Thursday, July 29, 2010

back in the good ol state of co.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

relaxing in novato, ca. full of pizza and beer. 25 miles till the end...

Monday, July 19, 2010

snapped cable. hitchin it to redding, ca.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

just about back to normal and movin south.

Friday, July 16, 2010

a solid 32 miles brings me to la pine, or.

Day 66. Side-of-the-road, OR to Mt. Vernon, OR. 100+ miles.

The day started before the sun broke the horizon. High winds kept me up most of the night and allowed for an early start. I started climbing a pass as soon as I started pedaling but as I pedaled higher and higher I entered national forest and the wind died and I was loving it. Much to my chagrin, I exited the forest just as quickly as I had entered and the wind picked back up. A small town boasted a cafe via a highway sign and made the 1 mile dash straight for it.

While eating I met a dude from Santa Barbara who was on his way north hauling bicycles to Washington for a triathlon. We chatted for over an hour and he hooked me up with some books-on-tape for my iPod and even offered a place to stay in Santa Barbara if I happened to make it down that way. I started up one of those books as I departed; 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' it was titled. I recommend it.

The day consisted of 4 climbs and the book on tape probably got me through them. I just focused on what was being said and pedaled onward and upward almost entering a meditative state as I climbed and climbed.

I rolled into Mt. Vernon with plenty of daylight to spare but I had heard about a specific church that allowed cyclists to stay - almost a co-op sorta place. The co-op was in John Day, or at least I thought, 8 miles east - obviously the wrong direction. I rode down there but found nothing. I asked around, called the police but nobody knew what I was talking about. After searching the internet, I discovered that the co-op was in Dayville - 23 miles west of Mt. Vernon. 31 miles was too far to cover with the remaining daylight so I just headed back to Mt. Vernon where I discovered the 'Bike Inn.' The Inn is a donation based guest house where cyclists can hang, eat, sleep and shower. I ended up sharing the house with three other cyclists from Seattle that night. They were making their way to North Carolina and eventually riding back. I was a bit envious of these guys as this trip was not just a temporary thing. They hadn't any deadlines or time-lines. This was just a stage of life, one I imagine, they will remember forever.

Day 65. side-of-the-road, WA to side-of-the-road, OR. 100+ miles.

So, now I'm basically riding as far as I can everyday in order to wrap this thing up, hence sleeping on the side of the road. Not to mention, it's free!

I was up bright and early, which happens when sleeping near the road. I knew I wanted to get to John Day, OR in two days, nearly 200 miles off so I pedaled and pedaled. But within 5 miles I had to get some coffee and eat. Gotta energize, you know. After the quick, undeserved rest, I was off and pedaling into the wind. After a couple of hours I hit the town of Walla Walla, WA. What a name. shortly thereafter I entered Oregon in 100 degree heat as I pushed toward the city of Pendleton where I could eat again and cool down. I took refuge in a fast-food joint, places I will now stop frequenting due to being grossed out, but the AC was nice as was the ice-cream and burgers and water.

I left Pendleton nearing 5pm with at least another 50 miles in my mind. What I didn't know is that the next 30 would be straight into the wind and uphill. This kicked my ass. As I climbed and climbed, I knew there were two passes that I would be approaching and as I hit the first one and found it to be 9pm, I stopped for the night. I thought that crossing in the morning and in the daylight would be a much better option.

Near where I posted up there was a family eating supper in a camper, no doubt enjoying the sunset. As I was just about set-up, a man was crossing a field from the camper and heading in my direction. I immediately thought him to be the land owner and was coming over to kick me out. My mind started coming up with excuses and ways to charm the man as to let me stay. Turned out I was just putting myself through a bit of mental anguish as I met him halfway. We shard a wave and a brief hello before he asked me if I was setting up for the night. I said yes. He then asked if I had everything I needed; water, food, ice-cream. The man and his family were from British Columbia and were on there way down to Disney Land for holiday. He was a fellow traveler, more of a backpacker, but had concern for any traveler. We shared stories of traveling before he went back to his camper and returned with ice cream for me. Nothing like an ice cream sandwich and a drumstick before retiring for the night. I know it's been happening the whole trip, but I still dig, and always will dig, the kindness of strangers.

