Sunday, May 30, 2010

i just biked alot..

So today was our longest day yet! We ended up biking 125 miles.! (well.. kinda.. we cheated a little)..

We started in Big Sandy, biked to Havre (35 miles), then realized that our only options were either doing another 20 miles, or another 90.. So naturally, we chose the 90..!

The sun was out and we had a little bit of a tailwind, so we were feeling good! we cruised through most of it pretty good, but then the clouds came rolling in..

For awhile we could see these massive storm clouds coming towards us, but we never could be sure if they were gonna hit us or not.. They never did too bad.. but they kinda did..
This is where we cheated kinda.. As we came up to the top of a little hill, there was a guy waiting there to talk to us.. His name was Charlie Horn, and he told us that we were about to get hit by some crazy hail/lightning storm, then he said he was going about 15 miles up the road if we wanted a lift..

Not wanting to get hit by hail, and wanting to get Charlie's story, we jumped in with him.. He took us down the road and then dropped us off to finish the last 20ish miles for the day..

All in all it was a pretty great day.. we feasted tonight on chicken nuggets and cereal.. tomorrow we have two options: either 85 miles, or another 125 miles..

We'll see how the weather plays out for us..

p.s.. jeff, we miss you.

Big Sandy.. more like Big Dandy..!

So today we rolled out of Great Falls with every expectation that it was going to be a miserable day.. For one, the weather was supposed to be the same as yesterday.. For two, Jeff is gone.. We only planned to do about 40 miles to the next town, Fort Benton.

But as we got on the road, it became Beautiful! The sun came out, and we got a tailwind..! We were pumped.. So as we got to Fort Benton around 2:00, we decided to just grab some lunch and keep rolling..

We ended up biking to Big Sandy, Montana, which is about 35 miles on past Fort Benton. As we got here, we realized that we had several options..

1.) We met a guy in Fort Benton that owns the grain elevator here in Big Sandy.. He said that if we wanted to camp there, we could just find a place wherever.. it didn't seem like a very sweet place to camp though when we got there.. soggy grain everwhere..

2.) some people told us that they thought we could just camp in the city park.. but nobody was really sure if it was allowed.. (this became our primary plan)

3.) Try to meet a local.. and somehow show them that we are not creepy people..

We decided to go with #2, but at the same time decided that we wanted to eat dinner at a cafe in town (thus, not ruling out the chance of #3 becoming a possibility)..

Just as we decided to eat in town, a little old lady, Muriel, and her grandson's fiance came walking by.. We asked them where a good place to eat was and they pointed us towards the very place they were heading, the Mint cafe. As we came in, Muriel had pulled two tables together and waved to us to come join them..! So naturally, we did..! (who is gonna turn down an opportunity to mingle with the locals? not this guy..!)

After we ate and chatted, we biked the 2 blocks over the city park and started looking for a place to setup our tents.. As we found though, it has been raining here for the past several days, so there was standing water everywhere.. Just then, Muriel pulled up and asked us if we wanted to come take a hot shower at her place..!
Again, who is gonna turn that down?

So we biked over to her place, took showers, and Muriel offered to let us sleep in her heated garage! She even gave us a mattress and an air mattress! Her grandson and his fiance helped us get everything setup, and now here we are.. chillin like kings on our air mattress with the heater cranked, snackin on cookies..
Who could ask for more..? (again.. not this guy..!)

ok.. i'll keep you posted on tomorrow.. i think we are gonna ride our bikes..

Saturday, May 29, 2010


We are just about to take off here from Great Falls.. We just said goodbye to Jeff (which was terrible).. For those of you who dont know, Jeff only planned to do the first 2 weeks of the trip with us.. so he is heading home..

His parents, Dave & Cathy, came to pick him up and have been with us for the past 2 days.. We are so thankful for them..! They have been so generous to us! They left us with cookies and fruit and toddy.. It has been great..!

If anyone reading this knows them and happens to see them any time in the near future, make sure you give them a big hug for me..!

