Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 27 - 1,000 Mile COMPLETED! Pacific Time to Mountain Time to Pacific Time to Mountain Time

Yummmm...breakfast was good. 13 miles to summit Lolo Pass. Not so bad. Conquered it with plenty of energy. Crossed the time zone and state line all at once. It feels weird to have gone from Pacific standard time to Mountain time, back to Pacific time and then again to Mountain time, but whatever, time means nothing to me. I live in between day and night, light and dark, between cold weather and hot weather, hungry and not hungry. As long as I get home before winter, I am content. It is the journey of this trip that matters, not the destination. Quality, not quantity.

I have trekked 1,000 miles thus far and am feeling great. Jack called an old friend of his and we are resting up in Missoula. It has been so wonderful so far. Enjoying every minute!

Day 26 - The Day of Horrid Rain

Packed up ASAP and moved my stuff to the pavilion to dry out as best as possible before stuffing everything into their dry sacks. It was a wet one and it didn't look like it would let up. We had no place to go but onwards. After deciding that it waws far too wet and cold to bike we opted to try and hitch a ride up the mountain a bit. After standing in the rain for a long time under a tarp on the side of the road with the only cars passing us being Mazdas, Minis and Corvettes, I started to wonder what happened to the trucks of the Northwest. Where were they now that we needed them? Alas, two elk hunters pulled up during their scout for a place to kill and sure enough they offered us a ride. I think they were going to say no, but then I pulled out all the stops and stood under the tarp shivering and looking worked. We got a ride to the Lodge -phew!!!

Turns out the lodge didn't have any room for us either. Sooooo...we were still homeless. Fortunately, the mountain rangers came to our rescue and let us stay in their bunker to dry out and warm up. It was great! Especially, when two other weather-worn cycliscts pulled in. They were coming from the east and on the verge of hypothermia! They had come from Lolo and told us that they were recently married and about to go for their PhDs so this was their big trip and semi-honeymoon before hitting the books again. I don't know if this is the type trip I'd angle for if it was my big day, but hey, to each their own. They were adorable together. We wish you well Kristen and Nick!

We all went to happy hour at the lodge. I had a great glass of wine and some horrible broccoli cheese soup. Yucky.

Returned back and Liam decided he didn't appreciate my leaving him so he commenced to pee on my sleeping bag. That was a big no no...we had a long talk about that one! Saw the most amazing rainbow and took an easy evening.

Day 25 - My Dog is the Sworn Enemy of God

Awoke early to gloomy weather and started to pack anyhow. I wanted to see what the chapel looked like in the church we were staying in so I wandered upstairs to find that my dog shit in the middle of the chapel aisle! I surely hope God does love all of his creatures. I think that falls under sacriligeous, but I found it rather comical at the same time.

After only 6 miles we stopped at an espresso cafe and were warned about the grey wolves of Lolo Pass and to be aware of their presence. It sounded exciting. The owner was a dog show breeder and had some champions on her land. She was concerned for their well being with many dogs having gone missing in the recent months.

Continued on and stopped at another cafe for lunch. This is the pace that Wendy likes to call the "Idaho Mosey". We only made it 16 miles and already we were lunching! BUT we did forge on and ended the day after 50 some odd miles. I set up my tent just in time as the thunder and lightning started. The camp host was a real jerk and wouldn't let us stay in the pavilion to stay dry. Instead, he wanted us to stay in the rain. Fortunately, my tent kicks ass and Liam and I stayed dry all night long.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 24 - Preparing for Lolo

Packed up with a pretty sunrise on the edge of a cliff, on the side of a highway, with no water and 11 miles to go...great place to, really. I highly recommend the experience - quite entertaining.

I decided since it was 6am to forge onto the new highway...the traffic wasn't so bad and it was a straighter shot than continuing on the old highway. Made it to Grangeville pretty quickly and enjoyed a great iced Mocha and biscotti. The thunderstorm/rain is just starting. Brrrr. How can it be 106 degrees and then in the low 60s? Crazy! We're seeking shelter and then trying to make it another 50 miles today if it clears.

