Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The way is Shut!

Today was our second day at one of Montana's premier historic residences, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Charley Montana Bed & Breakfast is a wonderful and very interesting place to stay. The present owners, Kevin & Sonja Maxwell bought this 100-year old historic Charles Krug mansion from the Lee Family who purchased the house from the children of its original owner and converted it to a five guest room B&B, retaining much of the original flavour and furnishings. The day-to-day running of Charley M is lovingly managed by Evelyn who made us feel very comfortable indeed …thanks!

After yesterday’s titanic effort, completing 78 miles in 100˚C searing heat, we were very grateful for the time off today. To make things better we were able to use the onsite laundry services, which meant we didn’t have to venture outside to complete our chores; a good thing really as today was another scorchio! The only time we left the air-conditioned comfort of our room was to walk the 20 paces across the street to the conveniently placed and German inspired Gust Haus, for large Jugs of beer and great Pizza!

Despite this seemingly blissful rest day, all wasn’t completely stress free. We now appreciate how the camping option could be, on occasion, less stressful than arranging to stay in hotels, motels and B&Bs. With just one of the many holiday seasons recognised by the US fast approaching, we were stunned to discover every residence within a 100-mile radius was fully booked from now until July 11th. Faced with the prospect of having to stay put for two weeks and potentially flying home without completing the Epic Journey, Kat with phone in one hand and computer in the other did “her stuff” and managed to find places for us to stay over the weekend. The only downside is that it requires another 100+ mile ride on Saturday… you can’t win ‘em all!

Tonight, we’re relaxing watching TV whilst being entertained by the violent thunderstorm and spectacular lightning show outside our bedroom window.

Us x

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


When we heard the alarm do its “thrrring” thing at 5.30am this morning, and it was already in the high 60s outside, we knew that the predicted 100˚C high was going to become a reality today. And we had the small matter of a 78-mile ride to complete from Miles City MT into Glendive, MT.

Despite leaving as early as we did, it was ridiculously hot from the start, and things didn’t get any better. We were “blessed” with a seriously strong side-wind: 25-30 mph would you believe, but we use that word wisely. For most of the way, it was actually just slightly behind us (more of a backside wind really), and most importantly, it performed a vital role in helping to cool us down as we battled our way through the heat of the day.

It’s crazy really to think that just 2 weeks ago, we were huddled around a hand-drier in a public restroom in Twin Bridges, MT, freezing cold, and peddling super fast just to stay warm. Today, it was the prospect of an air-conditioned grocery store with chilled bottles of water and iced tea that was making our hearts skip a beat. But, as has become the norm in the last few days, we had just one town on our route, meaning that we had to carry several bottles of extra liquid on the back of the bikes to top up the water bottles as we went along. Between us, we totted up a cool 20 pints of liquid consumed today. Just like an average pub-crawl when we were at Uni, except without the alcoholic content… And don’t even get us started on our quest for a bit of shade every now and again. The landscape is so stark that there are very few trees and practically no shelter. We found ourselves lurking under the bridges spanning the Interstate to fill up our bottles and grab an essential few minutes of respite from the sun before setting off again. Classy. It was so draining, that literally 2 miles from our destination, we were so overheated, that we had to pull over and sit down under a tree for a few minutes and drink some water before the last push.

But it was a wonderful day. Stark landscape, yet stunning vistas that were so difficult to catch on camera (although we tried). And a truly magical moment as a whole herd of about 20 wild horses caught a glimpse of Trusty & Steed out of the corner of their eyes. Before we knew it, they were galloping along, way in the distance, but keeping perfect pace with us, and then heading towards us, and…yes, heading towards us, and…oh, there’s a fence coming up. Well, they didn’t jump the fence, we’re glad to say, but they did gallop up at full pace right to the fence to meet us, and they were truly beautiful. If we could have taken a photo at that moment, it would have been amazing. Unfortunately, we were on the Interstate, and didn’t think the 18-wheeler drivers would appreciate it too much!

We’re now chilling out (quite literally) in our comfortable B&B where we will have a well-deserved rest day tomorrow.

Us x

Monday, 28 June 2010

Miles and Miles

Today was hot …damn hot! Not that we’re complaining but after leaving this morning at 10:45am following a very nice long chat with a family from Montana who were on their way to Iowa, we were shocked with how warm it was. We only had 45 miles to cycle today but very early on we realised it was going to be a difficult ride into Miles City.

Once again we were blown away with the scenic beauty all the way along our route as we followed the Yellowstone River ENE toward the borders of Montana and the Dakotas. If a Biometrics Company had removable Optical to Digital Converter implants available on the general retail market, we would have bought some, so you could see what we see everyday. Unfortunately this is not the case so you’ll have to make do with just the one photo …sorry!

We arrived in Miles City very tired and Anthony was feeling pretty sick. We’re not sure if he is really suffering from heat exhaustion or if he just wants some public displays of sympathy from our group of 51 Followers? Still in the 80°’s well into this evening, we found a magnificent restaurant called the Iron Horse Supper Club, and had a wonderful meal courtesy of Louise & Patrick the owners (Pat does the chef’ing) who are worthy new members to the ‘Superb Husband & Wife Restaurateur Club’ …Jim & Susan, you now have company!

Tomorrow is even hotter …in the 100°C’s so we hope to set off before 7am.

Us x

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Hot 100

For the second time on our journey, we have completed over 100 miles in a day. Last time was from Tallahassee to Port St Joseph, in the middle of the freezing Florida winter. Today was a very different story: 107 miles from Billings MT to Forsyth MT in the searing 90°C heat of the Montana summer… quite a challenge.

We were up bright and early this morning, and managed to get over half way into our trip before the heat of the day really kicked in. Stopping for lunch in the first town we reached, over 50 miles in, and everything was closed apart from one restaurant. We ate our packed lunch in the shade of the closed gas station and luckily managed to top up with water from the restaurant before hitting the road again. But riding along frontage roads with no towns has other advantages. We saw hardly any traffic for the whole of our 107 miles, and some great scenery (see photos and short video). We were right next to the railroad all the way too and, at times, it felt as if we were like tin figures on a huge model railway set. We got into the routine of waving to the train drivers when they would honk at us, and then counting the ridiculous number of carriages each of them were pulling (well, Anthony did…Kat was “eyes forward”, trying to concentrate on the road this time, and also avoid twisting her neck/shoulder). Our hi-score was 125… and over a mile long, we estimate. Blimey…

We stopped again in the small town of Hysham about 80 miles into the ride, and had a good chat at the gas station there with Nate, who was on his Harley travelling across country back to his hometown of Escanaba, Michigan (a stop of ours later in our trip). We picked up a few tips before heading off for the final stage of the day.

