Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30 2014 Jackson Hole to Dubois WY

Today was one of those ride of a lifetime rides.  It was unbelievable in so many ways.  Scenery, wind, roads, traffic or lack of traffic, beautiful sun and temperatures in the low 70’s F.  there was lots to brag about.

So let me start at the beginning. I started out with Ed W and Ken C.  We were headed north out of Jackson Hole toward Tetons National Park.  There was a good wind out of the NW so the three of us took turns breaking the wind. They have built a new bike path for 16 miles north to Jenny Lake. It was so smooth the miles just flew by wind notwithstanding. The Grand Tetons were standing out to the west and it was a glorious sight.  Just north of Jenny Lake we turned SE so now that wind was on our back and  we were just sailing along.  Picnic came up at the 47 mile mark and I was surprised at how fast we were there. 

Two miles after picnic we hit the big climb of the day which was 17.9 miles of 2-6% grade.  I was feeling strong and it didn’t take long to drop Ed and Ken. Ed has been working so hasn’t had the bike training Ken and I have but to drop Ken on a hill is tough.  I stopped at the summit to take pictures with Jos who was there already. Ken rode up and so the three of us headed down the other side of Togwotee Pass (elevation 9584 ft). Downhill with a howling wind at your back with the smoothest of roads you can imagine. We had thirty miles to ride from the summit to Dubois and camp.  There were 9 miles of decent and then some low rollers which were generally down hill after the decent.  I was rolling at approximately 35 mph on the decent and the wind was so strong I was sailing along at 27 mph without pedalling on the low rollers. I forgot to check watch at the top but I doubt it took much more than an hour to get into camp.  Ken C said it took only 55 minutes.

At one point is was flying along at about 35 mph and suddenly there was a gopher in the rumble strip and he decided to go for the ditch. I thought for sure I was going to hit him. However he went between my wheels.  His lucky day and probably mine as well.

We are staying at the local KOA tonight and dining at the Donut CafĂ©.  Perfect!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29 2014 Day off Jackson Hole WY

Today was the rest day for the tour and I had taken a hotel room with Ken C.  So I wound up sleeping in or at least until 7:30 AM.  Ken was asleep so I quietly let myself out and went off to find breakfast.  I first ran into Earnie.   Jos and I walked downtown before we found a coffee place.  There we joined Tom R and Auzzie Bob for coffee and a bagel.

On the way back Jos and I found a bike shop and who can resist?  I wound up buying a couple of new tires.  I have one spare which has a few miles on it. Could be as much as 1000 as I can’t really remember. The tour bike mechanics have had a run on tires and I heard them saying to one of the riders that the only tires they have left are 700 x 28 and it was some sort of Panaracer and they wanted $85 for it.  The bike store only had one Gator skin and an assortment of other Continental tires but no pairs.  They did have a good selection of Specialized tires and so I grabbed a pair of Roubaix Endurance tires.  They are alleged to be very puncture resistant. We will see.  

By time we got back it was after 10:00 am and time to get on with chores.  Cleaning bike drying the tent out and sorting of gear.  

Ken and I went to a Chinese Buffet which was across the street for lunch which was pretty good and while were there a tour bus of Chinese came in for lunch so we figured we were in the right  place.  There was a big sign in the window declaring that the food contained no MSG.  Hopefully this is true as that stuff makes my eyes so puffy.

Ken and I walked downtown and were amazed how many tourists were wandering the streets.  The t-shirt shops are doing a roaring business.  We also walked through the historic Wort hotel and looked at all of the western art and mounted heads.  Kind of reminds me of the guy in Beauty and the Beast who did all of his decorating with antlers.

Tonight we are being shuttled out to the Jackson Science Center which is where the rest of the tour is camped. It is quite a long way out of town.  I understand that it is some sort of private residential school for K-12.  Quite a way to raise your child. Just send them away.

Tomorrow is another hundred mile day with a big climb in the middle.  Hopefully the wind which is currently blowing out of the west continues and we have a good day.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28 2014 Ashton ID to Jaskson WY

Last night the school fire alarm went off at 10:30Pm but I was already asleep in my tent. I thought it was my i-touch which I am using as an alarm clock and in my semi-awake state tried to turn it off. Finally I realized it was the school fire alarm.  It rang for a long time before it was shut off. I cannot imagine being one of the floor floppers.

