July 29

29 07 2009

Day 53:
The night in the cabin was nice! It was so nice that we didn’t end up leaving the West Glacier KOA until almost 11:00am. We enjoyed a downhill ride out of the campground and just as we got to the bottom a group of three on touring bikes passed by us. Almost immediately after seeing these guys go by us a group of about 15 bikers flew by us on racing bikes… I wonder if we could go that fast without our gear? There was no catching them. However we were able to catch up to the smaller group. Of three. After catching up to them we discovered they have quite a bit of experience in the biking field. Check out the adventures at http://www.bikebums.com (I love the domain haha). My (Zach) and Jake’s bike needed some repairs so when we arrived in Whitefish (only 30 miles from West Glacier) the bike store was the fist order of business. Apparently my bike has different sized spokes in it.. that’s not good. Well they are still in there because we would’ve had to have my entire rear wheel rebuilt which we don’t have time for and with about ten days to the finish line (even though it’s not a race.. until the last day!) During lunch we made our hotel reservations. I had our first hotel lined up where I had to struggle to negotiate the foldaway bed. As Jake I walked to the hotel Maggie, Dad, and Mom road ahead of us and checked out the hotel. Needless to say the place smelled like CRAP. We passed on that dump. The Pine Lodge right across the street was more than accommodating and is one of the nicer places we stayed at an affordable rate. Dinner took us to a happening spot where we enjoyed large servings of lasagna.

30 miles, and a poolside afternoon + DQ for desert, makes for a pretty easy day.

I’m going to miss the rockies as we head further West… but I am sure excited that were getting closer to finishing the trip.



July 28

29 07 2009

Day 52:

Logan Pass, 6646 ft above sea level… done!

With our biggest climb ahead of us, we woke up early with hopes of sunny skies. The forecast for the afternoon wasn’t great, but with blue sky all around we decided the ride was a go. After packing up and enjoying a pancake breakfast at the KOA, we headed two miles down the road to the entrance of Glacier National Park in Saint Mary, Montana. We paid the daily fee and began to ride the “Going to the Sun Road” leading us to the top of Logan Pass, along the continental divide. Anxious (some more nervous than others) and excited, we had been thinking about this ride through the Rockies for almost the entire trip. With seventeen miles to the pass, we headed out beneath clear skies. The first five miles went by quickly, and were not much of a climb. In fact, we actually rode downhill a few times. Usually we would welcome the down-hills, however, with two thousand feet to the pass, we knew going down was only going to make things harder. Finally, after turning the corner and seeing our first hairpin turn we began to climb. Stopping often to take in the gorgeous scenery, and rest of course, we took our time going up. The climb was surprisingly gradual, compared to the mountains we tackled in Vermont and New York. With just a few miles to the pass, the dark clouds moved in quickly, and the rain began. We took shelter along the side of the road (people driving by took pictures of us!) until the storm passed, then put on extra layers and continued on. But not to long after putting the layers on, the sun broke through, and we had to stop and remove them. We continued alongside the beautiful waterfalls, beneath the rock overhangs, and around corner after corner. Finally, with the visitor’s center in sight, we turned the last sharp corner and climbed to the top. Just before getting their we received a little encouragement from a family we met last night at the KOA, who were riding down in a tour bus. We had reached the top of Logan Pass, and the continental divide. Eager to sit down and eat our lunch, we parked ourselves outside the visitor’s center and plowed through almost all the food we brought..Jake’s panniers are surely getting lighter. After admiring the view from the top, we layered up for the 32 mile decent, and took off down other side off the 6.5 percent grade “Going to the Sun Road.” Immediately, we spotted the wildlife we had been waiting for, in the form of white mountain goats. We flew down the mountain, around the very sharp turns overlooking the valley and snow covered mountains. The view was spectacular and we were very happy to have traveled westward and saved the best for last! More importantly, Dad was happy to be able to ride on the inside of the road, as his fear of heights is not a good match for small guardrail and steep drop-off into the gorge. Also, there was a good deal of road construction on the way down, something we would not have wanted while climbing. We enjoyed cruising along effortlessly (though using our brakes a lot) and enjoying the vast expanse of mountains, above, below, and beside us. Determined to have a snowball fight in July, we stopped at the first sign of reachable snow to hurl it at one another. We continued our decent, until reaching the Lake McDonald Lodge for and early dinner. The food (and dessert of course) was great! We attempted to make reservations at multiple motels, but they were all full so we set our sights on the West Glacier KOA, 14 miles away. We continued descending the “Going to the Sun Road” around the gorgeous turquoise lakes and streams, until reaching west glacier and climbing the one mile hill to the campground. It’s not a complete day if we don’t end with a hill! Dad surprised us with a cabin for the night (though I am convinced he is just afraid of the bears) and we are happy to have a roof over our heads. A short soak in the hot tub for our legs, and warm showers felt great after a long day. Proud of our day’s accomplishments, we are getting settled in for the night. We look forward to making quick work of the rest of Montana!

As embarrassed as I am to do so, I feel compelled to end today’s post with a quote from the song I had stuck in my head all day…

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb!


July 27

28 07 2009

Day 51:

We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning in Waterton National Park. Waterton is often referred to as the most beautiful of the national parks and we can certainly see why. We started out today with a ride through the village among the deer / elk and along the lake surrounded by majestic mountains. Truly an inspiring sight. Leaving the village we stopped for breakfast at the Prince of Wales Hotel, which sits high on a hill overlooking Waterton Village. We enjoyed an incredible view from our breakfast table.

After a substantial breakfast and requisite pictures we started to climb. We climbed for most of the day and followed the Chief Mountain International Highway across the border back into the US. A couple driving in the opposite direction stopped to advise us of mother and baby bear a few hundred yards ahead. However, when we arrived they had disappeared. During a trip today though we saw even more cattle as they roamed freely through the mountain forest and on the highway, which was traversing an Indian Reservation. We got a few laughs watching the cows react to various comments.

Continuing our climb, we arrived at a scenic overlook with a commanding view of Chief Mountain. Maggie correctly translated “scenic overlook” to mean “ downhill from this point on” and with few exceptions we cruised swiftly down the highway to a late lunch (4:00 PM) in Babb, Montana. We then traveled the few remaining miles to Saint Mary, our destination for the night, which is located at the entrance of the “Going to the Sun Road”. We are camping on the St. Mary River at a beautiful KOA with a wonderful hot-tub and pool which we welcomed after our day of climbing through the Rockies under brilliant sunshine. Our “biker tans” sparked numerous conversations from strangers who ask what we have been doing to have such “unusual and dramatic” tans.

Late night Pizza and numerous other snacks and we need to get well rested for our climb to Logan Pass in the morning.


July 26

26 07 2009

Day 50:

With cloudy days forecasted for the weekend, we decided to add a day to ensure better weather once we reach Glacier National Park (we have been told it is well worth the wait) and to avoid weekend traffic. So we planned two shorter days before the BIG climb; to veer off the route towards Waterton, Alberta today, and then head south to Glacier tomorrow.