I do pictures yet again! AND I HAVE SOME REALLY GREAT ONES! Hopefully, when I get to Missoula I can upload!

Day 23 - Sleeping on a Highway

Left the RV park and headed to Riggins where we had an amazing breakfast. Have you noticed a theme of food here? Yeah, I thought so. Eating is crucial to this expedition.

The ride was nice until we started to get closer to White Bird (the base of our ascent). We stopped at the Ranger station and found out about a beach where we could hang out. We took a dip and kept trying to wait out the sun, only to find out it was 106 degrees and getting we forged on. It was hot, hot and hot! Made it to White Bird and had the best meal thus far! Chicken Parm and a Rum and Coke. (Note to self...DO NOT DRINK BEFORE A MAJOR CLIMB). Mac's in White Bird is delicious. After that we headed out at 5pm to see how far up the pass we could make it. It would be 21 miles before we saw human life again. We opted for the old Highway 95 because the newer one has virtually no pull outs and is steeper and more dangerous. The old highway took us past the battlefields and old farm houses. It was really quite nice, but the headwind was brutal. Jack got blown over and fell off his bike. I was rerouted into gravel more times than once. It was a bit annoying. Wendy got a flat in her armadillo tires, which is extremely rare! AND the cattle guards were very precarious. It was rough! But, it was so desolate that I was able to let Liam run freely alongside of me. He is becoming quite the little billy goat! The view, though, unimaginable! Once night set in we put headlamps on and continued for a bit, but it got to be too dark as a thunderstorm was brewing and we needed to make camp. So what to do? Camp roadside of course! Pitched my tent with the help of Wendy and Jack. It was so windy we had to hold it down at all times. I am glad I opted to put the rainfly on because it soon started to rain. I've learned that mountaintops and rain can be rough and I didn't want to wake up wet. Jack ended up sleeping in my tent because we thought 3 tents would be excessive on a shoulder turnout.

I can't say it was a great night's sleep. We heard 3 cars pass the whole night, but it scared us every time. The wind was fierce and kept ripping at the rainfly. It was crazy! We heard strange things and kept expecting there to be some wild mountain lion or something, but Liam was on the job. He let us know if anything was happening. It was a cramped and sticky night...again no shower! I also lost my emergency water which pissed me off royally.

What an adventurous evening!

Day 22 - RVs are Wild

So it was a long day - 73 miles to be exact. Fortunately, I slept really well and was so refreshed I was ready to go at 3:30am...until I realized it was 3:30am! Went from Cambridge to Council and breaked again at a bank because that was the only location in the shade. The concrete was refreshing. I met a "farmer" that fell for Liam's adorability (yes, that is now a word...I decided) that he offered to take us to Big Meadows. Now normally, I wouldn't hitch my way anywhere, but when temps are in the 3-digits, I have to worry about Liam. We loaded our bikes and hopped in the back of the truck. It was kind of fun to ride in the bed. I haven't done that since my crazy trip to Mexico.

Turns out our driver was the EVP for Exxon-Mobile. Who knew?! I never would have guessed it. We stayed at A&W for a long while before continuing on to a fantastic RV Park. If near Pollock, stay at the Canyon Pines RV Resort. It is so clean and wonderful!

The scenery was incredible. The mountains and canyons and vistas were fabulous. At the RV park, someone had a big flat screen TV outside so I watched some of the Olympics while another guy had a telescope the size of a small car and was star-gazing. It was pretty cool.

Next up is our major climb to Grangeville. Gulp!

Day 21 - Oregon is DEAD to ME! New State, New Time Zone

I woke up feeling a bit crappy. Didn't sleep so well and was sticky and gross from festering in my own funk for too long. My throat was sore and I just wanted to chill, but I wanted to continue as well. It was a nice descent for most of the day. Ran into 4 bikers going west. Lucky bastards had minimal gear so they looked so sleek next to our cumbersome bikes. It isn't my fault Liam requires almost as much gear as me! It was time for Hell's Canyon where temps reach 110 degrees with ease. I jumped in the river at one point to cool off and apparently Liam did the same when I found him 20 feet away, his leash floating in the water near the rope swing. He had managed to escape again, the little devil.

