10.25.2009

ARE YOU READY FOR CROSS SEASON !?!?!??!?!?!?!

Yeaaaaaaa!  So we finally got out there and raced cyclocross--CrossCrusade--today.  Dan bought some shoes & pedals (all he had were speedplays) and I quit being a sissy and decided it was okay to race my mountain bike (I was being stubborn about it and wanted to wait for my cross bike).  

It was SO FUN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was chilly out, cloudy, a bit misty, and MUDDY.  PERFECT!  The race was in Hillsboro; we picked up the max (lightrail) right next to our apartment and it took us directly to the race.  So easy! 

Dan raced first.  He started in the back of a field of about 100 riders (Cat. B) and moved up fairly well.  I guess he had a bad crash into a wooden wall or gate on the last lap and was knocked off his bike.  He ended up in the second half of the field.  Poor guy, racing his trashed-after-riding-3000-miles cyclocross bike with an uncomfortable Brooks saddle, running a clunky-shifting 9 speed chain and cassette on a 10 speed group...  yuck.  He'll do better next time!  Now that he's in shape, he surely didn't look as tired as I'd seen him after races last year.  He was covered in mud too, and had a great time.  45 minute race.

I went next.  Lined up toward the back of a field of about 50-60 riders (Cat. B) and gunned it on my 29er when I heard the whistle.  I chased the leaders and got up toward the front of the pack.  It was hard to tell where the front was because the masters women went before us, and some were dangling off the back toward the front of our field.   If I went too hard at first, I was afraid I'd lose steam...but then I just quit thinking about that and went hard, because the worst is when you finish a race thinking you could have worked more.  

That 29er is awesome!  The course was muddy and flat; there were a lot of tough corners.  My tires gripped the corners so well!  I ended up passing a lot of girls on those corners, but losing time in the flat straightaways where the cross bike has a sure advantage.  People kept yelling "catch the mountain bike!"...."don't let the mountain bike beat you!!!" and some people were cheering me on, which was cool because I was afraid I was going to have a serious disadvantage with that bike.  There was one spot where there was a straight part that had a deepish trench, and a hairpin.  Most people took the low line, but I stayed up high and was able to take that sharp corner quickly and pass people every time.  There were only two barriers (two pairs) and those went better than I had expected also.  I can't shoulder my bike, and my upper body is weak, but I managed to pick the thing up alright.  Luckily, my dismounts and remounts when smoothly and fairly quickly.  A cross bike definitely has an advantage on barriers though!  

I ended up placing 7th, which was a whole lot better than I had expected!  My fitness felt great.  The course was fairly mountain bike friendly, as there were no stairs or huge hills where you have to shoulder the bike and run up, so I got lucky there.  Woot woot.... It was soooo muddy!  AND we raced 45 minutes also, just like the guys.

Watching the pros race is pretty amazing.  They are so smooth.  So good at bikes.  Geeee......  

Both Dan and I agree that it feels so amazing to be racing again.  It's so satisfying--Dan's words.  Really, life doesn't quite seem complete without racing bikes.  It's fun to feel fast, to compete against people, to get caked with mud, and to be seriously tired after the race.  

We'll race again next weekend in Astoria, Saturday and Sunday.  It's Halloween so it should be a blast.  We've rented a car to get there...it's my birthday on the 2nd :-)  

So now, B.Chan and I are thinking about reinstating fastgrrrls  !!!!!!  

10.21.2009

hoi! a new dinette set!

Dan & I got a kitchen table and chairs today!  It's a faux wood grain piece from the 60's with some gold & white print vinyl kitchen chairs.  Real classy!  It looks cute in the apartment, and the table is nice and small so it fits.  Dan also got a small table/desk for his computer.  It's nice to get off the floor!

We've been hanging out with friends here more than we did when we lived in Champaign, which says a lot about our former social life.  Tonight Anna & Jeff came over for dinner, and we went to their place a couple of days ago.  They are perfect friends because they also eat burrito variations almost every night.  Last night Dan & I went to Amnesia Brewpub, and played cards with Ryan & Ashley for about four hours.  I totally shot the moon in hearts.  We played a hilarious partner game that Ashley knew, and ate tofu-brats.  Yes, they were grilling tofu-brats outside the bar!  To be fair, they did have "regular" brats.  We've spent nearly every night with friends, which has been a whole lot of fun.  We all just moved here and are having a lot of the same experiences.  

During the day we've been out exploring.  Today we went to the farmer's market in downtown.  They have an amazing mushroom stand with chanterelles, shiitakes, fried chicken mushrooms, lobster mushrooms (really smell like lobster), chicken mushrooms (not to be confused with fried chicken mushrooms), and others.  They are pretty pricey, and because I only had a bit of cash we opted to buy a bunch of veggies instead.  I'll definitely be back another week to stock up on cool mushrooms though!  We bought some fingerling potatoes, dinosaur kale, a huge red pepper, the juiciest grapes ever, pears, and carrots.  Tonight for dinner, we had polenta foccacia, which you make by just putting polenta in a hot cast-iron skillet and baking until it's crispy.  The polenta had jalapeños in it, and we put caramelized red onion on top.  We also had lentils, roasted golden beets and turnips, and broccoli.  Obviously, I go ga-ga over vegetables.  

Tomorrow I am going to the Portland Children's Museum for an orientation because I'll be starting to volunteer there soon.  That way when baby Lonnie visits I can show him the ropes.  

10.19.2009

Oh, the essentials...


Manda & Billy visit. I forgot what it's like to have an appetite ginormous enough to eat a whole thing of ice cream in one sitting.


The Interwebs
love the window in the kitchen <3

Long awaited PB Texas-French toast with egg on top

YUM !

Our first meal in the apartment! Note: Cast Iron Skillet


Now imagine 5 more bikes and a few wheelsets and a trainer and... ha ha !

Our New Apartment !

When you come to visit, this is how we will buzz you in to # 406 ! It really works !

Checkered kitchen floor. Note: Our tiny fridge makes it possible for us to only eat the freshest of foods

Windows with real trees outside !

Claw foot tub !

The bed rolls out of the cabinet, so it's not always taking up space. Note: new bamboo floors!

Last stop before we moved in: The Joyce Hotel in downtown PDX

Taking advantage of the cleanest surface (?)

Very secure.

We rolled out our sleeping bags.

It's too bad my camera failed to capture the puke on the windowsill!


The Last Day



We finally stopped to look at the view.....wow

Bienvenidos a Oregon! : Noche #1 en el Gorge

we picked this spot over the $21 RV park down the road
Free camping next to the river

Ms. Misty Gorge
Kind of a bittersweet moment...knowing we were going to cross into Washington again tomorrow

Finally !!!!!!!!

El Gorge del Rio Colombo: Día 1

What country is this?

The beginning of the Colombia River Gorge.

OMG ! OMG ! OMG !
Dan got a flat...little did we know this was the 1st flat of about 20 in the last 3 days of our trip!


Windmills on the hill outside of Walla Walla, Washington:
they reminded me of Axel (well, and of the constant headwind)

10.17.2009

O no....

Five boxes that were supposed to be delivered yesterday are damaged and have been shipped back to the sender.  
This morning, we did receive my 29er and Dan's Davidson.  But what about our road bikes, and Poprad?  And hot wheels?  And Powpowpowtap?  Did five boxes get run over by a truck?  Avalanche?  Dragons?  WTF ?????? 

