Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Joliet, IL

It only took a few days to get back to the midwest! We had great winds to carry us and it's mostly downhill.

Ack! I cannot live the lie! We took a train back home...a very long train. It was fun though. we got to see all the scenery again and even saw some of the same roads we rode out West. I'm not in too much of a bloggy mood right now, but in case pictures are of interest to you there are more up on my flickr. It's a stupid website and only lets me put on a few a month, so there will be more in a week or so. Right now there are photos up until Yellowstone.

We're having fun relaxing here in Illinois, and will be returning to Madison on Saturday! OMG!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


OK! Sorry for the delay. Things to do, people to see!

We made it, no buses, no rides from moms. It ended up being FAR easier than we had imagined and absolutely beautiful and we are very happy with our decision. From Walla Walla we rode to a campground on the beach just inside of Oregon which was awesome. we saw a nice sunset and woke up to the cahtter of seagulls :) We woke up the next day at 4:30 in hopes of beating whatever wind we were sure we would get, but ended up with an INCREDIBLE day of no wind/light tailwinds and made it 102 miles! We got in our century! And just when I was getting bummed because I thought it was impossible. However, that day was really really hot and we were in the desert the whole time. The next day was beautiful and again, light winds. We talked to a cyclist at this lookout point on top of a hill and we said we got into the gorge at a really good time. The next 2 days just got prettier and prettier. The hills weren't too bad, and even when there was wind we were kind of up in the trees so we got some cover from it. We rode on the Historic Columbia River Highway for the most part. It's America's first scenic road, and boy is it scenic. The developers made it a point to have the road go past all the most beautiful parts of the gorge, so there were waterfalls and deep woods and lots of lookout points way high up. We had an awesome reception by Peter and my mom here complete with champagne and fruit. Since then we've been exploring the city and eating a lot of food. Portland is awesome-such a pretty place, easy to get around and a lot to do. We're going to get to as many parks as we can and go to all the little shopping/cafe/restaurant places while we're here. I want to eat at every vegan restaurant there is!

We're a little homesick and the post-tour depression has definitely set in. It's an incredibly strange feeling being done, like, what do we do now? It's hard to describe....I'm sure once we get back into normal life (working, living, city life) we'll feel better. We got our train tickets today and are heading back to the midwest this weekend. We're not sure what will come next...we decided to NOT think about future plans while we're here. This is the end of our vacation and we're going to remain as carefree as possible!

I'll have Dylan write a blog with his deep philosophical biking thoughts, and maybe I'll write a "How My Bike Ride Changed Me" blog. And pictures will be here soon!

Until then, we can't wait to see the good ol' midwest again!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Portland, OR

We made it! We biked all the way! Woot!

More later!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Walla Walla, Washington

Hey folks. I would move here just to say the name over and over! And it's a cute town...

Since We last talked in Lewiston, It's been lots of desert, hills and headwinds. We aren't making progress very fast. It doesn't help, I suppose, that Dylan and I are both just feeling sort of done with it. Mentally and physically, we're exhausted. And we keep hearing all these horror stories about the winds in the gorge...we met a couple the other day who hitch-hiked through it. I guesss the plan for now is to bike as far as we can/are able and take a bus the rest of the way. Who knows, maybe we'll get a second wind and fight our way through! But after all is said and done, we're on vacation. We're here to have fun, not to prove anything to ourselves or anyone else, and headwinds are NOT fun. We got to 3000 miles yesterday and thats good enough for me!!!

The scenery in this area is wierd. Like I said, at first it was just depressing hills of dead brown grass everywhere. It's beginning to turn a little more green, and now we're completely surrounded by wheat fields which is actually really pretty. Trees would be nice, but on the other hand I think it's cool how the land can change so dramatically in just 50 miles. It hasn't been quite so hot the last 2 days thankfully, or maybe it just seems that way because we always have a breeze on us (ok, theres one good thing about the keeps us fairly cool).

It feels very strange to be almost done. I feel like we're just starting to get good at this! We can finally bike a good distance every day, and we're getting good at setting up and taking down camp and knowing what to eat. I suppose we'll put everything we've learned on this trip into practice on the next one. What will we do every day when we don't have to bike? A lot of the time we think we're ready to get back to regular life, but there are definitely times when we consider just turning a new direction to see whats over there! We could ride forever! New York? Canada? Mexico? Across the ocean? But then I think about little Buckley and Abby, at home all alone wondering where mommy is...

In conclusion...ok, I guess I have no conclusion yet. Next time you here from Dylan and I will probably be Portland. We'll gather our thoughts and write up some kind of ending thing for you (and us). Send us strong thoughts and maybe we'll make it all the way!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Clarkston, Washington

What up! We're out of Montana, which is quite bittersweet. Sweet beacuse it means we're making rad progress and are almost done, bitter because Montana was so cool and we're almost done. We're 350 miles/a weekish from Portland (OMG). We've gone over all of our mountain passes (yay!). This last map will be fuuun but hard. lots of crazy hills and upcoming headwinds in the Columbia river gorge. We're going to try and wake up really really early so we can be on our bikes by 4 or 5 to beat the winds. But people keep telling us about how absolutely beautiful that area is, so that should make up for the difficulties.

