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Across America North, page 1
Astoria, OR to Boise, ID
(The Northwestern Tour)

current date and time 2008-05-09 | 19:11:42
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Number of Journal Entries online: 9
Day 0�June 18, 2006�Astoria, OR�Opening Day!
Hello all of you family members, friends, and cross-country wannabes who will be following this exciting and challenging cross-country bicycle ride. My name is Susan Walker, and I will be posting brief summary accounts of each day�s adventure to this site. This will be my third summer staffing ABB�s Across America North ride, yet I am as eager and excited as I was on the first. Please bookmark this site and enjoy the ride with us!
�What happens,� you ask, �on Day 0 of a 50-day cross-country bicycle ride?� The short answer is �A lot!�
There are six of us staff members: Andy Hiroshima and Michelle Salhi (left), Co-ride Leaders; Jim Benson, Mechanic(second from right); and me, Christine Leininger, and Tom Chappell, Ride Leaders/SAG Drivers. On Day 0, we six staff coordinated with the hotel staff, helped riders assemble their shipped bikes, and conducted flat tire clinics. We registered 58 riders (the youngest 13 and the oldest 74 years old) from 16 states�including Hawaii�and from six countries: England, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and France. We have one triple, one tandem, one recumbent, and a great variety of road and touring bicycles. We also have a couple of father/son duos, this being particularly appropriate as it is Father's Day.
Bicyclists arrived all day and began to get to know one another. Led by rider volunteers Bill Weidenfeller, Joyce Marino, and Tim & Kathryn Tolford, those who had assembled their bicycles and had been checked off on helmet fit and bike inspection, tested their legs and bikes at noon by riding to the ocean at Fort Stevens Shipwreck Beach. There, they dipped their back wheels as tradition dictates. Riders also collected a bottle of Pacific Ocean water. On reaching the east coast, they will dip their front wheels into the Atlantic Ocean, and a designated rider will mix the Pacific water with the Atlantic water in a symbolic gesture.
In the evening, the staff conducted introduction and orientation sessions before they and the riders sat down together and shared a delicious meal prepared by the hotel. After dinner, riders were given their Day 1 route sheets and Andy conducted Route Rap�a review of the route�an event that will take place each evening before the next day�s ride. Of course the first thing every rider turned to was the elevation view to see how much climbing was involved. Excitement and anxiety ran high. Every rider wondered how he or she would stack up against the abilities of the other riders and the demands of the challenging route ahead.
Tomorrow will tell. Join us again then and find out how anxiety turns to jubilation as we roll along the broad Columbia River on the first day of our journey east.

HEARD AT REGISTRATION TODAY: ***�Can I exchange this large jersey for a medium? I have a large belly but a small body hiding behind it.� *** �I�m a retired pilot and would like to see the world go by at 15 miles an hour rather than 500.� [Kent Hill on introducing himself and explaining his reasons for joining the cross-country tour.]

posted 2006-06-19 | 00:39:48 | article number: 1

Day 1�June 19, 2006�Astoria OR to St. Helens, OR�69 miles�2650� climb


O, what a beautiful morning! Our first day of the 50 to follow dawned gorgeous: sunny, clear, temps in the mid 70s warming to the low 80s and a mild quartering wind that as the road twisted sometimes became a tailwind giving riders a boost over the hills on today�s route.
After breakfast, all 58 riders gathered behind the motel (which is nearly under the Astoria Bridge) for a group photo (see above), and then wheeled out of the motel parking lot and turned east to begin Day 1 of their cross-country adventure.
The directionally challenged had an easy first day on the road: Turn left out of the hotel parking lot and ride SH-30 all the way to St. Helens. (St. Helens is not the site of Mount St. Helens, which is northwest of St. Helens on the border with Washington.) Originally settled by New England loggers, the old town portion of St. Helens on the riverfront dates back nearly a century. Like the mountain, the town was named by Commander George Vancouver for British diplomat Alleyne Fitzherbert, whose title was Baron St. Helens.
SH-30 is a fairly busy road, its traffic at times included pungent smelling logging trucks and also large trucks of chipped wood for the paper mills, but the drivers of these rigs were very polite and generally gave us wide berth . . . even an occasional encouraging toot of the horn. SH-30 runs along the broad Columbia River, and in places we could look down on the beautiful river and to the green hills rising beyond it (see above) . . . and sometimes we could inhale the acrid odor of the paper mills counterbalanced by the piney odor of the lumber mills along it. Our first SAG stop was in Bradley Park high above the Columbia and riders took photos of the scenic vista..
As we neared our destination, Mount St. Helens popped into view, puffing smoke, her flat top capped with snow. It is hard to imagine the devastation that occurred when she blew her top in 1980. Her eruption marked the re-awakening of a relatively young (40,000-year-old) volcano that had been dormant since 1857. The northwest Indians told early explorers about the fiery Mount St. Helens. In fact, an Indian name for the mountain, Lou-wa-la-clough, means �smoking mountain.�
Everyone was in by 3, so had time to relax and get to know one another before enjoying a spaghetti and/or lasagna dinner at the Village Restaurant next door to the motel.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: ***�I�m suing for false advertising. They didn�t show all these hills in the brochure.� ***�Did you see that drive-thru cigarette kiosk near the SAG stop?� ***Jim: �A miracle has happened. Everyone has signed in.� Rider: �Oh, I wasn�t supposed to sign all those?? Guess I thought I was at work where I just sign it if it�s in front of me.�

