Thursday, June 30, 2022

Ennis to West Yellowstone June 30 2022

Ennis to West Yellowstone

June 30 2022

Today was the nicest weather I have ever encountered coming out of Ennis.  It has been cold and pouring rain, cold with a howling head wind, and cold, pouring rain with a howling head wind. However today was sunny and warm.

The ride down from Ennis to the corner where you turn to make the climb up to Earthquake Lake actually is quite pretty.  There is a beautiful river which meanders along the highway and to day being so nice had a lot of fly fisherman in dories and in waders.  The hills are beautiful shades of green and the mountains offset the valley with snow-capped peaks.  Along the river they built platforms for the osprey to build nests. Almost all of the nests had birds sitting on nests while their mate was off fishing in the river.  It was really beautiful.

At the 45 mile mark the highway turns and makes the climb to Earthquake Lake.  This lake was created when a 7.5 earthquake broke the side of the mountain off and dammed up the valley.  This is the largest earthquake in the Madison Valley and occurred in 1959.   The ride takes you up to the very top of the rock slide where picnic is.  The view down the valley is incredible.  Again this was the nicest day ever.  I hung around picnic filling up on goodies and just enjoying the view and great food.   

After picnic it was only 28 miles into West Yellowstone.  There was a lite tail wind and so I made good time.  It was great flying down the highway with the lake on one side and the mountains on the other.

Tonight is going to 37F so it should be a little chilly in the tent tonight.  However I have a good sleeping bag.



Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Townsend to Ennis June 29, 2022

Townsend to Ennis

June 29, 2022

Today was routed at 76 miles and 3480  feet of climb so it seemed like a rest day.  I had wanted to get down the road as quick as possible today as there was a horrific head wind forecast for the afternoon.  That didn’t quite work out the way I had planned. 

Breakfast was really really good with eggs benedict and so I wound up hanging around and over eating. Then I realized I had forgotten my helmet and had to ride back to the campground to get it. Beginner mistake! The wind wasn’t a factor in the first half of the morning and I a made good time however it was such a beautiful day I stopped often to take photos.  I just love the Montana “Big Sky”  Huge  vistas with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.  At the 35 mile mark I came to the Montana Wheat Bakery and could not ride past so I went in and had a cinnamon bun with apple carmel icing which was 10 inches in diameter and 3 inches thick.

After picnic the wind as forecast came up and I had thirty miles of 15 -20 mph head winds.  The big climb of the day was about 10 miles out and it was a real grind.

The best part is we are in the Ennis high school which is absolutely beautiful and the showers are so nice. Tonnes of hot water.  Great camping. 

Tomorrow is another rest day of only 72 miles and 3250 feet of climb. 



Lincoln to Townsend June 28 2022

Lincoln to Townsend

June 28 2022

The day was going to be a long hard day at 91 miles and 3900 feet of climb.  In addition, we were to be treated to 3 miles of road construction where there was no pavement. Adding to that there were forecasts of severe head winds and thunder showers.

I got out early and the first part of the road from Lincoln down to Helena was a very nice route.  It just flew by and I never took as single photo other than a few rider photos.  So there I was 55 miles in and I was thinking I might just take a sag in.  The mechanic comes and says he has time to put a new chain on my bike.  How long?  15 minutes. Sounds great. Ed come by and says he is ready to go but has to detour back to pick up the water coolers.  I decide I will have the chain put on and then Ed can pick me up along the road. 

Down the road and I get to the construction.  It is 3 miles of the roughest road I have ever ridden. Nothing but one pothole beside each other.  There is loose gravel along the side and two-way traffic. The dust is so thick you can’t breathe and the traffic is right on you. A mile in my shoulders and arms are aching but I make it through.

The head winds have come up and are just howling into my face.  Only 20 miles to go.  I can see the thunder heads coming over the mountains and flashes of lighting.  Finally, I am in, but I can see that there is a thunder head bearing down on the camp.  We are staying in the city park as the school is being renovated.  I grab my tent and start putting it up.  I am putting the last four tent pegs in when the first of the big drops start. Last to pegs and it is starting to pelt down really hard. I dive into my tent.  The storm only lasts five minutes but half a dozen tents are flattened, the porta a potty blown over, a couple of trees down and a lot of branches. The rain comes through shelter and drowns the luggage. Mine was in my tent so it was ok. 

The showers are in the town swimming pool and are absolutely terrible.   I am exhausted but go for a beer with Ken and Kevin.

More people are infected with covid.

What a day.



Monday, June 27, 2022

Missoula to Lincoln Montana June 27, 2022

Missoula to Lincoln Montana

June 27, 2022

We had a great start to the second week of this Coast to Coast adventure this morning with a wonderful breakfast in the university dorm cafeteria. They had my favorites; big thick fluffy slices of French toast, piles of crispy bacon, canned peaches orange juice and lots of really nice coffee.  I was afraid I may have over eaten as I was one of the last to leave the cafeteria.

Out on the road I headed straight to the route and did not take the tour past the Adventuring Cycling office.  It was closed as it did not open until 8:00 am and it was 7:00.  Besides which the routing directions up to this closed office building were so confused, it just sounded like a place to get lost. The routing directions told you to make a left on to a street which ran parallel to the one you were on.  What?  I questioned this in rider meeting but nobody seemed to understand my question and so I just gave up trying to make the point.

There I am on the road at 7:00 am heading for an 80 mile day.  The temperature was just around 55F  which was pretty nice weather for cycling.  So put the pedal down and started passing folks.  Taking pictures of the riders as I went.  It was lots of fun.  It also gave me lots of opportunity to practice my big dog bark. 

The route was very pretty with the sun reflecting off the river which ran along the highway.  The period of 1910 through 1949 the Anaconda mining company operated a mining and logging operations in the valley and had a rail service which moved the ore and limber.  However as the mines ran out and the logging was done the railroad was abandon. You could still see places where there were sections of the railroad right of way. 

Lunch was in at the 53 mile mark in a river access point where the fly fishermen put there rubber boats in the water.  All the traffic had ground the dirt in to a fine powder which was a couple of inches deep. As a result it was very dusty.   When Barry came in to lunch he had a little unclipping incident and went down in the dust.  No harm was done as he was moving at zero miles an hour.

As I pulled into town Ron and Graeme were there so we went into the local store to get chocolate milk.  Ron treated us to the equivalent of a US gal of chocolate milk. It was so cold and went down so smooth. It was fabulous!  Thanks Ron

What a great day.




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.