Trip Route

We will be following the Northern Tier route. To follow our day by day progress click on the trip progress link to the right. On that page is also a link to our cell phone tracking data so you can see exactly where we are.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Front Tires in the Atlantic

Hey all,
Sorry for the delay with this last post. It took awhile to decompress after we finished our trip and I needed some time before I finished off the blog. Anyways, the last few days have felt very strange. It is odd to not peddle all day and to sleep in the same place at night. Really, both Mom and I just can't believe that our journey has come to an end.
We woke up Monday morning to a steady downpour of rain. Since we only had to peddle 40ish miles and our friends couldn't make it to the beach until around 3, we had a nice lazy morning. The rain was still coming down in buckets when we left, but what can you do? When it wants to rain it will rain. So we peddled through puddles and gave up all hopes of remaining dry as the water worked its way underneath our rain gear. Once we got 10 miles from the beach we holed up in a coffee shop to dry off and wait so our welcoming party could get to the beach. Thankfully the rain lightened up and by the the time we left our refuge the sky was grey but the precipitation had ended.
As we biked along the familiar roads Crescent Beach, we were struck with a sense of disbelief. It just didn't seem like we had come that far. We were excited to see friends and family but didn't want our trip to be over. We talked about stopping and turning around more than once. And as we approached the shoreline the most amazing thing happened. The clouds broke and blue sky emerged. It was perfect. We rounded the corner to meet our family and friends in the parking lot and were overwhelmed with their enthusiasm and support. Flowers, posters, happy faces, and cheers greeted us. We felt so loved in that moment and could not have asked for a better celebration. The crowd followed us as we dragged our bikes through the sand and into the water. My father brought out two bottles of champagne and special Northern Tier jerseys that my grandmother had bought for us. Kathy from Mass Vest a Dog had beautiful posters with our trip highlights. Better than all the flowers and bubbly, however, was the ability to share the ending ceremony of our long journey with family and friends. We are truly grateful to all those who showed up to support us. For those of you following along that were unable to join us, we understand and appreciate your support as well.
That night we ate at my father's favorite sushi restaurant in Portland before heading back to Camp Winona where he has spent the summer without us. It was actually the first time that I have been back at camp for quite some time and it was nice to see old friends and relax on the shore for a day before heading back to NH. Currently, Mom and I are holding down the fort at NH while dad remains at camp. She starts work again next week and I need to drive back to Massachusetts and move into my new apartment. Things will pick back up again for us very soon but right now we are still in a weird lull. Already we are talking about our next trip. It will definitely not be as long as this summer, but we both get some vacation time and a week isn't unfeasible.
We will continue to keep our go fund me page up for a little while more to see if we can rally up any last donations. Please consider donating if you have not and share our journey and cause with your friends and family. Every little bit helps and we appreciate all donations!
Anyways, I hope that you have enjoyed following our adventure. So many people come up to us and tell us that they are so impressed and can't believe what we have done. Honestly, it doesn't seem like such a big deal to us. We took one day at a time and just peddled. The hardest part of the trip was making it happen and taking the commitment plunge. So if you are considering some crazy adventure, my mom and I have three words for you: "GO FOR IT!"  Really, we have had an amazing summer together and are so happy that we believed in ourselves enough to pursue the dream and that our friends and family supported us through it. Thanks again for the encouragement and support.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Approaching the Finish Line

