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Showing posts from September, 2021
  Day 10   Stanford to Lewistown, MT 95 miles (completed only 30 after “serious mechanical”) / wind – 25 mph gusts; side and tail winds   Today’s ride was jinxed from the start.   First we had a “game day reroute” due to sun issues (directly in the driver’s eyes) and no shoulder.   We rerouted and drove about 30 minutes away to a less traveled highway.   We knew we would have high cross and tail winds (but clear skies!) but the new highway registered far fewer cars and trucks so we were game. At about 1,000 feet into day 10, while I was changing into lower gears, my derailleur jumped the track and got caught in my rear spokes and disintegrated.   Joe was right behind me and yelled out, “Your derailleur just exploded and shredded your frame.”   Thankfully the bike’s frame was not shredded but the derailleur had ripped completely off the frame!     Not too undaunted, we stopped and I switched to the “back-up bike,” my 10 year old Specialized Pro Tarmac.  Needless to say how
  Day 9   Shelby to Brady, MT 100 miles / 3,500 feet of elevation   When we left just outside of Shelby this morning it was 42° along with a stiff breeze – we were freezing as we rolled out on day 9.   We were however treated to a wide open “access road” next to the highway, with very few cars / trucks for the first 2.5 hours of our ride.   We saw more Turkeys across the wheat fields and simply enjoyed the rolling landscape all around us. After about 2.5 hours on the roads next to the highway, we had to go up onto the highway shoulder, but today we had a 4’ shoulder and concrete highway.  This highway riding, even though the cars / trucks around us were going 70(+) mph, we felt like we were riding on a track!  Our speed (with a slight tailwind) were between 22-24 mph!  This pace assisted with a short, just less than 100 mile day and allowed us to undertake some late day bike maintenance.   Before ending our day though, we traveled along the Missouri River, through Great F
Day 8   East Glacier to Shelby, MT   85 miles / 2,800 feet of elevation   Montana is the “new Texas” from RAA I, we are in Montana for 5-6 days out of 18.   Growing up in Alaska, my “lower 48” geography is a bit off, I truly had no idea Montana was this large of a state!   However, happy to be in Montana; the roads and shoulders are good, the drivers courteous and share the road willingly.   We have had some trouble with hotel accommodations as the state is not well populated and some towns don’t have hotels for us, so we end up shuttling at the end of the day and beginning of our days.   This shuttling is a very slight inconvenience for the beautiful surroundings we are cycling in. We enjoyed wide open roads with good cycling all day long.  Montana’s “Big Sky” was a treat throughout the day. Again, we tried to show you this aspect of Montana in some of our photos but our photos just don’t seem to do the real thing justice – at times we just coast and look around at the clo
  Day 7   Whitefish, MT to Summit of “Going-to-the-Sun Road (Glacier National Park)”   80(+) miles / 5,000(+) feet of elevation gain; many 6-8 grade climbs, few 16 grade (real, real steep!)   [Think of those yellow truck warning signs at the top of a hill with a black truck pictured descending with a warning for a 6% grade!   Some of these climbs were almost three times that grade – this truly was the “going to the sun” road!] Glacier National Park, MT, just outside of Whitefish, MT, was commissioned in 1910 or so and this road was built in the 1930’s.  This road is still considered one of the engineering feats in our nation’s history!  For those of you who enjoy the outdoors or viewing the overwhelming vastness of huge, panoramic vistas, this place is a must see on your bucket list.  It is hard to describe the majesty of mountain views and riding your bicycle among those peaks which were etched millions of years ago by glacial movement.  You feel very small but part of a much
  Day 6                Libby, MT to Whitefish, MT   50 miles / 3,700 feet of elevation / shortened day due to mechanicals and necessary bike shop stop   Today’s shortened route took us up and over a beautiful mountain course bounded by a lake to our left (for the entire day!) and a mountain wall to our right.   We traversed over gently rolling and sometimes fairly steep hills with long rollouts afterwards.   We had fantastic road conditions and very few, perhaps 12, cars / trucks passed us during this entire day’s ride.   Near perfect day in the saddle with beautiful scenery all around us. From time to time the tranquility of today’s ride, in sharp contrast to yesterday’s “white knuckler,” was integrated by one of us pointing off the road to deer and wild turkeys.  Some of both allowed us to get quite close before they bounded or flocked away from us.    Later in the day we visited a local bike shop in Whitefish, MT, Great Northern Cycle & Ski, where we were treated w
