Trey and Liz's Bicycle Odyssey

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I made it to MAINE!

Yipppppeeee, yeah, woohoo, yes! Oh, but I still have another 180 miles to Bar Harbor, but it was so rewarding seeing the "Welcome to Maine" sign! So, to reward myself, I am only riding 40 miles today, I'm a little ahead of schedule and it will give me a chance to do my last load of laundry and update this blog. As of Sunday all my bike clothes will be going in the trash, yuck!

So here goes a little better updating, I have finally found a library where I can be online for longer than 30 minutes and I'm not in a rush to ride 90 miles. As I mentioned earlier I ran into Otis and Jenny in Michigan and was able to ride with them for 4 or 5 days thru Canada but what I didn't explain was some of the hilarity that ensued...we had to cross the border at Port Huron...not recommended for cyclists! Anyway, we had to get to the bridge, turns out that the only way to get to the bridge was to ride along 2 merging freeway...yikes! And then there were grates that ran along the shoulder and then a large piece of wood in the middle of the shoulder...how we didn't die is still a mystery and why we didn't walk it is even more of a mystery! But we survived and had many giggles over the situation. So from there we crossed Canada, which was relatively flat and followed primarily along Lake Erie. We ran into Julia and Marc, who I had initially met in Havre, MT and then there were the five of us lumbering down the roads of Canada. One day we were stopped in a small town about 30 miles from Niagara Falls and were trying to figure out what our plan was to get to the Falls. We were hanging outside of a grocery store and a nice woman, Judy, offered her 10 man tent at her "summer cottage" to us. It was right on the lake...how could we possibly pass that up? So we rode out there and it was one of the most amazing nights of the trip. This tent was huge, I felt like I was 12 years old again and at a slumber party. We dove into the lake and she fed us burgers and beers and we had great conversation. From there we went to Niagara Falls...wow is that exploited. We checked out the falls and then found the closest bar to have a beer!:-) The next morning we had to say good-bye to Otis and Jenny...I knew that I would never see those 2 on the road again...it was kinda sad. But I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing Otis on the ice next year!

Marc, Julia and I took off towards NY and to get there you had to cross over yet another freeway bridge. But in this case they actually stop all the traffic for you to cross...crazy. And with my fear of heights and bridges I just wanted to get off and walk but you can't because all the traffic is waiting for you to get across...ugggghhhh! Anyway, from there we headed towards a path that followed the Erie Canal for 70 miles, all the way to Rochester. It was awesome, but dusty and boy did my bike pay for it. Marc, meanwhile, cracked his hub on his back tire so we spent some time in a town just south of Rochester getting that fixed. We continued on thru NY with little drama, until I decided that it was time for my meltdown. I was done, finished, didn't want to ride any more 90+ mile days. I rode into a small town where Marc and Julia were waiting for me...bless there hearts. I told them that I was done for that day that I would take a cab if I fell short of Burlington, anything, I was just done for that day. I had ridden 66 miles already that day so it wasn't like I was asking for the world...I just didn't want to ride the next 23 miles! So, I was going to stay at the B&B in town. We rode up to it...NO VACANCY...all cyclist's worse nightmare. I looked at Marc and Julia and said "do you think they really mean it?" Well, they did and so it was another 23 miles for me. And I swear it was the hardest 23 miles of the trip...it was straight up and straight down. Then it started to rain and then I got chased by some dogs! But I made it and we "camped" at some people's backyard who's son had done the trip a few years back and now offer their house to cyclists...how cool is that. It was great after that little melt down. The next day was the first day of the Adirondacks and it was greeted with rain, rain, rain...it was fantastic...what a relief! We went thru Old Forge which is a crazy little tourist town and then ended up at Racquette Lake...we stayed in an old hotel above a bar...it was very amusing. The next day we took off towards Ticonderoga, NY...it was all thru the Adirondacks and was beautiful...one of my most favorite parts of the trip. The next days was my ride to Burlington...it was sketchy riding there, but it was nice when I got there and I could take a week off and go on my cruise.

After the cruise I rode thru Vermont and into New Hampshire...WOW, NH is awesome. It was so beautiful. Yesterday I rode over Kancamagus Pass, which is the last one of the trip! It was spectacular. I can see why folks would want to live in NH! Last night I stayed in a hostel...it was quite a lovely place, the woman that I shared with was nuts...I mean really crazy...but that aside I really liked the place! So today I'm in Maine, in Norway, ME to be exact. And, for the first time on this trip I had to walk up a hill...ME wins for the steepest hill...it was crazy.

That should catch you all up...probably the next update will be from Bar Harbor, Boston or Denver. I will write at least once more to sum up the entire trip and what all my favorite spots were, the biggest surprises, and what I would do different. Bar Harbor or bust...I just hope that my back rim holds up...turns out that it's a little cracked....arrrgggghhhh!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

back on the road again!