The morning was only 45 F and heavily overcast with a wind out of the NW.  So it was really hard pulling on my riding kit and crawling out to face the day.

The ride was up over the Teton Pass which is one of the cycling icons.  The start of the day in Ashton was at 5276 ft and the pass summit is at 8456 ft.  There is a 5 mile approach with grades in the 3-5% range and then a 4 mile climb with grades in 8-12% range.  By the time I got to the main part of the climb the temperature was right around 60F and the wind was mostly at my back although coming up the pass it seemed like one minute it was a head wind and the next a tail wind. This was much more favourable conditions than when I did the climb in 2010. At that time the temperature was over 90F and the wind was solidly in your face.  After the climb there is a 6 mile 10% decline which is pretty scary.  I am not one for fast declines so I rode the brakes pretty heavy and kept the speed down.   There were several riders who passed me at what was probably well over 50 mph.

Cycle America is now staying at the Teton |science center which is some sort of a dormitory which is 5 miles out of town.  Ken C had reserved a room at a hotel in town and was looking for a room mated so when he offered I jumped at the chance.  Having a room in town for the day off will be great. 

This ride ended the second week of the nine tour.  It was suppose to be a recovery week as there were 6 ride days compared to the first which had 7 and the mileages were only 456 compared to 600 miles.  However the weather was so tough that it turned and easy week into a really hard week.   It will be fun to spend a day in Jackson visiting the sites. 


Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27 2014 West Yellowstone MT to Ashton ID

I think it rained all night I went to sleep listening to the drum of rain on the tent and it was raining when the alarm went at 5:20 Am.  Actually let me correct that it wasn’t raining it was pouring. So I dugout my heavy duty rain stuff.  The new rain pants and jacket along with the neoprene rain booties, and paddling gloves.  Then I realized that the booties I brought were for the other shoes which have narrow toe box.  So my feet are going to be cold. 

So I rolled down to breakfast and sat watching the rain hoping that it would stop but it was obvious that it was an all day soaker.  Ken C had decided to sag to day as he was already wet and cold.  I knew it was an easy day at only 64 miles and all down hill or at least mostly down hill.  The low cloud would mean that there wouldn’t be much for wind so it was going to be a cold wet ride.  The temperature on my bike read 41 F.  

The first 30 miles were down this very busy road which a lot of trucks and even worse a lot of rental motorhomes.  Every time one of them went past you it was like having some one slam you with a 5 gallon bucket of ice water.  The new pants and jacket worked well, as did my shower cap which kept my head dry and warm, however my feet were ice blocks. 

At the 33 mile mark we turned off the busy road and the van was there so I got in and warmed up.  I took a pair of Mary Margret’s hand warmers cracked them open and stuck them in my shoes.  They worked great. 

Got into picnic grabbed a few nuts and took off.  It was only 15 more miles into town so I went for it.  Got in to camp and had a bowl of chilli and a small pizza at the local diner.  While I was eating the rain stopped and the sun came out. So I hurried back to camp and got my tent and equipment dried out, even picked up some newspaper to put into my shoes and cleaned some of the grit off of my chain and oiled it. 

However a big black cloud was building to the west and it let out a huge thunder clap and the deluge started all over.  The power is out in the school where we are staying so hard to say what the impact on super is going to be.   Speculation is no power no supper.

The forecast for tomorrow sounds much better or at least that is the rumour.   Winds out of the west and 10% chance of rain. Yahoo.   


Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26 2014 Ennis to West Yellowstone

I was in my tent early last night and by 9:30 Pm I couldn’t hold the book anymore so I laid it down and listened to the rain drumming on the tent. It was very soothing and I was out almost instantly.  I woke about 5:00 am as there was a crash of rain against the tent but by the time the alarm went 20 minutes later the rain had stopped. 

I was determined to get out early as the forecast was not very good. So by 6:55 I was down the road.  However I didn’t get very far before the head winds hit and by the time I was at the 12 mile mark I was grinding as hard as I could at 8 -10 mph.  The big pelaton caught me at about the 18 mile mark. By now I am pretty close to spent and doing 6-8 mph.   I don’t generally ride with a big group but the head winds were so strong there was no other way but to join them.  It was a pretty disorganized group but at the first water stop at 21.2 miles Barry suggested a two line clockwise rotating pace line.  In this group the left lane which is the leeward side rides a little faster than the right line which is the windward side. When the first rider in the left lane passes the right lane he cuts over.  The tail rider in the right lane joins the left lane. This worked really well and we were able to work together and ride at 9-10 mph.  There must have been 20 riders in the group. Even doing this it was tremendously hard work and it took us 2.5 hours to to make picnic at 43.4 miles.  Not only was it hard work but it was nerve wracking being in such a large group and only a few inches apart.

