Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Saturday, 7/2- To West Yellowstone! HOLY WIND!!!! The day started out wonderfully. We were all thinking this would be a shorter, relatively easy day. A nice ride with some rolling hills with the mountains all around and then suddenly... WHAM! The wind hit us like a ton of bricks!! A group of 7 of us tried to huddle together and block the wind from one another but it seemed as if the wind was coming from every side. This was definitely our slowest day thus far. At one point it took us about 40 minutes to go 3 miles... insane! By lunch we were famished... tired, hot and hungry... not a good combination. After lunch, the ride continued... up a hill of course. After the hill, however, the ride continued along a beautiful lake... beautiful scenery is often the cure for getting through a tough ride. Finally, we arrived at our KOA greeted by Nancy Almanza, mom of Samantha Almanza, a former LV in RI, who cooked us the most amazing camping style burritos paired with a beer... or 3... delicious!
Sunday, 7/3- YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK!!!!!! After a late start getting through the gates, we started our journey through Yellowstone... WOW! I will definitely say, the ride had its ups and downs... in many ways. The thousands of cars driving and stopping and parking and honking... a down. Seeing elk and bison on the side of the road... up... although a little intimidating at times! Riding up the hills... 8% grade up for 3 miles... steep uphill that seemed to never end... steep uphill after what we thought was our final uphill... hard uphill... a downer. And unfortunately, what went up had quite a pathetic down on the other side. But I have to say, regardless of anything else, Yellowstone is amazing. We saw wildlife up close and personal, we walked through the many phenomenal geysers and stood over remarkable waterfalls all under blue skies with the sun shinning down (hot as it may be). Another long day. We stopped often and soaked in everything we could. It was the latest we arrived to camp thus far but well worth it. When we got to camp we were welcomed by signs warning to keep ALL things locked away in the car/trailer in order to keep the bears away. As exciting as I think it would be to see a bear, at camp might be a little too up close and personal. Tomorrow... a rest day in Yellowstone on the 4th:)
Monday, 7/4 REST DAY- As I explained to my fellow riders, and as many who know me would agree... I’m not good at resting. I did sleep in a little... 8am or so. We all headed to Old Faithful which I thought was amazing as well. Afterward, half went back to camp to rest, and I, of course, went with the other half to squeeze as much into the rest of our day as possible! We explored some more geysers, saw a lot of Bison, and stood in awe of the astonishing waterfalls. No, I did not rest, but I had a great day:)
So internet access has been limited throughout our recent travels so I've been writing and saving on my computer so here's from this past week...
I’m exhausted! Between mother nature’s “gift,” no sleep in large due to some EXTREME snorers, and climbing through the steep (yet gorgeous) Rockies in Montana, I’m ready for a good night sleep and a fresh start tomorrow! These last few days I have to say have had their challenges (for sure!), however, I can’t begin to explain how happy I am to be on this journey. The last three days have challenged us physically and mentally as we have climbed several thousand feet over only a few miles at a time. With each climb, however, comes a reward... multiple actually. #1-The feeling of accomplishment after a climb where in the beginning you start looking for places to take breaks and then when you reach that point you realize you can keep going and before you know it you’ve reached the top... and #2- see this amazing country that takes your breath away. Today, my three fellow riders and friends had a particularly difficult day together and really pushed and motivated one another after 59 miles of riding up our final hill... about 1200 feet in 3 miles under the hot sun. At the top of the hill we saw snow-capped mountains for miles and blue sky overhead. After reaching the top and congratulating one another, we took pictures and looked down at the town below... 11 miles downhill to the town of Ennis. Which brings me to reward #3- After the uphill is the downhill... sometimes a little scary, I’m not gonna lie, but I love it!
A little recap...
Tuesday, 6/28, we traveled 66 miles (which is now considered a short day) from Missoula to Darby, MT. If was really quite a pleasant drive. We stopped for lunch at a cute little cafe where we were met by another reporter looking to do a story on us. However, the reporter was not nearly as exciting as the Huckleberry rootbeer floats! When we arrived in Darby, a small, quaint town reminding me of an old country western movie, we were greeted at a church, where we’d be staying for the night, by some wonderful paritioners who made us spaghetti AND treated us to breakfast at the local diner the next morning...what a treat. So far we were off to a good start after our break day...
