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A few days behind getting this posted. Sorry bout that.
Got up and going early. About 6pm. It was still quite warm out. We rode about 30 kms before stopping for a bite to eat. Shortly after that we crossed the border into Canada. Then the bridge into port moody. We stopped again for lunch before the final push to the ferry. It often looked like it was going to rain but never really did.
Made it to horseshoe bay by 5pm. Ferry left at 5:50 and docked at 6:35. We were met at the terminal by a bunch of friends and family eager to ride the final 40k to the finish line. Steve Sleep from the local TV was there, camera in hand and ready to hit me with a few questions. Christine Wood from the local paper, the Coast Reporter, was also there. It was pretty cool to see everybody all of a sudden like that. My son Julian was there. Spotting him, I felt my emotions welling up inside and seeing he was there to ride the final stretch with me ... Well, that was the icing on the cake.
So the final ride began. We made our way up the bypass, along the back roads skirting Gibsons and onto the sun coast hwy. Ripped along in the dark. Sometimes talking, sometimes racing. All of us with lights. Some had to peel off and so our group grew smaller as we narrowed the gap.
After the highway, onto Redrooffs rd, a group of friends had gathered along the shoulder to cheer us on.
Suddenly we were there. My driveway. I bit too steep and gravelly to pedal up so to cross the finish line was literally a push. Dozens more friends were there waiting. My mom who i hadnt seen in over a year. My daughter Nisha along with lots of her friends and finally Jessica, the woman I love with all my heart. Who has helped me in so many ways these past ten years and always encourages me to pursue my passions.
The party went on till not sure when. Eventually everyone that wasn't spending the night said their goodbyes and went home.
I've never had such a pile of bikes in my yard.
Not sure when I finally went to sleep but I didn't stir until after noon saturday. Now, as I've mentioned elsewhere, the real challenge begins. Paying off my visa:-(
Second last ride day. I still had to stretch the distance. Couldn't head for the stable directly. Planned what I thought was going to be an easy cupcake day traveling southwest 50k, then northwest 140k. It started out that way too.
Smooth, narrow, winding country roads.
The promise of 20% chance precipitation.
Blackberry bushes growing along side the road:-)
Tall fir, maple, pine, and cedar trees crowded the shoulder like spectators at the Tour De France.
Wait a minute... Hills? How did that happen? Where's my cupcake ride?
Lots and lots of hills. Started out tame enough. Then both length and grade increased. It was starting to look like I was going to roll into sedro closer to dark than supper time..
I made it to my about face spot and began heading north.
My buddy from the sunshine coast was en route to sedro to join me on the final days ride to the finish. He left Gibsons on the 6:30am ferry in a down pour and spent the day riding towards me.
My route took me very near the heart of downtown Seattle during rush hour and my going got hectic.
I finally got onto state hwy 9 which should've led me all the way to sedro but construction was diverting traffic to an alternate route. More hills were involved.
Eventually I returned to no.9 only to find more construction. This time however, a newly paved, stretch of hwy blocked to traffic proved perfect for me to ride along. It got me out past all the madness of bumper to bumper motorists.
Just before true darkness fell, I got a flat.
Another fricken thorn.
Soon I was alone on the road. All the traffic had peeled off. The hwy narrowed. The shoulder disappeared. A warm breeze pushed me along.
I was in a very contemplative mode. Fully aware that this was my last alone time, I really took it all in. Eyes wide open as they say. So eager to get home but reluctant to admit that this was the end of the road.
It was 12:30am when I woke my buddy up with a knock on the door of room 112 at the three rivers inn.
I was elated and exhausted but not too tired to eat the pint of Ben and jerrys and knock back the litre of chocolate moo I bought at the gas station just before waking Ken up.
That packed away and some catching up caught up, we called it a night.
Well, 2 days left.
When I look at the days photos, I sometimes can't believe the first few are from the same day. Today was like that. I'm not even sure when I got going. Around 8:30 I believe. Loaded up with food enough to get me to Wenatchee. Had lunch there. Left for Leavenworth. It was slow going. In Leavenworth I stopped and grabbed some cold weather wear. Grabbed a bit more food and headed towards Stevens Pass. At that point I think I was at 95kms and it was around 5pm.
It's not as if I was dragging my butt. I felt good. Happy.
Some days are like that. You look down and wonder how the time got away on you when it seems youve been pedaling all day long.
I did get into a lot of conversations with people and that really eats up time.
The evening came on fast as I climbed towards Stevens pass. By 6pm it was getting quite cold up there. Not so much during the uphill bits of course but every time I found myself picking up downhill speed, I noticed the chill.
Traffic fell away as the night came on.
I actually couldn't believe how little effort it seemed to take to reach the Pass. I put all my clothing on, feeling strange in so much after getting away with shorts and jersey for so long. After that it was mostly downhill.