Well, after a brief hiatus from my bike I'm back on the road again. I started again yesterday from Burlington, VT and headed to Mont Pillier. I was going to go a little further, but I had developed a rash on my hands and feared that I had come across some poison ivy or something...so I visitied an urgent care facility. Turns out, I some how got coxackie, a very mild, mild form of chicken pox. I'm tired but feel ok so I will continue with the trip and finish it out...I really found it more amusing than anything...ah the trials. Anyway, the cruise to was great...climbed a waterfall in Jamaca, went diving in the Cayman Islands and laid on the beach in Cozumel. And of course I spent a fair share of time in the casino on the boat and didn't even lose all my money that I don't have!

Vermont is beautiful and I'll be heading into New Hampshire today and then will be in Bar Harbor on Sunday. I fly home on Tuesday, yipppeeee! I also have to say that New York was awesome! It was beautiful. The Aderondaks were challenging but I had a grand time in them. I rode with Marc and Julia across NY, which was good because they kept me on course to get to Burlington on time to make my flight. The ride to Burlington was epic, only because of the traffic and narrow shoulders, but it was good.

I have to run...there is quite a line for this computer. Sorry these posts have been so short of late, hope you are all well and look forward to seeing all you Colorado folks next week!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New York...

Sorry for the delay in the update...this biking business is getting serious now...oh, alright maybe not all serious...but there is so much to say and so little time. I'm on a 80 mile a day pace these days, it's hot, hot, hot, and I'm looking forward to my cruise. Yes, I'm still heading on the cruise which will be Friday, I fly out of Burlington, VT...yipppeeee! But for now I'm about 250 miles away from that airport and getting quite tired. So, last I wrote...I was in Michigan and was riding with Shawn...yes, Shannon has left my little trip...very sad indeed. Anyway, Shawn and I went our opposite directions so I rode alone for a couple of days. One of those days was into Midland, MI...and as I started towards the town I went on one of the rails to trails and it happened to be one of their fund raising days. So, I was greeted at all the rest stops with "here comes the woman riding across the US!"...it was hilarious. One woman running one of the stops insisted that I stay with she and her husband...what a treat! So then I took off the next day, ready to get to CAnada...but was stopped short by a nasty storm...second one in 2 days...scarey to get caught in the lightening! But it was good that I was stopped because I ended up running into Otis...remember the guy that was passed out on the shoulder of the road in WA...we rode together again thru CAnada but now he is headed towards CT. I"m now with Marc and Julia and headed thru NY. I have to run, I gotta go ride 70 more miles...ugggghhhh! But I will update much more this weekend when I actually have some time. I hope all is well and oh ya, I just turned 3000 miles...yipppeeee!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What a Wonderful World...

I made it to Mackinaw City, just over the bridge from the U.P....thank goodness! Not overly impressed with the U.P., but in fairness I never made it to the Superior side of things so I shouldn't be too harsh! Anyway, I headed out of Mackinaw City towards Harbor Springs...OH MY GAWD, it's beautiful. The lake looks more like the Carribean than a great lake...who knew that it was so beautiful. You ride down M199 thru the "tunnel of trees"...amazing! But as I was riding I met a guy from Minneapolis just doing a loop so we decided that it would be a great idea to pedal together for a couple of days. Well, we ended up in East Jordan, after 90 frickin' miles in 90 degree weather! It was quite late but we needed dinner so we went to the local bowling alley and had some cheap food and cheap canned beers. Turns out it was Kareoke night! Oh, my gosh, it rocked. Turns out, this guy Shawn could do an unbelievable impersination of Louis Armstrong and What a Wonderful World...skiiny white kid from Minneapolis...it was one for the record books...tee-hee. All is well...hot, hot, hot. The library is closing, I'll write more later, but just wanted to update very, very quickly!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The U.P. of Michigan

We have made it to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and it's HOT! I have heard about the heat wave in Denver, but the difference here is that it's 70% humidity! Ugggghhhh...the girls from the dry lands does not do well in this heat, but alas, we will survive. The biggest news that I have to report is that I passed the 2000 mile mark...yeah! It was celebrated with a "hmmm, isn't that exciting!" and then I continued to pedal. The other things I have to say...in my last Blog I said that we stayed in Pelican Brief...no, that's wrong, it's not a town where John Grisham stole the name for a title of his book...it's actually called Pelican Rapids...just in case you are looking for it on the map! The other thing I said is that I left the "planes" behind...no, we didn't jump ahead on a plane...I meant to say plain, like the "Rain in Spain stays mainly on the plains". OK...what else did I miss type, I hate to think of what else I missed. I did want to mention that we met a couple of women along the way, Laurel and Kami...who had heard about my solo trip and then heard about 2 women doing the ride...that would be Shannon and me...we finally met up with them on the busy stretch just outside of Fargo. They were able to take a break for 3 days in the comfort of their homes as they live in St. Cloud, MN...oh, I was envious! Anyway, they too have a blog, http://giddyupgirlz.blogspot.com I haven't had the chance to check it out, but I have the feeling that it's prolly a little bit more robust than my site! One more thing...photos....wouldn't that be nice...well, here is the problem...I don't have the means to put pictures out there, but when I get back to Denver I'll post some photos, so look for some pictures around the end of August!

