Journal

May 10 – Day 1- Astoria to Fort Stevens State Park
Riding to the Pacific Ocean to Dip Wheel and Begin the Official XC Bike Ride!

May 11 – Day 2 – Astoria to Clatskanie
I’m still trying to figure out my Garmin, linking to my computer, then to Strava, then to Facebook. Wasn’t part of the plan for the trip to simplify and disconnect??

May 12 – Day 3 – Clatskanie to St. Helens

May 13 – Day 4 – St. Helens to Portland

May 14 – Day 5 – Portland to Stevenson (Skamania Lodge)
Beautiful ride but very narrow/nonexistent shoulders on 14. Great that Garmin took me on a route which avoided some of it! Nex time, I would go on the Oregon side, which is mostly bike trails, with some stretches on Interstate 84 with wide shoulders. (The day being intermittent rain with wet roads definitely didn’t help.)

May 16 – Day 6 – Cascade Locks to The Dalles
A mix of beautiful riding on pristine trails, riding the shoulder of Interstate 84 for 15 miles, and a Garmin produced ‘side road’ which included an unexpected 1,800 ft climb! A really challenging day!

May 17 – Day 7 – The Dalles to Biggs, OR
A short ride, using backroads, calculated by Google Maps. Absolutely no traffic – was great. The only challenge was ~7 miles of hilly loose gravel road, tricky on my touring bike. It was great to take a day mostly ‘off’ – I needed it after yesterday!

May 18 – Day 8 – Biggs to Umatilla, OR
Amazing day. Beautiful ride, almost no traffic on 14, great shoulders, fantastic tailwind (which was unsettling when it became a crosswind at a few points – would have been impossible as a headwind!) I felt really strong, and did great distance at a fast speed (for me) on a hot day! I guess this getting in shape on-the-job is starting to work! The only challenge I had was entering Umatilla on the ‘bike path’ bridge – a dedicated lane with concrete barriers for protection, but terrifying with the strong crosswinds and loud truck traffic racing by behind the barrier (and bridges are not my thing in any case!!) Wonder what my speed might hae been without walking a mile or so very slowly over that bridge!.

May 19 – Day 9 – Umatilla, OR to Walla Walla, WA
Started cycling at 1230, and made it to Walla Walla by 5. Definitely getting stronger, and by far the biggest delays were slowing way down whenever trucks passed. The route had a mix of decent and very narrow shoulders, heightening my fear at times. Overall very low traffic, beautiful route and mild grades. The last 10 miles off the main Rte 12, on Old Rte 12, were magical!

May 22 – Day 10 – Walla Walla to Pomeroy, WA
We originally planned ~30 miles into Dayton as Chris’ first day, got more ambitious adding 20 more to the Archer Ranch, which had graciously agreed to hold our bikes overnight when we went back to the hotel in Dayton, then got insanely ambitious (with a 20+ mph mostly tailwind inspiring us). It was a great ride, low traffic, perfect weather (ok, the crosswinds were a bit terrifying!) and enough windmills to power a large city on all the hilltops around it.

Thanks to Patty for her shuttle services and support!! She leaves us today to go to Salt Lake City, the Tetons and Yellowstone!

May 23 – Day 11 – Pomeroy to Clarkston, WA
We kept our bicycles overnight at the Pomeroy Sheriff’s Department, in with the stolen bicycles. The kindness of strangers was evident, as they were very helpful. We had gone back last night to Dayton, which we had originally planned as our ‘destination’ on Day 10, but got far more ambitious. (See earlier note). After our climb out of Pomeroy, it was downhill and relatively flat ride into Clarkston, on the Washington/Idaho line (The other side of the river is Lewiston – wonder who got to decide which was the Lewis v. Clark?)

May 24 – Day 12 – Clarkston, WA to Winchester, ID
A lot of navigating leaving town to avoid traffic on the river route, and ‘Rattlesnake Bends’ (sharp twisty road) through Hell’s Canyon, but found a beautiful route, which would highly recommend.

DEFINITELY the hardest day, with a 2,000 ft climb up Winchester Grade from Culdesac. I was psychologically prepared, and the past 2 weeks of cycling put me in pretty good shape, but it was a tough climb. But completely beautiful, and no traffic at all on a perfect (but very steep-6% grade!) road.

We got to the top, it started raining, we were freezing and stayed in a heated Yurt in Winchester Lake State Park.

