Monday, July 30, 2007

Saint Mary, MT

Howdy Two days in a row! Don't get excited as Bruce and Jane leave tomorrow and they're taking their computer with them. Oh well. The fire stopped us from going over Marias Pass so I was up at 4:30 and on the road around 5:30 so as to get to Logan Pass by 11 am as they give tickets if you're on that road after 11. I made it by 10 or so. It was a steady climb and I then went down the Eastern side and it was beautiful also. Kent, Scott, Bruce, and I rode the western appraoch about 7 years ago, but stayed on the western side. Truely a very scenic and beautiful area of our country.

Tomorrow Bruce will ride with me for another day since I'm not getting up at 4:30. ;>) But after they head back to Colorado that may be my schedule to get up very early and ride until early to mid afternoon and then find shelter until the heat passes and then ride some more. Time will tell how that works out. Hot again today but not quite as hot as yesterday. Have to go in and check the fire situation as the one close to us has jumped from 1,000 acres to 5,000 acres! Scary stuff and I don't want to ride through a bunch of smoke.

Went swimming in the St Mary River as it runs right past our campsite. So that's today's update. You probably won't here anymore from me until Ann gets home Thursday night. About 1400 miles down and approximately 2100 to go. Goodnight as I'm hungry and Jane is cooking dinner. It's been a great trip so far. Paul

Sunday, July 29, 2007

West Glacier


We're at West Glacier at a campground after a pretty easy 54 miles. There was a section of about 2 miles that I would not ride again as I would rather ride with the traffic . The fire has flared up near Marias Pass so traffic is being held up with a pilot car taking them through so am not too sure what we are going to do. Have to find out more information. Met a local guy who was riding a bike that he built and it was very nice with some nice lug work. He had made bikes for his son who on the Olympic team a few years back. He warned me to be very cautious when riding through the Indian Reservations as there are a lot of drunk drivers during all hours of the day and night.

Tomorrow is going to be the hardest day of the trip so that will be interesting especially with the fire flaring back up. I need to go do laundry as this is trip is a lot of work also as the bike needs cleaned after all the dust of the washboard road. Plus another marg is in order. Later. Paul

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bigfork, MT

Greetings to all who venture on this site

Today is a rest day and after yesterday's 92 miles and over 3000 feet of climbing and not finding Jane at the campground we were beat. Found her as she had gone to a different campground as there was no room at the Inn. I turned over 1000 miles yesterday and I've been on the road for 19 days, which just blows me away at times. It's actually been going well, but sure will be different in a few days when I have to fill BOB back up and haul all that stuff around again. Oh well, that's the journey. Have seen quite a few riders going east, but none headed west. And after the Columbia River Gorge, am glad to be going east.

I get bits and pieces about the Tour and am amazed that after all the crap about doping, that Rasmussen goes and gets fired for doping! What the heck are these guys thinking? I guess the winning is that important to some folks. My win will be getting home to Ann and my friends and neighbors. Life is good so go out and enjoy it while you can. This is an adventure that I will cherish for a long time to come and it has been a long time coming. It's tough and fun and interesting and aggravating and educational all in one. And hey, I'm getting a good tan! It's been warm......okay hot! Looking for a swimming hole this afternoon. Sounds like my good neighbors are looking out for Ann while I'm gone so that is really appreciated and my church family, keep me in your prayers as the next couple days will be hard traffic wise as we get near Glacier Park. I may need some chello!!

Have seen several deer, but the bears are not coming out to play so that's good, I guess, but I would like to see one or two. Toby, Bruce's dog, just don't tell him I called him a dog, is fun to play with and is a good dog. I guess I better close and get out of here as I'm at the library in Bigfork. Got an email from Ann and they are having fun in Canada. Don't know when the next post will be from me, but until then live life!