We all took advantage of the short day ahead to sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast (though it took a much longer than anticipated). We didn’t leave Cardston until close to 11 o’clock, but were eager to knock out today’s forty miles. With the Rocky Mountains visible behind the clouds, we continued to climb the gradual hills, interspersed with some nice down-hills too. We cruised through the first 15 or so miles, winding around the farms and green mountain sides…a great ride! Zach and I stopped outside a general store, and waited for the others. Having broken my second spoke on the way down the previous hill we went to work on the quick repair before grabbing snacks inside. From there we headed out for the last 18 miles to Waterton Lakes National Park. Our ride was briefly interrupted by thunder and lighting, so we pulled over and took shelter under our bike/tarp fort. We waited it out then continued on, just as the rain began to really pour and the thunder picked up…and the cows went crazy. The storm didn’t last long, but the dark clouds lingered over the mountains as we approached the park. Upon arrival, we climbed up to the beautiful Cameron Lake and then coasted downhill into the village. Even with the cloudy skies, the mountains were very impressive, and we can’t wait till the storms pass and the skies clear…hopefully tomorrow! We arrived in the village around 3 o’clock to deer casually walking the streets and wandering about in front of the hotel. We checked in to our room, cleaned up, and headed into town for an early dinner. The food and the view at the Bayside Inn was fantastic! We wandered around town for a bit then headed back to the room for a relaxing night. Tomorrow’s short ride to the base of Logan Pass will allow us to begin exploring the Rockies and preparing for the big climb.


July 25

26 07 2009

Day 48:

Knowing we had our first real “uphill” day since New Hampshire and Vermont and there was actually nothing between Cut Bank and Cardston, we got an early start because of the day ahead of us. After a good breakfast we started our trek towards Alberta, Canada. We made quick work of the first 15 miles because of the little wind we had to fight, but once again Zach had to slow us down. Pulling over to the side of the road we learned Zach had not one, but two broken spokes, I think he’s broken more than me by now. The four of us quickly fixed the spokes (Maggie was up ahead because her ipod was way to loud and she couldn’t hear us calling her) and got back to what we have been doing for 48 days, biking. Stopping at the 30 mile marker we had a quick snack and then continued the rest of the 8 miles we needed to cross the border.

Talk about a welcome to Canada! The two border agents pointed us to a shaded grassy spot for our picnic lunch (we had a 73 mile stretch of no services today ) and called the US agents to let them know that it was OK for us to lunch in “no-mans land”. Apparently there is a 10 foot wide strip of land on either side of the border that does not belong to either the US or Canada but is the responsibility of the “International Border Commission”. The agents also kindly filled our water bottles and took our picture in front of the “Welcome to Alberta” sign.

The great road and riding conditions … NO WIND … smooth pavement … only 20 cars over 73 miles … brilliant sunshine … 70 – 80 temps … started in Cut Bank and continued on our climb into Canada and the Rockies. Our real Canadian welcome came near the end of our ride as we neared our destination of Cardston, Alberta. We stopped to chat with 90 year old Dr. BJ Larson riding his bike on his “regular” 12 miles loop. It was a pleasure to chat with him on the road and a wonderful surprise when a called our hotel room a few hours later and then came to visit bringing with him some wonderful cookies baked by his wife Lois. We all enjoyed the chance to chat with the Doctor and needless to say the cookies were gone in no time. Dr. Larson is a great Ambassador for Cardston and provided a great welcome to Canada. It was our privilege to get to know him.

We had a great view of Chief Mountain as we entered Cardston this afternoon and are looking forward Waterton Village tomorrow.

Jake & Brian

July 24

24 07 2009

Day 47:

Today was an unplanned half day. We started the trek heading west with the notion that we would be in Cardston, Alberta tonight. What we thought would be a nice 100 mile run turned into a slow crawl as we began our ride. We had expected easterly winds to push us up the mountains but we ran into exactly the opposite. After making it 16 miles we felt the rain coming (very dark clouds in the west) and with the wind so fierce we were forced to stop on the side of the road. Moving all our bikes together in a circle we created a barricade like structure where we took shelter for a while. Dad, Maggie and Jake even took out their sleeping bags and made themselves comfortable. When the rain started pouring we took out our tent ground sheets and tarps and quickly went to work constructing a ceiling. We spent the rest of the storm in the comfort of our make shift fort… sitting 10 feet away from the highway. When the storm finally passed we made our way into Cut Bank where we saw the rocky mountains equipped with snow and all for the first time this trip, and the first time ever for most of us. The wind today is too much to handle and on top of that we are all pretty tired. Once in Cutbank, the team took our lunch and during this time we decided to stay the night. There is a 73 mile stretch of NOTHING on the climb to Cardston so making any further progress today was out of the question. Tomorrow we begin our adventure into the rocky mountains! For me this is the most exciting part of the trip as the landscape thus far has been rather dull (speak for yourself zach!) Mom and Dad are stocking up at the grocery store for our long day tomorrow as we won’t have any services until we reach Cardston, and the rest of us are watching TV, reviewing the maps, and uploading our pictures.


July 23

24 07 2009

Day 46:

Sleeping under the stars, without the rain fly was a great idea! With the cool breeze, we enjoyed a great night’s sleep, especially those of us who managed to sleep through the train whistles. We woke up to the sun rising beside our tents, and quickly packed up our gear alongside Sue, who was doing the same. She headed back to Mike’s Bar for breakfast, and we followed soon after. After polishing off some microwaveable breakfast sandwiches while sharing info with Sue, we headed off in opposite directions. It was nice to get an early start to the day but after just twelve miles the heat and the sun had caught up once again. We found a small bar in Inverness to refuel on drinks and snacks, and get out of the hot morning sun. The wind began to shift to the North (crosswinds for us) late in the morning and we made better time along highway two until reaching Chester for lunch after twenty-six miles. We enjoyed our Subway lunch and stocked up on drinks for the next forty miles, through small towns with no services. Though another hot afternoon, we were thankful for the diminishing wind, and managed to cruise along in the afternoon. After another twelve miles, Zach and I found shade beside some large farm silos where we waited for the others to arrive. When you’re really hot and need some shade you realize that there are absolutely no trees here in Montana. I guess that why they call their “gophers” ground squirrels. After another ten miles a small maintenance shop was a very nice surprise, for cold drinks and cool AC. Anxious to get to our destination we made good time on the last twenty miles. There were plenty of trains to keep it interesting and even some nice downhill stretches. Coasting was a nice change from working against the wind on the down hills. Finally we made a long descent into Shelby, MT where we headed through town to the Comfort Inn…which is of course is at the top of a hill! Showers, laundry, and dinner down the hill, finished off a seventy-mile day. With northeasterly winds forecasted for tomorrow, we will try to take advantage of the tailwind and log some bigger miles. We are hoping for great weather as we approach Glacier National Park in the next few days!


July 22

23 07 2009

Day 45:

As I write this, we are camping in the town park at Hingham, MT. I had a feeling I had overextended myself doing yesterday’s 95 miles into Chinook but was game to try 80 today. We had a great start to the morning (after repairing Zach’s umpteenth broken spoke at the hotel. We set out for Havre where there was a bike store and zoomed through the 21 miles there in an hour and three quarters. After leaving Zach’s and Brian’s bikes at the bike store (Brian minor gear problem) we walked over to a bar and grill for lunch (no bread so sandwiches were not an option). Bikes were done when we finished eating so headed out for Chester, another 60 miles. Unfortunately, the wind had turned and the day had heated up greatly. We gamely set off having to stop and re-hydrate every ten miles.