Hey all,
Wow! That's pretty much all Mom and I have been saying lately. We just can't believe that this trip is already coming to a close. It seems a bit surreal and we are both a bit sad to think of our trip ever being over.
Yesterday we made it to our home state of NH. We approached Lincoln on 112 from North Haverhill which was a new road to both of us. Our day was filled with steep ascents and we were pretty much drained when we reached the final descent into North Woodstock. Well, the 2 miles of 12% downhill made it all worth it. I hit 44 mph and was pretty much keeping up with the vehicle traffic. A teenage boy even filmed me out of the passenger side of his car while shouting that I was a bad ass. Thanks kid; I know. 
We ate dinner at the Woodstock Inn- the home of my favorite beer. It was a fantastic yet strange meal. We just couldn't get over being so close to home. We stayed the rainy night at my father's friend's place in Lincoln where we fell asleep right away, greatful for the comfortable beds and shelter.
Today we woke up bright and early to meet my dad for a quick hello. It wad great to see him after so long even if it was a short hi as he passed through on his way from Maine to NH for a 24 shift. Then we met even more familiar faces. Our friends Teese and Todd met us and Teese took my Mom's luggage to the top of the Kanc for her. Todd was kind enough to ride with and entertain us to the top of the pass where we met up with Teese. It was awesome to have some new company to take our minds off the climb and we are so thankful that they took the time to help us out. After we said goodbyes Mom and I made the descent into Conway and onward into Maine. We got caught in some very heavy rainfall but made it safe although drenched to Cornish where we are spending our last night luxuriously at an Inn due to thunderstorm warnings. Tomorrow believe it or not we are due to arrive at Cresent Beach mid afternoon. It will be quite a bittersweet moment.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Hey all,
We are spending our second and final night in Vermont before we cross over to our home state of NH.
Yesterday we took the day "off." We rested and hung out with my Cousin Christina and her kids before leaving in the afternoon to bike the 20 miles to Middlebury. The ride was short but hilly. The views were gorgeous and the weather finally cooled down so we were happy despite the climbs. We reached Middlebury at a decent time and met up with my cousin Geoff's friend who graciously agreed to host us. We were able to enjoy a walk in historic Middlebury and grab a nice bite to eat before we slept in preparation for today.
Today we defeated Middlebury Gap. We were lucky enough to ride with Christina and her father in law. Even luckier (maybe), her husband, Peter, carried our panniers over the pass to Rochester where he retrieved his father and wife. We all ate lunch together before we said our goodbyes and Mom and I continued onward to South Royalton. Afterward, Mom and I couldn't stop talking about how great it was to have family join us on a leg of our journey, especially one that we had been facing with some apprehension. It made it so much easier and we are so thankful that they agreed to join us.
We are taking shorter days today and tomorrow because we realized that we were looking at Sunday as our grand finale day. My father has to work a 24 shift that day and would be unable to meet us and that simply would not do. Since we have plenty of time and are reluctant to see our trip come to an end we were more than happy to have an excuse to take our time. We are now most likely going to arrive on the more agreeable date of Monday. 
Well, although tomorrow is not going to be a particularly long day, it does have hills and we are going to get a good start on the day to avoid the heat. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Family in Crown Point

Hey everyone,
We have arrived on Crown Point where we are staying with my cousin Christina and her children at her in law's camp. We have had a hot and humid go of it the last two days but it looks like it is going to break tomorrow. 
Two days ago we pushed hard to make it to Old Forge and the promise of a hotel. We encountered the first of the Adirondacks but were rewarded with some pretty sweet downhills. Although the day was tough, it was definitely worth it once we made it luxury of the motel. We met a large group of supported cyclists and took their recommendation for dinner. The restaurant was a fantastic Italian place where we stuffed ourselves with pasta, wine, and desserts. We felt pretty satisfied as we strolled back to the our air conditioned room. 
Yesterday we got a later start but still put in a slow 60 or so miles to Russell Lake State Park over some hot and hilly terrain. We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful campground with well spaced out sites right on the lake. It was a nice break from the crowded parks we have been staying at lately.
Today was another really hot day with plenty of elevation. We took our time with the mileage and drank lots of water. After we ducked into a restaurant to weather a thunderstorm we made it to Crown Point and family. It is truly amazing to see familiar faces and relax a little. Tommorrow we are going to spend the morning with family before pedaling the 20 or so miles to the base of Breadloaf Pass so we can be as close as possible to it on Thursday. Ok, I need to get off the phone and pay some attention to cousins once removed.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Through Ontario and in NY!