Did I tell you how hot it is...well, we did take a break the other day in Phelps, WI to experience the perfect moment! We went and bought some ice cream and sat on a dock and dangled our feet in the cool water of the lake and just let life pass us by while we enjoyed a very quiet, cool moment...it was great. We went on to Crystal Falls, MI where we camped just east of town at a fairly decent camp ground. The next morning we got up early to try to beat some of the heat...there was no beating the heat! We rode 73 miles in the most unbelievable heat...the locals took alot of pity on me and let me use restrooms, cut across their property to get to the river, stand in front of their fans in the bars, anything to get cooled off... But we fianally made it to Escanaba, MI and was able to find a Brew Pub that was actually opened on a Sunday, drank a very cold beer, actually had a portabella mushroom sandwich and then found a campground. I think the campground housed much of the unemployed population of Escanaba, but it was fine for a night. We also found that is was one giant ant pile...ewwww! We packed up early and rode off to Gladstone for guess what...pancakes with peanut butter...yummmm! I had to wait for the bike shop to open to buy a new bike lock...I did a boneheaded thing the other day and broke my lock...arrrgggghhh! I read the paper, trying to keep up on the Lance movement don't ya know! And finally the bike shop opened. The owner was a very amusing guy who was very excited in this adventure. I'm always blown away by the excitement that is stired as we pass thru each little town, I feel like this is a revolutionary idea and no one has ever thought to do such a thing...a hero for a day...it's amusing!

So, now it's off to the lower part of MI tomorrow and then to Canada...I figure I have about 22 more riding days...isn't that crazy! Today is a rest day, the last one before I fly off to New Orleans for a 7 day cruise to the Carribean! I'll see about updating this blog again this weekend or the beginning of next week...thanks for checking in and I love getting all the e-mails and comments!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Minnesota, Wisconsin and ALMOST Michigan!

Sheesh...the 29th of June was the last update I made...what is wrong with me? Sorry, been busy as it turns out! First...I want to thank everyone for your continued support and the great comments and e-mails that I have received. I have read them all and you are in my thoughts and will try to respond as quickly as possible. Suddenly, I'm finding myself with very few days off...ugggghhhh!

Anyway...when last I wrote we were "stuck" in Cooperstown, ND...not really a bad place to be stuck...much better than Esmond, ND...oh yes, there is a story to that one! Finally, the winds turned direction but the rain didn't quit. We had to go anyway, so it was off to Fargo...gale force winds at our backs...oh boy that was fun, until we had to endure the side winds from hell. But, our average speed that day was 17.1 MPH for 94 miles which is not half bad for a fully loaded bike. Turns out that Fargo is a groovy little city, a little bit hard to navigate as it had been a month since I had even seen a city bigger than 5,000 people! What am I going to do when I get back to Denver??? After an evening in Fargo it was off to Minnesota....yippppeeee, yahoooooo, I finally made it thru the planes!!!! We entered into Minnesota at Moorehead and rode to Pelican Brief...that was July 1st and the traffic started to get a little crazy so we quit short of our destination, but it was all in the name of safety. Besides...Pelican Brief has the biggest pelican in the world...doesn't get much better than that! While riding to Pelican Brief we met up with 3 folks that we had met way back in Havre, MT...one of them, Mark, decided to join the Liz and Shannon show and ride with us to Minneapolis...I think he was a little bored with our pace...tee-hee! But he did ride with us for a couple of days, contemplated riding all the way to Vermont with us, but decided that he would just head home to Tennessee...prolly for the best since he is a bike racer and just simply goes much faster than either Shannon or I. I also think I scared him away as I decided to get sick and grumpy. Anyway, we made it thru Minnesota very quickly (skipped Minneapolis, our mileage calculations were off, so we had to), spent the 4th of July in Micala, MN...nothing, I mean nothing was going on in that city. We managed to avoid most of the misquitos, though there was one epic night of camping, but we just crawled in our tents at 7:30 and hid from them.