Great sense of accomplishment, and definitely glad to be stopping for the day!

May 25 – Day 13 – Winchester to Kamiah, ID
Garmin accidentally reset to not shut off when stopped, so speed for the day includes at least one full hour of lunch averaged in, as well as multiple stops shown as zero mph. Average moving speed is 13.2 mph. (OK, I’m maybe being a ‘bit’ defensive!)

A lot of wonderful, easy downhill as reward for our climb the day before! Beautiful ride on quiet, pastoral roads.

May 26 – Day 14 – Kamiah to Lowell, ID
A light, easy day allowing for a relaxing breakfast, and time in the afternoon to take it easy, and PREPARE for the upcoming two more difficult days, climbing to Locksa Lodge then crossing Lolo Pass in to Montana.

May 27 – Day 15 – Lowell to Locksa Lodge, ID
Beautiful ride up the Wild and Scenic Locksa River. Gradual climb over the entire length, good road, very light traffic (we started at 6am to avoid Memorial Day rush), perfect weather, great exercise – THIS is what cycling is all about!!

May 28 – Day 16 – Locksa Lodge, ID to Missoula, MT
Woke up very early to avoid traffic while climbing. It was COLD – 38 degrees, but with the climb and a windbreaker, I felt great. Crossed Lolo Pass which is the Continental Divide. Feeling fantastic! Was very cold the 4 steep miles out of Lolo Pass – no pedaling to heat me up! Been so fortunate with weather, relatively mild traffic, and body and spirits holding up (and soaring!!)

Arriving in Missoula stopped at a bicycle store to get my front brake pads replaced (been riding them pretty hard with my fear of steep downhills!). In the shop, I had this surrealistic feeling of I’M REALLY DOING THIS!!! I’m both surviving AND thriving!!

May 30 – Day 17 – Missoula to Ovando, MT
Memorial Day Monday is a very busy traffic day in this area and, in retrospect, leaving late (11am) was probably not the greatest plan. The first 10 miles out of Missoula was beautiful and calm. After that, once we entered Route 200 it got very busy with vacationers in cars, trucks, and RVs towing boats returning from their weekend. The route was beautiful, and with less traffic, it would have been a great ride. (We learned afterwards that there had been a 3 RV, 1 car accident on the road we had passed!) Got to Ovando around 5, glad to be off the road for the day.

May 31 – Day 18 – Ovando to Lincoln, MT
A short mileage day created space for a fantastic breakfast conversation this morning in Ovando, providing a very up close and personal insight into rural Montana ranch life in a small town (population 81, although it depends on who you ask). I’m working on a photo essay and story to post. I loved the town and the people we met.

Had my first experience (of many, I’m sure) riding into a headwind. Gorgeous route, light traffic and early arrival into Lincoln. We are planning to leave very early tomorrow to go over Rogers Pass, the true Continental Divide, hopefully with little to no traffic as we climb.

Loving being on the road!

June 1 – Day 19 – Lincoln to Augusta, MT
The trip up to Rogers Pass (5,610 ft – the ACTUAL Continental Divide – apparently Lolo Pass a few days earlier is not the actual Divide). It was a much easier and more gradual climb than we had ‘worried about’- (back to that banning FEAR and worry theme), and a great feeling of accomplishment to be on the other side!

Chris had flat tire on the perfect road to test our limited tire changing skills – no traffic, ample side to pull over onto, good weather. We got it fixed in a record almost an hour – but it was good practice!

Got into Augusta for lunch, and for me to get a haircut from Anna from Montana. She was really busy but squeezed me in. As she said, it’s nice to have a monopoly in a small town!

Had dinner at the Buckhorn Bar – possibly the first ever smoked barbque pork steak I’ve eaten, and it was delicious. (A benefit of all of this cycling is I feel like I can eat whatever I want – which is fun!)

June 2 – Day 20 – Augusta to Great Falls, MT
At breakfast in Mel’s Diner we learned that we might have been able to join branding calves if we had more time that morning. While searing the skin of an animal isn’t my idea of a good time (and I’m not even sure it should be allowed-aren’t there effective electronic tags, but maybe that’s not permanent?) it would have been an interesting, definitely once in a lifetime experience for me which led me to the realization that I want to build more flexibility into my schedule going forward.