Stopped in a very very small town of Kremlin where our maps said there was a gas station. It turned out to be just pumps with a drink machine out front which we didn’t have enough dollar bills. Fortunately, the owner was there (Neil McCormack) and invited us into his office building where he raided his son’s fridge for us for drinks and even gave us some dollar bills to use the machine. Neil has 14,000 acres of wheat which is just about to be harvested. He was kind enough to let us stay and cool off out of the sun for as long as we wanted (some of us wanted to pitch the tent right there). However, we headed out again in the sun and realized soon after that we were probably not going to have the energy to get to Chester where Zach had booked us into a very nice B & B. We stopped after another 10 miles at the town of Guildford. As we turned into the main road, a car pulled up and a very nice woman informed us that the general store was just down the road where we could get more cold drinks and snacks (she and her husband owned it).

Off we went and ended up in the Guildford Mercantile, a very old business now run by Laura and Ted (sorry, didn’t get the last name). They have quite a story about originally living in California and, due to some major health scares, decided to make some major life changes and ended up packing up the family and moving to Guildford where they bought the Mercantile. Very nice people. Laura treated us to freeze pops and went on line to print out the weather and wind forcasts for the next several days. They had some great information about our upcoming miles to Glacier. One of the things Laura told us about was Hingham, just sixe miles down the road (although at that point, six miles seemed like a lot). She called Mike at the local bar and grill and obtained his hours and the information about camping in the town park. (sprinkler system operates on odd and even dates – one side gets it then the other). Also, Mike has showers available (most of the time for the harvest workers) but anyone can pay $3 for a shower. So, we bid goodbye to Laura and Ted and headed off where we enjoyed a nice meal and some great conversation with everyone at the happening spot. Ran into Sue (www.afterphdbeforetenuretrack.blogspot.com) who is traveling alone going east on her bike. She is also camping here at the park and we’ve had some laughs sharing stories. Zach had an interesting chat with a gentleman from South Africa who spends 7 months out of the year traveling the countryside working at a farm hand and sending the money home to his wife and children. You never know who you’re going to ended up talking to on this trip.

So, here we are and everyone else is tucked into their sleeping bags except me. It is a beautiful night with a light breeze blowing so the vote was for flies off the tents to fully enjoy the sleeping outside experience. And thus ends the day. Goodnight.


July 21

22 07 2009

Day 44:

I am very impressed with the resilience and determination of each family member. After a couple of demoralizing days of battling strong winds we caught a break today. We were not so lucky as to get a tail wind but we had the second best thing … an almost windless day.

Everyone rose to the challenge as we pounded out 95 miles under sunny skies and in high 80 degree temps. 68 of these miles were after lunch! I have given up trying to get the kids on the road early. Even the argument that the winds are lighter in the morning does not budge them.

Carloyn impressed me ( yet again ) by staying with the pack all day. A century a couple of days ago and now 95. Not bad for a newbie.

We got spaced out a bit this morning and shortly after Zach, Maggie and I pulled over a couple of couple ( we would later learn they were Greg and Jane of Minneapolis ) pulled up in their car to say that a young man ( Jake ) was a ways back and had some kind of problem. They said that they had spoken to Carolyn on their way by and they kindly offered to drive me back the couple of miles to Jake. I collected my tools and went back to meet up with Jake and repair what turned out to be a flat tire. Resourceful Jake had taken his panniers off his bike and was carrying his bike on one shoulder as he walked west carrying his panniers. Many thanks to Greg and Jane for your help. Your timely stop and kindness were a big part of us getting our miles in today. I hope you enjoy your time in Glacier and safe travels back to Minneapolis.

I am not normally bothered by mosquitoes but they grow them really big and aggressive here in Montana. Their swarming today resulted in a record time for what has become Zach’s daily spoke replacement. This would actually be his first of 2 broken spokes today.

We have now passed through a couple of Indian reservations and have learned and seen of some of the challenges facing these people. We had the pleasure of meeting Gerald on the Fort Belknap reservation today and enjoyed our discussion and his hospitality.

As we now see more trains than cows, I have replaced my mooing at the cows with getting the train engineers to blow their whistles. They are very obliging and I can’t help but wonder if it s the same engineers who are traveling with us across the country.

Easterly winds are forecast at least for the morning…..think the kids will be up?

Travel points:

Breakfast: OB’s cafe in Saco. It was like watching a Neil Simon play to see the pissed off cook handle things until the waitress arrived late. Very entertaining.

Lunch: West end truck stop in Malta…the mosquito capital of the world. Within a few minutes of standing outside there were at least 15 on my back.

Dinner: Late but at the motel (Chinook Motor Inn ) … and then bed…nice.


July 20

20 07 2009

Day 43:

It is seriously day 43.. wow. So we are all hunkered into our $45 a night motel in Saco, Montana and we just discovered there is wifi!! Do you realize how important that is?! The very second we found out the password Dad whips out his iphone and connects, Jake jumps on my ipod touch, and Maggie and I open up the macbooks.

Today was pretty exhausting… and frustrating. The day started off with a nice cheap breakfast in the Casino / Restaurant (everywhere around here seems to call itself a casino) and headed West. About 20 miles deep into the day we arrived at the Bar / Cafe in Hinsdale, Montana. We were 10 minutes late and the cafe was closed. 😦 However, Jennifer took care of us by heating up a few pizzas, filling all our water bottles up, and even offered to drive us all the way to Malta. We denied that amazing offer because that would be cheating. When someone decides to actually take that shortcut I’ll let them know in Seattle that they didn’t actually bike across the country. bahahaha !!

Anyway – We only made 43 miles today after leaving Gasgow. 43 miles seems like nothing compared some of the long days we’ve put in on flat land but today we were combating 30 mile per hour head winds. This is extremely frustrating because you work so hard only to move 5-9 mph. Even on hills we had to down shift. Dad is still working out the mileage for tomorrow as the winds should be a little less intense. Apparently we are in “mosquito valley” where the mosquitoes can turn a white horse black. Wish us luck!

Shout out to Kenny for looking up the weather and wind conditions for us as we all had very limited cell service. Dad’s got AT&T which apparently has no service anywhere out west so far, and we all have verizon which is pretty reliable. Just enough for a phone call! Thanks Kenny!


