16-06-22 Day 87 Astoria – Mark Trail Bikes

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16-06-22 Day 87  Astoria – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America              2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

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Thanks For Reading!!!!!!!!

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There is a pulling at me to stay, go slow, take it all in……..  Breath…….   It is the first day of summer, completing one segment, commencing the next….

Fully repacked with my Northern Tier maps from Bill and Iva, my Bike Angels back in Virginia. I was on my way to Astoria. It is crazy, So excited to be completing the #TransAmerica and contimplating starting the #NorthernTier.  Within fifteen minutes of pedaling out of Seaside, I am off the beaten path. in the country.. No cars racing by…. No worries watching my mirrors…..

So Nice..

Fort Clatsop, The camp where Lewis and Clark waited out the harsh Pacific Northwest winter was right on the bike route so it was time to become a tourist. I criss crossed their epic journey once I passed the Mississippi River.  Same as hiking the CDT in 2015.  So cool…

The ride into Astoria was surreal. Present and in my head… Excited, dreaming of the future and reflecting on the past.. Mentally I am in a great place.. So different than last year…

I rode to the Maritime Museum,  the terminus and a place to dip my tire.. Another mile and it was complete.   Katherine took my picture and it was back to the Bouy Beer House to celebrate. Bikers Dennis from Germany and Steffan from the UK were waiting for their bus to Portland.. Beers and Cheers.. In the moment.

A Perfect Day!!!                                                     A Perfect Completion!!!!                  So Happy and Blessed                                       Thank You!!!

Norblad Hotel/Hostel

Seaside. OR to Astoria. OR                               24 miles

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16-06-21 Day 86 Zero – Mark Trail Bikes

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16-06-21 Day 86 Zero – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America                2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I made my favorite breakfast.. Crispy Bacon, Greasy Fried Eggs, and Crunchy Toast…

Neil returned from his morning swim. He retired from the local school as a counselor and track coach.. He knows the community well and the community knows him…

I studied the maps, wrote, and went back to bed for some much needed rest…

A zero milage day is always filled with chores, I cleaned the chain and popped my tube adding air. Always a risk…

Back to the store for some salmon and veggies for a big biker dinner.. No one was there to share so I ate it ALL myself… Bummer..

I walked to see the sunset but the horizon was cloud filled.   No worries….. Maybe on the next spin…    Love it and in no hurry to bike north..

Seaside, OR                                                     0 miles

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16-06-20 Day 85 Neil – Mark Trail Bikes

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16-06-20 Day 85 Neil – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America              2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Again my goal was an early start. Coming out of the shower Carl asked if I wanted a cup of coffee..  Carl and Candy are from Albany OR and are on vacation… What can we do for you??  Gosh Really? ??   So nice.. Great sharing….

Tha ride was along the coast. Up to a bluff……  Down to the ocean… Up to a bluff….. Down to the ocean.. Emily and I solved all the life issues of the day in Manzanita’s city sidewalk… Since we will never meet again it is so easy to share what’s up.. Only if life was so easy… Or is it and we make it hard..  With all our search for more….

In Seaside, OR, Neil is a warm shower host.. A special one.. Come share my home. I might be there…. I might not… You are welcome..  I am thankful…

Thanks Neil for being my post office and holding my maps and passport for part 2 of my adventure….

Seaside, OR was so cool I decided to take a zero… There is a walkway along the ocean front filled with vacationing smiles… Lots of shops and hangouts…. Another day in the life…

Nehalem Bay State Park to                                   Seaside, OR

24 miles

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16-06-19 Day 84 Cheese – Mark Trail Bikes

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16-06-19 Day 84 Cheese – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America            2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Michelle is an amazing Mom… Balancing a career and managing a family.. She loaded me up with breakfast and then the bike with food… Fresh Fruit and Coffee…..

The ride to Tillamook was over one mountain and quickly to the Cheese Factory for lunch… It was cheese this and cheese that.. Cheese is a big part of our diet..  I am lactose intolerant and have lactase pills to aid in digestion… My body craves dairy and I appreciate the ability to partake..

Riding along the coast eye candy around every turn. I stopped here to look. Here to hike down to the beach. Missed hiking that trail.. Oh how I must return to explore…… Maybe the Oregon Coast Trail….. Passed a couple who were bolting due to lots of road walking… Humm…

Rode to Rockaway Beach, Manhattan Beach, Wheeler, Nehalem and finally Nehalem Bay State Park…. Camped with the Bikers… Everyone biking south….

Shared the sunset with a couple from Holland, Steffan and Annika.. Biking with road maps only… So intetesting…..

Cape Lookout State Park to.                     Nehalem Bay State Park

47.5 miles

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16-06-18 Day 83 The Pacific – Mark Trail Bikes

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16-06-18 Day 83 The Pacific – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America.             2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I woke up early ready to get an early start but Don had a different plan. “Could you answer some questions I have for you? ” Sure..                Don and Ellen downsized and are traveling the country in a RV… I hope to transition to some sort of home on wheels this fall.. We talked about life on the road… So cool…. Ellen made me breakfast and I was pedaling West..                                 I was looking forward to second breakfast in Rose Lodge when I was directed to The Otis Cafe..  I had no idea that the cafe was famous and by luck I missed a turn and was off route. I had German potatoes with spinich, mushrooms, sausage and tons of cheese piled high…. Yummy…                     Back on route I could get glimpses of the Pacific after I passed Neskowin. The route turned north. There was a bluff on my left as i was biking to Oretown where the view of the Pacific Ocean opened up.. I was in tears of joy… Wow, Eighty Three days… All the memories of all the Awesome new friends that helped me along the journey….. and our time shared….. I wished we could all be together now to celebrate our Day…..

Thank You!!!!

After a few pictures it was time to continue north. Stopped in Pacific City to buy food for dinner and biked to Cape Lookout State Park. The Biker campsite was nice but I wanted to sleep with a view of the Ocean.. I scouted it out and met Bill, Michelle and family who had a Group campsite on the beach bluff…. You guessed it…  “We have plenty of room” … Family time.  I was invited to dinner and was able to set my tent up overlooking the Pacific. I am so blessed…  We all watched the golden sun set into the expensive ocean. Thank you so much!!!

Grand Ronde to.                               Cape Lookout State Park

54 miles

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16-06-17 Day 82 Anticipation – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-17 Day 82  Anticipation – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Kim and Mark were up early and welcomed me with Coffee, French Toast with fresh picked cherries.. Mark and Kim biked the Trans Am last year and have been all over the US biking.. So cool to hear of all their stories…

With directions to get back on the route I headed north. I switched to Section 1. the last of 12 sections of maps… So exciting… The route was through fertile pasture land.. Lewisburg, Adair Village, Manmouth, and Clow Corner. There was a nice bike path to Rickreall west of Salem. The route turned west on 22 and headed to the coast… I stopped at a Casino in Valley Junction and got a bite as the wind picked up. Grand Ronde was a small town with a campground where I called it a day… Looking forward to see the Pacific tomorrow. …

Corvallis, OR to Grand Ronde

48 miles

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16-06-16 Day 81 Lavender and Clover – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-16 Day 81 Lavender and Clover – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The tent was soaking wet. I was dry thank you #MSRhubbahubba. I rode over to the diner and had a vegetarian omelet with sausage.  Need the veggies…  ….. and FAT..

Loaded up, Contacts in and off to Map section 1, the last of 12… I also passed the 4,000 mile mark and a change in landscape.

Kim and her Husband Mark bicycled the Trans Am last year and are Warm Shower Hosts.  I texted Kim to arrange to meet at the New Morning Bakery. Oh My. Kim, with a welcoming hug and being in a bakery, I thought I was in heaven. So many delicious choices…” I’ll have it all please”..  I settled for Vegetables with some pizza dough under there somewhere..  Super Yum…

We rode a few miles to their home where we shared our life stories of biking and adventuring…  We live in a wonderful country… Thank You Kim and Mark for a delicious Fresh Cherry topped pancake visit…

Walterville, Or to Corvallis, OR

55 miles

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16-06-15 Day 80 McKenzie Pass – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-15 Day 80 McKenzie Pass – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Kirk was up early and so was I.. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, my favorite. And a pound of bacon at that…. It was so nice to meet Kirk… I heard so much about him from She-ra it was nice to put it all together.

She-ra drove me back to Sisters and I was on the road by 8:30 am Awesome!

Roger, a touring bicyclist rode up just as I was riding out of town and warned me of the dangerous condition on McKenzie Pass.. Snow, Wind, and Ice.  I asked if he rode it.. “No”  Humm?????  It was a beautiful day and I was pumped to climb the 2,000 ft to where I hiked over the pass in 2012 while hiking the #pacificcresttrail (PCT). The road is still closed from the winter season so the climb was most enjoyable (No Traffic) .. John, from Portland,  rode up along side and asked to ride along… Sure..  The climb went by quickly and an expansive view appeared at Windy Pass. .. Mt Washington and lots of Cascade Peaks. WOW.. Although there was snow on the ground the weather was perfect!!!! Glad I didn’t listen to Roger, sooth sayer of DOOM…..

We took lots of pictures savoring the moment… John rode back to Sisters and I to McKenzie Bridge. . I stopped at a cafe and heard that Jerry had stayed there last night having been frozen going over the pass the day before… Sad.

I was planning on visiting Mark and Kim, Warm Shower Hosts, in Corvallis, Or on Thursday so I needed to ride some miles. Since I was biking down hill from 5,000 ft to 1,000 ft I cruised.. I stopped a few time to shove in some fuel and soon was in Walterville as it started to Rain.. Sure rain in the North West. Absolutely! !!   Camped at the Walterville Pond parking lot…  as it rained all night…

Thank You She-ra and Kirk for hosting me and  a restful visit. So nice to connect.

Sisters, Or to Walterville, Or

78 miles

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16-06-14 Day 79 She-Ra – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-14 Day 79 She-Ra – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I could hear the irrigation system working it’s way around the campground and was waiting for a rude wake-up call. I moved my bike and got it ready just in case…  but the tent area was hand watered… Yea…

I promised Orlando I would make him hot water in the morning since he wouldn’t get out of his tent for Chocolate Peanut butter ice cream last night.. He’s from UK and an engineer so stay within the lines..  He was taking a few days off and working on his laptop… Such a small world… We shared stories and I was off to Sisters, 40 miles away.

I follow #adventurecycling’s maps and have the route on my phone to check to see if I am on route.. As I was leaving Prineville the road numbers weren’t obvious so I checked. Yep, on route. 13 miles later I was looking for a turn north.. And .. I was headed to Redmond.. I’m not going to Redmond… Or so I thought… Now I was.. The Map and GPS are different… No biggie….

Redmond was nice but there was lots of traffic and the route much more hilly… As I biked to Sisters the wind picked up again..  Bummer… I was in contact with She-ra who I hiked a section of the #continentialdividetrail (CDT) with last year.. She lives in Bend and was going to meet me for dinner at 5:00…. I was cold and tired so I stopped at the Sisters Saloon for coffee and wait. I thought about riding up to McKenzie Pass at night but between the wind and cloud covered mountain I decided to look for a place to stay…. She-ra sent me a text that we were going back to Bend so we could have dinner with Kirk her boyfriend.   OH  Super Yea…

We had a lot to catching up to do. She-ra works for the Oregon Desert Trail organization creating a trail from scratch… WOW an amazing job to create something from nothing. Hummm…..

Kirk was home so we went out to eat, stopped by the grocery store, made popcorn and off to sleep…. Pack Filled Day…..

Prineville, Or. To Sisters, Or

40 miles

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16-06-13 Day 78 Ochoco Pass – Mark Trail Bike

16-06-13 Day 78 Ochoco Pass – Mark Trail Bike

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was six miles all downhill to Mitchell.. Whoopee…. I like getting into town early for breakfast..  It was fifty miles and Ochoco with a 1,500 ft climb to Prineville. So I stopped into the grocery store…  Oh boy, it was like stepping into a black hole. I asked about a sandwich and I couldn’t get out of the store quick enough…. You wonder about life and why people are so grumpy…

Down the street to the Sidewalk Cafe, Daleen was shining bright.. Well with a little help from the big Smile on my face and a hungry stomach.

Jerry was there biking WEST…. wow the first Trans Am biker to past me.  I had no idea there was a west bound race also…  So crazy..  I congratulated him and asked a lot of questions. Did you see this?  Nope…  Did you see that?…. Nope….. I thought I was rushing across our country…..

I charged up, filled up, got a sandwich to go and started pedaling up hill… When I was two miles from the top, a pick up truck passed so slowly. …. It was Ken, from Portland, who I camped with along the Snake River… He stopped and told me all about his adventures with a bear and camped on top of a mountain with a expansive vista. He asked if I needed anything and off he drove..

As I started the descent down, the wind increased up….  kind of a balance.. Then the freshly chip sealed road….. That’s means … Freshly Graveled…  When I reached Prineville with 16 mph head winds I called it a day. First Taco Bell, then Crossroads Grill, IGA for ice cream and to the city park for sleep..  All the tent sites were taken so I slept on a cabin’s porch…   Nice…

Keys Creek Summit to Prineville, Or

54 miles

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16-06-12 Day 77 Perfect Day – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-12 Day 77 Perfect Day – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The forecast was for low winds and low 70s. Perfect….  Josh, Anna and I met at the local cafe for breakfast… What interesting conversation. Sweden is very different than the US as far as social programs.. High unemployment and High taxes, 30%…  Anna thinks everyone should receive a minimum income regardless of work. Since there are more workers than than there is work to do. Or  limit the work day so that everyone can work, say 25 hours. So different….

The day laid out to towns 14, 10 and 20 miles apart then 40 so I had two breakfasts and Pie in the afternoon. A wonderful ride through Picture Gorge and then battle the Sunday night traffic up to Keys Creek Summit… Truck after truck with various attachments would not move over… I watch the left front tires in my mirror and if they don’t cross the yellow line I am in danger…..  If there in a dropoff on my right I stop…. And look at the drivers….. No sholder.. No place for me to move over except the gravel….  Crazy…  It must be the Sunday Night after the weekend..

Found a unlocked gate and found a place to camp…. Purple filled to sky as the sun set…. Yummy….

Prairie City To Keys Creek Summit                            78 miles

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16-06-11 Day 76 Josh – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-11 Day 76 Josh – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I could hear the rain hitting the roof and was thankful to be inside.. I had 6 more passes till I reach the coast and 3 today.. Sampter, Tipton, and Dixie….. So time to start early..

Julie offered to take me to the store since it was 50 miles to Austin Junction, the only stop along the route….

Thank you Wil and Julie for opening your home to me…..

Oregon is full of trees and bikers… More trees but lots of bikers all headed East with all kinds of starting and ending points from everywhere including Italy!!!

I met Josh in 2011 while hiking the AT in Pennsylvania.. Now traveling to Missoula he traveled along the Trans Am to meet up… As I was riding down from Dixie Pass we met…. Great timing.  Anna from Sweden was camping in the City Park along with Gail and Annie.

Great conversation and off to dreamland

Baker City to Prairie City                                    64 miles

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16-06-10 Day 75 Baker City – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-10 Day 75 Baker City – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was cool and breezy all night..  So nice. I sat in my sleeping bag sipping mocha as the sun rose. I was in no hurry since it was kinda a rest day with only 15 miles to Baker City…

The ride took me by The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.. To bad it didn’t open till later.. I did stop and see the ruts the wagon trains made as they traveled west….. Just like me…. But I left the rut behind……..

First stop, Safeway.. There were four bikers there headed east. Jeremy, Nicole, Cali, and Annie all headed East to Yorktown..  Seems so far away…

Next McDonald’s to look at maps and do the Social Media thing..  Nice to catch up with friends back home….

Warm Showers Host Will called at 4:30 and I weaved my way through Baker City to a welcoming hand shake. Will has lots of bikes and a Surly LHT just like Silver ready for his next trip…  Julie came home and we had stir fry for dinner… Shower, Laundry, Check the tires for air, Blog….. With all the chores done it was off to bed… Cheers…

S. Baker City to Baker City

15 miles

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16-06-06 Day 71  Hot – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-06 Day 71  Hot – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I set up the tent under the baseball dugout to avoid dew but didn’t think the sprinkler spray would be a problem…. Wrong…..  Oh well…

Back to the Kooskia Cafe for a vegetable omlette and to load up with water.. The forecast was for 90°. Oh boy here we go…

I pedaled the four miles to Stites and started to climb.. The sweat was pouring out of me and I was through my first bottle in the first six miles.. I had twenty to go before Grangeville… The climb was so steep I had to walk the bike for the first time on the trip….

I was completely worn out 2 miles from Grangeville and found a covered, shady gun range. Spread out and fell asleep..

Rode into town to the grocery store and watered up.  There was a long climb up and a fast ride down to the Silver Dollar Saloon in White Bird.   Dollar Twenty-five Beers .. No where in America can you buy a beer at that price.. The diner was closed, the grocery was closed, I was hungry.  “Can I clean anyone’s home for some food?”.  Renee went home, made turkey sandwiches and heated up chili for us… SO AWESOME!!!!   WOW…  White Bird Town Park

Kooskia to White Bird, ID
41 miles

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16-06-05 Day 70 Surfing- Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-05 Day 70 Surfing- Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the Trans America
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The tent and sleeping bag were wet due to camping out in the open and next to a raging snow melt filled river… Uggg…..

The day was all downhill without any services… No bathroom to put in my contacts..  Just another day in paradise.

I met Daniel getting ready to start his day pedaling up the river.. Well at least he had the wind at his back.. He has been on the road for 14 MONTHS…    Now that’s WOW….

all over the country…   He is truly a ROCKSTAR…

We talked for a half hour, prayed and biked on..

I found a bathroom at a historic ranger station on rt 12 about half way between Lolo Pass and Kooskia. The road was a path at one point.. The historic passage of Lewis and Clark and the Nez Perce Indians.  Lots of geology and history…

There is ONE wave in the Lochas River that you can SURF.. . Really… Joe and the boys were fresh water surfing.  Another eye opening experience.. On to Kooskia Cafe for dinner and the sprinkler filled City Park for bed..

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs to Kooskia
76 miles

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16-06-04 Day 69 Hot Springs – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-04 Day 69 Hot Springs – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I could hear Paul upstairs so it was time to get back on the trail. We had bacon and eggs. Yummy. …

With all the bags packed, We loaded Silver into Paul’s truck for a short ride to Lolo where the Trans Am continues west to Idaho. Goodbye Paul, Karen, Laurie, Mike, and Adventure Cycling!!!   THANK YOU!!

Travelers Rest state park is the only Site where evidence of Lewis and Clark’s camp has been found.. I guess that means someone either found their trash or something they lost…

12 is a tight two lane road up to Lolo Pass and the state of Idaho. Yes.. 3,300 miles and state number 9…. WOO HOO…..

There are hot springs all along the route but timing just doesn’t quite work out but tonight it did. Hiked a mile to Jerry Johnson to the best natural hot spring…  warm and soothing… Back to the trail head to sleep…

Missoula, Mt to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

56 miles

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16-06-03 Day 68 Rattlesnake – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-03 Day 68 Rattlesnake – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Paul and Karen were up early as Karen was headed out to hike a section of her dream. I got up to see them off and went back to bed… I needed rest…

I had use of their town car so off to the PO to mail off some packages and meet Laurie for lunch at the bakery…. Again Thank You Laurie….

We drove to Rattlesnake. the  wilderness just out of town where we did a short hike up the canyon… Lots of people enjoying the outdoors…

Back in Missoula the town was preparing for first Fridays an evening open house for businesses. Bands were playing, the weather was comfortable. Perfect. I drove back to Paul’s to clean up and back into town…. We strolled the bustling town and met Laurie for dinner…

Back to Paul’s for ice cream and bed.

Wooah….. What a DAY…. of Rest!

Missoula, Mt
0 miles

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16-06-02 Day 67 Missoula – Mark Trail Bikes

16-06-02 Day 67 Missoula – Mark Trail Bikes

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was a short ride into town so I stopped at McDees to charge up and wait for the Bike shop to open. Maya my bike angel from Berea, KY introduced me to Laurie, a 2015 Trans Am biker living in Missoula… Who introduced me to Mike at the Bike Hanger.