Finally, I crossed the border into Idaho. I thought it would never happen. Oregon was great, but 3 weeks was insane! At that rate I would make it to the east coast by January! Ha! Unfortunately, the temperature rose to 101 degrees and we were feeling it. Stopped at a campsite just before a 7 mile steep climb out of the canyon. Fortunately, we ran into the local sheriff and he offered us a ride up to the top after he went home for lunch. We figured it was a wise decision with Liam and the extreme heat. Since dogs cannot sweat I was concerned about him staying cool.

Camped behind a motel and did some laundry. Went to Bucky's Cafe which should be renamed Sucky's Cafe. If in this bumbling town (name I cannot even recall) don't go there.

Day 20 - Since When is Oregon 5,000,000 Miles Long???!

Smooth and decent ride into Richland where we breaked from the hot sun. Ate some lunch and snoozed in a park across from an ice cream parlor. We met a smoker/biker (isn't that a contradiction?) who was going west and said we were in for hell with our next pass. That certainly made me want to sleep more, but I knew I wanted to overcome it. We waited. And waited. Finally, we decided to head out again around 5pm. It was a 6 mile climb with a 7% grade and it sucked every step of the way. Normally, I go miles on minimal water, but after that I nearly polished off all 3 of my bottles...and almost had to break into Liam's reserves. By the time we reached the summit, night was nearly upon us, but the purple hue to the mountains and the near full moon were incredible...making the moment and the descent something to relish.

We made camp in Halfway, OR. No chance of a the night was sticky and gross, but we survived yet another climb!

Day 19 - Awww Baker City and the Oregon Trail

Is it wrong to eat at the same restaurant 3 times in a 24-hour period? I think so, but was cheap and filling. We had an easy ride to Baker City and a partial rest day while we stocked up for Hell...literally. The next few days would entrench us in Hell's Canyon and we wanted to be ready! I went for a swim at the Oregon Trail Motel's pool and took Liam for a riverside walk. Got the bikes checked at the shop...mine was fine, but Wendy's needed balancing and Jack had 7 questionably dangerous spokes. Had 16 oz prime rib for dinner and a pecan pie a la mode. AND I got to watch some of the Olympics! Now that's a day!

Day 18 - The Biggest Loser...and 3 Mile High Passes I stuffed myself with a huge breakfast before starting a 9 mile climb to the summit of a pass. Saw a covered wagon on the way, and was most grateful for a paved road. I am still stymied that Lewis and Clark did all this with wagons, mules, and no road. True adventurers indeed! It turns out that our friend, Jerry from the Biggest Loser accidentally lied to us about Austin Junction's store being closed, so after a long climb, there was no choice but to continue on with minimal supplies. I left a note stuck to the store window with gum for Wendy to inform her of going on to try to make it to the reservoir. The only clincher...3 pretty major passes to overcome before that lovely little pond of water. Climbed Dixie, Tipton and Sumpter pass on Huckleberry Mountain and was feeling quite accomplished, but very low on water. Jack and I started to worry about Wendy when a pick-up truck pulled up with her in it. She had run out of food and was near empty on water and not feeling well.

After giving her some nourishment we continued on to the reservoir. It was long and tough, but we did it! We all went for a swim in the lake, including Liam. It was so great to find potable water and to relax after such a huge day! Wendy had a bit of a scare there, but it has only helped us to better prepare for the dead zones ahead...and to know our limits.