posted 2006-06-19 | 23:03:35 | article number: 2

Day 2�June 20, 2006�St. Helens, OR to Welches, OR�75 miles�2917� climb
We are on the west slope of Mt. Hood at the lovely �Resort at the Mountain� in Welches, OR, home of the first 27-hole golf course in Oregon. The Scottish motif of the present Resort at the Mountain was adopted throughout because of the similarity of the terrain to the Scottish Highlands and the history of golf. One of our riders, Mike Kennedy, who is from Scotland (and, incidentally, on an intermittent round the world bike tour) found a photo of his grade school over the front desk, of all things, so he took a photo of the photo.

Everyone was all smiles at the start of today�s 75-mile ride. They liked the way the elevation view on the route sheet looked � flat as the proverbial pancake for the first 42 miles � many of which were on the Portland bike trail which winds along the Columbia River . . . and then about 1,000 feet of climbing over the next 30 or so miles. The day started sunny and breezy with a pretty good tailwind. The route left St Helens on Hwy 30 and crossed the St John's bridge in Portland. Riders rode the sidewalk which contained two places where they had to jig out around the bridge supports. I worried that the triple, tandems, and recumbent would have difficulty navigating these, but when Lil Pfluke and her sons, 14-year-old Raymond and 13-year-old Christopher Herrly (see photo above), arrived at the SAG stop, they announced that they had made these turns on the triple without having to put a foot down. They are skillful riders, as are all of our riders who have completed two days on the road without incident.

Though Portland is often called the �Microbrewery Capitol of the World,� none of the riders saw any of them today because they skirted the city on a beautiful paved bike trail. They rode by the Portland Airport and followed the Columbia River for quite some distance, varying between streets and the paved bike path. At one point on the river there is begun what appears to be a small Sausalito � interesting, large houses built on the water. Can�t really call them houseboats though as they were never meant to travel from their permanent moorings.

When riders reached S.E. Bluff Road, they had easy rolling and were flanked by tree nursery after tree nursery, many of them growing Chinese maples, among other trees. Several of the riders stopped for lunch outside of Sandy at Calamity Jane�s, a �Hamburger Parlor� whose proprietor is full of corny jokes and whose ceiling is decorated with one dollar bills. (On the way to dinner this evening, one rider told me that he had put away one of Calamity Jane�s giant burgers and fries followed by a huge piece of strawberry shortcake. Since we were on our way to dinner, it obviously had done nothing more than whet his appetite.) Anyhow, we added a dollar bill to the decor � appropriately labeled �ABB 2006� and with a couple of bicycles on it drawn by Jim Benson. It will be a challenge for next year�s riders to locate among the hundreds of others.

After leaving Calamity Jane�s, the road rolls for a bit and then descends for 10 miles or so to Welches. At times Mount Hood sat squarely in the center of the road (see photo above). Today was crystal clear so we had fantastic views of Mount Hood, its snow covered sides rising majestically into the clouds.