I am really angry.  So, I've spent the last hour on bikesnobnyc to try to cheer myself up.   How can Dan sleep through something so agonizing as not knowing what happened to our bikes ????? 

10.16.2009

got a job !!!!

woooooooooooo  !

I have a job!

I will be doing returns processing (and customer service) for Team Estrogen !  In case you are not familiar, Team Estrogen is an online women's cycling (and triathlon, and swimming, running..) apparel retailer based in Hillsboro, OR.  You can go to their website and check it out.  

On Thursday I met with Susan and Jeff at their office, which is an incredibly comfortable "green" building with lots of windows and gorgeous natural light ahhhh...  Susan also moved by bike to Oregon and has done a million cool touring trips and cool bike things.  I enjoyed the interview and was really excited about the job.... and today got the call that I was hired.  I start October 27.  YAY !   So excited.  Oh, and no weekends.  And they really promote bike commuting.  And they have an espresso maker.  And no more business casual...whew!  (And important things like benefits, its not seasonal...)  So yeah, can't wait to start, and to meet the other employees, each of whom have their own individual bike thing going on (recumbents, 'cross, touring, super-commuter...you know, bike thing) and to get my hands on some returned bike clothes!  

Oh, and the commute can be as epic as I want !  It's only about 15 miles from our apartment......but 15 miles here is a lot different than 15 miles in Central Illinois.  To get to Hillsboro you have to go over the hill.  There are a few ways to go.  One way is to ride through downtown, go up (literally) to the zoo and Japanese Gardens, which are on the hill, and then go down to a bike path, which is next to but separate from a main highway, to the suburbs of Beaverton, and then Hillsboro.  This is a fairly easy way to go, but it still requires way more climbing than the Shire to Shop commute that I'm used to.  Another way to go is to climb like 6 miles up this steep windy hill, and then wind through some country roads---really pretty.  If I feel really hardcore, I can take a 15 mile offroad route through Forest Park, and then go down to Hillsboro.  And then there's always the MAX for when ice covers the road and it's below zero....what?  Oh yeah...it doesn't do that here!  Take that midwest suckas!  But yeah, a great commute.  

And now for the bad news.  Turns out that our bikes are en route to Champaign Cycle, in Champaign Illinois.  Yes, that's right!  Apparently, FEDEX  decided that we contacted them and said that we didn't want to receive the packages.  FEDEX then promptly sent our bikes back to the sender.  BOGUS.  We were home all day waiting for these packages, which we had been keeping track of all week.  Dan got a call this morning from FEDEX asking if we were home, and he called back and left a message saying that we would be home all day.  That's all.  And surely didn't try to deliver anything today, and apparently didn't even put the packages on the truck!  Ugh .. I'm FEDUP 

10.12.2009

dan hasn't updated the blog yet, that slacker!

So I guess it falls on me... :-)

Friday night we had Ashley and Ryan over for dinner and they brought cushions, which made the whole evening a lot more comfortable. We made stuffed peppers that turns out kind of dry and not very stuffed. We went out to the White Eagle (not the Eagle) for a couple of beers and the best fries in the world. Oh disappointment.. when the server brought the fries she asked "Are these alright?" That should have been our first clue. The portions were considerably smaller than the first time we ordered them, and the fries were a droopy greasy mess. Ryan thinks they had been re-fried. Dan ate them all, nonetheless. When the server came back, Dan politely asked why the fries were not as delicious as before. The server gave a cop-out answer about how the "potatoes are always different". Uh..what? Freshly cut, once fried by standard restaurant protocol russet potatoes should yield standard restaurant fries. Oregonian potatoes must be finicky. Anyway, it was a fun night with friends.......(and I am a food snob).

Our days have been spent job hunting mostly. It's pretty inactive. The bikes have not arrived yet.

We learned that our friends Manda and Billy had made it to Portland, so we invited them over for coffee before they left town. Billy got his first flat since Madison, WI on his way to our apartment! His valve stem had a mysterious crack in it, like in the metal part. Seeing our friends with all their gear made us realize how quickly we forget the day of the bicycle tourist! It took some time to fix the flat, and it was late, so Billy and Manda decided to just hang out that day, spend the night at our place and leave the next morning. We waited in a 20 minute line at VooDoo Donuts, which is a now-famous vegan and non-vegan punk donut hole-in-the-wall in downtown PDX. (There was a homeless man outside asking people for donuts. He said he preferred if people give him donuts rather than money because he didn't want to wait in line. He also does not accept pennies.)

We all went to see "The Invention of Lying" last night. It was the worst movie ever. The kind of movie that makes you embarrassed to be sitting there watching it. Oh Ricky Gervais, we thought you were funny..

One of the first things Dan & I did after we got our computer is watch season 6 of The Office (5 episodes so far). We'd been looking forward to this since Nebraska, where we saw a preview/commercial about the new season while watching tv at a Super 8 during our first hotel stay of the trip. My favorite line is where Creed says "If I can't SCUBA, then what's this all been about!!!?????!?!"

Manda & Billy left this morning, and I went off to a job interview. It's a customer service rep position with a women's cycling apparel retailer. I pretty much have all of the qualifications and experience for the job and I think I am a perfect candidate....but how many people just like me are competing for this job? I actually had fun writing the cover letter. I have many opinions about cycling apparel. Today the interview was with the staffing agency that interviews for companies. (I had no idea how that worked, so the interviewer explained it to me.. weird big city stuff). It went well, and I guess I find out soon if I get an interview with the president of the company. Fingers crossed! I did meet a friend at the interview while waiting--it was another girl interested in the job. She and her boyfriend just moved here from Minnesota and she likes biking (duh) so we are going to hang out. Dan counted the number of friends we have in PDX on TWO hands!

So, for the job interview I didn't own any business casual, so I went to the Nordstrom's down the street and asked the saleswoman to help me find business casual. She dressed me, and now I own business casual for whenever I need to pull it out. The outfit includes smart black slacks, black kitten heels, and a greyish short sleeved sweater. Sorry Rosalind, but I honestly did not have time to get creative or excited. Tomorrow I am going to another job interview which will also require business casual. I certainly hope that business casual does not become an everyday requirement.

10.09.2009

plugged in PDX !

Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Please excuse us for not updating the blog sooner!  We have been using our hour-a-day computer time at the Portland Public Library to scour craigslist for jobs, tables, and desks.  But now...ta da!...we have our computers!

Finally !!!!!!  Plugged in!  ...at around 2:30 today six boxes arrived at #406 via UPS.  Christmas in October!  It was my turn to wait at home to buzz the UPS person in; Dan was at the library applying to be a soupcycler extraordinaire.  I hauled the boxes up 4 flights and opened box One.  Box One contained some of Dan's clothes and a couple of bath towels (how did Leslie know that blue and green match our decor?), a dish towel, and a dish cloth.  Box Two contained the espresso machine and coffee grinder!  I quickly set it up in the kitchen, plugged it in, and made an Americano.  AHhh!  Box Three contained my Vitamix, which I also set up in the kitchen.  Box Four was my computer and a couple of "important documents" and dear mementos from *sigh* the past.  Box Five and Six I left for Daniel to open when he returned; they contained his computer and monitor.  

Oh my MacBook!  I didn't have the internet for about an hour so I made toast with the handy stove-top camping toaster that we bought at the conveniently located Goodwill down the street, and settled down to watch some old videos of Nick's cat Oliver that were on my computer for some reason.  Cute cat.  Glad he's not here to fuzz up my life.  