At Dixie Pass, 5,277 feet, I decided to jump the 3 feet in my summit photo to make it an even mile...that's not cheating right?! Ha!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 17 - It's a Hottie

Woke up at 6am and on the road by 7am. Feeling a bit slow and sluggish, but apparently moving quite well. Stopped in Mount Vernon for a grilled cheese sandwich when the motorcyclists from last evening pulled in. They said they saw Jack (he is a fellow biker that showed up at the church late afternoon) and Wendy en route. I continued on to John Day and stopped at DQ for an ice cream break. It was quite nice. I will continue on to Prairie City when the heat passes or dies down a bit. It is about 95 out and the sun is blazing. Phew!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 16 - It's the State That Never Ends...(start humming)

It goes on and on my friend. People started biking it, not knowing when it ends. Okay, so I'm under the general impression that Oregon is infinitesimally expansive. Granted, we did go south 245 miles along the coast before heading east another 300, but man! Looks like another 4 days or so until we cross the border. Sheesh! Got up early again today to beat the heat. Had a 7 mile climb to the next pass and then coasted for a bit. I detoured to the John Day Fossil Monument and took some nice pics. Headed on to Dayville where I am now camping at a Presbyterian Church. I will actually be sleeping in the chapel - a first for me. It is nice though - shower, kitchen, internet and a place to keep all of our gear.

Liam met some nice dogs on the way to the cafe, which turned out to belong to the server. They were fun and played for a bit. We actually called over a policeman because they wouldn't stay home and kept following us down the road. They were so adorable! A daschund and a rottweiler mix.

We ran into another biker heading east, who thinks he's going to quit in Colorado. Apparently, there are 2 guys heading to North Carolina a couple days ahead of us, and an Austrian man just behind us. I'm hoping to meet up with Iris at some point (a fellow SASer who is wrapping up her east to west trip for the vets).

Day 15 - Mitchell - Town of International Renown

Hmmm...Woke up at 6am thanks to the noisy camper lady next door who thought everyone wanted to know about Oregon fishing licenses. I would have liked to have hooked her and sent her reeling into the resevoir, but I was too cold to move from my sleeping bag. I decided to stay in bed until 7am and then got ready for the day. Packed up and hit the road...sadly leaving Liam's tie-out staked to the picnic bench - bummer! It was fun watching him roadside chasing butterflies at a break point. I also saw the world's tiniest and cutest chipmunk ever! He was so adorable. He ran into the street, saw me, and ran back into the gully. Roadkill was frequent. The worst was a wolf that had its head decapitated....which I discovered down the road of few feet from the body. The descent from the Ochoco Pass climb was incredible. Lots of picturesque moments. Apparently, shooting at road signs is a pastime here, as all of the signs have bullet holes in them. Awww - the life of small town America. I made it to Mitchell easy - which is the quirkiest little town ever. I had lunch at the Bridge Creek Cafe awaiting Wendy's arrival. Whilst noshing I met a couple visiting from Paris, France and another from Tokyo, Japan. It was so diverse for a town of a mere populace of 180 people. Main Street was interesting...almost like something out of To Kill a Mockingbird. I kept expecting Scout and Jem to run around the corner. The general store has kept a log of bikers since the 1970s and it looks like not much has been moved or dusted on the shelves since about then either. Across the street is a big cage that houses Henry...the town bear. He is very friendly, but Liam thought otherwise.

I met Dennis and Sage at the city park where we camped for the evening. They are a father an son team that are hitching and walking their way back home to Idaho. I wish them well in their journey!

Went to the local town cafe for dinner - yumm...grilled cheese! I was able to observe a small town domestic as a mother (the cook) and her son fought over whether or not he should be allowed to go to the "big town" of Prineville - he is afterall, 18 now - a big, strapping man! Ha...note the sarcasm. It was the evening entertainment. I think the only excitement here happened back in the 1800s when there was a flash flood and some fires. Well worth the experience though. I found it amusing to no end!

Day 14 - Electrifying...Literally

What a great day! Left early and hit the road by 8am. Met a couple of bikers in the early morning at the mini mart before jumping onto a freshly paved highway. It never ceases to amaze me how the road surface can gravely effect the day's success. Stopped in Redmond to ensure my tires were alright, then on through Prineville. I think the two guys there were stoned. They had serious problems trying to read the gauge. My front tire needed some air, so I am glad I stopped. Liam and I had lunch roadside underneath some electrical towers. We could actually hear them crackling. It was wild. Got a bit frustrated when the maps were confusing so I opted to take an alternate route which shaved 5 miles off the day. The scenery was picturesque! Ended up staying in Ochoco Reservoir/Lake campground for the night. It was very nice and Liam enjoyed a dip in the water before heading to the sack for an early night.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Missing Madison

I can't believe how much I've been missing my old girl! She would have loved so many of these adventures! I just wanted to put a little memory out there for her. She was one of the greatest pets a person could have...and now she is up in heaven resting with all my other much loved pets. I love you Maddie!