Kent, I stopped at ACA and bought two more NT maps as I may cut out the Michigan portion. Any chance that you can join me on part of the trip? I'd have to figure a place to meet as I get closer to home. Paul

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Morning all It's a sunny morning and we're getting ready to head to ACA to get a couple of maps to get me close to Ohio and then I'll fumble my way to Loveland. I don't think I'll have trouble finding my way to Ann. She headed to Canada so there will only be postings for the next week when I get to a library, or Bruce has stumbled on to some wi fi spot. Later folks and keep us in your prayers and good thoughts. The traffic has been pretty good and we keep flowing along on beautiful routes. Then a 44 mile ride to Salmon Lake and a layover day possibly. That will lead to an 85 mile day Saturday. When we hit glacier we'll climb the East side of Going to the Sun Road as we rode the west side on a previous trip. Later, as Bruce wants to get moving. Paul, the wanderer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July 25

Greetings from Montana!

I'm in Missoula at Adventure Cycling Hqrts eating ice cream and getting my picture taken. The guy in Milford who told me I had a 100 mile climb to Lolo Pass was telling the truth! But it was a decent climb and nice downhill in to Missoula. The ride was beautiful again today and still having fun. It's going to be a little lonely when Bruce and Jane leave and the long plains start, but somehow I will pedal through that are as well. I haven't seen Todd fishing anywhere yet. Will start heading north to Glacier in the morning after buying some new maps here. I need to get to a laundry tonight, plus we're staying in a motel tonight! Is life good or what?! Later. Paul

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One of the prettiest rides ever

The “very pleasant ride” today consisted of 75 miles of almost all uphill climbing along the Lochsa River. Pacing themselves at an average, consistent 12.5 mi/hr up the long, steady climb, Paul and Bruce enjoyed the beauties of the river, seeing lots of ducks and other wildlife. Although the temperature was still in the 90s, it seemed cooler during much of the ride, and Paul proclaimed that this was “one of the prettiest rides” he had ever done.

Paul had great compliments for Jane, who gets to the night’s campground ahead of the two riders and picks out great campsites (along with doing the grocery shopping). Tonight, they are in Powell Junction, ID, camped down by the river. Once again, the river provided rejuvenation after a full day of riding – both to bodies and clothing. As they started preparing their dinner, they overheard the manager tell another camper that there was going to be a wedding at the campground this evening. So, it should be an interesting last night in Idaho. Tomorrow, they are headed to Missoula, Montana and Paul will be updating the blog as he is able for the next week. Ann

Yesterday's update

Well, Paul & the Burreys had “no service” on the cell phones yesterday so I didn’t get an update last night. However, Paul found a landline this morning. They covered 70 miles in 94 degree heat, with 3000 feet of climbing. Much of the ride was along the Clearwater River and through forests. The wild blackberry vines continue to entice. Paul saved about a quart of yesterday's pickings for breakfast today.

With most of his “stuff” in the car with Jane, Paul had room in the bob trailer to pick up an inner tube that he found along the road. So when they stopped for the night at the campground in Syringa, ID, they were able to frolick and tube in the river. Paul used the river as his bathtub and for laundry – no soap, but at least the sweat and dirt washed away with the current. After he was done playing, Paul gave the tube to a man on the beach that was vacationing with his grandkids. Hope they enjoy it as much as Paul & Bruce did!

Paul is also enjoying Idaho huckleberries. Pat Welch served him huckleberry pie when he was in Moscow, and he had huckleberry ice cream last night as he visited with Art, an 85 year old who lives behind the campground. With over 700 miles behind him, Paul reports that his body is tired but still functioning. He certainly is enjoying the Burreys’ company and sharing the cooking. There is no way they will make Kalispell by Thursday Todd – so you’ll have to swap stories when everyone gets back home. Ann

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Welcome Bruce & Jane!

Paul had another hot, hard ride today – total of 47 miles with one of the highlights being a steep 8 mile climb to break the monotony of miles and miles of wheat fields. There were plenty of burned areas from the grass fires along the Snake River – which supposedly started at 13:00 on Friday, the 13th. He stopped at a bike shop and bought 2 patch kits, just to resupply and get ready for the days ahead. He also met a cyclist that had started her east to west trip with Adventure Cycling but had been on her own the last 2 weeks, having tired of the inflexibilities of an organized ride and being with the same people.