Friday, May 28, 2010

our new buddy

turns out that our new buddy Abel owns a log home business in south dakota..! you can check out his website here:
He is also planning on starting a hunting guide business when he gets done with his trip..

Just thought i would share..!

remind me again why i'm here..?

scratch what I said yesterday, today was the most miserable day yet! We woke up with good spirits in our comfortable motel room, had a great breakfast at a little diner on the outside of Lincoln, then hit the road.. We knew it was going to be miserable as we left town because it was drizzling and about 39 degrees.. but we had no idea..

We had about 18 miles till we got to the continental divide and the closer we got, the worse the weather got..! As we got closer, the drizzle turned into a little harder rain, then it started sleeting, then it started snowing.. On top of that, the temperature started dropping.. By the time we got to the top of the continental divide it was 30 degrees with a 20 mph wind in our faces, and snowing..

Initially we were pretty pumped to have reached the top of the pass, we ignored our numb fingers and toes, and soaking wet clothes as we took pictures by the signs and ate some cookies that Jeff's mom brought for us..

Then it hit us, we were freezing.. and we were about to descend from the pass, into the wind..
We started bombing, and almost simultaneously began shaking uncontrollably.. As it turns out, when your soaking wet in 30 degree weather, biking downhill into a headwind, your body doesn't warm up easily..

We kept on biking.. but soon we realized that we were running out of options.. Our initial plan was just to camp in Simms, which was about 30 miles over the pass.. But we quickly began to realize that if we tried to camp, we would almost certainly all get hypothermia, which would not be ideal..
The problem was that the next closest city with a hotel was great falls, which was another 35 miles past Simms.. We were all getting pretty wore out due the constant shivering, and none of us could imagine doing another 60 miles.. So we took full advantage of our resources for the day.. And got in the the Koehler's van!!

Jeff's mom was nice enough to shuttle us to great falls.. I realize that it seems like we really chickened out.. but we discussed it, and it was pretty easily decided that none of us really cared about being considered a chicken while being rained/snowed/sleeted on, sitting on the side of a busy highway in windy 30 degree weather..

For dinner we ate at the golden corral.. and naturally, we all ate till we just about threw up.. We met another biker, Abel, in Lincoln yesterday, and then caught up with him on the road again today.. So we invited him to stay with us!
He is from south dakota and has been biking up the west coast and then across to the east.. so he is about done with his trip.. It has been cool hanging out with him..!

The weather is supposed to be the same tomorrow.. so we got another motel room in the next city (which i forgot the name of).. We saw on that the city we are in, Great Falls, is currently the coldest city in the United States..! That allowed us to regain a little of our hardcore-ness that we lost during the van ride..

Gonna go jump in the hot tub here at the hotel right now! pretty pumped about it! (and there goes what little hardcore-ness we have left)...


just about to leave the motel.. its 39 degrees.. raining.. and we have a headwind..

this is going to be a long day..

Thursday, May 27, 2010

goodbye missoula.. hello miserable..

So when we left the square dance campground, we biked straight for Missoula. It was only about a 9 mile ride, so it went really quick and easy.. When we got to Missoula, we first stopped at walmart and marveled at how low the prices actually are..! We have been buying our food at truck stops and gas stations, which we found markup the prices by about 700%..! We have been paying up to $2 or $3 for our canned veggies.. yes, ridiculous.. we know!

After walmart we went over to McDonalds.. we had to hustle because it was already 10:15 and as we all know, they stop serving breakfast at 10:30..! Since we got there just in time, we all got breakfast, ate it out on the curb, then went back in and got lunch! it was awesome.. we all got ice cream cones too, which were awesome, but slightly difficult to bike with..! After McDonalds we headed to a local bike shop where we cleaned our bikes up and made sure everything was working properly.. Scott realized he had a broken spoke, so we got that fixed.. and I got some new Arm Warmers, which i am awesomely pumped about!
Upon leaving the bike shop, we stopped by the Adventure Cycling headquarters.. there they gave us free ice cream, pop, and cookies! Then they gave us a tour of the place and everything.. it was pretty sweet.