Now we are in Wisconsin, but only for mere hours, we head to Michigan tomorrow. Shannon and I have decided that Wisconsin is our new favorite state...it's beautiful and the people are great! We were headed to Osceola, WI but made yet another change to our route. The Adventure Cycling maps had us heading way south, so we just cut part of that out and went to Saint Croix Falls, WI where were greeted by Tom Schafer's parents. What a treat that was, thanks to Barb and Ron for your hospitallity! There is so much to be said for a bed in someone's house for a night. It was great to meet the Schafer clan... We really, really, really, wanted to stay for a week, or a month, but alas...old Trey was ready to go. So off to Birchwood we went. We started out and made our own little route which went swimmingly well...we THOUGHT we had out smarted the maps. So when we reached Cumberland we made our own little route to Birchwood. Even the locals told us that we would be fine on our route and that there was a nice little "trail"! Don't ever try a shortcut it always seems to make things worse. So we headed off to the Tuscobia "trail"...trail, ha! It was completely overgrown and completely non-ridable! So we just rode down to Highway 48...well, it was closed for construction. The hell we were turning around so we just rode right thru the closed road...sand, dirt, gravel, you name it. But it was fairly short lived so we started back on the pavement only to find no shoulder and BIG dump trucks passing us every 20 seconds or so...and it was quittin' time so I don't think they were too happy about a couple of cyclists on the road. So, it was back to the "trail"...it was now a mountain biking "trail". We pushed our bikes which was better than the non-shouldered road, but really hard. There was one point where I had to help Shannon push her bike up a hill and she had to help me...we got the giggles for bad that we could barely push the bikes...imagine that! Anyway, back to the highway, past the dump trucks, and into Birchwood. But we couldn't make it all the way to Birchwood withour one more little incident...Shannon took a spill and in pretty dramatic fasion really...but she was down and up in the matter of 5 seconds and nothing was damaged including herself!

We pulled into town, pretty wiped out. We were going to pick some groceries up and cook some dinner but the store was closed so we stopped in at the local cafe where we met Jim, Marcia, Colleen, Keith, Mariah, and Maddelyn who kindly offered us a bed for the night at their vacation "lodge". Turns out it was a cabin built in the 1930's, beautiful and we truly, truly appreciate their kindness! The next day we left for Hayward which is a cute little tourist town and then rode to Glidden...which has the best pancakes yet! I am totally obsessed with pancakes and peanut butter. So now I'm in Mercer, WI, on my way to Boulder Junction and into Michigan tomorrow. Will be spending some time in the upper peninsula of Michigan and then will head towards Canada. Yep, another change...decided to skip Ohio and PA and take the more sceenic route thru Canada.

So, one more thing to add...when I started this odyssey I had said that I looked forward to meeting small town America. I have to say that I am NOT dissapointed. The folks on this route have been kind, generous, helpful, and friendly. It's amazing and I continue to be excited for the next day, the next adventure and new experiences. Hopefully I will be able to update a little more regularly, but thanks for checkin' in!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Minot and beyond!

I'll start where I left off last...damn Montana is a BIG state! When last I wrote...yes, I realized that it has been quite some time...sorry...we were in Chinook, MT. Both Shannon and I decided to partake in Accupuncture in hopes that it would cure some aches and pains...well, it turns out that it actually worked like a charm. We both felt so much better the next day, but were not sure how long that would last. So after much discussion and consideration...we rode backwards...back to Havre...where there is a train station, a fully serviced train station. I had to decide whether it was more important to me to ride across the rest of Montana and risk not being about to complete the trip due to my back and knee and have to skip the UP in Michigan, or hop on a train and skip 350 miles of plains. Well, in the end, I decided that it was much more important that I see other parts of the country rather than wasting my time on the plains. And you know what, it was the best decision of the trip. We were able to get to Minot, ND on Weds, June 22nd, rent a car and drive down to Teddy Roosevelt National Park...which is AMAZING! We met up with Judy and Norvell in Minot and had breakfast and was on our way. The park is in the southwest corner of the state and is spectacular. It is so under used...we didn't see anyone except one horse riding group. It's a far cry from Glacier, Yosemite, and other widely used parks. It was fantastic and if you are ever in this neck of the woods, it's a must see!