July 19

19 07 2009

Day 42:

Having ridden our first century yesterday, we had planned for a shorter ride today. In fact, we needed to log just 50 miles, only half of yesterday’s milage, in order to reach our destination. Sounds easier, doesn’t it? Well, let’s just say the wind and the weather can turn an easier ride into a difficult one. We woke up after a great sleep and headed back to the Old Town Restaurant for breakfast…the motel’s continental doesn’t quite cut it! From there it was back to highway two once again (bustling with RV’s today). The further we got, the stronger the headwinds grew and the more the temperature rose. Counting down the mile markers was a slow process process today. With temperatures pushing 100, it was definitely our hottest day. After about 15 miles we knew it wasn’t going to be the “easy” 50 miles we anticipated/hoped for. We took a break on the roadside and made a reservation at a motel in Glasgow, MT. The next 18 miles to lunch were most definitely a struggle. I honestly expected to look behind me and see Mom lying on the side of the road. At the very trying 2 week point she is surviving some tough days, rides that are certainly testing the rest of us! Hot, dehydrated, and hungry we battled the wind until finally arriving at Bergie’s Cafe in Nashua, MT. Upon arrival Mom said, “If I had seen a trough at one of those farms, I would not have thought twice about jumping in.” It was hot! Straggling in, we grabbed cold drinks from the cooler before finding a seat. Our meal got interesting after this as our waitress was, well, not very pleasant. I don’t think she said more than 10 words the whole time. It was good for some laughs, that’s for sure! While there we ran into two guys from NH/VT heading east and enjoying that tailwind. Finally, we got up the energy to head back into the blistering sun for the remaining 14 miles. Though slowly, we rode along beside the bypassing trains, and stopped frequently to get everyone back together. Finishing with a slow climb, and finally a long downhill, we rode into Glasgow towards the nearest gas station for cold drinks. One block down we found the La Casa Motel and headed inside for some cool air. Though riding only 50 miles, we finished only two hours earlier than yesterday; I think we all agreed that we would rather have ridden another hundred miles in yesterday’s conditions than today’s 50. Dinner across the street at Eugene’s Pizza (Mom said she would’t walk more than 200 yards) put life back into everyone pretty quickly. The good news is that tomorrow should be less windy and much cooler! Not surprisingly, we will be in bed early tonight and up early to avoid the worst of the wind.


July 18

18 07 2009

Day 41

Waking up to numerous pillows and even a bible being thrown at me, it’s hard to believe that we finally achieved something we hadn’t done the whole trip. We totaled 100.1 miles from Williston to Wolf Point making today our first “century” day! Though we had to take a round about way to dinner in order to squeak out the last 2 miles. It’s amazing after only 14 days Mom managed to do something we weren’t able to do until day 41, many props to Mom for keeping up and not quitting! With only around 20 miles to the Montana border from our Hotel we were able to eat a filling breakfast and get there by 10:30, but because of the time zone changed we gained an hour putting the clock back to only 9:30. 20 Miles by 9:30, I think that’s a new record! Even though to cross the border we had to go through a bit of construction, the view the other side was worth it. Looking up to what seemed like an endless sky we knew we had entered Montana (Only three states left!). Another record soon followed because we squeezed in 45 miles until we stopped for Lunch at a local pizza place in Culbertson. Knowing we still had 55 miles to go we tried not to spend to much time relaxing in the air-conditioned restaurant. We even managed to replace a broken spoke on Zach’s bike while pizza was cooking. 20 miles later we came face to face with Brockton, a town we had been advised not to even slow down in because of the high crime rate in the area. After cruising through Brockton, we arrived again at a town we had been warned about, Poplar. Even though Mom and Dad stopped at the convenience store there, this was still a town we had been told to keep our heads up in. Dying of thirst, we stopped 15 miles later at a bar and grill to rehydrate on Pepsi’s and Mountain Dew’s. As we sat there drinking, a local at the bar informed us that the county we were in had the second highest crime rate in the country….awesome. He told us that Poplar had guns and Wolf Point has knifes (and the next town has bats), luckily we got to go through Poplar but had to stop in Wolf Point, I suppose knifes are better than guns. We got to enjoy a nice dinner at the Old Town Grill before we went back to our Motel and called it a night. We need a good night’s sleep in order to get back on our bikes tomorrow and head towards Glasgow.

– Jake

July 17

17 07 2009

Day 40:

Another great day in North Dakota! We logged 71 miles and are now within 20 of the Montana border. It was hard getting up this morning, at least for the three of us who had to endure Mom and Dad’s snoring all night! But, we made it to Joyce’s Cafe on Main Street (music playing through speakers on street lights was a nice surprise) for breakfast and were on the road by 9:30. The sun was shining, the wind quiet, and the temperature just right at 70 degrees when we headed out. We cruised through the early miles until lunch at the Ray Cafe, with almost 40 miles behind us. Lunch was great and we enjoyed chatting with waitress Anna (see picture). After refueling, we were once again on highway 2, enjoying our nice wide shoulder and beautiful rolling hills, noting the mile markers counting down to the Montana border. Though we didn’t take many breaks, it was nice to finish a long climb and take a little break in the sun once in a while to get everyone caught up. Usually Mom and Dad headed off first, while we enjoyed our extended road side rest, until heading out to catch up. We continually passed oil pumps on either side and were cheered on by the honking of truck drivers all day…no wonder all the hotels are bustling with oil workers. Luckily, we had made a reservation in Wiliston, where we arrived around 5:30. Hungry as usual, we headed next door for an earlier than usual dinner at the Trapper’s Kettle Restaurant before settling in for the night.

I have to admit, I had my doubts about North Dakota…I expected the endless, hot plains, desolate flat roads, and fierce headwinds. Well, after our last day in this state, we have been pleasantly surprised. First off, the terrain is not at all flat. We climbed long gradual hills and enjoyed descents equally as long, where Jake demonstrated his “no handed” riding! At the top of every hill was a gorgeous view of the rolling hills surrounding us, as well as the never ending landscape in front of us. Never did I ever expect this from North Dakota. And, with the wind almost nonexistent today, we made very good time. With tailwinds forecasted for tomorrow, he have planned our first century ride (100 miles)…wish us luck! If all goes well, we will be entering big Montana with some very big miles. With a long day ahead of us, we are all ready for some much needed rest.


P.S. Thanks again to the Lothrop Family for looking after Tracker!!

July 16

16 07 2009

Day 39:

Today was a great day. We had the pleasure of starting the day by having breakfast with Stuart and Caren (www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/4900 ) and very much enjoyed getting to know them and swapping facts re the trails that are in front of each of us. We hope they will visit us in New Hampshire when they complete their “seaside to seaside” in 2010.

The day started off cool like a late September morning but with brilliant sunshine with few clouds in the huge blue sky. Despite the sunshine, the day never really warmed up enough for us to take off our “high viz” jackets.

We left Minot via Route 2, which is off the Adventure Cycling route but based on info provided by previous tourers and reinforced by Stuart and Caren we opted to take it. We will remain on this route for a few hundred miles!

Route 2 is a four lane divided highway and for most of today it had a wide and clean paved shoulder. Although there is a moderate amount of traffic most drivers chose to pass us in the far left lane leaving plenty of room. We were particularly lucky today as we came across a 10 mile stretch that was newly paved but not yet open to cars. Even the still strong but no longer demoralizing winds on our starboard quarter could not take away from the great feeling of cruising on the open road through the hills (yes hills!) of western North Dakota.