We ate dinner at Panda Panda, a Chinese restaurant, that was open just for us and served a hearty buffet. Tonight at route rap, Andy and I described the terrain and warned the riders that the toughest climb on this first leg to Boise is the last 150 yards to the motel in Kah-Nee-Ta. But the road to Ka-Nee-Ta is breathtakingly beautiful, dropping from a plateau and winding in S-curves down through a box canyon. Our motel tonight and the resort and casino tomorrow are two of the grandest at which we�ll stay.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: SS#1 � Rider: �Oh, nice flowers.� SS#2 � Rider: �Where are your flowers?� Susan: �Those were at my 5-star SAG stop. Christine�s SAG stop rates only 3 stars.� Rider: �No, Christine�s SAG stop has flush toilets which increases her rating by two, so her SAG Stop is also 5-star.�

posted 2006-06-22 | 20:32:09 | article number: 3

Day 3�June 21, 2006�Welches, OR to Kah-Nee-Ta, OR�66 miles�4763� climb
We started the day with a short ride to the Whistle Stop for a hearty breakfast. For the third year in a row, the staff there did a great job of getting us all fed and out the door in short order for a long day of climbing. I was disappointed though, because the woman who was there last year telling all as they left to �Remember to potty!� didn�t provide that service this year.

The day started out chilly (51F) and clear, but riders quickly climbed into the low clouds hanging on the mountain. Although most of the early morning route was in the clouds, the climbing warmed up riders pretty fast. By the time they reached our SAG van at the top of the climb, it was cold, the temperature having dropped into the mid 40s or lower.

Today was our first real taste of mountains, and they were spectacular. Mount Hood, now behind us, loomed large and snowy over riders� shoulders (see above).We were expecting over 4,500 feet of climbing and we got it and then some. The first real test came shortly after breakfast � not much time to wear off those pancake calories, but everyone seemed to be moving pretty well up the grade. The terrain was up continuously for the first 12 miles with pitches ranging from 3-7%. Even though it was chilly, riders enjoyed the ride (photo above) and the spruce canopy, mossy rocks, bear grass, rhododendron, and mountain lupine as they pedaled their way to the summit.

Michelle ran the SAG at the top of the climb out of Silver 2 (one of the silver support vans) at mile 13.5. There was a restaurant nearby called the Huckleberry Inn where several had planned on having a slice of delicious huckleberry pie, but were disappointed when it was not serving pie this morning. (Unfortunately I had told them that this taste treat awaited them at the top of the mountain, and the two kids on the triple talked huckleberry pie all the way up the climb. Guess it was the carrot on the stick.) There were also public restrooms at the top, which is a rest area and ski slope. It was so cold that riders didn�t stay long. Most grabbed a banana and granola bar and donned extra clothing for the long descents before the climb to the desert.

The topography changes today were phenomenal. We were in mountainous pine forests for 42 miles, until we made a left turn toward the resort. After the turn, the terrain quickly changed to high desert scrub, and then after about 15 miles of rolling terrain, we descended into the box canyon to the resort. Riders were greeted with a beautiful, winding descent to the valley floor, a gambol along a clear gurgling stream, and then were smacked with a steep climb up to the motel.

But, the tough climb to the motel, was worth every pedal stroke. We stay at Kah-Nee-Ta, a resort named for the Indian woman Xnitla, or �Root Digger.� The resort, which also has a casino, is located on the 600,000-acre Warm Springs Reservation 119 miles east of Portland in the central Oregon high desert. It is a lovely place

All in all it was another successful day. All riders rolled in without incident, proud, self satisfied looks on their faces . . . life is good! Tomorrow we climb back to the top of the mountain that we came off of on our way in. Tune in for another day in the saddle.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: ***Shivering cyclist: �I�ve finally figured out why I have that shimmy.� *** �Wow! Today we went from high mountains to high desert.� ***Q: What do you call the stokers on a triple? Stoker 1 and Stoker 2?� ***A: �No, we�re Captain, Midshipman, and Rear Admiral.�

SHOW & TELL: Anja saw two small brown bears. Trevor saw a group of wild horses. Jon came around a bend and found the road filled with cattle. And Lois, Annie, and others saw the moon . . . prominently positioned in the window of a passing van.

posted 2006-06-22 | 20:36:37 | article number: 4

Day 4�June 22, 2006�Kah-Nee-Ta, OR to Prineville, OR�60 miles�3969� climb
Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort was a great place to stay, but somewhat of a logistical challenge for the staff to get all the vans in the right place and to get our supplies and support vehicles organized. It was quite a hike to our rooms and the trek involved elevators. But, no one was complaining, and the motel staff was as gracious and accommodating as they were last year, helping riders with their bags and gear, holding the door for us to enter with our luggage and bikes, hustling food out when hot trays emptied at dinner and breakfast, and even providing a special parking garage for the triple, which is as long as a limo. I think everyone enjoyed their stay . . . especially if they grabbed a post-ride bite in the resort or casino restaurant, shopped in the unique gift shop, got to the pool, won some wampum at the casino, or sat around the huge fireplace and used the wireless function on their computers. [I could not get on the Internet nor could I get on the Internet in Welches, so the last several Journal entries were late in coming. I apologize. Please be patient because this will happen again occasionally.]

