Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pocatello, ID to Idaho Falls, ID

"I love to see the temple. I'm going there someday."----LDS Primary Kids Everywhere

Everybody else headed for "I.F." as Mike keeps calling Idaho Falls at 7:45am this morning. We, once again, checked Nellie and Ute (our beloved bikes) onto the van, so we could go to church. We walked about a half-mile from our Best Western motel to the Highland 7th Ward---early services started at 8:30am. We were about the only ones sitting in the chapel when we first got there (we were way early) when a mom with three cute kids walked in, seated the kids, then wandered over to us to see if we were new or visiting. We told her our story----42 riders, 50 days, 80 miles average per day, 3 vans, etc---and that we had skipped riding to go to church. Just like that she offered to take us to the bus stop so the shuttle could pick us up. Just like that! I'm amazed at her kindness and trust.

We spotted a friendly steeple.

Thanks Brett and Skyler for the ride.
You guys are awesome!
And good luck with your marathon training, Brett.

The cyclists who chose to ride today flew with the wind again.

Idaho Falls Temple in a spectacular setting.
I love to see the temple, too!

Tomorrow is a big day. Idaho Falls, Idaho to Jackson, Wyoming. 90 miles. 5500' climbing.
Lots of miles. Lots of mountain. At rap tonight we were given the following advice: Stay in your comfort zone. Climb a mile at a time. Descend a mile at a time. Stop on the way up AND on the way down. Keep your speed under control. Hydrate.

Alrighty then.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Burley, ID to Pocatello, ID

"Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream; Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream..."
---The Everly Brothers

You know how it feels to float on an inner tube down a river? Or to walk on those flat escalators at the airport? That's kind of what today was like. Compared to the effort we were putting out, we were going way fast. I could not have come up with a better cyclist's dream. Another tail wind! Honestly, I know this will all come to an abrupt end sometime, but today we had 20mph(?) winds pushing us along. 86 miles today, 1200' climbing (hardly noticeable).

It's either the tail winds or I am incredibly's the tail winds.

Today's pics:
Mike checking his tires.

Fill 'er up! at the first SAG
held at a closed down gas station.

Register Rock
Pioneers and early settlers signed in here.

These were spinning great today.

A shout out to my boys---Ollie, Truman, and William.

Check out the flag. That, there is some wind!

Everybody else is cycling 65 miles to Idaho Falls tomorrow. We'll catch a ride again after church.

Twin Falls, ID to Burley, ID

"We are the champions, we are the champions..."  ----Queen

The wind gods love us! At least, today they do. Another absolutely amazing dream-come-true for any cyclist. Winds at our back, and again, pedaling along at crazy fast speeds for how much work we're doing. It feels like cheating, but it is so awesome.

This morning at load we were given the scavenger hunt list with 15 items.

There was a lot more lingering in the parking lot. Usually as soon as our luggage is in the van the parking lot clears out quickly. Not today. Teams were studying the lists and developing strategies. Our team consisted of Dave Goltermann from Chicago,  Doug Waltermire from Castle Rock, Colorado, Mike, and me. Only a few blocks out and we hit our first yard sale of the day. We were hoping that some of the items could be found that way.

We had some sight-seeing to do though before we left Twinkie, my daughter's term of endearment for this town.

Shoshone Falls. Wow!

Have you noticed almost no one uses clotheslines anymore? Dave's sharp eye spotted a clothesline with clothespins actually hanging on it. Hmmmm....two pick up trucks in the driveway, and big dogs barking. After some deliberation I walked down the gravel driveway and knocked on the door. My plan was to explain that we were on this coast to coast bike ride, that today was a short day, and they were trying to keep us busy. So, I knock on the door, a big golden retriever comes out of the gigantic doggie door to greet me. No answer. I tried again. Still no answer. A few steps away hung the clothespins. I took one clothespin and under another clothespin on the line I clipped a dollar bill. I thought it was a very fair trade. One item checked off the list.

Mike grabs a flower off of a potato plant/bush.
We thought it would be worth extra credit.
It wasn't.

We were told there was extra credit for creativity. Of course, for us that means it turned into SCAVENGER HUNT ON STEROIDS.  We couldn't stop at just one popsicle stick. Oh no. We went to the craft store and bought a couple hundred. We, then, proceeded to build Fort Burley---suitable for any 5th grade Idaho history project.

Building Fort Burley.
Yes, we bought a glue gun, too.

