Monday, June 29, 2009

Latest update on the ride-"the daily grind"

Republic to Kettle Falls June 26, 2009 - We really enjoyed Republic and the day of rest. We had some good food and met two nice cops that gave us inside info on where to go and what to do in Republic. One officer reminded us of the John Candy character in Family Vacation that was the security guard at Wally World. On Friday morning June 26th we left Republic, WA and immediately started climbing from our campsite at the local county fairgrounds. It was a good day to leave town, there was a motorcycle rally coming to town and most of them would be camping at the fairgrounds where we were staying. The sound of derailleurs was being replaced by the sound of Harley's.

Our goal today is to climb the tallest pass in Washington, the Sherman Pass. The weather was ideal and the climb though difficult was fun and we all enjoyed the ride. Somewhere toward the summit we stopped for a rest and about 50 yards away (depending on who's version you believe) there was a brown bear. The bear sort of looked at us and finally bounded away into the woods, our first bear sighting. We topped the Sherman Pass afternoon and had some construction workers take our pic at the pass summit. The decent down brought across the Columbia River and into Kettle Falls, population 1640 and one old grouch the town sign said. I guess each year Kettle Falls selects an old grouch! We spent the night at Kettle Falls and were off to Ione, Washington the next day.

Kettle Falls to Ione June 27, 2009 - Got a good start this morning and had a nice semi-downhill ride for 8 miles to Colville. We ate breakfast in an old saloon in Colville then did some climbing our of the Columbia River Valley through some beautiful area of which much was the Colville National Forest. This was a ride of 50 miles or so with very little development and sparse population. It was another beautiful ride with lots of climbing and a great 10 mile downhill from Beaver Lodge, a little oasis for us in the forest where we spent some time having Gatorade and snacks. The 10 mile decent took us to Tiger which is basically a single historic building of some kind ran by a woman from Australia. From Tiger we proceeded to our final destination Ione for our overnight rest. We stayed at an RV park ran by Gabe from San Francisco. Gabe told us all about his past working for Livermore Lab and how he ended up in Ione. around a campfire that night. This was a depressed area but Gabe's place was very nice and well maintained we camped in his backyard, had nice showers and really appreciated Gabe's hospitality.

Ione to Newport June 28, 2009 - The road has flattened out. We head toward Newport and the Idaho state line today. Much of the ride is along the Pend Oreille River (pronounced Pond De Ray) assume there were a lot of French settlers and trappers in the area back in the day. We saw a number of deer, eagles, and a skunk attempted but failed to spray us along the way. Most of the ride today was along the river and on alternative roads that are less traveled so the ride was very pleasant. Just outside of Newport we found a National Forest camp site (Pioneer Point) and settled in for the night. The camp site was pretty primitive and "lumpy", I got my initiation in taking a solar shower. Amazingly the shower was much better than expected and a nice alternative to taking no shower at all. Don, May and I went into town and ate some good Mexican food in Newport. Once back at the campsite we all turned in early after some campfire conversation with our traveling companions from Maine-John and Art.

Newport to Sand Point, Idaho June 29, 2009 - After leaving Pioneer Point Camp this morning we proceeded through Newport and Oldtown, WA. Once out of Oldtown we were in Idaho. The road was supposed to be very flat today but it wasn't. It also is warming up, into the 80's but most found this pleasant, I like the cooler, wet weather myself. Once again we took a less traveled route and found ourselves meandering along the Pend Oreille River ending up in Sandpoint at the Pend Oreille Lake. During the ride we saw many eagle roosting areas and found this part of Idaho to be very scenic. John, from Maine had some bike trouble and broke his chain, in addition John had some broken spokes to contend with. Once we arrived at Sandpoint and found a camp spot along the Pend Oreille Lake we went into town for some bike tires and bike supplies in our Ford Ranger support vehicle. At one of the local bike shops we found John and Art getting repairs done to John's bike. Looks like John has everything fixed and we should see them on the road tomorrow. Our route Tuesday takes us another 50 miles down the road, not sure of our final destination but it will bring us one day closer to the mother of all passes on this trip, Logan Pass at Glacier National Park. More on that later.

Newport to Sandpoint

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rest Day in Republic, WA

We went across the Wauconda Pass yesterday and down into Republic. This was the fourth consecutive pass we have climbed. To date we have crossed Rainy, Washington, Loup Loup and Wauconda Passes. All of these require climbing several thousand feet at a pretty steep grade and slow speed. Tomorrow we will climb the highest pass in the Washington Cascades-Sherman Pass 5,575 feet I believe. Fortunately Republic is several thousand feet in elevation so the Sherman Pass climb will be around 15 miles. The toughest to date was the Rainy and Washington Pass which were a few miles apart but took us all day to climb the 31 miles to the summit. Everyone is in good spirit and we have met several bikers, John from California who is going cross country to Bar Harbor, Maine and Austin from Walla Walla who is headed to Alaska.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 22, 2009 Twisp to Tonasket, WA

Left Twisp early this morning to take on the Loup Loup Pass. Just outside of Twisp we headed up Highway 20 for 15 miles of climbing. The climb took us about 4 hours. These climbs are slow with speeds between 3-6 miles an hour. This particular climb was not as difficult as previous climbs and we felt much better today sunshine and 60-70 temps helped considerably. Met another biker who is headed to Bar Harbor, Maine. One we topped Loup Loup we decended quickly on some long steep downhills to Okanogan. The downhill helped our average speed as we were hitting about 25 mph for about 20 miles. Had a great lunch and visited the local Okanogan bike shop. From Okanogan we proceeded to Tonasket about a 30 mile trek. We are starting to talk about a rest day soon and have traveled about 230 miles since Anacortes. The next two days both involve more climbing but after that we will be out of the Cascades and into more even terrain as we head to Idaho.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009 Lone Fir Campsite to Twisp, WA