Bruce & Jane Burrey arrived this afternoon to join the adventure for the next week or so. They are all camping tonight at Winchester State Park (nice) and were headed for a steak dinner to plan the days ahead. The Burreys drove from Colorado through some of the western wildfires and saw a tornado caused by the heat of the fires. Let’s hope they’ve seen the last of the active burns! Besides the company, Paul is looking forward to putting some of his supplies in Jane’s car while he and Bruce are riding so he won’t have to haul as much for awhile. Ann

Saturday, July 21, 2007

After a needed day of rest, Paul is back riding – backtracking so he can go DOWN the Spiral Highway and meet his best friend Bruce at Winchester on Sunday. He did 51 miles today to get from Moscow to Lewiston – in HOT conditions (near 100 degrees) where the countryside was black from the recent fires. He met the “long haired guy”, the “drifter” and “Bob” who thought he was nuts for planning the next leg with Bruce out of Winchester. But they shared a lemonade to cool off and parted amicably. He’s at the Hell’s Canyon campground tonight (reportedly very nice) and had all ready met his neighbors before the nightly call home to report that he was still alive and well before heading out for dinner. The fires are an issue, but Paul thinks his planned route will be okay.

For those of you who are keeping track, Paul has had 3 flats so far. And he seems to be meeting more people on bikes traveling east to west (and therefore almost done with their trip), probably because they are passing each other. He missed reporting some of the characters that he has met over the last several days in his postings, so you’ll need to ask him about them when he gets home.

Paul had a great day off, enjoying Pat & Dave Welch’s hospitality in Moscow. Dave is a former GTE employee, so they enjoyed swapping stories from “the old days”. It was quite a challenge getting more minutes for his Tracfone (long story) but with a successful conclusion after 3 conversations with customer service reps in India, we’ll hope that this episode is as difficult as it gets! Stay tuned. Ann

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 20

Howdy A day off and I'm lounging around the house after a trip to the bike shop for a new set of brake pads as I wasn't thinking and only brought one set with me. After climbing the Spiral Hwy out of Clarkston to Moscow I think I'll need to stop several times on the way down to cool the rims. I know I could set a new speed record if I didn't ride the brakes on the way down, but it is very curvy. And you guys know how well I like my downhills. It was ten miles of steady climbing at a fairly steep grade with no let up. I don't know if you other PH's would have made it! ;-) To think that it was the main highway until they built the new 95 is a scary thought and I doubt that I would have ridden it then. The day off is nice and I'll probably leave tomorrow and make it two days to meet Bruce in Winchester as it will be over 70 miles with some major climbing involved. Then nine to ten days of riding with Bruce with a lot of climbing and about 65 miles a day. I'm glad to be in Idaho as the wheat fields were getting old. I'm sure eastern Montana and North Dakota won't be as scenic either, but they all have their beauty...or so I hope. Dave and Pat have been treating me in grand style and the food is fantastic. Just finished huckleberry pie with ice cream. That's all for now so later. Sounds like the watermelon chello turned out nicely and will be anxious to try some when I get back home Frank. Paul

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18


I'm pretty tired so if this sounds a little rambly that's why. It's hot and sunny and I'M HUNGRY! But I was going by the library and then to the food. They are busy harvesting wheat as that is about all you see for miles and miles.

Tomorrow I'll be in Idaho and will take a couple of days off until I meet Bruce and Jane on Sunday. Will stop and see Dave and Pat tomorrow and that is where I'm resting until Sunday morning. I climb Spiral Hwy tomorrow and just the name instills climbing fear. I climbed a hill the other day that I had to criss cross the road at the top to make it up, but I made it up. The BOB is heavy

I've got 60 some miles in today and I'm ready to stop. I think I can camp in the park so am going to go check in with the Sheriff to see if it's okay. At this point I'll take about anyplace I can pitch a tent. A shower would be nice too....for everyone! I stopped and talked to a guy who had a 'Semper Fi' sticker on his truck and I needed a break so we talked about the Marines for a short while and I was on my way again.