Picnic was up on this big hill where a land slide had created a big lake. The wind was howling across the overlook and it didn’t take long before I was frozen. This is despite the fact that lunch was a delicious hot chilli and hot chocolate. So I jumped on the bike and with only 30 miles to go was on my way. 

The road turned east and the head wind in the other valley so it was much easier going. We had done 90% of the climbing for the day but when we came to the smallest hill I was so spent that I had to grind up it.  I was with Ken C and had just remarked that it was only 6 miles to camp when I got a puncture.  After fixing my flat we cruised into West Yellowstone where we treated ourselves the quart bottles of chocolate milk. 

Not much for pictures as the day was gray and overcast so even though the country side was spectacular I kept the camera in the case. Plus when you are in a tight group there is no room for fooling with a camera.

West Yellowstone is a neat tourist trap kind of a town and we are in a beautiful camp ground just on the edge of town. Plus we are headed into town for a great supper at one of the local dinning rooms which Greg (tour leader) has arranged. Perfect I am famished.


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June 25 Townsend to Ennis

Today was a short day at 76.9 Miles. I wasn’t too organized this morning and got to breakfast 2 minutes after it opened so I was last in line. With over 80 riders and staff it was a long line. So I left late and rode up through the line of riders taking pictures as I went.  Not to mention that it was a beautiful ride. The green field and rolling foothills framed against the snow capped purple mountains in the distance.  It reminded me of this book I read Kurt when he was small. It started out with “ Where the mountains meet the prairie, where the men are wild and hairy.” 

At the thirty mile mark was The Montana Wheat Bakery. It is a huge operation along the interstate.  So we stopped and had a roll and a coffee.  I had a raisin apple cinnamon bun which was the size of a dinner plate. It was great.

At the 60 mile mark was the big climb of the day. It was 5.5 miles of 5-7%.  The road wound its way up this canyon. There wasn’t a breath of air in the canyon and the temperature gauge on my bike computer said 103 F.  I don’t know how accuracy that was but I was boiling.  There was a steady stream of perspiration running down may face and into my eyes.  Boy was I glad to make the crest of the hill.
We are staying at the Ennis school which is home to the Mustangs if you follow high school football.  Who knows why we are here.  No floor flopping, no going into the gym, no climbing on the statue of the mustangs, no going on the football field, only one bathroom is unlocked (boy there is going to be a line up in the morning). So everyone is jammed into this little piece of grass in front of the school.  Fortunately Earnie got in early and found a place around the back which isn’t crowded.

Ken and I walked down the main street between cloud bursts.  It hasn’t changed in the 35 years since Agnes and I crashed the sheriff’s daughter’s wedding which was in the Longhorn Salon.  There are still 6 bars, three antique shops, four art galleries and a pharmacy.

Tomorrow is another short day of only 75 miles.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24 2014 Lincoln to Townsend MT

Today was a day of real contrasts.  While only 90.9 miles there were times it seemed like 909.0.  The first 12 miles were all construction. The road was terribly rough where the top layer of asphalt had been scraped off, and there were sections where it was just gravel and terribly uneven. I took all of my skill to stay upright.  Then we turned off towards Flesher Pass. For some reason I had it in my mind that it was at around 45 miles which meant I would have a 33 mile grind at 6 mph it was going to be a long day.  As it turned out it was at 19.5 miles and there was only about 3 which were a grind. I saw two deer and a fox on the climb.  I got to the summit and the continental divide and was elated.  Pictures were taken and congratulations awarded.   The terribly steep down hill we had been warned about in rider meeting turned out to be pretty mild as well. 

Lunch was at the 49 mile mark and I was there by 10:45.  However it was Mexican day and there was so much cilantro being put into everything that it made my eyes water just being near the picnic table. So I grabbed a ham sandwich and hit the road. The smell of cilantro had permeated my clothes and for the next 20 miles that is all I could smell.   I know you either love it or hate it and I am in the hate it category.

