Sunday, June 26, 2022

Missoula Rest day June 26, 2022

Missoula Rest day

June 26, 2022

I don’t know why it is called a rest day as there is always so much to do.  I guess it is because I didn’t have to get up at 4:45 am and slept in until 6:30 AM, then lay in bed until 7:08.  I gathered my laundry up and headed for the basement where the laundromat is.  Free laundry and soap supplied by Cycle America.  Can’t beat that deal!  Sorting all the clothes and getting them into their respective compression bags was almost as big a task but at least I feel organized for the upcoming week.

Tent was next, spreading it out and getting it dry and rolled up nicely.  At least it is packed up well for one day.  I dropped my bike off with the mechanics as they wanted to put a new chain on it. I think this is something they teach a bike mechanic school.  Always sell the customer a new chain. My car has a roller chain on the cam shafts and it goes for 100,000 miles or more and has a lot more torque put through it than my bike chain but 3000 miles and “You need a new chain”. 

Barry, Ken and I walked over to get a burger for lunch at this dive casino Barry had found the other day.  It was surprisingly good.  Hand formed patty and lots of crispy fries.  My laptop had wanted to do an update so I set it to update while we were gone for lunch. Two hours later it is still up dating.  There is just nothing worse than these first world problems.

Supper tonight is in the Missoula university dorm cafeteria. It is always a great meal. Dorm food is about 10,000 times better than the food we got when I was in the university dorm.

I finally got some reliable internet so I was able to read all the cool comments people have been leaving me, which I absolutely love getting on the blog.  The one question which I saw and would like to answer is am I the oldest person on the tour?  The answer is no it looks like I am in third place.  The oldest fellow is 78 and Tony is from Holland.  Second oldest is Graeme from Australia at 72 .  I am currently 70 with my birthday Dec 1951. Close behind me is Bruce at 70 and whose birthday is Jan 1952.  Barry is a distant 5th and will be 70 in July.  I have not surveyed absolutely every rider but it looks this looks like the geezers. 

Tomorrow of to Lincoln. 



Thompson Falls to Missoula June 25 2022

Thompson Falls to Missoula

June 25 2022

It was cold this morning at only 42F and it made getting out of the nice warm sleeping bag and into cold riding kit was really tough.  In addition the tent was absolutely soaking wet from condensation.  However I knew that we would be having a good breakfast as the previously nights supper was this slow smoked pulled pork with Carolina Sweet barbeque sauce, which was super. Good supper 99.9% of the time means good breakfast.

I managed to get out and on the road at 7:15 am.  The sun was starting to warm things up quite nicely and it was promising to be a good day.  In 2018 it was a horrid day with bitter cold terrible head winds and lashing rain. The forecast was for 5-12 mph winds out of the SE changing to NE later in the day.  As we were headed SE it looked like a head wind but first thing in the morning there wasn’t much for wind. 

It was quite a long day at 102 miles and 3500 ft of climb.  So the thing was to make time when you could and not knock yourself out when you couldn’t make time.  Stop and take a few photos and as this was the last day of the week it was not a panic to get in early. 

The ride was absolutely beautiful with the river one side and the mountains in the distance.   I stopped several times to take photos getting off the bike to walk over to get a good shot. 

Picnic was at the 57 mile mark in a little town.  Rolling in there I saw that they had the remainders of the previous night’s fruit cocktail so I gobbled that down.

After lunch the wind had picked up considerably and even though there was only 45 miles to go the head winds really hampered progress.  The big climb of the day was at mile 64 for 16 miles of 3-6% and into the head wind made it feel more like 6-8%. 

Needless to say I was glad to make it in. It was a long week with over 610 scheduled miles plus the 30 route creep miles and the 10 lost miles for a total of 650 miles this week.  In the first week we covered 1/7th of the total distance in 1/9th of the tour duration.

Tomorrow is a rest day. 



Friday, June 24, 2022

Kellogg to Thompson Falls June 24, 2022

Kellogg to Thompson Falls

June 24, 2022

It was chilly last night at only 52F, and getting out of the nice warm sleeping bag and pulling on my riding kit was not a lot of fun.  So I lay in bed until the very last minute.  I had been awake for quite a while as the breakfast cater had set up his grill not far from where I my tent was.  He started cooking about 4:00 am. 