Day 64. Pullman, WA to side-of-the-road-somewhere, WA. 95ish miles.

I was up early, before Paul, and headed out the door only leaving a thank you note behind. My head pounding a bit from potent micro-brews, I quickly ate some McD's and set out towards...who knows. For nearly three hours I rode through more of the hilly, lush green fields I had entered the day before and before I knew it I was perched atop a 2,000 ft. vertical drop into Lewiston, ID.

There were two routes down into Lewiston, a two-curve route on the highway or the old frontage road that snaked downwards. I chose the frontage road. Solid descent. I snacked a bit in the town, used the library and continued on. Naturally after a 2000 ft drop, there is always a 2000 ft climb to get back out of a valley. For the next three hours I climbed a mere 20 miles into the wind before reaching the top just to drop back down. Oh, and the green hills disappeared and became brown and dry.

The landscape out here is like nothing I've ever seen. It is a high-plains environment full of canyons and draws, which, are where the roads are constructed. Most of the time the roadways wind and follow streams and rivers until they are forced to climb over long, tall hills. After dropping back down I stopped at a cafe merely to refill water bottles, but after looking at a menu, my glandular problem forced me to eat a philly cheese steak, sweet potato fries and a mountain dew. With daylight dwindling I knew this to be a risky move and one that would most likely leave me in the dark, but 'who cares' i thought. After being full and happy, I pressed on into the fading sun.

Within 10 miles I found a touring cyclist on the opposite side of the road standing there next to his bike. I stopped just to make sure everything was ok with him and it was. He was waiting for two of his friends that he had left in the dust. Within minutes the two friends came riding up and we all rested and had a chat. The three guys were from England and had been on the road for only six days. I told them I had been out for 9 weeks and was bombarded with questions. To those who are just starting their trips on the west coast, I appear to be somewhat of a veteran to this game and must know all about this form of travel. I answered their questions, to which, they were thankful for my answers and we parted ways.

My goal was to hit a campground past Dayton, WA but due to a 3 mile climb up a 6% grade I was 10 miles short of that goal and decided to set-up camp at the top of the pass. There was a semi-truck parked at the top as well so this gave some comfort as to not be the only person sleeping on the side of the road. Fortunately there was a bit of a drainage on the side so I was mostly out of view to the passing traffic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

day 63. coeur d'alene, id to pullman, wa. 92 miles.

i tried to get up bright and early to get a good jump on the day. but it didn't happen. i snoozed for a couple hours, enjoying the comfort of my hotel bed.

on my way out of the city i stopped at a local bike shop to top off my tires. just before stepping inside, two dudes approached inquisitive of my origins. when i said nyc they became stoked and shook my hand. toward the end of our conversation, one asked, "i bet you like weed. i can get some if you need it." i politely declined explaining that while i do support the sticky plant, it's effects just don't do it for me.

i rolled over a few mountain passes before being out of the woods, so to speak. its amazing how the terrain can change in the blink of an eye. rolling hills of lush green grass and wheat surrounded me in all directions as if floating on a raft.

the day went on, the heat reached 100 and countless cars and trucks screamed by, their air conditioners blasting, no doubt. in an effort to remove myself from traffic i took a right and veered into washington state towards pullman. the green rolling hills continued for miles as i rolled over one hump to see many more of its brothers stretching on into the distance.

the clock showed 7pm as i hit pullman. standing out in the parking lot and looking at a map, a dude with a pony tail, glasses and a baseball cap approached interested in my travels. after some brief discussion he invited me to stay with him. paul owned his own place where a spare bedroom and a shower awaited.

we spent the night at two breweries talking about all sortsashit and drinking tasty microbrews. paul was a cool guy looking to earn his phd at wsu.