While looking for a craft store that sold popsicle sticks Dave happened to ask a somewhat random woman named Karen if she had any pretty rocks (also, on the list). Karen gave us this incredulous look, walked around to her trunk, started fishing through a bunch of stuff and revealed a box full of hand-painted rocks which she had painted herself: an owl, a beetle, a frog, a cottage, a Swiss Cheese and mouse set. What?? How is it that we happened to ask the one woman in Burley with a trunk load of painted rocks if she had any rocks?? Bizarre. Dave insisted she take some money for them and we chose the cheese/mouse set.

Mike pointing out all the features of Fort Burley.
We incorporated each item from the list.
Our tour leader Jeff Lazer was the chief judge.

Our Masterpiece

The winners!
Our team name: Mitt and the Domestiques
(Doesn't Dave look like Mitt Romney?)
Also, we had team jerseys and caps.

We won a box of random stuff: cream for saddle sores, tootsie rolls, little trophies, some wrist cooling wraps, some kazoos, and whistles. Also, bragging rights and the privilege of being first in line at dinner for one week. Victory is sweet.

The best part was that we laughed our heads off all day long. Oh, and we rode 51 miles.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mountain Home, ID to Twin Falls, ID

"I just wanna celebrate another day of livin'."----Rare Earth Greatest Hits (1971)

and another day of posting near-century mileage. 97 miles today with 2350' climbing (not much). We weren't expecting the fabulous vistas today. We were on a plateau looking down into the Snake River Valley much of the day. We started riding at 6:30am and finished our ride at 1:45pm, pedaling almost the entire time except for very brief photo stops and maybe 30 minutes spent at the two SAG stops. We didn't stop for a real lunch, only snacks. I don't usually do well when I don't keep shoveling in the groceries. So by the end of the ride I was famished. Our assigned time for dinner was 4:00-7:00pm at the Golden Corral a 1/2 mile walk away. We couldn't get there fast enough (in my mind). Felt a lot better after eating. And a nap.

Luggage Load

Up on top of the plateau, starting to drop down into the valley.

Beauty everywhere.

At the Fossil Bed Overlook.
The sign says "fossil bones of zebras, beaver, otter, pelicans
and other water birds are found in the sediments left from
a 3.4 million year old pond on the bluff across the river."
Zebras? Cool.

Sometimes the sky is the vista.

We could see a storm coming.
We were trying to outrun it.
About 10 seconds after snapping this photo,
it started sprinkling on us.

Some of our riders saw base jumpers hopping off this bridge
as we entered Twin Falls. A 3000' drop.

Selfie at the Bridge.
I bought a new rear-view mirror to wear on my glasses.
Now I can see behind me and read the cue sheet.

Tomorrow we have a very short day---39 miles, but we'll be experiencing a first on a bike trip. They are having a scavenger hunt. We have organized ourselves into teams of four or five. The list is to be handed out in the morning at luggage load. Can't remember the last time I did a scavenger hunt. Should be fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Boise, ID to Mountain Home, ID

"Way out west they got a name for rain and wind and fire. The rain is Tess. The fire is Joe and they call the wind Mariah. Ma-riiiii-ah, Ma-riiii-ah, they call the wind Ma-ri-i-ah."
---the guy in "Paint Your Wagon"

Mariah was in full force today. At our backs! It was so awesome. I was pedaling along having a conversation about what we do when we visit New York City. I look down at my bike computer and we were whizzing along at 21mph. We really weren't even trying hard. Sometimes when this happens I pretend there's no tailwind; I'm just exceptionally fit. Ha! My 53-mile ride from Boise to Mountain Home was over by about 11:30am.

Pics from today:

Surely, the dream of squealing students everywhere.

Sign of the Day:

Across the street from Sign of the Day.

Mike and other riders in Mountain Home.

Passing our luggage down the line from the trailer to the motel.

Tomorrow 97 miles to Twin Falls, Idaho. Yikes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Boise, ID---Day Off

"Everybody's gone surfin'. Surfin' USA." ---Beach Boys

A fabulous day off in Boise, Idaho. What do you do on a day off on a bike ride like this? Well, let's see...we did laundry, cleaned our bikes, got new gearing at the bike shop to help me get over the mountains, reorganized our luggage, bought two different bandana/cooling towel contraptions to help us stay cool, (heat is coming) and, of course, we went for a bike ride! (Only because we had a day off Sunday, so we're pretty well-rested now.)

I am very impressed with Boise. I had no idea it is such a lovely city. We rode along the Boise River Greenbelt which coincidentally follows the Boise River, and links eight parks all named after women community leaders. Most of today's pics are from that ride. Check out what we saw:

Giraffes at Zoo Boise
Totally unexpected!