We were thrilled to arrive at a decent time, and felt surprisingly fresh all considered. A shortish hop tomorrow into Miles City, before we tackle the predicted 100°C temperatures on Tuesday!

Us x

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Rest No More!

A quick shout out to inform you we rested in Billings today with the intention to give Kat’s injuries some more time to heal.

We’re going to bed early, as tomorrow we plan on gradually working our way back into the cycling routine with a 108-mile ride in Forsyth, MT!

Good night and God Bless … Oh, and well done to the American Soccer team for taking part in, and doing a good job in a real World Tournament.

Us x

Friday, 25 June 2010

Custer's Last Stand

A proper rest day today, with Kat trying to get her shoulder better and with us both working on planning the next stage of our route/booking accommodation. We had intended to set off tomorrow and make an unscheduled stop to break our journey after about 50 miles. Unfortunately, the only town for the next 100 miles in an Easterly direction from here with hotels/motels is carrying out a re-enactment of Custer’s Last Stand this weekend, and the whole place is completely booked up!! Luckily Todd and Anje at our comfortable hotel here in Billings have managed to accommodate us for another couple of nights (it’s packed here too, so we’re very grateful). Also, given that a “severe weather warning” has just flashed on the TV promising quarter-sized hail in the vicinity tonight, we’re feeling rather fortunate to have decided to stay a little longer. We now plan to set out on Sunday. More rest tomorrow…

Us x

Thursday, 24 June 2010

9,000 miles ...done!

We sit here before you today, in scorching hot weather fresh from a visit to the local hospital in Billings Montana. It’s amazing we’re both still alive to tell the tale of what happened yesterday! But you know life is full of scary stuff and as Anthony’s mum always used to say “if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger”. So without further delay lets us tell you about the events of yesterday.

At 4:30am we were woken up by the all consuming calamitous noise of a 5 tonne street cleaning machine being driven persistently back and forth on the street directly beneath our room window, by what can only be described as a disgruntled County employee who was obviously displeased with his present situation, especially when everyone around him was tucked up fast asleep in bed. The whole affair was so ridiculously ridiculous, Anthony frustratingly got out of bed, put his clothes on and was about to march out onto the street and in his sarcastic nature yell, “…Oi mate you’ve missed a spot”. Fortunately Kat was able to placate Anthony with words of reason. Failing to get back to sleep we were showered, packed, fed and ready to roll by 8:45am, which was fortunate really as today’s ride from Big Timber to Billings was going to be 85 miles in 90° heat and full of unsuspecting challenges.

The first 20 miles of the ride were great; we managed to see some more wildlife at really close quarters and took some nice shots. Then another 20 miles, we stopped for lunch in Columbus and ate our ‘fresh out of the tin’ corned beef and mustard sandwiches, we even had time to call TMG and discuss the viability of partying together in NYC on our return …can’t wait.

The time was now 2pm, the Sun was high in the sky and there wasn’t a single cloud to moderate its heat. We cycled on, burning more calories than expected, as we battled through the fierce headwind under false impressions that the cooling effects of the wind were doing us a favour… how very wrong! Another 20 miles later and Kat, suggested we make an unscheduled stop, as she needed to get out of the sun and find some shade. As we pulled into a nearby service station, Kat removed her helmet and glasses to reveal her purist white ‘with a hint of green’ complexion. This wasn’t good! It was obvious to Anthony that she was suffering from heat exhaustion. A few cold compressions, a litre of water and some iced green tea later, we set of again at a much slower pace. Things were looking up as we decided to take a shorter (8 miles shorter) route along the Interstate and into Billings, so not to prolongs Kat’s suffering. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of today’s adventure. Just 14 miles away from our destination, Kat fell off Steed, landing heavily on the concrete hard shoulder of the I90. Call it a sixth sense, but right at that moment Anthony checked his helmet-mounted rear-view mirror and saw Kat lying on her side, dangerously close to fast moving traffic. We managed to find a spot a safe distance away from the menacing 18-wheelers to put Steed back together and give Kat some TLC. After a 30 minute rest at the side of the road, we limped the remaining 14 miles, which felt like 40, to our hotel, the Dude Rancher Lodge….

… which bring us to today! Luckily we weren’t serenaded this morning with the dulcet tones of a street cleaning vehikkle and consequently managed to sleep in this morning, but not too long as we had some pressing activities to complete. The most important was of course, to get Kat to the hospital to check over her shoulder injury. Following the advice of the receptionist and manager of the hotel, we found a Same Day clinic where Kat was well looked after and it was concluded suffered minor injuries, which should clear up after a course of steroids and painkillers (lots of rest is not an option).

We hope to take a day off tomorrow, chill out and feel happy that we have finally past the 9,000-mile mark …only 5,000 miles left.

Us x

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Holding Blog

Hey Chaps, we’re shagged! We had a very eventful day today, not to mention 85 miles of headwind.

More details tomorrow

Us x

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Lewis & Clark and Al Roker

At 4.24 pm on Sunday 20 June 2010, a tornado tore through downtown Billings, MT, leaving a trail of destruction together with grapefruit-sized hail and rain that pelted down, creating flash floods. The impact of the weather on the enjoyment of our lives in the saddle on a day-to-day basis means that we have been eating, sleeping and talking weather constantly throughout the 8 months of our trip to date. Will it be snowing, raining, scorching hot? What direction is the wind blowing at our start, middle and end point for the day, and how strong is it? These things seem trivial in comparison to the kind of event that hit Billings and, given that we will be arriving there tomorrow night, it’s a timely reminder of all that is truly important in life. Luckily, we understand that no-one was seriously injured in the Billings tornado, and the flood waters subsided miraculously quickly, but it’s given us a new perspective as we travel East through the plains.

So, it was with great excitement that we woke this morning in our motel, the Lewis & Clark Motel, in Bozeman, MT and found that our favourite weather man, none other than the talented Mr Al Roker, was in… Bozeman, MT. On hearing the news, Kat jumped up and down squealing with joy, and then started to turn circles, rather like a small, yappy terrier chasing its tail. Unfortunately, Al was somewhere on the edge of town, not on our route, and appeared to have done his broadcast before the crack of dawn, presumably 6am EST (i.e. 4am our time), but still, it was an event to behold.