The first stop, Adventure Cycling Organization to pick up my new tires and cassett. Jeff gave me a welcoming tour and introduced me to the staff…. Wow…

Mike did the tune up in a jiff and then biked over to Harvest Bakery to meet Laurie and get my hair cut at Dan’s Barbour Shop.

Laurie was so attentive knowing what it’s like being on the road…. Thank You!!!

Back to Adventure Cycling to sign up for a life membership,  buy some gifts, and look into the possibility of becoming a tour guide… What am I going to be when I grow up?

I met Karen while she was road walking/backpacking to Big Hole Pass . Her goal is to hike the length of Montana her way…  WOW…  Another hiker with passion …  She invited me to stay with her and Paul while in Missoula… SO NICE… I pedaled the eight miles to their home and met Paul as I rode into their driveway… “Ready for a beer?” Again and Again.  so welcoming….

Karen made dinner and Paul and I went to pick up Laurie..  Hiking, Biking stories entertained us while we shared the evening..

What a DAY!!

Florence, MT to Missoula, Mt
28 miles

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16-06-01 Day 66 June – Mark Trail

16-06-01 Day 66 June – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Linda & Phil were up early making breakfast… With hosting Warm Shower Bikers and Air BnB guests seems like a lot on their plate…

Phil was quick out the door to milk their Goat…  “Do you want to milk her?” “Absolutely”. Such and amazing process.. Phil – Milk, Sterilize, Linda – Strain, Chill… Team Work…..

Phil left to load up some lumber. I was in no hurry since I was exposed to so many new ways of life. “Do you want to drive up to the saddle on our 4×4 ATV?” Sure…

Wow, I had no idea how much fun it was.. Up, up. Up…  The expansive view made me think about Montana…. Maybe a home for me sometime….

By 11:30 Linda gave me a ham sandwich, a hug and I continued riding down the gentle grade towards Missoula.. There were valleys carved into the mountains on my left that you could hear the Mountains calling, ” come hike”. There was a bike path that started in Victor.. NICE.. no worries about traffic.. Maybe a night ride since I started so late…

I stopped and talked to the residents and asked about living in This valley….  Montanans love Montana….By the time I arrived in Florence it was dark…. I looked for a place to camp and found the Baptist Church’s playground… Home sweet Home……

N. Sula to Florence, MT
58 miles

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16-05-31 Day 65 Nez Pierce – Mark Trail

16-05-31  Day 65 Nez Pierce – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The tent was covered with frost with no wind..  Jackson was 10 miles away, all downhill so I could wait for coffee and breakfast…   I bundled up and enjoyed the ride… So different without wind… Zoom….

Jackson was still asleep.. The only place  open was Shepard’s Garage…  No coffee but a fine bathroom..  Oatmeal and Banana and on to Wisdom…  Nice and flat.  I could bike at 12 miles per hour… It has been a long time since there was light winds…..

Darby at the Big Hole Crossing made sure I was well taken care of..  Coffee…  Breakfast…. I had a stomachache for some reason and now all better….

Next stop Big Hole Battlefield Monument. .. It was more like a massacre…  Last year while hiking the Continental Divide Trail I drank from  the same springs as Lewis and Clark and then the Nez Pierce Indians…. I wonder what Lewis and Clarke and Sacajawea  would think of what our government did to the Indians  after their  great expedition.

As I climbed to Chief Joseph Pass so did the wind…..  By now I am used to it.. Just breathe it out…

Memories, Memories…. Flop finished his 2015 CDT adventure at the pass… A strong hiking partner that made each day special  with his elevated attitude….. And Huge smile… THE FLOPSTER…..  Thank you…..

Linda and Phil are Warm Showers hosts near Sula the stop for the day… I look forward to time shared with family…  A balance between living out there and our country’s culture….  So nice..   As simple as time shared around the dinner table…

Raider, the family German Shepard and all 13 Goats….Milk and Meat…..  Goat milk, Hot Tub and another visitor, Brenna from Minneapolis…   So incredible…..

Big Hole Pass to N. Sula
72 miles

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16-05-30 Day 64 Big Hole Pass – Mark Trail

16-05-30 Day 64 Big Hole Pass – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Erin, Alyce, and Lisa  all met at Ely Minnesota’ s Outward Bound program. They are on a SEVEN month adventure paddling the longest river system to the Gulf of Mexico… We talked of paddling the Boundary Waters and adventuring….  The Beaver heart River and the Trans America.. Crossroads…

I was thinking of making some miles but with 11  mph winds in the face and two passes I was just let the day playout…

When I got to Dillon I knew I couldn’t make it the 50 miles to Jackson so I filled up with 3 liters of water so there was no pressure to make it anywhere…..

The climb to Badger Pass was as expected.. Wind and Elevation…. No worries….

It was getting late and nine miles to Big Hole Pass so I started looking for a place to camp at the same time thinking it would be nice to set up for a downhill ride into Jackson for breakfast.

As I was pedaling downhill there was a Hiker walking the road…  Karen from Missoula was connecting two mountain ranges.. “What’s you name?” ” Mark Trail…. ” . I’ve read your blog on trail journals. … Really? … Very humbling. …  I need to learn about off trail backpacking….  So much to learn….

As I got closer to the climb to Big Hole Pass the more I wanted to camp on top..  Push and there was an amazing place to rest for the night.. My favorite spot up above the road….

Twin Bridges, Mt to Big Hole Pass
62 miles

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16-05-29  Day 63  Gold – Mark Trail

16-05-29  Day 63  Gold – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was nice to sleep in. Marc went to take care of his brother and Cece made breakfast.. So nice to sit at a kitchen table sharing life…

It was time to drive the two hours back to Ennis. I napped again to get the most out of the rest full visit… So special. So short…..

THANKS! Marc and Cece for going way out of your way to visit…

Back on the bike my legs felt great..  So the 2,000 ft climb up to a un named pass was manageable.. I stopped several times to take in the view….. And some oxygen…. Two hours to climb 8 miles… 15 minutes to ride to Virginia City 6 miles down….

Since it was Memorial Day weekend the town was full of Gold Rush Tourists… Lots of history and lots of people. .. Instead of the typical mining they ground up the river bed and separated the gold and left miles of piles of rock……

Nevada City, Alder, Sheridan and on to Twin Bridges were the town was all closed up. I stayed at the City Biker Camp….. So Nice

Ennis to Twin Bridges, Mt
42 miles

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16-05-28 Day 62  Helena – Mark Trail

16-05-28   Day 62    Helena – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

As usual, I awoke at 5:30… Caught up on my blog and made coffee….. Knock, Knock… Sleeping Beauties!!!.. Coffee in bed. Then to the diner for breakfast… Marc asked if I had plans. Well yes and no… “Do you want to come to Helena and have steaks? …..” ” Sure.. ”

Since we were up so late I slept in the car for the two hour ride.  Again I took a nap in the afternoon at their home. I cleaned the chain on Silver and washed ALL my cloths…. Rested my legs and ate a massive steak dinner. Just what my body needed after Wyoming….

Triple Chocolate Cake and Drumstick Ice cream to top it off.. A most excellent day indeed…. Thank You Marc and Cece!!! and Annie their Springer Spaniel dog…..

Helena, MT
0 miles

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16-05-27 Day 61 Earthquake – Mark Trail

16-05-27  Day 61  Earthquake  – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Silver was chilling white with frost as I got out of the tent. Started breakfast and it started to rain…. Oh….. Boy…..   I unpacked my sleeping bag and crawled back in. It was cold, rainy, and I was worn out…..   At 8:00 it let up and off we rode..  Dylan and Marty caught up at a display along Hebgen lake..  Little did I know that I was going to get a lesson on geology today…  on August 17, 1959 a 7.5 earthquake shook the valley causing 80 million tons of rock to slide into the Madison river channel. Camps were buried and the creation of earthquake lake…

I stopped at Quake Lake visitor center to eat lunch and dry out the tent… The clouds were getting blacker and I prepared for the worse… There was a rest stop half way to Cameron where I was able to dodge the hail and rain but my luck ran out…  Yep…….

I was happy to arrive in Ennis. You can camp behind the Willis Distillery so I rode across the street to eat and charge the phone.

Steve walked up as I was parking and said he was biking the Trans Am west to east… GREAT… We talked about all the fun parts of living on the bicycle path of life….

I had been keeping in contact with Marc and Cece since I met them while hiking the CDT last year… They knew I was getting close to Ennis and wanted to visit… I checked my phone and at 9:30 pm they were 5 minutes away… No way…. WOW… we stayed up till midnight catching up ….. Friends….. Just at the right time..

Bakers Hole Campground to Ennis, Wy

62 miles

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16-05-26 Day 60 Bison – Mark Trail

16-05-26 Day 60 Bison – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The Inn was quiet at 5:30 am… Quite peaceful from the hussle and bustle of the years of tourists coming and going. The oldest National Park and the original classic Park Inn…

I wrote Post Cards and sat and obsorbed.. Dylan was up and it was time to hit the Breakfast Buffet for another feedathon. We took our time walking among the hot pools of water…. Boiling hot… All so beautiful……. Luring and deadly…..  life……

I was pedaling north to Madison at 1:00 then west to West Yellowstone… The Bison could care less about me or the cars…  There were newly born baby bisons…. Nursing……

Again amazing…

Soon the rain returned and I cruised along the Madison River into West Yellowstone.

State eight as I entered Montana…. WoW…… I needed to pick up a replacement for my Mountain Hardware jacket. The zipper was broken and is an important part of my gear.. Clint from UPS and Ben from Freeheel and Wheel helped me receive my jacket…  Lots of coordination to pick up a box. Unfortunately I ordered the wrong size andour needed to sent it back.  Made it to the post office as they were closing for the night… Another distraction that is just part of the game… Dylan and Marty rode into town with great stories of their ride from McGeyser….

It was the start of Memorial Day weekend and the town was packed full… We ate first dinner at the Pizza Joint as the storm clouds built..  Then to McDonald’s for second dinner as the rain storm blew by. It finally cleared and we headed north at 9:30 pm and made it to Bakers Hole Campground. It was full so we tented by a bear storage bin  as the rain fell…..

Old Faithful To West Yellowstone
35 miles

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16-05-25 Day 59 Old Faithful – Mark Trail

16-05-25 Day 59 Old Faithful – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The wet slushy snow made the tent sag and the drops off the tree above made me want to sleep in… But…… The lure of hot steamy water blasting into the air every few hours drew me out into the snow…. I packed up quickly and pedaled over the Snake River back to the Flagg Campground for a shower. The place was empty so I pulled the bike into the bathroom and made the place feel like home….well sorta….

Dylan showed up as I was leaving. And the rain started… The Park Ranger said the Lewis Gorge was slushy and to be careful….. Ok…   Then it began to Snow…. A LOT… wow…biking in Yellowstone in a snowstorm. …

And the passing cars… With no sholders…. I had my wet freezing hands full as I climbed to the Continental Divide. Weather, Traffic, and climbing….   Biking past Lewis Lake and on to Grants Village.  Bird & Curtissann who manage the camp store in Grants Village, humored me and said they remembered Moonwalker and me as we hiked through on the CDT last July.. We made ourselves comfortable as we warmed up for the next 20 miles to Old Faithful…  Two more crossings of the Continental Divide and it was all downhill to the Old Geyser.

We were able to squeeze into a special room in the Old Faithful Inn.. The blaster was spewing hot water into the air and everyone was amazed including me.. Oh the world and country we live in……    Every Day…….

There was a prime rib buffet that called out our name..  It is hard to get filled up on a typical serving so buffets while not my optimal choice in dining normally is the bomb on the road…  As the time drifted away, so did the tourists and the sound of the pianist filled the main room and peace returned… So nice ….

I am so thankful to be here, so grateful,  so blessed to be here…  Now……..

Yellowstone NP to Old Faithful Inn
42 miles

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16-05-24 Day 58 Togwotee Pass – Mark Trail

16-05-24  Day 58 Togwotee Pass – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The climb of 2,600 ft to Togwotee Pass at 9,658 ft and little winds encouraged me to get an early start but coffee at 7:00 am won out. By 8:00 I was climbing, 30 miles to the pass… UP, Up, Up…. It started to snow pellets which was cool… Then the sun came out as we crested the pass… Time for PB and Bagels….

As we began out decent, the Grand Tetons rose in the distance… Breath taking as I sped down the 6% grade at 38 miles per hour… Zoom Zoom…  We met up at Moran Junction, snacked and pedaled into Grand Teton National Park.. The rain started and the mountains disappeared. We wanted to save money for a fancy stay in Old Faithful so we passed on the Grand Teton park hotels.. It started to rain again while we snacked at the Colter Bay gas station…. Bike on 15 miles or stay in some shelter somewhere…   Bike on…  Paul said we couldn’t tent camp at Flagg Ranch so it was back into Grizzly country to Sheffield Creek. The only problem was a 1 foot deep raging creek…. Back up the hill with no food protection and fast to sleep as the pitter patter sound of rain that turned to snow…

Dubois, WY to Yellowstone NP
81 miles

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16-05-23 Day 57  Dubois – Mark Trail

16-05-23 Day 57  Dubois – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I knew there was Togwotee Pass at 9,658 ft to cross north of Dubois so I planned to get into Dubois early and rest for the 2,600 ft climb tomorrow. Unfortunately the wind along the WIND River had a different plan.

The sunrise was fun to watch from my sleeping bag sipping on coffee… As I was packing up, the wind picked up… .. I pedaled two miles to the rest area and who was there? Marty and Dylan,!!!!! Yesterday Marty got a flat and walked to the rest stop… If they didn’t have any problems I would never have seen them again. After Marty and Dylan left, I enjoyed the rest area, cleaning up and putting in my contacts. Ben was the maintenance man and did a great job…  As I left, the ride slowed to a crawl…. They don’t call the winds the winds for nothing. Soon I could see Marty on the side of the road….. Flat tire? “Nope…. My pedal broke” Wow…..We are in the middle of nowhere…. There is nothing I can do to help….  I rode on and met Dylan in Crowheart. Welcome to Crowheart on one sign. Welcome to Crowheart on the back….. New Plan. Marty would hitch a ride to Dubois and Dylan and I would ride on.  The wind wouldn’t quit.. Turn left… Wind in face…. Turn right……..  WIND in the face…  As we pedaled into Dubois it started to rain/hail. We made it just in time to the Cowboy Cafe where Dianne served Cheeseburger Soup to warm us up… Where’s Marty?…. Marty rides up on his bike.. REALLY?,? A guy in Crowheart put a bolt into the pedal so Marty could pedal… That’s a mouth full….

We filled our faces, walked the town, and filled our faces again… Ready for Togwotee…

N Fort Washakie to Dubois, WY
42 miles

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16-05-22 Day 56  Raven – Mark Trail

16-05-22 Day 56  Raven – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

No need to get up early, Raven was coming from Pinedale, two hours away, to meet me. Dylan and Marty were still sleeping when I biked across the street to McDees to do the morning thing.

I started hiking the CDT on the Mexican border with Raven in 2015. He is an Eagle Scout and loved to pick up trash so we had a lot in common. We hiked New Mexico off and on together, then Colorado, again in September. Daniel from New Orleans, is volunteering for the Forest Service for the summer came along for the ride. What to do on a Sunday in Lander? All the museums were closed so we drove to the Sinks Canyon State Park. It is where the Popo Agie river drops into a limestone cavern and two hours later rises out of the ground 1/4 mile down the canyon. COOL.

Like all visits it was sad to say goodbye and at 4:00 it was back on Silver and headed north… The wind was pretty manageable and soon I was at Ft Washakie where Sacajwea is buried. The sign didn’t show how far it was so…. I pedaled on.   There was a nice rise where the road was cut into the hill as the road dropped.. My favorite formation to camp. Above the road where I can’t be seen. The sunset was entertaining and sleep came early… Thanks Raven and Daniel…

Lander, WY to N Fort Washakie
23 miles

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16-05-21 Day 55 Really Scared – Mark Trail

16-05-21 Day 55 Really Scared – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The Hubba Hubba shook all night long and I loved it.. Luckily I pitched it just right so I could leave the flaps open so the breeze could keep moisture from building up under the fly..

It was 5:00 am my favorite time to lay awake, sip on hot chocolate with coffee and watch the morning show. The birds were singing and the sun rising behind the clouds…

Amen!

The forecast was for the wind to be out of the south, S, SSW, SW. I was heading North West with some parts north and some west.. There was only one stop as long the route. Jeffery City. Rocky had the coffee ready and holding down the fort.. The kitchen was closed due to the Fire Marshall requiring  $3,000 worth of equipment. You wonder why the small towns are closing up their places to eat. Not enough to keep up…… My one dollar coffee wasn’t going to make Rocky’s day..

I have never ridden a bike in 27 mph wind and will never again. I pushed 53 miles to get to Rt 28 and 287, where the road turned north, 11 miles south of Lander. Shurly with a southern wind the ride into town would be a breeze….. Get it, a breeze?  Well…..  The forecast for Jeffery City is 60 miles south and Lander was a whole different picture.. The wind was blasting to the point I couldn’t keep the bike on the road. The wind must be coming out of the north. At one point I had to walk, the first of the trip. The bike actually flipped up in my hands as wind pushed me onto the shoulder where there was a deep drop off.. I was truly scared… I was three miles from town, my maps had blown away somewhere, and I had no idea as to what I was doing…

The road crested a hill and turned east, I could ride.. The local police said I might get some help reprinting my maps at the Lander Inn. Judy was so nice, “Would you like some coffee?, Here are some local maps”.

I met Jodi and Braiden from NYC, at the Gannett Grill, the local burger bar. Jodi had just retired and Braiden had just graduated from college.. Road trip across the country to see the sights and share time together before starting their next…  What ever that is….. Amazing. …

I texted Dylan, the bikers from boulder, to see how they were. They had an extra bed so instead of camping in the city park it was the Holiday Lodge…

N Muddy Gap to Lander, WY
64 miles

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16-05-20  Day 54 Dad – Mark Trail

16-05-20  Day 54 Dad – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I knew it was going to be a great day. Dad’s Birthday.  Memories of all the times we shared would fill my mind as I pedaled..

The forecast was for 10 to 20 mph winds from the SSE, S, SSW… The route was 20 miles North, 20 miles West, and the balance North West….  finally a day being pushed from behind…

I fried the bacon and eggs just like my Dad would every Sunday. It was the day my Dad would cook and my Mom would take a break…. Brandon made coffee and we sat at the kitchen table and shared life…. Precious….

Thank You Brandon and Sam for opening your home and hearts for Bikers……

As I expected the ride north was a breeze… Literally…. At Walcott I turned west and a different story. I passed the Sinclair Gas refinery and Sinclair Gas station in Sinclair, Wy. Yup…. Then Rawlins…… Again Memories..

Here is where I skipped up to as I was hiking the Continental Divide Trail last June with Moonwalker to hike north and again in September to finish and hike south.

As I biked the wind seemed calm, but when I stopped to pee it was blasting… I could feel the gentle encouragement guiding me along my path. Just like my Dad………..

Thank you Dad, I love you and miss you……

Saratoga to N Muddy Gap
101 miles

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16-05-19 Day 53  Saratoga – Mark Trail

16-05-19    Day 53  Saratoga – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I loved my campsite, up on a knoll with the sound of Big Creek’s snow melt rushing to the sea…  This is part of the bike trip I have been missing.. With the Trans America Bike Route’s 40th anniversary, the towns along the way have made accommodations for the bikers to stay in town and for good reasons.  Econony…. Tourism is life to some of the small towns.. Camp, Shower. It has been very accommodating.. Now I am looking forward to switch and do more camping in Wyoming along the route… YEA!