honestly, i started thinking this trip was just winding down as i cruise through these last couple weeks. but honestly its just the same as when i started except my endurance is a bit better. I'm still going to have some wild experiences and meet some interesting folks. yes, there may only be three weeks left but its gonna be awesome.
shower!! in a guesthouse in mt. vernon, or. headed in the direction of bend, or tomorrow. i hear its quite the spot.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

cooling down in pendleton, or. 101 degreeeeeezzzzz.

day 62. athol, id to coeur d'alene, id. 20 miles.

traffic was whizzing by on the highway just beyond my pine-needle coated barrier. the tall weeds surrounding me as well as my sleeping bag and bike and bags were coated in Idaho morning dew. i was certain that if no one spotted me last night as i crept into the woods, they would surely spot me this morning as i used trees as drying racks. but without problem i was on the road riding in morning sunlight.

i cruised into a local subway shop for a bit of breakfast. i had a thought today; do they throw all leftover bread out at night? would be a great spot to pick up some free grub to accompany my jar of peanut butter. anyway, a fellow subway diner struck up conversation about my ride and said i needed to check out the coeur d'alene lake in coeur d'alene, only 5 miles off.

my original plan was to use the library in the city mentioned above and then move on. well after visiting a local coffee shop and the library i cruised to the lake. what a wonderful sight: a massive lake, grassy knoll for the sitting and a dock that ran off into the water. ok, I'll hang for a few. in seconds i was stripped down to merely bike shorts and feeling very euro in my revealing attire. i rolled out my thermarest pad and stayed for over two hours while i read, mapped, and enjoyed the scenery and views. my stomach rumbled and i knew it was time to eat and it was during lunch that i knew i couldn't pass up this clear beach day.

i rode down to the strip of cheaper motels outside of the main strip. i rang a bell and an older fellow came from around the back chasing an old dog. "can i get a room please?" i asked. "well, sure. i have a single available. so you're on a bike huh? so you don't have a car, no pets, and you probably don't smoke." his eyes stared at me through thick lenses. i nodded to reasure the man. "well what are you looking to pay? cuz i know there are cheaper spots down the way." i was bit taken back. "well, i like paying 5 to 20 bucks. are you saying that this is negotiable?" i asked. "well, no." he responded. i laughed. before giving me a price he showed me a room. if it had a hot water and a bed i was sold. "so how much?" i asked. "this single is $55. how does $45 sound?" "uh....sounds good to me." strange i thought. funniest part, as i was signing my receipt amother dude came in looking for a single. the old man told him it would be $60 and the guest rejected it and left. then the man looked at me and said "i used to race bikes." the bike scored me yet another deal.

i spent the rest of the day on the beach working on my farmers tan before going to dinner and relaxing in the comfort of a bed and a massive ice cream cone. I'm not sure the relaxing day was deserved but it was sure nice.

Friday, July 9, 2010

posted up in pullman, wa for the eve. a stranger saw me scoping my map like a goob and offered up his place. how rad is that!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 61. Libby, MT to Athol, ID. 110 miles.

I tried to start early, I swear it. But after visiting a local coffee shop and visiting with the owner for a good while, it was 11:00am before I departed Libby, MT. The morning was bright and crisp and I could feel the heat begin to creep in. For the last few weeks it has been a bit chilly, the wind and breezes cooling my skin - especially when in the shade of mountains.

I stopped briefly at Kootenai falls, which my buddy RT from West Glacier had told me about. I hiked down a short hill, across a bridge and through the woods. Quite impressive they were as water poured down rock that seemed to be sliced with a knife. Sharp, 90 degree edges acted as steps for the cool, blue water. After a quick hike back up I was on the road again, only stopping in Troy, MT for an air pump and then here and there for a snack and water.