Prizing ourselves away from the TV, and after a hearty breakfast, we made an early’ish departure, stopping to talk to a really sweet lady called Bonnie as we loaded the panniers on the bikes. We set off in the direction of the local bike shop, a Specialized Dealer called Bangtail Bikes, smack bang in the centre of downtown Bozeman. Mason had set aside some Specialized tyres that we needed to carry with us as spares; the only ones that we will put on Trusty and Steed these days, and not that easy to come by. Thanks Mason! And while we were there, we met some lovely ladies called Sherilee and Linda, who were fascinated by our adventure. Thanks Sherilee for the donation, which you will see on our “hall of fame” on the MS donation page.

Then it was onwards and upwards, and later joyfully downwards, in an Easterly direction for 60 miles, to the small but charming town of Big Timber (aka Big T), along the trail that explorers Lewis & Clark took in the early 1800s. For our US readers, Lewis & Clark will need no explanation. They will have learned in school that not only did “Christopher Columbus sail the ocean blue in 14 hundred and 92”, but also that “in the year 18 and 4, Lewis & Clark both went before, and blazed for us the Oregon Trail where we go now in ease by rail”. In our case, it’s bikes rather than rail… but for our non-US followers, we hope that offers sufficient explanation as to the significance of the route! In any event, we will be following the Lewis & Clark trail for the next 400 miles or so, and today were lucky enough to have the wind on our backs as we pedalled along. As a result, we spun through the day at a fast rate of knots, arriving around 3.30pm at our hotel, the beautifully restored Grand Hotel, where we also ate a tasty dinner tonight.

Another long ride tomorrow: 84 miles into Billings, MT, where we will see the effects of the tornado for ourselves. We’ll be continuing to pray to the Gods of the wind as we make our way across these flatlands, not only for ourselves, but also for others for whom the ravages of the weather are a fact of life. Oh, and of course we’ll be continuing to watch the great Mr Al Roker religiously along the way… Al, Al, give us a wave, give us a wave, give us a wave…

Us x

P.S. For those of you who are looking at the photos (shame on you if you’re not), you’ll hopefully have realised that we’re out of Wyoming and back in Montana again, so all new posts are in Montana for now (just one photo today).

Monday, 21 June 2010

Bi Bi Bison

With just under 90 miles to complete today, we had to be disciplined this morning. No more waking up at 9am, meandering through breakfast, watching TV and eventually having wheels rolling at 11:45am; and then having to cycle all day against a swirling head wind, ultimately leading to a late 8pm destination arrival feeling knackered and rushing to find somewhere to eat …oh no she did’ent! Instead, the reformed Ant and Kat packed their bags, made sandwiches, and neatly folded cycle gear on the desk chair in the corner of their hotel room, the night before, ready for this morning’s planned 8:30am departure. Who would have believed it? We actually were on the road before 9am! Despite the morning chill, it was great rolling along, singing a song, side by side.

Visiting Yellowstone National Park is an experience we’ll never forget. So many of our friends and family would thoroughly enjoy a holiday here. Needless to say, leaving the National Park was a pensive affair. As we cycled along Hwy 191 following the Gallatin River for about 60 miles through forests and open pastures, we kept one eye on the vast magnificent scenery (sorry no pictures this time, we just wanted to enjoy the moment) and one eye trained like a sniper on the dense wooded areas that could be housing a 600lb predator with 4inch claws, 3inch teeth and an ability to run 30mph. Some how not being safe inside a big V8 powered Ford Mega Bus puts meeting the wildlife of Yellowstone into a whole new perspective. Fortunately for us all we saw was a Cow of the Elk kind.

As we said earlier, leaving the Yellowstone area was quite sad, but we were still in good spirits because the road from West Yellowstone to Bozeman, MT was a gentle downhill for ¾ of the ride, the sun was shining, the wind was on our backs for ½ the time, the road surface was lovely and the shoulders were OK’ish. All together this meant we were able to average 15.1.mph over 90 miles and got to our motel at 4:15pm …we gave 8 out of 10 for today’s cycling experience.

Before we go we’d like to say thanks to Lee Bashaw, a baseball player we met a service station who kindly donated to the MS cause.

Us x

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Diamond Geysers

Another day on the tour bus seeing sights that don’t seem to be from this World! Today, more geological spectacles and a little less wildlife, and some further stunning photos. Lots of old geezers, and not just on the tour bus… We saw Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in Yellowstone, do its stuff. It’s so reliable that they can predict within 10 minutes either way when it is going to blow. Amazing. We also met a lovely couple from Chicago, Dan and Kathy, who we chatted to as we waited for the main event – hi guys!

We’re now back in the room packing, downloading routes, and making our sandwiches for tomorrow. It’s a 90-miler into Bozeman, MT, with a quick detour into Wyoming en route. An early start for the boys and girls…

Us x

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Mellow Yellow!

Hi Guys,

Not much to say about today. We’re still feeling positive and enjoying ourselves despite constantly feeling out of breath. Spending time at 6,666ft can leave one wheezing like a ‘lover of Fast Food’, even after performing the simplest of chores, like walking. Despite the thin air, we did manage to do the usual, cleaning a few clothes and finding a supermarket to buy tonight’s supper.

We weren’t put off by today’s CNN Breaking News of a man out hiking being killed by a Grizzly Bear just south of where we plan to tour (on a bus) tomorrow. Hopefully everything will go to plan and we’ll have some more great photos for you.

Us x

Friday, 18 June 2010

What's that Boo-Boo?

Today we took a fantastic ride around the Upper Loop of Yellowstone Park... on a tour bus! They say that a picture speaks 1,000 words, so check out the Wyoming-Yellowstone folder in the Photo Gallery.

BREAKING NEWS: The Mystery Bird (see photo from Jackson, Montana) is commonly known as a Sandhill Crane.