When we finally left Missoula at about 2:00, we biked about 30-40 miles and setup camp at a campground.. When we woke up this morning, it was freezing! We had somewhat positive attitudes when we mounted up from camp, but as soon as we left the campground, it started raining on us.. :(

So we biked about 2 miles to a gas station, layered up, bought some hand & toe warmers, and hit the road again.. It was absolutely miserable.. The problem is that everything is a trade-off.. When we layer up because of the cold, we sweat like crazy once we start biking hard.. Then when you stop to take off a layer, you get cold again.. It is really frustrating..!

We had about 40 miles to get to the first town, which we were planning on stopping to eat lunch at.. When we got about 10 miles from there, Jeff's parents found us on the highway and we all pulled over and chatted for awhile.. It really lifted our spirits, and they even let us put our gear in their van so that we could bike the rest of the way to town without our load..!
When we got about 4 miles from town though, the rain changed from a slow drizzle to a full on downpour! It was terrible.. We were freezing and soaked, with no extra cycling clothes to change into..

We ate lunch, and all completely agreed that this would be a good place to stop for the night.. So we splurged and got a motel room, which has been awesome!!

This afternoon we went to the laundromat.. went with Jeff's parents out to this little souvenir shop thing.. Chilled out in the warm hotel room eating and drinking cookies and toddy that jeff's parents brought for us!

Oh, and Jeff's mom gave me a haircut! I have had this weird euro-mullet thing going on the last couple weeks.. so we put that to an end..!

Tomorrow we are gonna climb Roger's Pass, which is the Continental Divide! Shouldn't be too bad of a climb, but it is supposed to rain all day again.. So we are just soaking up the awesomeness of the hotel while we are here and preparing for a long day tomorrow!

*****Also.. We put up a bunch of new pictures over the last couple days..! We separated them by state and the links are at the top right of the page!*****

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

square dance city!

ok so immediately after I finished that last post we went into the office area/danceroom of our campground. I guess the older couple that runs the campground also gives dance lessons in the main building..

When we went in there there was a bunch of people dancing and there were all these snacks that the dancers brought on the tables.. After talking to them all for a few minutes, they said we could help ourselves to any of the food! So we just had a post-dinner snack of apple pie, pretzels, popcorn, crackers, brownies, etc.. It was awesome!

Then as we were leaving the lady that runs the place asked us what we usually do for breakfast.. we sensed that she might be about to offer us something so we totally downplayed our typical breakfast.. We were like, oh i dont know, dry oatmeal or bagels, or whatever we have lying around..
Then she was like, well here, take these eggs and fry them up in the morning! she gave us a dozen eggs that one of the older couples that was dancing there had brought straight from their farm!

We are pumped.. Very pumped..!

Hello New Time Zone..!

We haven't had service the last couple of days, so it has been hard to update our blogs or stay in touch with people at all.. We have been biking right next to this awesome river, the Lochsa (pronounced lock-saw).. We were way back there in the middle of nowhere. for about the last 100ish miles, we have only had two places to stop at.. both of which were lodges, and both of which we did not fit in at with our bike clothes on.. (surprise!).. :)

One of the lodges was in Lowell, Idaho.. It was called the Wilderness Lodge.. there were pictures of bears and stuff on the menu, it was classic.. While we were eating there, we had two big things happen:

1.) The guy sitting behind us (who had an awesome truck) didn't finish all his fries.. so we took them off his table after he had left and finished them off..
We were a little tired at the time.. so it was hilarious..

2.) We met a rep from the Jelly Belly company and she gave us a bunch of bags of jelly beans! She said that if we wanted to bike the extra 60 miles to her house that she would give us as much as we wanted..! we considered the offer pretty heavily.. but decided that cycling the entire day just for a bunch of jelly beans might not be completely worth it.. But we were pretty pumped for the ones she gave us!