I rolled in to Helena feeling strong and with just 40 miles to ride I was in great shape. However after I got out of town the dread head wind started and my 2 hours turned into a 4 hour grind. The best I could manage was about 10-12 mph and it was down hill.  At the 65 mile mark I ran into more construction and was held up by the flagman for 45 minutes.   As I was there this other couple of sectional riders rolled up and when we did get to go they got in front of me.  After the construction I am trapped behind them and they are riding two abreast down this incredibly busy road.  There is no way to pass with the head winds, and every car blows its horn at them. However they are too into themselves to notice.  Finally we came to a little town with a store so I went in and grabbed a coke.

I came out and the wind had died down and with only 15 miles to go I jumped on the pedals and flew into town.  There was a huge thunder storm behind me and a lot of the tail end of the ride got hit.  I was so glad to be in  before the storm.


Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23 2014 Missoula to Lincoln Mt

We were checking out of the Missoula University dorm this morning and breakfast did not start until 8:00 Am so it was kind of a late start.  So I didn’t fool around I got in ate and hit the road.  The head quarters for Adventure Cycling is in Missoula and they had offered to give guided tours however today’s weather forecast was for winds out of the east.  Would like to have seen the head quarters but it would have taken another 40 minutes on a late start and with the bad wind forecast it thought it prudent to pass on that. 

As we started out of Missoula we were riding due east up this canyon and the wind was just howling straight into my face. This 80 mile day was looking like it might be pretty tough going.  By the time I got to the 16 mile mark we had climbed quite bit and I could see some low hanging fog/clouds so I knew I would get out of the wind fairly quickly.  Sure enough a couple of miles later there was no wind however the temperature dropped down to 51F.  About 20 miles later I reached the summit of today's climb which wasn’t all that steep or tough of a climb but it marked the end of the low lying fog.  With the sun up and only 8 miles of down hill to go to lunch I was laughing. 

Ken C was with me and we came up to one of the sectional riders who had a flat.  He had never changed a flat before so was not sure what to do.  We whipped the tube out figured out the problem and slapped a new tube in in record time.  He had never seen a person roll a tire on and was quite amazed at the process.  The floor pumps Ken and I carry are great and we had it pumped and he was on the road in record time.  NASCAR pit crews have nothing on us. 

Lunch was exceptional as it was a hot tomato stew with sausage and shrimp. I gobbled down a couple bowls and lots of fresh fruit and hit the road.  It was only 36 miles to camp in Lincoln so I was looking forward to getting in early.  By the time I got to the 65 mile the head wind was back, so the last few miles were a grind.  

I liked today's pictures as they kind of represent the Montana big sky theme. 

As was glad to roll into town. Tomorrow is a 92 mile day so another long day.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22 2014 Rest day Missoula MT

Sleeping in was great.  I managed to sleep in until 7:00 Am. Quite often I have trouble sleeping in a strange bed, however last night was the exception. I don’t think I turned over once before my eyes were closed and I never woke once during the night.  It was a hard week and rest was needed.

Last night Ken, Jos and I went out to celebrate and we found this micro brewery downtown. We sat on the patio enjoying this Belgian Wheat Ale and for supper this roast beef tenderloin. It was served rare with a wild mushroom sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed snap peas.  The tenderloin was done to perfection and was so well paired with the light citric of the wheat ale, we couldn’t believe how good it was.  It was a beautiful evening so we walked back to the university dorm where we are staying for the rest day.

Earnie had organized his friend who lives here to drive us around to we took advantage of this and made a Walmart stop and a REI stop.  I grabbed some munchies from Walmart and got some shock cord to re-lace my tent poles.  The tent is about 10 years old and the cord connecting the poles was now just string so the poles were hard to keep together when you were putting up the tent.  This is a task I should have had done before leaving Calgary but just ran out of time. 

The following week is going to be a much easier week as there are only 6 ride days instead of 7 and the distances are much lower. Last week we had two days over 100 miles, one at 99.0 and one at 95.0 miles. This week coming up we have only one day at 92 miles. The climbs are all much lower except for the last day into Jackson Wyoming.  That day is a challenge as you have to climb the Tetons’ pass.  I remember it from 2010 and it is a tough climb and the day was boiling hot. 

The picture of the Cycle America sign is the one which you see when you arrive at camp for the night.  It is generally the most welcome sight you see all day.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21 2014 Thompson Falls to Missoula

Wow! Another 102 mile day and I got in first with a ride time of 6:45.  No pace lines just got a good early start and put the hammer down.  I thought Tom R was going to get me at lunch but he pulled off to take off his jacket.  He must have been really over heated because he and Earnie worked for at least a couple of hours to over take me (I could see them in my rear view mirror). 