So we sadly left Missoula 3 days ago (thats right, 4 days! this was our quickest map yet-250 miles in 3 days of riding) to cross over Lolo Pass. The pass was, once again, much easier than we expexcted. We crossed into Idaho and the Clearwater National Forest which is incredible! Everyone HAS to go there! It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been-really lush forests covering the surrounding mountins, and the road runs right along the Lochsa river which is my favorite on so far I think. There are little waterfalls and streams all over the place and everything is so so so green. And I suppose the fact that we went downhill for a good100 miles didn't hurt how much we loved it. We met several cyclists along the way, including a vegan couple around our age from Portland in Kooskia. We hung out with them for awhile and talked about how hard it's been to be vegan (and all our cheats) on the road. They are radical and we got their numbers and we wish them the best! They're going all the way across the country! The next day was no good. After that the terrain changed quite rapidly to desert. We biked 75 miles in 100 degree heat along a narrow shoulderless busy river road. We made the mistake of opting for a flat alternate route to Lewiston instead of going up hills and were punished with lots of cars and lots of bike hate from the drivers. But I suppose our other option would have been going up and down hills all day in that heat which might have been no better. We've been here for 2 days now, taking a break and eating and sleeping. It's not so hot today thankfully!

Ok my time is about up here...As usual there is much more to tell, but my little brain cannot sort all of our experiences while I'm sitting at this computer. I have lots of pictures too, which unfortunately will have to wait to be posted when we're finished, so stay tuned for that. Until next time, stay cool! Go swimming! eat some ice cream! Drink some beer!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Missoula, Montana

Montana gets better!!!

It's been awhile, and there is much to say (I always seems like more than it is). After our blog in Livingston (which is a RAD little town and I want to go back someday to hang out more) we went to the grocery store to stock up on sale energy bats and peanut butter, and ran into our new friends George, Gus and Sony(j?)a outside. George very graciously offered us 2 stinky dirty cyclists a place to camp out in their backyard!! We met Katherine at home and had a lovely time with this lovely family. They made us dinner AND breakfast, let us shower, had 2 dogs and a cat to play with and even had our favorite salad dressing! Yay! Thanks again, guys. Our ride out to Bozeman the next day was short and sweet, 20 miles over Bozeman Pass which turned out to be quite easy. We got to Bozeman around lunchtime and ate at the local co-op which might be better than Willy Street! Not as much vegan stuff, but it's bigger and has a huuuge Deli and a little cafe upstairs! We spent the rest of the day drinking coffee and wandering around town until 5 when we went to the Tuesday night Farmers Market. We had dinner and people watched for awhile until we met Tom and Robbie(y?) who let us stay in an empty rental apartment of theirs. Once again, thank you and our stay was wonderful. Bozeman is a cool little town...very Madisony with LOTS of bikes, but very unpretentious bikes. Just a city full of people on 2 wheels.

The next day we rode out to Lewis and Clark caverns. It was a fairly uneventful ride...we met another cyclist at the park who sat down for dinner with us. He was headed the opposite direction, so our visit was short and I hope he's doing well out there!

The next day we rode to Dillon...another nice easy ride. Dillon is a cute town, but unfortunately all the people we cam into contact with were kind of mean and we couldn't find anywhere under $30 to sleep. Laaame.

OK, the NEXT day we had not one, but 2 mountain passes to climb. I think we've been building up these passes in our heads, so they end up being easier than we expect. Obviously, it's still kind of hard, several miles up a very steep grade will be, but we made it to the other side without fault and felt invigorated at the top :) The mosquitos got worse and worse as the day went on, and in Wisdom where we slept you couldn't stand still without being compeletly enveloped in a swarm of them. We decided to eat at a restaurant to avoid them, and shared a sandwich and some soup to save money. We got chatted up by another tourer who wasn't touring at the moment, and he ended up buying our dinner for us! Niceness abound everywhere we turn in this state! We're on a section of the ride that intersects with the Transamerica route, so we've been seeing more bikers than usual, and that night there were 3 camping in the same park as us. One guy was travelling with his dog which I thought was way cool. Maybe next time I go I'll take Buckley :)

After that we had one more pass (where we crossed the continental divide) and lots of downhill all the way to Missoula. We met a couple cyclists from the Netherlands which was cool. Missoula is a really nice place...even more bikes than Bozeman, lots of vegan food and super bike friendly (not to mention quite flat). We visited the Adventure Cylcling office this morning where we got free ice cream and our picture put up on their wall o' bikers. We saw all the photos of people we've met along the way and talked to the folks that worked their. Heard a story about someone running into a bear on their bike (yikes). AND we found Curran, our backwards biking friend again!

So thats the short story, theres more stuff in between, and I could go on for pages and pages here but I'd run out of time on my computer. Everything is getting more and more beautiful (we're in the Bitteroot mountain valley now) and it's getting hotter and hotter out. We're starting to miss home a little bit. We've got about 500 miles to Portland which is a strange feeling.

Ok I have to go to the bathroom so I'm going to cut it short here...I love yous!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Livingston! (for the second time)


We're back from Yellowstone and man are our thumbs tired.

The park was sweet, I mean, as sweet as a place can be with so many tourists and that much markup. We took a day to hitch-hike around the park and see the sites, and another to hang out at the famous Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and people watch. In case you're ever curious, the state who's capitol is represented incorrectly on the giant wood inlay map in the lounge of the hotel is Delaware.

I think next time we'll try and take a car to the park, though. It really is too big to see in a couple of days on bikes.

Anyway, we're back in Livingston now, and we're going to hit the pass into Bozeman tomorrow. It's supposed to be a cool town, so we're pretty excited.

So far, Montana is being really good to us. The scenery is beautiful, the roads are well paved, and the price is right. But who knows, maybe it's just the weather.

Well it looks like my time is up here, so we're off to find some cheap (or free) camping and some grub for the night, so take care y'all!