The second lodge we stopped at also had a pretty sweet surprise waiting for us..! As we pulled up we noticed another touring bike (which is just a normal bike that is loaded with a ton of stuff) parked outside.. It belonged to a 19 year old guy from England named Ed that started biking in Virginia awhile bike and will be finished with his cross country trip within the week..
To be honest, Ed made us feel like little girls.. He had all these stories about having to chip ice off his chain in the rockies and having a wheel fall apart in the ozarks.. There was some crazy stuff that he has gone through..! When we left I traded him my Pathfinder water bottle (The bike shop in Manhattan) for one of his from his home bike shop in england! I feel like a new man with that thing in my bottle cages.. maybe some of Ed's burliness will rub off on me..

Okay.. this is turning into a really long post.. so i will summarize from here..

Among the other things that has happened lately:
- We killed a snake by the side of the road.. and yes, it was just as awesome as you are imagining! we stoned it to death and then took pictures holding it.. We felt very adventurous and manly...

- We climbed our first pass today, Lolo's Pass. We had to climb about 3000 feet to reach the top.. and again, yes, 3000 feet is just as much as you are imagining.. It was rough.. we were popping jelly beans in the whole way up to distract us from the climb..! Oh.. and at the top there was snow! so that was sweet..

- We stayed with an awesome lady named Laura the night after the goat farm.. she was awesome! She cooked us dinner and breakfast and let us throw our tents up in her backyard.. She had some of the most amazing stories I have ever heard.. She and her husband have tandem biked across New Zealand, biked from Washington to Oregon with their 2 year old son, were living in Kuwait when we invaded.. and tons of other crazy stuff! We seriously loved talking with her and hanging out at her place! (oh.. and she has an Ipad, so it was sweet to play with that!)

oh.. and the title.. We crossed into Montana at the top of Lolo's Pass today.. so we are officially in a new state, and a new time zone!

Thanks for keeping up with the blog everyone! I will try to keep you posted on whats happenin around here!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The people in Walla Walla are totally Balla'

Ok.. So yesterday presented us with by far our best story yet! We biked through Walla Walla county in Washington, which has tons and tons of wineries and vineyards and stuff.. All the country we were biking through was rolling green hills (looked just like the windows xp background picture), it was beautiful..!

We were getting close to our campground when we saw a small brewery in the town of Waitsburg, so we decided to stop in for a beer.. and this is where the story begins..

While we were chilling at the brewery, a guy at the bar offered to buy us a round of beers.. He said that he wanted to live vicariously through our trip. So we asked him to join us and we all got to talking.. His name is Todd, and he does something or another with farm irrigation systems (something about using radio-waves to detect moisture).. As we kept talking with him, his wife and best friend showed up and joined us also. His wife's name is Ree and his buddie's name is Eric. So we all kept hanging out and Todd bought us all a round of beers and Eric bought us some pizzas! They were great..!

After awhile we found out that Ree is actually the county prosecuting attorney and Eric is a famous wine-maker in the area!
(here is Eric's winery website: )

After awhile we realized it was dark, so Eric offered to throw our bikes in his truck and drive us the last 3 miles to our campgound. When we got to the campground though, he pulled over, and just asked, "do you guys trust me?".. He is a pretty funny guy, so we didn't know quite whether he was joking or not.. but he was not.. so when we nodded, he took off...

Soon enough we got to a sweet farmhouse, where we were immediately met by Joan, who runs a cheese fromogerie with her husband, pierre-louis..

Check out the site for this place, it is amazing:

Joan, as we quickly found out, is just about the nicest lady on the planet.. She welcomed us to her home and said we could sleep in her sauna for the night. She said that she was going to have to leave real early this morning to head to the farmers market, but that she would leave her doors open so we could make breakfast and take showers and do whatever we needed!

So we spent all morning eating bacon and eggs, wandering around through the goat/chicken/duck/sheep pastures with her huge great Pyrenees dogs, and talking to the people that make the cheese there at the place. We even found out that there were some people from a magazine staying in the guest house because they were doing a big story on the place for an Wine Adventures story they were doing..

