C2C Day 13 – Burley to Pocatello, ID

Another great day for a bicycle ride.  Come to think of it, every day is a good day for a ride – perhaps some days are just a bit better than others.

Cool enough for a light jacket this morning, even on the last day of June.  Winds were light, as was traffic on the farm roads and open cattle ranges we cycled through.  One lonely old stretch of highway was so open and peaceful, the ride transcended into a zen-like experience of being totally engulfed in the barren sage landscape.

I stopped at an interesting landmark called Register Rock.  Early pioneers who traversed this way carved their names and messages into a large boulder along the Oregon Trail. Sort of an 1850’s version of instagram or facebook.  The historic rock is smartly fenced off to prevent modern travelers (or cyclists) from registering their own messages.

More crossings of the slowly meandering Snake River highlighted the rest of the ride into the town of Pocatello – which marks the end of this year’s segment of my Coast-to-Coast bicycle adventure.  I hugged goodbye to my fellow cyclists and thanked the America-By-Bicycle staff for their awesome support.

Next year, my ride will start from here in Pocatello, Idaho and extend another two weeks and 1,088 miles to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Tomorrow I load the bike on top of a car and drive back home with AJ and Jackie.  It’s been an incredible two week journey, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the daily blogs.

~Dan

C2C Day 12 – Twin Falls to Burley, ID

More tailwinds, and even cooler temperatures today.  Lovin’ those 70s – especially when I hear about triple-digit temperatures back in Denver.  An easy 45 mile cruise through irrigated fields of potatoes, beets, wheat and lavender – with a few detours to see Shoshone Falls and Twin Falls.  Shoshone Falls (pictured) is the prettier of the two.  Twin Falls is actually now just a single… one of the twins was dammed for hydroelectric power.  Ah, the price of progress.

We crossed back over the Snake River Gorge on the Hansen Bridge.  Before the original bridge was built in 1919, this 16 mile stretch of river gorge could only be crossed by rowboat.  The 900 foot bridge, suspended nearly 400 feet over the Snake River, accommodated two lanes of farm wagons as well as those newfangled automobiles that were starting to gain popularity.  The cost of the bridge in 1919?  $100,000.  Ah, the price of progress only 99 years ago.

Undoubtedly, the best part of the day came at the finish in Burley, where I was cheered on by my welcoming team of Jackie and AJ.  They got to meet fellow cyclists and experience firsthand this crazy ‘travelling summer camp’ atmosphere.  Jax and AJ also witnessed the results of a scavenger hunt competition as teams creatively vied to win over the judges with team photos, spotting of Where’s Waldos, and collecting interesting items from the side of the road today, among other challenges.  They’ll be staying with me tonight, but maybe not getting up with me at 5:30 for breakfast.

img_0525Tomorrow will be my last Coast-to-Coast ride for 2018.  87 miles to Pocatello, a farewell dinner with the rest of the crew, and one more night in a Best Western Hotel before the car ride home with my wonderful support team of AJ and Jackie.  I’m already looking forward to next year.

~Dan

C2C Day 11 – Mountain Home to Twin Falls, ID

Today was bliss.  Literally, as we passed through Bliss, Idaho – population 318.  I’m perplexed that only a few people choose to live in Bliss.  It’s one of many small towns along a beautiful 97 mile ride today that featured views of the Snake River’s picturesque valleys and deep canyons.  Bliss was fleeting, as a brisk 20 mph tailwind whipped us through town and on up the river.

Wind is the one weather variable that can either crush the spirit of a weary cyclist with a brutal headwind, or provide a vigorous boost of momentum with a blissful tailwind.  Today, the cycling Gods were overly generous with a heavenly tailwind, elevating normal cruising speeds of 15-18 mph up into the 20s.  It’s like traveling in an open-air bubble as the wind flows at your same speed and the landscape seems to magically move with you.  Pure Bliss.

Ninety-seven miles went by so quickly and efficiently, that some of us tacked on a few extra miles to see Shoshone Falls and pass by the earthen remains of the launch ramp that famous stuntman Evel Knievel used in a failed attempt to jump over the Snake River Gorge near Twin Falls.  Had he waited for a tailwind like today’s, his odds may have drastically improved.

