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2011 TransAmerica Bike Ride http://2011transamericabikeride.com Mike and Rich's Excellent Adventure Mon, 29 Aug 2011 19:19:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Job Well Done Rich & Peter! http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/job-well-done-rich-peter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=job-well-done-rich-peter http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/job-well-done-rich-peter/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2011 19:19:06 +0000 Mike http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/job-well-done-rich-peter/

Congratulation to Rich & Peter for completing the TransAm.  I enjoyed the 52 days & six states pedaling along this route and would have loved to have been with them this year as a finisher.  I can at least say that I ended up in a better place than the Tour de France rider [...]]]> image

Congratulation to Rich & Peter for completing the TransAm.  I enjoyed the 52 days & six states pedaling along this route and would have loved to have been with them this year as a finisher.  I can at least say that I ended up in a better place than the Tour de France rider this year who did not finish because he was catapulted into a barbed wire fence @ 25 mph after an idiot driver in TV car veered into the peleton causing a massive pileup.  Ouch! 

I join Rich’s comments about the people we met. There is no way to try to do a wrap up would make sure to include the generous angel of Afton, VA, June Curry, but also the strange clerk @ Master Bait & Tackle with no water for bikers “because it comes from a well”.

We were both very pleased & surprised by how many folks helped us in ways large and small. In particular I was amazed by how considerate the drivers, particularly the truck drivers, were in giving us plenty of room while passing.

Finally, I wanted to give one more toast to a pair of the most determined riders we met (see photo) Spence & Natasha & their very vocal dog Sebastian.  They survived a broken axle & terrible weather including a time when they pushed their bike for 10 miles in the heat until a driver in a pickup gave them a lift.  They never complained and were as hardy as anyone else we met on this trip.

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Finito http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/finito/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=finito http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/finito/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2011 06:40:13 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/finito/ 86 miles from Eugene to the Pacific at Florence Oregon. Wrapped it up with a nice river side ride to Florence, then a little north to find a real dang beach to make it official (Florence is on a river slough).
I’m not sure if I can, or even need to, sum up the [...]]]>
86 miles from Eugene to the Pacific at Florence Oregon. Wrapped it up with a nice river side ride to Florence, then a little north to find a real dang beach to make it official (Florence is on a river slough).
I’m not sure if I can, or even need to, sum up the whole adventure. Luckily we kept a pretty good blog along the way, because it’s way too much to hold in my tiny head. It was amazing on an almost daily basis. I have learned a lot about our country, mainly that it is full of very nice people from one side to the other. Without exception the stereotypes I brought with me about places and people were deleted. I made more friends in the last three months than I have in the last three years.
Thank you all for reading this blog, and especially the many of you who offered comments, advice and good wishes. It really helped us along.
If this trip caught your imagination to any extent, I beg you to give it a try. There are no prerequisites but the will to try it. You don’t need to ride a lot of miles per day, go Transam, or buy a lot of fancy gear (you can borrow mine!). Go to adventurecycling.org and look for a trip (or segment of one) that suits you. Seeing the USA at 10MPH on the backroads is something you will really like.

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The path to The Dark Side http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/the-path-to-the-dark-side/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-path-to-the-dark-side http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/the-path-to-the-dark-side/#comments Sun, 28 Aug 2011 04:46:46 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/the-path-to-the-dark-side/ 96 miles from Sisters to Eugene. Some people in western OR call the eastern part The Desert, and some in the east call the west The Dark Side (as in cloudy). Today we transitioned from eastern to western. The east didn’t look like a desert to me. More like California with pine trees. The dividing [...]]]> 96 miles from Sisters to Eugene. Some people in western OR call the eastern part The Desert, and some in the east call the west The Dark Side (as in cloudy). Today we transitioned from eastern to western. The east didn’t look like a desert to me. More like California with pine trees. The dividing point for us was the Mackenzie Pass. The climb was 15 miles long, and started right at Sisters. Beautiful pine forest all the way, and light traffic. The big surprise is at the top; a massive lava field and views of many snow and glacier covered peaks. Wow doesn’t cover it. After a visit to the observatory at the pass, we plunged down a steep descent. Ferns and cedars became common as we entered the wet side. We had lunch near the bottom, and met up with Aimee, who provided the best sag wagon ever. Free of our baggage we picked up speed, and continued downriver to Eugene. For a long time. I think this was the most miles in one day of the transam.
I had a special treat when my old FD friend Tim, and his wife Lynne met us in camp, and brought us a delicious dinner (and an Oregon Ducks shirt!). Quite a day! Tomorrow will be the last one of the trip.