Hello all,
I am happy to write that we are now in NY! It is so hard to believe that we have about six hundred miles and about ten days left. 
Anyways, we had a blast in Ontario but were roaming so I couldn't post any updates. As we saw there were many campgrounds along Lake Erie, we decided to splurge for a cheap motel in Marine City before we crossed over. We had a delicious dinner right on the St. Claire River before heading to bed early.
We then woke up early and grabbed some coffee before taking the five minute ferry across the river to Ontario. We breezed through customs and spent the day pedaling toward Lake Erie. We ended up going 96 miles all the way to Port Stanley. We ended up camping with a fellow tourer who had also stayed at the same motel as us in Marine City. Funny enough, we are on the same mileage routine and including tonight have ended up at the same campground for four nights in a row! He is super nice and we are greatful for new company.
The next day we had a blast pedaling along Lake Erie and through all the little port towns. We also ate the offerings of numerous farm stands along the way. We were lucky enough to stay in a very quite campground under a gazebo within spitting   distance of Lake Erie.
Yesterday, we decided to get as close to the Canadian side of Niagria Falls so we could see them nice and early today. We were blessed with another beautiful day and the lake was beautiful! Overall, another great day.
Today we woke up early and made it the ten miles to Niagria Falls before all the busses arrived. We sat and head a coffee and took in the views. The morning was clear and we got an unobstructed view of the grand attraction. We then returned to the USA where we spent the day on a bike path along the aerie Canal. Although the gravel path made for slow going, the day remained beautiful and we really couldn't complain. We even got to see the locks in action at Lockport, so hey. 
Tonight we are camping right on the canal off the bike path with a bunch of other bikers. Although Mom and I are getting along great, we appreciate new people to talk with. It is especially fun to hear other cyclist's stories and experiences on the road.
Well, it's been a long day and I am ready to go to bed so I'll leave it at that. 

Getting Hilly Again

Hello there,
We are all settled in at the Selkirk Shore State Park where we are nestled right on the coast of Lake Ontario. Today was a long day of rolling steep hills which was a rude awakening after the flatness along the Erie Canal. We are in the second biggest fruit producing county in the country, however, so we are coming across many farm stands which keeps us happy. At one such stand we met a father/son team from Florida who are doing am Eastern section of the northern tier. It was great to talk to another parent/child duo and they even bought us some trail mix which was really sweet of them. Later today, we ventured a bit off route to have a picnic lunch at the Fair Haven Beach State park. It seemed like we were at the ocean, right down to the watchful seagulls who supervised our lunch.

Yesterday, met up with our friends the Hodges. They were on their way driving out west and were sweet enough to drive out of their way and say hi. It was very nice to see some familiar faces from home. Later, we encountered some afternoon drizzles and wore our raincoats for the first time in a while. Since the rain was picking up, we opted to stay with warm showers hosts Jim and Carol. Boy, did we make a good call. They were busy with am event at their marina, but still agreed to host us. We met them at said marina where we had dinner and met all their friends. Then they took us back to their beautiful old farmhouse, gave us some wine, and allowed us to do some desperately needed laundry. This morning they cooked us a delicious breakfast and sent us off showered and in clean close before they went to church. They had a busy weekend scheduled and we were very thankful and impressed that they took the time to take such great care of us. 
Well, that's about all the updates I have. It seems that we only have about five hundred or so miles left. We encountered the first Dunkin Donuts of the trip which is a sure sign of being on home turf. The going from here might be a bit slower than we have been accustomed to due to the Adirondack and White Mountains but we have made excellent time so far and have plenty of time before my classes start up.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hot Days in Michigan and Vest a Dog Meet-up