Our new friend Jacob, who lives in 403, kindly let us share internet with him, so that's how I happen to be here on the interwebs at the moment.  It isn't a super strong signal, so we'll see how it goes.  It just doesn't make sense for Comcast to make a killing by having every single unit sign up for their own internet!  

That's life for the past two hours.  Let me back up, moving backwards:

Yesterday Dan and I went to the library to job search, found the closest Whole-Foods store (nutritional yeast in bulk!) and bought 300 thread-count sheets, bath towels, and a sharp knife that doesn't fold and is not plastic.  Last night I took a shower and actually dried myself with something other than a ShamWow!  (Shamwows, contrary to the popular infomercial, do NOT work.  They do NOT dry as well as a towel, nor do they themselves dry by simply wringing them out.  Shamwows are a sham.  I do not recommend.)

Yesterday morning, Dan and I lived out a dream by finally making french-toasted peanut butter sandwiches smothered in oatmeal.  Delicious.  Almost as delicious as I thought they would be a few weeks ago when we, completely loopy from burning about 5,000 calories the day before and about ready to do it again, were eating breakfast on a cold morning in North Dakota and dreaming of the perfect breakfast.  Someday you will be able to try them at our bike shop bakery, where they will be served as your choice of either a neatly wrapped snack or full-on sit-down breakfast.  

On Wednesday our gas was turned on sometime after 6 pm (Dan had to stay home all day and wait for the gas man) and we were finally able to cook our spaghetti that we bought 4 days earlier.  Boy that tasted good!  Wednesday was a funny day.  I left our place in the morning to try out a new job: canvassing for a campaigning organization that works on behalf of the ACLU.  I had replied to a newspaper ad, and was going back for a 2nd "interview" or a "day in the field".  We had to memorize this spiel about protecting women's rights (which I am totally for) and tell it to people on the street to try to get them to donate money.  What a horrible job!  I did it for....like 30 minutes before I decided that there is almost no worse job than harassing people as they try to do their midday grocery shopping.  I'd rather move back to Champaign; I'd rather move to Montana; I'd rather do almost any job than that!  I told the people who were training us that it "just wasn't for me" and copped out early.  I mean, I know the job market isn't good and all...but there are jobs out there.  I've done some searching and found jobs which I am probably qualified to do and would probably enjoy, I just have to get a good resume and cover letter together.  After all, I do  have a degree and some job experience and I'm not an addict and I am personable, etc.  Receiving the computers in the mail was the first step.  

Tuesday:  Tuesday?  I can't remember!  We'd been in PDX (Portland) a week on Tuesday.  Maybe that was the day that we went thrifting for some necessities.  Dan and I are both pretty particular about our kitchen utensils.  We were both looking forward to picking out a few drinking glasses.  I emphasize glasses because we hate drinking out of plastic  if we can help it.  Camping is a different story; it becomes sporting, but in everyday living glasses are a must!  We also bought a $6 set of utensils.  They were mostly spoons; 4 forks and 2 knives, but these also were not plastic.  We got a saucepan and wok, and a colander with pineapples on it.  (The straining holes are pineapples.)  Good finds.

Monday...Sunday....Saturday we moved into our new place!  It's a 4th floor studio apartment in a 1910'2 or 20's building.  It's got new bamboo floors, a small kitchen, a small bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub, and a Murphy bed.  A Murphy bed folds into the wall, or in our case, slides into the wall like a big drawer.  Ours slides right under the bathroom floor, which is raised.  It saves a lot of space and is hella convenient if you want to put 8 bicycles in your studio apartment.  (OUR BIKES HAVE NOT ARRIVED YET!!!!)  The apartment is located near the stadium and convention center and some hotels; not really a cute or fun neighborhood, but it is a really close bike ride to anyplace in downtown Portland.  A good find for the 2nd day in town I'd say.  

Tonight we are having dinner guests!  They are bringing pillows to sit on because we don't have chairs yet.  Ryan and Ashley are also from Champaign and moved here a couple of weeks ago.  Ryan used to work at Cafe Kopi, which is how I know him.  We bumped into them at the Goodwill.  Friends!

OK!  

10.02.2009

Homeless in Portland! (possible knock off movie of Sleepless in Seattle?)

life is good on the streets....

We made it to Portland Tuesday night! Actually, the last 3 days of riding ended in darkness. Being so close, we wanted to get as far as we could. Sunday we had an incredibly rare tailwind coming from the east! We made it about 110 miles that day, but woke up tired and with an even stronger headwind the next. Worst headwind of the trip! It took us probably 9 hours to make it the 60 miles to Hood River...painfully slow. I have a friend that lives in Hood River, but forgot to save his number. That woulda been nice. We ended up getting pizza and beer and staying at another hotel. (it rained that night so im glad we did) The next day it rained ALL day...and we got flat after flat. I think we spent 2 hours changing flats. As miserable as the day was, we tried to just laugh it off. And the ride really was gorgeous once we got on the historic highway.

We've been staying in the White Eagle Hotel the last couple nights, which is a really swanky place. There's live music everynight right under our bedroom! The hotel/bar is on N Russell street, but we couldn't find it right away. Looking at the bike map of the city, I mistook Russet street for Russell....the 't' really looked like an 'l' I swear! There also just happened to be a bar called the Eagle in about the place The White Eagle on Russell would be. So, assuming that we were on Russell, this had to be it! I walked in and told the bar tender we had reservations for tonight. He looked at me with a blank stare..."Uhh, excuse me? I have no clue what your talking about. We don't have rooms here" Hmm, had we just been scammed?! How can this not be it? I take a moment, look around...there's tv's all around the bar showing gay porn. OOPS! awkwardly thank the bartender and head for the door. I look at Anona..."This isn't it!"
We did finally make it to the real place, which was just a block away from where we were looking in the first place.

Today we rode to downtown and Anona had a meeting with the coach of a local team. We also stopped by Voodoo Doughnuts (the hippest doughnut shop ever). While eating our oreo topped vegan doughnuts, one of the employees started chatting with us and mentioned he had a room in his house that his roommate is trying to sublet. $250 for the month of October! Think we might have to take him up on it. We'll check it out this afternoon, and if the realtor doesn't call us back today I think we'll just stay there. We can't wait to be able to drop all our gear off and not have to haul it everywhere. Also can't wait to start some cross racin! Today, while waiting for Anona to get done with her meeting I saw a bike messenger that was in Cog Magazine! (Erin) He's some kind of courier idol around here...legs like Mario Cippollini. I couldn't help staring.

More updates coming soon! We'll try to keep going with the blog for a while at least. Hopefully we'll have a place soon so we can spend a little more time writing. Come visit soon!

we are here!

yikes we are in Portland!

Tuesday was the day from hell. I got five flats. It rained and was cold. Only 50 miles to go, but that slowly tuned into 78 miles. We rode on the interstate (the only way) for 15 miles; not too bad, but it was raining, and the tire pieces containing wires give hard-cases flats. Ugh...! The ride was beautiful though, once we got onto the historic highway. At some point, the terrain changed from desert-like to gorgeous waterfalls and trees. We finally got into Troutdale and found a bike path, which led us right into Portland. We saw the "Entering Portland" sign and though OOOHH we're THERE!! Not yet! It took us 2 hours to get into the city an find the hostel! The hippy-dippy hostel was booked, so we ate at Taco del Mar (now hiring!) and crashed at Motel Six. I slept so well!!! Well, after I stopped worrying that we had no place to live and no jobs. It's not as much of a relief to get here as we thought!!!!! But I guess really it does feel great. We MADE IT!