Today was split into two sections, one to Riverside/Encampment and the balance to Saratoga. I called ahead to arrange to stay at warm showers host Brandon and Sam’s home to rest. Colorado was challenging and I could feel it.. Also the wind was forecasted to be in my face and slow going…. Just the way it is…

As I turned north from Riverside the road was all ground up and rough.. NICE.. Wind and Rough surface… 6 miles later they were paving. ” George will be here in a minute to give you a ride in the truck around the equipment” . Excuse me… I don’t think that will work… I’m biking. With a short discussion with George he agreed that 8,500 mile trip should not be 8,498 and a 2 mile ride in a truck.. He followed me as I pedaled as hard as I could the two miles.. Thanks George for being flexible.

I met Brandon at the High School, at noon, where he taught math. He biked with me to his home and gave me the tour… Shower, Laundry, and the Refrigerator, Bed.  Just what I needed. I did all the chores and went to bed…

Brandon came home from school and Dillon and Marty, Bikers from Boulder were in Riverside where Marty’s bike rack had broken from the gaps in the pavement slamming the bike. When we drove up they were so thankful… Brandon’s friend taught welding at the high school and knew how to weld aluminum… SO LUCKY… Afterwards we went to the Wolf Hotel for dinner. Built in 1898, and still operating as a hotel. The Lions club was meeting and allowed me to look at all the pictures along the walls… A mix from the past and present…   America…

Big Creek Access, WY to Saratoga

39 miles

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16-05-18 Day 52 Wyoming – Mark Trail

16-05-18    Day 52  Wyoming – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was another easy ride to Walden, CO. I stopped at the Moose Creek Cafe to eat and put in my contacts… There was a great display of all the animals that you can see in the wild in the Northern Colorado, even Moose.

It was 1:00 and I pushed on. My plan was to load up with water in Cowden but when I arrived it was a ghost town. ‘Hello, anybody Home?’ Myrtle said sure have as much water as I wanted.  3 liters later I was pushing against the wind. Uphill and Wind in the face……oh..

Soon I arrived to the state border… State number Seven and 2,500 miles..  Wyoming!

Found a place to camp where paddlers can put in on top of a rock outcrop. Snow capped mountains in the distance while buldging Big Creek raced to the ocean below….

The CDT Muddy Pass to Big Creek Access, WY
58 miles

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16-05-17  Day 51 Last Pass – Mark Trail

16-05-17  Day 51   Last Pass – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was going to be a short 38 miles to Kremmling so we took our time getting up. So nice to have awesome support from friends. It has been over a year since we been together but seemed like yesterday..  We solved all the problems of the world and then some… Marcello’s Honda, Silvia was ready to head west and off they sped…

The route to Kremmling was mostly downhill.  So nice… Just past Henney there was a six mile section of road construction.  Bumpety Bump… Stan and James flagged me along to the baby smooth section they worked on last year… Yummy .

I arrived in Kremmling and decided to load up with water and bike on… The north Colorado mountains shrunk in my mirror as I rolled up to Muddy Pass at 8,772 ft, the last. The Continental Divide Trail is on RT 14 for ten miles. I hiked here in September of last year. This time it was all downhill by bike..  Very Different…     The sky started to darken and the wind turned unfriendly. I found a place off to the side and set up the tent as the drizzle began.  Nice sleeping weather…

Silverthorne, CO. To The CDT Muddy Pass

68 miles

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16-05-16 Day 50  Last Minute – Mark Trail

16-05-16 Day 50  Last Minute – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I looked outside and no snow..  Checked weather bug and the rain was suppose to start around 10:00, so up and out. I carried all my stuff down three flights of stairs including Silver.. I was out of breath before the day even started…..

Thanks David for a Delicious stay… It was an insurance policy that wasn’t needed but mentally got me over Hoosier Pass.

The post office didn’t open till 8:00 so I waited and checked out the town. Right at the foot of the ski resort… Nice.

Marcello who hiked the PCT with me off and on in 2012 was passing through and planned to meet me on his way to California..   He called and said today would be the day… Perfect..   A short day to Silverthorne gave me time to enjoy the bike paths that connect all the towns in the area… Dillon, Silverthorne, Frisco, Copper, and Breckenridge. The only issue that disrupted that wonderful plan was snow…. And LOTS of it..  The last time I rode my bike in show was back in Baldwinsville New York where I delivered newspapers all year by bike… With my hat turned down to protect my face I didn’t get to see much.. Maybe Next Time…..

I stopped in Frisco to warm up and let the weather clear… The trail goes along Dillon Reservoir where I walked while hiking the Continental Divide Trail last september..  Memories fell out of my past like snow flakes.  Everyone so unique…  Humm.

Heather greeted me at the 1st Interstate Inn and I quickly jumped into bed to rest.

Marcello  arrived and the catching up started.. We last saw each other in 2015 in Virginia. Lots has happened since. We have crossed paths over the years even on the road while I biked across the US in 2014. A true friend indeed….. A walk in the rain in Frisco and dinner at the Dam Brewery in Dillon…  The right person, at the right place, at the right time….. Thanks Marcello….

Breckenridge to Silverthorne, CO.
15 miles

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16-05-15 Day 49 Hoosier Pass – Mark Trail

16-05-15 Day 49 Hoosier Pass – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The wind was calm and memories of the wind blew through my mind. Time to move. It was 5:30 and the OPEN sign was on. Tina said she would open between 6:30 and 7:00 so maybe I can get a bite before I leave. Unfortunately my hopes were waisted. Fairplay was 18 miles up the road and I would have to wait to put in my contacts..

The rain started like a tease.. Drop here and there.. The forecast was for rain in the afternoon, after I pedaled over the pass so i had to push….. Soon it was poring. My rain gloves were deep in the clothes bag… I can wait…

As I turned on to RT 285 my hands were numb… The South Fairplay Fire Station was on my left as I had a mile more to get to town… Be smart Mark. So I stopped at the fire station and ran cold water over them to warm up… I was freaking about the rain…. RAIN HERE, SNOW AT 11,000 FT Hoosier Pass. I looked at the maps and weather app and looked to see if there was anyone on the Warm Showers App that could help me. Maria had moved but called a friend David and Lori to rescue me.

As I rolled along North Oak Street looking for their home, David came out, ” You can put your bike into the shed”. The hospitality poured out as the rain fell… So nice to be by a glowing stove full of wood. David made second breakfast as we sat around their kitchen table and talked about life and adventure. Lori teaches at the Monasori School and David does construction on his time. Both love the outdoors that’s why they live in Alma at 10,578 ft. The highest incoporated town in the US.

There was a three hour window and four miles to Hoosier Pass 11,500 ft. the highest point on the Trans Am route… Humm. Let’s go for it…

The pass was clear and had snow covered mountains rising both sides f the road. I took a break to breath it all in…..   The ride to Breckenridge was all downhill… All 12 miles…  Yah Hoo…..

Since the forecast was for snow, I contacted David on Warm Showers in Breckenridge to make it a short day and check out the town.. From his balcony you could see the expansive ski slope… It was calling me….”Come, Come”.   Maybe….

The town was in between tourist seasons so lots of places were closed. We decided to eat in. David made a huge vegetable casserole and local ice cream for desert….

Amazing Day

Hartsel, CO to Breckenridge, CO
39 miles

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16-05-14 Day 48 Going up- Mark Trail

16-05-14 Day 48 Going up- Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The coyotes howled,  “Get up” …. I love sleeping outdoors. The MSR #hubbahubba is a great shelter…. It is free standing which means to can stand by itself… I didn’t put the fly over the top so I could see the stars…   MMMM…..

I knew it was going to be a challenging day from the get go. Up, Up, did I say UP? The grade was wonderful but tiring.

Since I camped I needed a place to put in my contacts. Guffey was a mile off the route and up….. Only one way…  The town was still sleeping at 10:00 except for the Rolling Thunder Cafe.. Someone enjoyed listening to classical piano as I could hear it as I dismounted Silver, my bike… “Incoming” and the music stopped… “Go ahead You can turn it back on” I said. Geordi said she was practicing.. Oh like play along I thought till I saw her playing…. OH MY…

Life couldn’t get any better. Coffee, The most comfortable chair,  and a private concert…

The special was a Green Chili Burrito. Yes OK…. Two hours and the best break a mile off the route all made it worth it….. Thanks Wayne and Geordi!!!

12:15 pm and only 16 miles biked.. The wind didn’t give me a break and gave me all it had. In Hartsel at 42 miles I had given all I had… The wind had it’s way with me …  Crawled into the High Line Saloon where Mike and Tina made sure I was taken care of. I ate a plate full of rice and beans, set up the #Hubba across the street in a field filled with rusting trucks.. and crashed.   I slept till 7:30 and ate dinner number two….
Thank You Mike and Tina!!!

North of Canon City to Hartsel, CO
41.5 miles

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16-05-13 Day 47 Thirteenth – Mark Trail

16-05-13 Day 47 Thirteenth – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Friday the Thirteenth, my lucky day… I am in Colorado and I am starting to climb into the mountains.

I woke up with Rob at 4:30 am and shared breakfast together before he went to work. At 6:45 am Pueblo was walking up… Lots of turns and twists before the climbing started..  It’s Mr huffy and puffy time…..

The first town was Wetmore where the PO was the happening place.. Florence was a lot busier… The traffic was non stop to Canon City….. I loaded up with water and food and started the big climb. The wind was in my face and then shifted around my right side until it started to blast on my back… YES!!!

I rode the wind till 7:30 pm when I saw a great place to sleep on BLM land…. My lucky day…..

Pueblo, CO  To North of Canon City.
65 miles

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16-05-12 Day 46 Pueblo – Mark Trail

16-05-12 Day 46 Pueblo – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

“As long as I can mow the lawn, I will take a rest day” was my reply to Roberts suggestion to stay a day. Dianne agreed so I looked forward to a day with family..

I awoke with Robert and had coffee with him before he went off to his landscaping job. I wrote a little and waited to hear some noise to get up..  Sitting around a breakfast table and sharing life stories filled me up with the social contact much needed in my life… The pancakes supplied my body with nutrition while the stay in a home energized me to continue my ride.

The lawn was small while the gardens were expansive. Dianne loves to garden while Bill is ready to travel in his 2004 travel van. I toured the home on wheels and all the amenities available for mobil comfort..  I am looking forward to a home sometime soon but right now, home is on my bike and I am focusing on being present and letting everyday take care of itself..  No worries, No hurries is my mantra…

We went out for lunch and stopped by the irrigation supply house to get some parts to do lower a sprinkler head.. It was comforting to be able to give back in a small way for all the kindness I have received. The cycle…….

Bill cooked Salmon while Dianne prepared Fruit and Vegetable Salad, rice, sautéed mushrooms, Guacamole, and Salsa.. Artist friends Tom and Jeanie joined us for dinner, on the expansive patio. Robert made it all happen by posting his family’s home on Warm Showers..  Once again, I am truly Blessed…

Pueblo, CO 0 miles

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16-05-11 Day 45 Half Way – Mark Trail

16-05-11 Day 45 Half Way – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Cock a doo dal do.. It was 3:00 am.. Then the neighbors rooster had to let everyone know he was here also… John made his way to Gillians home at 4:30 am, right on time. We slept in a camper trailer in Gillian’s back yard. She has been hosting bikers for years. Her native home is New Zealand, so there was quite the worldly discourse during breakfast.

At 6:00 am John, Dennis, and Gehring biked off and I shorty after.  It was a short day and the forecast had an “E” in the wind direction…

Very rare in a western bike ride.

Nothing happening in Crowley or Olney Springs and I missed the morning get together in Boone. The scenery included 15 miles of Ore Train Cars lined up like a lazy river of gold..  There were breaks where side roads or small bridges but mostly continous…  Another untold story……

I wanted to stay two nights in Pueblo so I contacted Robert on Warm Showers..  He didn’t get home till after 5:00 so I had plenty if time to check out the town.  First to fill the face and then to the El Pueblo History Museum. The current display was of the history of worker’s struggle of conditions of making a living. Coal miners strike of 1913 – 1914 resulting in the Ludlow Massacre, Killing the wives and children of the miners, motivation for a 8 hour work day and child labor laws. The Chicano struggle of the 60’s was also on display.. History, Our America, I am experiencing……

It started to rain so I made my way to Roberts home..   Bill and Dianne only host bikers when Robert is home… My luck…. When I rode up in front of their home and saw their extensive gardens, I knew I was in for a treat… We had a large vegetable garden as I grew up and learned the joy of nurturing nature.. My career was in landscape and so I knew we would hit it off. Dianne gave me a tour and soon Robert and Bill were home.  Off to Brues Ale house for a Slopper… A hamburger smothered in green chilie….  Local Food…. Yummy….

Ordway  to Pueblo, CO 49.5 miles

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16-05-10  Day 44  Gillian – Mark Trail

16-05-10  Day 44  Gillian

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The park in Eads was just across the RR tracks next to highway 96.. You would have thought it was not conducive on a deep sleep but when I woke up I was ready to bike. I was finishing up my breakfast when  Dennis and  Gehring rode by. It was 6:00 am…

It was ten miles to Haswell. A perfect distance to enjoy a ride and then breakfast… Unfortunately Haswell Propane is operated by the Son and Daughter in law of Mom and Dad long since retired.. I was happy it was there but there was no effort to accommodate travelers. No coffee… Wow… It is another dying town and they have given up, hanging on by a thread..

Ten miles out of Sugar City I rode over a crest and the Snow covered Rockies rose in the distance. The terrain is changing from the grassy flatlands to the front range of the rockies.  I am so excited to be back in Colorado and to make amends from last summer’s CDT hike.   Then John appeared in my mirror, pedaling as if there wouldn’t be any pie left in the next cafe… Yea!! John caught up.

The Sugar City Diner has been operating  for over 35 years. Lynnette has been there every one.  Totally different than Haswell………. Meatloaf and Apple Crumb filled me up till I pedaled 5 miles to Orway where Dennis Gehring were at the grocery store… “Would you like to go to the park and have a beer?” Gehring asked… As we were telling stories, Gillian drove up as she was delivering mail, “Do you need directions? ” So nice..  We all decided to have a BIG salad for dinner, went to the store to load up, and made our way through town. Riding with a group was nice for a change… Lots of sharing about parts of the world I have not experienced… And the bucket list gets bigger….

We all did the town routine, Showers, Laundry, Charge up devices and then all sat around Gillian’s dinner table and shared time together…  As the rain and lightning blew through…  So special. ..

Eads, Co to Ordway  60.5 miles

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16-05-09 Day 43 Colorado – Mark Trail

16-05-09  Day 43   Colorado

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Warm Showers is an awesome organization… Bikers open their home for bikers to get caught up on the stuff that can’t be done in a tent or on a bike…..Humm…. What might that be???

First I needed to rest my legs.. After two weeks of spinning the wheels the boys were feeling it. Second, I needed to eat real food.. And lots of it. Third, all the other stuff…..

I enjoyed two cups of coffee with hot chocolate mixed in… My Favotite… If only I had some home baked chocolate chip cookies…….

Thank you Sarah for the Restful stay….

6:45 am and I was rolling west. My last day with Toto chasing me across the state of Kansas. I did have some days with 16 mph wind in my face but all in all, it was GREAT…  I could pedal like normal people bike…. Without having to stop and catch my breath.   I might be exaggerating a little.  You know what I mean..

The forecast was for light winds and I was going to make the most of it.  There wasn’t a lot of distractions to slow me down. I did stop at the Colorado State Line…….     The state road crew showed up to take my picture. Timing… Perfect…     Next was Sheridan Lakes for lunch.

The maps stated limited services for the next 58 miles and Sheridan was twenty miles into the 58.. Heather, the manager at the truck stop, made me the most delicious turkey sandwich.. Bike magic..  THANKS Heather…

The rest of the day I took my time. The wind changed and I didn’t let it spoil my day..  Time went by fast and hills showed up to cap off an Awesome Day!!!

I met two couples that started in Denver, One set on individual bikes going to Bar Harbor, ME. The other an a tandem going to St. Augustine, FL…  Here they come…..

When I arrived in Eads, Dennis and  Gehring, from the Netherlands, walked up with a flat….. They started in Chicago on the Route 66 Route and decided to change to the Trans Am till Pueblo and then the Western Express to San Francisco..

Leoni, KS  to Eads, Co 78 miles

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16-05-08 Day 42 Riding Safe – Mark Trail

16-05-08 Day 42   Riding Safe

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I opened the door of the Area 96 Church Annex at 6:00 am and George and Mary sped by…. Mary had a bright flashing red light that I could see a mile up the road and soon disappeared. I am not the fastest biker on the Trans Am…

I contacted Sarah on Warm Showers, about staying with her as I needed rest. My legs were heavy and I was tired even after a nights sleep…  She was out of town but opened her home to me…  VERY nice…

She needed her batteries replaced on her fancy kitchen faucet and after a trip to the store it was done.. After all the chores completed I ate, rested and ate again.

It was Sunday and the Museum was supposed to be open but NOT…. Library?? NOT….  So back home to eat and sleep. Tough Day…      Thank You Sarah!

Scott City, KS  to Leoti, KS
24.5 miles

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16-05-07 Day 41  Blessed – Mark Trail

16-05-07 Day 41  Blessed

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I rode to the Sheriff’s office to cleanup since there wasn’t any bathrooms at the park. Elizabeth was finishing her 12 hour shift and was  so nice and helpful.

The ride was straight west…. Did I say Straight?  As I turned onto 96, I could see the bright flashing red lights of George and Mary up ahead.. Shurly I can catch them….. As the light got farther and farther away…. The reality is, I am a SLOW biker… And I am totally OK with that…   No Hurries, No Worries…

There was only one stop along today’s ride and it was a great one. Dighton has a bowling alley… Small but still in the vast barren flatness of Kansas, a Bowling Alley is cool.

George and Mary were eating their second helping of pancakes as I walked in. Doyle was from Ireland and G&M are from Scotland so it was interesting to hear them talk. Nancy, the waitress, was so nice.. I like honey in my coffee and hard to find, so she gave me a bag full of packets. Then she bought me a delicious blueberry pancake after I devoured an omelet. Mother’s day was on Sunday so I gave her an early Mother’s Day present….  Giving and Receiving…….

The wind was picking up and the sky darkening. I stopped at the sheriff’s office where the asked if I knew a biker named Tobias…. Turned out he is from Germany biking east and was hit by a truck near Leoti, tomorrow’s destination….  SO SAD…

As I was checking out the park, Emily walked up and asked If I wanted to stay in the church annex since there were dangerous storm warnings posted. “Sure”….  Area 96 Church is a Celebrate Recovery meeting place and also used for breakfasts. It had a shower, kitchen, and comfortable couch…..

Thank you Emily and the Baptist Church for going out of your way to house me……

Ness City to Scott City, KS
54.5 miles

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16-05-06 Day 40 Sante Fe – Mark Trail

16-05-06  Day 40   Sante Fe – Mark Trail

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I have never woke up to a turkey’s gobble… Lots of firsts….

I biked into Larned and found the Sweets and Eats to do the bathroom thing. Contacts, Teeth, Lube. and fill up on water…. Danielle    filled me up with the Kansas 3 egg omelet and coffee… Delish…..

The Sante Fe trail goes through Larned from Kansas City to Sante Fe…  It was the major wagon trail route west. You can still see the ruts from the long abandoned route just like the hiking trails today.

The wind was from the south and there was a 20 mile section straight north. The bike was moving 20 to 25 mph with little effort. The grass on both sides of the road looked like waves  flowing across the ocean…. Unfortunately soon I was in Rush Center and turned west.. The party was over and the 16 mph wind blew me around.

I arrived in Ness City and went to the Mexican Restaurant to fill up.. George and Mary from Aspen were finishing up and offered a shower in their room…  yes!!  Jim & Val sat across from me asked me about long distance biking… We shared lots of laughs and it made my day.. When I went to pay for my dinner, it was already paid for….   What a wonderful thing to do. Thanks Jim and Val….

I checked in at the sheriff’s office and slept in the park….

Larned, KS  to Ness City 64.5 miles

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16-05-05 Day 39 Century – Mark Trail

16-05-05  Day 39   Century

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I awoke at 4:00 am as if John was here and couldn’t sleep so I rolled Silver (my bike) into the washing station and cleaned the cassette and chain… and went back to sleep. James came in around 7:30 and I was ready to go.. We talked about the clicking sound and he went about working on the back area with Brandon, helper number one. I want across the street and tried out the local Donut Shop. Delish.