After breakfast I came out and was all set to roll out when I looked down and saw that I had a flat tire. Change it or pump it and roll.  I choose to change it as it was a previously patched tube.  I started wrestling with this incredibly tight tire and Luke who is the youngest guy on the tour came over and said here let me show you how.  He took the tire and squeezed the tire into the center of the rim all the way around.  As this diameter is so much smaller the tire literally fell off the rim. WOW!  Putting it back on was the same process except in reverse.  Teach an old dog new tricks.

I am now the last of the riders to leave camp, although there were a few roof riders hanging about.  Out on the route I was quickly overtaking the slower riders which gave me a chance to catch a bunch of rider photos for the big trailer door college I am planning on making.  Passing riders is also highly motivating.

It was 44 miles of climb to the summit of Thompson Pass, where picnic was.  The first 35 miles were all quite shallow grade of 1-2%.  However the last nine miles averaged around 8-10%.  I think the first 35 miles only took about 1.5 hours and the last 9 miles took 1.5 hours.   

The downhill of 24 miles into  Thompson Fall was great.  The road was perfectly smooth and with no traffic so you could just sail.  The sun had come out and It was a great ride.

Bob had some pretty nasty looking bruises and one particularly ugly on his hip.  So he went into the local clinic and the doctor gave Bob great news.  Nothing but ugly bruises and you are good to go.  Whether or not he can get parts for his bike is yet another story.  He should find that out in a day or so.  Worst case is he rides the tour without the big ring in the front. 

On the Covid front it looks like we now have two additional confirmed cases. I heard a rumor that the first case has decided to go home.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it runs right through everyone on the tour, even though everyone is vaccinated. I have had four shots and there are lots of people here who have had four shots.

A really good day.



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Spokane to Kellogg

June 23, 2022

Today’s ride down the Coeur d’Alene bike trail is probably one of the nicest rides on the tour.  The weather looked absolutely with a great tail wind forecast.  Breakfast was at the university so it was excellent.  The route was set at 94 miles so just shy of the third century in a row. I was looking forward to this ride. 

As we exited breakfast there was no arrow and none of the streets matched the route sheet.  We searched around but nothing matched.  There was quite a group of us and we were all lost. One group of about six wanted to ride down to a street name which was on the route sheet and then look for the route.  I wanted to ride back to “The Iron Bridge”  as there was a single place where the route was.  I pulled out my phone and we navigated back to the route.  Over 2 hours were lost riding around and 10 miles of frustration.  It is no wonder arrows could not be found as they have shrunk to about 6” long.  The turn arrow might be 2 feet from the actual turn or it might be 100 feet back.  I trust Greg is going to fix this situation. 

Finally on the route Graham is riding behind me and says he thinks my rear derailleur is bent in. This is why my bike skips gears and is so noisy. At picnic one of the mechanics was not busy so I asked him to take a look at it.  He pulled out the measurement tool and sure enough it was out of alignment.  He ran though the rear derailleur set up and charged me $20.  The bike shifts perfectly and is like a new machine.  Best $20 I have spent in a long time.

On the bike trail it is absolutely stunning.  Sun is out and we are just flying along. I just love this area.  The luck people who have houses along the lake have to be the luckiest people in the world. 

Then about 15 miles out Aussie Bob who is about 75 feet behind me hits one of the center of bike lane pylons and goes down.  Bob gets up but his bike is in trouble.  The left shifter handle is torn off and the front wheel has a serious wobble.  Bob’s helmet is cracked.  We ride slowly in.  We will see how he is tomorrow. I hope takes a couple of days off.  

At rider meeting Greg announces one of the riders has tested positive for Covid. She is feeling fine and isolating in a hotel. 

What a day.  104 miles and my third century in a row.



Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Grand Coulee Dam to Spokane June 22, 2022

Grand Coulee Dam to Spokane

June 22, 2022

Another century which started off with a huge climb.  Breakfast was in a restaurant about a third of the way out of the canyon.  It was a really good breakfast, ham, scrambled eggs, hash browns, plus lots of fresh fruit.  After breakfast we continued our climb out of the canyon. About half way up the climb I stopped look back at the reservoir.  It was so blue and so beautiful.  The climb wasn’t as steep as some of the other climbs but it was still 14 miles of 6-7%.  I was certainly glad to have that one behind me. 

The rest of the day was spent riding across wide open plains.  The shoulder of the road was wide enough but was quite rough chip seal. The road was busy enough that you had to keep an eye behind you if you wanted to come out to the smooth driving lanes.  About 10:00 am the wind came up out of the south west. We were generally headed South East so the wind was either a quartering tail wind or a cross wind. 

Picnic was at mile 53 and I rolled into picnic right at noon. All things considered I thought I had done pretty well.  I had left breakfast at about 6:45 so just over 5 hours and completed the big climb of the day. 

The signs we had been seeing on the road indicated that Spokane was at least 10-12 miles closer than what the route sheet indicated.  So Aussie Bob asked me what I thought.  Pulling out my cell phone and checking the distance indicated 38 miles rather than the 48 on the route sheet.  We decided to take the direct route into town. It was getting close to 80 F and nobody needed extra miles.  Bob and I rolled down the road and caught up with Tom and Patrick and they joined us.  A third rider joined us.  It was a great choice as we sailed down the highway with a good tail wind and turned off onto this tiny winding road which had a great downhill.  We rolled in at 2:45. Shaved 10.5 miles off and had a great route.

Seems like I am more tired today than yesterday.



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Wenatchee to Grand Coulee June 21, 2022

 Wenatchee to Grand Coulee

June 21, 2022

A long day today at 107 miles and 5600 ft. of climb.  Breakfast was early to facilitate the departure of the riders so I was on the road at 6: 25 and rolled in at 4:30. On the road for ten hours. 

The morning was nice and sunny with almost no wind.  As the day progressed the wind came up out of the south.  This was of some assistance as the route was east and north steps all the way from Wenatchee to Grand Coulee.  Although it seemed like it was quite strong when we were headed east and then it would drop as soon as we turned north. 

Arriving in Grand Coulee I was quite surprised to see the lake was completely full and the dam is spilling water. 

Tomorrow is another century ride.  It was originally  93 miles day but 8.7 miles have been added. Every day on the tour has had added miles.  This was originally a 3900 mile tour but over the years one little detour after another has been added.  This year was published as 4299 miles but already almost 50 miles have been added.  This “Route Creep” has made the tour more and more difficult as no more days have been added.   At the current rate of mile addition we will be over 4500.  I will be looking for short cuts.



Monday, June 20, 2022

Skykomish to Wenatchee

June 20

We had an early start this morning as luggage was loaded at 6:15 rather than 6:30 and breakfast was on time.  So I was pushing of right at 7:00 am. As I turned on my Garmin I realized that it had failed to charge last night so no Garmin today and no Strava. Not the end of the world.  It wasn’t really raining in the sense that droplets of water were falling out of the sky however the mist was so thick a person almost needed gills to breath.  It was also just above freezing. A perfect day for doing the first of three major climbs on the tour.

It was 16.1 miles to the summit of Steven’s pass. The first 4 or 5 miles were only about 4-5 % but then it started to get steep.  Although I didn’t have my Garmin I think it was probably in the neighborhood of about 8%.  It was a total unrelenting 8% for around 12 miles.  I was really pleased with the performance of the Look 765.  The large 34 rear cassette coupled to the 34 tooth small front ring pulled me straight up to the top.  By the time we got to the top the visibility was down to around 75 feet.  ED was there with the van and I jumped in and put on the heavy duty rain coat, rain booties and the heavy duty water resistant leg warmers.  I was ready for the descent. 

The descent was freezing cold but every mile was a degrees warmer.  Then at about 5 miles from the summit I got a flat.  It was still just above freezing and now I have to change a flat.  Perfect!  A rider stopped to help me and I was so glad of his help as the tire was the tightest tire I have ever encountered.  It took the two of us, 1.5 hours to get the tube changed.  I was absolutely frozen.