The next day we looked at a studio apartment in downtown--super cute, hardwood floors, clawfoot tub, Murphy bed (slides under the bathroom floor into wall) and month-to-month rent. The realter is supposed to call back today. Hopefully we can move in tonight! If not, we can maybe stay for a month at the house of a guy who works at Voodoo Donuts--his roommate is subletting.

Last night we stayed at a cool hostel called the White EAgle. It's a funny story how we got there! I'll let Dan tell it!!!! We failed to make reservtions for tonight (the busy, hard-to-find-reservations-for night b/c it is friday) hence the need for an apartment ASAP. The White Eagle was wonderful though--above a bar with delicious and cheap happy-hour food! Try the beer garden burger when you are here and the Dan say's best french fries in the world.

Now we are taking shifts at the library (high theft area we suppose) while one of us watches the bikes & gear. I'll let Dan tell the many gaps I left!!!!!! All I want to do right now is hop on Poprad...IM READY FOR CROSS SEASON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I would love to do laundry. And drop my panniers. And cook on a little gas stove instead of eating out.

Oh, but WE're HERE !!!!!!!!!! Time to relieve Dan!

9.29.2009

ONE MORE DAY! 50 MORE MILES!

WE'RE IN HOOD RIVER, OREGON. BE IN PORTLAND TODAY!

GUESS WHAT? IT'S SUPPOSED TO RAIN!

YAY!!!!!!!!


You know you are getting close to Portland when...

..bike lanes appear in even small towns
..Subway offers a "veggie patty"
..natural peanut butter!
..it starts to drizzle
..bike racks on cars
..you walk into a bar and people don't make racist jokes about barack obama
..bikes bikes and bikes!

YAY! our sandwiches are ready! Veggie sausage!

9.24.2009

Only one state left!



ARRGH! there be gold in this river!



Sporting the new line of swimwear


following the river downhill for 80 miles!










Hung out at the Adventure Cycling office in Missoula
free ice cream!



Lolo Pass...no problem!





LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO!

We're less than 400 miles from Portland! Can you believe it? WOWWWWW!

Well, we left Missoula laaaaate after visiting the Adventure Cycling headquarters and a coffee shop and a grocery store where we found natural peanut butter :-) and we headed toward Lolo Pass. The road was not very busy and the weather was perfect--sunny and in the 70s. It took us just 45 minutes to climb to the top of the pass. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy... It really was pretty tame after Rogers Pass, which wasn't quite as bad as we thought it would be either. Rockies? Ain't no thang... After the pass we went down for a few miles and stopped at Lochsa Lodge for some food. I had a garden burger--no more hotdogs for me thank you though it was yummy at the time--and Dan had spaghetti with something called buffalo marinara.. We stopped for the night at a pretty National Forest campground next to the lodge. The camp host told us that the temperature the night before had gotten down to 24 degrees, so we got in our tent with all of our warm clothes as soon as the sun went down. We kept warm that night and it only got down to 34 degrees. We made oatmeal with frozen hands the next morning, and then the sun came out and it was suddenly in the 70s again.

Lolo Pass has been my favorite part of the trip scenery-wise because highway 12 follows the Clearwater River through the mountains and forest and it's just gorgeous... and you get to enjoy this scenery with low traffic going downhill for more than 80 miles! That's right, 80 miles. Downhill. SO fun! Sometimes the road would flatten a bit, and twice or three times there was a slight rise in the road, but it was generally beautfully graded downhill. (The only bad part was a few miles of road construction which stopped traffic and slowed us down quite a bit, but it was a small price to pay in my opinion.) Seriously, this was a great ride and I would recommend it for anyone looking for an quick Idaho getaway. We stayed in Kooskia (pronounced Koo-skee) that night in a nice green city park. Little did we know when we pitched our tent that the park was so green because they have sprinklers that go off in the middle of the night. Ooops. I just tried to ignore the annoying spray of water that harshly soaked our tent with every rotation of the sprinkler head. We stayed dry but our bikes and everything we left out on the picnic table was soaked. Now we know to set our tent up in the ugliest and driest patch of grass we see.

So we left Kooskia and continued on 12 next to the river. The road was windy (like a snake, not like a blowing force) and there wasn't a whole lot of traffic for the first half of the day, which was good because there wasn't much shoulder and there were some blind corners and big guard rails and barriers that keep you from going off the road. Outside of Orofino Dan & I took a lunch break by the river. (Instead of getting jobs Dan and I are going to pan for gold while wearing sporty bathing costumes.) We dunked our heads in the freezing water to cool off because it pretty hot out. After lunch we got back on 12. There must be another road that comes out of Orofino and joins 12, because the traffic got pretty heavy. This was the scariest part of the trip and I was completely freaking out. There wasn't much shoulder, so every time a logging or grain truck went by, I had to pull over. Cars are so stupid and would rather play chicken with each other than slow down for 4 seconds! Ugh! We got some real life or death practice holding our lines. I think we did about 25 miles in about an hour and a half, and then got off on the old Highway 12, which was closed down, and celebrated being alive by riding traffic-free for a few miles. Then, we got onto a much safer 4 lane highway into Lewiston for a couple of miles, and then got onto an extensive bike path that we followed all the way to the camp ground. That was such a stressful 25 miles and I never want to think about it again!

Lewiston had a factory that smelled like old broccoli... At camp we made a big pot of spaghetti with some veggies--including broccoli--and wolfed it down. We also got to take showers, which was a nice treat :-) We left this morning pretty early and followed the bike path across the bridge to Clarkston, WASHINGTON! We stopped for breakfast because we'd run out of oatmeal. Dan ate a lot of breakfast-y deliciousness at McDonalds and I ate a quart of Chocolate Peanut Butter Soy'licious soy ice cream.... Mmmmmm what a treat. Dan kind of fixed a broken spoke (he's now running a 31 spoke rear wheel) and then we took off down a much less busy and larger shouldered Highway 12. Down the road we stopped by an orchard where they gave us a couple of pears and a 5lb bag of apples. Perfect timing for loading on extra weight, because after the orchard we had a pretty monstruous climb! It was about 10 miles long and went through these huge, desolate brown hills. At the top there was a rest stop, where we rested of course. Then we went down into a headwind, to Pomeroy....and now we're still here, in Pomeroy. Riding 40 more miles into a headwind into the dark didn't seem too attractive, so we just stopped. I think we'll digest our lunch, do laundry, eat apples, play cards, and ride to Walla Walla tomorrow. We'll be getting into wine country soon! That's one of the only highlights I've heard about riding through western Washington. Other than that, people just say that the gorge is the windiest place on earth, so windy that people wind-surf on the river.. uhh maybe we'll just have to take up a new sport soon?

Let's see, we saw an otter this morning and it was really cute! We haven't seen much wildlife besides that though. We're so close to Portland! I feel like we'll be able to see it over every next hill..! Take that Michael-you'll never make it-Pennington!

Oh, one more thing: In Nebraska we saw this silly mail box that was a horse, and the end of the mailbox where you put the mail was the horses bum and the head was on the post end. Dan and I are thinking of making these and gifting our friends and family each a different animal. However, shipping costs will be outrageous so we'd have to ride each mail box out to the respective recipient. Not sure if this will happen, but I just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and are getting wonderful, crafty gift ideas.