It wasn't until I reached the town of Bonners Ferry, ID that I stopped in for a rest. A small chain restaurant, Zip's, looked like just the place so I sat down, consumed two double cheeseburgers, fries, Mountain Dew and a chocolate shake. I've been telling myself that I need to cut down on this bullshit food, but during the heat of the day I let my stomach conquer my mind. Perhaps I have a glandular disorder. A man in the restaurant asked me about my trip and we went back and forth talking about weather, distance and when he ran out of things to ask I asked him about his motorcycle helmet and his motorcycle sitting outside. He opened right up and told me all about his travels on that bike. He loved it. Sometimes it's clear that people just need the right opportunity to talk about what they're doing because not enough people in this world take interest. Welp, I'll ask you a question and you can go right on ahead.

Stomach full and mind at ease, I rolled on down to a local ranger station. I learned that maps are free at visitors stations and since there wasn't one around I was hoping that an Idaho state map would be waiting for me there. Turns out there wasn't but after enough hobknobbing with a ranger, she pulled a map out of her car and handed it over to me. Said she didn't need it anyhow. Funny how it works if you smile and act friendly with folks. You can almost get anything you want.

After a couple hours I found myself in the town of Sandpoint, ID - seemed like a real nice town but I just stopped for a drink and rolled right on through. It wasn't until 10pm that I stopped in the small town of Athol where I met a fairly unfriendly individual who didn't want to give me anything for my nice smile and friendly attitude. I noticed a handful of RVs and campers set-up in some grass and assumed the piece of property to be a fine place to setup my tent. There was no obvious order to the property and appeared to a backyard turned campground - a weak one at that. I asked a group of RVers whom to speak with. They pointed me over to a corner of the property where a Caterpillar was pushing brush into a large bonfire. A man wearing a sleeveless t-shirt was directing the machinery and drinking a beer. He was sitting on a tailgate by the time I walked up to him, orange glow from the fire lighting my way. "How's it going, man?" I shouted out on my approach. "What's up" the man said in return. As I got closer it was clear that he was almost perturrbed with my very presence. I asked him how much it would cost to set-up a tent on the grounds. "15 bucks" he replied. "15 bucks!!" I said, obviously appauled by the fee. "yup" he returned without hesitation. "Well, that seems a bit high just to set-up a tent. Think I'll just keep it going." "I guess you will" and he sent me off.

Of course as I left and after I was gone I thought of many witty and snappy remarks as to why $15 was an absurd price. First of all there wasn't a shower or a bathroom on the property but most importantly there wasn't even a picnic table. Picnic tables have been the most important piece of furniture I have come across on this ride. They allow me to stand up my bike, spread out my shit and keep it all off the ground. Well after putzing around town for nearly an hour I moved on past the thievery of a campground, only about a quarter mile, and found a nice free spot behind some trees off the highway. I was camping on the ground, my stuff on the ground, just as I would have been at the "campground." $15 my ass. If you ever find yourself in Athol, ID - skip it.

coeur d'alene, id. talk about a hard spot to leave.

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Day 60. Kalispell, MT to Libby, MT. 90 miles

I awoke in my recliner at the early stroke of 11:30am. I have no idea how I slept so long in a recliner but I was refreshed. I packed up and said goodbye to my new friends and headed to a bike shop and grocery store. By the time I ran my errands it was 1pm and I was just getting started. One nice thing about being this far north is that it's light until 10pm allowing for endless rides.

I headed out with no destination in mind. The only thing I knew is that there weren't any real towns or stops between Kalispell and Libby so I pressed on, only stopping to snack on snickers and drink water. The ride was beautiful through green-wooded mountains, along rivers and lakes. Fortunately the ride was mainly down hill as the elevation dropped from 2900 to 2100 over the 88 mile course. Occaisionally I climbed and descended and climbed again. The wind would hit me from the front and then push me along. Several small white-tail deer hung out near the side of the road and would either run along side with me attempting to escape my incredibly menacing presence or would cross directly in front.

I was hanging out on the side of the road, looking at a map and snacking when a driver headed in the opposite direction turned around and pulled up just to ask if I was alright. It was nice to see that kind of concern because for some reason I got the feeling that most people were just upset that I was clogging their narrow mountain road. The gentleman and I chatted for a while and I basically just rattled off a series of questions and listened to him tell me about his life. Where he was from, where he was going, his numerous jobs were just a handfull of topics. He was also a volunteer EMT in the area - good on ya, man.