It was only 39F when I rolled out this morning and the forecast was for 80F.  So I had put on short fingered gloves but within a couple of miles my hands were frozen.  I knew I had two of the hand warmers Mary Margret had given me in my trunk. So I stopped got the hand warmers out and pulled my arm warmers down out of my jacket sleeves. So with my hands covered by the arm warmers and the hand warmers in my palm, the problem was solved.  By the time the hand warmers were done it was close to 70F.

There was a big climb at the 73 mile mark but just before the climb was the little town of Arlee. So I pulled into a gas station and got a giant 44 oz Coke. I had put some ice in the cup and after I finished the coke I dumped the ice into the water bottle.  The Coke kicked pretty quickly and I powered up the hill.  Earnie was struggling up the hill and I blew past him like he was standing still. 

All day we were being passed by these huge yellow dump trucks pulling trailers.  It seemed like they didn’t like us on their road as didn’t seem to give me very much room.  Half a wheel would have been lots.  After I got to town I finally saw they were from Knife River Construction. Maybe their drivers need a safety lecture.

I was kind of concerned about my level of training but I think that having completed the toughest week of the tour, those concerns were unfounded.  

Tonight we are in the Missoula university dorm and tomorrow is a day off.  Yahoo!


Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20 2014 Kellogg ID to Thompson MT

Today was the first short day on the tour at only 67.7 miles.  We had 43.6 miles to the top of Thompson Pass.  It was a straight climb out of town at approximately 1% for the first 36 miles and then it started to get steep. The last 7 miles were at between 7-9%.  It was a tough grind up those last few miles. 

When we got to the top of the pass we had picnic. It was a hot bowel of potato soup with all kinds of other special treats.  The soup was really delicious.  Soup is a great picnic food as it is easy to digest and doesn’t weigh you down.  Picnic is a great time to visit with the other riders.

Ed and I had ridden up the hill together so we left picnic together and cruised down the remaining 24 miles.  The route down waqs pretty steep and Ed was so a long way in front of me as I am not a very good down hill rider.  It wasn’t until Ed stopped to take off his jacket that I caught him. 

As we rolled into town we crossed the river where Thompson Falls are and took a back route path which was very scenic.  I believe it was and old railway bridge which was now a local path.

As we rolled though town on the way to the camp site, Ed spotted a sign for icecream so we rolled in and got cones.  It wasn’t long before there were lots of other riders sitting on the patio.  The ice cream was very delicious and long over due.  I mean this is already day six and the first ice cream cone.

Well I have to wrap this up as tonight we are being shuttled in to the Elks Club a special meal. 


Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19 2014 Spokane WA to Kellogg ID

Before I start on today I wan to tell you about last night. Ken C and I went out and met some of my very good friends from Trilogy who live in Spokane. Seeing Mary Margret and Ken, and Wendy and Dan was terrific.  We had a great time and had had a wonderful meal.

Today was really interesting for a lot of reasons.  We were staying in the Gonzaga dorm so we ate breakfast in the cafeteria which was pretty interesting. Cafeteria food sure has improved from my university days.  The ride started out with a huge hill out of the Spokane valley to the surrounding plains.  It was 10-12% and about 4 miles long. Fortunately there were lots of side streets you could roll in briefly catch your breath and the u-turn and continue up the hill.  After we left town we rode through a lot of rolling hills which had beautiful green crops growing in them.  This continued to the 40 mile mark where we turned off the main highway and rode down a side road which had huge rollers.  It was a lot of fun charging down one side and then grinding up the opposite side. Finally we came to the end of the road which had a steep down hill to the lake.  The corners were so sharp you had to slow to 15 mph. I am riding my brakes and thinking I should stop and check the rim to see if I am over heating it when BANG I have a blow out.  I change the tube and put a boot in the tire. When I get to the bottom of the hill the support vehicle is there so I grabbed my spare tire which I had left on the van and put on the new tire. 

The second part of the ride was along this rails to trails route.  You cross Lake Coeur d’Alene on an old railroad bridge which is half mile long.  Then ride 54 miles down the old rail bed along the lake shore.  It was so beautiful.  Wonderfully smooth pavement with no cars.  Picnic was Mediterranean themed with lots of really interesting dishes. It was set in this beautiful view point which looked over the lake.  The sun was out and it was so hard to leave.  

