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!


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!


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.



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.


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.


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...


Another State down!

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

Manda & Billy


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!


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.


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.