Post cards needed to be caught up with  so that took an hour. At 10:30 I told Heather I needed to leave and I would have to live with the click…  That’s all it took. James the bike guru started hunting the annoying cllick. He couldn’t find to because the easy up and adjustable head made a lot of creaking noise. “Let’s replace that stuff and then look for the click”  Ok… After getting that done, James made short work finding the problem Loose Crank… He cleaned and lubed it up and I was on my way…  Thanks Heather and James!!! Team Newton Bike Shop.

It was 1:00 pm  and 48 miles to Nickerson. The pedaling was Fantastic… With no wind, the miles flew by. I stopped in Huston and picked up an antibiotic for my rash and possible Lyme disease. I had an in bedded tick back in Berea 19 day ago… Thanks Dawn, Cris, Dr. Mendez, and the Hesston Health Mart Pharmacy for fast service….

At 6:30 pm I arrived at the Sterling intersection. John was camping 4 miles off route and it was 58 miles to the next town. The forecast was for 16 mph winds out of the south so I decided to water up and bike late while there was NO wind…

At 11:30 pm I completed my first CENTURY RIDE and found a great place to camp for the night just out of Larned. KS

Newton to Larned 103.5 miles

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16-05-04 Day 38 Planning – Mark Trail

16-05-04  Day 38   Planning

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The forecast was for Sunny Skies and wind out of the north at 16 mph.. The route was for the day was 18 miles east, 19 miles north, and the rest west. As usual John was up at 4:30 so what the heck. I got up at 5:00.., an early start was a great idea.

With all my lights flashing I headed out at 6:00 am. my earliest start… The sun crept up and felt warm on my back as the wind blasted from my right…

I was going 5 mph slow and wanted to enjoy the ride so I just let the day happen with no expectations. Since the wind was so loud in my ears, I put on my mp3 player for the first time of the trip.. My brain was getting a little mushy and now I could sing along, be weird, and not a soul in sight to care.

There was supposed to be a place to eat in Rosalla but a lady at the Post Office said if his car is there he’s open. No car……. not open…

Cassoday had a Deli/Gas station by the interstate. I was so tired, I sat for two hours and rested…. and all you can eat fried chicken buffet…..

The route turned west and the wind was on my right side again so I could pedal faster. The wind pushed me around a bit but so beautiful. When I was tired, I stopped. I loaded up with water so no worries.

I arrived at the Newton County Campground at 5:30. Newton was 7 miles away and I had a clicking sound I couldn’t figure out so I called the Newton Bike Shop to see if they could look at it. They also have a hostel but it was late so I didn’t get my hopes up.

Heather answered and said sure come on in and we will set you up….  The town was bigger than most but not a lot of activity at 7:00 pm. I made my way to Back Alley Pizza for a delicious everything.  The  hostel is right next door in the bike shop… They Newton Bike Shop has been open for four years and is expanding. Adding bunks for travelers and showers…  No wonder Heather and James have created a thriving business… They understand bikers.. First there is FREE BEER on tap, laundry, wifi, and anything/everything you can imagine you would want or need… Even my favorite,  popcorn.  Heather gave me a key and I had the whole store to myself.. All I had left to do is sign their wall where all the previous visitors had signed. …
Yea… Home sweet Home.

Eureka, KS. To Newton  74.5 miles

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16-05-03 Day 37 State Bird

16-05-03   Day 37   State Bird

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The towns were getting smaller and farther apart. Benedict was a mile off route so I kept pedaling on. When I turned on 39 west, the shoulder was 10 then 6 then 2 feet wide. The trucks we numerous. Zoom, Truck…. Zoom, Truck… Zoom, Truck…  the BIRD.. Did he really flip me the bird?  By the time I was over it, here he comes with a return load with a double bird…  Really… Why???.. I tried to stop a few trucks with no luck…

I turned north on 105 and two trucks pass me.  In a few miles I could see them parked at a farm and I pulled in. Steve and Nathan Miller, father and son, gave me the whole history of their family farm. 4,000 acres in corn, soy beans, and wheat… Family Farming…  Our Country….

It was time for lunch in Coyville. Not a lot going on in town so there was a table next to the Community Center.. Great. The door was open so I got some much needed water.  Mary Eckton came over from across the street. She has lived in Coyville with the other 25 residents for 86 years… Her dad had a lumber mill till the train stopped running in 44…

Next stop was the corner of 105 and 54… The Lizard Lips Deli… I wasn’t hungry so I rested and talked to Evan Murry the fishing expert in the area…  Very entertaining. ..

John had texted me that the Eureka Community Park was nice so that’s the place for the night. The Copper Kettle was hopping as the local place to eat. I had Bierock, made of cabbage, onions, hamburger, and swiss cheese,  Baked into bread, always looking for the local specialty.

Chanute to Eureka, KS.   61 miles

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16-05-02 Day 36 French Frys

16-05-02    Day 36     French Frys

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

There was no hurry since it was a short day under 60 miles. John left early and I was looking forward to eat breakfast in Girard and start Section 8 of the #AdventuringCycling maps.  The maps along with GPS tracks make route planning a breeze.

It was a cold morning and I was chilled so when I arrived in Girard I sat for an hour catching up, warming up… and charging up…  Can’t really do that camping…

It was 11:45 when I arrived in Walnut, Ks.. The only place in town to eat was His and Hers Bar… Brenda was making some great looking burgers and was peeling Real Fresh potatoes for shoe string frys. I guess you can’t call them French…  Yummer!!!!

The wind started to pick up but the easier terrain balanced the ride.. John got a room in the Knights Inn so it woyluld be a bed tonight. Andy met me at the door with a key… So Welcoming.    A perfect French…. No  …. Shoe String Day….

Pittsburg, KS to Chanute, 57.5 miles

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16-05-01 Day 35 Kansas

16-05-01    Day 35       Kansas

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was Sunday morning and Ash Grove was still asleep. Mayor Jan let me take some of her special cinnamon cake back to the hostel so that with some oatmeal was breakfast. John was out early and I followed at 7:30.

Golden City was the only stop for the day and was 30 miles away so not a lot of distractions except a way word turtle here and there. The rollers started to level out and get farther and farther apart. There were two large farm equipment dealerships close to each other…  Huge equipment…

There was a line out of Cooky’s Cafe in Golden City…  It was the Sunday Church crowd.  I asked Betty if she wanted to share a table and Jack her husband arrived and was a joy. They eat here every week. The brisket and cheesey brussel sprouts were Delicious and the PIE…..  Every pie you could dream of.  I had home made cherry….. I learned all about the area and their family business..  Small business that makes our country so great…. Thanks Betty and Jack for sharing your lunch time with me.

I had 35 more miles to bike but as the rollers faded away in my mirror, the wind out of the west did not…. You can’t have it all.

I could see the “Welcome to Kansas” sign in the distance and was happy to reach state number 5 and the 1,500 mile mark… One Day at a Time…..

Everything was closed in Pittsburgh so I texted John and pedaled to the community Biker and RV park… Another great place to stay… We grabbed a bag of salad and chicken and had a feast…    Looking Forward To Ride…

Ash Grove, Mo to Pittsburg, KS
67.5 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#kansasbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-30 Day 34 Bike Magic

16-04-30       Day 34      Bike Magic

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I was in no hurry to start biking. The guidebook said the ride was full of steep rollers, the forecast was for spotty rain and westerly wind, and I’m tired…

John said he was riding to Golden City, 80 miles… Humm. That wasn’t going to happen. My lights were dimming so was I.  I ate some oatmeal and biked to the store for some new batteries. By the time I got all the chores done it was 9:00..

The ride was as predicted.. I worked through it and at 1:00 I stopped at Bolton Country Market…. It was Saturday so it was busy with the friendliest people..The tenderloin sandwich was delicious and home made chocolate chip cookie topped it off.

As I was pedaling into Walnut Grove I could hear misc playing. What?? “Come on over, we are having a race and we have lots of food”. My belly was still full of lunch but I managed to shove in some watermelon and oranges…  The Idiots Running Club were having a 30 and 50 mile race.. WOW now that’s a accomplishment.

The route turned south and the wind was still out of the west so pedaling was a little easier. Nathan Boone’s homesite was a welcome distraction to take a break….  I took the shortcut to his house so I missed the lesson and will need to check if out later..

Ash Grove let’s bikers stay in a house in their park and I was done biking for the day. John texted me that he changed his mind and was at the park.. The VFW was having a Spaghetti Dinner and Dance at 5:00… It was 4:30 and my lucky day….

I stayed till 7:30 talking with Clyde and Brenda about Ash Grove over 50 years..  I even shook the hand of Mayor Jan and friend Jaynie. The band was filled with talent that missed the big time by a grain of wheat.. And the cherry and peach cobbler was to die for…..

A challenging Yummy Day….

THANK YOU ASH GROVE!!!!!

My batteries are recharged……….

Marshfield, Mo to Ash Grove
50 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring,#ashgrove

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16-04-29 Day 33 East Wind

16-04-29       Day 33  East Wind

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I tried to sleep outside but the neighbors dogs were barking so I moved back into the Man Cave to sleep. John was up early which ment I was up early. Garrett was fast asleep. Wes brought out a full pot of coffee… Such wonderful hosts…  Really… John left at 6:30. I messed around and left at 7:30. Garrett said he would be along as I left…

The forecast was for storms all day and at 9:30 the rain started to fall. Actually riding in the rain wasn’t so bad. As long as I didn’t stop. But I had to stop… And rest… And eat..

After riding 18 miles, I pulled into the convenience store in Bendavis. AJ, 11, Abe, 9, and James, 6, were working at the tables with pencils in hand, studying weather. Great day to do that…..   Their dad was looking for tractors on the computer behind the counter.

James showed me where the bathroom was and AJ got me some fresh water because the water from the sink “Made the Coffee Taste Funny”.  Such a great way to raise a family….

The thunder boomed and the rain fell as I pedaled towards the next town of Hartville. I stopped and ate an apple by a one lane bridge that would shake as the cars sped past… It was crumbling and had angle iron brackets on each side patching it together hoping to get a few more years of service before it needed to be replaced…

Hartville was a blur and I was on my way to Marshfield. The wind was from the east and the rain stopped. The terrain smoothed out .. Nice so Nice….. John called and said the campground wasn’t that nice and got a room. I called Garrett to see where he was and ask if he wanted to split a double.. He wanted to see if we could find a place other than a motel so I called a few churches. Usually no problem but in Marshfield, no go… Wow.. I was shocked…

I got a double at the Plaze Motel and went out to dinner with John as Garrett was a few hours behind.

Once again Garrett’s friends who he met a few towns back bought him a room at the Holiday Inn and off he went… ..

The rain fell and I was glad to be inside….

Houston, Mo to Marshfield, Mo
62 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-28 Day 32 Oh No…..

16-04-28       Day 32    Oh No…..

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Looking at the #Adventurecycling maps we knew we were in for a challenging day. John was up at 4:00.  Really…  Garrett soon after…  Well I was not interested with getting up for anything before 5:00 am.  Since it was a small hostel, it is a part of traveling with others….  my goal is around 60 miles a day so that means 50 to 70 miles depending on the towns… and terrain. Today would be 30,20,20…   take your pick. Either a 50 miler or 70 with lots and lots and lots of climbs..

John and Garrett left at 6:00 am. I left at 7:00.  it was nice to get on the road early.. Light breeze, birds chirping, Morning…..

The pedaling through the Ozark National Scenic Riverways made me think of backpacking… The trees were now leafed out and the wind made them wave as I huffed and puffed my way, Up……     and Down…….  By 11:00 my legs were turning into jello so I stopped in the forest and listened to the birds and felt the warm wind restle with the newly leafed out trees… So peaceful..

It was 1:00 pm and the Flat Top fire tower call out… “Come climb me”.  I grabbed my food bag and climbed the 13 set of stairs and YES the trap door was unlocked… It looked like in 2005 the watchman put down his Readers Digest, Binoculars, and left.. Missouri looked so flat but I know better…..

As I was getting close to Houston I called Garrett to see what was up… He had made friends a few towns back who knew a friend of a friend and now we had a new friend, Wes and Judy.  We stayed at Wes’s man cave and were treated to chinese…. A blessing after a long, Challenging Day….

THANKS WES AND JUDY…

Ellington, MO to Houston, Mo
69 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#missouribiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-27  Day 31 Ozarks

16-04-27       Day 31     Ozarks

        Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
    2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

          I was not interested in riding in the rain all day. Weather Bug’s radar showed Blue, Dark Blue, Orange, and Dark Orange…..  Decision time….

         Pilot Knob was 20 miles away with Centerville and Ellington spaced evenly apart. The worst would be that I would be 2 to 3 hours in it so I packed up and headed out. Don headed to New Orleans, John ahead and Garrett was still in bed….

          On my way out of town I greased up at McDees and packed a hot coffee in my cooler. I could sip on it as I biked upppp and downnn.  

         Pilot Knob is another historic place of Fort and battle… I am still in the civil war arena…

I toured their museum and read about the battles…  Sad…  again I wondered why….

          A little farther down the road was Johnsons Shut-In State Park. As I was looking around, John rode up…  Again “How did I get ahead?”. We started on our way to Centerville for lunch but John was hungrier and boom, he was gone.

          In Centerville, Nancy made me a huge Ham sandwich and I was ready to hit the hills… I could see John’s bike at the Country Market in Ellington. He said he knew where the place was to stay in town so I followed him a mile out of town. The parks bathrooms were locked so I waited while John rode back in town to see what’s up…

         After a half hour waiting I decided to look at my info and there is a hostel back in town hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.  As I was headed back into town John rode back.. Alot of riding back and forth…

          The hostel was nice and the Mexican restaurant was delicious.  Thankfully the BIG storm never showed up…

    Farmington, MO to Ellington, MO
                          64 miles     

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-26  Day 30 Farmington

16-04-26       Day 30      Farmington

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The insects pestered me all night long. I love to sleep cowboy style, (On the ground without a tent), and am thinking these days might be numbered… On the road at 7:30 am for a short ride to the Our Place convenience store to put in my contacts and get a bite to eat.

As I biked into Missouri the rollers began and the farther I went the slower I pedaled…  There was no pedaling over 10 mph… The Ozarks are coming and memories of the Appalachians  still fresh in my mind..

The weather forecast was for heavy rain and hail so I was keeping an eye on the sky. Pete was on a bike ride and quickly rode up behind me.. ” Riding the Trans Am? I Rode it in 2012″. Yea. A fellow biker. Pete is from Chicago and visiting Farmington.  “You staying at the Hostel?”. It was early but the weather was starting to get dicey. Pete rode with me to Farmington’s Old Jail. Al’s Place 76 Bikers Hostel. I called for the code to get in and The place was decked out with everything you could imagine. Nice furniture, bunks for 20, showers, washer and dryer, the whole works. I decided to stay.

It was a short day but I could use a day to catch my breath. I rode to the grocery and could hear the rain hitting the roof of the store. It was coming down in sheets…

It was only a short ride back to the hostel so off in the rain I rode…. Garrett, from Salt Lake who I biked with three days ago and Don from Design Moines was there… Soon John from Colorado showed up… After a month of being alone the dynamics are changing… Who knows who where when but at least there will be some discourse..

I made a salad and pasta meal, shared stories, watched the movie Departed…  (Not that good) and off to bed.

Thank you Wonderful Farmington for creating Al’s Place.

St Marys, MO to Farmington, MO
30 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-25 Day 29 Popeye

16-04-25        Day 29      Popeye

        Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
    2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

          My legs were ready to get back on the bike. The stay at Bill and Martha’s was perfect… R & R….  I weaved my way back on the #transamerica bike route and rode south of Murphysboro crossing the Big Muddy River and it was muddy brown…

        I had two choices of routes. One along the Mississippi Levee, the other a little shorted over the rollers. I chose the levee.

        There were no convenience stores along the route so I stopped at the Gorham Post Office to mail my post cards and relieve myself.  Mike, the postman, was the only human being in town. He grew up close and gave me the history of the demise… The grocery store over there closed about 5 years ago. And that building 10.  All is left is miles and miles of agriculture.

          Although the wind was 13 to 20 and from the south, I had periods where it was almost to my back.. It felt like Dads hands pushing me on my first attempt to ride a bike….  

          I noticed barges filled with coal lined up along the Mississippi River bank. Then “The access from the Road to the loading dock.” Oh No…  Coal trucks were coming and leaving the port every 15 seconds..   Wow…   Lots and Lots of coal….  and Trucks… Later I learned the 1,200 truck loads of coal deliver to the port each day…  

I need to get to Chester and off this road….

         I was looking at #adventurecycling map and read about Chester, Il. home to the whole Popeye gang. Created back in 1929 by Elzie Crisler Segar. The town has recreated all the characters in granite and placed them all around town. There is also a biker host call the Flying Eagles Club…. WHAT??

Even though it was early I had to check it out.

            The buzzer sounded and the door unlocked. I walked into the private Club and was greeted with smiles and hospitality. Bubbles gave me a tour and after a beer I decided to push on. Kevin suggested I call the police department for an escort across the skinny Mississippi bridge into Missouri.  After saying goodbye to Popeye I was safe in the fourth state thanks to Officer Brockmeyer and the Chester Police.

          The wind continued as I pedaled another 12 miles to St Mary’s Trinity Baptist Church where I slept under their back porch.  

    Carbondale, IL to St Marys, MO
                           60 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-24 Day 28 Restful Day

16-04-24         Day 28      Restful Day

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

It was nice to be able to sleep in. I wrote two blogs and caught up on email…  Martha was out early studying to become a PA….  Great future…. Bill made some sausage, cheesy scrambled eggs with crispy mushrooms and onions….  Just what the body needed… I wrote some cards and read up on the next #Adventurecycling map section 9. Illinois, Missouri and Kansas….

My snack bag was getting low so Bill lent me his car and off to the supermarket…  I love my small electric tooth brush that was wearing out so pretzels, nuts, oatmeal, moose tracks ice cream, and bananas, and a new tooth brush.

Martha had a lot of studying to do so Bill and I went to the famous 17th Street BBQ in Murphysboro. My plate was full of all kinds of meat. So much I had to bring half home.

Bill teaches English at Carbondale Community High School and they were going to the schools performance of Hairspray the Musical… Who would of thought? The performance was their last night with lots of memories stirred up from my high school days long past…  Thanks Mr. Wonzer, Baker High Band Teacher….

Memories of Home Sweet Home….. Again

Thank You Bill and Martha
Carbondale 0 miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring,#baldwinsville

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16-04-23 Day 27 Rollers2

16-04-23         Day 27        Rollers2

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Sue and Bruce were leaving early to recertify there food handling permits so I had coffee while Sue busily buzzed the kitchen making Breakfast Casserole for the full house.

They ran out the door and I packed up and was on the road an hour later…

I have been focused on completing Kentucky and not really looking ahead so I had no plans for the days ride. My achilles tendon was inflamed. I raised my seat to high and now I’m hurting every time I turn the pedal…. I texted a few Warm Shower hosts but didn’t think I would have any luck since such short notice. Bill and Martha responded and offered a bed…. YES!!!

The highlight of the day was:

1.  A dog chased me and I couldn’t unclip fast enough so I fell in the middle of the road….

Best part… No dog bite and a guy stopped to see if I was alright…

2.  Jon and Susan stopped and took a picture of me. Jon writes a column for #crazyguyonabike website and wanted a pic to go with his column.

3.  Kristen stopped and gave me some water… Just at the right time.

4.   Crossed the Tunnel Hill State Bike Trail….  will have to return to check it out….   Do I hear roadtrip???

5. Devils Kitchen Lake and Little Grassy Lake recreation areas with fisherman, endless shoreline, areas and a sparkling spillway.

I texted Bill as to my progress. I estimated I would arrive at 7:00 pm but the rollers were kind. Only two, one breathers…. Rolled into Carbondale at 6:00….