So tomorrow is a new state and it's onward and eastward and northward and eastward again. Life is good. And the winds have been mostly tailwinds which adds to the niceness. Later.

Peace Paul

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

After Paul left the library in Umatilla yesterday, he walked back to the RV/campground and had ice tea with 2 GTE retirees (small world!) from Corbett. He decided that he needed to be riding earlier when it was cooler – so he took to the road this morning at 5 am (sunrise). Between the cooler morning temperatures, the slight headwind/crosswinds and a few drops of rain, it was a more comfortable day than most of the past week. He saw and, even with HIS nose, smelled the sweet onions being harvested into countless semis over miles and miles. Guess there are lots of onions and wheat in this part of the county (like Ohio corn and soybeans). There were also hundreds of wind turbines generating electricity.

He stopped at a mission that was a national historical site and met a couple in a RV from California. He later saw them parked along the side of the road and joined them foraging wild blackberries. Paul said the berries were big and sweet; he certainly got his fruit servings for the day…or week! He passed a deer/car accident just after it happened (dead deer, disabled car) and saw a couple on bicycles doing the cross country ride east to west. He covered the 64 miles to the Super 8 in Walla Walla, WA by mid-day, in time to catch today’s mountain stage in the Tour de France. They put him in a handicapped room, and he wonders how they knew that his Achilles tendon was bothering him ;>) He says it is nothing to worry about; it is only sore when he’s pedaling, probably from pushing too hard in the heat. So he’s taking ibuprofen and going to keep his riding earlier in the day and in the 60 mile range for the next couple of days.

He has some mechanical work to do tonight – thinks he’s going to need a new middle chain ring when he can find one – and is headed to the casino for dinner. Last night’s campground owner won $900 playing penny slots there and her daughter won $200 doing the same thing, so he hopes he’s lucky! Ann

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16


It's me and I'm in Umatila, OR after leaving Washington for a day or two. It's really hot and dry and I'm thinking of adding a portable air conditioner to the tent. I was going to take a day off here, but after an 85 mile day yesterday I only rode about 35 today so will push on as there isn't much to do here, but hey, they have a library so life is still pretty good. Had another flat this time on the front from road debris so patched that puppy and headed out. I'm not too sure why anyone would live in this area, so not much chance of us moving out here.

The adventure is still interesting and pretty darn cool (not temp wise) so enjoying myself. Hey Sloaner, don't ride out here as you would not like the heat, although I've seen a couple tandems the first few days. Have seen some local riders around here, but no other idiots. ;-).

The first day was a little apprehensive as I thought about why I was out here, but now that I'm in to it it's a lot of fun, but if you guys ever do it, go with someone. I don't mind riding by myself and believe it or not, I'm meeting some people. ;-))) But evenings are a little boring, but then as soon as it gets dark I'm asleep. I think I'll head out early in the morning and not take a day off until I hit Moscow, Idaho as there is just a lot of desert in this area. Bruce, you were right! Traffic has been pretty good so far with just the normal amount of jerks.

Was going to take a day off at the campground yesterday, but they were having an Indian Pow wow and the local windsurfers suggested I move on and after a kid wouldn't leave my bike alone I was out of there...after finishing the water melon the surfers gave me. That made for a long day, but I didn't feel comfortable there.

So I'm headed back to the campsite and protect my belongings....after stopping at the ice cream place....they don't call me the possum for nothing! Later dudes and dudettes. Nancy, there are some tri-geeks out here. Am really looking forward to Idaho and western Glacier. Jaybone, I can't find the strangers! I'm tired so I hope this makes some sense.