We are so thankful for the whole experience..! Todd told us that he is going to try to find a place somewhere along our route so that he can catch up with us and buy us another beer.. so that would be sweet (Todd, if you are reading this.. we're waiting).. we are all hoping to stay in contact with them for sure!

The actual bike ride today seemed pretty boring compared with our other stories.. although we did bomb down a huge mountain this afternoon! We were going downhill for 30 minutes, and got up to 50 mph (which is a new record for the trip so far)..!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wind is my new best friend..

Today was awesome! we woke up cold and sore (this preceded the awesomeness of the day). Just a few miles into our ride we came into a small town with a mcdonalds, so of course we stopped. In case you're curious, I got 4 breakfast burritos (2 for then, 1 for mid-morning snack, 1 for whenever-which ended up being dinnertime)..

After mcdonalds we had a pretty decent climb that took us out of the city. It was about two miles long but not too steep. Halfway up the hill we apparently crossed into Washington, however Ben and I were in front and were so focused on not being run over by a semi, that we missed the sign and thus our opportunity to get our picture taken next to the Welcome to Washington sign.. This was depressing, at first.. But then we realized that we are going to have to cross the border again soon, so we have been granted another opportunity.

Upon reaching the top of the hill, we entered a stage of todays ride that i have been referring to (just in my head) as "the mostest awesomenest sweetest ride EVVVEEER! (note: i dont always shout the word EVER when i say it in my head.. i just put it in all caps to make a point.. i learned that in school).

This section of the ride consisted of a flat-ish road, and a 20 mph tailwind!! We were haulin..! Just for an example.. yesterday we biked about 8-12 mph on the flat ground, today we were biking about 23-24 mph up the hills! On some of the downhills I felt like we were plummeting on a rollercoaster... I even thought a few times about throwing my hands up in the air and letting out a whoop... but i didn't want to crash... I pictured it happening like this: me throwing my hands up, then immediately entering that wobbly uncertain stage where i would try to get my hands back on the handlebards as quickly as possible, then fail, and veer off the road and into the ditch..

Thankfully I overcame my desire to complete the rollercoaster sensation and here i am sitting pain-free in camp..! We ended up doing about 90 miles today (88 to be exact).. I think we are going to do 65ish tommorrow..

We were warned that there is an impressive sprinkler system where we put our tents up tonight.. We think we're prepared for them.. but we are mentally prepared for any sudden realization that we did not cover all bases.. This could provide some entertaining reading material for you in the near future..

I'll keep you posted..

p.s.. We put a bunch of pictures on an online photo album.. there is a link underneath the PICTURES! PICTURES! PICTURES! thing at the top right..

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

well... i guess this is what we should have expected..

so as it turns out, it rains just as much as everyone says it does in oregon. Yesterday we biked from portland to cascade locks, it was only about 45 miles. But they were some terrible 45 miles. It rained on us all afternoon. If you want a quick way to get depressed, bike for 4 hours in the rain!

Initially i was all pumped for the rain. I wanted to try out my new rain gear (shoe covers, rain coat, waterproof bags, etc..). But then my rain coat became soaked with my own sweat, i crashed once which put a whole in my shoe covers, and i was left miserable.. with a wet jacket (but only from the inside), and soaked shoes..

oh. the crash.. the edge of the road decided to cut in a little without telling me, causing my front tire to slip right off the edge and laying me on my side.. all in all, no harm done. I have a scrape on my elbow and a pretty good strawberry on my hip, but the other guy's positive attitudes nursed me back to good spirits..

Last night was the worst because we had to try to setup camp and get all our stuff organized in the rain.. we made it happen alright, but had to deal with all wet stuff when we woke up this morning (which is just as terrible as one might imagine)..