9.21.2009



E


Pictures! Uhh..these are taking over an hour to upload and I am FREAKING out. We HAVE to get over Lolo Pass today or I will be so sad :-(

There was no way to tell which picture were being uploaded, so I picked 5 at random. Not bad; a nice shot of the old cars at the car show in Lincoln (home of Ted Ka.....can'tspellhisname) and of Trixi's in Ovando, MT. PS. In Lincoln, we were lucky enough to meet Fritz, a hermit who lives in a three-sided lean-to in the mountains. He keeps warm in winter by snuggling with his wolves. I love Montana.

A sidenote: I hate taking pictures and I despise uploading them onto unfamiliar PCs... (I'm getting grumpy!)

so please check out our Picasa album... ahh

Dan just got back from the bike shop with a new tire (his was almost shredded!) and a special treat... ASSOS CHAMOIS CREAM ! Oh boy am I hot to trot. Ciaooooo..
Ammonia the biker chick here (seriously, no can remember my name!)

We're at the Adventure Cycling headquarters in Missoula. I LOVE Montana!!! Now I'm working on some pictures so bear with me.

9.20.2009

Mountains, Ranch Parties, and Ammonia the Biker Chick

Sorry for the shorter update in Great Falls everyone. The library ladies had the stop watch on us and we didn't want to get whacked by rulers. I know we went a long time without writing anything, so hopefully this will make up for it!

After updating last we went to the local bike shop "Knicker Biker" to chat with the owner and stock up on Mountain Raspberry Clif Blocks - Yum! (but really just to use their bathroom ; )). We love the name! - and it was a pretty cool shop too. Then we headed to the grocery store to stock up on p.b., bread, and we decided to make pasta and baked beans for dinner. The K.O.A. was the only campground listed but we had already made it to the other side of town. Eventually, after asking around, we ended up at Dick's RV Park. Biggest RV park EVER... Seriously, are there really that many retired people? We rode by row after row of RV's to get to their tiny little tenting space. Everyone had their spots decorated with lights and patriotic wear. We even saw a fountain! Thats livin. Maybe we'll have to start decorating our tent at night! Any ideas?

Again, we tried to get an early start. We even woke up at sunrise. After breakfast we ended up installing new chains on the bikes, since we have about 2000 miles on them. I also spent some time installing new cleats since half of the screws were missing and one of the base plates was cracked. We were planning on putting in an epic day, going over the pass and staying in Lincoln. That was a bit over ambitious though, especially when we were hit with the mother of all head winds. Someone told us that day was a record high too. So hot that a guy in a truck pulled over and handed us two cold beers from his cooler! We couldn't refuse this good samaritans act of kindness (only drank a little though, don't worry Mom). 35 miles into the ride and we called it quits in Simms. I know, pretty pathetic...but after this town there was nothing for about 70 miles, plus the first pass that we'd go over. We decided it was better to start fresh the next day and hope for a calmer day. Another free night in the town park, and we only got a few stares from people while we took sprinkler showers on the high school football field. Very refreshing if you haven't tried it!

We got our earliest start of the trip the next day, I think. 9:30 we were on the road, 35 miles from the big Rogers Pass. Another headwind this day, though not nearly as bad as the day before. The mountains seemed so close and it seemed like we were just about to get to them, but it was just up and down for 35 miles until we finally reached the climb up to the pass. I didn't think we'd be relieved to get to this point, but we were. It just kinda feels like you're making more progress when you're climbing that long. The climb was steep (lowest gearing for sure) and took us about an hour and a half to 2 hours to make it to the top. Eventually we made it to the top and stopped for p.b. and honey sandwiches on the Continental Divide! Our first real mountain! We cruised down a steep couple miles and then it flattened out back into the headwind...what a let down. The road from then on was really busy and the shoulder was basically non-existent. It was only 10 more miles to Lincoln though, and we made it without too many problems. First stop was the ranger station just before town. They had an 830 lb black bear on display that had been hit on the road we came in on. We were told the bear was almost blind and didn't realize he was crossing the road. Poor guy! As we rode into Lincoln we stopped at a fruit stand to eat some apples and as we were eating a truck pulled up behind us. An older fellow in a cowboy hat and full denim stepped out of the drivers seat and his friend got out of the passengers side and walked up to us. They introduced themselves as Jerry and Mike (Mike happened to be a cyclist from Indiana) and asked us about what we were up to. Jerry (the one in the cowboy hat) asked us if had a place to stay yet and I'm pretty sure before he could finish the invitation, Anona yells "YESSSSS!!!". He invited us to the party they were having at his ranch, with a bunch of friends and relatives, and to stay the night! - We've been getting really lucky lately

We rode the few miles to Jerry's place just in time for the party to start. This place was amazing! He had quite a bit of land, surrounded by mountains, with horses, ducks, chickens, dogs, and even doves (he lets them go at weddings and they fly back to his place!) Jerry and his girlfriend Jane completely made us feel like part of the family. He kept saying that we could stay as long as we wanted to. He told us to call our parents and tell them we have a new PO Box! We spent all night around the fire pit eating way too much (Anona ate a HOT DOG!) and having a great time! We even met a guy from New Jersey who came to Montana to track Eagles on the Continental Divide. By the end of the night we decided we'd have to spend at least one more day there. The next morning we woke up to huckleberry pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, and the never ending pot of coffee. Mmmm!!! We spent all day lounging around and playing an intense game of Mexican dominos. It was definitely a rest day well spent! Thanks for finding us Jerry!

The next day we decided we'd better leave or we'd end up staying forever. I hope we'll be back sometime though! A front had just come in the night before and so there was yet again a major head wind. It was a beautiful day of riding though, and we got to Missoula around 6 tonight. The Eagle guy from Jersey that we met recommended a really good pizza place in town so we asked around and finally found it. They usually aren't open on Sundays, but we lucked out. Tonight they were having a fundraiser pizza buffet for a local school. All you can eat, reeeeally good pizza! We lucked out again tonight....as we sat down a guy asked us if we had a place to stay yet and then invited us to stay at his place! So now we're at Eric and his family's house, staying in the guest bedroom. What a weekend it's been! Tomorrow it's Lolo Pass and hopefully Lolo Hot Springs! Too much relaxing maybe?

Time to pass out now, will try to get new pictures up soon.


9.16.2009

we're almost there!

Well, we're in Great Falls anyway.. it's more than halfway through Montana. Everyone tells us it's only uphill from here. yippeeeeeee!

We saw trees the other day and got really excited! The scenery changed from rolling plains, to plains with bluffs, to plains with bluffs with PINE TREES pretty quickly. Dan got really excited. He could "smell the mountains" and we started looking for bears.

After we left Williston, ND, we rode to Sidney, MT (only about 45 miles away) and ended up staying the night there at Mark and Lillian Curtis' house. We met Mark as he was pulling out of a parking lot on a bike equipped with front and rear racks. He invited us to fill up our water and grab an extra water bottle at his house, so we followed him. It turned out that there was no real good place to stop and camp down the road, so we just called it an early day and camped in his backyard. Mark sure was a master of the breakfast foods; he cooked us some wholesome pancakes for dinner and oatmeal for breakfast. I picked a bunch of delicious carrots out of his garden too! We had a fun night playing with Rebecca and Aaron, the two kids. I got some cute pictures. Mark had toured around Washington and he gave us some tips (like "don't stop for the night in Eden, MT" which we really appreciated when we went through Eden, MT and the town was only half of an old barn). Thanks so much Mark and Lillian!