Just prior to lunch we met local resident Duane Jussero while taking a quick break on the highway. Duane kindly provided me the “Will work for food sign” you will see in the pictures. Based on the food budget so far on the trip it may come in handy! Thanks Duane! Duane also recommended the “Tumbleweed Café” in Berthold for lunch and we really enjoyed meeting the owner Jean. We then relaxed for a while in the sunshine on the broad porch of the café before setting of to our final destination for the day, Stanley ND. Beautiful country along the way with numerous small lakes and ponds punctuating a landscape of yellow canola flowers and the purple flax. A beautiful sight with lots of wildlife. Apparently a very wet fall, abundant snowfall this winter and a wet spring have contributed to this year being especially prolific. This area of North Dakota (about 80 miles south of the Manitoba / Saskatchewan border is also very active with oil activity and as we headed to Stanley we saw a number of active oil wells.

We had a great dinner …and service! … at the “Palermo Bar and Grill” in Palermo and great conversation with our waitress and owner Della Johnson.. Like many of these small towns (think population of 200 on a busy day ) this is the only game in this town or in this case in any of several surrounding towns.. Based on the advice of previous tourers we stopped for a great dinner before proceeding to Stanley and checking in at the Painted Horse Motel. Apparently we were lucky to get a reservation at any motel as all of the oil activity is has the rooms taken by the oil workers.

Our pit crew was in action today and replaced another broken spoke in Zach’s rear wheel in no time. Mom was in her 10th day on the road today and like we all did before her today she “bonked”. She has done a great job to date and will fight her way through the next few days. Hopefully the wind will give us all a break as we now near the end of our ride through the ‘Midwest’ and head for the “West” which begins at the North Dakota / Montana border.


July 15

15 07 2009

Day 38:

I guess since we took a day off I should write the blog…I love my days off!! Let’s see…I slept in :)! watched T.V in bed all morning, ate lunch at subway next door, followed by Dairly Queen dessert of course. Then the rest of the afternoon was spent in front of the tv and computer…just a little taste of a normal summer! The rest of the gang headed downtown to the bike store to pick up Maggie’s bike and get Zach’s checked out. I of course stayed at the hotel to do what I do best…NOTHING!! When they all came back we headed up the hill for dinner and are back in the hotel getting ready for bed early. It will be another windy day tomorrow so we will be on the road early to avoid the worst of it…


A few things I missed:
Thanks to Rory at Val’s Cyclery for all his work and advice. Your service was great and fast!! We got maggie’s gears tuned up, and stocked up on a few extra things for the long, empty road ahead. While there we ran into Stuart and Caren McDowell who are headed east, and also staying at the super 8 tonight -it was great to chat and we are thankful for your advice, but jealous of your tailwinds!

Harold and Norma: Mom really enjoyed talking to you this morning, thanks for your interest! Enjoy the reunion!!

July 14

14 07 2009

Day 37:

Where to start about today…In short, today was hard work. We managed to get a fairly early start after a quick breakfast at the Econo Lodge. It started raining lightly as we left so we all donned our rain gear. Maggie’s bike seemed to be running quite well on Brian and Maggie’s repair job. I’m still impressed. The morning ride was not too bad even with the light rain. We had planned to stop in Towner (Cattle capital of ND) for a quick snack – 20 miles. Just as we were pulling into the gas station, the rain started coming down hard so we ran fast for cover. The rain stopped while we enjoyed some drinks and snacks so we headed off for Granville where we would stop for a late lunch. The wind had picked up to around 20 mph so it was late when we arrived at the War Veteran’s Memorial Diner (45 miles) in Granville, a very small town. The food in the diner was great. Just like real home cooking. We even took a few minutes outside in the sun to digest lunch before heading out again for Minot. By then, the wind had really begun to blow – 25 mph or more. We tried to do some serious drafting, especially for my benefit and we were somewhat successful. Brian says the wind slowed down our speed to 6 mph. Chicago may be the windy city but ND is the windy state. We tried to make light of the wind but at times all you could do was put your head down and try to pedal.

As we neared Minot (about 10 miles out) dark clouds came in and with them heavy rain. Brian, Maggie and Zach were ahead of Jake and I and took cover under a semi trailer over to the side. I barely heard Maggie calling to me, and Jake didn’t hear so he kept peddling over the hill. Fortunately, the rain stopped almost as quickly as it started so Maggie quickly caught up with Jake. We took a quick pit stop for drinks and to catch our breath. Brian assured us we were getting close so we headed off on a rural road to Minot. The wind was so strong, that we had to shift down to pedal down hill. I thought a couple of times I was going to have my bike blown right out from under me. We made it to the Super 8 after 69 miles and had to carry our bikes up to the 3rd floor, as there was no room for them downstairs. We then walked up behind the motel to another hotel (Grand Internationa) for a great dinner. Now to get some sleep and get Maggie’s bike to the shop tomorrow to finish the repairs. We are taking tomorrow off as the winds are forecast even stronger than today. My knees and quads are happy with that decision.


July 13

13 07 2009

Day 36:

I was told I did such a good job yesterday that I should do this again today. What a line! We all had a good sleep last night in Minnawanken (one of my personal best) and managed to get up before 7:00. Breakfast down at the Bait & Tackle before heading out in a beautiful tailwind. Maggie was plugging away on her three gears, hoping to get to a bike store in Rugby at the end of the day. Rain was forecast for later in the day so we set a pretty quick pace trying to out ride it. We arrived in Esmond after 26 miles where there was supposed to be a small restaurant. The restaurant was there but closed on (you guessed it) Mondays. We were directed to the village park where there were picnic tables and public washrooms where we set up our camp stove and cooked up some ramen noodles for Brian and the boys while Maggie and I made do with pretzels, peanut butter and trail mix. Not much of a lunch but it got us going again.

Heading out for what should have been an easy 30 miles to Rugby, Maggie was hit again by more gear problems. Her gear cable pulled free. When she and Brian caught up to the boys and I, Brian had rigged the cable somewhat but needed to make some adjustments. I have been quite impressed with the ingenuity from Brian and the kids with regard to repairs, etc. I don’t know how Maggie retained her composure through all this nonsense. After some adjustments, she had access to 15, 25 and 35 which Maggie said was better than what she had. Fortunately, the wind was still in our favor and the hills were gradual so we cruised through the last 24 fairly easily and arrived in Rugby (supposedly the “geographical center of North America”) around 4:00. An early end to the day by our standards. Pulled into the Cottage Café with fortunately an hour before closing for an early dinner (or really late lunch if you don’t count our snack earlier). The food was great and they had really good coffee for a change. While we were there, Brian called the local hardware store to see if they possibly had any bike parts. They said they had some, so he and Maggie left the three of us to go check into the Econo Lodge while they picked up some parts for Maggie’s bike.

As I write this, Maggie and Brian and working diligently away on her bike. Let’s hope it works. Minot is 70 plus miles (the last place with a bike store for awhile we’ve been told). And, we just heard a forecast of SW winds 25 mph or higher. We better all get a good sleep tonight. Tomorrow will be a long one. Wish us luck with the repairs everyone.


July 12

13 07 2009

Day 35:

We all enjoyed our stay at the Prairie Lodge in Pekin – a little too much as some of us slept in again. Mom found some coffee in the kitchen fridge and quickly brewed a pot – hooray! Next on the menu was oatmeal which most of us enjoyed. Knowing that meals would be a problem today, we had loaded up on some snacks the night before at the Peek In Pub to get us through until days end.