  Day 5   Priest River, ID to Libby, MT (new state crossing)   102 miles; 3,258 feet of elevation / had to portage two times   Today’s first 25 miles of cycling began with some traffic and narrow shoulders.  From there the traffic and shoulders go progressively worse.  After some “white knuckle” riding we decided to portage (twice) to appease some of the Idaho drivers.  (After a quick vote, Idaho drivers get the “worst etiquette / least favorite state to ride in.”)  We don’t want to bash all Idaho drivers, perhaps the 10 or 11 that let us know of their displeasure with cyclists were just having a bad day?  To be clear, we are riding on several marked bicycle routes across America.  We are riding the Northern route, legitimate “Route 10,” which is one of about seven different routes which begin on the coast and literally go across America from there.  And, we drove this route last October (thinking the pandemic would be over in the Spring and we could ride then).  All of thi
  Day 4   Colville to Priest River, Idaho 104 miles; 4,667 feet of elevation We began today’s ride on downtown streets in Colville and then traveled through neighborhoods surrounding the city, until we made it to the surrounding countryside.  We had good weather throughout today’s ride, if not a little warm – when we arrived in the town of Priest River, ID, it was 89°.  Air quality was better than yesterday with only some smoke later in the day.    About 90 minutes into today’s ride, at about 7:30 a.m., we were in the countryside riding on wide open roads surrounded by fields and some trees on both sides of the road.  Bob was riding a little ahead of us when Joe and I saw a blur of a large male deer just left, racing towards the road, just ahead of Bob.  It was as if this deer needed to cross the road before Bob went by.  This deer, now dubbed, “Usain Buck” hit the two-lane road only once when he bounded right in front of Bob, about 5-7 feet from Bob’s front wheel!  And in a flash he w
  Day 3   Omak to Colville Another very big day:   116 miles and a 9,000-foot gain in elevation with most of this gain in the elevation occurring in miles 80-90 towards the end of the day (just when you thought the day couldn't get any tougher, oh yeah, “Here’s a huge, steep climb to end the day!”) Road Conditions:   We went from 3-foot shoulders with a “rumble strip” to 18 inch shoulders with no rumble strip to no shoulders!   And we have included here photos of some of the machinery going up the mountain passes right next to us – not for the faint of heart! Today’s weather:   We had it all today, a little rain in the morning out of Omak and then the day progressed to about 88° from Noon on, going into Colville.  Air quality from the fires was 151.  Oh, and we had near 15 mph headwinds for some of the mountain ascents and descents.  Some of these headwinds pushed us sideways while descending at near and above 40 mph.   Today’s story is about the ride, it was a very tough d
Day 2   Ross Dam Overlook to Okanogan   Pre day-2 discussion; Bob email to Joe and I:   “Surprise, our total elevation gain is over 8,000 feet, our estimated elevation gain was 1,600 feet off!  2,500 feet in 10 miles between miles 70-80.  Super steep!  Oh, and FYI, Wednesday is close to 9,000 elevation gain, not the 7,000 we had charted …”   Joe’s response, “Good to know Bob.”   105 miles; over 8,000 feet of elevation gain!  Tough, tough day in the saddle; this was one of the top 20 hardest centuries we have ridden and among the top 10 most beautiful.  Stunning vistas, truly a magnificent highway (Hwy. 20; which closes for about 4-5 months a year due to 20(+) foot snowfalls!  We encountered some smoke from long away forest fires and we saw tremendous damage from recent forest fires in the Okanogan National Forest.  Very sad, this forest will not likely come back in our lifetime. We had beautiful, well-maintained roads, with little shoulder but for the most part very courteous drivers. 
   Day 1   “They’re baaaack.”    That’s right, the same guys that spearheaded the RAA I (“Ride Across America I”) three years ago, Bob McCullough, Joe Geivett and Carl Forsberg are headed out on RAA II, this time the Northern Route across America. As you may recall, in August 2018 this group rode from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida over 27 days, with a rest day in Austin, Texas.    RAA I was about 3,055 miles.    RAA II (who’s idea was this anyway, Bob?) is from Anacortes, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine, our route is 4,251 miles.    One never has an appreciation for how much wider America is on its Northern border than its Southern border – until you map a bicycle route.    Due to scheduling considerations (the “vocation” as opposed to the “avocation”), we will ride from Anacortes to Minneapolis, Minnesota this year and pick back up in Minneapolis and ride to Bar Harbor this time next year.    (We hope to get a spectacular “New England Fall.”)    The first leg of RAA