To my amazement, Bill and Martha are Backpackers and Bikers. We talked about which and when and sure enough, we have common hiking friends…  “Shirks or Grits” from Alabama hiked with “Rock Lobster”  Bills trail name. I met Skitks in 2013 on the AT and tried to keep up with him on the CDT in 2015…   Small World…. Bill made a Great Dinner and we watched the Chicago Redwings beat Saint Louis in hockey.. Home sweet Home…..

Elizabethtown, IL to Carbondale
74 Miles

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer,#Biketouring

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16-04-22 Day 26 Illinois

16-04-22  Day 26    Illinois

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

I love trains so when the horn blew all night long I really didn’t mind… Being warm, clean, and dry was really comforting…

I was going to catch breakfast in town but Pastor Bob gave me a list of all the places to check out all the way to Carbondale. It was 10:30 and the first stop was Jeri’s Cafe in Clay, Kentucky. .. The fried catfish was worth the 20 mile ride.. WOW I love biking…..  I was craving a salad so in Marion, southwest salad and Moca Frappuccino.

Highway 91 dead ends into the Ohio River with the small town of Cave in Rock on the Illinois side…  Thank goodness for a ferry that runs back and forth all day for …. FREE …..

Really…  The river was milky brown and filled with tugboats pushing barges filled with coal south…

I made my way to the Cave in Rock State Park…  so beautiful. ….. The storys about the cave are varied with robbers taking advantage of river travelers being the most prevalent.

It was time to plan a place to stay.. Traveling alone is different than with a partner. I had no one to hang with so I pushed on to The River Rose Inn in Elizabethtown, Il. There was a place to camp at the towers along the way but was not listed on my map…  ??

Sue and Bruce are from California and have been operating the Inn for 11 years…  Sue gave me the tour and a beer…. We sat on their wide and inviting porch watching the Ohio River traffic float by. Walked to the floating River Restaurant for another round of the local special ….   catfish…

Sebree, KY  to Elizabethtown, IL
64 Miles

#AdventuringCycling, #transamericablog,# transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes, #marktrailrocks,#illinoisbiking,#brooksspecialflyer

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16-04-21 Day 25 Fenders

16-04-21    Day 25      Fenders

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The sound of rain on the metal roof made for restful sleep, but when I woke up I wasn’t in a hurry to ride in the rain… The forecast was for rain off and on all day… Garrett was on a tight schedule so he biked west while I biked east to the Fordville Diner…

Sandra asked if I needed a menu and filled my coffee cup….    America …..   got to love it ….     The State of Kentucky allows people to smoke in their restaurants. This made me eat faster than normal. Sandra loaded my gatorade bottle with hot coffee and into the rain I rode.

At first it was uncomfortable but by the time I was soaking wet….  well I’ll just say it’s part of the adventure. It wasn’t that cold and I would be sweating anyway. Stop, Sip Coffee, Eat and the rain continued to fall…

The country was filled with grain silos and no cows…. Rolling hills with a few breathers… My goal was Sebree where there is a church hostel… I needed a short day to let my legs rest from the 84 miler yesterday… Not sustainable..

In Utica I called ahead and Bob answered…. “Sure we will be looking forward to meet you”. Such a friendly voice made the ride go by quickly.. I was soaking wet and needed shelter. I found the church and a great friend of bicyclers.. Bob and Violet have been hosting bikers since they came to Sebree to pastor the church… Bob gave me the tour and invited me for dinner at their home at 6:00 pm.

Darlene, Violet, Bob and I enjoyed beef vegetable soup and cornbread. It was so nice to sit at a dinner table and share… I ate and ate…  They were accustomed to bikers appetite. They sent me on my way with prayers and a bag full of cornbread and cookies..  I am filled …. In all ways… And grateful… Thank you!!!

Fordsville to Sebree Ky 53 miles
Sebree Baptist Church Basement

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks

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16-04-20 Day 24 Kentucky Rollers

16-04-20 Day 24 Kentucky Rollers

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Garrett was ready to ride, I was ready for coffee…  I rode over to the Howardsville Store and had a local sausage and egg biscuit. Garrett being half my age said goodbye and off he rode.

The riding was filled with roller after roller… Push to the top, ride to the bottom.. Big open fields…  Looked like beautiful horse farms only filled with cows….

I was having an afternoon snack and Garrett rolled up.. Humm…  ” How did you pass me?” he asked…  Ahhh.. Riding?

We rode together as I tried to keep up… Rain was coming so it was time to put in some miles… There was a time change so we had and extra hour to ride…  My legs were not aware of the time change. ..  But on they went..

As we were riding, three bikers rode up going East with semi loaded Bikes. Dan, Andy, and Scott from Los Angeles, are biking across the country one week a year…..  Now that is crazy amazing…..  All the bikes hit the dirt and it was like old friends who haven’t seen each other for years….  And then they were gone….  only after we traded our email addresses. …..  New Friends…

It started sprinkling at 5:00 while we were loading up on a grease burger… It was 16 miles to Fordsville… What the heck…. Lots roll…

It was getting dark when we arrived.. We looked for a place to stay… The fairgrounds 2 more miles or somewhere in town… Brandy at the convenience store called Lois and we were set at the Baptist Church Pavillion.  Joe the pastor offered showers and laundry…. A amazing day on the road…

Howardstown to Fordsville, KY
84.5 miles

Fordsville Baptist Church Pavilion

#AdventuringCycling,#transamericablog,#transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes,#marktrailrocks,#bikeillinois

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16-04-19 Day 23 Bourbon Capital

16-04-19 Day 23    Bourbon Capital

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

Judy and RJ’S home was next to the Baptist Church so I walked over to get a cup of coffee… Everything was laid out and Hand written notes guiding me through their home..  I started the coffee, took a shower, and had a peanut butter sandwich….   Life is SO good…

THANK YOU JUDY AND RJ!!!!!

There was The Lincoln Homestead State Park a short way up the road.  I was a little disappointed because it was Lincoln’s Grandmother’s home…. Humm. Stretching it a little… What about Grandfather’s homesite?

I must have been dreaming about when and where we preserved a structure when I missed a turn and almost pedaled to Springfield.

I realized when I came to RT 150. Something was wrong… Almost to Springfield  and,15 miles to Bardstown….  the shoulder was wide so no worries. The shoulder quickly shrunk to 2 feet with a 18″ groove cut in to it…  Needless to say, the only thing I saw was the cars and trucks in my mirrors for 15 miles. A couple close calls and I was ready for some Bourbon!!!!!

Bardstown is the Bourbon capital of the World…. Lots of drinking here in KY.  I visited the Bourbon history museum, and Barton Distillary. Lots of ageing barrels. 4 years or more for the good, good stuff…..

Lastly for me it was Stephen Foster’s Cousins home… Again…. HUMM… Stephen Foster’s Cousin…  Brother, Sister, his home. Kentucky? Oh Kentucky’s State Song.   Great song writer… Way down upon the Swanee River………  Florida….

I rode to Howardstown and saw a pavilion behind St Ann Catholic Church… Nice. Neil Boone drove up and said it was OK to stay.

Lois at the convenience store also said it was OK and left the door to the bathroom door of the school open.  Thank you Lois!!!

At dusk, Garrett a biker rode up and decided to stay.. Yea a biker… Garrett is from Salt Lake City, riding to San Francisco, Ca…

Wow… Another crazy…

Mackville to Howards town. KY
64 miles
Howardstown’s  St Ann Picnic Pavilion.

#AdventuringCycling, #transamericablog,# transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes, #marktrailrocks,#brooksspecialflyer,reibikes

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16-04-18 Day 22 Small Town

16-04-18 Day 22.    Small Town

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure

The Mockingbird was singing …. Time to ride..  get up…..   I am so thankful for Maya opening her home and providing me two days of rest and healthy food to feed my growing appetite.

The guidebook said the terrain was going to become rolling hills and I was ready. There were two, one stop hills for me to get a breather. Thanks for the Adventure Cycling signs to guide the way. There were roads with no names and single lane.

I took a break and watched a bulldozer push down a single tree in a field… Big time entertainment.

I stopped at the convince store in Rose Hill and was going to eat a bite when Judy said Mackville had a great grill…. Well then Mackville Pool hall and Grill it will be….

At first I thought that this might not be what I was looking for but Ashley,Casey and Taylor changed all that…  The Chicken Wrap followed by a Cheeseburger was wonderful. Ashley called to see if I could camp at the church. Gary stopped by and set me up. Judy and RJ lived next to the church and said they would leave the back door open, get the coffee ready and put out towels if I wanted to take a shower…. So welcoming. …   WoW….

Berea to Mackville, 60 Miles
Mackville Baptist Church Back Porch.

#AdventuringCycling, #transamericablog,# transamerica,#surly,#jonesbikes, #marktrailrocks

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16-04-16/17 Day 20/21 Days of Rest

16-04-16/17 Day 20/21 Days of Rest

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

After three weeks on the road,  I cleaned the bike and chain, I looked into replacing the worn chain and brake pads.  There wasn’t a bike shop in town and it would take more than two days to have one delivered.  I called a bike shop in Richmond 10 miles away and Jay offered to bring me the parts after he got off of work tonight… YEA!

It took a few hours to catch up with email and download the maps into my phone for Section 10 of the Trans America Bicycle Route. With all that done it was time to visit Berea…

Maya, the warm showers host, worked at the visitor center in downtown Berea. That was my first stop to see what thete was to visit. Berea College is unique as it is tuition free. The students are required to do 10 to 15 hours of work a week and can graduate with zero debt….  A great opportunity for Kentucky Gifted Children.

The school was having a dandelion festival with bands, games and arts and crafts… So nice to sit and take it all in.

Jay, from Mikes Hike and Bike,  stopped by on his way home and brought me new brake pads and put on a new chain on my bike. Sure hope it takes the strange squeaking sound away. Awesome Service…  THANK YOU JAY!!!
Rest Day 2

Maya is a kayaker so I decided to stay another day to go kayaking. . Like Iva, Maya has a stable full of kayaks…… We loaded up two and took a short drive to Owsley Lake Reservoir. The goal was to sneak up on a sunning turtle and touch one.  I think you should get credit for being the closest like horseshoes. No turtles were touched. There were also beaver…. Beaver and drinking water don’t mix in my book…  No beaver fever for me….

Since I was in town we picked up some vegetables and roasted them with some leftovers.   Yummy. …. Lemon cake and Moose Track Ice Cream….. Do you wonder why I like biking???

Watched a movie and dremp of being back on the bike…..

Two Restful Zeros

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16-04-15 Day 19 Berea, Ky

16-04-15        Day 19      Berea, Ky

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

I just laid in my cozy Alpinlite Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag. Listening to the birds. Enjoying waking up slowly…..

The Boonville Presbyterian Church hosted Trans America route bicyclists.  Since I am one of the first bikers, the water was still turned off…. I packed up and biked to the Bus Stop Diner to wash up and have a bite to eat…

There was 9 hills and 50 miles to bike and still some hills that I had to stop and catch my breath on … My legs are feeling better while pedaling in the seat but when I stand up on the pedals, I need more time for the muscles to develope..

The route has been well marked and I have only been off route a few times. I look at the map when I cross every road.. Usually there is a sign marking the way….  Outside of Berea the Map and description noted taking a right at 1107….The sign on the road pointed left…. I rode left till I found where 1107 continued on to the left and checked the map again… Wrong Turn… Maybe I should follow the map… I took pictures to notify Adventure Cycling and cyclists behind me…

Maya is a Warm Showers Host and gave me directions to her home. Shower, Laundry and a short list of tasks to complete in town..

We enjoyed a delicious meal and it was time for rest dreaming of touring the town of Berea, Ky.

Booneville To Berea, KY.  50 miles

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16-04-14  Day 18 Dogwoods Left Redbuds Right

16-04-14  Day 18 Dogwoods Left Redbuds Right

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

For some reason I wasn’t in a hurry to get on the bike. After two cups of coffee it was time…   Right out of the gate the climbs began…  uppp and downnn… After the first it was time for a DQ greasy egg, sausage biscuit…    Now I’m ready to bike..

The goal was to bike as far as I could so tomorrow’s ride would be shorter into Berea KY for a much needed ZERO…..  The only challenge was the 9 climbs before Booneville. The weather and scenery was awesome…  Dogwoods and Redbuds were showing their glory….  Climb to a view and ride down to the creeks. Then repeat…  I stopped for a train and saw the first operating coal mine….   Time to reflect on all the unintended consequences of the industry. As the day rolled on, I saw a glimpse of the strip mining off in the distance well hidden from the Kentuckyians who live in the hollows…

The Presbyterian Church of Buckhorn has a children’s home…  Some of the good things churches do you never hear of…IMG_0717After climbing two more mountains,   I was ten miles away from Booneville and it was 6:45… I was thinking about stopping. Could I make it? Sure….

I rolled into town just before 8pm and a quick stop at the Old Bus Stop Diner.. Yumm and then to the Cyclists only campground hosted by the Booneville Presbyterian Church.

Pippa Passes to Booneville, Ky.
74 miles

Booneville Presbyterian Church

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16-04-13 Day 17 Coal Dogs

16-04-13       Day 17       Coal Dogs

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

I heard Crystal leave with the children at 6:00 to drive them from Breaks Park to Elkhorn City school. The kids loved living in the camper and park…. Time to get up.

I stored my bike in the Campground bathroom . As I was finishing packing the bike, Teddy came in, ” Ready for coffee?” 6:32 am on the dot.20160413_082154Teddy and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and soon I was all bundled up for a chilling ride down the mountain to Elkhorn City for breakfast at the Golden Ring Restaurant.  I crossed the official State line welcoming me to Kentucky. It wasn’t long before I noticed an increase in trash along the road and loose dogs. You must not trade in your car in Kentucky. “That was my first car…. she was a beauty. And that one there….   Oh that’s my parts car….”.. Till the yard is full.

Crazy as it sounds, the 76 bike route goes right by Teddy’s home and sure enough there he was, line trimming the bank in front of his house as he said he was planning to do today… Hi Teddy and thanks for your wonderful hospitality.IMG_0707Lots of Coal trucks were carrying their load to the next point of shipment somewhere…. As the day continued, I rode deeper into the country and saw mine after mine sitting… rusting, mile after mile of CSX rail cars, trucks in all stages of repair, frozen in time.. No Coal, No work, No need to fix, No money…..

I was trying to make it to Hindman but I was pooped so I stopped at the Pippa Passes Caney Baptist Church. Pastor Lawrence was finishing his bible study and said it was OK to sleep inside. All the comforts of home. I made a Asian side and bed time after I ate half a bag of Little Debbie donuts… The appetite is kicking in.

Breaks Interstate Park to Pippa Passes.
64 Miles

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16-04-12 Day 16 Kentucky

16-04-12       Day 16      Kentucky

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

The rain was still falling as I pulled the packed bike out from under the picnic shelter…  It was 9:00 am… What’s the rush? I asked my self…  I rolled the bike back under the shelter and want back inside the church. The forecast kept moving the time the rain was supposed to stop back… I grabbed a book on a shelf and began reading about a lady whose family was split apart when she was three….  Sad

After yesterday’s ride, today’s was a piece of cake.. One BIG climb up Big A mountain. Then three right in a row. The city of Council had the biggest park… I mean big for a rural park…  It was cold so I stopped every chance I could do I could thaw out…  Davenport gas station didn’t have a deli so I pushed on to Birchleaf… The best chili/slaw dog in town…20160413_075956After another Breath Taking Climb I came to Breaks Interstate Park..  As I rode through the park I stopped at the lookouts to see the river in the Canyon 1,000 ft below… A hint of red here and there from the Blooming Red-buds.

Camp Hosts. Teddy, Crystal and their four children welcomed me as their only camper for the night. I took a long shower and was catching up and Teddy invited my to a dinner of Taters, Mac n cheese, Beans, and Chicken Tenders…. Yummy…  Thank You Crystal and Teddy…

I was invited for coffee at 6:30 am. I was to tired to blog and quickly fell asleep in a pile of leaves… In my tent….

Breaks Interstate Park, 41.5 Miles

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16-04-11 Day 15   Take it Easy

16-04-11      Day 15      Take it Easy

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

There was a four mile climb up to Hayter’s Gap and I was not eager to find out how it got it’s name.  I took my time catching up on the communication stuff… Writing, uploading, reading, relpying…..   Stuff..  I said goodbye to Lea about four times… Something just pulled at me to stay…  Paul got his chores done so it was time for early lunch at MoJos…

They told me there was a new chef that had returned home to open his own place. When we walked in, Susan  Seymore, a friend I met volunteering at Trail Days back in 2010/11, was working behind the counter…. “What are you doing here?” “This is my son’s place…..   What a small world… My visit is now complete…  I got to visit with my Damascus family and now it’s time to hit the road…..IMG_0701I pedaled north/west to Meadowview where I had to bike through some backyards to avoid a detour of undetermined length. Crossed the South Fork and the Middle Fork of the Holston River. Then the dreaded four mile climb up to Hayter’s Gap….  It was hard but not Hateful.20160411_155911Soon I pulled into Elk Garden UMC for the night…   Water, bathrooms, kitchen, a warm place to sleep. ( Storm In The Forecast) A Bikers Hostel Come True…..

Made some phone calls and early to sleep…..

Elk Garden Methodist Church
Short of Rosedale, 32.5 Miles.

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16-04-10 Day 14   Damascus

16-04-10       Day 14       Damascus

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

I awoke early, having tossed and turned all night,  Restless.

Mary drove up with egg casserole and toasted English muffins. Such a special gift…

We all went to Sunday School and Church. It was nice to hear an uplifting message prior to the days bike ride…

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Crossing The Appalachian Trail 

The ride to Damascus was well graded and my legs felt strong. The day off did me well. I tried to ride the Creeper Bike Trail but the Surly Trucker is not set up for a gravel path. Back on the road I coasted into Damascus and the Hikers Inn.

Paul and Lea host hikers and bikers in their Inn since 2011. Paul hiked the AT in 2010 but I didn’t meet him until 2011 as I hiked thru. The town was filled with hikers doing what hikers do. Eat, drink, and talk about miles and miles.. Seems like home.

Paul and Lea said Bobo’s, the old Quincys,  was the place to eat so we  shared wonderful conversation and a meal…. So heart warming. It was as if we never were separated.  What a Awesome Community….    Thank You Paul and Lea.

Damascus      25 miles

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16-04-09  Day 13 Troutdale Zero

16-04-09     Day 13       Troutdale Zero

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

The wind shook the small bunkhouse as the freezing snow fell. Thankfully the wall heater kept us toasty. Ribbit and Goose, AT hikers, decided to wait the storm out. It was a no brained for me. My body could use the rest. We played poker till I had no chips, Then go fish till I had no cards.

Mary, Pastor Ken’s wife stopped by as she was headed to town to run some errands. “Want a ride?” Soon we were at Arby’s and Food lion to get some fruit and salad…20160410_095009Back at the Hostel more hikers showed up to warm up.  Forecast low was 17 degrees….Pushing the limits of our 20 degree sleeping bags…  The hikers were sharing stories of their adventures and it seemed like yesterday I was on the trail.

Hiker midnight came soon as I drifted into dreaming of sunny days ahead.

Troutdale Hostal, 0 miles…..

16-04-08    Day 12 Snow!!

16-04-08         Day 12          Snow!!

Biking the TransAm 2016 Blog
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

I was coughing, sneezing, feeling drained. The forecast was not good. Snow and wind.. The plan was to rest and play tourist with Frank. Then bike to Troutdale.20160408_133148We visited the smallest church in Wytheville and then the giant pencil office supply… Soon it was time to get back on the trail and bike… Sadly I said goodbye to Frank as he encouraged me to pedal on…. Again. Thanks..

Soon I was in Cedar Springs and soon I was out. Just a few closed up buildings… Sugar Grove looked like a better opportunity to get something to warm me up but I passed the gas station thinking downtown might have a diner…

Again, no luck…. Next Troutdale.

