C2C Day 4 – Kah-Nee-Ta to Prineville, OR

And then the rains came.  Bright flashes of lightning, followed by rumbling thunder through the open valley.  A steady downpour.  Not a cyclist’s dream scenario… except maybe when it happens at 2am.  Which was exactly the case in Kah-Nee-Ta.  We were warned that thunderstorms were imminent, but they moved right through in the darkness.  By 8am, the skies were clearing and the roads were mostly dry for our 60 mile run into the farming town of Prineville, near the very center of Oregon.

The friendships and cycling bonds are growing deeper as we get to know each other, and settle into riding groups of equal abilities.  I spent some time riding with Reid (from Evanston, IL) today as we pulled each other over some early hills and descents.  Then I flew solo for awhile before joining into a nice pack with Reid, Brad from Iowa, and the two Canadians on the tour – Rick and Doug.  We capped off our ride with a stop at a burger place in Prineville called The Big Dawg – where we reminisced about today’s journey and laughed about some of the travails.  We help motivate each other, while also reminding ourselves to have fun along the way.

Tomorrow will be our longest day yet.  We say goodbye to the Cascade Mountains and head east on U.S. highway 26 to the small town of John Day, 116 miles away.  I better get some rest!

~Dan

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(by the way, those are carrots growing in the fields on the right)

C2C Day 3 – Welches to Kah-Nee-Ta, OR

Another epic day. Mt. Hood was in full glory today, showing off her glistening snow-capped peak.  The day started with a 14 mile, 2,500 ft. climb to Summit Ski Area and a small village called Government Camp.  According to wikipedia, the town was named in 1849 when U.S. Cavalry troops were forced to abandon wagons and supplies here.  Fortunately, our tour group had a full supply of water and energy food to re-fuel after our ascent over Barlow Pass (Elev. 3995 ft.).  We continued on past Mt. Hood into the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and the welcoming resort of Kah-Nee-Ta.

Every good cyclist has a great support team – before, during, and after rides.  And our tour support team (America By Bicycle) has been fabulous (for more on today’s ride, click here: https://blog.americabybicycle.com/aan/2018/6/20/day-3-welches-to-kah-nee-ta-or).  But my best support team is at home – Travis, Evan, A.J., and my beautiful wife Jackie.  Today (June 20) marks our 26th wedding anniversary.  Happy Anniversary Babes!  Thanks for encouraging me to take on this coast to coast challenge – and providing constant support and encouragement.

Here’s a flashback to last year (2017) and our 25th wedding anniversary, celebrated with our own personal bike tour of Niagara Falls and the nearby wine country of Canada:

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That was an epic ride, for sure!

Tomorrow we head 65 miles from our high desert oasis of Kah-Nee-Ta to the farming valley of Prineville.

Till then,  ~Dan

C2C Day 2 – St. Helens to Welches, OR

Today was a spiritual ride, in many ways.  I rolled through the city of my birth, Portland Oregon, and through the suburb of Gresham, where I spent the first two years of my life.  My Mom may have imagined I would return some day – but probably never imagined it would be on a bike.  As I cycled through town, I could picture a loving family with a wandering toddler taking his first steps here about 50 years ago.  I felt the spirit of my Dad smiling down on me with a sense of pride.

Along the way, after crossing St. John’s bridge and riding along the mighty Columbia river, the spectacle of Mt. Hood made a grand appearance.  Often shrouded in clouds or fog, Mt. Hood only shines when she wants to, and she was gracious enough to show off her splendor today.  Majestic and mystic.  A very spiritual and moving ride for me.

Tomorrow we climb over the shoulder of Mt. Hood into the Native American town of Kah-Nee-Ta… let’s hope the mountain continues to be a gracious host to this Oregon-born kid who is still wandering.

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For more photos and a ride journal from the touring company I’m with, check out https://blog.americabybicycle.com/aan

~Dan

C2C Day 1 – Astoria to St. Helens, OR

A spectacular day and a spectacular ride through Northwest Oregon.  What a way to start a coast-to-coast adventure.  An 81 mile meander through the forested hills and fern-laden river valleys between Astoria and St. Helens.  Sure, Highway 30 might be a more direct route – but cyclists seek the alternate, less trodden paths… and this one was a backroads gem.  About the only traffic was from logging trucks – and those trucks move along pretty fast, but they shared the road with us, mostly.

I had the unique experience of being passed by a highway striping crew that was re-painting the white shoulder line.  The sad thing is those striping trucks only go about 12 mph.  But I was climbing a very long and steep hill – at least that’s my excuse!  I was able to overtake the crew on the downhill, although I missed the golden opportunity to temporarily change my tire tread from black to white.

One of the best parts of a tour like this is building camaraderie and kinship with fellow crazed cyclists.  I had the pleasure of cycling alongside Brad from North Carolina,  Herman from the Netherlands, Garry and John from Australia, and Arlene from New Jersey (and I had a hard time keeping up with Arlene!).  Always great to hear other riders’ stories and experiences.

