Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 91: Florence, OR

I made it!


This morning was a cool and gloomy morning with typical rainy and foggy Oregon coast weather as we biked our last few miles into Florence. We found a spot under the Highway 101 bridge to do the wheel dipping ceremony. We sloshed through mud and high grass to get down into the water where my family took our pictures while it continued to rain on us...all apart of the adventure! I smiled all morning with a huge sense of accomplishment knowing I had accomplished a life goal of riding coast to coast that I have been dreaming about for four years.

The picture above was taken with my phone, but I will post more pictures when I get to a proper computer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 83: Baker City, OR (rest day)

pictures...

Old Timer's Day Festival - Jackson, MT

Jackson, MT

At the Adventure Cycling Association's office, they took portraits of each of us for posterity. (Missoula, MT)


Missoula has a giant concrete "M" on a hillside overlooking Missoula and the valley. I took the 15 minute hike up the hill. It is a breathtaking view. This is a picture of a tired kid who just hiked up the steep hill and is resting against the base of the "M".


A view from the "M"


We followed this river during our 80 mile downhill from Lolo pass.

Another bike tourist. Check out his homemade panniers.

I had to yell the cheesy line from the Titanic movie: "I'm king of the world!" This picture was taken between Grangeville and White Bird, ID.

Pete is known to draft (a little too close) so he doesn't have to fight the headwinds. We joke about the face we see in our rear view mirrors, so Terry asked Pete to pose for a picture giving his drafting face. Cait has scolded Pete many times for drafting to close behind us, but you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Between Grangeville and White Bird, ID

Between Grangeville and White Bird, ID

Switchbacks near White Bird, ID - check them out on Google Maps

Changing another flat tire...I believe this is my fourth puncture during the trip.

I always love seeing animals outside of their pen. (near Riggins, ID)


near Riggins, ID

Old farm equipment - seen everywhere in the middle of nowhere

Cait rigged a flower on her bike. Notice how the stem goes into her water bottle...ingenious. It reminds me of how girls put a flower in their VW Bugs.

Entering Hell's Canyon - There was a cold rain before we entered, so thankfully it was not hot as it is known to be. I was told that last years group had 110 degree weather when they passed through Hell's Canyon.

Brownlee Reservior in Hell's Canyon

The last one!


I had my eyes peeled, but didn't see any.


Hell's Canyon

Picking roadside black berries in Hell's Canyon...

...and they were good!

The original ruts of the Oregon Trail (east of Baker City, OR)

Sunset beyond the mountains (Baker City, OR)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 79: Riggins, ID

We took a rest day in Missoula several days ago which is where the Adventure Cycling Association office is located. They give ice cream and soda to all the bike tourists who drop into their office. They gave us a tour of their office which has a lot of neat pictures and old bikes from the BikeCentennial. They gave us a picnic lunch and we got to meet and swap stories with all the employees. There are about 20 employees and nearly all of them commute to work by bike. Actually, Missoula is a bike-friendly city with lots of bike paths. The cars often insisted that we get the right-of-way. Of all the cities I have seen on this trip thus far, I'd like to return to Missoula to spend some time getting to know the city.

After Missoula, we crossed Lolo Pass which is the border beyween Montana and Idaho and followed a river downhill for about 80 miles. It was a great ride, especially being downhill, and tall pines and hillsides overshadowed the road and river. At times, the river reminded me of the movie "A River Runs Through It." There were a lot of river rafters and fly fishermen. The route follows the route that Lewis and Clark took on their expedition, so the roadside is littered with historical markers about them. The three days out of Missoula, I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and there were very few services, much less phone reception. I am surprised we did not see a bear because it sure did look like bear country. I had an amazing sighting of a bald eagle. He flew directly at me and swooped 20 feet above my head...made my day.

Tonight we are sleeping in Riggins, ID which seems to exist merely to support rafting tourists. The town is in a valley between two very steep mountains. One thing I have enjoyed about this trip is seeing how quickly the scenery, vegetation, wildlife, etc. changes. Just 50 miles back, the mountains were covered by evergreens, but here it is somewhat arid and pretty hot (not Texas hot though). Idaho is a state that I never hear or think much about, but I have been shocked by how beautiful northern Idaho is. I would enjoy bike touring through this area again in the future.

