Archive for August, 2010

Day 66: Long Haul Truckers

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

83.78 miles (Total: 3695.3) Avg Speed: 11.7mph Max Speed: 34mph

Me and Siemen had split a large chocolate milk last night half of which was still remaining. I consider taking a few chugs before breakfast but thought better of it. Leaving town the road split, I decided to stick with the ACA maps even though it seemed they came out at the same place. Again it was a mistake taking me up and over unnecessary hills. The route often diverts to roads with less traffic wherever possible but I don’t mind a road with traffic if the shoulder is nice and wide.

Me and Terry road together most of the morning, until reaching the town of New Meadows where we took a rest from the sun and bought iced fruit smoothies. Terry warned me not to drink it too fast already suffering from a brain freeze but I ignored and downed the whole thing. Seconds later I have my head in my hands as the screaming cold penetrates through my skull. Mistake. Wim turned up just after looking tired, we were all feeling sluggish today and the initial plan of reaching Cambridge seemed a tall order. Jessica on the other hand was feeling great and looked on at us bemused, she insisted on reaching Cambridge today.

Another climb and another descent later we were approaching Council. I had developed some serious saddle sores today and combated them with some baby powder, but it wasn’t doing its usual trick so Terry offered me some rash ointment that he swears by. It may be effective, however mixed with baby powder it forms a sticky paste that left me tearing skin out every time I moved, complete agony. I cut a pretty sorry figure sitting at a gas station in Council, the others seemed ok to push on and Jessica who had left earlier was probably already in Cambridge. A change of shorts later and I felt ok to go for another 25 miles.

Wim soaks his hat to combat the heat.

Do we have another 25 miles in us?

As soon as we set off a large black cloud formed and we could see lightening touching down in the distance. Siemen got a flat tyre so we pulled over to fix it. The break enabled the clouds up ahead to move east out of our path and we pressed on. The sunset behind the storm created a dark glow behind town which seemed as though it were on fire. I went straight for a motel room which I split with Wim as I needed a proper shower tonight whilst Terry and Siemen went to camp. Once cleansed I watched TV for about 5 seconds before falling asleep.

Storm brewing.

Storm and a sunset.

Day 65: Fruits Of Labour

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

70.86 miles (Total: 3611.52) Avg Speed: 11.4mph Max Speed: 35.5mph

Before leaving Kooskia this morning I draped my tent over a big stone to dry out as it was still wet from the sprinklers. Once we got going there was a serious climb to contend with in which I was able to forget about the spoke issues and wind my way up through the trees out onto drier looking lands, the scenery seems to change at every turn.

Looking back down the climb.

The addenda for the current map panel mentioned a new bike shop in the next town so after getting the climb out of the way and descending back down I counted the building numbers only to find I had gone past it. When I traced back I realised how I had missed the bike shop, it had closed down already! By this point the group had dispersed, I found most of them having lunch in the park pavilion and we had to pull ourselves away from the shade knowing another significant climb awaited us this afternoon.

It was hot, steep and the road although new was rough and coarse. Siemen and Wim making good progress, I watched them battle each other like Schleck & Contador the whole way. Once at the top I found Wim regretting racing Siemen up to the top, he looked exhausted and even failed to stand his bike up causing it to tumble and barrel roll down the hill slightly, then pick it up and still struggle to stand it up (I got the end of the episode on video).

The descent took us down into hells canyon, appropriately named as somebody turned the heat up to 11. It was also through a stretch of road with no services and I soon became low on water. We pulled over at a ranger station only to find it closed for the day so we trucked on. During one stop by the roadside I was surprised to see Siemen turn up, I thought he was way ahead. He had felt dizzy with the heat and took a rest in some shade further back. We rolled on towards Riggins with dry throats when in the middle of nowhere appears a small building advertising fresh fruit.

I went inside and saw more fresh fruit than I’ve seen all trip. I grab two of the biggest plumpest nectarines I can find and some water. I chow them both down in seconds squirting juice all over myself, I didn’t care. Saved.

I was pretty happy.

After getting to Riggins we find Wim and Jessica already set up at the campground, $15 each plus another $2 for a shower. What a rip off, I paid for a site but skipped the shower opting for the free dip in the river next to the site. Siemen is 21, still studying and on a tight budget so $15 for a campsite is not something he wanted to do. Just as he was considering riding on further to find somewhere else Terry offered to pay for him.

PS. No new spoke problems to report.

Day 64: Déjà Vu

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

91.17 miles (Total: 3540.66) Avg Speed: 14.3mph Max Speed: 28mph

We swung by the lodge for a hearty breakfast before setting out once again along the stunning Highway 12 through the Bitteroot Mountain range. Not long after riding Wim had pressed ahead so I pushed on hard to catch him up when I heard the dreaded ping sound that I hadn’t heard for almost 1,000 miles. Another spoke! It wasn’t driveside this time however and we were able to replace the spoke but I was more concerned that my problem had returned. Siemen did most of the work having broke a few spokes too this trip and was better than me at replacements.

Siemen Jansma

The walls of trees we had entered yesterday still surrounded us as we rode alongside the Lochsa river the whole way. After having lunch by the river we started to get attacked by wasps. Siemen thought he was stung several times but they seemed like really small wasps compared to the evil things we have back home. After continuing the ride I returned to the paranoid state of mind I had during my last spoke episode back at the start of Colorado, any small sound from my wheels had me stopping and checking the spokes.