Heading out it looked like it might be a great day. The wind had died down and then changed to our backs. Enjoying this tailwind was a bit short lived as Zach broke a spoke on his rear wheel. Of course it was a spoke on the drive side and required the sprocket be removed. Quite an ordeal but thanks to Larry at the Fargo Island Park bike store Brian and Jake knew what they were doing and how to leverage some make shift tools. After a short while, we headed off with a couple more stops to check Jake and Zach’s tires for rubbing issues. As lunchtime approached, we had to decide whether to enter the small village of Warwick on the Indian reservation and see if there were any places to get lunch or if we would make do with what we had on us. We decided to take the plunge and landed in the middle of a youth rodeo in progress – complete with concession stand. They had everything we could possibly want including the best sugar donuts, freshly made this morning. We enjoyed lunch while watching the little kids trying to ride bucking broncos and doing pole bending and barrel racing. I had to explain some of the finer points of horse shows to the kids. All in all, it ended up being a really fun interlude.

Off we headed with Minnawanken as our destination. Again, we had a tailwind and very flat roads through the Spirit Lake Sioux Indian Reservation. Beautiful. Apparently, the wind gods thought we were enjoying ourselves too much because the next victim was Maggie’s bike. She lost the use of all her small gears, leaving her only 19, 29 and 39 useable and she also had a broken spoke on the drive side. Zach and I had arrived at the top of a hill a little way ahead of Brian, Maggie and Jake and stood there wondering what they were doing two hills back. They finally caught up after trying to at least lock the gears in a more useable gear, but to no avail. Needless to say, Maggie was not happy. I won’t tell you what her exact words were. Even with just three gears, she managed to lead the group and cruise along for the next 40 miles…

Despite this setback for Maggie, we flew along with the help of the wind again at our backs. Took a short break at a gas station next to a large casino run by the reservation. A beautiful spot right on Devil’s Lake. We have been told by locals that this large lake has been rising several feet a year for the past several years and many people have had to move their homes as the land went under water. Continued on another 40 miles to Minnawanken which is also on Devil’s Lake and checked into the Spirit Water Inn and Resort. A local stayed open late to make us some pizza and we then spent some time replacing Maggie’s spoke and adjusting spokes to true the kids wheels. Chatted with some fishermen in the next cabin about the trip and a few minutes later, they brought us some freshly caught and cooked walleye – yummy.

So, the day had its highs and lows and we managed to put in 68 miles. Even better, we’ve been told we’ll have another east wind tomorrow. Let’s hope we can find a place along the way to get Maggie’s bike repaired so we can really rack up the miles. Time to relax a bit before bed.


July 11

12 07 2009

Day 34:

Where to start for today … gun fire, breakfast at the grocery store, the wind or Zach’s incredible deal …

Last night, after settling into a nice sleep in the middle of the town park we were awakened by a gunshot sometime before midnight. The locals came out of their homes to see what was going on but no one seemed to know who was shooting or at what. The rest of our night was uneventful and we woke up to a cool but dry morning. Traveling 3 blocks from the park to the local grocery store ( the store had no windows at all but we did not get the story) we went to the back corner of the of the store where the owner – family business for the last 76 years – cooked us breakfast by getting the ingredients off the shelves of the grocery store and sending us to the coolers to pick out our beverages. He is the only game in town (and for miles around) for breakfast and he cooked a great meal with more than ample serving sizes. He only has a small grill so he had to cook our meal in shifts. By the time we finished our grocery store breakfast it was 10 o’clock. Another late start to the day.

Leaving Hope we once again faced our friend the wind coming full force from the northwest and by the time we finished a late lunch 2:30 we had only put in 25 miles. We lingered over lunch with a couple of newly weds (Cormac and Lindsey ) from Boston who were honeymooning by biking across the country. Our first “small world” story of the day is that they are good friends with Irene Jenkins, Maggie’s assistant hockey coach from St. Paul’s. They gave us some great pointers as well as referred us their blog at LindseyandCormac@blogspot.com. They also complained that the wind has been consistently in their face. Seems like the wind is a challenge no matter which way you are gong. Cormac and Linsey took advantage of the train for part of their journey through Montana to beat the wind and the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are said to turn a white horse black in seconds! Mom and Zach think the train sounds like a great idea.

Shortly after lunch we met another couple traveling form Vancouver BC to Bar Harbor. They gave us some great pointers with respect to traveling in Montana. Thanks.

As we attacked our last forty plus miles late in the day … again.. the wind gave us a break and diminished completely. We made pretty good time through the rolling countryside of North Dakota. About 7:30 we rolled into the bustling town of Pekin (Population 202 ). We thought we would get some dinner at the local bar and then continue a view miles off route to camp in the Tolna town Park. We met another cyclist form Minnesota who was planning to spend the night at the park in Pekin and we thought we might join him after dinner and not go onto Tolna. As it turns out there is a hunting lodge in Pekin and Zach took charge so we would not have another night in a town park especially since showers were forecast. Over dinner of great pizza at the Peek-Inn Pub Lorie, the owner made numerous calls on our behalf and located the owners of the lodge in the next town. Long story short Zach negotiated a great deal for our nights lodging in an apartment in the lodge complete with laundry facilities. The owners Les and Keith were so impressed with Zach they stopped by the Peek-Inn pub for a beer and to chat. They even offered to provide us with a car so we could travel to Tolna to attend the street dance and fireworks. They thought Jake would have a great time with the local young women. Thanks for the offer guys. They even stocked the fridge with soda for us. The lodge is a nice place and the price is right. A notice over the kitchen sink reads, “Absolutely no cleaning of fish or game in the rooms” and may indicate that cyclists are not their main customer

While at the Peek-Inn another customer mentioned he had a cousin in New Hampshire … you guessed it … she lives in Dover. Peek-Inn Proprietor Lorie and customer Gary were awesome in helping us plan our evening and tomorrow’s travels. Thanks to both. Stop by her bar if you are in town and say hi.

Showers all round, laundry (thanks Mom), some TV and bed. We will all sleep well tonight.


July 10

11 07 2009

Day 33:

Unfortunately, we were forced to trade in our nice tailwind for a brutal 15 mph headwind from the northwest. We were up early after our rest day, but took a little while to find our way out of Fargo. Once we got going we rode on long, straight stretches of county highways …right into the wind. North Dakota is living up to its flat reputation; I don’t think we climbed a single hill all morning until stopping for lunch after 33 miles. Our chances to stop are becoming less frequent and Kelly’s Café was our first opportunity for food today, with nothing else for an additional 20 miles. While eating, we met with Dave and Paul from Vancouver and who are heading east to Newfoundland. They certainly were enjoying a nice tailwind today. It was very nice to chat with you both, good luck and we hope to see you in NH! A family of 4 headed to Maryland passed by while we were finishing out the last few miles before lunch…again we were jealous of their tailwind. After lunch we rode through much of the same farming territory. We stopped in Page at a small Café, a recommendation from Paul, for pie and ice cream. While there we stocked up with food for the night, unsure what we would find along the way. We continued to battle the wind for the final 14 miles until reaching Hope, ND. We ate dinner at the local eatery and then headed down the road to the city park to camp. The pool bathrooms and showers were left unlocked just for us, but only Zach and I were tough enough to handle to ice cold outdoor showers…it actually felt refreshing afterwards. Settled into our tents, we anticipate another windy day tomorrow across the North Dakota plains.