I am sitting in a restaurant as I type this out on my iPhone. The rest of my group just left and apparently had a conversation with an old man outside who just entered and sat at the table next to me with a group of people. The old man said to the rest of his table: "Those people out there are amazing... Guess what they are doing?!? 43 hundred some odd miles on bikes! That sounds like a crash course in death or maybe a preparation for the rest of life." I wonder if he is right...

As soon as I get to a proper computer I will post plenty of pictures. Hang tight.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cows...

Pete and I came across this herd of cows being transported to another location via the highway and blocking a line of cars. I guess cows have the right-of-way. This was near Sheridan, MT. Enjoy...



video

(The video is shaky because the camera is mounted on my handlebars.)

Day 71: Dillon, MT

Since my last post, we have seen some amazing places. We spent the 4th of July at Colter Bay in Teton National Park where there is a spectacular view of Jackson Lake with the Tetons towering over the lake on the other side. The ride through Teton Park is beautiful with lots of wild flowers, tall trees and wildlife. I took a detour off the route to visit Jackson Hole Ski Resort where I ate lunch at the base of the ski slopes then took a pleasant bike path to Jackson. We had a rest day in Jackson and I met up with a college buddy to hang out for the day.

Leaving Jackson, we had quite a climb over Teton Pass with an incline of 9% for 5.5 miles. It was much more difficult than Hoosier Pass but still does not compare to the roller coaster of the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains. Crossing mountain passes are always rewarding with a steep downhill on the other side. Rick's inner tube blew out on the way down from his breaks over heating the rim.

Shortly after Teton Pass we entered Idaho. It was really pretty with green rolling hills and mountains in the distance. At first I was surprised at how green everything seemed, but then noticed they were constantly watering their fields of potatoes. We were in Idaho for two days and entered Montana at West Yellowstone where we took two rest days. We did not bike through the park because the tourists in their RVs would have run us over. My mom and sister flew up to visit me and tour Yellowstone. Driving through the park is a good way to see a lot, but was difficult to fully enjoy from within the car. Old Faithful and "Artist's Point" were highlights in addition to the buffalo herds, moose, bald eagles, etc. I had a woundedful time with mom and Sheridan and they enjoyed camping with us and meeting the rest of the gang.

In other news, a mosquito found itself inside of my tent the other night and landed on the screen lining of the tent. I flicked him with my finger and all the blood inside of him that he had sucked out of the local mammals splatered and stained the inside of my tent.




This was a taken at a beautiful pond east of Jackson Hole. The peaks and their reflection in the water took my breath away when I first saw the pond.







There's still snow...
(picture taken east of Jackson Hole)






Jackson Lake with the Tetons in the background






Teton National Park






Teton National Park






Teton National Park






a moose





When you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, this is the only guy around to talk to.



I am assuming these are the famous potatoes of Idaho. (near Ashton, ID)






A roadside field of yellow (near Ashton, ID)





yet another border






Old Faithful - Faithful to the clock, it erupts every 90 minutes.






Everyone who comes to Yellowstone sits on the edge of their seat to watch Old Faithful.






The runoff from the thermal pools in Yellowstone often look like martian soil. (My sister Sheridan)






A view from "Artist's Point" in Yellowstone




Pretending to be tough...





tough guy






Earthquake Lake is west of Yellowstone and was formed from an earthquake when a part of the mountain fell across the Madison River forming a dam.






I don't know what this is all about but thought it was picture-worthy. The truck is spray painted to say "No Trespassing". (West of Ennis, MT)





This bright field of flowers welcomed me into Ennis, MT.






Virginia City, MT





Real taffy (Virginia City)





Come as you are and tie up your horse to the post. (Nevada City)






Nevada City, MT






All the farmers wave (between Virginia City and Nevada City)






This one is for you sister.





Pete visits an oasis lemonade stand (Sheridan, MT)