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Tomorrow is a light day of about 40 miles into the town of Burley.  Which means a bit of a sleep in and a later start.  Yay!  More bliss.

~Dan

C2C Day 10 – Boise to Mountain Home, ID

I tried.  I tried really hard.  I carefully scanned the horizon in all directions.  Despite the heroic effort, I was unable to see the ocean from the famed ‘Ocean View’ lane in Idaho.  If one were to google all the Ocean View Lanes in America, this one would probably be last on the list.  Later on, I would pass by Sea Breeze Avenue, where I did feel a breeze – but sorely lacking in humidity or salinity.  Even the ambitious town name of Mountain Home is a bit of a stretch.  The warm dry weather might be making folks a bit loopy around here… all in good fun.

It might sound a bit odd to many folks, but today was an ‘easy 56 mile ride’.  With rested legs from a day off, the miles rolled right on by as we left the shaded bikes paths along the Boise River for the wide open prairie of central Idaho.

As you might imagine, dinners for 40 hungry cyclists can be challenging for some of the small towns we stay in.  Advance notice helps, especially for the places that accommodate the tour from year to year.  AJ’s pulled it off very nicely today with a full salad bar, choice of several entrees, and of course, a superb Idaho baked potato.

img_0473 Great name for a restaurant, as my son AJ would probably concur.

Tomorrow will present a more difficult challenge – 97 miles to Twin Falls.  Word is that there are actual water falls in the area… we shall see about that.

~Dan

C2C Day 9 – Boise, ID

Today is a day off in the pleasantly surprising town of Boise.  We wandered into the hotel breakfast with a blank-check sort of mentality… a free day!

For me, the day started with a trip to a local laundromat.  I don’t recall being in a laundromat since my days in college at Colorado State.  $3.25 for a wash and $0.25 per 6 minutes of dryer time.  Time seems to move in slow motion while clothes tumble behind round glass doors and the machines meld into a constant cacophony of industrial background noise.  A two mile round trip would be the only miles I put on the bike today.

With freshly clean clothes, I spent time meandering about town –  through Boise State University, along the Boise River (where floating downriver is a popular summer pastime), to the Boise Art Museum (BAM!), and to the Idaho state capitol building.  A very clean and welcoming city, with newly constructed blocks alongside historic brick buildings, in a picturesque mountain river valley.  A lot to like, which might explain why Boise is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

The day was capped off with a nice dinner at a downtown Italian restaurant with several of my riding companions, each of us talking about our various travel stories and experiences.  We’ve come to discover we all have quite a bit in common, yet so much that we can learn from each other.  The pleasure of cycling combined with an epic goal has united us in ways that are difficult to describe – a psychology experiment of sorts.  I look forward to continuing the journey.

Day 10 will feature a relatively easy 54 miles to Mountain Home, ID.

~Dan

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C2C Day 8 – Ontario, OR to Boise, ID

Today we crossed into Idaho, waving goodbye to Oregon.  In some ways, it seems like we just started with wheel dip in the Pacific Ocean… in other ways, it’s been a long 600 mile journey from a week ago.  Without question, Oregon has been a gracious host – beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and smooth roads (for the most part).

Lush farmland, grand ranch homes, green golf courses, and sprawling suburbs provided today’s scenery on a mostly flat 65 mile roll into Boise.  Noticeably warmer, as temperatures climbed into the 90s.  The highlight of the day was an outdoor cafe in the trendy area of Hyde Park.  Many riders gathered to hydrate and re-fuel before the last few miles to our hotel in downtown Boise.

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Tomorrow is a well-earned rest day for the riders and support crew.  It’s also a day for tuning up our bikes, doing laundry and grabbing some supplies.  And for tonight – a friendly beer pong tournament to celebrate completion of our first segment across America.

It’s been a great ride, with more to come.  ~Dan

C2C Day 7 – Baker City to Ontario, OR

Sometimes the best views are behind us.  Sort of a metaphoric statement, but perhaps apropos as we cycle onward.  Here’s an attempted over-the-shoulder selfie, with Oregon’s Elkhorn mountain range in the back vista (along with the morning shadow of a fellow rider).  A somewhat risky maneuver while on the bike, but traffic is virtually non-existent on this pleasant route out of Baker.  ‘Old Highway 30’ has been rendered nearly obsolete by nearby Interstate 84 – but it openly welcomed us two-wheel travelers.