In 2010 and 2011 Jacks Store and Diner was a great stop. The Troutdale Church has a hostel bunkhouse for hikers and bikers. Yea! Sadly, Jacks is closed…. It must be hard to keep a small town diner open… Long live the memories of Troutdale…

The forecast was for three inches and the snow started to fall as I climbed up to Rocky Gap. The mountains blocked the wind and the grade was not as hard as I thought. Soon I was safe and out of the weather at the Hostel… Rivvit and Goose were hiking the AT and my bunk mates. We traded stories and I was soon asleep.

Rural Retreat to Troutdale 22 Miles
Troutdale Church Hostel

16-04-07 Day 11 Wind, Wind, and Wind.

16-04-07 Day 11 Wind, Wind, and Wind.

Biking the TransAm 2016
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

Again I took my time getting on the road. There was a microwave in the church kitchen so I made use of it, ate my granola and packed up.

I rode 10 miles to a McDonald’s for a warm cup of coffee and on to Wytheville for lunch. The winds were gusting above 20 mph. I was pushing to keep going 4 mph. My college buddy Frank was coming to spend the night so I was hoping to make it to Troutdale but that goal quickly drifted away. I stopped at the Wytheville Museum and learned of the hardship of Polio epidemic in the 50’s on the town. They had an Iron Lung machine on display and story boards of the sad effects. I remember having the vaccine as a child and not knowing how blessed I was. Mr. Macri, my second dad in Jacksonville, Florida, had Polio and walked with a limp…. He was so kind to me as I was trying to figure out what it was to be 20 years old..

A great role model and mentor.

My legs felt as if they were out if gas and the wind didn’t help. I pressed on towards Rural Retreat, 10 miles away for the next stop. Again the wind and lots of traffic. The local Sheriff stopped and checked my ID saying they had some complaints that I was obstructing traffic. I said yes I was, I was being blown all over the road… “Be Safe” he said as he drove away.

I looked for a Church in Rural Retreat, I was pooped… Frank suggested the Rural Retreat Lake Campground three miles away…

“Sure, I can make it…”. When I arrived it was closed and didn’t open till May… Humm….

I called Frank and made a reservation for the Best Western back in Wytheville…20160408_113020Frank picked me up at 6:00pm. It was my lowest point of the trip. Physically I was beat…. The hills, wind, and miles are taking their toll on me…..

A few hours later, showered,  we were having Chinese dinner…. Bike Angel Frank to the Rescue!!!  THANK YOU!!!

Draper to Rural Retreat 40 Miles
Best Western, Wytheville

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16-04-06 Day 10 The Cold Wind Blows!

16-04-06 Day 10 The Cold Wind Blows!

Biking the TransAm 2016
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

The ice crystals crunched as I rolled over… No it can’t be…I am inside my tent…. Yep.  freezing…. It is going to be a long day… I took my time and sipped on my coffee as I packed up the wet tent… Maybe another cup of coffee to warm me up… Thank you Catawba Community Center.

I was all bundled up as I made my slow way to Christiansburg. The Church bells were tolling 12 as I crawled into town with 25 miles ridden in 4 hours.. Ugggg…

Burger King for another cup of coffee to thaw out… I snacked on some of my food to try to lighten the load…. I need to lighten up.

Radford had a nice community bike trail but much to short to really enjoy. Soon I was back on the road and traffic.  It was 5 o’clock and Newbern was all locked up. Luckily for me the town of Draper has Bryson’s Store. Terry Bryson shared all the local news and stocked  me up with water so I could camp up the road… Very nice visit…

I was really worn out as I crested the hill with the Draper Valley Presbyterian Church Shinning Bright… It was Wednesday night bible study and the parking lot was full. Nate greeted me as I quietly entered. After the lesson Pastor Bob invited me to sleep in the church.. Susan loaded me a plate full of salad and I was ready for bed…. I am a blessed man…

Draper Valley Presbyterian Church
Catawba to Draper. 55 miles

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16-04-05  Day 9   Crossing The AT

16-04-05      Day 9       Crossing The AT

Biking the TransAm 2016
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!!

I hoped I awoke early enough to watch Lee glaze his pottery. Rebecca was in the kitchen and handed me a cup of coffee as I ran to the pottery barn. Lee was half done so I asked question after question about the different glazes… Who Knew? Felspar, Iron, Wood Ash..  lots of complicated processes just to make a ceramic mug… Like firing the kiln for a week and letting it cool for a week.. Amazing…. Another great experience.

When we returned from the barn we enjoyed a big bowl of cheese grits and bacon….   Yummy…   Thank You Rebecca and Lee, Bike Angels…

I shoved off at 9:00 am and was in for another day of ups and downs. Buchanan was a cute town with it’s very own Pharmacy / Grill combo. Real home town…. I ate some of the food in my bag and enjoyed  an hour break.. Troutville was tiny and Daleville I missed. The bike route bypassed it I guess.

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Crossing The Appalachian Trail

t was 4:00 pm and I had 16 miles left to Catawba. By the time I got to the last 4 miles my legs were wore out. I had to stop and rest as I pedaled up the last hills.

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Appalachian Trail Volunteer Maintainers

I checked out the Catawba Community center for a possible place to camp. There was a meeting going on and I noticed a lot of AT license plates. I walked into a Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club Maintainers Meeting… I actually knew Michael from Woods Hole Hostel and Theresa and Homer, who I met in 2011, while they were maintaining the trail. They offered me some pizza, how could I resist?..

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Community Center Home Sweet Home

They gave me well wishes and off they went..  I set up my tent and off to sleep.

Catawba Community Center             Lexington to Catawba Va. 62.5 Miles

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16-04-04 Day 8 The Blue Ridge Parkway

16-04-04  Day 8   The Blue Ridge Parkway

Biking the TransAm 2016
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!

It was cold and I could hear Susanna tossing and turning..”You Cold?” … ” My feet are cold”  … ” Here are some dry socks and a hat”. Again early in the morning… “You Cold” …”Yep”.. ” Here is my sleeping bag”.

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For the first time in a new tent and sleeping pad, Susanna had the full experience of bike camping. The sun was coming up and we enjoyed a cup of coffee with hot chocolate… My favorite..  we packed up and was pedaling by 9:00am..

Again the climbs were long and abundant … I am looking forward to get some legs… Soon. We rode the 10 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway till we reached 56 and the much feared Vesuvius Hill…. Thank goodness Susanna made me go slow so I wouldn’t crash. It is 1000 ft straight up or in our case. DOWN …  We pedaled into Lexington and Susanna’s husband, John promptly picked her up… It was so nice to have a biking partner. Thanks Susanna and John…..

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My heart sank knowing I would be pedaling alone from now on… Oh boy… Memories of loneliness of last years CDT hike flooded my head…  I looked to see if there was a Warm Shower Host in the area and called one and left a message.

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As I was pedaling out of town, Rebecca called and invited me to there home. After making a wrong turn, I made it to Rebecca and Lee’s Beautiful Farm.

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“Welcome, Would you like some Lemonade, Ice Tea, or Both…..?” We tried to sit on the front porch but settled next to the wood stove as the sun and temperature dropped. After dinner and shower I walked to the pottery barn to watch Lee put a coat of glaze on his last batch of mugs and vases. It was amazing to see the three stage kiln and hear of the process to dry the pieces… A week of heating and a week of cooling… I will have a new appreciation of clay vessels and dishes.

A few miles south of Lexington.
Love Gap to Lexington 35.5 miles.

16-04-03  Day 7  Climbing to Love Gap

16-04-03    Day 7   Climbing to Love Gap

Biking the TransAm 2016
2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!

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I still had a bike load of work to do so when I woke up at 4:30 am there was no going back to sleep. Finally at 6:00 I went to work. Packing my life’s possessions into Iva’s basement closet, sending my last W2 to Florida, and packing up the gear for six months.. It was so cold outside I rethought my long underwear choice and changed to a thicker pair.

The birthday girl, Iva, beamed into the kitchen and proceeded to fill my bags with food….  The Best Bike Angel you could have….

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We rushed to met Susanna at White Hall at 9:30 and started pedaling at 10:30….. We knew we had a climb but 2000 ft up was a challenge. Susanna did great and led the way…

Since it was Sunday there was a lot of traffic on the road. We stopped at the popcorn stand at Afton and enjoyed lunch were the Blue Ridge Parkway begins..

More climbing and more climbing. By the time we reached Ravens Roost we both were pooped. Since we needed water, We pushed on to Love Gap and Mountain Top Church. We ate dinner and decided to stay on the church property. I an so thankful to have someone bike with me….Very Nice…Thanks Susanna!!!

Mountain Top Church…31.5 Miles

16-03-31  Day 4   Charlottesville      

16-03-31   Day 4    Charlottesville

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!
TransAmerica 2016 Blog

I need to reset my alarm on my watch.. No need to wake up at 5:30… How about 6?  Coffee and a sink with hot water.. Thank you Palmyra Methodist Church for a wonderful nights sleep.

Crossed the Rivanna River where there was once a canal to transport farm goods from the plantations nearby.

President James Monroe, the fifth president. Lived in a modest home, that looked much more like a home than a mansion. I was again early and the painters were scraping away trying to get ready for the upcoming tourist season.

Montecito had a long drive way uphill so I passed by having visited James Madison’s home previously.

Most of the drivers were very patient as I climbed the hills into town… MOST…. a few close encounters…..

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I reached White Hall early and Met Larry Wayant  At Wayants Store. We had a great conversation about his Great Grandfather and Grandfather running the country store. A family tradition rare in our US of A..

Soon Clai picked my up for a much needed soak in the bath…. My legs were hurting….

After a great dinner out with Clai and Iva it was back to Iva’s for a Great Nights Sleep…

White Hall (Charlottesville) 38 miles.

16-03-30 Day 3  All Gears. All Day…

16-03-30     Day 3       All Gears. All Day…

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!
TransAmerica 2016 Blog

img_0651Ashland, VA is beautifully decorated with bikes of all sizes colors and shapes.. No question, someone likes bikes…   Amtrak also runs straight through the middle of town..  Small town USA… Gotta to love it……

Visited one of “Give me liberty or give me death” Patrick Henry’s homes today.. 17 kids.. that would be liberating..  The wife had some mental issues….You Think???

That’s the history lesson for today.

Stopped at the Elk Creek Country Store for lunch and met Tarzan and Kimmy.. He is the minnow tank expert and Kimmy is the Bass fishing record holder. Smiles all around.

As I was working on keeping my lungs still in my body, Gasping, I tried to shift to the 30th gear… No luck only 27….  Lots of ups and downs preparing for the Blue Ridge Parkway

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I rode into Palmyra, VA. at 7:00 pm. Pastor George greeted me at the door of the Methodist Church with a fried chicken dinner. So welcoming and a blessing to me.

My body is not happy but it will come a long in due time.. Looking for some rest in Charlottesville tomorrow.

Palmyra, VA.  71.5 Miles

16-03-29  Day 2 Battlefields and Plantations

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16-03-29  Day 2 Battlefields and Plantations

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!
TransAmerica 2016 Blog

The stars were winking at me as the cool breeze brushed against my whiskers. AHHH. Cowboy Camping!!!… The birds started singing at 5:30 am…. Back on the east coast where the birds are louder…. And plentiful… It was cold so I started fully clothed. Might need to adjust for colder mornings..

7:00 am I pulled out back on the Capital Bike Trail. It rolls all the way to Richmond but I will leave it for less busy Mechinicsville.

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The morning I visited Sherwood Forrest Plantation. John Tyler, The 10th PrePresident the US. I can only remember the first…  After doing the President thing he decided to get married…… Have 7 children,  and remodel the home, making it a 300 ft home, the longest frame house in the US…. It would make a nice Bowling Alley… Or hideaway…   It was early and no one was at the plantation so I biked on..

 

Plantation after Plantation morphed into Battlefield after Battlefield… The Melvern Hill story was that the Confederate forces took it wave after wave at a price of 5000 lives. Union….3,000… Another time for reflection.

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Stopped for lunch at the Willis Methodist Church. Pastor Mark greeted me as the 2nd Biker on the year.. The first March 7th… Maybe I can catch up…..  or not.

On to Mechinicsville 5:00 o’clock traffic. Everyone was patient taking their turn passing  old Silver. It was late but felt good so I pushed on to Ashland, VA. Old Town Bicycles.

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A nice stop to Martin’s Grocery Store to charge up and a half gallon of Moose Tracks.. Blogging Done!

Ashland Va. 69.5 Miles

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16-03-28   Day 1   On The Road Again!!!

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16-03-28   Day 1   On The Road Again!!!   Yorktown, VA to Astoria, OR

2 Wheels, 6 Months, 1 Adventure!!!

TransAmerica 2016 Blog

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Words cannot express how happy I am to be back adventuring!!!!        Iva and Bill created and John and Suzanna hosted the first ever send off party for me starting a trip… I am overflowing with Gratitude and Thanks…  Jayne, Trish, Brian, David C., CJ, Jeanne, Barbara, Cat. Thank you!!!

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Bill, Bike Angel of the year, solved all the problems of the world as we made our way to Yorktown, Va. We stopped at Pierce’s Famous BBQ for a special lunch and we ran into David C. from Afton as he was headed to the Coast… OK the magic is starting early….

Bill waited patiently while I assembled all the bags on the #SurleyLongHaulTrucker. Everything fit just like 2014…. Yes!!

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Finally it was time to back my rear tire into the Eastern shore of the USA… Bill took a few pictures and then to the official start at the base of the Yorktown Monument.. Bill honked the horn as he passed me headed back to Charlottesville where we will meet up four days from now. Official Start 2:10 pm.

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It is spring break and Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown are filled with visitors. I thought about stopping but settled to read all the signs along the Colonial Parkway Route. Lots of history of people killing people back 400 years ago. Makes me wonder…

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With 20 miles completed, I turned on to the Capital Bike Trail. It was around 5 and the trail was filled with bikers, runners, and walkers…. Cain, Wilson and Cole were riding their mountain bikes and had already completed 10 miles… Unfortunately they were headed south as were all the other bikers… So no one to ride with yet….

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After riding 28 miles, I decided to stop at the county campground along the Chickahominy River. When I turned along the water to find my campsite, there it was. My dream pickup truck with a slide in camper…. Steve and Michelle invited me to have a beer with them and gave me a tour of their camper.. Top notch all the way….. .They are from ALABAMA and are on the Road….. Kinda like me…

They shared their lives, home, and dinner with me. To soon it was off to bed and to Camper Dreaming….

28 miles ,    Chickahominy Riverfront Park.

15-09-26 Day 167 Complete – Mark Trail CDT Blog

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15-09-26  Day 167  Complete – Mark Trail CDT Blog

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail  – Mark Trail CDT 2015
Start Date 4/12/15    –    Completion Date 9/26/15

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If you would like to read the Story from top down, CLICK BELOW:

Marktrailrocks.com/category/hiking-the-continental-divide-trail/? order=asc

Thanks For Reading!!!!!!!!

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IMG_0276The Full Moon shown over me all night long. It was my last night on the CDT. When I woke up during the night, I thought of all the people that made my journey so very special.  I reviewed my hike day by day, reminiscing all my fellow hikers and Trail Angels that I met along my path, thanking each one individually in my mind. From the Greyhound Bus driver Juan, who bought my dinner on the way to Lordsburg, NM to the hunter Mark, who gave me a liter of his water yesterday so I could have coffee this morning. What can I say about Bront and Shelly from Boulder, my resupply Champion. Ginny my Jacksonville life Manager….Oh Boy, what a job…… And everyone I have missed writing here….Thank You… I am so grateful that I burst out in joyful tears. I cannot contain my emotions once again. I felt like a spring, releasing it’s precious resource……

What a day.

I couldn’t believe the 9 Oz primus fuel canister and the lithium batteries in my spot lasted all the way from Rawlins, WY. on September fourth.

I wanted to lie in my sleeping bag and enjoy the morning coffee but I couldn’t. I needed to pack up and start hiking… The routine. This transition back into the “World” will be different….20150926_102102 (1)On the last 11,000 ft peak I called Soudough in Akaska. It was early and  he answered knowing it was me. He congratulated me and we talked about what a time we had hiking New Mexico together.  Somehow I need to spend time in Alaska, just add it to the bucket….

IMG_0280When I arrived at Highway 114, I hiked to the spot I hitched into Gunnison in June. Wow…A strange finish but then again this is the CDT…..

ContactPhoto-IMG_20150926_134611Two hours of hitching agressively, no one would stop….   I prayed for the right person to come help me. Amy stopped going in the other direction. “Where are you going?” she asked….. “Gunnisonn” . ” I’m in no hurry, I’ll give you a ride”…. How does this happen?

We talked about her Yert and ways of gardening in Taos, NM. I learned a lot… Adobe construction and solar power. …  We shared lunch together and she dropped me off at McDonald’s. Thanks Amy, My newest Trail Angel.

I sent out the announcement of my completion of my hike and the well wishes flowed back…. I felt truly blessed and glad to be done. I had contacted a bike trail angel Marti earlier about staying at her home but my bus left at 6:20 am and she lived out of town so I stayed at the Quality Inn. The whole town was booked up but Jessica found a way to get me a room….. With a Jacuzzi… 20150926_202140 (1)Now that’s the way to Celebrate. Amber Bock and Bubbles….It wasn’t long I was roasted, toasted, and burnted. I went to bed a happy Man….. Thanks CDT for an awesome backdrop for my personal development and growth…. Cheers!!!!!

IMG_0289

Mark Trail -The Triple Crown!!

The Triple Crown!!!

Gunnison, Co.   10 Miles

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15-09-25 Day 166 Last Full Day – Mark Trail CDT Blog

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15-09-25 Day 166. Last Full Day – Mark Trail CDT Blog
Hiking The Continental  Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

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If you would like to read the Story from top down, paste this link into your browser:

Marktrailrocks.com/category/hiking-the-continental-divide-trail/? order=asc

Thanks  Mark Trail

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It was a brisk start with pine needles underfoot and woodpeckers pecks echoing through the woods. By 6:45 am I could take my Spot Headlamp off. I was thinking of what I would miss after tomorrow. Maybe the warmth of the morning sun or drinking the cold crystal clear water, maybe the thrill of 30 mile days……..

When I hiked into Marshal Pass, Jon was pressing a fresh pot of Pete’s Coffee. “Is it time for coffee?” I mooched…..  oh,  I mean asked…” You are just in time” !!!!  It is my last full day on the trail and it could not be better. Jon likes history and told me about the train race in the late 1800’s, Each train company competing to complete rail lines through the mountains. I could only imagine what life was like back then. I had 30 miles to hike so I told Jon he blessed me and headed south.

The trail deteriorated from Marshal pass south. In an effort to accommodate all users, the tread was loose rock and gravel. I fell two times….Ouch…. On top of that, it was a dry section for 24 miles….. I carried three liters but by the time four o’clock rolled around I realized I miscalculated. ….I will have to forgo dinner and have a cold lunch….IMG_0254I came around a corner and Mark was going through his hunting things when he said “Hello” . Mark is from Gunnison and loves being in the outdoors, experiencing our wonderful world…  He asked if I needed water…  Ding…. Blessed again…..Could this really happen every day and we are just to busy to notice?????  IMG_0265“Yes Please” and my water problem was solved. As I hiked I was pondering the completion and how blessed I am every day to be able to physically hike and all the support I have had along the way…….

The moon was close to full and suplemented my Spot headlamp. At the thirty mile mark I stopped and made Turkey Tetrazzini , my favorite Mountain House for dinner. Since it was my last night I ate all the Oreos that tasted like baby wipes since they were in my food box for four months.

Upper Razor Creek, 30 miles

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15-09-24 Day 165 Choo Choo – Mark Trail CDT Blog

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15-09-24 Day 165  Choo Choo – Mark Trail CDT Blog

Hiking The Continental  Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

20150924_072727 (1)IMG_0193When I went to fill the pot for coffer the Sawyer filter was frozen solid. I guess it really was cold last night at 11,800 ft. No wonder I had to get up during the night and eat to produce some heat. The sloshing of ice in my water bottles entertained me as I hiked.

