Sunday, May 31, 2009

Having Fun?

Since we left the Rockies about a week ago, things have been, uhh, flat. Days on the plains have been long in an effort to stack on some millage ; we recently had our longest day yet at 112 miles. We miss the mountains. After many big travel days we decided to take a rest day, and boy are we glad that we did.

The city of Glasgow, Montana had some Saturday events which we gladly took part in. First it was off to the mud bogs, which drew quite an interesting crowd. Between shocking (and questionable) wardrobe observations, we caught plenty of testosterone-charged mud slinging. The highlight of the show was an '84 Camaro monster truck that most rednecks would kill for.

The after party was a Blues and Brews festival. For the price of admission it was all you could eat and all you could drink. We might have over-indulged. The music was also fantastic - the night culminated with a jam session involving performers from all of the bands in what can only be described as a country/rap mixture with a kickin' bassline (very cool).

After being awakened the next morning by the sprinklers in the city park (did I mention we just zonked out in our sleeping bags without pitching tents?), we joined up with some delightful folks that we met at the festival. Steve and Ginger took us for an awesome tour of nearby Fort Peck and treated us to a delicious hamburger luncheon. I managed to drop my wallet along the way (doofus), but an awesome soul turned it in and I was ecstatic to retrieve it. Who says you can't have a ball on the plains?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Glacier National Park

Yesterday we had the opportunity to ride around Glacier Park. Our original route had us crossing over the continental divide at Logan Pass (here in the park), but because it is so early in the season and snow remains abundant, the Going-to-the-Sun road was closed two miles short of the summit. The real bonus was the fact that the road was only open to bicycles and pedestrians for roughly 12 miles before the closure point. This afforded us a traffic-free experience of what could be considered the most beautiful time of year to experience Glacier. Instead of trying to describe the vistas, I’m going to direct you to our photos page. After taking a day to explore the park, we headed south and crossed the divide at Marias Pass, the lowest passage point through the Rocky Mountains.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Meeting People

The easiest thing about a bicycle tour is meeting people. Folks are instantly curious about where you are going, where you are coming from, and how long you plan to be on the road. You could take the most boring, introverted person, put them on a bicycle with some luggage, and in a week they would get more social hits than Paris Hilton‘s facebook page. There’s something innocent about a bicycle traveler that induces trust - after all, are you really going to run away with the farmer’s daughter? (It would be a tight fit with her riding on the handlebars). The real joy is that this kind of openness leads to a crazy amount of terrific conversation with fantastic people, many of which have traveled a great deal themselves. Before you know it, you’ve shared a thousand personal experiences and made a lifelong friend.

The hardest thing about a bicycle tour is meeting people. After you have bonded with these exceptional individuals, you eventually have to move down the road. For instance: we just met a family in Whitefish, Montana that hosted us for two glorious days. When it came time to leave, we felt like we had known them for two full years. Then you are expected to just walk away from these folks, which turns out to be difficult and ridiculously painful. Of course you can stay in contact via email and phone, but it is poor substitute for their incredible company. So here’s to our new family in Man-tana - Perrin, Chris, Tommy, Emily, and Elizabeth - love you and miss you guys. Traveling shouldn’t be this hard.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long Road...

We started on one of the longest days yet at 2:00pm after finally finishing a great French toast and bacon lunch. From Libby, Montana we traveled northeast on a road for seventy plus miles with no services. This road was nice for the fact that there was no traffic but was very long and monotonous. With no waypoints to judge distance it really drug out. The road surface seemed like a treadmill - a treadmill with a flypaper belt. Nine hours later, we finally made it to the end of that road and found ourselves on a beautiful, long bridge over Koocanusa Lake when the rain started. We were so worn out and still had eight miles to go. In the town of Rexford we got a free camp site with a hot shower and boy did we sleep good. So despite the long, rough, hard rolling road it was a successful day of fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Visitor

Last night we rolled into the town of Hope, Idaho where a kind fellow by the name of Erik invited us to crash at his house for the night. We gladly accepted and had a marvelous time swapping travel stories with Erik and his wife, Jen, over food and drink. In the morning, I walked to the enclosed carport to grab some stuff off my bike. I was a little disappointed to find my bike tipped over in the dirt since Clancy’s bike (which was leaned on mine) had been carelessly moved elsewhere. Dammit Clanc - I thought to myself - have a little more consideration. It was then that I noticed Clancy’s bike about 40 feet away, laying in the driveway on its side with one pannier (pack) missing. Oh crap, time to start talking to the neighbors about potential vandal/thief activity. I run to wake Clanc and we come back to inspect the scene more closely. His bike looked a little roughed up after seemingly having been drug to its resting place. “My cooking pack is missing,” he exclaimed, “the one with my stove and food.” We looked at each other in disbelief and it hit us at the same time - a bear. We let Jen know what had transpired and began searching for remnants of the shredded pack. Jen found the pannier up the hill - the top had been opened carefully in order to remove the dry bag inside which contained food. The dry bag had not been opened with as much care, as it laid shredded on the ground among many wrappers.