The next day we went west and stopped in Circle, MT. The day after that we stayed in Jordan. Then Winnett. Some might say that there a whole lot in these towns, but we discovered otherwise. Let's see....Circle....well, their football team won the state championship once. (All of these small towns' football teams seem to have private coach busses shuttling them to their Friday night games.) Jordan had the best breakfast buffet in the world. We loaded up with all you can eat fruit (fresh!), french toast, eggs, biscuits, hashbrowns, meat, meat, meat, meat, meat, juices, and coffee. In Winnett we enjoyed hotcakes that were featured in Gourmet Magazine. Actually, I got eggs and hashbrowns, and Dan got the hotcakes. They were the thickest hotcakes on this side of the Mississippi.

Lewiston was the biggest town since Williston. I drank an entire quart of chocolate soymilk there. We also finally got our stove working !!!!! We made spaghetti and tuna....Mmmmmmm. Our campground was a "rest stop" right next to the highway and the airport. Nothing like the peace and quiet of camping!

Last night we stayed in Belt. We tried to walk and find the brewery, but failed. We waited until light and found it this morning instead, which was okay since we only had 20 miles to ride to Great Falls. We're considering today to be a rest day :-) Tomorrow we head up and out toward Missoula, then across the great Rocky Mountains. We're in the home stretch! The guy at the supermarket thinks we'll make it before snow falls. So did the old man at the cafe this morning. Since we've been in Montana, people have stopped saying that we started too late. Those Dakotans must be scared of the cold!

Oh the time is running out on the computer. Might have to wait for the pictures...

9.10.2009

Another State down!

Um.. there's no one around... (notice his tan lines)

Manda & Billy


Porcupine!



Double fisting peaches
Check out more photos at my picasa page thingy.





Big Sky Country!

Today we will be entering Montana! It's only about 1000 miles long...no big deal.

It seems like forever since we last posted in Bismark. All the days since are kind of blurred together so this will probably be all mixed up as specific days go. Manda and Billy decided to get a head start out of Bismark (we're a little slow getting ready...okay, I'm the slow one). We took off about an hour later, using the river bike trail to get out of the city. It was a nice easy start to the day. As we got out of town the Tailwind!!! picked up and we cruised at around 20mph for a good portion of the day. We eventually caught up with Manda and Billy and stopped by the river for a lunch of PB sandwiches, bananas, and Fig Newmons. There was a family camping and boating there and one of the kids saw that we were out of water, so he ran up and got us all bottles of water from the cooler - definitely made our day! After lunch, we stopped about 15 miles down the road in Washburn to refuel. Anona and I were anxious to make use of the tailwind and keep going, but Manda was done for the day. We've really loved hanging out with the two, but decided it was best to split up. Unfortunately, we just have a different pace. It's too bad that it didn't work out, but it was fun while it lasted. We hope they have a great journey the rest of the way and come visit us when they get to Portland! (they're planning on taking a year and riding around the whole U.S.).

That night we stayed in the city park of Stanton, which was actually packed with campers. We ended up having to set the tent up in the middle of the playground! After taking hot showers : ) we got our new stove out to cook our gourmet Ramen Noodle dinner. The stove was running for about 5 minutes when disaster struck! The flame went out and we couldn't get in lit again, after trying for a good hour. We were so hungry and incredibly pissed off at our new stove! Two days and it's broken! While eating our slightly undercooked Ramen, a guy ( a boilermaker named Scott who was in town fixing the power plant) walked up and asked us what we were up to. We told him about the trip and about our broken stove, and then he invited us over for beers and to sit around the HUUUGE fire he was building. We probably stayed up until midnight laughing and joking around with Scott. We had a great time that night, even though we didn't get much sleep.

The next day we managed to make it 100 miles, er...99.7! It was getting dark and we still had 15 miles before the next town. We tried stopping at a bed and breakfast, but there was no one home. Then a few miles later we saw a sign for a campground, but there was a split in the road where the arrow was pointing and both roads were gravel. We flipped a coin and went straight for a mile...two miles...three miles...? No Campsite! At this point the sun was down and we were dreading the 3 miles of gravel we'd have to ride back, and then going the extra 15 miles to the next town (really I think we were both ready to just sleep by the side of the rode). Riding back, a car stopped and told us directions to the real campsite. A couple miles later on another gravel road, we found a place that resembled a campsite, set up the tent and collapsed into it. We'd wish we'd gone the extra 15 miles to the next town... An hour later we heard rumbling in the distance. Earlier that day we thought we'd outrun the storm we'd heard was coming through. Apparently that wasn't the real storm. The rumbling got closer and closer and then all of the sudden the wind and rain it HARD! The wind was causing the tent to cave in on one side and I spent much of the night with a hand up, thinking the tent might collapse on us. No sleep for us! The storm seemed like it would never let up and we really thought there might be a tornado because at one point the wind completely switched directions and caused the other side of the tent to cave in. Oh and guess what...the tent leaked! Everything got soaked again and we had hundred miles in the legs and a night without sleep. What a miserable night.

The next day, we decided to "treat" ourselves. We rode about 35 miles, in our lowest gears, (there was a really bad headwind) to Newtown and stayed in the 4 Bears Lodge. We ate at the buffet there for dinner and breakfast! It was like the night before never happened.

After a late start (we had to stay at the buffet as long as possible!) We rode into mostly headwinds about 15-20 mph the whole day, but managed to make it about 75 miles to Willston! The last 20 miles had brutal hills though, and we were completely bonked when we made it into town. We planned on camping in the city park after feasting on Arby's 5 for 5 (Anona got dried fruit at the grocery store). While we were trying to find the park, a bike commuter chased us down and offered her place for us to stay the night! We were so happy she found us. Faye took us home and pulled out everything in her fridge (Anona got to drink chocolate soymilk)! She even made brownies for us while we were taking showers. This morning she had a dozen farm fresh eggs boiled for us and a bunch of tomatoes to take with. I couldn't believe how nice Faye was. She completely made us feel at home and even offered to let us stay there for a rest day (very tempting)! Thanks for everything Faye!

Now it's off to Montana!

9.05.2009

omg...omg...we're in NORTH Dakota !!

Last night we made it into Bismarck! We again had a wicked tailwind and rolled in at around 7:30 and were greeted by the smells of DiDonna's Italian cooking. We had a hearty meal of penne & pizza and went to the campground, where we searched for the bathhouse for a half an hour before giving up and taking Baby Wipe baths and going to bed...

but let me back up!

Pierre (or as the Dakotans pronounce it Peer): We left the library after being kicked off the computer (nicely kicked off) and went to the grocery store. After the grocery store we were crossing on the crosswalk because we were too afraid of the road, when an imbecil redneck in a big car thing PLOWED INTO US ON PURPOSE!!!!!!!!! We must have looked like easy targets and he must have just been itching for the chance to run his car into a couple of cyclists. He clipped me on the left side of the bumper, Dan on the right side, and somehow we both managed to stay upright. It was absolutely without question on purpose. We couldn't believe it. We were okay, just majorly peeved. More than peeved...we just couldn't believe that someone would actually do that! Pierre officially goes down as the most bike unfriendly city we've visited. We were also cut off numerous times; it's obvious that Peirreians just don't have a clue that cyclists exist.