Us x

Thursday, 17 June 2010

West Yellowstone National Park

Another seminal moment …we have arrived in West Yellowstone, MT. Problem was, as we cycled between two very impressive mountain ranges (the Madison and the Gravelly) toward the historic Earthquake Lake we battled for 48 miles against the strongest head winds to date, which we put down to the Funnel Effect: 'def - winds blowing against mountain barriers tend to flatten out and go around or over them. If the barrier is broken by a pass or a valley, the air is forced through the break at considerable speed. When wind is forced through narrow valleys it is known as the Funnel Effect and is explained by Bernoulli’s theorem'.

Notable mentions for today would be, meeting up with Chris and Alan, fellow Brits on the TransAmerica bike route …what great guys! And of course the scenery and views coming into Yellowstone were astounding, surprising, stunning, staggering, shocking, startling, stupefying, breathtaking; awesome, awe-inspiring, sensational, remarkable, spectacular, stupendous, phenomenal, extraordinary, incredible, unbelievable, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping…the camera lens just isn’t big enough.

Apologies for the short blog, but 48 miles of climbing 1,700ft against a Funnel Effect has taken its toll.

Still Lovin’ y’all

Us x

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

We Rode Through the Valley to a Pass with No Name

It was a rainy day for our 70-mile ride in from Dillon, MT to Ennis, MT. Perhaps the rainiest we have encountered for some time. It was touch and go as to whether we would tear ourselves away from our cosy room at the Best Western and hit the road. Despite our receptionist, Melissa, trying hard to persuade us to stay an extra night, the lure of Yellowstone was too strong to let a bit of rain stop us.

The ride started with a 28-mile stretch of road with no services and pretty much no landmarks to give us a hint as to where we were, except of course the Beaverhead Rock, which has a historical significance, but had us thinking up titles on a theme of Bevis & Butthead, or Beaverheads & Wet Butts etc etc, but none were quite good enough to make the grade.

Pulling into the small town of Twin Bridges, soaked to our skins, we spied some conveniently located public restrooms, which seemed like an attractive alternative to the usual gas station routine. We disappeared into the Ladies and Gents respectively, and emerged several minutes later gushing about how warm, clean, pleasant smelling they were. Since there wasn’t a soul around, we gave each other a cheeky glance, and then decamped into the Ladies restroom, with Trusty & Steed in tow for a Blow Job… Although Anthony is a fan of George Michael, it was not that sort of BJ … though we did want to go Outside in the Sunshine, instead we moved in a Different Corner and, taking our inspiration from Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, put the hand drier to good use and soon started stripping off and drying every possible item of clothing and bits of our bodies under the warm air stream…ahhhhhh.

It rained hard for pretty much the rest of the day, save perhaps for the 15 minutes or so that we stopped at a gas station to eat our carefully packed bagels with peanut butter and jam (eating them in the Ladies restroom was a stretch too far). But we continued to soldier on, pedalling through the historic Gold Rush towns, and then up and over a further 7,000ft pass. Cue Magnus Magnusson:

Q: What do you call the 7,000 ft pass between Virginia City, MT and Ennis, MT?

A: Pass.

R: Correct.

Yes, a pass with no name. What is the world coming to? Anyway, it was a fast descent the other side into Ennis, our destination for tonight. We topped out at 47 mph in the wet with no tucking. In retrospect, we could easily have broken the 50 mph mark but we were so cold. If only we’d known.

After a hot shower and much washing and rinsing of gritty gear, we ambled into the restaurant at our motel, and had a good chat with Dave and Jeff, pilots from Utah who were up here on business. Apparently flying here in the rain is a bit quicker and drier than cycling…hmmm.

That’s pretty much it for the day. Save for the important matter of naming Audrey’s Replacement. A big thanks to SB and the GroveEnders for your suggestions: they’re all very clever and we are, as always, impressed with your entertainment knowledge. However, we’ve decided that the new Gamine will be called “GaGa”, after Lady GaGa. OK, so she’s not really a Gamine, but the new Gamine is definitely a new kid, and she is as badly behaved as Lady GaGa. She also had a similar taste in clothes until we pulled the clear plastic coating from her screen. So, now we have Lady Margaret and Lady GaGa pitting it out against each other…an interesting combination, we’re sure you’ll agree.

And finally, thanks very much to John and Jane Duncan for their donation. We’re pleased to hear that Jane and Jayne have been keeping up with our progress, and hope that they are both doing well.

Us x

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Rough as a Badger’s Pass

It was a contradiction of sorts this morning. We heard the rain fall heavily upon the outside wooden deck whilst the sun peeped through the slightest of gaps between the drawn curtains. Reluctantly Anthony was first to get out of bed and to his surprise, in the corner of the cabin room, he saw a little green man sitting on a pot of gold, bathed in what could only be described as ‘an end of a rainbow’.

Feeling lucky, we weren’t too fazed by the weather conditions. It helped that we only had to cycle 48.32 miles over a couple of Passes and into Dillon, MT. So, before setting off on our leisurely ride, we visited the town café for a very hearty morning meal. Served by Ally and her apprentice, 11-year old cousin Lindsey, we were spoilt to a ‘caloritastic’ full American breakfast and enjoyed every minute we spent chatting to them both. Stuffed like a couple of Thanksgiving Turkeys, we waddled back to our room, completed our packing and eventually made it out onto the road by 12:15pm. The slight flaw in our confidence was that, straight out of the gates, we faced an 11-mile, 855ft climb, made even worse by the 3 eggs, sausage, bacon, 4 pieces of toast and hash browns in our tummies.

Despite the ‘on and off’ light showers and 40mph ‘mountain effect’ head-winds, we had a wonderful ride today. You may have heard this before; “the scenery was beautiful”. For those of you who like motorbikes or open top sports cars …TAKE THEM TO MONTANA, NOW! You won’t regret it. Just before we reached the top of our first pass, a man in a large truck pulled up in front of us and got out. No worries, it was Monte, the owner of The Darby B&B that we stayed in last night. We had a great chat and wished Monte (and Inge) all the best.

The rest of the ride was just plain awesome. Honestly, this place is beautiful. We’ve uploaded loads of new photos and were especially happy when we reached our second pass of the day, the aptly named Badger Pass … “if you build it, then they will come”… and we did ... enjoy the photos!

Us x

Monday, 14 June 2010

Mad Dog and The Englishwoman

Yes, we did go out in the midday sun today, and it was HOT, HOT, HOT…

It was a challenging 70-mile ride from our beautiful B&B just outside Darby, MT, over the 7,241 ft Chief Joseph Pass (dedicated to Little Fella) to Jackson Hot Springs, MT. After a stunning, and extremely filling breakfast, we were in no rush to get on the road. So, although we knew that it would be a long ride, it was around 11.30am by the time we finally had the wheels rolling. And the sun was most definitely high in the sky.