Wednesday, 6/29, it begins... with an unsettled stomach... for many reasons!... we headed out of Darby for Wisdom, MT. I volunteered to be “sweep” for the day, which means I’m the caboose, staying at the back of the pack. My friend, Mari, and I were both feeling a little sluggish and decided we’d stop at every historical marker or well, anything really... taking our time. Well, our pace, especially mine, up our hill of the day (4000 feet over 7ish miles) did not get any faster... quite a bit slower as you can imagine... and we got caught a mile from the top in a thunder storm (don’t worry, we didn’t get struck by lightning), but as we approached the top where our fellow riders were waiting and we were gathering for lunch, the downpour began! And you can believe, our pace all of a sudden, picked up faster than at any other point during the day. We ended up having to wait in the visitor center for over an hour for the thunder and now lightning to subside. Once back on our bikes, we headed UP again, to the top of the hill before our downhill:) And it was lovely! Along the way we met several other bikers including a gentleman, probably around our aged, biking by himself, completely self-supported from Virginia heading to Oregon averaging 100 miles a day... amazing. Once in Wisdom, we were greeted by a man who owned the “RV park” where we were camping out... lets just say there was a lot to be desired... but it was just fine by us... especially when Br. Ed decided to treat us all to pizza and beer. Now let me paint a picture of this town, Wisdom... 4 streets... 1 pizza place... 2 bars... 116 people... and as Br. Ed counted- 4 trillion mosquitoes... it was a night to remember... especially with the 45 mile an hour winds!
Thursday, 6/30, Wisdom to Dillon... 65 miles... 2 long, steep hills... no sleep...
Another beautiful day with scenery that a picture could never capture. The climbs were hard but doable... we all encouraged and supported one another... and thank goodness for our support van... at the top of the first hill with PB and J ready! In Dillon we were again hosted at a Catholic church where the Priest welcomed us and paritioners cooked for us... well... it was a joint effort... some of them cooked, Stacy and I made grilled cheese and father got subway sandwiches... dinner for Kings and Queens! Following dinner we had an open discussion about poverty and what our ride is all about and also heard about the wonderful work being done in their community. It really was one of my favorite nights thus far. Sharing experiences all within a shared mission. And when I say favorite nights, that was before the night actually started because when we all layed our heads down, some of us slept well, and the rest of us, who don’t snore, were up all night! Needless to say, I was not in a good mood this morning!
Today, Friday- First day of July- wow how time flies! My hardest day was today. My body hurt, I was exhausted, I was hot, the mosquitos had eaten me alive, and I just couldn’t put my game face on. Several times I debated with myself to get into the van and call it quits for the day. However, with the amazing support of my friends (and I suppose some stubbornness:)), I kept going and glad I did. We stopped through some very old, cute towns including an extended stop in Virginia City where we’d been hearing about this great old candy store and charged up the last hill which didn’t end up killing me as I thought it might. All said and done, I survived and believe that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. We are now in Ennis headed for West Yellowstone tomorrow and then on to Yellowstone with a rest day on the 4th! Looking forward to the holiday in one of the most spectacular places in the country.
This trip thus far has truly been an amazing experience and what I have enjoyed the most is the scenery, the small towns and most of all, the amazing people we’ve met along the way. From church hosts to other cyclists to random people who have stopped to hear about what we’re doing... there really are some great people in this world and I’m glad I’m getting to meet them:)
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Day 1... a success!
This morning we put our back tires into the Pacific Ocean and I can’t begin to describe what an amazing and surreal experience it was. After a few bumps in the road (we got a little lost!) we headed into Astoria for Clatskanie, OR. To my surprise, my nerves never really set in, just excitement. It was a gorgeous, perfect Oregon day. Not to hot (obviously!) but no rain and lots of sun. Riding along the water and through the bright green trees was something straight off a post card. As far as the ride, we did hit a couple decent hills but I felt pretty good... we’ll see how I feel tomorrow!
I have to say, I was kind of feeling concerned with (lets be honest, dreading) my decision to write a blog. Its not generally my thing! However, as I was riding, I was constantly feeling excited to have the opportunity to share my experience with my family and friends. I really do want to thank all of you for your support and I hope you all know that it is your support and encouragement thats going to be getting me through the tough days.
Now, I REALLY encourage you all to follow the LVs Ride website (www.lvsride.com/social) to get day by day updates, interviews, articles, pictures and more! Also, we have a filmmaker who is documenting our trip and posting clips on our website. You can also go to www.YouTube.com/lvsride and see the video trailers that he has made. They are awesome!