Hey all,
We have had a rather hot and humid last two days but have. It let that stop us from having a great time. Despite more breaks for water refills we have been able to cover a decent amount of ground and are either going to reach Ontario tomorrow night or the next morning.
Yesterday we got to travel on an awesome paved rail trail for a bit. It is so nice to see all these repurposed routes that get tons of use. I wish there was so a convenient and safe path in Worchester or in my dream world one that connected right to Grafton and the Tufts campus. While on the path we met a very nice group of women who all get together to bike and run. They were very outgoing and kind; they all offered us a bed in their houses later gave generous donations to our fundraiser. However, we had already arranged to stay at warm showers hosts Jen and Bills's house who had already picked up new chains for our bikes. Jen and Bill were so nice, they put on our chains for us and fed us dinner all before they had to leave for a cycling competition they were competing in today. They left us with their four adorable black labs and various other dogs that were boarding (Jen is a trainer) and Jen's very sweet mother.
Today we had a bit of a shorter day due to the humidity and a very special rendezvous. We met up with a contingent from Michigain's Vest a Dog chapter. Along with them were Officer Stacer and his canine Canjo who work for the Saginaw PD. We were so honored that they all took time out of their days to drive to some rural road on our route and greet us. They were also very generous with donations. We can't express our gratitude enough and how great it made us feel to get to meet some fellow Vest a Dog people. Many thanks! 
We later took some time to cool off and eat some cheese from the touristy yet fun Frankenmuth, home of the Frakenmuth Cheese Haus. We then decided to have a short day and only go about 25 miles further to the Otter River Campground which some cyclists coming the other direction had recommend. The campground is crowded but nice and has a great little beach on the lake which we used to cool off. Now we are resting up for what could be a long day tomorrow if we push to make it across the border. Once we are in Canada I might not be able to update depending on internet access since using cellular data out of country is undesirable. So don't fret- we will be fine I am sure and eating lots of crepes.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Hey all,
Today is our second night in. Michigan! We are finally back in Eastern time and can't believe how far we have journeyed. 
Yesterday we woke up early to make sure we had plenty of time to catch the ferry. As we were leaving Cliff Heights park, we startled a doe and her two tiny fawns- a perfect start to the day. We then had a really pretty ride in back roads through rolling farm land to Manitowac. We had plenty of time to get our bikes checked out at a shop and grab lunch before boarding the SS Badger. The ferry was actually set up with a "cruise" intention. Private rooms with beds were available for extra money but we were content to sprawl on the chaise lounge chairs on the ship deck. We also did not play bingo or watch the movie been shown on in the cinema room or pay to get our faces painted. Call us lame but dosing off while reading was good enough for us. We did enjoy some beer and popcorn though.
After the four hour ride and with the hour time shift it was 7:30 by the time we docked in Ludington, Michigan. We only had to go less than a mile, however, to warm showers hostess Claudia's house. She fed us a delicious dinner and directed us to the very popular (with a twenty minute line at 9 pm on a Thurs to prove it) House of Flavors ice cream shop for dessert. Today we got a late start due to still adjusting to the time change. It was hot and humid once we got out of the cool lake breeze. We took our time with the ride stopping for food often and at a library so I could do some financial aid stuff for school (boo)! We arrived in the small town of Le Roy about 6 miles from our campground tonight around dinner time. The town was having a little street carnival/fair/beauty pageant. We obviously had to check it out for a bit. Long story short we had a long day and didn't arrive to the Sunrise Lake state campground until a little later than normal. Still, we had plenty of daylight and are in no rush. Now we are tired and ready to sleep. Hopefully the dude across the campground will realize soon that not everyone at the campground is as into the classic hits he is blasting as he is and we can get some rest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Last Night in Wisconsin

Hey everyone,
We are spending our last night in Wisconsin at the Cliff Heights State Park. The wind is keeping the bugs at bay for which we are very thankful as they have been bad. Tomorrow we will leave bright and early to get to Manitowac and the ferry that will take us across Lake Michigan. 
Two days ago we were in Northern Michagan where it looked at lot like Maine. There were lots of lakes and pine trees. Also there were some very paved nice bike paths that we were able to use. We ate lunch in the touristy yet cute Boulder Junction and then pedaled on to national forest campground in Hiles. The campground was nice but very buggy.
Yesterday we had quite the day. Due to limited camping opportunities, we opted to go for a century day with the promise of a luxurious Super 8. We even took a dirt/crushed stone tiny trail that was listed as a shortcut on our map. Perhaps of was a risky move, but it turned out to be fine- although a little slippery in places with our thin slick tires and loaded bikes. When we finally made it to the town on Shawana- 101 miles later- we were dead tired. We almost fell asleep in our margaritas at the Mexican place we ventured to for dinner.
Today we traveled through a landscape more inline with the mental image I had of Wisconsin before this trip. Lots of corn fields and LOTS of dairies. The smell of silage and cows permeates everything. Again, there are no campgrounds or even motels in these little towns. We had to venture 5 miles off route to this state campground and settle for being farther from Manitowac and the ferry than we had wanted. Oh well, the campground is beautiful and we will have no problem catching the ferry which leaves at two. We are excited to be back on eastern time and to arrive in our last new (as in never traveled to before) state. 

Hilly Days

Hello All,
We are splurging tonight on a motel in the cute little lake town of Mercer. The las few days have had their scattered showers but have been mostly beautiful although a little hot. We have been on lots of little back roads that wind their way around the region's numerous lakes. There have been a lot of little but steep hills. But every up comes with a down and the big turns make the downs especially fun.
Yesterday we spent the night in a small campground in Hayward where we met a nice couple who were generous enough to share some of their nicer than our ramen food. It hit the spot after a long hot day of riding. 
Today we had a shorter day to to limited places to stay in our target mileage. We ended up in the Mercer at about four thirty and took a much needed map before having a delicious dinner at the bar of a hopping restaurant. The bar tender, owner of the place, and fellow bar patrons where all very enthused by our trip. Meeting people and sharing storied is one of our favorite parts about this trip so we left the bar happy and full. Now we are back in our luxurious room which is completely devoid of mosquitoes and quieter than the packed for the holiday weekend campgrounds have been. We are going to take advantage of it and get a good night's rest.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Halfway There! And in Wisconsin!