With help of amazing tailwind we arrived at Great Falls by noon and decided to go on a side trip to the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center which had gotten rave reviews. It was really great, but we got to experience that wonderful tailwind as a headwind – 25 mph at that point, using the River Trail. I’m sure there are many more headwinds to come – just keep pedaling and think of the great exercise!

June 16 – Day 21 – Great Falls to Fort Benton, MT
Left Great Falls (also known as the Windy City) after picking up our bikes at Knicker Biker. I had left my bike there when I went home (my only planned break) for Jenna and Jimmy Hummer’s wedding, digest images and plan the rest of the trip, a forum meeting, and to visit family and friends. No plans now to go back to Boston other than by pedaling!!

Coming back to 4,000 feet I could definitely feel the altitude, breathing a lot harder, and with almost 2 weeks break from cycling, it was interesting to see how quickly conditioning can lapse.

Back on the road we had a great stop for lunch at Elmo’s Highwood Bar – delicious pulled pork sandwich with homemade barbeque sauce and hot coleslaw!

Got into Fort Benton tired but thrilled to be back on my bicycle trip.

June 17 – Day 22 – Fort Benton to Square Butte, MT
Crossed 1,000 miles today, which feels great!! Totally quiet road, beautiful countryside. Fantastic ride.

I stopped at Rusty’s Bar & Grill in Geraldine, MT for lunch –and had a great conversation with a 96-year old man who had just put in a pacemaker 2 weeks earlier. What an inspiration!!

I was planning to stay in Geraldine, but for several great reasons I pressed on. It was only 27 miles from Fort Benton to Geraldine – which is a very short ride and would have left 75 miles for the next day, we had great accommodations at the Pioneer Lodge in Fort Benton, and my ‘room’ in Geraldine was an overflow Winnebago (since 4 rooms at the B+B attached to Rusty’s were full with gopher hunters up from Utah, with massive bottles of half full alcohol in the kitchen area! So arranged with the great Chuck at Pioneer Lodge to pick me up 20 miles down the road, just past Square Butte, and take me and my bicycle in his truck back to Fort Benton and then back to where he picked me up the next morning.

June 18 – Day 23 – Square Butte to Lewistown, MT
Started with 2-mile climb – fortunately didn’t realize it was an 8% grade until I looked back and saw the sign after I got to the top! Ignorance really is bliss, or I would have been WORRYING about it!!

Today I learned what HEADWINDS mean, and they were only ~10-15mph, but directly at me much of the 55-mile day. It’s like going up a continual grade, and when I look at my Garmin and see slow speed and feel a lot of effort, I have to stay in the frame of mind ‘Isn’t getting all of this extra exercise great!’, rather than feeling frustrated. It is all in perspective!

Temps in the 90s – 96.8 for a while, but moving and with the wind wasn’t a problem.

I’m really happy that I rode at 30mph down one hill – making progress overcoming my fear of steep descents!

June 20 – Day 24 – Lewistown to Mosby, MT
A long day, probably longer than we should have done, but there are long stretches out here with no lodging options. It was a beautiful ride with no traffic and we finally arrived at 830pm! I loved the couple we stayed with at Hill Ranch Oasis B & B. Had a home cooked meal of steak, corn, tater tots, fruit salad Jello and strawberry shortcake for dinner. (Totally reminded me of growing up!)

French toast for breakfast, then on the road again!

June 21- Day 25 – Mosby to Jordan, MT
Some headwinds and residual tiredness from yesterday, but all the riding was on empty roads in beautiful countryside. (This is definitely the center of serenity, NOT the middle of nowhere!)

We had booked at the Garfield Motel. On checking in we learned that I had a ‘cabin’, which was half of a mobile home in the trailer and RV park the hotel owned. Room was fine, but not what I had expected. (Another reminder to ban expectations and just be open to possibilities!)

We had been warned about Jordan water for hundreds of miles – a major piece of advice giving whenever I mentioned where we were going through – apparently (or allegedly) there are minerals in the water which make it a strong laxative. I stuck to bottle water, just in case!

June 22 – Day 26 – Jordan to Circle, MT
First day cycling alone. Very sad that Michael had to go back for a family health issue, and I’ll be on my own until Patty joins me July 4th in Fargo, so I’m switching to savoring the solitude.