Day 13 - Rest Day

Took the day to catch up on some sleep and relax a bit. Sean made us homemade strawberry pancakes before leaving for work. He'll be off to a marathon in Crater Lake shortly. The town of Sisters is really quite cute and quaint. Went to a medical clinic to make sure I am okay, as I've been feeling a little out of it. The doc says I'm fine, but to get a new helmet. Sure enough, mine was cracked and out of commission. I needed a new one! There went another $65! Ugh! But it did what it was supposed to - saved my head from any major injury! Got some great ice cream and am taking it easy. Changed Liam's trailer tire tube so hopefully I will not have to pump it up every day now!
Watched a bit of Forrest Gump and rigged a special cover for Liam's trailer in case there is a storm. Amazing what $3.99 worth of tarp and duct tape can do. I'm convinced that Duct tape is an essential piece of equipment for anything.

Day 12 - Relentless Forward Motion

Okay. Up early and bright and ready to go. I made myself some cold oatmeal...yes, I am THAT hardcore and crammed as many calories in as I could. We were going to stop at Clear Lake for some food, but when I looked down at the road there was NO WAY I was going down hill to have to come back up. I made a resolute decision to bust on through to Sisters non-stop. The climb was gradual, but relentless. I focused on small goals along the way and just kept pedaling. I had one small problem when my gear shifted by itself and since I was going uphill, I had to manually change the chain, but other than that I just kept on charging upwards. I made it to the summit and took some self-portraits. I had purchased a tripod before I left so many of my pictures are set by a timer - no choice when you are traveling on your own for chunks at a time! Mount Washington was gorgeous in the distance and so were the vistas in general. I made it into Sisters fairly early and called Scott's friend, Sean. He told me how to get to his house and to make myself at home. A shower was absolute luxury after a good 52 hours of sitting in my own sweat. I almost couldn't stand myself! Ha! Sean got home around was funny to be in someones house I hadn't met and welcome them home. He is a really great guy and quite an athlete! I had a great time playing with his Husky, Sasha. He is off to Crater Lake to run a marathon while we take a rest day tomorrow. I feel truly blessed to be meeting such wonderful and welcoming people along my journey. And thank you Sean for the RFM...relentless forward motion will be my climbing mantra!

Day 11 - Are Those Thunderheads?

Woke up early and packed in preparation for a long trek through the Santiam Pass. We learned that MacKenzie is still closed due to 37 feet of snow being dumped this past winter! As soon as we were fully loaded it started to rain. I made an improv rainsuit for the trailer and fortified myself with my waterproof pants and water repellant jacket...yes, I still get wet! We stopped at the Ranger station to check on safe drinking water along the route and headed off. Breaked at Belkner Hot Springs Resort for a burger and met many fun people, including another Jack Russell named Skipper. The hot springs were really rather hot! As we were there the storm passed and we headed uphill. I decided to let Liam run alongside of me for a bit, but just as I thought he had had enough and was going to pull over into a shoulder, he wrapped himself on a pole and it jerked my handlebars causing me to crash recklessly into the pavement. Forearm, Shoulder, hip and head....smashed! THANK GOD for helmets. I couldn't have been going any more than 10 mph, but I hit hard. I checked my vitals and my eyes dilated just fine, but I am curious as to my head...hope not to have a concussion or any swelling of the brain. Mom, if you are reading this....don't freak out...I am taking every necessary precaution to ensure I am alright. After that, I took it easy for a bit and stopped at a spring alongside the road and washed off. I realized I was having brake troubles and had to break out the tools. I fixed my rear brakes and headed on. Stopped at Kooshoo Falls for some pics and scenery and was about to head out when the sky turned black and we thought it best to make camp before the rain poured. Ice Cap camp was quite nice to rain! So I hiked down to the river and then down to a pretty, clear lake with Liam. We made a camp fire and had some ramen and hot cider. Sleepy. Sleepy.