Hello all,
Today we reached to important landmarks: we crossed into Wisconsin and we hit 2,200 miles on the odometer which is our approximate halfway point. Overall, we are very excited and feel     like we are kicking some serious butt. We were also pleased to reach the halfway point on the Fourth of all dates. We had been thinking it might be sometime around the date but were astounded when it actually worked out.
The last two days have been beautiful: sunny and warm but not too hot. Yesterday we had some difficulty finding camping so settled to huck it seven miles off route to Wild River state park. The park was beautiful and very remote, although crowded. We were also kept up by a cunning raccoon who managed to unravel our strapped and rolled shut pannier and unscrew and eat our jar of peanut butter!
Today we strayed a little off route so we didn't have to zig and zag since we had camped so far off route. Our detour took us to Taylor Falls and St. Criox Falls where we in investigated the "Glacial Potholes" at Interstate Park. As 
far as we could tell, these were very large very cool holes natural ancient holes in the rocks. After satisfying our curiosity, we climbed the grueling hill out of the St. Croix River Valley. We rejoined our mapped route after lunch. After a lot of rolling hills (and reaching 2,200) we made it to the RV park in Heugen. The park is packed and full of friendly rednecks who think we are crazy for riding our bikes so far. Maybe we are, but we are having a blast and wouldn't have it any other way!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Hey all,
We are now about half way through Minnesota! We have had some great days. Since we opted to take advantage of Minnesota's paved bike trail system for which we don't have the ACA maps, I have been busy planning travel and lodging these past couple of nights. Sorry, about the delay in entries, but I really was too tired to look at maps for an hour and then write. Anyways, the day after we stayed in Gackle, it was sunny and the winds were with us. We took advantage of the day and rode all 130 miles to Fargo. We stayed with lovely warm shower's hostess Ann and fellow cyclists Shawn and Tim. Ann offered us refreshments and made a delicious dinner and we shared tips and insight to the road ahead with Shawn and Tim. 
The next day we spent the morning in Fargo getting our bikes tuned up and replacing our tires (we decided we wanted to switch to narrower slicks instead of our wider knobbies. The historic district of Fargo has a lot of character and fun shops so we did some window shopping. Then we spent the afternoon biking. Since Fargo is right on the border, we quickly crossed into Minnesota (sorry we crossed where there was no welcome sign to pose with).  Despite some weather and strong cross winds, we traveled 60 miles to Pelican Rapids where we stayed with another warm showers hostess Gretchen and her three affectionate cats and lovable golden retriever. Pelican Rapids is an adorable town and although it was raining we enjoyed walking around the Main Street.
Yesterday it rained on and off all day. However, we made it onto the bike trail system and was refreshing to be off the roads. The trail was once a railway and thus parallels the county roads and on occasion the interstate. It maintains it's distance for the most part though and makes a very peaceful path through woods, fields, and the region's numerous lakes. 
We went around seventy miles and since camp grounds are spaced out and it was cold and rainy, we splurged on a super eight in Alexandria. Alexandria is home to Big Ole, the world's largest viking. Pelican Rapids was home to the world's largest penguin. It seem's Minnesota towns have a thing for having "world's largest" statues.
Today was finally beautiful, sunny and 85 with a gentle breeze. We were on the trails for most of the day and had a great lunch (consisting of breakfast food and pie) at Charlie's Diner in Freeport, MN. We saw a large group of cyclists who are riding in  the other direction setting up camp about 15 miles from our destination. They are riding for MS research are fully supported and are mostly around college age. It was nice for me to meet some tourers my own age as we have mostly been meeting retirees. Also, they gave us cookies. We are now back to traveling on roads and are camping in the backyard of a lady who welcomes cyclists. Tomorrow we are aiming to make it to a campground 92 miles or so from here since other than one 32 miles away it is our only lodging option. So, I better rest up because even though the weather looks good, it is going to be a long one tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Girls are in Gackle