I hiked up to an abandoned alpine train tunnel then dropped down to the RR bed. It ran all the way to Hancock and I never saw Hancock……IMG_0211

What’s goes down, must go up so I began to climb again from 11,000 to 12,200 ft. at Caulk Creek Pass. The trail ran the divide to Monarch Pass.. I hiked through the ski resort and it made me think of Wintergreen where I have taught skiing the past two seasons.  It was another amazing day…. The weather and trail was great….

I arrived at Monarch Pass it was 6:00 pm and I had at least six miles to go. Either hike late and complete the hike on Saturday ….OR….  stop early…Humm…. and finish Sunday. I chose to hike. Tough decisions….

The sun set and I night hiked till 9:30 pm the moon was out and it was dreamy. Forty miles to go…..

On the Divide.          Past to CT and CDT split.        30 Miles

Saw  First  Mt Goats with Fred. YEA

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15-09-23 Day 164 Breaking 100 miles – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-23 Day 164  Breaking 100 miles – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

I loved my campsite. The stars were twinkling brightly.. It was supposed to rain, it didn’t and I wasn’t going to complain. Regular routine and I was hiking at 5:45am.

I hiked to Texas Creek where you could hike your choice of two routes. Old/New. Same milage so I picked old…I should have picked new. I think it would have been more scenic and less ATV trails.

Along Texas creek, Glenn, Sandy and Matt were base camped for hunting. “Any coffee left?” I asked. Another beginning to a great day. Sandy served me leftover ham, pancakes, bacon, and coffee…I was truly blessed…. Cheers……

I forded Texas Creek with some rocks and logs. My feet got a little wet but not like yesterday’s ford coming out of Twin Lakes..IMG_0186Then the Rollercoaster began, up and down, around Mirror Lake. Then the trail climbed to Tin Cup Pass, 12,154 ft. I was happy to be on the other side as the sun set…..20150923_15550520150923_182204 (1)IMG_0187North Fork Chalk Creek,  30 Miles

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15-09-22 Day 163 Finish Fever – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-22 Day 163 Finish Fever – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

At 5:00 am I started boiling the dozen eggs Carl gave us to eat for free….they were a day out of date, perfect for hikers. Scallywag and The Darkness started stirring so I put the coffee water on. It was a delicious breakfast. Bagels, Egg, and cheese….Yumm.. We packed up the rest of the eggs and started hiking at 7:00 am.

We had to cross the swamp at the end of Twin Lakes. There was a bridge a mile and a half down the road but who wants to hike three miles when you can walk barefoot in mud and freeze your feet right where you are.

IMG_0143We forded  multiple creeks and finally connected with the CDT/CT. We climbed Little Willis Gulch from 9,200 ft to 12,548 ft .

To Hope Pass. Scallywag hiked to the pass as I was hiding Oreo Cookies on the cairn for him and Dark Girl. We hugged knowing I needed to hike on.  I was sad I had to hike alone again but I have the fever…..IMG_0157The Aspen trees were in peek color. Bright Yellow. When I stopped for lunch, a gust of wind blew so many leaves down on me, I thought l had just won the Super Bowl.  It was an incredible moment, so glorious, so wonderful. The moment was imprinted on my soul…..20150922_113642

20150922_134550The trail dropped down to old historic silver mining towns, Rockdale, Winfield, and Hamilton. While I was doing the tourist thing, Maria (Talks a Lot)  and Lisa drove up and unloaded their beef Jerky and snacks on me, Bummer…  Great Trail Magic…Thanks…  I then climbed from 9,847 to 12,400 ft to Lake Ann Pass. IMG_017320150922_174000It was overcast and there was rain in the forecast so I did the boogie. I am really homesick…  I miss my family and friends. That’s all I can think of….Over and Over in my mind. The finish fever. I need to keep present and enjoy the wonderful beauty that surrounds me every day….

The Head waters of Illinois Creek, 28.7 miles

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15-09-21 Day 162 Twin Lakes – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-21   Day 162  Twin Lakes – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

As I squeezed the water through the Sawyer water filter into the titanium cook pot the water froze. I think I will wear all my clothes this morning. It was cold…..5:40 am I was hiking.

IMG_0128It was twelve miles to Twin Lakes and I wanted to do an “In/Out”. Get my food, Wash my clothes, And wash my body…in that order.

As I was walking into town, the Aspens were in their glory. Golden Yellow…..It was eye candy….or Delicious.

Jellybean’s sister lives nearby so she texted me she would come to Twin Lakes and do Trail Magic…..once again, I am Blessed.20150921_133749 (1)

I walked to the General Store and The Darkness and Scallywag were hanging…..The last time I saw them they were coming out of Leadore. Wow… This is going to be a wonderful finish. Fall color and surrounded with friends……

ContactPhoto-IMG_20150921_180458I asked Carl at the General Store about doing laundry or a shower…..Five miles down the road….Hummm. Not Good. My box? Not here….or there..Really not good……20150921_183327The Beanster arrived and hung out for a time before doing her magic. She assembled all our dirty cloths and drove five miles to the washateria….you know, the Laundromat. Whatever…  Very Nice…..

We all went out to dinner at the Lodge next door and enjoyed ice cream in front of the General Store. Carl, the owner, catered to every request and had a helping attitude. Since my box of food for the next six days was not there, I went through the hiker box and The Darkness and Scallywag shared some of their food….Again…Nice..

IMG_0130After dinner I checked to see if UPS delivered and YES…my box from Ghost Ranch, forward to Lake City, Forward to Twin Lakes arrived.  I was elated……. With much convincing, we stayed in the hut next to the store and caught up on social media.

Twin Lakes.  12 Miles

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15-09-20 Day 161 Curtis, James, Camille – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-20 Day 161 Curtis, James, Camille – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Curtis and James are high school buddies and they have not seen each other for 20 years. I had the honor to share in their celebration and reunion. It was wonderful. After I ate three pieces of pizza. James said, “Coffee and Donuts in Leadville tomorrow morning, right?”.

How could I resist?

20150920_064051I was up and packed at 6:00 am to ride into town for coffee. A real treat. James and Curtis went on as if they haven’t been apart for a day. It was wonderful.

Then it was time to hit the trail.7:30 am and Curtis and I were hiking South on the combined CDT/CT. Curtis’s legs were sore from pushing to get to Tennessee Pass yesterday. I was trying to get to Twin Lakes early so I could do a in/out and start on the next section to Monarch Pass. We said goodbye and thanked each other for the awesome time we hiked together. I was truly blessed.

20150920_115523The CDT/CT is a great trail. Most stream crossings have bridges and the blowdowns cleared. The trail is used for winter sports and is well graded which makes for fantastic hiking. I passed by Turquoise Lake and Leadville Federal Fish Hatchery. There was a great place to camp next to Willow Creek..at 7:30 pm.

Willow Creek, 23.5 Miles

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15-09-19 Day 160 Excited and Sad – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-19  Day 160  Excited and Sad – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Well I did sleep longer. 4:15 am. I lay there pondering all my past life experiences. Excited about my future life and sad about the past. Extremely sad. It’s starting early, the reentry into our American culture and all I have to deal with.. ..  Reality is, I still have a lot of smiles to hike.20150919_144624 (1)I started at 5:45 am. The Conoco at Copper Mtn. didn’t open till 7:00 am so I plugged in my phone and waited for it to charge. Chris came out and gave me a cup of coffee at 6:45 am and I was off.

Soon I was hiking the CDT and the CT. Both trail share the same trail in some places. The trail was wonderful. Every turn was marked with a trail sign. I knew where I was at all times. Maybe that’s why it is perfect for me to be hiking the CT now. I need some stability in my life. The trail provides!

IMG_0067As I approached Kokomo Pass there was a hiker ahead of me….This is the CDT. I never catch up to hikers. Curtis is from Texas and section hiking the CDT….”Yep.. started in Steamboat and hiking south to Twin Lakes…”.ContactPhoto-IMG_20150919_150519Curtis said he was meeting a friend at Tennessee Pass for a ……BEER. oh boy, I’m all in. We had six miles to go and it was 4:30. It would be tight so we put on the boogie..

No one was at the pass so we found THE spot to call James and Camille. “We’re on our way with PIZZA AND BEER…..” wait that’s TRAIL MAGIC twice in one day. This just doesn’t happen on the CDT…Welllllll I am on the Colorado Trail… That’s why…. Is that confusing?

Tennessee Pass.  25 miles

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15-09-18 Day 159 Snow Worries – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-18  Day 159  Snow Worries – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

I can’t sleep. It’s not good. It seems like I   haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a week. Its 3:15 am and I keep tossing and turning…. Might as well enjoy some coffee.

At 5:50 am I began climbing from 11,200 to 12,355 ft. No special peak just a high range. I was hoping to see the sun rise but I the clouds were blowing over the ridge. I dropped 2,000 ft. to South Fork of Williams Fork… Talk about Forks …Humm….20150918_084511 (1)When I turned the corner along the creek, Rich and Bobby from Dallas Texas were standing there drinking coffee. “Any Extra?”  “Sure” Rich said.. Trail Magic at its best……

We talked about how special that Dad, Son, and Grandson were out hunting together for a week….Special times…..IMG_0055 Off I went happy and coffeed up. Next, 2.8 mile climb back up to Ptarmigan Gap, 11,777 ft…It seemed like it took forever. The trail only lost me twice. Fxxxing, Fxxxing, Fxxxing Trail!!!!! Max Frustration…..Then it began to snow…lightly thank goodness. Oh Boy…It’s comming….SNOW WORRIES…

There was an option to walk a bike trail from Silverthorne to Frisco to Copper Mtn. My mind was made up…20150918_165021 (1)The walk along Dillon Reservoir was beautiful. The sun came out and there were bikers and skaters along the trail. I stopped in Frisco at the Safeway market to resupply and charge the phone batteries. I night hiked to Copper Mtn till 10:00 pm. Wrote this blog till 10:50 pm.   Maybe I will be able to sleep.

On Copper Bike Trail, 27 Miles

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15-09-17 Day 158 One of the Hardest Days – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-17  Day 158   One of the Hardest Days – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

I couldn’t sleep. Not a good thing. I have been hiking by myself and getting a little crazy. The coffee this morning for some reason was wonderful.  I waited a little longer to start as I was climbing from the start. 6:01 am and I was on the trail.20150917_064214 I started at Bill Moore Lake 11,400 ft and climbed next to Breckenridge Peek 12,889 and watched the sun rise…..20150917_065311Then Mt Flora 13,132 ft. It’s a shame but the trail dropped to Berthoud Pass 11,315. Bummer.

There was a helicopter hauling concrete up the mtn for some avalanche control they were building….Hey I know what’s happening in the world! …..Yeah Right. I have no idea what’s going on and I think I don’t need to know…..

Now I climbed back up to 12,391 ft. and Stanley Mtn at 12,521. Hikers on the trail need water so instead of staying on the Divide, the trail dropped to 11,500 to a stream before starting back up to Mt. Nystrom 12,665 ft.

The trail ran around two no named peeks before reaching Jones Pass 12,400 ft. The trail then dropped down to 10,400 ft. where it followed Bobtail Creek up the drainage. This is where I stopped due to the trail climbing back up above tree line. Very exposed and taking a risk of weather, not a good thing to do. Looking forward to a great climb tomorrow morning. ….

Someone do the math and let me know how many feet I climbed… Thanks

Bobtail Creek.    23.7 Miles

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15-09-16 Day 157 James Mountain – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-16  Day 157  James Mountain – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

The rain started at 3:30 am. I rolled the beak out. (an extension over the door of the Heximid). I tried to go back to sleep but no luck. At 5:00 am I started the water and was all packed up at 5:20 am. I had to hike with my headlamp till 6:30 am. I had a great start on the day.     20150916_085044 It was twelve miles to the next water so I stopped at 7:30 am to load up. As I climbed from 10,000 ft to Devils Thumb Pass at 11,747 ft the sun came up and started to warm me up. It was a up and down climb till I dropped to Rollis Pass at 11,671 ft.

This is where the fun of the day began. I climbed to 13,200 ft James Mountain. As I approached the summit, the clouds rolled in and it began to rain. Nice…..The clouds parted enough for me to get a few pictures then closed in again.    20150916_100139 There was an alternate that saves seven miles of hiking but was a risky route and I am alone so I took the longer route. Be Safe. Smart Move!. I stopped at Loch Lomond  Lake, where I met Justin and Rob out to enjoy the great outdoors. They gave me a beer and we spent a few minutes together celebrating today.

3,000 Ft elevation loss later it was 6:20 pm and time to stop for the day. There was a group of trees and none for miles ahead so it made sense.IMG_9957IMG_9959Bill Moore Lake,  23 Hard Miles!

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15-09-15 Day 156 The Lakes – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-15  Day 156. The Lakes – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Up early to make Bacon and Eggs. Otter boiled six for hard boiled eggs to carry on the trail and fried six to eat…with a pound of bacon. We were full…..Nice.20150915_121136 (1)I packed up and said goodbye to Otter and White Face.  At 7:30 am I was hiking south. Well the trail actually runs through the town so I don’t which way I was going…I think West. I turned SOUTH… and hiked along Grand Lake, Shadow Lake and finally Lake Granby. Next was the Roaring Fork Campground where I had lunch. I left the road and entered Arapaho National Forest.

There were fresh footprints on the trail but I didn.t know of anyone ahead of me. Two weeks and three days (Trail Name) was getting some water by a stream. “Wow you hike fast!” was my greeting… We spent enough time for me to share some popcorn and then hiked on. I hiked till 7:20 pm and camped by Hamilton Creek.

Hamilton Creek. 27.7 Miles

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15-09-14 Day 155 Grand Lake – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-14  Day 155  Grand Lake – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

As usual I could not sleep. I think I fell asleep around 3:00 am. I don’t know if it is because I am trying to organize everything I need to do or the news from the emails back home, but every town stop the first night is sleepless.

IMG_9908Otter was up as I was at 5:00 am. I worked on the blog and read some news. At 7:00 am we went to the Sagebrush for breakfast. We left hungry and went to the first small grocery store we could find. Otter bought a apple breakfast baked thingie.  I got a banana and popcorn. Yumm..

IMG_9896Since Bront picked me up at the North Supply Trail Head, I had to hike from there. Otter suggested I hike from the Shadowcliff Hostel to the trail head and hitch back. The hike was through Rocky Mountain National Park and it was beautiful. I was carrying my full pack minus food. It was four miles and the time went by quickly.

IMG_9900Just after I entered the park boundary, Das Boots appeared with their Big Smiles. Their BIG leather boots rotted due to being wet all the time in northern Wyoming. Look at those new Keen Boots. We talked about meeting at the hostel later… Cheers.. I stopped by the visitor center and it was just like all the parks centers.

I hitched a ride with Richard and Sonya from Dallas Texas. They dropped me off at the bigger store in town and I bought hot dogs for lunch and spaghetti for dinner. Yumm. …

By 8:00 pm I was done uploading my blog and it was up to date.. YEA!!!!

Shadowcliff Hostel, 4 miles.

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15-09-13 Day 154 A Grand Visit – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-13  Day 154  A Grand Visit – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

I knew I would be cold. I camped along a creek in a valley. The cold breeze slowly passed through the tent all night. At 5:30 am I was ready to get up and start hiking. I bypassed making coffee to get a quicker start. My college roommate and resupply point man, Bront was coming to meet me and hike into Grand Lake. I hiked late last night so I would be closer but as I looked at Lay’s Map 10, I could see that there could be A LOT of confusion meeting up on the trail.

I met Otter getting his pack stuffed. I met him long ago as we were hiking out of Leadore. It is a small world…..

I pushed hard climbing up to 11,476 ft at Bowen Pass to get phone connection. It was 11:00 am and still Twelve Miles to the trail head. Bront answered the phone….YES… He also noticed the many options and had a detailed map with even more crossing trails. WOW…. He decided to wait five hours after driving three hours for me to hike out.

I playfully sent him pictures of “North Supply 120.4  4X4” road which was steep and full of rocks. Since it was Sunday, ATVs and dirt bikes were zooming by as I descended as quickly as I could. I took screen shots of my GPS position so he decided to hike up and meet me.

At 4:00 pm. we met and went to the Sagebrush BBQ restaurant to eat. The Broncos were playing and I was in culture shock. No tv, No football since I have been on the trail.  Wow…

Bront took me to the Shadowcliff hostel and dropped me off with thicker long underwear and a food drop….I was sad to see him leave as I am getting homesick and ready to prepare to return to ???

Shadowcliff Hostel, Grand Lake, CO

17.5 Miles

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15-09-12 Day 153 Parkview Mt. – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-12. Day 153. Parkview Mt – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

The Elk were calling, (For Help), all night long. It is and was a beautiful sound. I awoke at 5:30 am and started boiling water as the sky changed colors….IMG_9792

IMG_9821  I watched the sun rise as I hiked along poison ridge. I had no trouble crossing Troublesome Pass. Then hiked around Haystack. When I reached the ridge again, I had lunch. Grit walked up and we climbed Parkview Mountain, 12,400 ft, as White Face and Patch followed. It was the biggest climb for me since the Winds in Wyoming. I haven’t had a day off to rest my legs since I restarted at Rawlins, WY.

Grit and I worked our way down the 3,000 ft to highway 125, Cottonwood Pass. There we had our happy hour taking a much needed break.

20150912_102748I texted Bront as we hiked out of the pass. Hopefully we will meet tomorrow somewhere North of Grand Lake on the CDT. I am thirteen miles north of Hwy 34 and when he gets at the trail head he will hike north till we meet….Great. Bront is my Supply person, sending maps and food…. So excited.

Near the top of Trout Creek    21.5 Miles

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15-09-11 Day 152 Climbing up – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-11. Day 152. Climbing up – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

IMG_9776 The frost was heavy on my tent since we were in the open and down low next to Grizzly Creek and the road. I called out at 5:30 am to wake the boys…..Not a sound. I hooted Cock-a-doodle-do as I started the road walk back into the mountains.

The hike was mostly on dirt forest service roads as I climbed from 8,300 ft to 11,500 ft. back up to the Divide.  I passed a few hunter camps and guys posing as hunters just to get outdoors for a few days.20150911_175736

The views were wonderful as I hiked along the Rabbit Ears Range and around Sheep Mtn. I found a special spot to camp at 11,000 ft in the middle of the trail where the wind was blocked and I could watch the sunset and sunrise…No Grit, Face, or Patch

20150911_193434Past Sheep Mtn. 26.5 Miles

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15-09-10 Day 151 Steamboat – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-10  Day 151  Steamboat – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

IMG_9766I was motivated to get rolling so at 5:20 I was hiking by headlamp south two miles to highway 40. It was a little after 6:00 am and since there was no traffic, I hiked east on the road to get in some more miles. When I reached highway 14, the trail turned east. Hitching was still not the best so I turned around and started walking west towards Steamboat. Four miles later, Nate picked me up and took me to McDs for a senior coffee and big breakfast….IMG_9767White Face, Grit, and Patch were in town so I crashed and cashed in on a shower. Patch needed to do laundry so we split the load. I started the recharging of the batteries and Patch let my use his charger to charge the mp3 player….   

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Along Hwy 14, 11 miles

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15-09-09 Day 150 Hikers and Hunters – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-09  Day 150. Hikers and Hunters – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

The decision to stop at 6:30 pm last night was a good decision. The trail climbed to 11,930 ft with no flat areas to sleep. I looked for the lost ranger on top of Lost Ranger Peak but no luck.20150909_095626

The trail ran along the divide then dropped to Buffalo Pass. It was in the Zirkel Wilderness and lots of hikers and hunters. There was Marita and Dwight, from Idaho, section hiking the CDT. Mike and Cody, from Kansas hunting Elk on horses. Cody shot one one yesterday with a bow and arrow…

IMG_9749Wow. John and Diane, from Steamboat. They had their old backpacks from the seventies. I loved their kelty packs. IMG_9752Then Greg and Michele, from Nunn, Grouse hunting. Greg showed me two Grouse he shot with his Grandfather’s rifle….amazing.