Set out early, as I was concerned about a big climb out of Jordan and possible headwinds. I came upon 10 miles of road construction and had to follow a pilot car to stay safe with the heavy road equipment. Really slowing down to go through that on a bicycle gave me a huge appreciation for how much work goes into road building. That appreciation is but a single example or metaphor for all the benefits of slowing down!

Visited McCone County Museum in Circle, MT, an incredible eclectic mix of memorabilia from the frontier days. (Some might view it as a hoarders paradise, which would also be true!) Well worth the stop!!

June 23 – Day 27 – Circle to Glendive, MT
Started early and today I really learned about HEADWINDS – 15 mph (from the southeast) directly in my face for the full 50 miles. It was definitely a tough ride against winds, hence the slow pace. In looking at the weather forecast, I had been concerned about how hard it might be. Michael Bloch was so helpful in reframing the wind ‘issue’ as gratitude that I’ve built up my strength so I actually can do this, it’s just more exercise. (OK, that really worked for most of the day – by the last hour or so I was just tired and really ready to get to Glendive!)

I also experienced great presence, and it seemed like every time I looked around me there was some animal (cow, dog, birds) watching me. Magical!

Tomorrow is a much appreciated rest day in Glendive – look forward to visiting the Dinosaur Museum (from a Creationist perspective)!

June 25 – Day 28 – Glendive, MT to Dickinson, ND

June 26 – Day 29 – Dickinson to Bismarck, ND

June 28 – Day 30 – Bismarck to Napoleon, ND

June 29 – Day 31 – Napoleon to Gackle, ND

June 30 – Day 32 – Gackle to Enderlin, ND

July 1 – Day 33 – Enderlin to Fargo, ND

July 5 – Day 34 – Fargo, ND to Cormorant, MN

July 6 – Day 35 – Cormorant to Fergus Falls, MN

July 7 – Day 36 – Fergus Falls to Ashby, MN

July 8 – Day 37 – Ashby to Melrose, MN

July 9 – Day 38 – Melrose to Collegeville, MN

July 10 – Day 39 – Collegeville to Clearwater, MN

July 11 – Day 40 – Clearwater to Otsego, MN

July 12 – Day 41 – Otsego to Minneapolis, MN

July 15 – Day 42 – around Minneapolis, MN

July 18 – Day 43 – Minneapolis, MN to Osceola, WI

July 19 – Day 44 – Osceola to Birchwood, WI

July 20 – Day 45 – Birchwood to Clam Lake, WI

July 21 – Day 46 – Clam Lake to Mercer, WI

July 22 – Day 47 – Mercer to Phelps, WI

July 23 – Day 48 – Phelps, WI to Sagola, MI

July 24 – Day 49 – Sagola to Escanaba, MI

July 25 – Day 50 – Escanaba to Blaney Park, MI

July 26 – Day 51 – Blaney Park to Mackinaw City, MI

July 27 – Day 52 – around Mackinac Island, MI

July 28 – Day 53 – Mackinaw City to Charlevoix, MI

July 29 – Day 54 – Charlevoix to Travers City, MI

July 30 – Day 55 – Travers City to Cadillac, MI

July 31 – Day 56 – Cadillac to Clare, MI

August 1 – Day 57 – Clare to Bay City, MI

August 2 – Day 58 – Bay City to Yale, MI

August 3 – Day 59 – Yale, MI to St. Clair, Ontario, Canada

August 5 – Day 60 – St. Clair to Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada

August 6 – Day 61 – Ridgetown, Ontario Port Rowan, Ontario

August 7 – Day 62 – Port Rowan, Ontario Dunville, Ontario

August 8 – Day 63 – Dunville, Ontario to Niagara Falls, Canada

August 9 – Day 64 – Niagara Falls, Canada to Lockport, NY

August 10 – Day 65 – Lockport, NY toHolley, NY

August 11 – Day 66 – Holley, NY to Rochester, NY

August 12 – Day 67 – Rochester, NY to Syracuse, NY

August 14 – Day 68 – Syracuse, NY to Utica, NY

August 16 – Day 69 – Utica, NY to Amsterdam, NY

August 17 – Day 70 – Amsterdam, NY to Lanesboro, MA

August 18 – Day 71 – Lanesboro, MA to South Deerfield, MA

August 19 – Day 72 – South Deerfield, MA to Boxborough, MA

August 20 – Day 73 – Boxborough, MA to Boston, MA