We have made it to Gackle, ND where we are staying at the Honey Hub biker hostel. Yesterday we had a long day biking the nearly 100 miles from Glen Ullin to Hazelton. The winds were not with us and picked up as the day went on which made the miles a little harder. We bumped into our friends traveling in the larger group again which was very nice. They stopped in Bismarck but we only took a pit stop for lunch and kept on going to Hazelton. Although the trip was pretty the rolling hills and unfavorable winds drained us and we were very tired when we arrived in town. Since there was a thunderstorm alert, we hunckered under the pavilion at the city park. We managed not get to wet and set out today for Gackle.
On the way out of the campground we encountered some serious mud on a road undergoing repaving. I got sucked in and took a digger. Luckily I was fine but mine and Mom's bike were covered in mud. So we spent the next half hour hosing me and the bikes off with a gas station hose. Then we battle rain and winds into Napolean where we grabbed lunch. After Napolean the winds were more in our favor and we cruised along until some serious sidewinds slowed us down. Then they shifted once again and pushed us right into Gackle. We settled in at the Honey Hub Hostel and grabbed some pizza and milkshakes. We are off to bed early in hopes that tomorrow will be a long and productive day.
Thanks to all the lovely poems (Grandma S and Todd) and all the other comments people have written. We appreciate all of your support. Please also remember that we are raising money for Mass Vest a Dog and to visit our go fund me page (see link on side bar). Every little bit helps and we appreciate any donation whatever the amount. If you have already donated, thanks again- you rock! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

North Dakota

We are finally in North Dakota! We had two very tough days of headwinds and intermittent rain that definitely tested our spirits. We made it to Wilbeax the first day after deciding to push in after a late lunch in Glendive. While in a Glendive we met Michael who is riding east to west and also uses Track my tour. He found our blog and had been on the lookout for us. Yesterday we fought fierce headwinds and crossed into North Dakota! We ate lunch and took shelter in the touristy but cute Medora, home of the cowboy hall of fame as some thunderstorms and heavy rain passed by. We then tested our mental and physical strength by pushing on against the wind to Lake Patterson Rec area near Dickinson where we camped. We did get some pretty neat views of the painted canyons light up by distant lightening on the way. Other than that though it was hilly and draining. Once we got to the campground we met a large group of friends that have been touring a day or so ahead of us for forever. They were very nice and I hope we bump into them again along the way. 
Toady we decided to take it easy after the hard days we have been having. So, after a late breakfast we took our time with the fifty or so miles to Glen Ullin. The sun was out and the wind was still against us but milder and we just enjoyed it. Along the way we stopped for lunch in the cute little town of Hebron. Tonight we met some nice ladies at the pub which is the lone dining establishment in town. We are spending the night in a lovely B&B (The Red Rock Inn) to continue with the theme of the day: pampering ourselves. There are limited towns until we get to Fargo so we are going to have some long days ahead of us. Thus, we are going to get up early tomorrow and as we lost an hour today (we crossed into time zone) I better get to bed.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Still in Montana

Yup, we're still in Montana. We have made considerable progress, however, even though the terrain has been less flat and the tailwinds less strong. Yesterday we battled killer mosquitoes that somehow managed to bite us while we riding. We ended up in an RV park attached to a hotel. While we were basically in a parking lot, we did get to us the hotel pool an hot tub which was a definite plus.
Today we were in a bit of a predicament because we are in the middle of no where and our options were to go 51 miles and end up in a sketchy town or push for 110. We ended up pushing on to Circle. It was a much harder 110 than we had done previously. Hot, humid, and rolling hills. Wendy described it as "up some and down some and up some and down some" which is pretty accurate. We were definitely tired when we rolled into Circle and found the one motel and pizza place in town. Now we are still tired but clean and full so no complaints. It is crazy that today was our 20th day on the road. It really is going by fast- guess we must be having fun!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Flat with a Tailwind

Hello there! We've gone over 200 miles in 2 days thanks to the flat terriern and a steady tailwind. We have seen many types of grass and a lot of Angus. I think that Wendy can finally identify an Angus, although she did excitedly mistake a muscular Angus stud for a buffalo. We also saw some antelope and perplexingly a decent amount of seagulls. 
Last night we pedaled almost 100 miles to Hingham, a small town of dirt roads, where we camped out at the town park. We had some much deserved beer and nachos at Spencer's Bar where we met and chatted with the owner, Spencer of course, who also has done some touring.
Today we felt good and after an ice cream break in the afternoon made the push to Dodston. We ended up traveling over 110 miles and were plenty tired when we arrived at the B&B whose lawn we are camping on. Now we are showered, have eaten, our PB sandwiches and are about ready to pass out early. As long as the tailwinds and sunshine keep up we will have another long day tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Weather Delay (and no service) in Glacier- Now in Cut Bank

