’m sitting here in a hotel room in Montana listening to fireworks outside. I haven’t kept up with my total mileage, but I think I’m over 3,000 miles for the trip thus far. This is shaping up to be an adventure of a lifetime for me, but I’m ready to knock out the other 13-14 hundred miles or so and get back home to June and Tori 🙂

 

Posted in Montana | Comments Off on Day 40: 92.6 Miles — Colter Bay, Wy to West Yellowstone, MT

Day 39: 69.2 Miles — Dubois to Colter Bay, WY

Up at 5am and on the road at 5:40 this morning. A cool 45 degrees. Will be climbing Togwotee pass at 9,584 feet this morning so may not warm up for a bit. 

It has been a great ride tho morning. I left Dubois with three other cyclists that I had met a couple days ago—a father-daughter team from Arizona and Ouva from Germany. At about 30 miles in we topped Togwotee Pass then it was fun time going town the other side. 

At 39 miles in we come up over this little rise in the road and got our first glimpse of the most spectacular view of the entire trip thus far—the Tetons. It’s hard to explain just how massive and stunning these mountains are—not sure the pictures capture it. But, this is one sight you must see. If you haven’t been here do yourself a favor and take a vacation here. 

1:30 and 50 miles in. Sitting at a gas station waiting for a storm to pass—these things sure do pop up quick out here. An hour ago there wasn’t a dark cloud in sight…now they’re everywhere 

Waited for the storm to pass and had a good ride into Grand Tetons National Park. Arrived around 3:30pm. Am camping in Colter Bay in the park. There are steel bear boxes at all the campsites with warnings to put all food and anything that smells in the box…wondering if that means I should crawl in it 🙂 Camping with three other cyclists in the campground. The views here are spectacular—in case I haven’t mentioned it 🙂 

It’s a little cool here…supposed to be 35 degrees when I wake up at 5 in the morning…going to test the limits of my 32 degrees sleeping bag tonight. 

Today was a great day of cycling. Not sure how far I’m going tomorrow—thinking of trying for West Yellowstone, but that’s 80 miles and at least two mountain passes—maybe three. The 80 miles isn’t a problem, but that many passes may be a little tough. We’ll see—I may end up sleeping on the side of the road tomorrow if I don’t plan correctly. 

 

Posted in Wyoming | Comments Off on Day 39: 69.2 Miles — Dubois to Colter Bay, WY

Day 38: 81.4 Miles — Lander to Dubois, WY

Up at 5am and on the road at 5:40. Nearly got run over by a deer on the way out of town…she was about to run across the road and saw me when she was about 10 feet from me and stopped. Entered the Wind River Indian Reservation just out of town and stayed in that for a long time….followed the wind river all the way to Dubois. 

Got to Fort Washakie about 7:30 this morning and decide to go off route a few miles to visit the gravesite of Sacajawea. Everything I had read made me believe it was off some unmarked road and was difficult to find. In fact, there is a sign on the main road directing you to turn left. After that there are no more signs, but it’s in a large cemetery on a hill that you can see for a mile away….I thought that was way too obvious so I was looking for some secluded gravesite like a few posts I read indicated and got lost for a bit…once I figured out she was buried in the large cemetery named Sacajawea Cemetery (go figure) then it was easy to find 🙂 Of course, there is disagreement whether she is buried there or somewhere else, buy I’ll just go with the idea its here. 

Was the perfect riding day for the first 50 Miles, and I was just thinking how nice it was and how much better it was then yesterday, then I topped a hill just before Crowhesrt and it was like someone flipped on the wind switch—here it came just like yesterday right in my face. I rode about a mile to a Sinclair gas station and had a Diet Coke, Fritos, and bean dip and was hoping it would die down, but no luck so I got back on my bike and started fighting it again….now I’m just annoyed and determined to not let it beat me. But it did beat on me every inch for the last 30 miles today. 

Made it to Dubois about 4:30. Took me longer and much more effort to do the last 30 miles than it did to do the first 50. The wind was so strong at times I had to peddle down mountains after I climbed them…if I stopped peddling the wind would stop me in my tracks. On mountain slopes I would normally zoom down at 35-40 mph I had to peddle down. It was like the wind was trying to push me back to KY. But, on the up side the first 50 Miles were perfect and no traffic worries today since I had a wide shoulder the entire day….I just kept reminding myself of that. 

I don’t want to keep harping on how hard things are because of the wind and sound negative….Wyoming is a beautiful state with amazing scenery. I was told by someone in town that this has been an unusually windy past few weeks…doesn’t help a lot but good to know. I’m just looking forward to “normal” winds again…the wind I’ve faced so far in WY is worse than anything I encountered in Kansas and it is always coming out of the West or Northwest….the direction a Westbounder like myself travels. Just  an FYI for anyone else thinking of doing this. 