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Hammer time http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/hammer-time/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hammer-time http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/hammer-time/#comments Sat, 27 Aug 2011 05:05:01 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/hammer-time/ 86 miles from Mitchell to Sisters OR. We squeezed out an extra 19 miles today, ending at the base of our last big climb. This means we can now reach Eugene tomorrow, and the Pacific day after. The pull to finish is getting pretty strong, and the daily mileages keep creeping up. As Peter says [...]]]> 86 miles from Mitchell to Sisters OR. We squeezed out an extra 19 miles today, ending at the base of our last big climb. This means we can now reach Eugene tomorrow, and the Pacific day after. The pull to finish is getting pretty strong, and the daily mileages keep creeping up. As Peter says “tomorrow will only be in the high 80′s”. Haha! as in eighty-fifteen.
We might see Aimee tomorrow as her shoulder is improved enough to drive. If so, she has kindly agreed to provide sag support which should speed us along some. I also hope to see my old firefighter friend Tim Ballard, who is flying his plane to Eugene. Big day!
We met a cool German couple touring on bikes and had dinner with them in town. They are going along the Cascade route, and we traded many interesting stories with them.

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Disaster town http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/disaster-town/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=disaster-town http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/disaster-town/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2011 03:25:33 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/disaster-town/ 81 miles from Prairie City to Mitchell OR. This was another long day. Due to the spacing of towns in eastern Oregon, once again it was either a very short or long day. The day took us through some interesting volcanic and fossil rich geology. Unfortunately the roadside signs explaining it were mostly missing. After [...]]]> 81 miles from Prairie City to Mitchell OR. This was another long day. Due to the spacing of towns in eastern Oregon, once again it was either a very short or long day. The day took us through some interesting volcanic and fossil rich geology. Unfortunately the roadside signs explaining it were mostly missing. After a gently rolling first half, we had a gradual climb of 25 miles, then a rollicking 6 mile descent to the finish in Mitchell. Pretty tired and sore afterwards. Even though I’m a tougher rider than a few months ago, this many miles is hard.
We met an extremely fit 70 year old guy on a bike identical to mine (a first). He started his eastbound Transam trip a few days ago. It amazes me that people are still starting this late. We also saw a couple on their way to Maine today! John E. would be amused that they carry an entire fricket set. They should arrive by Thanksgiving. Brrr!
We’d been told that Mitchell was the famous ‘disaster’ town, but were denied any details until we arrived. What we found was a gritty but still functioning town of 170. Even our eyes jaded by a hundred nearly ghost towns registered that this town had been through a lot.
As we had our traditional arrival milkshakes. The waitress warned us “we’ve got several fires burning nearby, we might have to close down early. And we might ask you to help fight the fires” Peter instantly chimed in “Rich here is a fireman”. Thanks. Later we saw the local fire engine go by; it was a large wheeled front loader. The bucket had been replaced with a dozer blade, and a smallish fire engine body (type 6) had been welded on the back. Great idea for a short handed grass fire.
We walked around town for a while and went in the few remaining businesses, then started reading bulletin boards with the town history. Like many towns around here it endured multiple boom and bust cycles as mining, lumber, and, ranching came and went. When we went to dinner we were handed the history book we had been told about. Basically it was a scrap book of disaster headlines all featuring Mitchell. Three flash floods, some leaving 6′ boulders on Main St. another account of a 50′ wall of water wiping the place clean…and 2 large conflagrations burning the town down, and so on and so on. This book is a hundred pages and contains no happy news. It reminded me of the king from the old Monty Python movie “They said I was daft! But I didn’t listen!!”, who keeps building his castle in the swamp even though it sank twice, then burned down, fell over, and sank again. They’re proud of their town here in Mitchell, but there’s also a lot of real estate for sale. Wimps need not apply.

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Hat-trick of hills http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/hat-trick-of-hills/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hat-trick-of-hills http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/hat-trick-of-hills/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2011 00:37:47 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/hat-trick-of-hills/ Baker City to Prairie City OR. We couldn’t fool ourselves about today; we knew it would be a tough one. 69 miles with three mountain passes to get to the next town. The only “services” along the way was the pipe spewing spring water just East of Austin Junction.
We started with a partially [...]]]>
Baker City to Prairie City OR. We couldn’t fool ourselves about today; we knew it would be a tough one. 69 miles with three mountain passes to get to the next town. The only “services” along the way was the pipe spewing spring water just East of Austin Junction.
We started with a partially sponsored breakfast at the restaurant next to our hotel. The coupon supplied us helped, but we wanted more for this ride as our next meal would be handlebar bag snacks. We started out drafting each other until the first hill, which is where I always wheeze “goodbye” to Peter’s rear wheel. He’s nice though, and waits at the top for me each time. Up and down we went. The first one was hard, the second one was hotter but not as steep. Somewhere in there was the spring, which was really a treat. COOL water is a big deal. Then there was a third climb, but tell the truth, I don’t remember it. I was hot and tired and just zoned out. The last descent brought me around. We stopped and looked at the valley from a nice rest stop which had a giant Oregon Trail wagon. Reminds me of the concrete dinosaurs along the I-10 in Banning. Then we zoomed downhill to our destination and resuscitated ourselves with food and drink. We found our campground was also a museum. No excuse for missing this one. See track my tour area for pics of it.