On our "day off" in a Glacier we actually took advantage of a break in a stretch of a bad weather forecast to climb as far we were allowed up the Going to the Sun highway. The road was actually opened to cyclists for a great deal longer than for motorists. It was fantastic to have the road to ourselves and enjoy the views in peace. We then treated ourselves to the fire and dinner at the Lake McDonald Lodge. We were able to make it back to our tent before the rain set in.
The next morning we woke up to the forecasted torrential downpour. We pedaled the 10 miles to West Glacier where we made a hostess frown as we came into her  breakfast joint looking like drowned puppies. After some grub, we stoically faced the rain with all intentions of making it the 50 miles to East Glacier. When we had traveled about 20 miles past West Glacier, however, we were soaked through again and the temperature had dropped to 30 degrees and it. started. snowing. It took all of of will to keep pedaling for a few more miles to an Inn outside of Essex. 
We ended up staying 2 nights at the Inn as the next day (yesterday) was more of the snowy/raining same and the road we had to take was too busy and had too narrow a shoulder for is to feel safe. Also with the weather, we would probably only make it to West Glacier, about 35 miles down the road. So we decided to just have a long day today when the forecast finally looked better.
This morning we left bright and early in a steady cold drizzle to climb Marias pass and cross the continental divide. The pass was easy compared to some of the others we have faced but we were cold by the time we descended into East Glacier. So we found a laundromat and dried our gear while we had lunch. Feeling warm and refreshed and finally enjoying no precipitation we sped down into the plains of Montana. We made good time despite a flat (me again- been having crummy luck) and arrived in Cut Bank at a decent hour after an 83 mile day. Tomorrow when we leave Cut Bank  we will have completed our second map! Very exciting. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Arrived In West Glacier

We have had some very productive days and camped at beautiful and secluded campgrounds that unfortunately had no service. Tonight, however, we are in West Glacier Montana where we splurged on our first motel stay of the trip and so with an outlet to power up and wifi I can finally post an update. 
We were able to pass through Idaho and make it to Montana all in one day. Idaho was gorgeous and we enjoyed a sundae in a cute town called Hope. We decided to push on and beat a storm to a campground right over the border in Montana after a long day.
The weather held during the next day so we pushed pass Libby to a quiet campground on Lake Koocanusa. As there was a bar on site, we made good on the drinks we had accumulated (we made it a rule that we earned a drink for each 500 miles, each state we made it to, and each new map- so we had 4 from the previous day). We slept with well after that and slept in a little to let the rain lighten the next morning. We the biked along Lake Koocanusa to Eureka. There we had some great breakfast for lunch and milkshakes. Feeling refueled we followed our map through these beautiful rural roads to a campground past Fortine. It felt great to be off the highway and the beaten path. It is really amazing to have our route to follow that takes us on roads we would never find if we were to devise our own path.
Today it was raining hard when we set out- unfortunately back on the highway. But the clouds broke and by the time we hit Whitefish it was only drizzling. We stopped to replace our chains and grab some lunch. We planned to have a short day and only travel 10 miles further to Columbia Falls, but the hostel we planned on staying in was closed. Since it was no longer raining we decided to push about 20 miles on to West Glacier. Well, we got about 4 miles before angry clouds rolled in and the skies opened up on us. Luckily it only lasted about 45 minutes, and we were able to enjoy the back roads (including some miles of dirt roads) to West Glacier. The clouds dissipated enough for us to oogle the incredible view as we arrived in town. Now, as I said earlier, we are weathering some more bad weather from our motel room. At this point it feels like we are living in the lap of luxery!
Tomorrow we will travel the 11 miles to the Lake  McDonald Campground in the park and rest/explore the remainder of the day.
Before I sign off, I just wanted to thank everyone for all the encouraging comments. On my phone I can't respond in an efficient manner to them individually, but we are receiving them and appreciate the kind words and assorted poems.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Last Night In Washington

Today was another perfect day for riding. After a restful night at the Bacon Bike Hostel we headed out and over Tiger Pass which was, despite it's name, rather tame compared to the previous passes. We did enjoy the descent which was filled with hairpin turns and pretty views. After the steep descent, we bought some more food in Ione and contained to ride a gentle downhill to Usk where we grabbed some dinner. Feeling refreshed and wanting to take advantage of the lovely weather, we rode farther than planned to just outside of Newport, Washington for a total of 87 miles pedaled today. I We are very close to Idaho and as the route only passes through 67 miles of it we might make it to Montana. Tomorrow we will also finish our first map and reach 500 miles on our total. All of these milestones of course require a celebratory drink as per our touring rules. Since all three are happening on the same day we better find a good bar where we end up tomorrow night. 