After spending a couple of days in the park we stayed with Judy Goldsberry in a small town outside of Minot...thanks Judy...and everyone should know that she makes the best rubarb pie you will ever taste! So, now it was time to get back on the bikes in Minot. We started riding again on Saturday, June 25th. Just in case you want to know where the friendlist people in the union reside...it's North Dakota! It took us an hour to get out of Minot after we were fully loaded because everyone wanted to know what our story was. It's funny, there are lots of riders that come thru ND but you would think that Shannon and I are the only two that have ever crossed thru the state. Anyway, we finally headed out and within about 3 miles of town I once again fell off my bike because I couldn't get out my pedal...ugggghhhh! There was a crazy kid driving around in a go cart next to the incident laughing in a very manical manner! Anyway, I wiped the dirt and blood off and started off again. That was the day of head winds from hell, we averaged 9 miles an hour and were only able to ride 45 miles. We were exhausted when we pulled into the town of Towner. We set up camp in the city park and were fast asleep in mere moments. About 3 o'clock in the morning an amazing storm came thru town. Lightening, pouring rain and heavy winds. All I could think about was the metal poles holding up my tent...needless to say it was a very sleepless night. When I did crawl out of my tent the next morning I realized that I was sleeping in a puddle...I don't know how I didn't drown! Shannon faired much better, but we both agreed that a hotel was in order for that night as strong storms were expected. We rode as hard as we could to get to Minnewanka, but fell short of our goal and decided to stay in Esmond, MT as the hotel was full in Minnewanka. We found shelter that night, which was not really desireable, but we were dry. We made an EARLY departure the next day and went to Devil's Lake. The weather was stormy all day so we decided to have a short day and just hang out in that small town.

So yesterday we rode to Cooperstown, ND...no drama, except that motorize love to pull us over just to chat. Everyone that passes us waves and gives us unbelievable room on the road. We were going to go to Fargo today, but guess what...the weather is WAY too dicey. Rain is one thing, but flooding and lightening is another! So, we are holed up here, which is just an adorable little town and will be going to Fargo tomorrow and will hopefully make it a little further tomorrow. Our plan is to make it to Minneapolis on Sunday, and take the 4th off...don't think we need to be riding that day!

All is going well...it's been challenging riding thru North Dakota, not just because of the crazy weather but because rural America is not where folks want to live these days. As a result, we think that these little towns will have cafes, stores, hotels, etc, but everything is closed when we get there...it's a sad commentary on America. The last thing to shut down in these towns are the bars...which are not the bars you want to spend any quality time in. But I'm surprised by the beauty of North Dakota...it's not the spectacular mountains of Washington and Montana, but there is something to be said for the lush green plains.

I hope you have better access to the internet as I move east, sorry for the delay in the update!

Monday, June 20, 2005

So many stories...

So today we are in Chinook, MT...just 20 miles east of Havre, MT. Our intentions today was to get to Malta...70 miles from here. But I just couldn't get my body there. I'm off to acupuncture and massage in a few minutes so I thought it a good time to update the blog!

Last left off in Whitefish. I was warned against the "Northern" in Whitefish, but did I heed the warnings...of course not. So Shannon and I left Whitefish on June 14th with a nice hangover to battle. Fortunately, we only had to ride 30 miles to West Glacier where we were greeted by Stephen Willis, the Park Ranger. He was gracious enough to offer us his extra room and coffee in the morning. Thank, Stephen! From there we headed for East Glacier...yep, you can call me the wimp...I opted out of going over the "Going to the Sun" road and decided to just head over Maria's Pass...less dramatic, but beautiful nonetheless. Anyone who has experienced Liz in high places will agree that this decision was not so crazy after all!:-) We ran into quite a lot of construction on the route to East Glacier. And...twice, not just once, I decided that I couldn't get out of my right pedal and leaned to the right and went crashing down in front of the flagger. It hurt a little, but I think my ego hurt more. I did manage to bend my break lever on my handle bar so I called Cory Shaddox to walk to through the fix...thanks mucho, worked like a charm. So now I look like a very battered woman, at least on my right side! We finally made it to East Glacier and met Sharon for a trip to the park. WOW, what an amazing place. We checked in with Clay and Rachel and headed up the trail for a little 5 mile hike to some falls. It was a very nice change of pace. The bonus...we saw 2 grizzlies up on the ridge...a male and a female...they were HUGE! It was awesome. We spent that evening with Rachel and Clay and had a great dinner and lots of laughs.

The next morning we woke up to some weather but thought it would clear by the time we got to East Glacier...but it just wasn't clearing up! So we spent an extra day there. And yes, Kelly, we did eat at Two Sisters...so I feel like I can blog again! Finally the weather cleared and it was off to Chester, MT. We made a brief stop in Browning, MT...for those of you that have never been there, you don't EVER need to go there. Shannon had a very delightful interaction with the locals while I had the drunk Indian (at 9:00 in the morning, mind you) ask for money and explain that she wanted to get to the hospital to see her "sick aunt". She just kept mumbling to me and then said "I wish I had a bike to ride to the hospital" in the most pathetic tone. Shannon and I had much laughter over that one! We rode with an incredible tailwind to Chester, which was 116 miles! We decided to camp in the town park...not such a good idea on a Saturday night! We were kept up most of the night my the drunk teenage locals, the barking dog and the freight trains that ran all night long!!!! Ugggghhh! The best part of Chester was finding a cafe opened on Sunday morning so we could have pancakes...have I mentioned how much I love pancakes these days! We sat at a table, minding our own business, though there was lots of interest in what we were up to. The guy sitting at the next table leaned over and said, as he held up his left thumb "I bet you ladies ain't seen one of these before...this is my left toe, lost my thumb in a table saw accident!" That was one of many times that I could not look at Shannon because I couldn't stop laughing! So, we rode to Havre yesterday where we got some slimmy hotel room and at least a decent night sleep. Today we left on our 90 mile trek, but I was stopped by these aches and pains...which, hey remindes me...I'm off to get some work done. Hope all is well...