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Halfway to Baker City http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/halfway-to-baker-city/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=halfway-to-baker-city http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/halfway-to-baker-city/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2011 04:15:50 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/halfway-to-baker-city/ Tough day today. 53 miles, mostly uphill. Eastern Oregon is pretty warm and dry.

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Tough day today. 53 miles, mostly uphill. Eastern Oregon is pretty warm and dry.

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Here’s your sign http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/heres-your-sign/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heres-your-sign http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/heres-your-sign/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2011 01:54:31 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/heres-your-sign/ 80 miles from Council ID to Halfway OR. We started out with a goal of Oxbow OR, but we made great time on the first half of the ride. After a big climb and a screaming descent to the Snake River we entered Oregon. Then it hit 100 degrees and kinda reminded us of Kansas. [...]]]> 80 miles from Council ID to Halfway OR. We started out with a goal of Oxbow OR, but we made great time on the first half of the ride. After a big climb and a screaming descent to the Snake River we entered Oregon. Then it hit 100 degrees and kinda reminded us of Kansas. We decided that the faster we could get away from any area named Hells Canyon the better. First we had to visit the grumpy lady’s store by Oxbow dam. Peter tells me she is infamous on many biker blogs. After a short visit we discover her rep is well earned. The store had more draconian signs than a supermax prison. She read several to us when we strayed. Two of my favs are pictured: come as strangers/leave as friends, then 6 feet away is one that warns, Nothing in this store is worth your life! After selling us some ice cubes, she shows us how to operate the garden hose.
So, now to today’s title. I paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy: you may be an idiot if… you drag your bike into a huge bank of goathead thorns to take a picture. Those plants look familiar I thought. Could they be thorns? Nah. Besides my tires are imperviousSSSSSS! Peter speculated “was that a snake?” which in this unusual case qualifies as optimism. What a doofus I am.

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Riggins to Council, ID http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/riggins-to-new-meadows-id/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=riggins-to-new-meadows-id http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/riggins-to-new-meadows-id/#comments Sun, 21 Aug 2011 22:53:22 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/riggins-to-new-meadows-id/ A classic example of “It looked good on paper” 60 mile ride with one big climb, a lot of river grade riding, and a coast right into town finish. Turns out the river was much steeper than previous, and it hit 100 degrees today. Also the coast into town was mostly pedaling through heavy traffic. [...]]]> A classic example of “It looked good on paper” 60 mile ride with one big climb, a lot of river grade riding, and a coast right into town finish. Turns out the river was much steeper than previous, and it hit 100 degrees today. Also the coast into town was mostly pedaling through heavy traffic. Our reward is a very nice campground with squeaky clean facilities. Time to get in Kansas mode: they say Hells Canyon ID will be hotter.

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River Grade http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/river-grade/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=river-grade http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/river-grade/#comments Sun, 21 Aug 2011 04:06:32 +0000 Rich http://2011transamericabikeride.com/2011/08/river-grade/ That’s what the locals refer to when roads follow rivers. A consistent, barely perceptible grade that goes for many miles. It makes riding in these mountainous areas very easy. As long as the wind cooperates. 72 miles from Kooskia to Riggins ID. We did 88 yesterday, mostly downstream along the Clearwater River. Today we started [...]]]> That’s what the locals refer to when roads follow rivers. A consistent, barely perceptible grade that goes for many miles. It makes riding in these mountainous areas very easy. As long as the wind cooperates. 72 miles from Kooskia to Riggins ID. We did 88 yesterday, mostly downstream along the Clearwater River. Today we started with 16 miles upstream, followed by a big climb to breakfast in Grangeville. After another hour we shot down a 8mile 7% downgrade to the Salmon River. Very exciting. The temp went up 15 degrees as we dropped, now in a very warm dry part of the state. Once we hit bottom we followed the Salmon the rest of the way. A tailwind gave us the illusion of riding downhill as we watched the river flowing against us. Weird.

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