We got lucky, real lucky. I suppose we should have taken more warning from the black bear sighting on the road yesterday. You can bet that we will be hanging our food from here out - even if the terrain is less than rugged.

As we made the long pedal through the morning wind and rain, and eventually into Montana, our spirits were not dashed. Funny how a close encounter can give you a renewed thankfulness for your state of well being. Touché Mr. Bear, touché.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Food is one thing on this trip that my mind always seems to ponder. What to eat? How much? When? Are all the questions that I go through. Not to mention that all food tastes great and there is never enough. Better yet, lately we have been getting a lot of great tasting handouts from family and friends. Thank you guys. One meal stood out to us several mornings ago when we fried up some eggs and ham and added cheese and then placed it between toasted bagels. It definitely was heaven on earth if there were such a thing. So in closing, I’m going to say that food is one of the most rewarding treats on our trip so far. Peace.

Friday, May 15, 2009

In Your Head

You might wonder what we have been doing to occupy our minds on this trip while our bodies remain busy propelling us forward to the next mile marker. Well lucky you, I am going to give you a sneak-peek into the minds of two bicycle travelers (scary I know). Turns out that Clancy mentally disassembles and reassembles Volkswagen motors, while I sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door. So while Clancy is wondering if he put that imaginary bolt in the coffee can or on the imaginary work bench , I am busy overcoming objections and trying to close the sale of a Kerby with someone that doesn‘t actually exist.

All joking aside, we often find our thoughts centered around food and the concept of eating. We can finally justify eating every hour (though I never had much of a problem doing this prior to the trip). Songs also tend to get stuck in your head while pedaling. Lately for me it seems to be Johnny Cash, “Get Rhythm”, which seems quite fitting. Just yesterday, Clancy’s cousin - a girl that can sing and play the guitar like a dream - reminded us of how music deprived we have been by giving us a mini concert of sorts. She performed Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and some music that she wrote herself - all very beautifully. Jon would have been in heaven.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Car Ride

So we are in Wauconda spending a rest day at Clancy’s Aunt and Uncle’s beautiful log home. All of his family (Grandmother, and both Aunts and Uncles) have done a terrific job spoiling us rotten with delicious food and great conversation on three different occasions now. Did I mention that we are thankful to have such hospitality on our route? Anyhoo, we needed to make a trip to the town of Republic just 15 miles down the way since the “town” of Wauconda consists solely of a restaurant and mini-mart. We jump into the car with Clancy’s Aunt behind the wheel and start buzzing down the road.

Almost instantly we both become very uncomfortable - road signs seem to fly by like jet aircraft, deer on the side of the road morph into streaks of brown light as we work our way closer to the sound barrier. *Whoosh Whoosh* what the hell was that on the side of the road? Did we already miss our turn off? Are we driving to a fire? In retrospect, the whole event left us with a mild case of post traumatic stress disorder. OK, so perhaps I exaggerate slightly (our driver was cruising only moderately fast given the conditions), but the real shocker is how acclimated we have become to the speed of bicycle travel in such a short period of time. Returning to “normal” life might be a harsher adjustment than expected.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

At a Glance: Day Four

Having been on the road a handful of days we have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people (Phylis, Andy, Tammy, George, and others - if you are reading this) and see some spectacular sights. We have traveled about 200 miles thus far, with our most significant accomplishment being the trip over Washington Pass (right). Folks that we meet on the road are super curious when they spot our bikes - we have outlined our trip countless times already, which is just fine given that I like to hear myself talk. All is well, we send our best to the folks at home!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Want to Buy: Chair

If you have seen a chair matching this description please email or call us. In case you can't tell from the picture, it is a normal chair with the profile of a bicycle seat cut from the base. You can probably imagine why we need this item, given that we have been spending about 5 hours in the saddle on a daily basis. We would gladly pay a very high price for such a gem (especially if it packed well).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Much Thanks!

We owe many folks a big hand for helping make this tour a reality. Rick and Jan at Fidelity Print Quick made us some fabulous business cards; Scott and Rob at Paul's Bicycle shop (6th street) have outfitted our bikes (and us!) fabulously for the trip; Marty's bike shop in Medford has also taken care of us well; Wayne at for providing us with packs/racks/advice. Of course our biggest supporters have been our friends and family (that means you!). Also, to anyone we might have left out - a million thanks!

Ready, Set, GO.

After the long trip north to Anacortes (by car) we made our way to the ferry docks landing. This was our starting point so we packed up the bikes and said goodbye. Chase, my mother and I walked down to the water to do the ceremonial dipping of the front tires to start the coast to coast trip. The feeling was great to be on our way and over the long trip up. The over-packed bikes rolled smooth as we rolled down the road. I just want to thank all the great people that made this trip possible. Peace.