How I got to Chinook, MT....

June 14, Whitefish to West Glacier, 30 miles
June 15, West Glacier to East Glacier, 58 miles
June 16 and 17 rest days
June 18, East Glacier to Chester, 116 miles
June 19, Chester to Havre, 60 miles
June 20, Havre t0 Chinook, 21 miles

Damn, Montana is a big state!!!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Whitefish...

Today is Monday, June something...you have to like when you can't keep track of what day it is...I'm lucky to even know day of the week it is. I arrived in Whitefish yesterday and decided to take an extra day of rest here...this is a great little town! It took me 3 days to get from Sandpoint to Whitefish...I think I pushed it a little hard so I thought it best to take a day off.

I started on Friday and rode to Hope, ID, where I had pizza with Sharon, some of the best I've ever had. I have now decided that this ride is all about the bakery's!:-) So much for the svelt figure at the end of this grand adventure. Anyway, after a bite to eat I rode to Rock Creek which is the home to a grove of old growth cedar trees. One of my "goals" on the trip was to get a picture of each stateline, but I took a little side rode, missed the sign and lost Sharon in the process. Finally, we reconnected about 10 miles past the Montana boarder and then camped at Rock Creek for one night. OH, and before we arrived at the campground I saw me my first moose....I ain't never seen me a mouse before! The next morning we took a short hike thru the trees and it was time to get back on my bike. Sharon rode with me for 7 miles of my 97 mile day...yes, 97 miles in one day to Rexford, MT. I had not intended to have any 100 mile days until the plains, but I was wanting to meet up with a friend of mine in Eureka...explanation shortly! I found myself faced with some short steep hills, a downpour and some pretty substantial winds...ugggghhhhh. I met a couple of fella's from Missoula on this day...unfortunetly they were faced with a very tired and cranky Liz and soon decided that it was better for them to leave me as soon as possible!:-) They were headed to Alaska so they didn't have to worry about running into me again! Finally, about 8:30 I pulled into a campground where I found a group that is also riding to Maine but on an organized ride with Adventure Cycling. They were very kind...they let me pitch my tent in their area and I didn't have to pay for it...I love that. There were free showers and water, which I had pretty much run out of on the ride. After a few minutes of discussion I set up my tent, took a shower, and ate a nutritious dinner of roasted soy beans and peanut butter and honey tortillas...not the way you like to end a long day of cycling. The next day I rode from Rexford to Whitefish, about 70 miles. It was sooooo slow and probably one of my easier days, but I just couldn't get it together. All I wanted to do was stop in every restaurant, every little store, every house and EAT, EAT, EAT.... But after 6 hours or so I finally pulled into Whitefish where I was greeted by Julie Raine and she has graciously taken me in and allowed me to stay at here house in Whitefish for a couple of days....THANKS JULIE!!!!!

OK...so here is some news that ought to give many of you a BIG sign of relief... When I was in Sandpoint, my good friend Shannon Kalsta called and she was on her way to Alaska. But after much deliberation she decided that it would be a hoot to join me for the rest of the northern tier of the US. So, I now have a pal to ride with and everyone should be happy to know that I won't be riding the "wild's of America" by myself! I'm looking forward to many adventures and laughs as this trip continues with Shannon. Tomorrow I'm off to West Glacier and then to East Glacier and will meet up with Sharon, Clay and Rachel to go into the park for a day of hiking. It will be nice to do some other form of exercising for a day! After that...it's the plains...hmmm, what a change that will be, I don't know that I will know what to do without these big climbs...maybe bigger mileage, eh? I will post again as soon as possible. I really need to sort out how to download some pictures so I can really prove that I am riding my bike and not just staying in one place making things up. I hope everyone is doing well!

How I got to Whitefish, MT...

June 10, Sandpoint, ID to Rock Creek, MT - 69.25 miles
June 11, Rock Creek, MT to Rexford, MT - 96.75 miles
June 12, Rexford, MT to Whitefish, MT - 70 miles

Thursday, June 09, 2005

How did I get to Sandpoint, anyway?