July 9

10 07 2009

Day 32: (Rest Day 1)

For the first time we are going to bed in exactly the same place we woke up in…Fargo, North Dakota. After a month of riding, we decided to take our first day off in perhaps the largest city we will see for a while. We knew that from here on services will become less abundant, so we took advantage of the opportunity to get some rest, do some laundry, and make sure the bikes are ready for the next 1600 miles. Jake was probably most excited about the day off, and has been begging for a while now to be able to sleep in until 12 and not touch the bike for one day. Well, he got almost all that today. He slept till 11 while the rest of us walked to breakfast. Later on, Mom headed to the Laundromat to take care of some overdue laundry, Dad repaired a few tire tubes, and Maggie and Dad planned the days ahead. Jake and Zach took it easy at the hotel too…sitting in bed and watching t.v/catching up on the internet for a good part of the day. After a late lunch, and some more “doing nothing” we headed to the bike store to pick up the bikes. With new chains installed, a few replaced spokes (the wheels were rebuilt on Dad and Jake’s bikes), and wheel adjustments we are ready to go. We stocked up on spare tubes, chain grease, and spokes as well. Thanks to Larry and Zach at Island Park Bike Shop, you guys were great! From there we hopped on the bikes and headed to the Drunken Noodle for dinner, a great recommendation from Zach…thanks again! Even though Jake had hoped to avoid the bike all day, he managed to survive riding the few blocks to the restaurant. We are back to repacking and getting ready to go again in the morning. Looks like we will be battling a strong headwind tomorrow so we will certainly need our rest. Tomorrow we begin to ride out of the Red River Valley and across North Dakota.


July 8

8 07 2009

Day 31:

After about 60 miles we were able to cross another state of the list as we left Minnesota and rode into North Dakota. For most of the day we cruised along with a nice tailwind behind us. Though leaving a little later than usual we made great time along the remaining rolling hills of Minnesota. We came across a couple on a tandem heading east (battling our nice wind), and another guy they had met recently, so we stopped to chat, compare routes, and give advice about what lies ahead for one another. By lunch time we were more than half way, having ridden a pretty easy 36 miles. The Mainline Bar and Grille appeared in the middle of nowhere just in time for lunch and was about the only place we saw for food within 40 miles. It seemed like we finally had a near perfect day, but with about 10 miles to go things started to fall apart. A road detour slowed us down a little and Dad discovered two broken spokes on his wobbly rear wheel. While we stopped to check out the area and find a hotel, Jake managed to get a small rock in his eye. Dad came to the rescue by dumping saline solution all over him, and the rock was eventually removed. But…then Jake’s nose started bleeding. I told you everything fell apart all at once. When we were finally ready to get going, and head to the the bike store, another biker (Zach) came along and asked if we needed a bike shop. We told him where we were headed and it turned out to be the same store where he works and was headed himself. So, he led us to the store just a few miles away. Thanks Zach! The Island Park Bike Shop is really cool, and very classy. They are located in a big old train station and have a very unique store. They even have a 5 person bike hanging on the wall…not sure we could handle that. Dad and Jake headed to the workshop to get their wheels looked at and the rest of us checked out the store, enjoyed some gelato at the nice in store eatery, and chatted with a few other bikers, some of them heading east. It’s funny how the locals talk about having to drive at least an hour to ride some decent hills…I guess it really is flat out here. We are going to leave all the bikes there overnight to get a final tune up before we head out for the second half of the trip, where shops will become far less available. A few of us transported the gear to the hotel and headed for dinner, while Jake and Dad went in search of Jake’s phone (thought to be left on the side of the road…during the eye/nose incident). The phone was never found, but thanks to insurance another one will be here tomorrow. We spent about an hour after dinner running around the hotel testing the rooms, until we finally found one with the wi-fi promised by the hotel. Understandably, we are all very tired after such an eventful day…its crazy how quickly things can change. We are planning to take tomorrow off (our first full rest day) to get some much needed rest, do some laundry, and make sure we are all ready to tackle the plains. Thanks to Larry and the guys at the shop for showing us how to repair the spokes and for getting the bikes ready to go!


July 7

7 07 2009

Day 30:

A favorable wind out of the east and flat deserted highways early in the day resulted in a record day for pre-lunch mileage. The day started out well with a dry night of “free” (Dad was happy!) … camping in the city park although we were all sure based on the noise that we must have been on the train tracks when in the middle of the night a freight train went through town. Just how many times does a train need to blow its whistle when you can hear it for miles!

We probably passed by at least half of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota as we continued our travels through the beautiful northwestern part of the state. We rode on mostly deserted country roads in good to great condition. However, consistent with many prior days the day ended with numerous hills but even so Mom did a great job finishing off the 68 miles.

Dad’s “mooing” does not seem to impress the Minnesota cows nearly as much as it did the Wisconsin cows. Could it be the accent? Speaking of which, it is interesting that “soda” is now once again referred to as “pop” and there is a definite Canadian ring to the word “about”.

We are spending our last night in Minnesota in “Pelican Rapids”. St. Paul’s mascot would feel right at home here; there are pelicans – large and small – all around town. It is not at all inappropriate that we are spending tonight at the Pelican Motel. The boys are happy and as rain is expected overnight we will at least be dry to start the day tomorrow as we head to North Dakota.

PS To answer Mr. Rymes’s question…. The muffins did not make it to breakfast.


July 6

7 07 2009

Day 29:

Waking up wet was not at all what I expected. The forecast had said zero percent chance of rain and the sky was clear, so we left the door to our tent open to let some air in. Well, I woke up to the sound of rain, and shortly thereafter, wet feet from the water coming in. But by the time we got out of the tents, the sun was shining and it looked like another gorgeous day. We climbed the hill out of the campground (though it was a nice end to yesterday, we all commented about how we were not looking forward to going back up the hill in the morning) and rode about 5 miles to town for breakfast. From there we continued on the county roads for about 25 miles until lunch at Granny’s Café in Swanville, MN. We are happy to be off the highway and on the back roads again, away from all the traffic. It was a very hot day here in Minnesota (I can feel the sunburn on my back right now) and the thought of 47 miles after lunch seemed very daunting to Mom especially. While stopping in Long Prairie for ice cream, we debated whether or not we should stop there or finish the last 33 miles. The boys were pushing for the Super 8 next door, but with Mom’s support we headed out towards our original destination. After a long 75 miles, and a beautiful day for riding, we arrived in Parker’s Prairie, MN for the night. It was certainly a long day for all, and an even longer day for Mom. 75 miles on her second full day, she’s a champ! The only motel, with just 4 rooms, was full so we are camping in the city park (right across the street from the motel of course…the boys are not happy about that), free of charge. After a quick dip in the pool and luke warm showers we headed down the street for dinner and ice cream (again!). We quickly set up our tents, just as it began to get dark and the mosquitoes started to come out. We three kids are still getting used to being crammed in this small tent (Jake joined Zach and I now that Mom is here) …hopefully waking up tomorrow will be a little less eventful – this morning was hilarious. Jake was very unhappy about the rain, and it didn’t look like he was even going to get out of the tent. But even with the slow start, we managed to log some big miles. Therefore, the next few days will be shorter, and if all goes well we are hoping to make it to North Dakota Wednesday night…