Pierre isn't all bad though! We stayed in the city park, where the local park dwellers (who may or may not have been drinking Steel Reserve from sun-up to sundown) were kind enough to warn us about the sprinklers that go off at 1:00 am so we could move our tent, and who saved our friends' tent from being blown away, and who told us about the hot shower located "past the crick". Pierre is where we met our friends Manda and Billy, from Madison, WI. They pulled up about the time we did. They had been on the road about the same time as we had. They were pretty much just like us! It was wonderful to meet a couple of other travelers, especially so late in the season (everyone thinks it's so weird that we are travelling so late in the season). We hung out on our day off in Pierre and made burritos at night. We even travelled with them the next couple of days, until yesterday evening when we wanted to take advantage of the tailwind into Bismarck and they wanted to call it a day 30 miles south of town. We are staying at the same campground tonight though, and making veggie burgers (they are vegetarian!) and s'mores. It's fun to have friends. We'll see how travelling together goes. Oh sidenote: Manda went to the Aveda cosmetology school and she gave me a super cute haircut. Score.

Pierre is also where we met our friend Carl (or Karl?). He approached us as we were coming back from a just okay Mexican dinner out and said he had seen us come into town earlier. He used to own the bike shop in Pierre, but has since sold it. He brought us a care package! It had a couple of peaches, a couple of apples, and cookies in it. It was really only a glimmer of what was to come... The next day we went to his house and Dan used his trueing stand. Carl gave us a few more peaches and some ears of corn... and then he showed us his orchard. Down the street from his house he had fruit trees, grape vines, raspberries, corn and tomatoes. He had a few different varieties of each plums, nectarines, peaches, apples, berries, grapes... it was amazing !!!!! We sampled doughnut peaches and other peaches and even different other peaches; he knew what variety they were and where they were from. He knew when each tree would ripen. All the trees were so carefully tended...it was an art really. I was pretty impressed (can you tell?) !!!!! Dan and I sampled until we couldn't eat any more. I think it was the first time Dan actually enjoyed a peach by itself with the skin on just from the tree whout being cut or anything; he was double fisting peaches! Carl gave us a bag of apples and some peaches, grapes, corn, and a tomato for the road. Thank you Carl for finding us !!!!!

We left Pierre Wednesday morning. That day was cloudy and overcast, but it never rained. We missed the sun though. We (Dan, Billy, Manda & I) rode to a campground about 60 miles away without seeing one town or gas station. We had a nice stay and headed out the next overcast morning for an 85 mile day. Again, it didn't rain on us! We had a slight tailwind. Toward the end of the day we spotted a little burger shack/ice cream stop..and we stopped. I had another fried fish sammitch and ...a chocolate cone. Yum. I think it was the first stop all day. There's really not a whole lot of anything in South Dakota. Actully, there seem to be a lot of abandoned leaning wooden houses in the middle of fields. And a lot of corn, soybeans and cows. Oh, the COWS! As we pass a field, all of the cows turn to look at us! They watch us! It's the funniest thing! And sometimes they run with us! They will start running and run with us until the end of their pasture. Sometimes they run away. Horses do the same thing. It is wild entertainment if you ask me. So anyways, after the ice cream joint, we rode through a town whose streets were completely under construction. The state highway turned into all dirt road. It was weird. We stayed in Pollock, SD that night. When we got to camp, we cleaned up with wet wipes and set up camp and went out to the Sandbar. Everyone knew everyone at the sandbar, and I guess Billy and Manda, who arrived before us, got some funny looks when they walked in. By the time Dan and I arrived everyone knew what we were doing and was already calling us crazy. They all had a good few laughs about our bike trip. They also cleared up a few of our questions: Are all the cows in the pasture girl cows? They don't have horns, and the bulls are separate...so? We learned about steers. (Duh, I knew this..I'm from Southern Illinois.) We also learned that the corny-but-not-corn-because-its shorter-and-has-no-ears plant we are seeing is sorghum. I use that to make energy goo a la the E. Ponder recipe. The bar was the place to go to talk about how many mule deer you've been seeing and if you saw a porcupine in town before and what the pheasants are up to. It was a lot of fun.

Yesterday morn we had another lovely tailwind. The terrain has gotten a lot more interesting since South Dakota, and now we've got fun rolling hills and more landforms to look at. We also saw a porcupine! Dead of course, but his guts weren't spilling so we took a picture. It was sunny again yesterday finally. Billy and Manda, like I said, stopped at a campground 30 miles out of Bismarck. Dan and I couldn't stand the thought of a) wasting the tailwind and b) not having a shower so we went on to Bismarck. It actually took us just under 2 hours to get here, which is excellent time for us. Now we are running errends: laundromat and library down, bike shop, stove fuel, and food left to go. It takes us all day to do stuff. So far, Bismarck is a far nicer town than Pierre, mainly because we havn't had any near-accidents with idiot drivers.

Tomorrow we go north, toward Williston. I think that's about as far north as we go. Everyone is predicting an early fall this year, and some mountain pass somewhere in the Rockies has already gotten their first snow. We have warm clothing, but we'll see how it goes. There is an Amtrak route that runs right through Montana that we are going to use as a backup plan. I think that the colder it is, the more epic it is, but at the same time, I would like to arrive in Portland without losing all of my appendages to frostbite.

Oh, by the way, Dan and I are getting along wonderfully. We ride at about the same pace all the time, which makes it a lot of fun! Sometimes he goes a bit faster downhill, but that's about it. We agree on all major decisions, like "Should we eat first or find the campground first?" It's great. Oh, and we've only had three or four flats--one on Dan's BOB the day we saw the car accident, and then THREE the morning we woke up in Pierre.

Now we are going to figure out how to upload our pictures.

9.01.2009

South Dakota!

Hello everyone from Pierre, SD! We've made it just under 1000 miles so far and it's been 2 weeks and a day since we left St. Louis. Anona posted last so now it's my turn... We haven't gotten to a computer since we stayed at Grandma's last week. It's just been small town after small town up until now, so sorry for the wait!

We left Grandma and Grandpa Dickey's Thursday morning and headed north to Albion to stay with my Uncle Tom and Aunt Jackie. Grandpa gave us a scare before we left. He wasn't looking good all day and Grandma ended up calling the ambulance early in the morning. (We were so sound a sleep, we didn't know what had happened until 3 hours later) As we left York we stopped by the hospital to say our goodbyes. It turns out that Grandpa had pneumonia and is doing much better after a few days in the hospital. A very big relief! Nothing much happened to note on the way to Albion. There was a slight headwind the whole way so we were glad to arrive. Jackie made a delicious meal and some homemade cookies for us! They have this huge bathtub upstairs (I called dibs first!) so I took advantage and soaked for a good hour. This is livin!

The next morning we went by the school that my uncle teaches at and hung out with all the 5th graders for a while. They seemed really excited to see us (I'm sure Tom was talking us up for weeks) and asked a lot of questions. We might even get our picture with the kids in the town paper! After our second breakfast at the Brewed Bean, we set off for O'Neil, Ne. The first 40 miles went by fairly quickly, a little headwind but not bad. We stopped in a town and had burgers/fish sandwiches and shakes at Doogles Cafe, mmmm. Then we took off down the Cowboy Trail for a bit, which was nice but a little too slow compared to the road. We got back on the highway shoulder and had only gone a few miles before we encountered our first "near-death experience". Coming up on an intersection there was a car about to turn left. As it turned, a truck passing us decided to try and pass that car as well. I guess he didn't see the turn signal... We saw it coming in slow motion, like in a movie or something. He hit the car at almost full speed, spun across the road and then flipped over twice, landing rightside up in the ditch about 30 yards in front of us! I don't know how they both were still alive, much less conscious. There were a couple other cars that stopped and people were running to the truck to help. The ambulances took about 30 minutes to arrive, but finally got the passengers out of the car. They seemed to be okay, maybe some minor injuries. We then stayed around another hour to tell the police what we saw. (Anona adds: STUPID IDIOT DRIVERS COULDA HAD US KILLED and CARS ARE COFFINS!!!!!!) Yeah...we were both kinda shaken up the rest of the day. Finally, we made it into O'Neil, about 80 miles for the day. It was dark, we were tired and there was a Super 8 right in front of us. We couldn't resist that kind of luxury!