The sun was setting and I had nearly 30 miles to go so I stepped on the gas and poured into Libby at nearly 9pm, the sun still glowing. I was surprised at myself for pulling off 90 miles like that but was glad to know that I'm capable of such distances so late in the day. A small campground sat behind a grocery store where I stayed for a mere $5. After setting up camp I went into the store for some ice cream and since I don't have a freezer with me, I just get to eat everything I buy. A nice pint of Half Baked accompanied me back to the campground where I chowed, talked to some friends and called it a night. The night was crystal clear and the stars were shining brightly. I stared up at them through my tent until the sandman came to me.

We're moving now.

Day 59. West Glacier, MT to Kalispell, MT. 30 miles.

So, I didn't make it as far as I had hoped, but meh.....

It took forever to gain motivation and actually head out today. I strolled down to the rafting office to hang with RT and Cal, drink a ton of coffee and shootheshit before I actually left around noon. Off in the distance I could see storm clouds a-brewin' and when I hit an incredibly narrow canyon road the sky opened up. The river was off to my right and a tall rock wall to my right. Rain fell for at least 20 minutes and hail for at least two as I crawled through the skinny roadway to a nearby gas station where I ate a hot pocket (haven't eaten one of those bad-boys since I was in highschool) and drank some coffee and dried off.

It rained off and on all day, or at least the three hours I was actually on the road. As I was cruising down route 2 toward Kalispell, I punctured my puncture-resistant tire on some sharp gravel. And for some reason I couldn't get the tire up to a solid pressure. So I rolled into Kalispell in search of a bike shop and found them to both be closed. The rain and hail blew into town and it just so happened I was outside of a bar so I went in for some dry conditions and brews. As I was leaving the joint a kid outside asked me where I was headed. He said he and some friends had a shop so I could top off the tires but I still wanted to buy a new tire for my next leg which was 175 miles without a bike shop, just in case.

I rode to the 'shop' - which was a dude's garage where bikes are built, and a fellow named Brandon was there to meet me. He stood in cowboy boots, black work jeans, a black t-shirt advertising the bar where I had just had beers and a dirty pbr trucker hat. A red beard covered his face and a bull ring ran through his nose. I filled up the tires when he asked, "you hungry?" Well, naturally! He brought me into his apartment where I met his girlfriend, Mindy, and biscuits and gravy were heating in the oven. We talked about my trip, and I knew I wanted to spend the night in Kalispell so I could pick up a bike tire the next day so I asked if they knew where there were any good spots to stay the night. The two of them looked at eachother for a minute and said "dude, you can stay right here." Perfect, exactly what I was hoping they would say.

I hung out with Brandon and his pals for the eve, supplying the PBR in exchange for a comfy recliner to sleep in. Did I mention that they fed me again after the b+g! These guys were great and also were the founders of the Black Label Bike Club in Kalispell, inspired by one in Big Fork. (If I messed any of that up, my apologies). These guys were in the practice of building high-bikes. And by this, I mean, bikes that consisited of two or three bike frames welded on top of one another to create a mega-tall bike machine. A bike so large that you have to climb up it like a ladder just to get to the seat. Talk about dangerous. Brandon had fallen off one weeks back and cracked his ankle and tore up his shoulder. I guess that's what happens when you're living three bikes high.