Because of a detour around a landslide, riders missed the infamous climb up to Kah Nee Ta yesterday that all were anticipating at ride�s end . . . but they got plenty of exercise on the steep twisting detour road which brought them up to the Casino and the back of the resort. However, this morning after a good breakfast, riders loaded their luggage and started the day by zipping down the steep drive they�d missed climbing the day before. A mile or so afterwards, riders started a gentle climb for the next 8 miles before enjoying a beautiful downhill into the Warm Springs valley. At the top of this climb most riders took photos of themselves with Three Fingered Jack, Black Mesa, Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and the tip of Broken Top serving as background.

After leaving the Warm Springs Reservation, we picked up SH-26 and followed the beautiful Deschutes River through a valley before leaving it on a long four-mile climb out of the valley. About 2 miles after summiting, the road leveled out and we turned off into the country where we began to see the results of irrigation. Farms were raising many different cash crops, mint, onions, etc. It was a nice break from the highway to ride these very little used roads before coming back to SH-26 in Madras. We could ride side by side and talk. I became acquainted with Leslie and she with me.

Our SAG stop today was in a small park in Madras opposite the Chamber of Commerce. As in years past, they very graciously offered up their immaculate bathrooms to riders. All of Madras was in mourning for their native son, Andy Tucker, who had recently been kidnapped and killed in Iraq. Flags flew at half mast and every business had signs of condolence to the Tucker family and memorials to Andy. In fact the fence near the SAG stop had become a memorial to Andy, people leaving cards and signs and flowers.

I rode free all day, so after fueling at the SAG, Michelle swapped ride duties with Christine, and Michelle and I started out together to cover the last 30 miles or so, most of this ride on a long, desolate highway that contained endless rollers until the last 10 miles to Prineville, which were -- yeehaw!! -- downhill. It was very dry and scrubby desert along the way, so hard to believe that we were so hot and dry when in every direction were magnificent snow covered peaks .

Tomorrow we ride 117 miles to John Day. Talk to you again after the ride. Susan

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �That climb lasted longer than a presidential campaign.� *** �With the heat, my afternoon pace plummeted to Sun City tricyclist level.� *** �What? The miles we rode today are only half the miles we will ride tomorrow?�

SHOW & TELL: Many were awed by a large group of wild horses that thundered by. Tracey and Annie exited a DQ to find that both had flat tires (strange forces at work here). Michelle saw a small prairie dog colonie. There were some interesting road kills, including two roadkilled deer.

posted 2006-06-22 | 21:41:41 | article number: 5

Day 5�June 23, 2006�Prineville, OR to John Day, OR�117 miles�5103� climb
[Sorry again for the delay. No Internet access in John Day. Bear with me.]

Everyone woke this morning with a feeling of uncertainty about their ability to finish the toughest day we have on our schedule. The distance is over 117 miles and riders were faced with over 5,000 feet of climbing. The only thing easy today was the navigation . . . turn left out of the motel, ride 117 miles, and turn right into the motel. We loaded early this morning (5:30) to give riders a head start and to beat the heat on this very long day. Even so most didn't beat the heat. Red faces and arms abounded at dinner. Also, the last riders got in after 7 pm, so some had a very long day in the saddle.

All of today's route was beautifully scenic. After the first climb, riders traveled through some magnificent Ponderosa Pine forests. Ravens croaked overhead and magpies and quail flitted through the underbrush. We pedaled along Ochoco Creek, Match Creek, Branch Creek, Mountain Creek, Rattlesnake Creek (and a host of others that wound their way down the canyons) and, of course, along the John Day River (famous for its fly fishing).