Basically I followed Highway 20 all the way from Anacortes to Sanpoint with a couple of detours on some less traveled roads. While it is nice to travel those side roads, sometimes it was much more comforting having at least a few cars on the road and a few houses as well. Here is how it all breaks down for the first leg of my trip:

Tuesday, May 31, Day 1 - Anacortes to Rockport - 75 miles
Wednesday, June 1, Day 2 - Rockport to Diablo - 40 miles
Thursday, June 2, Day 3 - Diablo to Mazama - 54 miles (Rainy/Washington passes)
Friday, June 3, Day 4 - Mazama to Omak - 57 miles (Loup Loup pass) - Remember to stop at the "Cinnamon Twisp" in Twisp if you are ever in this neck of the woods!
Saturday, June 4, Day 5 - Omak to Republic - 62 miles (Wauconda pass)
Sunday, June 5, Day 6 - Republic to Kettle Falls - 43 miles (Sherman pass) - OK...so I cheated...gasp...I rode UP the pass, 18 miles in sleet, fog, rain, but opted for the down hill in a nice warm minivan! Is it really June 5th??? Because I would swear that it is the middle of Feb!
Monday, June 6, Day 7 - Kettle Falls to Ione - 51 miles
Tuesday, June 7, Day 8 - Ione to SANDPOINT, ID - 87 miles - YIPPPPPEEEEEE - 2 days of rest at Sharon's house!

Yep, still in Sandpoint, but really, I'm leaving tomorrow! I will be heading towards Whitefish, MT to see Julie and other ice folks and then on to Glacier to see Rachel and Clay. Then it's on to the prairies of Montana and North Dakota...that will bring out some colorful characters, I'm sure.

I said good-bye to Jesse and Otis this morning as they headed south, but we promised to meet up again at Cedar Point, OH to ride lots and lots of rollercoasters. My new journey begins tomorrow, new maps, new climates, new terrain...stay tuned! I hope to have an update on this blog early next week, I will do my best to improve on my updates! All my best to everyone!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I made it to Sandpoint

Hello all - Whew! I have resurfaced...the cascades are behind me, they were tough to say the least. I think that if I had known how hard they were going to be to get through I would have trained a little bit, but, hey, I'm here in Sandpoint and can say that I did it with little training!

So, I left Denver on May 28th and flew to Seattle to meet up with Joni, Deanne, Jennifer, Sharon, and Julie for a day of Folk Life Festivaling, it was great fun to catch up with old friends! I met up with my bike at Gregg Cyclery where Peter Oak put it together for me and made sure that I would have a well oiled machine to pedal across the US. Thanks Peter, I will be eternally grateful for that one! From there my good friend Deanne drove me to Anacortes so I could begin this crazy odyssey. We woke up Tuesday, May 31st, to what else...RAIN! It couldn't be so, how could it be, it had been nice all weekend. Oh well, that's part of the adventure. After loading my bike with fully loaded paniers I tried to pull out of the hotel parking lot and realized that my handlebar bag was not at all secure and I couldn't control the weight of the bike. How could I possibly bike across the country with this load. Well, a few minor adjustments at the bike shop that opened their doors early to me and I was on my way. The only real emotion I felt at that exact moment...FEAR! Fear of the unknown, fear of many miles, fear of never being able to make it clear to Maine! Well...after just a few miles it wasn't so bad, I was getting the hang of it and all I had to do was get to Rockport, Washington, a mere 75 miles down the road. The rain never stopped that day, but it was quite bearable. I finally pulled into the Rockport campground around 7 o'clock and thankfully the camphost was gracious enough to let me pitch my tent on his site. I think he pitied me...I was kind of a sad sight to see! I then needed to check in with the folks to let them know that I had successfully completed my first day and since my cell phone doesn't work in the great northwest...gotta love Sprint...I had to find a public phone. That is when the skies opened up and I was absolutely soaked when I entered a local tavern to ask for a public phone and the toothless wonder across the bar said "looks like you got caught in some rain"...thought I was going to go over the bar at the guy! Anyway, the campground was good and I was off on my second day of peddaling. It was mostly overcast, very little rain, which made for a good day for cycling. I only rode about 40 miles to Diablo...a beautiful camping area. The sun even made an appearance! It was the beginning of the climb, did I mention that the cascades are steep?