Week One Under Our Belts

It is hard to believe that we have already been riding for a week! The last few days have been filled with great weather and challenging yet beautiful mountain passes.
We went over the Loup Loup pass on our way from Twisp to Tonasket. It was amazing to feel the weather change once we were over the pass. It got pretty darn hot as the day went on and we were very thankful for the use of hostess Ivetta's cool house.
Our trip to from Tonasket to Republic was not that long bit after climbing up Wauconda Pass we decided it was best to rest before attempting Sherman Pass which begins right after Republic. So we wondered around the mining town of Republic and had some milkshakes before heading to Hostess Diane's house. There we enjoyed a lovely homecooked meal and glass of wine on her back porch enjoying the warm weather and gorgeous view.
Today we left Republic early and climbed Sherman Pass under a welcomed cloud cover. It was quite chilly on the descent and it even drizzled enough for us to put on the rain gear. I managed to get a flat (boo). We ate a late lunch  in Kettle Falls after enjoying the views of the Columbia River on the way into town. Then we pushed on to Colville where we got our chains checked and ate a massive amount of pizza. With full bellies we slugged up 3 miles to the Bacon Bike  Hostel. Owner/host Barry stopped down to see us and after some conversation left us for some welcomed rest. Anyways, that's all for now. Tomorrow we hope to get right to the Washington border. Then onward to Idaho!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chilling in Twisp

Yesterday was grueling. We went sixty some miles up two passes (Rainy and Washington). It definitely will take some getting used to climbing with all the weight on our bikes. Fortunately, the day was gorgeous and the views were spectacular. The mountains are so much sharper than our familiar ancient Appalachian. After finally making it to Washington, the second pass, we were rewarded with 15 miles of exhilarating downhill into Mazama. We stayed in Mazama with warm shower hosts Jason and Valerie who have an amazing property and generously allowed us the use of their porch and fed us a delicious dinner. 

Today, we decided to take it easy and just meander 20 miles or so to Twisp before conquering the remaining passes. On the way we stopped in Winthrop, a town preserved in it's old Western Glory. After some window shopping and ice cream, we continued to Twisp where restocked on groceries, did some laundry, and set up camp in the backyard of another Warm Showers host, Scott. Now that we are nice and rested we have two days of mountain passes ahead of us. I'm not sure what the cellular service will be like so don't threat if my next update isn't for a few days.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spectacular Second Day

Today we were blessed with a gorgeous day full of beautiful views, sunny skies, and a refreshing breeze. We both settled right into our second day of riding. After meeting Glenn (www.crazyguyonabike/oldmanonabike) we were encouraged to continue past our original destination of Marblemount and continued an additional 14 miles to Newhalem. The campground is very nice and we have it all to ourselves. Honestly, since it seems like it could be out of the Twin Peaks set, I am spooked. Not enough though to interfere with enjoying this fantastic site. Thanks for checking in!- Casey

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day One Completed

This morning we caught a bus to Anacortes where we collected our bikes. After the oglibatiry dipping of our tires in the pacific and lunch we finally started pedaling. This afternoon was a beautiful 30 miles of mostly rural farmland to Sedro-Woolley, WA. It felt great to finally get on our bikes and start moving. Hopefully we will establish a rthymn these  next few days and everything will begin to flow naturally. We are still a bit tired from the time change, so I'll keep this short so we can finish settling in and get some rest.

We've Arrived in Seattle

After a long day of plane travel yesterday, Mom and I are on a shuttle to take us to Anacortes where we will be reunited with our bikes! Yesterday our neighbors Brenda and Preston surprised us with a send off banner. We were also met at the airport by Mass Vest-A-Dog volunteers. We are excited and nervous to begin this journey. Check back soon for pictures of the ceremonial tire dipping in the Pacific!