Tomorrow’s ride:  75 miles from St. Helens to Welches, OR.  3,000 feet of elevation gain.

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Coast-to-Coast Adventure

And so it begins… a quest to cycle across America.  Every Fantastic Inch.  From Oregon to New Hampshire.

2018 will feature a 950 mile run from Astoria, Oregon to Pocatello, Idaho.  Two weeks of riding, averaging about 80 miles a day.  More segments to be tackled in future years.

Today was a warm-up ride of sorts, a 26 mile out-and-back from the Columbia river town of Astoria to the Pacific beach sands of Fort Stevens State Park.  Beautiful weather, and a beautiful ride.

I’m with a touring group called America By Bicycle, along with about 40 other riders from across the country and around the world –  Tampa, San Diego, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago.  Australia, Holland, Italy, Canada.  I’ve met several already, and look forward to meeting more as we bond as a traveling family.

A great start on ‘Day 0’.  Tomorrow features an 81 mile ride through the lush Oregon coastal forests to the town of St. Helens.  Talk to you then.

~Dan

 

 

Biketown

Portland Oregon’s city bike program features bright orange 8-speed cruisers emblazoned with Nike logos.  Stations and bikes are plentiful, at least on the beautiful June Saturday when I paid a visit to the Rose city.  I’ve had the distinct pleasure to enjoy city bike share programs in several North American cities, including New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, Washington DC, and Denver.  All are somewhat similar, yet unique.  Portland’s 8-speed bikes are a bit lighter then most, and better able to climb the steep hills around the city, with both front and rear brakes for those rapid and sometimes slick descents.

Portland is on my way to the start of a Coast-to-Coast journey, and I’ll be back through the city in a couple days.  But that will be a story for another blog…

Have a great ride.

~Dan

 

Greetings from Montana City

Sunny and 60s makes for a great biking day in February, albeit a bit windy with a pending snowstorm (which dutifully arrived Monday). 22 mile loop to downtown on Saturday. 42 Mile loop through Highlands Ranch on Sunday. And 2 inches of snow on Monday.

This pic is from a newly and nicely reconstructed park along the South Platte river commemorating an early gold rush settlement named Montana City:

Montana City was the first settlement in what was later to become Denver, Colorado. It was established during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush on the east bank of the South Platte River, just north of the confluence with Little Dry Creek, in 1858. At the time, the site was in the Kansas Territory.

The site selected because it was adjacent to placer gold diggings along the South Platte River. However, the gold diggings at Montana City proved disappointing, and the site was soon abandoned in favor of the settlement of Auraria, a few miles downstream.

Interesting bit of history, and a nice rest stop.

~Dan

Yellow Bike

Is it abandoned? Maybe someone is hiking nearby. Perhaps it’s a “bait bike”, set to snare a would-be thief? Turns out it’s part of a bike share program from a company called Ofo.

Ofo is a dockless bike-sharing program. If you find one (I’ve seen two so far), you can unlock it with an app, ride it anywhere you like (for $1 an hour), and leave it anywhere (safely and legally). Each bike has a QR code, and a wheel lock that prevents rolling until unlocked with the Ofo app. You can also use the app to find nearby bikes.

According to @ofo_bicycle (ofo.com), there are 10 million of these yellow bikes around the world. The program was just introduced in the U.S. in August 2017, in 20 cities. And Ofo plans to rapidly expand across North America. So keep an eye out for all these yellow bikes!

Happy riding!

Winter Riding

“Anyone can ride in the warm sunshine!”, a fellow cyclist once triumphantly yelled to me as we slogged through a downpour.  He certainly had a jovial spirit, but internally I’m thinking “only us idiots are out riding in this kind of weather!”. Winter riding in Colorado can bring about the same sense of “why am I out here”. Ultimately, it’s always great to be riding – no matter the circumstances. A winter ride often brings a heightened sense of pride and accomplishment.

Bundled up with the right gear, including leggings, arm bands, shoe covers, and ski gloves, I can comfortably withstand temperatures down to about 30 degrees.  When it gets in the 20s, the wind-chill factor on a bike starts to really kick in – and my eyeballs literally start to freeze.  I suppose I could try ski goggles to match the gloves!

A full schedule of summer rides and tours helps provide motivation for those cold winter rides.  And I’ve got some great rides planned for 2018.  This year I’ll kick off a coast-to-coast ride with a 9 day tour from Astoria, Oregon to Boise, Idaho.  To train for this 700 mile jaunt, I’ll be riding the Santa Fe century in May, and a popular local ride in early June called the Elephant Rock.  More on all these in future blogs.

For now, the goal is to sneak in those cold winter rides when Mother Nature allows, and rejoice with a few other crazies out joyously freezing on our bikes.

Happy Riding,  ~Dan

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