Thanks for the lodging and comraderie, dudes. much better than sitting in a motel 6, staring at a squak-box. cheers.

days 57+58. kicking it in west glacier, mt.

my buddy ryan strolled into the living room where i was asleep on the couch and my other buddy, ryan was asleep on the floor. yup, 'the ryans' as they've been called. "time to go" he said. the clock displayed 6am and we staggered to the car under a steel-grey sky. even after a large coffee i still managed to sleep during the 2.5 hour drive to west glacier, mt.

i stood in front of a group of glacier rafting company guides as i was introduced and they received their daily rundown. after gallons of coffee i found myself dressed head to toe in neoprene. a wetsuit covered my skin and booties wrapped my feet. either i am the definition of pure weakness or I've lost all body fat because the slightest bit of cold made my legs shiver.

my buddy ryan was the guide and i was the single creepy guy on the raft trip. usually when folks go rafting they come in at least groups of two or more so when there is a single guy its easy to wonder 'what's his deal?' either way, river rafting is awesome even though it does make me a bit timid. i mean, water is one unforgiving force that can spoil lives just as easily as it can bring joy. and when its 38 degrees, even more so. after braving rapids just as a child would minus screams, i posted up in a warm room on a dry couch, turned on some hulu and relaxed the rest of the day.

as the evening rolled around as did a bus full of river folk. ryan was driving and the other ryan and i hopped aboard. the bus was going to big fork, mt for a community theatre performance of 'dirty rotten scoundrels.' it was actually pretty good despite the fact that im not the biggest fan of musicals. on the way back to west glacier, the bus ran out of gas and we pushed that thing a few hundred yards to the nearest station. well i pushed for a bit until i couldn't keep my pants up any longer. I'm currently using a shoelace to keep these things up as i didn't bring a belt due to weight. bottom line I'm just a bit too skinny to keep my usual drawers up. so i filmed them push their transport in.

the next morning i awoke and went on a ride into glacier national park with a new pal, caitlin. the ride was beautiful. thick, green forest lined the roadway. bright blue water rushed by over waterfalls and slicing gorges into the land. tall peaks towered in the distance and he best part, there was fresh asphalt which made for a fast, fun ride. after 40 miles we were chilling in a local restaurant chowing down.

the rest of the day consisted of relaxing and eating pizza. i thought of the next three weeks and the push into san francisco, roughly 1200 miles away. awesome.

for my pals in kalispell, mt.

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last night's lodging.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

seriously foul weather in kalispell, mt. think this may be it for today. anybody willing to house a traveler?

When a bus runs out of gas the Glacier Rafting Company team pulls through.

You will notice, I'm filming and not helping. I thought that the team should bond and handle their bus on their own. Big thanks to the Glacier Raft Company for hauling my hobo-ass down the river. Awesome time! A real solid set of folks up here in West Glacier, MT.

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Headed back onto the asphalt today. roughly 1200-ish miles to be had before SF. In the words of Bud Light, "Here We Go" (or something stupid like that). ok, peace out, homies.

Now you know why I decided to go north around Nevada.

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Just a little vid from the other side of Trail Ridge Rd.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 56. jackson, mt to darby, mt to missoula, mt - 130ish miles.

I slept in fo sho after my late arrival into Jackson. I ate an incredibly unhealthy breakfast with Jon. We even scraped another table's plates after they just left food sitting there. Never leave food sitting there...unless you're in japan. I hear that it's polite to leave a little bit when you're finished. If this is incorrect, please shout.

It definitely took some motivation to get going. That motivation came in the form of sweet rolls and mtn dew, and then I was off with no destination in mind - just riding. As I hit the town of Wisdom, MT 18 miles down the road, the mosquitos I had been warned about, began to swarm. These things were some sneaky bastards, a different breed of blood-sucker. They would chill in the draft I created and then come in for a juicy snack, and then WAAP, squashed, dead, gone. These devils swooped in for nearly 30 minutes before I climbed toward Chief Joseph Pass and started gaining elevation.

I climbed for nearly 3 hours, reading stories of Chief Joseph, the Nez Perce Indians and Lewis and Clark along the way. Atop the pass, the wind blew in strong from the North fighting my descent the entire way. After climbing for hours, the most relieving thing is the descent but when wind stands in the way of a smooth cruise and I am forced to pedal that's when I start to lose it a bit. Chief Joseph pass towers at 7,200ish feet and I descended just over 30 miles to Darby, MT which sits at 3888 ft. So a 3400 foot descent that was one of the most dissatisfying of the entire journey, but, meh, what are you gonna do? I had wanted to ride a bit past Darby to Hamilton but due to the wind and my crazy brain I stopped in at a local restaurant with the plan of camping at a local rv park for the eve.