After a quick stop at the post office in nearby Conner to send home a bit of excess baggage, we got moving at a fair clip, and soon started climbing. But there was only a light breeze, the road was open (no shade) and the sun was beating down on us. Now, far be it for us to complain about it being too hot, we’re not. No complaints here, but we did have to take our cycle helmets off for the climb and there was an awful lot of perspiration involved before we finally reached the top. The views on the way were amazing (yet again – we’re loving Montana), and before we knew it we were on the way back down in a gentle descent, but only a fraction of the height that we had climbed (see cycle log for the profile – we ended for the day at 6,500 ft, 2,500ft higher than the start point).

Time was marching on as we finally pulled into the small town of Wisdom… the only stop on the route for many many miles… with empty water bottles. Although the store had a sign saying that it closed at 6pm (we rolled up around 6.10pm), luckily, the lady who was closing up for the night took pity on us and let us buy a couple of bottles of Powerade…phew. But we still had another 18-miles to go, and 500ft to climb, and our 8.30pm dinner reservation was looking a little tight to say the least. With no cell-phone reception, we had no option but just to power on.

The next few miles were entertaining indeed. As the sun was dropping in the sky, the mosquitoes came out in force. Not only did they fly straight into our faces, mouths, noses, ears etc etc as we cycled along but, when we stopped to take a quick photo (some of them are too good to miss, no matter how late you are), we got bitten to death…Kat counted 16 bites tonight, and nearly all of them were through our cycling clothes!

We also had an amazing day in terms of wildlife spots… first, a WOLF (yes, a real one this time), crossing the road just a little ahead of us. Eak squeak. Then a coyote, sprinting across the road en route to chase some baby cows. As usual, we saw plenty of fabulous looking birds, and even managed to snap a pic of the yellow-headed blackbird, and a mystery bird (see photos). In preparation for Yellowstone, we also happened to notice, as we stopped for the photo, that there were bear tracks in the sand next to the road, that went on for quite some way but, thankfully, were going in the opposite direction to us (otherwise it would have been a double eak-squeak).

Somehow, against all the odds, and a fair headwind, we made it to Jackson before 8pm, with time to get showered before hitting the restaurant. While eating dinner, we were lucky enough to meet the owners/managers and some of their family and friends, who were on the table next to us. We had an entertaining chat about the World Cup, and Anthony was overjoyed to find someone to talk with about F1 …thanks Andre! A big hello to Andre, Piet, Jill, Denise and Kevin. While sipping our drinks courtesy of Denise in the bar after dinner, we also met Terry and Jesse, on a bird-watching tour around Montana, and had a great chat with them…we’re sure they’ve found a lot to see (we should have asked them about the mystery-bird). And a further “hi” to Bob the chef and our waitress, Whittney. Whittney has lived in rural Montana all her life, getting up at 5am in the morning to get to school and, wait for it, has never seen the Ocean. We feel awful for her, as we just can’t imagine not having experienced the wonderful, uplifting feeling of being near the sea/ocean, and we really hope that she gets an opportunity to put this right soon.

A shorter ride tomorrow, thank heavens, since we are shattered already, and we still have 3 days to go until our next rest day.

Us x

P.S. Sorry for late posting – no internet access last night.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Rocky Mountains

Back in the office today and what a wonderful day it was. Having spent two non-cycling days in Missoula, we felt as bright as daisies this morning. Better still, the sun was shining, it was +25°C, the winds were calm and of course we can’t forget Trusty and Steed sparkling like Liberace as their new chains and rings danced in the bright sunshine. After a very satisfying complimentary breakfast of waffles, peaches, Cheerios, orange juice, coffee and bagels, all the pieces were in place to make today’s 72-mile journey into Darby, MT just perfect! However there was one thing that occupied Anthony’s mind so much that he wasn’t truly able to enjoy the cycling moments until he saw ‘a Sign from above’ a ‘Vision’. The Sign (see photos) told Anthony to stop worrying about the result, as everything was in hand!

Now free from distractions, we absorbed all about us and were blown away in amazement with every corner we turned. The scenery on our left and right was out of this world. On the right the ragged teeth of the Rocky Mountains capped with snow and separated by 100-story deep crevices seemed within touching distance, whilst on the left the rolling green velvet Sapphire Mountains kept us funnelled in, cycling through lush and flat farm lands. Seriously guys this route into Yella is mind blowing (see Cycle Log). The only recorded image that could have done this justice would have been if Anthony had a 3D IMAX movie camera strapped to his helmet! Nonetheless, check out the photos, we tried to get some good shots.

We had to stop a few times along the way and drink loads of fluid. It seemed to get hotter and hotter as the day wore on. One of our last stops before arriving at our destination was a Safeway Super Store located in a town called Hamilton. This was a necessary stop, as we needed to buy raw ingredients (and wine) to cook dinner when we arrived at the B&B, the nearest restaurant being more than 5 miles away. Although this meant carrying the food for 20 miles, it was worth it, as our B&B, The Darby, is a haven of tranquillity, wedged beautifully between the Rocky Mountains and the Sapphire Mountains. Thanks to Inge and Monte, we had the use of their lovely kitchen and cooked a mean tasting risotto.

OK, time for bed now …just one thing before we go … G’on Lewis!

Us x

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sunny Saturday

Today was a proper rest day in Missoula. And the sun shone. We had intended to get up and wander around the farmer’s market down by the river, but we woke up late instead, had an extremely healthy breakfast of fresh fruit, granola and Greek yoghurt, and chilled out. The computer was red hot with the usual route planning and accommodation booking, and we felt it would be churlish not to put on a load of laundry, given that there was a guest laundry room right here in our hotel. We also watched THE World Cup match, but the less said about that, the better… it’s not always easy being Green…

Tonight we ate again at our favourite restaurant and had yet another fabulous Thai feast. Thanks Sa Wad Dee, and a special hello to Jocelyn, our server tonight.

Up early tomorrow. We have 5 days on the trot with quite a bit of climbing, but then we’ll be at Yellowstone. Yay!