Off down the hill and about 15 miles from the summit the sun breaks through and now it is really warming up.   However at mile 40 I got a second flat.  And along come the same fellow who then stops to help me the second time.  This time we got the tire off and the tube changed in 45 minutes.  It was still a wrestle. As a side note he would up helping a change a third tire a little later on.  

Picnic came up at mile 46 and as usual it was great. 

I rolled in at around 4:30 and had a nice hot shower. It was great.  Headed out to set my tent up and as I am doing that a reporter from the local newpaper/radio station appears and wants to interview/video me.  Turns out Greg had sent him out to find me. 

What a day.



Sunday, June 19, 2022


June 19 202

What a day!  Two major firsts on this ride.  But let me step back and start last night.

Last night while we were in the school having dinner the police came by and decided that because my tent was an off blue colour that it needed to be trashed.  All the other tents were various shades of orange so my tent must be trashed.  It was only through a very lucky happenstance that Jim T who is one of the Cycle America staff happened to see the police trashing my tent and he ran over and intervened that my tent was not totally destroyed.  They then paid me a visit later in the evening after I had gone to bed to double check that in fact I was not some sort of vagrant.  Thousands of tents along the freeway and homeless on almost every corner and they have to pick out and hassle me because I have a different coloured tent.  Defund the police?  Well maybe but for sure they need to have some sort of redirection.  How about solving crime? 

This morning it was raining so rolling up the tent was a wet affair but managed to get everything in order in 58 minutes.  I would like to get that down to 45 but not bad for a first shot at it.  I am standing under the eves waiting for Greg to come to load luggage when he comes around the corner talking to the caterer on the phone.  From his side of the conversation it is obvious that the caterer is going to be arriving at least 30 minutes late an breakfast will be 45-60 minutes late.  Greg knew I had put two and two together and came and asked me not to spread it around.  However I was ready to roll so I bolted. 

I decided not to shot cut the route, which was very tempting considering the rain.  There was a paved bike lane only 2 miles from the school which would have cut the ride down to 53 miles compared to the itinerary of 74.8 miles. However no wheel dip which I needed to do.   As it turned out I would up getting lost and adding an additional few miles making the total 79.0 miles. 

But what about the first for this ride.  About 15 miles out from Skykomish there was a brief parting of the clouds and I saw my shadow. Never done that before as this is the rainiest part of the world.  I had been riding with Tom, Patrick and Bob and we pulled into Skykomish not first but in the top ten.  Realizing we were quite early I grabbed my shower bag and hit the showers.  Got the very first shower which had hot water.  Never had a hot shower in Skykomish as it is the smallest hot water tank on the tour.  It was so good. 

What a day!



Saturday, June 18, 2022


The School – Everett WA

June 18, 2022

This morning I was up quite early as my room faced the street and there was a lot of noise coming into the room.  I knew that there was no rush heading down to the school where the tour is meeting but Fran who was driving Barry and I down had to drive back to Kelowna tonight so she was keen to get going.   The hotel didn’t have a breakfast but gave you a $5 coupon which was good at the Tin Hortons which was right beside the hotel.  You don’t get a full breakfast for $5 at Tim Hortons but it was a better breakfast than most hotel breakfasts.

It was only about 5 miles down to the border from our hotel and there was no line up at the border.  A few quick questions and we were on our way.  From the hotel down to the school it was 135 kms.  So it was a couple of hours drive.  We stopped for gas  and at an ATM to get some US cash. 

We arrived at the school and were the first ones. There was a steady rain coming down which had soaked everything.  I walked around the school which has a really large yard to scout tenting sites.  The yard consisted on several baseball diamonds all of which were quite muddy. The outfield of the baseball diamonds all had about 4 inch deep grass which was soaking wet.  I finally settled on a spot under a couple of large spruce trees on the far side of the parking lot. Once again I am camped by myself.  

 It has been really interesting watching all the riders arrive.  There are lots of familiar faces and lots of new faces as well.  Surprisingly there are only 14 sectional riders this week. 

Tomorrow is the first ride day.