In the eatery three other cyclists had just sat down to dinner. I joined them. One dude had started his cross country trip over a year ago but due to physical health issues couldn't finish. So this year he picked up where he had left off. Two other guys had started at the end of April in Yorktown, VA and were headed to Florence, OR. The solo guy excused himself from dinner promptly to go and update his blog. He was a bit too structured for crossing america via bicycle, I thought, but to each their own. Who am I to judge? I chilled with the other guys for nearly an hour talking about all the strange, crazy and interesting experiences we had all had thus far. We were to go to the local watering hole for a few beverages but there just wasn't much happening so we called it in for the night.

After setting up camp, I called a couple good pals I had in Missoula to see of their whereabouts. Well, the original plan was to chill with them but they had to head out from Missoula the next morning at 5:30 to guide rafts down the river in West Glacier, MT, 2.5 hours north. I was bummed that I was going to miss them but they insisted we somehow see each other. "We're gonna pay our bill here and then we're coming to get you. No questions" they told me. "Well, I can't argue with that. see you guys soon." an hour later a car with a bike rack showed up to grab me, my friends inside. We packed it up and cruised straight-up to Missoula.

I know you're now thinking, "What? A car ride? What the hell?" I assure you that I am making up for the 60 mile auto-ride and then some due to the fact that they kidnapped me and brought me to West Glacier, 150 miles north, so I'll be covering that distance when I depart, adding 100 miles to the trip and probably a couple days.

After a bit of bar time at a local Missoula establishment we crashed for the night. I climbed onto a comfy sofa and passed out, my legs tired from the two days of mountain passes and headwinds. It was great to be on cushions as well as with friends. Montana is one bad-ass state, boy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

day 55. twin bridges,mt to jackson, mt. 75ish miles.

a little bit of wind, a little bit of despair, a little bit of joy, a little bit of climbing and a little bit of hitching.

the day started out as most do. Pack up, clean up, fuel up. i bid farewell to those who were set for denver and departed for dillon with hopes of catching jon for to ride with a partner.
i didn't catch jon until 11:30 that night when he was already at camp.

the road to dillon was a bit of a climb, well actually, just a 30 mile gradual elevation gain. i stocked up on supplies in dillon as i had planned on putting in 70 more miles and there weren't many towns along the way. as i rolled off the curb and into the street i felt a bit of a tug and my bike wasn't rolling properly. i glanced down and noticed the rack had come loose, the left support dangling.

I'll eat breakfast and figure this out, i thought. i took a closer inspection and realized the bolt holding the rack in place had snapped. half the bolt was still stuck in the frame with no obvious way of freeing it. i thought, this may be the end. i went into eat and to think things over.

i knew there was a bike shop in town, so i left my things with the restaurant staff as the rack could not support weight, tied the dangling bit up with a shoestring and headed to the shop. it was closed and not to re-open until 4pm the next day. sweet. there was an after hours number on the door so i gave it a shot. "i should be back in a few hours" a voice said after i explained my situation. "i'll get you fixed up."

i retrieved my things from the eatery and loaded up the handicapped bike. it held up quite well to my surprise and made it down to the local library and then espresso shop. by the end of the jaunt, the shoe string was stretched and the rack dangling once again.

i loitered in front of alternative board and bike for an hour before another injured bike rolled in and then the owner/mechanic. the other bike had busted a spoke while carrying a guy east. he had to hitch into town dodging two passes, his friends still out on the road. these guys were from oregon and headed to virginia, were trying to make the whole thing in 50 days. doable. he said they wanted to do a 200 mile day. good luck with that, chief. i do hope that works out for em.