Day 10 - Big Day

Woke up to Liam wanting to romp in the backyard and Scott chillin' out on the back porch. Siiri and he have an amazing backyard, so Liam took full use to run. Scott made some fantastic oatmeal with fresh blueberries. I drank some vitamin water and chocolate milk to bulk up for our long hall to MacKenzie Bridge. We took this incredibly beautiful bike path along the river out of Eugene - it was so nice to come across a town so biker friendly. I ran into a cyclist and his two friends who were traveling from Alaska to Arizona. He has traversed the TransAm 3 times and asked if I could send him some pics. 3 times...crazy!!! We biked 57 miles today! Our longest yet! We saw a nice, old covered bridge that reminded me of New England. We didn't get to camp until dark because we had to stop at the last general store for the next several miles and stock up on supplies. Pitching the tent in the dark was fun...oh yeah. I was getting aggravated because it was knotted to my bike somehow and I just wanted to sleep. It was a rustic campground with no facilities so sleeping sweaty and dirty wasn't all that enticing. Cheese and salami for dinner with some guava juice...don't is what I craved at that moment.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 9 - 245 Miles DONE!!!

In Corvallis right now, blogging and checking last minute things. We'll have completed Map 1 after today. Went to bike store and switched out for Mountain Bike Shoes instead of Road Shoes since I was destroying the tread on them. The man said they looked three years old...I told them they were 3 months old! HA! There went $140, but at least I am set to go. Checked my brakes and pumped my tires...also learned my pump is reversible and can be used for Liam's trailer too. May need to rig something for shade and weather proofing for Liam's trailer. I don't know how yet, but I need to make sure he is protected from the elements. I stopped by the vet this morning to check on him as he has been itching a bit, but is on Frontline and Heartworm pills. He should be okay, but just wanted to check.

Off to grab some lunch and hit the road for Eugene!

UPDATE - Made it to Eugene and am warm and cozy staying with friends of friends! Thank you Dave for getting me in touch with Dan! And Dan, thank you for getting us in touch with Scott and Siiri. Off to MacKenzie Pass tomorrow!

Day 8 - Slight Panic!

The Dodsons had left for their workday and I awoke to Liam's DoggyRide Trailer having a flat tire...gulp! Thankfully, the Dodson's neighbors were home and had a trusty pump for that type tire. It was such a relief to know that the tire held air and I didn't need to patch it...thankfully I do have an extra tube if I run into another problem! Headed out and had a shorter day. Ate at Burgerville which is a nice fast food sustainable free range food joint. Ended up staying at Motel 6 in Corvallis to do some laundry and get prepped for the start the big climbs!

Made a few phone calls and finally spoke to Dave and Chiva who are currently in Chicago!

Day 7 - The Dodsons Come to the Rescue

What a day! The Rose Lodge campground people fell in love with Liam and wanted to give me a 10 pound statue of a dog to take with me...they were serious I tell you! I had to kindly decline as the thought of lugging anything else is exceedingly scary if I can't eat or drink it! Stopped at Chateau Bianca Winery for a break and spoke with the manager about vineyards and life in general. We ended up heading to Rickreale population 57! We asked about a supposed campground behind the fairgrounds, but could not find it anywhere. It was rather desolate and hard to find anyone in sight and there was a strange man in a car watching us. Finally, Wendy offered to go through some of the buildings and found Mr. Dave Dodson who kindly offered up his farm and home to us! We biked over to his house and spent the evening chatting away with he and his wife, Jacque. Liam was super excited because they had a Jack Russell named Josie who kept him on his toes. I played with the donkeys and goats for a bit beacuse they were so cute and friendly. The Dodsons were most kind and after the wind picked up we went inside the house to warm up and discussed the possibility of a different route. They ended up letting us sleep in their RV since they just got back from vacation in Montana and the weather was rather nippy. What a great night's sleep! Thank you so much Mr. and Mrs. Dodson...and Josie!