I left with Jos and were on the look out for moose.  Jos had seen every other kind of wildlife on the Rockies trip but no moose were to be seen.  We rolled along making good time in the beautiful warm sun.  Then I get a second flat.  It turned out to be a slow leak in a malformed tube.   Jos and I came across this turtle who had wandered out on to the trail. He was about 8 inches across so a big fellow. He looked baked in the sun so we stopped and put him back in the lake.  By the time we got to the 80 mile mark I was feeling pretty flat so Jos pulled for about 5 miles and it gave me a  break and I was able to take a turn.  It was a pretty long day at 93 miles but this rates as one of the nicest rides on the whole tour.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18 2014 Grande Coulee to Spokane

June 18 2014  Grande Coulee to Spokane

It was only 41F when I crawled out of my tent this morning. The ceiling is probably less than 1000 feet of heavy black clouds. No hint of sun. Fortunately the tent had dried off from the previous nights down pour.  I really hate packing up a soaking wet tent.  However getting on the bike was a tough job I was still stiff and sore from the previous day’s century.  I think a new route needs to be found into Coulee Dam.

Breakfast was 3 miles down the road this morning and a tough three miles it was as we had to climb out of the coulee and it was a 9% grade.  It was a pretty fine breakfast and well worth the climb. After breakfast there is still an additional 10 miles of 6% grade.  About half way up three deer ran out right in front of me.  Unfortunately I never got their picture as they were to fast for me.  

After the climb I was soaked with sweat and then there was a huge down hill which turned me into an ice block.  After the down hill I hear this pist of air then nothing thirty feet on another pist. This is not good, as it means I have a flat. However both tires appear solid. So I rode a little further but now there are more air blasts.  The front is definitely soft so I undid the value cap and the core came out so I have to chance tubes. After I get the tire fixed I am frozen.  All I can think about is my hands are numb.  I get to the first water stop and the van is there so I jumped in.  They  went up the road and stopped for gas and I jumped up and got a 24 oz hot chocolate and they had insulated work gloves on the rack for $5.00 so I grabbed a pair.

I rode up to lunch which was at the 53 mile mark grabbed a quick bite to eat and was on my way. Nice and warm and the road again.  About 15 miles out from lunch an antelope bounded across the road in front of me. I was astounded by how far and high he could jump.  It had warmed up considerably to 60 F but the clouds were still threatening.

I got to within 7 miles of the collage campus where we are staying and I hit a piece of metal which tore a hole in my front tire. So I had to stop again and change tubes. However before I could get the wheel off Earnie rolls up and says here let me help and changes my tire.  Thanks Buddy!  So much for my $13.50 made in Cech Republic tire,

All is well as tonight Ken C and I are going out to supper with Ken and Mary Margret.  Yahoo.


Pictures Later got to run

June 17 2014 Wenatchee to Grande Coulee Dam

Today was an exceedingly hard day.  The difficulty was caused by several factors. It was 103.5 miles, the wind was howling out of the north so there was either a dead on head wind or at best a brutal cross wind, there were two major climbs one of which was over 2000 feet of vertical all at 6%, and to top it all off the road has a new coat of chip seal making it into a bone jarring ride.  I left the camp in Wenatchee at 6:50 am and rolled into tonights camp at 4:40 PM.  So this means I was on the road for 9hr 50 minutes.  My bike computer shows an average speed of 11.7 mph. 

I should not be complaining as I managed a ninth spot. Not bad for an old guy who didn’t train.  There are still a lot of people out there on the road and I can only imagine how sore they must be.  My butt has been turned to hamburger by the rough road and my shoulders are throbbing from gripping the handle bars and wrestling the bike in the wind.   I know that you are thinking I must be nuts to do this. However this is what stories are made of. It is kind of like that Harley Davidson commercial where the old grand father is telling his grand children about how he wanted to by a Harley but bought aluminum siding instead.  It ends with the line; “What stories will you tell?”  So let me tell you about….

I had stopped at a store and picked up some chocolate milk just before camp.  When I got in I was so pooped I had to drop my bike as I couldn’t get off it. So I sat down and drank the milk on the spot.  During the 5 minutes it took to drink the milk a down pour started and I had to set my tent up in the rain.  Perfect. Just perfect.

Happy Trails