Us x

Friday, 11 June 2010

Lord of the Chain Rings

Today was gonna be a good day; a day to pat ourselves on the back and remind ourselves how far we have come, and to do as many chores as possible, so tomorrow would be a ‘real’ rest day!

Now just 500 miles short of hitting our 9,000-mile marker, our chores have shifted in focus and are now prioritised toward the needs of Trusty and Steed. Like cars, bicycles need regular servicing and being in Missoula, MT for a few days gave us the chance to swap out all the knackered bikes parts and replace them with some brand new Bling! We want to say thanks to all the guys at Missoula Bicycle Works (Emily, Joel, Buck, Bryce, Ryan, Jesse and Laurel), who not only did a great job fitting the new bling chains n rings to Trusty and Steed, but also supplied us with two mean-looking mountain bikes to tour around the cycle paths of Missoula whilst they serviced our bikes: the first time we’ve been given “courtesy bikes”. After bit of off-roading and pulling wheelies, we returned to collect Trusty and Steed who looked great in their new sparkly bits. Trusty is especially happy with his “…Pirellis looking mean on 32’s”. OK the tyres weren’t really Pirellis but actually Specialized All Condition Armadillo Elites 700 x 28c, but that wouldn’t have the same 50 Cent ring to it. Oh and the hub was a 32-hole and not a 22-inch rim. But these are just details. Basically, the bikes look great and, hopefully, no more frequent spoke failures.

Cycling back to the motel, we could feel a new lease of life in our trusty steeds, which was good because pretty soon we are going to have to climb over a few more 7,000 ft passes to reach West Yellowstone.

After some hotel/motel planning, we went back to the restaurant we visited last night. The nearby “Sa Wad Dee Authentic Thai Restaurant” is great! The food is so fresh and so tasty and is very reasonably priced. Well actually it’s unbelievably cheap, or a more complimentary way to describe the prices would be to say “all other restaurants are overpriced”. Loving the Thai experience, we finished our litre of Chablis and promised our waitress we would see her tomorrow, same time, same table!

Before retiring for the night, we visited the next-door ‘City Brew’ coffee house to get some bottles of water and met three of the loveliest bright young things we have met for a very long time. Rebecca, Clark and Sarah work in the Coffee house and we had a great long chat with them: thanks you guys! And thanks Ira for the donation.

More rest tomorrow; Anthony needs to get over his fever.

Us x

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Truman Show

You’ve probably all seen the movie. Truman (played by Jim Carrey) thinks that he is an ordinary man living an ordinary life. In fact, since birth, he has been living in a large studio with hidden cameras, all his friends and family are actors, and his daily activities and interactions (all scripted and set up by the TV crew) are aired on a hit TV show: The Truman Show.

Well, we’ve started to feel a bit like Truman. It seems like everywhere we go, there is a big raincloud just above us following us along. People will talk about glorious sunshine just down the valley. We will look outside our motel and see sunshine. We will dress accordingly. Then we will step outside. As the door swings open and Trusty and Steed nudge their front wheels out, the raindrops start. It happens time and again. Yesterday evening, after arriving coated from head to toe in grit from the road, soaked through and miserable, we showered and then headed out to do our laundry in town (which wouldn’t have been necessary had it not been for the rain during the day). When we were inside showering, the rain had stopped. When we stepped out again to go into town, the rain started coming down hard and we were drenched in just minutes. This morning, there was no rain as we clipped the panniers onto the bikes. In the few minutes that it took Margaret (Anthony’s Garmin) to calculate the route, the rain had started to come down. We waited a few minutes, trying to sit it out, but after a while we just had to head off…we figured that the road was already wet anyway so we might as well just go. And don’t even get us started on the headwind. Sometimes we swear that we hear one of the directors shouting, in his Kiwi accent, “Hit the wind machine button, Wendy!”

So, we got wet again. Then it dried up, and we stopped to get the yummiest cookies ever from a little roadside cafe, then it rained again. Lunch was an interesting affair, not so much due to what we ate, which was rather ordinary, or where we were, as it was just an average supermarket, but because we had a great chat with Scott, a math and chemistry teacher/football coach from the local school and all-round “good egg” (as we would say in England). He told us about the local area: the Flathead Indian Reservation. St Ignatius, where we had stayed the night before, was founded by Native Americans under direction of Catholic Missionaries. Hence, it is a very religious place. It also explains why the ladies who came to clean our motel room this morning were wearing clothes that looked like Amish traditional dress, but in white cloth rather than black. Also, the area is home to the Salish and Kootenai tribes, and all the road signs are written in English and Salish characters, with an explanation in English of the meaning of places e.g. “near the cold, chilling waters” – that’s Missoula… It was a fascinating conversation, and Scott made it all sound so interesting that we bet he is a talented and popular teacher. If Scott was an actor, set up for us by our “Directors”, we were very happy about it!

Back on the road, and feeling culturally enriched, if not well-fed, we continued to climb on the bad road surface, against a strong headwind, and with the rain coming down. We peaked out around 4,200 ft (which surprised us as we did not realize that we would be climbing much today). Over the top, and we found the road surface suddenly smooth, the wind behind us, and a nice gentle downhill for a good few miles. Rolling into a small town called “Wye”, it started to rain again. We figured that the Directors do at least have our sense of humour; it’s just that they can’t spell.

It was a tough 42 miles into Missoula. Perhaps we had expected it to be easy because we just did 85-mile and 72-mile rides over the last couple of days. It’s a mental game. But we did at least arrive in Missoula at a decent time.

Checking in, we picked up our new replacement for Audrey (Kat’s Garmin/Gamine) that we had delivered here by Amazon. Unfortunately, we have been unable to revive Audrey, and so we’ve had to replace her. We guess it was the work of the Directors again. How do you keep the ratings up without a sudden death every now and again? Kat’s quite choked up about it, but relieved to have a new Gamine. But we don’t know what to call her yet… Followers, your suggestions are welcome.

“Audrey” (2009 – 2010) RIP.

Us x

The Garden City

We're here in Missoula, Montana, after a surprisingly tough 42-mile ride from St Ignatius, MT. Lots to tell about today but, as we have 2 rest days here to enable us to get the bikes sorted out again (Trusty is - hopefully - having a whole new back wheel built to try to deal with the breaking spokes issue), we're gonna chill out tonight and fill you in on all the details tomorrow.

Us x

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Riding through a storm!