Felt good and strong today…if not I would have been in big trouble the last 30 miles. I think a good, comfortable, long nights sleep is key. I’ve checked into the Stagecoach Inn and plan to get another good nights sleep tonight. About 5pm I had dinner at the Cowboy Cafe beside the hotel — hamburger steak, cowboy potatoes, mixed vegetables, iced tea and peach and rhubarb pie with ice cream for desert. 

It’s 8pm now and I’m having a second dinner at the Noon Rock Pizza place across the street from the hotel—9” vegetable pizza, 6 piece chicken wings and a couple Coors on draft—well, at least a couple so far 🙂 You can do crazy things like that when you burn as many calories as I’ve been burning every day 🙂 Plan to be in bed by 9:30 and hit it early again tomorrow. Supposed to be thunderstorms tomorrow with a high of 68–good, bring it on….just leave out the wind 🙂 

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Day 37: 59.3 Miles — Jeffrey City to Lander, WY

Up at 6am this morning…the concrete floor in the church was hard last night even with the air mattress. 65 this morning sunny and no wind….let’s hope that holds out for a while. 

7:40am and 13 miles in the sun is shining but it’s cold…fingers too stiff to type this. Feel like I’m in the twilight Zone out here…. every time I come over a rise in the road I just see more road for miles and miles—not many people live in this part of Wyoming—just a lot of cows and antelope. 

Stopped at Sweetwater Station rest stop to fill my water bottles and get a little break from the wind. It started blowing just before 8am coming out of the west and I’m headed west—I posted a pic of the flags at the rest stop to give you an idea just how hard the wind was blowing. This wind is killing me…..it is completely draining and demoralizing….I feel like I’ve been fighting it since Kansas. Makes me want to look for the nearest airport, get on a plane and go home. Give me a thunderstorm any day over this wind. Ok, complaining over….I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all part of the experience…no one said this was going to be a walk in the park—and it isn’t 🙂

51 miles in stopped at twin pines RV park for some much needed refreshments….sneakers bar, cheese and crackers, V8, and Diet Coke. Feeling rundown and sapped of energy…the wind is really sucking everything out of me….but I will not let it beat me!!!

In Lander Wy….a nice town. Checked into the Pronghorn Inn (seems everything out here has pronghorn or antelope in Its name) at 1:30pm. Stopping here for the day for three reasons….one, there is nothing between here and Dubois 75 miles away and I can’t do 75 more miles today, two I’m really tired—need to recharge by batteries, and three I saw this hotel as I entered town and the thought of a comfortable bed, some rest, and a hot shower tonight was just too much for me to pass up. 

Going to take the afternoon to relax, hydrate, take a nap, do some maintenance on my bike, and recharge. I didn’t sleep well on the concrete floor of the church basement last night.

I ate a late lunch at a bar in town—turkey sandwich, fries, and order of hot wings. Then went to the bike shop across the street (amazed it was open on Sunday) and bought a new pair of socks to replace the pair I’ve worn holes in, and a pair of comfortable full finger gloves to replace the useless ones I have.

Went back to the hotel and took a shower, washed my cloths (getting pretty good at washing my cloths in a sink 🙂 and took a great two hour nap then got up and cleaned/oiled my bike chain and peddles—my clip-in peddles have springs and moving parts in them that have been squeaking for the past couple days and have been annoying me, so they needed a good cleaning and oiling. 

About 6:30 went to the hotel restaurant and had the worst meatloaf I’ve ever eaten in my life—tasted and looked like it came straight out of a cheap TV dinner…you know, the old school kind with the aluminum foil you put in the oven (not a microwave) then peel off after it’s done without burning yourself. Ate a couple bites and hope it doesn’t make me sick. I love cracker barrel meatloaf so had that in mind when I ordered—bad choice! 

Went to the gas station/market across the street and picked up orange juice, V8, Diet Coke, and a turkey sandwich for breakfast tomorrow. Plan to hit the road early tomorrow hopefully feeling like Lance Armstrong again…this afternoon I was feeling like a little whipped puppy 🙂

My plan for the next two days are to make it to Dubois tomorrow—75 Miles and probably a lot of the same scenery as the past few days—just miles and miles of road with mountains off in the distance. Currently, I’ve dropped back down to about 5,300 feet. Tomorrow will be climbing all day to Dubois at around 7,000 feet, so will be a tough day….especially if the wind decides to punish me again. 

Then the day after tomorrow my plan is to make it to Colter Bay Village…that should be a big change in scenery for the better. Colter Bay is by Jackson Lake at the Grand Teton National Park….should be some stunning scenery. I’ll have to climb over Togwotee Pass at 9,658 feet to get there. 

Wednesday, I’ll enter Yellowstone National Park and haven’t figured out how I’ll work my way through there yet—I’ve heard traffic is a nightmare, but we’ll see….not sure where I’ll be spending 4th of July night, but will be traveling through Yellowstone during the day of the 4th. 

Felt tired and beat at the end of the ride today, but feeling much better now having the afternoon to recover and relax a bit. Here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow—the weather is calling for a high of 86 and sunny all day, so should be good. 

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