Peace Paul Keep me in your prayers for a safe trip.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It was another long, hot day with a strong tailwind (once again affirming the good choice of biking west to east!) for most of the 85 miles pedaled as Paul left Oregon and rode into Washington. He celebrated with wine tasting at a small winery near the border where he met a couple from Pennsylvania that had their own vineyard. Along the way he also met two people riding Gold Wing motorcycles that were from Zanesville, OH and friends with Ann’s Uncle Jack Downing (small world!) Paul passed up a campground at 62 miles, taking some local advice to continue to the Crow Butte RV Park situated on a lagoon of the Columbia River. Campers have use of the beach so Paul was headed to the river to swim before cooking dinner and heading to bed. Ann

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Biking the Columbia Gorge along the Hood River today brought lots of climbing over 70 miles of “beautiful” terrain. Paul watched the wind surfers over the river and enjoyed breathtaking cascading waterfalls during pleasant morning temperatures. He also encountered lots of wild turkeys. He stopped at a campground to wash his fruit for lunch, recharge his camera battery and met the people there (he doesn’t know a stranger!). After lunch, he had 13.5 miles on the Interstate before getting back on a more bike friendly road. He is thankful he is biking west to east as he had a tailwind most of the day. The afternoon was hot as has been the pattern. When he spotted a dead rattlesnake and could not find an established campground, Paul decided this was probably not the best place to pitch a tent on his own. So he’s recuperating from a hard, but good day at the Motel 6 in The Dalles, OR – headed to the pool and then to dinner. Ann

Friday, July 13, 2007

The food remained out of the squirrel’s reach and Paul slept well last night despite (or because of?) a thunderstorm. With an early start, the temperature was cooler for the morning ride to Portland. Lunch stop was near the airport where Paul enjoyed watching the planes while cooking macaroni & cheese. He then hooked up with two local bikers that rode with him to Troutdale. Afternoon miles were done again in the heat. A kid originally from Mt. Vernon, OH (small world!) sold Paul an ice cream sandwich during the afternoon break. After a relatively short day – 53 miles – he stopped to camp at a small RV park in Corbett, OR. Located along a gorge above the Hood River and with shower facilities and a laundromat, this site permitted both body and clothes to be cleansed. Paul is enjoying the nice breeze and is expecting a pleasant evening meeting the other campers. Ann

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Paul called home using his Tracphone for the first time tonight. If not for this trip, he still would not have a cell phone! It was not as hot today - high of 89 and overcast. Day was significant for the first flat - back tire caused by a big staple. It was a 70 mile day and included a sight seeing stop: a tour of a fish hatchery. Paul is camping out in the St. Helens City Park. Biggest worry is whether the squirrel will take any of his food tonight. Ann

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paul reported that he had a lot of climbing today traveling between St. Helens and Astoria, Oregon. It was hot again (low 100s) but didn't seem quite as bad as yesterday, especially as he got closer to Astoria, catching the breeze along the Columbia River. There is a music festival in Astoria so the town is hopping. He's in a motel for the night and headed out to dinner with two guys from Ohio (small world!) that he met along the way today. He's at his western most point so will start his journey east tomorrow. Ann

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Paul was up early and at the Columbus airport by 5 am EST. He and bike arrived safely in Portland without incident. Bike was assembled and Paul pedaled out of the airport about 2 pm Oregon time. It was VERY hot - over 100 - with high temperatures predicted again tomorrow. He was about 4 miles from St. Helens when he called (9 pm EST) where he planned to stop for the night at a campground. It may be early for bed there, but it was a LONG travel day. He's headed to Astoria and the Pacific Ocean on this first leg of the trip. Ann

Monday, July 2, 2007


Ann will be making a lot of the postings after talking to her on the phone as I ride. I will post when I have Internet access. I started packing the bent today after adjusting the front derailluer, which was a hassle, but shifting smoothly now. Now if the airlines can get it there in one piece I'll be set. I told Ann that just a couple days ago I had two montths before I left, and now all of a sudden I leave in 8 days!! I'll be in Marietta for three days so I have even less days. But I'm ready and getting pretty excited. So hope you enjoy the blog site and that I don't bore you too much.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The countdown begins.

Ten days until the adventure begins....