my bike was fully functional by 4 so i ate again, used the library and headed to camp. but when i got to camp i saw the sun high in the sky and headed to wherever. once again i didn't want to waste daylight so i climbed atop a pass and met a dude talking to his lady on the phone. i completely interrupted his conversationand made him talk to me. the sun was starting to glow golden and i knew it was still nearly 30 miles to the nearest town. "how's the next pass" i asked. "just a small hill, man. nothing really" he replied. i set out into the sunset with hopes of jackson.

well that pass was a lengthy and ominous climb. it was 10:45pm and pitch black when i rode to the top. jackson still 10 miles out, a man who had just passed me in his truck sat waiting. "can i give ya a ride? its gettin' awful late." the man asked from his old pick-up truck. "you know, its supposed to be all downhill from here. think i might just finish it up." i replied. "well, there are two more hills like the one you just climbed" he warned. i was pretty sure it was downhill, but being a foreigner to those parts and the fact that there wasn't any light made his offer sound pretty good. i loaded up with him and he carried me all downhill to jackson. would've taken 45 minutes on the bike. oh well. it was nice get to camp. there i found jon reading in his tent.
posted up for the eve in darby, mt.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

montana sunset.

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day 54. gallatin forest, mt to twin bridges, mt. 90ish miles.

First I'm gonna back track a bit and fill yall in on the remainder of day 53, which i finished after my initial blog post.

i walked into a shop called freeheel and wheel, a bike shop and coffee joint. i used their pump last week and wanted to show some love and buy some coffee. i ended up there for over an hour chatting with the gal behind the counter. she invited me to an evening game of ultimate frisbee but i declined stating that i still had ground to cover.

i departed around 7pm with no destination in mind. in montana there is light till about 10pm. i must give props to the madison arms resort in west yellowstone as they were going to put me up for free. to my dismay they were 5 miles in on a gravel road and i have developed a phobia of gravel. so i pressed on.

the weather beautiful as the sun lit up the ground around me and warmed my skin. i biked along a long lake for miles. houses built sparsely nearby and small resorts offering lake views passed in my peripheral. as the sun sat and the day began to wind down i found a small campsite off the road. in the gallatin national forest it costs $14 to camp for a night - perposterous i say! a storm rolled in just as i set up camp and secured my food from yogi. it rained, and lightning flashed all night.

when i awoke the next morning it was still storming so i slept in. i awakened to voices and sunlight and began the move to dry off and pack up. welp, just as i started to tear down the camp the rain moved in again. i just barely got everything secured in waterproof bags before the rain started to pour.
i sat behind a tree waiting until i decided the precipitation wasn't going to let up. i should have just slept for another hour. in no time the sun was out and i was cruising into a valley without any wind.

i pulled into ennis, mt shortly after noon and sat down at a local cafe. there i consumed a chili cheese burger, the best ever. i used the library for some net needs, stocked up on a few supplies and took off.

the first 10 miles climbed 2000 feet, the wind blowing and a hint of rain filled the air. during the long descent dark clouds loomed in the distance exactly where i was headed. i stopped to eat again at a local cafe in virginia city as the sky opened up and poured for an hour. as soon as it cleared i was off again, full and happy. within minutes it was raining again and i pulled into a small cafe in nevada city for coffee, ice cream and a cookie. these small towns pride themselves and exist purely for tourism. back in the day they were thousands strong because of mining but now they have dwindled to the 100s.

the rain finally cleared up and i pushed out the last 30 of the day to twin bridges, mt. at the local rest area and to my surprise a bike camp was set up. what i mean is, there was a unique shelter built just for touring cyclists. there is a bathroom, shower, tables, benches, a rack, pump and clothesline. everything a cyclist could want.

inside another person's gear was strewn about. as i got comfortable, jon, the owner of the gear, strolled in. he was from logan, utah and was on his way to kalispell, mt. we shotheshit for a while before 4 more cyclists joined us. these guys were riding from banff to denver. definitely nice to see other folks out there. one surprising thing about all of us there that night is that we are all in our 20s. usually i find that most touring cyclists are retired and are finally fulfilling a life long dream. for us, we are just banging this thing out early, leaving room for more adventures on down the road.