But once we got going this morning we all felt pretty good! We biked from a little east of Cascade Locks to a little west of Biggs today. It went really well. We had a couple decent climbs; one that was about 2 miles and pretty steep, and then one that was about 8 miles and not so steep.. The only big mishap was when ben and i got seperated from the rest of the guys..

we were a little ahead so we pulled off at a scenic overlook to wait for them.. little did we know, they actually weren't far behind us.. So as we're high-fiving and taking pictures of ourselves, the other guys bike right by us (they didn't know we had pulled off). We, assuming they are still behind us, wait by the road for another 10 minutes until we realize that there is no possibly way that they could be that far back.. So we bomb down the hill, give eric a call, and realize that they are about 10 miles ahead of us (which is alot on a bike).. Needless to say, we felt like idiots..

We are at camp now.. its not raining, which is awesome.. We just ate dinty moore soup for dinner, with a appetizer of southwest airline peanuts and pretzels (which have been perfect by the way Jane and Susan)! Hopefully I should be able to post more soon..!

Hope everyone is having a good week! Any prayer for us would be greatly appreciated!

p.s. power bars are awesome!

p.s.s we have been taking some videos, in hopes that we can upload them.. but we haven't been able to get a strong enough signal to upload them.. hopefully we can get some up here.. they are pretty entertaining!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the Adventure has begun!

So the trip started out with perhaps the coolest plane ride i have ever taken! We had a layover in Denver, but we just stayed on the plane. So while we were waiting, we got to talking with the flight attendant ladies (Susan and Jane) and started joking with them about singing one of their "southwest airlines" songs.. they said they wouldnt sing one, but we could! So we went back there and sang a song to the tune of You are my sunshine. They played it over the loudspeaker while everyone boarded! it was sweet.

After the song, they asked us what we were going to do.. and when we told them, they gave us a big bag full of peanuts and pretzels! it was awesome.. So when we landed we took pictures with them and then went to get our bikes!

The whole bike assembly process went surprisingly smooth. None of us had any problems and we were on the train to downtown portland in no time..

Once we got downtown, we went by REI and a local bike shop to get some last minute gear.. then decided to head to the house that we were staying at (Eric's cousin's house, the Reimers). This turned out to be our first main adventure.

After we had been biking for about 20 minutes, we asked a guy where we were and found out that we had been biking in the complete wrong direction. Then we realized that we were about 15 miles from the house. So we took off.

When we had about 9 miles left, it started to rain.
When we had about 7 miles left, it started to rain hard.

So we just kept biking down the little highway, getting drenched, and trying to avoid getting the spray from the other's tires in our mouths. Sweet.

When we saw the road that we needed to turn on, we were pumped because we thought we were there. However, as it turns out, they happen to live on top of the most ridiculous hill i have ever tried to climb on a bike (scott's gps said the grade was 15-25%). So we made it about 5 feet up it, then had to walk. It was so slick and steep though, that we had to take our shoes off to walk up it.

But we made it here.. They fed us a ton of awesome food.. let us throw our clothes in the wash.. and now we're ready to roll again..!

I think we are gonna try to do 60-70ish miles today. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Course Maps

hello again.

Here is a group of maps that chart of our course across the country. Check 'em out..!

(i realize the link is ridiculously long.. but if you just copy and paste it into the address bar then it will work)

Bike Across America

sooo.. here i am.. sitting in my parents living room with my bike packed in a big box and everything i am going to have for the next 50 days packed into two little bags.

if you are reading this then i am assuming you know that i am biking across the country. I am going with 4 other guys so i am sure you will hear about them some if you continue to read this..

anyways.. here is the plan: Our plane leaves KC at 7:30 tomorrow morning and will take us to portland. Once we get to portland we will have to assemble our bikes in the airport (which should be interesting), then we are going to one of the guys' relative's house there in portland to stay the night. We will have to find a bike shop in portland also because we still have a couple things we need to buy.

When we leave portland the next day we will head for Walla Walla, Washington and then continue across until we get to the great lakes. Once we hit the great lakes we will dip beneath them and go through chicago, then we will rise back up and finish in Boston. Right now we are planning to be finished right around the 1st of July.

I am going to try to update this blog pretty regularly so if you ever find yourself in a state of boredom, you know what you can check.