Took it easy this morning more rainy weather but beautiful scenery, mountains, streams and waterfalls. From Lone Fir we took off with a nice descent down into Mazama and on to Winthrop. Easy riding, stopped for some bike supplies outside of Winthrop and on into lunch at Three Fingered Jack's. We received a visit and update from Gary and Ardith who went back to Sedro Wooley for medical treatment on his shoulder. The diagnosis is a midly torn rotator cuff that will take several weeks to heal. Gary plans to work through the injury back home in Valley Center and return to the ride in Montana. Gary left us by car in Winthrop and headed back to Kansas. The group headed to Twisp and the Riverbend Campsite just outside of town.

June 21, 2009 Colonial Park to Lone Fir

Note we have not had internet or cell phone communication for several days so we are catching up on our posts. Today was a tough day we left the park on Diablo Lake and proceeded approximately 31 miles up hill through two mountain passes. It took us all day to go 31 miles up very steep grade to Rainy Pass and Washington Pass. We were about 5400 feet in elevation. It was gray and drizzly most of the day, when we got to the passes there was still snow on the ground. It was now cold and drizzly. Fortunately once at the top of the pass it was a very steep decent down to what is billed as one of the most beautiful campsites in America-Lone Fir which is about 8 miles west of Mazama, WA. We were tired but with a good fire and nice campsite we felt a sense of accomplishment. There has been no food or water for 76 the last miles of the journey but our SAG vehicle had supplies and we made it through in fine shape in that regard. Twisp, WA here we come for an easy day, some relaxation and laundry.

June 20, 2009 Rasar Park to Colonial Creek

Saturday June 20th Left Rasar Park and headed to Concrete, Rockport, beautiful scenery rivers and water falls. Most exciting thing was Gary crashing in a tunnel. The tunnel was much more dangerous than it looked. All of us felt insecure in the tunnel which was dark and had a very uneven surface. Gary fell in the tunnel and his camera and glasses flew out of one of his bags. Don and Mary went back in the tunnel after Gary got out to retrieve his lost items. Before they could get to it a car ran over his camera, all other items appear to saved. Gary has injured his shoulder and will decide what to do in the morning about riding or seeking medical attention. Will see how he feels in morning and reevaluate. The tunnel was very treacherous and Gary is lucky his fall occured when there was no traffic.

June 19, 2009 Leaving Anacortes

Today the ride begins, left Anacortes at Washington Park in a drizzle, cool and damp Pacific Northwest weather. We took a bike path through the town and about a mile out I had a blowout which slowed things down. Once again we were up and running after a quick repair and we headed out on Highway 20 in some fairly heavy traffic. Took another bike path off the highway to Bayview, Washington and Don had a flat. Once repairs were made we were took several back roads and got onto highway 20 most of the rest of the way. We had lunch in Sedro Wolley talked to the Chamber of Commerece had some Thai food and noted the numerous wood carvings around the town. This area is in the vicinity of Grandpa and Grandma Brown’s farm which we passed and onto Rasar State Park for the night.

June 18, 2009 Island Hopping

Dana took me to Washington Park and left to catch her plane in Seattle. The group was assembled at a campsite in Washington Park and we left at 8:30 for the Anacortes ferry that took us to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. We had a nice ride through the town of Friday Harbor and onto the countryside. At the end of the ride we stopped at a winery for a tasting and then back to the harbor to board the ferry once again this time off to Lopez Island more riding into the country side very pretty scenery and back to the ferry to Anacortes. We concluded the day by having delicious pizza in Anacortes. Everyone is ready to get rested up and get going tomorrow for the long journey. Dana called that evening to say she made it back home safely. All is well we leave in the morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Well rested - Not Sleepless in Seattle

Pass the coffee, it is Wednesday June 17, 2009. Dana and I had a nice flight to Seattle via Phoenix yesterday from Wichita. We landed in Seattle around 1 pm, surprisingly a half hour early, greeted by temps in the 70's, typical Seattle weather but no rain...yet. After renting a car we headed to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, walked by the first Starbucks, watched the salmon throwing antics at the fish market in Pike Place Market and did some general site seeing.

I contacted my aunt and uncle who live in nearby Hansville,we will have lunch with them today. The visit will require a ferry ride over to Bainbridge Island and we will drive up to Hansville which is on the Kitsap Penensula. Hopefully when we leave there we can pick up another ferry over to Anacortes which is where our team will meet to make the departure for the ride east on Thursday.

The bike group should be gathering. Braden and I have missed each other by phone I am assuming he and Roger have made the long drive from Wichita to Anacortes in a safe and timely fashion. I am sure we will know more today as the departure date nears. All is well from my perspective, I am on schedule for the Thursday ride so thus far it looks like all systems are go. My thoughts right now are focused on rain gear and warm cycling clothes, did I bring enough? If Braden and Roger made it up here with my bike and gear I guess I am at the point of no return.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Preparing to Bicycle Across the US Anacortes, Washington to Washington DC

In a few days 6 hardy Kansas souls plan on bicycling 3800 miles from Puget Sound across the US along the northern border. Washington,Montana, Idaho, into Canada through the Road to the Sun back down in to North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, New York through Pennsylvania and on to Washington DC. The trip will take about 3 months. We hope to keep all that follow this blog informed of our status, observations, reflections and to provide some photos to document our progress and activities.