Surfers---Yes in Boise!
Who knew? Look closely.

Sign of the Day:
Kids: "Officer, we weren't jumping. We were dropping."
Officer: "Sorry kids, it says right on the sign no dropping."

How do you surf from a bridge?

Our latest road hazard.

Boise River

Whole Foods thinks of everything.
This is the Free Air and Repair stand outside their store.
There are bike tools attached to the back side of the pole, too.

Tomorrow a 53-mile ride to Mountain Home, Idaho. Sounds like a pleasant place to live.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ontario, OR to Boise, ID

"You say potato, I say potah-to. You say tomato, I say tomah-to."----Fred Astaire

We're in Idaho! We have bagged our first state and brought Oregon to it's knees! Ok, well...not exactly it's knees. But we are in Idaho. So I'm partly right.

Today was awesome. No rain. No climbing. Only 63 miles. A really great ride. We pedaled by pastures, and fields of potatoes, and alfalfa, just about like being home and heading out towards West Mountain on one of my regular rides. Also, it's nice to be in a state that touches Utah and feels familiar. Today's pics:

Typical morning scene waiting to load our luggage in the van.

These folks are my heroes.
Each of these guys is 70-something. The oldest is 77.
The gal will be 69 this fall.
Aren't they awesome?!

See ya Oregon.

Entering Idaho with some of our new pals.

Somehow this makes me think of homemade bread and cobbler.
Ranch wife cooking, maybe?

Boise, Idaho
Capitol Building

We feel a little like pioneers arriving at an Outpost.
We have made it to a city where we can replenish supplies for our trek.
We were advised to have a spare tire, bike chain, and brake pads to change out later.
Also, I am tired of having the water and mud from my back tire flip up and soak my
behind and the back of my jacket. I got so filthy the days I rode in the rain, 
so I bought a clip on fender. They tell us to expect rain in Minnesota.

In the lobby of our Boise hotel.

Official rest day tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Baker City, OR to Ontario, OR

"People who need people are the luckiest people in the world."---Barbra Streisand

Today we were reminded, again, how many truly nice people there are in the world. We were trying to figure out how to get to church, but what was more difficult was getting to Ontario---80 miles away---after church.  9000 people, we were told, live in Baker City. We were, also, told that they have more cattle than people. Not exactly a cab driving mecca. Our options were to either take a very expensive taxi ride, or the Greyhound bus which would arrive in Ontario at 9:50pm---which is about two hours past our current bedtime. (I'm not even kidding about that either). I had been texting my friend Anne and mentioned our predicament. Well, lo and behold, she has a cousin in Baker City! She hooked us up with Lyle. He drove us to Ontario after church and he picked us up at the motel to take us to church. Wow! He had never met us before. He barely got word last night that we needed help. Very cool! And to make it even better, he taught us about ranching as we drove. He owns a beautiful ranch in an area we rode through yesterday, and was just the nicest, most pleasant person you could ever meet. Thanks Anne! Thanks Lyle!

Back on the road tomorrow.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

John Day, OR to Baker City, OR

"Rollin', rollin', rollin'...." ---Billy Crystal in City Slickers, and before that the guy on Rawhide

This actually was a really tough day. We thought it would be easier because it was only 81 miles compared to yesterday's 117. That was not the right way to be thinking. It was still 81 miles---that is a lot, and with three hard climbs, at that. The last ten miles were into a killer headwind. Poor Mike had to pull me all the way in. Even riding behind him was very tiring, and he was taking the full brunt of the wind. What's hard about this adventure is the cumulative wear and tear. Each tough day is followed by another tough day and by another tough day.

I'm not sure why it came to me today, but I remembered something from elementary school that Ranger Ted from Yellowstone National Park taught us. He instructed us that if a friend was hurt or we had an emergency and we had to cover ground quickly on our feet to run 50 paces, then walk 50 paces, run 50 paces, then walk 50.... This would conserve our energy but get us where we needed to be. I thought of this today as I was grinding my way up the second climb. So I started counting pedal strokes. If I was still alive after 50, I would pedal another 50. To actually be able to see that I was getting closer to the top of the hill I kept my head down and would only look up every 50 pedal strokes, too. Good grief.

Thankfully, tomorrow is Sunday. We have made arrangements to go to church here in Baker City (thanks Anne!), then be driven to Ontario (thanks Lyle!). We'll be riding again with the rest of the group on Monday.

I love barns, especially barns with silos.

Mike is a good sport.

Outside of Prairie City

A nice, warm welcome. Also, nice, warm blackberry cobbler.