Yo M’s, T’s, R’s and K’s it was great reading your Post yesterday, especially after our 86-mile ride. We gotta say it made us a little home sick, with all your talk about ‘The Crouch’ and late nights around an open fire courtesy of Rick & Karen. Anthony would like to make a few Benny Hill references/jokes, but can’t knowing that we now have several school children following the blog. So you’ll have to make do with, “did you guys roast any Chestnuts?”

We’re still on target to reach NYC by October. More importantly our visas run out on October 20th 2010, so we’ll have to be back well before then. Good news is that we are making good progress and today’s advance closer to Yellowstone Natl’ Forest was testament to that. We left Thompson Falls earlier than usual this morning, it was raining heavily and the wind was of course blowing hard and it wasn’t on our backs. The ride into St. Ignatius was 70 miles and we really wanted to get there before darkness set.

Soaked and cold we stopped for our first break in Plains, MT. As we chatted to a few of the locals whilst drinking coffee and eating power bars and peanuts, we noticed the rain clouds draw back to reveal a blue and sunny sky. This interlude encouraged us to finish up, cut the conversations short, remount and push on hoping that the remaining 50 miles would be under the cover of sunshine. Fortunately, as we cycled the rain clouds 5 miles behind were playing catch up whilst the group of clouds 5 miles ahead tormented us with they potential deluge. We were happy in this ‘pocket of beauty’ and witnessed some truly breathtaking scenery and escaped a vicious attack by a wild animal.

Known for its wild Bears, Moose and Bison, all very big animals, Montana can be a scary and wild place, and we experienced it today. Our attacker made a blood-chilling cry as we passed by, nearly throwing us off our bikes. In fear of being chased down by the blood-thirsty animal, we about turned thinking a full-on sign of aggression would increase our chances of survival. As we approached the scene, there in the grass lying low, muscles tensed ready to pounce was …Bambi …a little baby Deer who had lost its Mum (or she had been mown down by an 18 wheeler). You may laugh but seriously, a little 8inch deer can be very scary when you’re not expecting it. Not staying to look at the little bundle of cuteness, we shooed Bambi off the side of the road and back into the woods before Mummy turned up and put an antler in our arse.

Feeling like good Samaritans, a little shaky but fine, we set off to complete our last 15 miles. It was nice apart from the increased headwind, 550ft hill climb and return of the torrential rains. So we arrived at our Motel soaked and cold …again. We had to do some laundry and order pizza for dinner …yuk.

Us x

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Another Day, Another State

We always find it tough getting going again after a rest day, and this morning was no exception. We eventually rolled out of Sandpoint around 10.45am for our 86-mile jaunt through Idaho to Thompson Falls, Montana. How did we get through Idaho so quickly? We’re going to explain this and give a very quick route recap to bring our followers up to date with our recent movements, and where we are going next.

So, after we came to the end of the Pacific Coast, on the Western side of Washington State, we crossed the border into Canada and skirted around a few of the islands, before catching a ferry to Vancouver (Canadian mainland). After a short stay in Vancouver, we cycled south, crossing the border into Bellingham, WA (back in the USA). From Bellingham we started our journey East along the Northern edge of Washington State, crossing into the “panhandle” of Idaho (that’s why it only took us 2 days to get through it – it’s really narrow at this latitude), and now we are in Montana. We are cycling South East through Montana and down into Wyoming, where we will visit Yellowstone National Park. We’ll then cut back up into Montana, before reaching North Dakota and continuing in an Easterly direction. IT support (aka Badge) will make some changes to the photo gallery to reflect this. Also, check out the Garmin Connect link to see our precise movements reflected on Google Maps!!

Back to the present… we met some lovely people today. As we stopped to eat our carefully prepared packed lunch (scrambled egg and ham bagels) in Clark Fork, ID, we found a nice picnic table, which we shared with Carmen, and her children, Jordan and Taylor, and had a great chat as we munched away. Then John, another touring cyclist from Alaska, who is cycling from Washington State to Michigan, pulled up and joined us for a few minutes. The 3 of us then cycled along together for 10 – 15 miles or so, gabbing away about cycling things and hearing about Alaska (we really want to go there one day). Suddenly John shouted that he could see a Moose. Being from Alaska, John’s ability to sniff out a Moose at 50 paces is hardly surprising. Bit like us spotting a C-list TV celebrity coming from Crouch End… Anyway, it took us a good few seconds of scanning around madly before we finally saw it…right in front of us on the road! Of course, by the time we got close enough for a photo it had disappeared into the woods, but we tried.

And as you will see from the photos, it was another perfect cycling day, with bright sunshine, little wind, quiet roads and truly stunning scenery. With all that going for us, and despite the fact that we had a net climb of 500ft over the course of the day (i.e. we are 500ft higher tonight than we were this morning) we managed to clock in a high average speed today. Good job really since the transition from Idaho to Montana also meant that we lost an hour! Yes, we’re back on Mountain Standard Time now i.e. 7 hrs behind the UK, which meant that it was just after 8pm when we eventually rolled into Thompson Falls, MT. After a very, and we mean very quick shower at our comfy motel, we headed straight out to grab a quick bite before turning in for the night.

Us x

Monday, 7 June 2010

Rest Day

Laundry, shopping in Safeway, watching TV and reading the BBC News website.

A nice ‘busy doing nothing’ day

Us x

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A Stone's Throw to Idaho

After such a relaxing day yesterday, we were pleased that we only had a short hop of 29 miles today, across the State line to Sandpoint, Idaho. This meant that we could have a leisurely start and cook ourselves breakfast again at our wonderful B&B. In the end, we chatted so long to Farren and one of his sons, Eric, that it had started raining by the time we were ready to set off. A quick card game later, and the rain had subsided somewhat. Time to go! Thanks Farren and Jolene for a wonderful stay, and a special thanks to Farren for spending time with us today.

It was a wet ride this afternoon but with only light winds, we flew along. We found our way to our destination for tonight, a lovely apartment right in the centre of Sandpoint, and ate this evening at the Italian restaurant below the apartment: a fabulous meal of Italian style halibut washed down with some Pinot Grigio. We have another rest day here tomorrow trying to let our bodies recover properly before we head down towards Missoula, Montana and from there into West Yellowstone.

Us x

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Last day in Washington

We relaxed today …really relaxed. We just chilled out, cleaning bikes, doing laundry and eating chocolate. We also took advantage of the kitchen facilities and cooked a Lemon Chicken meal inspired by Jim & Susan. Sitting at the dinner table chatting with Kathy & Don (fellow guests) made the experience even better.