The town of Mitchell at mile 45 was a welcome little spot in the road on SH-26 E just before the ascent to Keyes Summit. It�s one of only three places (Mitchell, Daysville, and Mount Vernon � all tiny towns) on today�s route where riders could get food. Once more some of the riders took me to task. I had again promised pie, but those who came first scarfed up every last slice. The subsequent riders were out of luck. Right next door to the cafe was the Juniper Guy ( who was making interesting chairs, bed frames, and tables from juniper. He had a giant rocking chair out front (see photo) and I took several photos of riders with it.

After reaching Keyes Summit, a tough climb (see photo), riders enjoyed a beautiful 25-mile downhill with a tailwind . . . it just doesn't get any better than that. Along with the great conditions, we definitely experienced sensory overload as the landscape was beyond description. High hills, rushing rivers, canyons, gorges, colorful rock formations . . .We descended into Picture Gorge which was just breathtaking . . . At one bend in the road a rock formation loomed above, looking for all the world like an ancient Incan temple. After we exited the canyon, we rode through a beautiful valley dotted with western style ranches until we reached John Day, a small but colorful town, most notable for being the end of our ride.

This group should be proud of their accomplishments today. It was a long, hot (94F) day, and they all came through with flying colors. At Route Rap we learned that this was the longest day several of the riders had ever ridden. We also had two people who rode their first century today, and we had two birthdays, Keith�s and Joyce�s.

Congratulations to all!

Today�s elevation view looked like an opera singer�s breast plate. Tomorrow�s looks like a shark�s jaw with three serious summits over 5,000 feet.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: ***�It�s pretty bad when the butterflies get to the top faster than I can.� ***�I would have gotten here sooner but I had to obey the speed signs outside of town.� ***I�d draft off you but I don�t have a kickstand.� ***The sun will be lower on the horizon pretty soon.� �I hope so. It�s been high noon for the past four hours.�

SHOW & TELL: Tim and Kathryn detoured through Mitchell and found the Mitchell mascot, a black bear kept in a large pen. Seems as though I remember someone discovering this bear last year also. They Reported that in Mitchell there was also a grocery, The Wheeler Country Trading Post selling groceries, hardware, sporting goods and the Little Pine Cafe, which looked like a finbe place for lunch. Our Scot, Mike, saw a bobcat leap a fence in one graceful bound. Several riders saw deer, and, of course, all saw the ground squirrels as they zipped across the road, tails high.

posted 2006-06-24 | 23:05:01 | article number: 6

Day 6�June 24, 2006�John Day, OR to Baker City, OR�81 miles�4781� climb
Our days in Oregon while being challenging are also some of the most beautiful of the ride I think. Today we spent much of the day on the Elkhorn Scenic Route. We rode through two national forests: the Malheur National Forest (malheur means evil hour [bad fortune] and was named by the Hudson�s Bay Company�s Peter Skene Ogden who lost a cache of furs there in 1825) and the Wallawa-Whitman National Forest. Riders also climbed three mountain passes. The first, Dixie Pass at 5277�, has a large covered wagon viewpoint about 3.5 miles from the top. Many riders stopped there to take photos or to have their photos taken (see photo) and many shed some extra clothes after the exertion of the climb. Next riders climbed to Tifton Mountain Summit at 5124� and finally climbed to Snall Summit followed by a lovely 6-mile descent. We also crossed the John Day River again and followed the beautiful Powder River down through a canyon and into Baker City.

A Criterium was taking place in Baker City and our hotel was full of cyclists. The racers were as awed by our undertaking as we were of theirs. Their racing bikes were beautiful to behold. Many of our cyclists went into town to watch the Crit (see photo�this shot last year by Mike Munk). If we were going to be here for any length of time tomorrow, we�d get to watch a road race up the canyon we descended coming into town. The descent was exciting as a touring cyclist with its steeply banked curves (made me feel at times as though I was in a velodome) and with the canyon walls and the Powder River on the right, so I imagine it will be twice as exciting for the racing peleton.

Our first SAG stop was at the Austin House Restaurant at mile 28. Here many of the riders sampled the delicious huckleberry cobbler and ice cream, had a drink, bought a postcard, etc. Christine bought some Huckleberry flavored coffee (I�m trying to get her to brew some in our motel coffeemaker). Our second SAG was set up shortly after the little RR museum on Phillips Lake in a beautiful grove of ponderosa pines with picnic tables. This is one of my favorite SAG sites as I can bird and botanize. The SAG table flowers were wild flag and fox grass. An osprey nest with two young this year topped a tall tree trunk at the lake�s edge (and has for the past two years also). The adults were coming and going feeding their young.