The next morning...I was ready for my first pass...I finally got out of the campground around 9:30, much later than I had hoped. I started to climb, and climb, and climb...did I mention that the Cascades are steep? At one point on the climb I was having huge problems with my pedals...I kept coming out of them and at one point I got my leg caught between the crank and the frame...ouch! Well, it was time for my first temper tantrum. And of course I hadn't seen anyone on a bike for days...and wouldn't you know it...I turn around during this temper tantrum to see three bikers coming up behind me. Well, fortunately, one of them owns a bike shop in the Tucson area so he was familiar with the pedals and helped me fix them. We were on our merry way and said our farewells. As I got closer to the top of the first pass (Rainy Pass) I thought I was halucinating when I saw a bike parked on the side of the road...and no one in site! I looked a little closer and there next to the bike was a body lying next to the bike taking a nap...it was one of the three fella's I had seen below...he was tired and hungry...poor guy. His friend had become hypothermic and hitched a ride with the road construction crew down the hill. So, Otis, the one lying in the road, and I shared some tortillas and soybutter sandwiches and were having a grand time when his friend, Jesse, came along with his mom. Turns out, that Otis and Jesse are riding to New York on some old beeter bikes, one was free and one was $100. Jesse's mom, Cathy, was supporting them for the first week thru the Cascades. The three of them had found Michael, the bike shop owner, at the previous campground and they had joined forces. Cathy was a godsend! She gave me some juice and bread and cheese at the top of the pass...that made all the difference in the world! Then they offered for me to stay with them in their caban in Mazama...it was awesome. They even cooked salmon, pasta, salad, pie that night for dinner. Suddenly, the trip was becoming so much easier, if only for a couple of days.

Well, Cathy has finally packed it in and headed for home in Vancouver, WA and Michael opted for a day of rest, but Jesse and Otis are still with me in Sandpoint. We left out of Mazama and headed over Loup Loup pass, but not before we stopped in Twisp and the "Cinnamon Twisp" for a cinnamon twisp...perhaps my favorite bakery in the world. It was a nice sunny day and the pass was not near as difficult as the previous day. We then road into Omak, WA...which is like a desert in the middle of the Cascades. From Omak we went over Wauconda Pass into Republic. Again, it was a beautiful day, no big drama, about a 20 mile climb, but nothing like Rainy Pass. Then it was time for Sherman Pass, the one we all thought would be the toughest. Well, we woke up on Sunday morning to what else...RAIN. We started to climb...about a 20 mile climb, but it was pleasant until the top...it was pouring and windy and foggy and COLD. It was only 37 at the top of the pass. Thank goodness Cathy was with us...she provided tea at all the right times. We all made it to the top where I opted for a ride down the pass...I was all ready shivering. The others all rode down. Both Jesse and Otis were pretty hypothermic half way down the pass and had to jump in the car to warm up. I was still shivering when we pulled into Kettle Falls for the night. We left out of Kettle Falls the next morning, leaving Michael behind for a day of rest, and headed to Ione, WA. It was climbing and lots of rollers, I would almost say it was one of the mentally toughest days of the trip! We made it to Ione and then yesterday rode to Sandpoint, ID...it was about 80 miles...it was an incredible feeling of accomplishment to make it to the Sandpoint. I can't imagine what it will be like when I get to Maine!

So far, everthing is going great. My knees and sore, my back is sore, and my shoulders and sore and of course, my BUTT is sore!:-) Hopefully everything will be better as time goes on. Thanks for all of your e-mails, thoughts, phone calls and support. I think this trip is exceeding my expectations. I have to finish this update, the library is going to kick me off the computer! I miss you all and hope you are all well.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Still in Denver

How can we possibly have any idea if we have everything ready for this endeavor? Well, we'll find out soon enough, won't we! The count down is on, only 1 more day and I will join Trey in Seattle to make the final preparations...yikes! But with all the last minute monotonous details we will be able to visit several friends that will be converging in Seattle for the annual "Folk Life Festival" over Memorial Weekend. It will be guaranteed a good time and a fantastic way to begin this trip!

It's amazing that all of this is actually coming together and all the pieces are falling into place nicely. Thanks mucho for the time off from work and thanks to everyone who has been an incredible support system to us. Never fear...we'll be calling when we need that extra little push! What began as a simple pipe dream, an idea, "something nice to do some day" is now reality.

We will try to update this site as much as possible, as long as libraries and internet cafes abound in small town America. But it's safe to say that this will be updated at least once a week.

In addition to fulfilling one of our dreams, we thought it would be a chance to raise some money for a worthy charity. Oy, how do you pick that one? Well, we thought that an adventure camp for kids with special needs would be great and would allow us to bring attention to a charity that provides therapy and adventure to kids that might not otherwise have the chance. Please click on the Adam's Camp link to learn more about the charity. If you wish to donate there is a link to donate online (please note that there is a charge 6% off the top of your contribution to donate online). To avoid the charge you can send a check to:

Adam's camp
Greenwood Triangle
5251 South Quebec, Suite #150
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Please put Trey and Liz's Bicycle Odyssey in the memo

Next stop Anacortes, WA...what this adventure will bring...we can't know but it'll be something for the ages, we're sure. There will be trying days, but those days will be far out weighed by the amazing days...at least we hope! Looking forward to hearing from all of you as this Odyssey unfolds! Happy summer to the northern hemisphere, happy winter for all of you in the southern hemisphere! Bar Harbor, Maine or bust!:-)