July 5

7 07 2009

Day 28:

Nothing says welcome to the bike trip like a flat tire, and after only 5 miles Mom experienced just that. We were able to quickly repair the rear tire and get back on the road, but everyone made sure to point out that I have been the lucky one, with no major bike problems so far. They better not have jinxed me!! From there we continued on, down highway 10, a fairly busy road. We rode on that same road all day, the entire 58 miles…that must be our record so far. Having stopped to fix Mom’s tire, and of course Jake’s wheel a few times, we had not gone very far before our first snack break. Even when we stopped for lunch we had logged just 20 miles. We debated getting off the main drag after lunch because of the traffic volume and the dirty shoulder; though nice and wide, the shoulder was covered in rocks and other debris waiting to cause a flat. It cleared up as the day went on, and the traffic wasn’t too bad heading west so we decided to stick with the most direct route. As usual we managed to cram most of our miles in during the afternoon part of the ride, stopping only a few times for drinks/ice cream. During our ice cream break, we decided our destination would be Royalton, MN. We continued until we found dinner at the Country Creamery (Rice, MN), and then got back on our bikes for the final 5 miles to the campground. We arrived at the Two River’s Campground, a gorgeous spot along the Mississippi River. With a full moon above, our tents lie right along the river…an incredible spot to camp. On the site next to ours, we met John who is Kayaking down the Mississippi River…very cool! After warm showers, and a little relaxing by the fire we are headed for bed. Mom’s first real day went well, and she is doing great! We figure by now, after 4 weeks and roughly 1600 miles, we are half way done! Tomorrow we are back on our Adventure Cycling route, after the slight detour to pick up mom, and will be heading across Minnesota for the next few days.


July 4

4 07 2009

Day 27:

In honor of my first day with the gang, they decided that I should write the blog tonight. Here goes. Happy 4th of July everyone! We had a peaceful night at the airport Hilton and everyone slept in a bit (although Jake and Zach say 8:30 does not constitute “sleeping in”. However, we needed to get up and over to Varsity Bike & Transit to meet Sam who was opening up the shop just for us – they were closed for the holiday. A huge thank you to Sam for all the work he did getting the bikes repaired and my bike assembled. He also gave us some valuable info on routes to take out of the city of Minneapolis.

Being the holiday, the city was fairly quiet and we set out to put a few miles behind us and get to the suburbs. We stopped in Crystal, Minnesota, a suburb and had lunch at Perkins, a great restaurant similar to Friendly’s. The food was great and James, our waiter, was very interested in our adventure. When he told his boss about the trip, his boss sent him out to our table with a dozen beautiful muffins to have for breakfast tomorrow. They look yummy and we can’t wait to dig in. Thanks a bunch James and all the people at Perkins.

After waiting out a small rain storm at Perkins, we headed back out but did not get far before trouble started. Even after the wheel replacement, Jake’s wheel started wobbling once again after just 15 miles…very frustrating. We adjusted what we could, rode the last 11 miles, and landed at the Elk River AmericInn where we are now munching on some Dominos that was just delivered. Leave some for me kids. So, a total of 35 miles for the day, an easy one for everyone else but a good breaking in day for me. Hope to get more miles in tomorrow so we can get back to the 70 plus that they were logging before I joined the tour. Hoping for more flat roads and good weather tomorrow.


July 3

3 07 2009

Day 26:

We were up early for breakfast and anxious to go pick up mom. The sun was shining as we left Baldwin and headed for the Twin cities. Following more county roads we logged our fastest 20 miles thus far – a great ride!. Having the slight tailwind was a nice change as well and we cruised through the remaining miles of Wisconsin. Around 10 o’clock, just before leaving the state, we stopped at a grocery store for snacks…even though the boys were ready for lunch. From there we got on a bike trail in Hudson that took us right alongside the rushing interstate traffic, and into Minnesota. We followed a bike route into the city, but it was slow going finding our way around the city streets. Finally we arrived at the Varsity Bike shop downtown. With our new wheels waiting, we unloaded the bikes and left them there for the night to be repaired/tuned – thanks Sam, we really appreciate the extra effort the get them done for tomorrow!! We headed next door for lunch at FOUR O’CLOCK…we were starving!! Getting to Mom’s hotel was a little bit tricky. We took a bus to the light rail station, and then the light rail to the airport. When we got the airport we found the hotel shuttle and finally arrived at the Hilton to see mom. It was great to see her, and we all make her look soo pale! The team is finally complete!!! After a quick soak in the hot tub we were ready for dinner. A nice dinner at the hotel got us all caught up and looking forward to an easy day tomorrow, and a great second half with the whole family!!

July 2

3 07 2009

Day 25:

Well the bike repairs/cleaning we said we were doing last night didn’t actually happen until this morning…so we were on the road a little later than we had planned. We left the motel and headed west on the deserted highways, knowing that we had a full day ahead of us if we wanted to stick to our plan and have a short ride to Minneapolis tomorrow. We didn’t make it far before Jake’s rear wheel started acting up…again. Hopefully this will all be fixed when we get to the shop tomorrow. Even with the multiple interruptions we managed to make decent time, arriving in Chippewa Falls for lunch after about 30 miles. From there we picked up county roads just as the sun began to shine and we followed the rolling hills throughout the afternoon. Passing by more farms we stopped and took our picture with the famous Wisconsin cows ” Dad “Moos” at the cows until they stare and start to run along the fence! Stopping for snacks after 60 plus miles we found a motel for the night…18 miles away. When asked where we were coming from at the gas station we replied “NH” and the guy thought we were lying..haha! By now it was getting late, and we cranked out the last 18 to our destination as the sun was beginning to go down. We arrived at the AmericInn in Baldwin, WI after 83 miles and headed right for the Hot Tub. Tomorrow we will be up early to ride 50 miles and meet up with Mom in Minneapolis!!

July 1

1 07 2009

Day 24:

Another chilly day in Wisconsin today. We were up early for breakfast and after a few quick repairs we were on the road. The rain held off all day and the wind is beginning to slow down. We were making pretty good time throughout the day…even with the persisting rear wheel problem. Wisconsin certainly has more hills than expected, but after 3 weeks we are cruising up them. We rode by farm after farm for 30 miles until our first opportunity for lunch at a small bar/restaurant (we were the only ones there) in Dorchester, WI. We continued on the rural roads throughout the afternoon, passing through multiple Amish communities, and sharing the road with horse drawn buggies. We decided to follow a dirt road in order to take the most direct route and save ourselves a few miles. It worked out well and we were back on the paved roads in no time. We made it to Stanley, WI and stopped for dinner on our way to the motel. We met Terry and Debbie, a very friendly couple. Terry helped with directions and Debbie offered us coffee in the morning. Thanks! We headed next door to the Super 8 for the night after 72 miles. Now it’s time to tune the bikes and grab dessert. Long day tomorrow. Mom flies out tomorrow morning and we will meet her friday afternoon in Minneapolis if all goes well.

Happy Canada Day!