All told, it was another beautiful day in paradise. All riders got in safely by about 5 and enjoyed the pool, talking to the racing cyclists, and eating a fine dinner at the hotel.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: ***You can outrun a bull on your bike, no bull!� �This is a great SAG Stop. I think I want to sleep here tonight.� �Yum! Chips & salsa � very good�can we have them every day?�

SHOW & TELL: Jim stopped to take a photo and realized that the bull whose picture he was taking was on his side of the fence . . . ooops! Tim and Kathryn stopped at a wildlife lookout and saw some whiter specks moving about the mountain face high above. They did not have binoculars so they assume these were mountain goats. Bob & Dave were just riding along minding their own business when they were confronted by a badger who stopped crossing the road long enough to let them know that it was boss. One rider was stopped just before SS#2 so that a steam engine from the RR Museum could cross the road.

posted 2006-06-25 | 00:04:33 | article number: 7

Day 7�June 25, 2006�Baker City, OR to Ontario, OR�83 miles�2011� climb
Yeeehaw! Most of today�s route spooled out like an unwinding ribbon. Riders enjoyed miles and miles of unearned downhill along old Route 30 and I-84 and then on SH-201 along the Snake River. Yesterday racers had their criterium; today they had a road race (The Elkhorn Bike Classic) the route for which overlapped our route a bit, but was scheduled for later so there was no problem �getting out of Dodge.�

Since it was the first day riders would ride parts of the Interstate, I gave them Mike Munk�s protocol for Interstate riding at dinner last night: 1) Ride as far right on the shoulder as possible, 2) Get behind the guardrail when you have a mechanical or need to stop, 3) Avoid running over tire bits that contain little tube puncturing wires, 4) Avoid pacelines, 5) Ride in small groups so that one person can always turn to face the traffic coming from behind, and, 6) most importantly, 7)Cross on-ramps and off-ramps using the shortest distance between two points and beware of fast moving exiting and entering traffic.

To my knowledge we had noflats on the Interstate, maybe a record. Flatting on these shoulders dotted with tire bits is common. Today�s ride marked a couple of milestones, too: 1) At mile 32, just before the first SAG Stop, riders had 500 miles behind them; and 2) at about mile 48, riders crossed into the mountain time zone and were reminded to turn their watches ahead 1 hour

Once again, the scenery was spectacular. Many high brown grassy hills folded one behind the other, long swooping roadways cut through the hills and rocks; cattle ranches, cattle and cowboys; vegetable farmers growing onions, sugar beets, corn, potatoes, wheat, and mint. Derelict wooden buildings, a cement plant, even one place where two RR tunnels cut through the hillside. Picture perfect romantic west . . . the unsuspecting would never guess that this was Oregon, our next to last day in the state.

Since SS #2 was at a gravel boat put-in on the Snake with nary a drop of shade in sight, Jim fixed up the van last night by tying a tarp to the roof racks and placing the two bike stands in the back. When it came time to set up the SS, Andy stretched the tarp to the bike stands and anchored the whole thing with water barrels. This gave riders and staff some shade (see photo above), and the taller riders didn�t complain about having to stoop to stand under it.

Shade or no shade, Franz decided it was time to take a dip in the Snake when he arrived at the second SS, so stripped down to his bike shorts and swam way out into the river. Barb and Steve longed to do the same, but didn�t want to ride in wet shorts, so they waded in to cool their feet (see photo above). Sara, too, waded in and soaked her doo-rag and jersey. These were all wise things to do because the day turned into a scorcher � 103F by the time the last rider pulled into the motel in Ontario. A couple of riders had a bit of trouble with the heat today, so Don (a marathon runner) took some time to explain what to do and what not to do on hot days. We staff have our misters ready, also a cooler full of ice and will be vigilant tomorrow in �running the line� in the SAG vans to ensure that riders have water and support when they need it.