As I hiked there was a chance I could make it to Steamboat tonight. White Face and Grit were in town an I was texting them that it was four in the afternoon and I still had 10 miles to hike. Hummm. Well I missed a turn and hiked a half mile off trail. That was the end of trying to get to town. I decided to hike late and stay at Dumont Lake Campground. I needed water and it was dark. I saw a light and thought it best to ask than search. Jack and Deanna invited me to DINNER…..Trail Magic. I was starving and the chicken and watermelon was delicious. ..Thank you so much……

Dumont Lake Campground 29.7 miles

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15-09-08 Day 149 Quaking Aspens – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-08  Day 149. Quaking Aspens – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

It was getting dark and the only flattish spot was above the spring. Thank goodness for the polycro groundsheet from Gossamer Gear.

Four ATVs  passed by the tent at 6:00 am. Now that’s serious bow hunters. I bumped the pot on top of the stove which bumped my newly made coffee and over it went. I guess I wasn’t supposed to have coffee this morning.The trail at first was not the best start to a day but after a while it was fantastic. As I approached the Seed house trail head and parking lot, I actually saw five day hikers. Really. I haven’t seen any hikers since getting back on the trail in Rawlins. Lots of great ATVers, but no hikers….Just making a comment.20150909_093406 (1)

IMG_9743I climbed from 8,085 ft to 10,700 ft. It’s great to be high again. Well I am in Colorado, aren’t I????. Made half of a Mountain House Chicken and Noodles with a half a ramen next to North Lake. Stopped at 6:30 since the trees stopped and the trail continued above tree line… I need a good night’s sleep…

Below Lost Ranger Peak…22.5 Miles

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15-09-07 Day 148 Colorado! – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-07 Day 148 Colorado! – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

IMG_9695The rain came and went all night. At one point I dreampt it was snowing…..By 6:00 am it had stopped and I packed and started hiking at 6:40 am. Due to the rain the grass was wet and my boots were soaked. Wyoming’s last hurrah.

IMG_9704 It was sixteen miles to the border and not easy miles. Up. Down. UP.  …..There was a welcome sign for Wyoming but Colorado???

I celebrated with a beer and hiked on. I saw 4 hunters and two camps. A lot different than yesterday. I hiked to water and camped at 7:10 pm.

Middle Fork Of The Little Snake River
25 miles

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15-09-06 Day 147 Trail Magic! – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-06  Day 147. TRAIL MAGIC! – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Lots of thunder and lightning off and on through the night. Better at night than during the day.   IMG_9663  I looked at the map and maybe I can make it to Steamboat Springs on the food I have. I will pass the road to Encampment this afternoon and the post office is closed.

Started at 6:40 am with a wet tent but at least I’m not carrying four litters of water. I stopped at 8:30 am for my rest after two hours of hiking. Dan walked up in full camo with his bow. Bow season is here…. Hummm. “what do you think, Dan?” I asked. “You don’t have to worry about being shot” . Great I thought….  I walked up on a parked ATV. Aja and Chris were eating breakfast. I thought if I was going to make it to Steamboat with the food I had I would need some help. “Do you have any extra food” I asked. Aja gave me a bunch of crackers and a pop tart. That’s a start.

At noon Danny, Bill and family offered me a beer….At 4:00 pm Mike and his son gave me a bunch of snacks. 4:30 pm Suzie, Travis, and Ryan and another beer. Finally at 5:30 pm Anthony and Nina, an apple, tomato, and a stout beer….. I think I will make it Steamboat….IMG_9693Standard Park,   22 miles

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15-09-05 Day 146 Strong Wind, Rain and Hail – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-05 Day 146 Strong Wind, Rain, and Hail – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail.
Mark Trail CDT 2015

I cowboy camped behind a gate on a dirt road. There wasn’t much traffic and I slept well. It was great to get back on the trail even though it was next to a road. Coffee with hot chocolate was enjoyed as I packed up.

At 6:20 am  I was hiking. Since it was Saturday, there was a lot of traffic. Most cars just drove by when Hollis stopped and turned off his truck. He wanted to know what I was doing and I quizzed him on his rehab on a gasoline plant… Very Interesting…..

I limited my breaks trying to make some miles. Since I am alone there is no one to make conflicting plans and I get to hike on!!

It was thirty four miles of no water or water you would not want to drink. I pushed my freshly rested legs to limit my breaks and to hike… It was a road walk so not a lot of obstacles. It rained, hailed and the wind blew. THE CDT!!!!  Towards the end of the day I was back on trail and back in the woods…
Yes!IMG_9655Medicine Bow National Forest

34 Miles

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15-09-04 Day 145 Back to Rawlins, Wyoming – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-04.  Day 145  Back to Rawlins, Wyoming – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Bront was up early and missed the big breakfast, so Shelly and I ate it all. I packed a snack, frozen water and Gatorade to keep it all cold for the bus ride to Rawlins, WY.    IMG_9643 Shelly drove me to downtown Boulder for the 9:45 bus to Denver. It was a quick turnaround,  finishing in East Glacier Park on Tuesday the First. Taking Amtrak from East Glacier to Seattle. Wednesday the second, Flying from Seattle to Denver. On Thursday the third, Eating. Resuppling. Send a box to Encampment, Wy. Exchange my broken Panasonic camera. Opening and sending mail. Eating. Printing maps. Replace water filter. Replace thermarest back pad. The most important, making dinner, Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Corn, and Rice……

The Greyhound bus ride was great. Time to read email and post on Facebook….

I started hiking at 6:00 pm and stopped at 8:30 pm … Back on the trail…

South of Rawlins, Wy.    7 miles

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15-09-03 Day 144 Boulder – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-03  Day 144  Boulder – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Lots of chores to be done as usual.

Eat

Food sent to Encampment

Replaced Camera

Eat again

Purchased Back pad and Velcro to keep in place.

Make Pork Tenderloin Dinner….

Boulder.      0 Miles

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15-09-01/02 Day 143/144 Complete Montana – Mark Trail CDT

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15-09-01/02 Day 143/144  Complete Montana CDT – Mark Trail

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

We were up early and had breakfast at the Two Medicine Grill. It was delicious. I was ready to hike the twelve miles left to complete CDT Montana. We did the key swap just like yesterday. It was a great feeling completing Montana and also apprehension of returning to Wyoming and Colorado in four days to hike south. 20150901_184028 (1).jpgWe had our last lunch together at the ..TM Grill. I did some last minute packing, shopping and sending cards. The train was on time and at 6:45 pm, I was riding west to Seattle. There was a narrative given by a guide as we traveled through history of the west.

Next Day…. 09/02/2015

As we approached Seattle and morning came, the guide returned and continued describing places we passed. It made for an interesting ride.  20150902_131758 Wip, who I hiked with on the AT in 2011, met me for lunch, brought me two packs of Starbucks Via Coffee packs, and drove me to the airport. It is so nice to have friends all over the US….

20150902_210424 Bront met me at the Denver airport and Shelly made me a big salad. It’s great to be back to my Boulder Home….

Boulder Colorado,
Lots and Lots of Miles

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15-08-31 Day 142 Making The Best Of It – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-31 Day 142 Making The Best Of It – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail.
Mark Trail CDT 2015

IMG_0552-1 I slept in an old international bus converted into a camper. It was one of those special places that was very peaceful. Very restful sleep.20150831_065239 (1)

I was at the grocery store when it opened at 7:00 am. Bacon, eggs, and donuts. Autumn cooked breakfast and than packed us BLT’s for lunch. Unbelievable Trail Magic.

Bean and I did the road walk in different directions. We would drop off one of us and drive the car six to seven miles up the road. Then park the car and hike back to where the other person was dropped off. We would pass off the key as we passed each other in the middle. Different but it was our only option to complete the miles due to the fires.

20150901_183651After fourteen miles, Jellybean was ready for Two Medicine Grill and I was too. We booked our same room for two nights at the Whispering Swan, showered, and ate lunch. Echo joined us and we made our plans for tomorrow. I would change my reservations and ride the train through the night to Seattle then fly to Denver on 9/2. Bean would continue road walking south through Montana. Oh boy. …  What a day

East Glacier Park. 14 miles

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15-08-30 Day 142 Wind, Rain, Road Walk – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-30. Day 141. Wind, Rain, Road Walk – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Again I didn’t get eaten by a bear. St Mary Campground has an abundance of berries and the bears know it. No tent camping was allowed so we slept in Bean’s SUV.

We missed the 7:00 am shuttle back up the road to the Gunflint Trail head. So we waited an hour and toured the visitor center and an update on the fires. It also had a lot of history of the park and of past residents.

Gail, the shuttle driver, drove us up and soon we were road walking back to St Mary. Since it rained last night, the air was a lot clearer and cooler. I could feel fall in the air. 20150830_103740 We arrived at St Mary at 1:30 pm and promptly went to the restaurant for lunch. Storms moved in while we ate so plans to walk on were in question. I was I no hurry and had plenty of time to catch the train, plane ride back to Denver seven days from now.20150830_103905Bean drove us six miles out of town where we hitched back to St Mary to walk back to the car. Very Crazy…….Very.

ContactPhoto-IMG_20150831_090507As we were hitching, Gary and Autumn stopped and not only offered a ride, they offered a place to sleep and second dinner.    Words cannot discribe the joy in me……

Browning, Mt.   20 road walking miles

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15-08-29. Day 140 Back in the USA – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-29.    Day 140.  Back in the USA  – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

We woke up at 5:00 am and packed up so not to bother Barbara’s family. We slept like royalty on their outdoor padded loungers. There were chimes that would sing as a gentle breeze blew off the bay.ContactPhoto-IMG_20150829_113115Waterton was like a Ghost Town at 6:00 am on a Saturday. We hiked to the campground and took showers to blow some time before Subway opened at 7:00 am. At 9:00 we walked back to the campground to find Todd and Sharon for our ride to Many Glacier. They made room for us in their Prius. Crossing the Canada – US border was uneventful. Yes, No, No, No….OK you may enter. Then I told Todd I had Two Lbs of …….. Just Joking….

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Ed at the Ranger Station said that there was not a way to thru hike the south side of the park due to forest fires. The only option was to road walk Logan Pass to St. Mary and then to East Glacier Park, Fifty one miles. Bummer and Ok…Welcome to the CDT…again.

Diane, Cecilia, Scott, and Larry picked us up at Many Glacier and drove us to St Mary.

Loretta and Gerald gave us a ride to Logan Pass.

We road walked from 2:30 PM till 5:20  p.m, Logan Pass to Gunflint Pass, where we will start road walking tomorrow.

We drove to St. Mary Campground and camped for the night. I walked around the campground to stretch my legs and met Tom and Peter. it was Happy Hour and I was very Happy……..

St Mary Campground, Gunflint Pass
From Canada and  6 Miles

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15-08-28 Day 139 Waterton, Ca

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15-08-28 Day 139 Waterton

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

The Grizzly decided not to eat us so we had a great nights sleep. We took our time getting sta20150828_124736rted and had breakfast with the guys at the Fifty Mountain Campsite. There were nine of us. At 7:00 am it was time to walk to Waterton, Alberta, Canada. I was stoked with all kinds of emotions rushing through my head.20150828_085354Every day was amazing and falling into place with no effort on my part… Well.. maybe a little effort.

20150828_144447It was sixteen miles to the US / Canada border and another 4 miles to Waterton. We rolled in a little after 2:00 pm at the border and took lots of pictures. Most likely I will never be back. As we got closer to Waterton we began to see a lot more day hikers.

20150828_170408As we were walking through the Waterton campground, Rick, sitting by his camper,  offered us a beer…”I think I am going to like this town.”

20150828_195011(0)We headed straight to Zums for some fried chicken. Yum…. After dinner,! we walked the town and sampled any food I could shove into my face. I went into Zuma the Taco Bar and ordered two tacos from India and Amanda. Then a box of Chocolate Almond Milk with Oreo Cookies.20150828_204600

ndia said we could get a tour so we hiked up to the Prince Of Wales Hotel, overlooking the lake and town of Waterton.  Kalvin and Christina gave us a tour of the Grand hotel. It was built for people wishing to escape prohibition and enjoying the beautiful mountains, all of eighty six rooms.

ContactPhoto-IMG_20150829_074846Back down the hill to Barbara’s back porch, a resident of Waterton, to sleep on cots she rolled out for us….Amazing

Waterton, Alberta, Canada.  19.5 Miles

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15-08-27 Day 138 Glacier National Park – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-27 Day 138 Glacier National Park – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

My alarm went off at 5:00 am as always but this time I had to get up. I started the coffee and made the last minute packing decisions. We were going to hike from Logan Pass to Waterton, Canada. Then bus back to Jellybean’s car and figure a way to hike south.

Thats the plan and we will see what up.

20150827_074433 Goodbye to Peaches and Bean drove us from East Glacier Park to Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. There were Big Horned Sheep in the parking lot to welcome us… It was early in the morning so only a few people were there.

We started on the High Line Trail and through the smoke from the fires, you could see that it was a special place. To bad we could only see the shadows of the mountains.

20150827_131212Fifty Mountain Campsite was occupied by hikers like any other national park. There were experienced and novice from all over the states. We shared stories and had a great time. Two guys went down for water and saw a huge grizzly bear…. Maybe I will get my chance to see one…..

Fifty Mountain, 19.5 Miles

15-08-26 Day 137 Day of Rest – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-26.     Day 137.     Day of Rest – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

Even though it was technically my day off. We left at 5:45 am to drive to Two Medicine Campground to get our permit to hike the park. We were second in line when the office opened at 7:00 am. I heard of Sam Thornton from hikers headed south. Usually the Rangers will not issue permits with campsites farther than ten miles apart and for good reasons. We aren’t normal hikers in many ways and Sam knows that. He said we had a lot of trails closed in the south of the park and suggested we hike the north end and then come back and see if anything has opened up in two days. Sounds like the CDT to me.

20150826_074948  I wanted to see the East Glacier Lodge so me and Bean went for breakfast. It was like the Old Faithful Inn, all logs, but bigger columns and lots of straight lines….

Back to East Glacier we packed our food for two days. I have never left town with two days of food so I am looking forward to hike this section with a light pack.

I wrote some post cards and ate, napped, and ate again. As we were walking to dinner, Lint, Patches, and Grape Nuts walked into town, Just finishing a complete through Hike. They passed me in Lincoln, ten days earlier. Wow is that fast.  We had dinner and Lint left on the 7:45 train. Patches and Grape nuts took showers and hung out while waiting for travel plans home. Grape Nut’s friend picked him up while I was sleeping. Bean slept in her car and let Patches sleep in her bed….. What a nice gesture….

East Glacier Park.    0 Miles

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15-08-25 Day 136 Jellybean – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-25.  Day 136.  Jellybean – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

The campsite was eight miles from town. I got up and made water and took down the food bag. No hurries so I stayed I my sleeping bag while drinking TWO cups of coffee. I listened to the sounds of the forest. Complete silence… The wind gently blew through the trees….then silence……a bird song……silence…

Pure relaxation.

There is something different about town days. A special skip in my steps. I mass texted that I survived the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Suddenly there was a text from Jellybean who I hiked with for one day briefly before Dubois, Wy. She wanted to hike Glacier with me… Wonderful.. I have been hiking by myself since Darby, Mt.  This will be awesome.

Navigating the trail into East Glacier Park was another adventure. Somehow I ended up hiking through someone’s back yard and then the Glacier Lodge’s golf course..

When in town I picked up an extra phone battery I ordered and stayed at the Whistling Swan Motel. Town chores, shower, laundry, eat, and rest….and waited for the Beanster…..    20150825_203537 At 4:00 pm the wheels rolled up and it was just like we left off in Dubois. Jellybean was going to hike Glacier and then hike south back to Dubois, Wy. I am finishing from Rawlins, Wy to Waterton, Canada. I will then Train, Airplane, and Bus back to hike south from Rawlins, Wy to Salida, Co. Hopefully I will be able to finish before October first.

East Glacier Park.  8 Miles

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15-08-24 Day 135 Keeping Focused – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-24      Day 135.   Keeping Focused – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

20150823_204923Waking up in the Silver Dome dome was great. There was a strange glow all night. I had two cups of coffee since there was no hurry. East Glacier Park was thirty one miles away and there was no way I was going to hike that after hiking the wild Bob.

At seven AM. I strolled away from the silver beauties. I will remember them for a long time.

I started hiking along the Two Medicine River till the Elk Calf Mountain Trail Junction.

It looked like a pointless up and pointless down trail. There was the option to stay on the Two Medicine River Trail. They both meet up in eight to ten miles. Well I took the Elk Calf Mtn. Mistake trail. Up-Down-Up-Down…. You get it. Just another trail joke played on me…..

I had early lunch at 10:30 am. And a big snack at 2:00. At 3:30 I was at Summit Pass. I thought the Summit Inn was close by and I was ready for some real food. Unfortunately it was more than two miles away so I kept hiking.20150824_152424

20150824_195223My thoughts drifted to “After the hike plans”. Here, there, everywhere. I think a plan of no plans might work out for the best. Focus on East Glacier Park tomorrow. ….

Eight miles From East Glacier.
22.5 Miles

Saw Two Bull Moose in velvet….

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15-08-23 Day 134 Schaffer Outpost – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-23   Day 134.  Schaffer Outpost – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015

I think it was the coldest morning since Colorado. The transpired water on the inside of the tent froze solid by the time I got ready to pack it up. My feet were frozen….

I hiked two and a half miles to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. I was crossing my fingers hoping for a bridge but no luck. I guess that’s why they call it Wild…erness. That didn’t help me at Seven in the morning fording the river bare foot. Good thing I wasn’t in Church… I was grumbling in the worse way….20150823_081416The bright side is that all Outposts have privys….and I was ready for a privy. Sure enough I found the privy and it was a nice one. Someone was at the door so I finished reading the morning paper and said “Good Morning, where can I get some water for coffee?”. Christa said she would be right up for some coffee.  “Come on in”. The “Office” looked like a kitchen with a stove for cooking and a wood burning stove for heat…It was still freezing outside and Christa served COFFEE….”Would you like a piece of pie?” REAL HOMEMADE APPLE PIE. One minute my feet are fording and freezing, the next minute I am sitting next to a stove having coffee and HOMEMADE APPLE PIE!!!!  WOW. I had to pry myself away and hike on. Thank you Schaffer Outpost…..especially Christa!

P1050346I hiked along the Flathead River then switched to the Morrison Creek,  and lastly Lodgepole Creek, before turning straight up from 5,200 ft to 6,600 ft. I had to take my shoes off to ford the Morrison and Lodgepole. Gosh, I am determined to keep me feet dry today….for a change….20150823_194741

20150824_064601 20150824_070254When I finally got to the top of a no named pass I looked at where I might camp. Badger Outpost was to far away. I hiked mostly downhill and made great time. By the time I got back on the CDT, it was time to get off and hike directly to the Outpost. Maybe I could make it. As I came around the corner to the outpost, a scene from outer space appeared. The whole camp had been wrapped in aluminum foil….. Really… And sprinklers set up all around it…… Fire…..Did they leave me a fire suit? .Nope……. Because I hiked late, I am set up for thirty miles to East Glacier. ..Yea. Home baked COOKIES waiting for me the post office…

20150823_194939Badger Guard Station. 24 Miles

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15-08-22. Day 133 Fire Detour – Mark Trail CDT

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15-08-22.   Day 133.    Fire Detour – Mark Trail CDT

Hiking The Continental Divide Trail
Mark Trail CDT 2015     P1050317The Zpacks Heximid tent was covered with ice and snow and it was cold so I packed up everything and hiked to Spotted Bear Pass.

The CDT was closed due to fires north so Chris in the Rocky Mountain Ranger District rerouted me through the Bob Marshal Wilderness.

I dropped down to the Pentagon Backcountry outpost and had lunch and dried everything out. I started out hiking up Pentagon Creek, over the pass and then down Dolly Verdon Creek. P1050330As I descended, the bear scat got bigger and more frequent sightings on the trail. Logs and rocks were overturned.P1050332 I carried my bear spray in my hand with the safety off. It was a little nerve wracking. I almost made it to Schafer Backcountry out post complete with a runway… But I didn’t, so I found a campsite with a great tree to hang all the smelly things.

Before Schafer outpost. 26 Miles.

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