Everyone had been riding semi-seperate all day but we all met up at a small store about 24 miles from Kooskia. Stefaan was on top of things as usual having already rang the Mayor of Kooskia to confirm it was ok to sleep in the city park tonight, which it was. I gave my spokes another check and to my horror find a broke one, when did that happen! I think that’s spoke number 5 of the trip. Note to Edinburgh cycles, your touring bike should have 36 spoked wheels not 32. I pondered whether I should have just bought a new rear wheel back in Pueblo when I had the chance but then its last another 1000+ miles why is this happening again? It was a driveside spoke so I pulled out the trusty fiber fix to get me along, the next bike shop was likely Baker City Oregon.

We arrived in Kooskia without further incident and set up in the park. Me and Terry took a dip in the river for a gentlemens wash then we all headed out into town. This was to be Stefaan’s last night with us as he goes onto the Lewis & Clark route from here to his new home in Portland.

Some of the gang went home early but I stayed out along with Siemen and Stefaan for some goodbye drinks. When we return to the park something is immediately wrong. Terry is up, half naked dragging stuff about. About 5 sprinklers had went off without warning and proceeded to soak everything. Stefaan hadn’t put the rain fly on his tent so suffered the worst. As the rest panicked I took out my camera and snapped what I think is the funniest picture of the trip.

I slept out under the pavillion as my tent hung drying and Stefaan slept in the toilets. Not as bad as it sounds, they were big, clean and warm.

I ordered the Gut Buster.

Best picture.

He soon saw the funny side, sorry Terry.

Day 63: Lets Go Idaho

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

59.82 miles (Total: 3449.49) Avg Speed: 12.2mph Max Speed: 36mph

We began the ascent on Lolo pass immediately after getting back on the route from Missoula it was gradual and pleasant. We came across a couple of guys with really old looking bikes sat in a ditch eating and fixing a flat. They were pretty rock n roll and one of the guys parting words to me was “Take chances”. I will!

Where are all the real ones.

After stopping for lunch we hadn’t been riding for more than a few minutes when Wim noticed another cyclist, apparently it was Siemen Jansma another Belgium who Wim had been emailing with. He had put in a few really big days to catch up with us after taking some time out with his parents to see the national parks. Having a new face and new stories meant I didn’t even feel the pass and reached the Idaho border which also marked the start of the epic descent. (I need to steal the border picture of one of the guys because I didn’t take it)


Siemen and Wim

I FLEW down that mountain.

We met up with Stefaan and Jessica at the small settlement of Powell which has a lodge and camping, we were able to put all our tents on one site which made it $1.25 each! We had a bunch of Franks for supper on toasted buns. I was surprised by the lack of bear notices or bins in the area, they must have black bears out here and if they don’t someone should put them here.

Day 62: Mooching Round Missoula

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

I spent the first half of today riding around all the bike shops in Missoula trying to find a pair of Continental tyres, I don’t have much faith in the Schwalbe’s anymore. Nobody had any in stock and eventually one guy talked me into going for some Specialized Armadillo’s the name was enough to win me over so now I’m onto my third brand of tyres.

Lunch and laundry took up the afternoon as with most days of the bike and I purchased some baby powder to help out with some of the saddle sores I have developed, yes I’m rocking some baby powder.

Me and Wim went back to the ACA and chilled out with some more free ice cream and ‘pop’ as Wim purchased a million more maps, he will be ending up in Pheonix after reaching the coast and going to Portland with me. Tomorrow we will enter Idaho, around 10 days from the coast.

Chatting over maps in the ACA headquarters.

More new tyres. This time the Specialized Armadillo's.

Day 61: Pilgrimage

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

67.89 miles (Total: 3389.67) Avg Speed: 11.8mph Max Speed: 36mph

Today was a mission to make it to the Adventure Cycling headquarters in Missoula before closing time. The route turns at Lolo so its actually a 13 mile detour, 26 in all coming back to the trail but we didn’t mind. The others set out early but me and Wim had a casual breakfast then drafted our way at 16mph to catch up.

From Stevensville there was a bike path all the way to Lolo, it felt like a pilgrimage back to the home of the TransAm trail in Missoula and we were cruising so there was no doubt of reaching the destination in time. Stefaan had set out alone today he was only going to Lolo and planned on hitching a ride into Missoula tomorrow.

After entering Missoula the local bicycle network kicked in and the paths continued, everybody is on a bike, you can’t move for bikes.

We eventually reached the headquarters where you are immediately presented with a free membership, ice cream and soda after having your picture snapped for the wall of fame. I spent several hours looking at all the memorabilia on display and spoke briefly with Greg Siple one of the 4 who created the TransAm.

We checked into a motel room and took a dip in the hot tub, only to make it feel remotely warm you had to jump into the freezing pool first. We had Italian for supper and went and sat by the river until sunset with some live music playing in the background and people returning up the banks from their day of tubing on inflatables downstream.

We are taking the day off tomorrow to see more of Missoula and I plan on visiting the ACA again to pick up another map because me and Wim have now decided to cycle up the coast a few days to Portland once we have finished.

ACA door handles.

Picture on the wall of fame.

What's this?

My name is Ryan Anderson, in Summer 2010 I rode my bike across America. Starting on the east coast in Yorktown, VA and finishing in Florence, OR. Read more


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