Dinner at a Sizzler this evening revived everyone, and a Walmart Supercenter nearby helped the staff prepare for the days to come. Our motel is nearly on the Snake, which is the border between Oregon and Idaho, so tomorrow riders will enter their second state of the ride. Tune in then and see how things go.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** Yeeeeeeeehaw! *** �On your left!� *** "This is a gas!" *** "I'm melting! I'm melting, Heh heh heh, cackle." "What was that supposed to be?" "My impression of the Wicked Witch of the West."

posted 2006-06-26 | 16:57:46 | article number: 8

Day 8�June 26, 2006�Ontario, OR to Boise, ID�62 miles�1438� climb

The first part of today�s route wends east on little trafficked farm-to-market roads bordered by small farms and occasional houses (see photo above). The road rolled considerably and looked at times like a piece of ribbon candy. The first 15 miles contained 7 turns, so riders were kept alert checking their computers. Nonetheless a few riders missed a turn and got in some bonus miles. One pair called me on the van phone. �Help! We�re lost.� While working their way back to the route, they saw a line of red, white, & blue riders across the fields one road over. Just like goslings behind their mother, they happily lined up behind these riders.

Since it was a short day, we set up only one SAG Stop midway between Ontario and Boise. It was supposed to be in a large Shell station/CS. When I got there, however, I could find no place to park the van, so set up in the church parking lot across the street. This worked out very well as riders did not need to cross to the left side of the road. When I got to the SS, Deanna Livsey (rode the inaugural AAN in 2001) and her friend, Dana, were waiting with two big bags of cookies that Deanna had made and toted to the SS. The two had ridden their bikes out from Boise. They waited until fellow inaugural riders Sara and Christine (see photo above) arrived, and then gathered a group and rode back to Boise with them, showing them a slightly different route. Deanna had met us last year, too, having recently moved from the Chicago area to Boise. Thank you Deanna!

As riders neared Boise, the road became more urban, but continued to be quiet as the route veered off into a residential area and then eventually entered Hyde Park, an esoteric narrow spot on the road, and a favorite place for riders to stop for lunch before continuing to the hotel, about 2 miles away. Many riders had a sandwich or pizza at Lucky 13 right across from Richards, our usual lunch spot, which was closed.

Andy conducted R-Rap at 4, and I talked about what to see and do in Boise. After our day in the merciless heat yesterday, I bought a canopy at Walmart last night. At Route-R, I asked for canopy donations (strictly volunteer) and received enough to meet the cost of the $88 canopy. Thank you riders! I know that you�ll think your donation was one of the best investments you�ve ever made as we cross wide open, sun saturated Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Also at R-Rap, we said our final good-byes to riders Tracey Bail, Scotty Bolf, and Alan Williams whose northwestern leg ended in Boise. We will miss them.

Tomorrow should be a fun day for both staff and riders. We staff get to welcome three new riders, Leslie Margolin�s friend Kathy Griest, Mike Warmbier�s brother, Fred, and Jon Gregg�s nephew, Jason, and riders get to explore Boise and enjoy a little R & R. I think everyone will enjoy their stay in Boise: The Courtyard by Marriott is a very gracious hotel; Boise is a �bike friendly� town with cyclists everywhere, 30 miles of greenway bike trails just a block from the motel, and a great bike shop called �Georges,� one block away. There is also a choice of eating places nearby the motel. Some riders opted for a Basque restaurant where they had some ethnic food and a great experience.

What�s a Basque restaurant doing in Boise? Well, Boise � which BTW is named from the river on which it is located, the latter named by the French Rivi�re Bois�, meaning �woody river� � saw an influx of Basques from Spain in the 1930s, a migration that has had a big impact on Boise's culture. Interestingly, today Boise has the largest concentration of Basques per capita outside the Pyrenees Mountains. It also has a fine Basque Museum and Cultural Center.

Enuff for now. Look for a report again on Wednesday�s ride out of Boise.

OVERHEAD ON THE ROAD TODAY: ***�This was a nice ride today. Thank you!� ***�I liked the little farm-to-market roads.� *** �I loved those rollers. They were spaced perfectly.� ***�Watermelon! Ummmm Yumm!� ***�Nice flowers.� ***�I got in some bonus miles today. I hear that a couple members of the staff did some route research also.�

posted 2006-06-26 | 19:29:17 | article number: 9

On to Page 2 Boise, ID to Casper, WY (Northern Rockies Ride)
On to Page 3 Casper, WY to Sioux Falls, SD (Badlands Ride)
On to Page 4 Sioux Falls, SD to Niagara Falls, NY (Northern Tier Tour)
On to Page 5 Niagara Falls, NY to Portsmouth, NH (The New England Meander)

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