Alas, the friendly old road would eventually give way to the superhighway at about mile 30 today.  We had to ride on the high-speed Interstate for several nerve-wracking miles.  Fortunately, there is a nice wide shoulder, but unfortunately, it’s littered with all sorts of weird road debris.  Thankfully, the Old Highway reappeared to deliver us into the quaint town of Huntington.  Here, the road becomes the historic Oregon Trail.  It’s a special feeling to make a self-powered journey along the same path early pioneers took over 150 years ago.

Further down the trail, as we came along the Snake river, I experienced the inevitable – the dreaded flat tire.  First of the trip for me, and probably something I picked up earlier on the Interstate (a thoughtful departing gift from I-84).  This might explain why those early pioneers used wooden wheels instead of inflated rubber tubes.  Thankfully, my repair was easy enough, but I can’t imagine what those early settlers persevered through as they experienced inevitable breakdowns on their incredible journey.  Also makes me wonder what means of transportation this route will offer 150 years henceforth… hopefully flat-proof bicycle tires will be available by then!

And finally, here’s a picture from the Huntington country store, featuring our Italian rider Maurizio, Herman and Ada from the Netherlands, and Bob – our eldest rider at 78 years young.

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More pictures can be found at our touring company website:

https://blog.americabybicycle.com/aan

Tomorrow we cross into Idaho, 65 miles to the capitol city of Boise.

~Dan

C2C Day 6 – John Day to Baker City, OR

Yet another beautiful day today, and yet another beautiful ride.  Oregon has exceeded all expectations thus far.  A somewhat chilly start from John Day, in the low 50s, with overcast skies that kept the morning climbs cool.  Three good climbs today, with the elevation topping out 5,277 feet.  The engineers should have raised the road up a few more feet to get to a mile high.  I suppose my bike seat is about 3 feet off the ground… so maybe that qualifies.

After the first descent, we turned onto Oregon State Highway 7, which had very little traffic and afforded some friendly banter with fellow cyclists.  I enjoyed a nice 5 mile conversation with John from Australia (far right in picture) as we climbed to the top of Tipton Mountain.

The final 15 miles into Baker City were fought against a stiff headwind, but our motley group of 5 took turns at the helm and sliced our way into town.  We celebrated today’s triumph with a sandwich at AJ’s Corner Brick Bar and Grill on main street.  When we are off the bikes, we seem to spend a lot of time eating – I guess we need to need to keep refueling!

Tomorrow brings a Sunday ride down to Ontario – our last town in Oregon before we cross into Idaho on Monday.

~Dan

C2C Day 5 – Prineville to John Day, OR

Five outlaws rolled through the sleepy town of Mitchell, Oregon today.  Riding steel horses and wearing funny looking spandex outfits.  The locals just stared and wondered what kind of mischief this bare-legged helmet-wearing posse was up to.  Word is they hail from all parts… Iowa, North Carolina, Colorado, and Canada, eh.  They didn’t seem interested in robbing the Mitchell bank, like past outlaws – probably because they didn’t have any pockets in those ridiculous shorts.  They didn’t seem interested in any supplies either, except for some water.  They rolled out as fast as they rolled in, travelling east, on to the next stage stop.

A long day in the saddle today, 116 miles.  With a couple of mountain passes thrown in for good measure.  Another beautiful day.  With a beautifully scenic ride through Ochoco National Forest in the morning, a nice descent through Bridge Creek canyon lands, and then a tail-wind assisted rumble alongside the John Day River.

Who is John Day, you might wonder?  A fur-trapper and expedition member, legend claims he was attacked by Indians at the mouth of the river that now bears his name.  He must have been an outstanding man because the valley, nearby fossil beds, two towns (John Day and Dayville), and a Best Western Hotel are named after him.  I’m just thankful that his hotel is here, otherwise I might still be cycling in search of a comfortable bed.

Tomorrow is an 81 mile ride through the Wallowa-Whitman National forest to Baker City, OR.  Adios for now,

~Dan

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