Saturday we made it to South Dakota! It feels so good to check off another state. It was headwinds all the way and lots of rolling hills though, so we only made it about 55 miles for the day. We stayed in Bonesteel and camped in the city park. The local kids were out in full force that night, playing tag or hide and go seek in the park. We heard lots of "Hey who's camping here?" and "Whose tent is that?". I eventually got to sleep; Anona of course had no problems falling asleep right away.

The next day we woke up with a TAILWIND !!!! To all those who said we were headed the wrong direction, this day's for you! The whole day was so much fun. When we get any kind of tailwind, we try to make the most of it; stopping as little as possible and spinning for as many miles as we can do. I think this is the day we crossed the the river again and where we crossed it was a little over a mile wide! There was a nice long decsent down to it and the long climb out the other side. The whole day we saw lots of sunflower fields and there was hay EVERYWHERE! We flew down the road, ending the day at Chamberlain with 95 miles. (Steve, we stayed at the campground you mentioned - before we saw the comment. Thanks though!) The campground was right on the river and there were showers...so beautiful! Spigot showers are nice, but once in a while a real shower is appreciated. We even got a nice big fire going before we went to bed.

Monday morning we left around 10 (this is turning out to be our typical departure time). There was a nice 3 mile climb out of Chamberlain. probably our longest climb yet. We made it to Ft. Thompson and stocked up at the Dakotamart for the rest of the day. The rest of the day was through the Crow Indian Reservation and there were no services for the next 50 miles. The first 30 miles of the day were pretty much a straight tailwind and went by easily. When we turned west, it became a crosswind and not so easy. The end of the day was rough but we eventually made it into Pierre - 85 miles for the day.

Ok, Dan's fading and starting to get really slow at typing, so I am taking over. We got into Pierre finally after conserving our water and Ratorgade for 50 miles over barren lands. Oh, and we have a person waiting for the computer. We will have to tell the rest later.. ugh..

Well, more about Pierre, the unexpected fruit capitol of the USA, later. Also pictures. They wouldn't upload onto this library's computer. Uhhh.

8.26.2009

"I'm Wolf River Bob, and I'm the Lewis and Clark greeter!"

Dan, Anona, and Wolf River BobW.R.B. looking out at the 5 states : Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and
"You're standing in the state of Confusion"

Trying not to get us lost


Dan and lil' Lonnie



Road Block!




Well, a lot has happened since the last post and it's getting harder to keep track of the days.


We left Watkins Mill on Sunday morning and rode down Highway 92 toward Smithville. We chose to take 92 instead of the planned route because it cut out about 20 miles from the trip. It was Sunday, so the road wasn't as busy as usual. We made pretty good time... stopped at about mile 50 for lunch at a English-pub inspired brewery in touristy Weston, MO. They accidently brought us an extra beer oops... but Dan rallied. We ordered a hefty lunch of fish & chips and a salmon sandwich, with lots of fries. We road 50 more miles that day, across another scary bridge in Atchison, KS, to stop in beautiful White Cloud, Kansas at 8:00.


The White Cloud Marina (which was actually a fish gutting station) was right on the main drag, next to the river, and was where the map suggested we camp. There was an info kiosk about the Lewis and Clark Route and a wooden awning structure that had Lewis and Clark info in it. (There was also a bathroom that was full of dead animals, which we discovered without bike lights.) With the exception of the bathroom, the whole place was clean and seemed like as good a place as any to set up camp. We setup our tent and got ready to take "showers" in the water spigot, when we saw an old man with a walking stick come down the road from town toward us. He hollered "hello!" and we said hi, and he came up and introduced himself. "You guys biking in? Welcome to White Cloud! I'm Wolf River Bob, and I'm the Lewis and Clark greeter." We told him what we were doing, and he nodded and said that he watches from his Lewis and Clark Look-out for travellers, and comes down to welcome them, whether they are coming by car, bike, kayak... Wolf River Bob kind of confirmed that it was alright for us to camp by the marina, and he made us feel really welcome! When he walked away, Dan and I looked at each other, not believing that we had just met this guy. He seemed like a character straight out of some old movie.


In the morning, we were greeted again by Wolf River Bob, who came down to let us sign the guestbook, which he kept in a plastic leaf. The guestbook was full of names from the 1970's on, including a guy who kayaked from New York and was heading to Astoria, Oregon, and a guy who biked around the world. We met Wolf River Bob at his antique shop for a tour of the town before we left. He took us (in his pick-up) to his look-out spot and camp site at the top of a bluff. He had cleared an area for camping and bonfires. He had a barn full of old wagons and wagon parts, and an old sleigh and corn shucker. He told us a little about the homes and buildings in town , which was a little sad because it seems that Bob is the only person who cares enough to keep up with all the repairs and maintenence. We almost wanted to stay and help him chop wood and clear brush to get ready for the towns huge bi-annual flea market that he helps put on. W.R.Bob then took us to his antique shop. It was full of treasures (my grandmother would be appalled) ! He had skillets stacked up outside, wheels of all sorts, western boots, shelves of old bottles, and all sorts of memorabilia. The movie Paper Moon was shot in White Cloud, so Bob had a huge cardboard tribute with pictures of Ryan and Tatum O'Neal pasted to it. He had pictures of all the old western movie stars. We learned that Wolf River Bob himself had lived in California and was an expert at the bullwhip and quickdraw. (He once knocked a cigarette from his buddy's lips with a bullwhip!). Apparently he was an entertainer and worked as the maitre'de at a Hollywood restaurant. Whew...that's a lot about Wolf River Bob... We obviously could have spent all day listening to him talk! What a character!


We finally got back on the trail. We rode about 55 miles to Auburn, Nebraska, where we met up with Dan's cousin Leslie. Oh, it felt so good to see a familiar face and to have a shower and a comfortable bed! Leslie really took care of us too! We cooked up some spaghetti and baked some cookies and just chilled out with a movie (through which I lasted about 20 minutes before falling asleep..). Yesterday we woke up early (Leslie is a teacher and had to leave home at 7:30) and ate pancakes and hit the road again. We spent a couple of hours in road construction, and that slowed us down. For some reason we were pretty tired yesterday. We rode 70 miles to Wilber, NE, where Dan's Grandma picked us up in her pickup. Cheating? No way! See, it was going to be a 2 day trip, but we opted to get a ride for the last 60 miles so that we would be able to spend all day today in York. We sure have been eating well here...!


P.S. We didn't say much about our stay with Mitch in Jeff City. He was a real meat & potatoes kind of guy. Like literally...he cooked us up pork steak and potatoes for dinner. Dan and I split a potato and...a pork chop. I couldn't refuse! Dan was itching to tell Mitch that I was vegetarian (after I was done eating) and finally the truth came out. Mitch had a good laugh, and finally said "that's like having a dyke over and sleeping with her before she goes home!" Oh Mitch...