Us x

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Walden's

Finally, it’s the end of our 4-day cycling week! Tonight we rest, and rest again tomorrow. For most, Friday is a day to look forward to: a day before the start of the weekend, a day when client meetings are booked at 3pm, and client lunches confirmed for 11:30am. It’s a special day reserved for dinner parties that end at 4am Saturday morning (thank you TMG). Our Fridays, today’s in particular, are somewhat different. Having spent Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday climbing a total of 18,280ft we were half hoping that today’s day in the office would be a little easier on mind, body and soul. But there was a problem. The plan for today was to ride 90 miles from Colville to Newport, which on balance, would fail to meet our expectations of a Friday Feeling. So, over breakfast, sitting at a table with a plastic ‘map of Washington state’ as a table cloth, we consumed much food whilst looking at the map and trying to find and alternate shorter route to Newport, WA smack bang on the border of …of …shoot, “I DUN NO”, what’s the state east of Washington? Anyway, as luck would have it, just as we placed the last English Muffin in our mouths we spotted it, “Flowery Trail Road” cutting 25 miles off the original plan …that Friday feeling was getting closer by the minute. A quick check on Google Maps before leaving, we agreed to take the unchartered route over the Flowery Trail Pass (a mere 4,020ft).

Setting off in the pissing rain and mind numbing irritation of the continued SE wind, we headed SE along the very busy Trucking route toward Chewelah. 3 hours later and very wet, and still not having that Friday Feeling, we arrived in Chewelah and found the really cute Flowery Trail Coffee House where Sally, Jodi, Kezia & Tonia served us up with warming soup and sandwiches. We sat in the Coffee House longer than planned but really enjoyed chatting with the patrons Gary and Bob & Jessie. We must have stayed for over an hour, which was good timing, as just as we were about to leave, the sun came out and the rain stopped …yay it’s Friday!

Back on the bikes and turning left immediately, we began our ascent, which at first didn’t seem that difficult, we only had a net climb of 2,300ft. What we failed to realise was that this climb was spread over 7 miles, which turned out to be the steepest long haul climb we have done …and it was Friday, the day following 18,280ft of climbing “…still not feelin’ ya Friday!”

We of course made it to the top and admired the fantastic views and the ‘49 Degrees North’ ski resort before beginning our rapid descent into Usk, WA. During the descent we experienced a first! We saw (rather than smelt) a Skunk. Isn’t it funny how they bounce along when they walk, just like Pepe le Pew!

The last 15 miles cycling beside the Ponderay River were tough. We were therefore very pleased to make it to our great B&B (we love B&B’s). The Walden House B&B is a family home where the owners have enjoyed raising their 15 children (that’s Waldens not Waltons). The owners & team coaches, Farren and Jolene were so welcoming and truly made us feel at home. Thank you the Walden Family.

Us x

Thursday, 3 June 2010

We’re Lovin’ It

Seems like the sun and the rain are on a job share this week. One day on, one off. Today it was the rain’s turn to stay at home with the kids watching daytime TV…

It was a glorious day as we cycled 53 miles from Republic WA to Colville WA. Although we tackled Washington State’s highest maintained pass, the Sherman Pass at 5,575ft, it didn’t seem anything like as tough as our slog yesterday, and the views on the way up, and from the top were definitely worth it. Being treated to 25 miles of downhill without having to worry about slippery, rainy roads was also a blast. Weeeeeeeeee. Oh, and a quick hello to Paul, who we met at the top, and good luck for your ride along the Northern tier to Vermont.

We’re now quite a way inland and, as if to prove our theory that the further you get away from the coast, the more difficult it is to find good, healthy food, we found ourselves back under the “Golden Arches” for supper tonight. We had booked a motel that claimed that it was near the town’s restaurants, and the girl at reception merrily recommended the family restaurant just next door. However, striding with hungry anticipation to said building, we found it closed down … So, we are now overdosed with burgers, fries, chicken strips, and in a vague attempt at getting a portion of vegetables, south western chicken salad. We’re saving the dollar menu apple pies for breakfast tomorrow!

And now for some sad news. After Margaret’s recent antics, we were surprised to find that, out of nowhere, it is Audrey who has given up the ghost. With no warning, she just failed to charge up last night and is now in a permanent vegetative state. Unless we can find a cure for her, or (more likely) until we can get an Audrey replacement, we’ll be wholly reliant upon the changeable moods of Margaret to get us to our destinations.

A long day tomorrow right to the border of Idaho. Rain is forecast… what a surprise.

Us x

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Snake n Chips

Leaving Omak this morning in the pouring rain and facing a 67-mile ride over a 4,300ft pass into Republic, WA you’d be right to guess that our spirits were low. The first 27 miles of the ride, we headed North into Tonasket with a SSE wind and a great road surface. We stopped for a quick bite to eat in Subway, chatting to the girls preparing our a ‘$5 foot longs’ and being amused to hear that their favourite TV personality is Clarkson, Jeremy Clarkson! Even the guy next to us in line felt it necessary to express how much he loved watching Top Gear on BBC America …Pat D what ever happened to the Top Gear USA idea?

Cold and wet, we got back on the bikes and rode in an easterly direction on a 27-mile stretch of Chip Seal (the worst road surface for cyclists), which climbed 3,370ft to an altitude of 4,300ft. Needless to say, this section of the ride was very tough, and the headwinds & rain made it even harder. However, just before we reached the top and after seeing a rather large Bullsnake in the middle of the hard shoulder, we stopped at the Wauconda Café Store & Saloon for a quick break and got chatting to the new owner, Maddie, who with her husband left their lives near Seattle to invest everything in the Saloon …good luck Maddie and thank you for everything.

After shedding blood, sweat and tears we got to the top of Wauconda Pass with its views across Okanogan National Forest, realising that the great thing about these mammoth hill climbs is that there is always an equally mammoth descent, and we weren’t disappointed today. 14 miles of steep descents meant that we made it to our hotel in under 45 minutes. Surprisingly we managed to clean the bikes, receive a donation from Tod, do the laundry, have dinner with Pete & Jenny (Tourers we met on the road in Wauconda) and be tucked up in bed by 11pm.

Yet more climbing tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will be dry!

Us x