I past up motels in Gold Bar, and Sulton. Rolling into Monroe after 1am and systematically going motel door to motel door. The first 3 were closed and nobody came to the lobby. The fourth was a best west and I was given a room.
So now, after working out tomorrows route and blogging, checking email etc, it's 3:30am.
Probably won't be too early a start in the morning.
The weather is forecast to deteriorate. Worse in Vancouver area than Seattle. Guess it is whatever it is.
Hmmm. Let's see now. Where was I this morning? Oh ya. Pendleton. The town at the bottom of that amazing descent.
I took advantage of the conti in the morning and pilfered some food for later. Pendleton is a rodeo town. Some 70,000 visitors descend on the town for their September rodeo. The Pendleton Downs looked large enough to accommodate that many and more.
It was cold in the morning but calm. Breeze picked up later and though the day topped out around 85 or so...that breeze was cold too. Wasn't until much later in the day that it got really warm. It stayed that way until after 7pm.
The sun went down during a drop into an unpolluted valley. I was ever switching highways. North and west, my mantra.
Really was a beautiful ride into the night. Made Vantage( but rode right by) around midnight. After that it started getting cold. I had bought a toque, bandana and gloves. Learning from my experience a couple nights ago.
So it got quite cold but I was okay. I wanted to make it to Wenatchee. That would've given me my long sought triple century in america. What got me was batteries.
My front light eats through 3 triple As in 4 hrs and I'd forgotten to restock. my supply. I cruised into George thinking I'd buy more but by then it was just after midnight and both gas stations were closed. Quincy, the next town wasn't too far away so I made my way with what was left of my fading light. Deciding en route that I'd b-line to a motel.
It was 1:30 when I checked in. I think a gas station was actually open in this somewhat larger town but Wenatchee was still 48 kms away. Would've been close to 4 am when I got in if I pushed on.
So ended my night. A mere 23 kms from my elusive 300.
Headwinds and hills. Some serious climbing today but as the saying goes... What goes up... Eventually gets to go down. What descent epic. To bad it was after dark and I was on the breaks all the way. Bad planning on my part. An hr earlier and man would hate been fun. Could easily have outrun all the big trucks
So I'd have been able to rip down the road instead of steer my was through the clutter on the shoulder. Still. It was quite something. Been some time since a drop like that. Very cold after sun went down. Much different climate than I've been used to. Well, completely different than last night even. By 8pm tonight, I was as cold as at 1am last night. Decided not to push on. Grabbed a room in Pendleton. City at bottom of the awesome descent. Hope to make up distance tomorrow. Won't be any major climbs and the wind looks accommodating. Guess we will see.
Woke up to a flat and found multiple thorns In both tires. Tried pulling them but the tips broke off on some. Decided I'd best take them both off the rims and go over them carefully.
Got a late start:-(
Went for breakfast:-)
Met an old timer riding a motorized schwinn.. We talked for way too long.
Bout 11:30 pushed off. Played around in the area going south, then west, then north, then west... Repeat, repeat. I wanted to add extra miles to the day and was quite sure no matter what, I wouldn't make it past Baker.
Eventually, I was running out of play room and B -lined for Caldwell, then the interstate (ever vigilant for thorns).
Entered Oregon late in the day and got into some great hill climbs. Nothing intimidating. Just fun.
Sun went down, moon came up.
I said my good nights to folks back home via txts and tweets and rode on.
2am, after a really great ride, coyotes yip yip yipping. In the distance and many many long haul truckers giving me friendly honks, I arrived in Baker.
Had a bit of food on me still so made do and went go sleep.
Tough day into the wind. Wore me down. Was on old hwy30 for a while and then the I-84. Went through the town of Mountain Home. Their AFB was having an airshow. I didn't see or hear anything. Mustve been during the stealth fighter show.:-)
Took me till 5 to do 100k. At 6 I was at 115k woohoo.
Kevin(a guy from Boise who's been following my progress and was at the airshow) spotted me on his way home, pulled over and we gabbed for a bit. Was nice to meet him.
He brought good luck with him. After we parted the wind died, the road smoothed out and my energy increased. Suddenly, instead of 15kph, I was doing 30. Sweet. Better late than never.
Stayed on the interstate as a wide shoulder was all good. Got a flat. Thorn. Fixed it and rolled on. Getting dark, turned on rear lights, another flat, another thorn!!! Looked to my right and spotted the brightly lit, blue motel6 sign and decided meridian was calling.
Grabbed some takeout and back in room saw that nancy from @familyonbikes had tweeted saying since I was in town she was on her way to meet me. I went down to the lobby and waited.
We had a great conversation. Was really nice to meet her. If you haven't already check out her site. She, her husband and twin boys (now 13) just completed an epic 4 yr bicycle tour.
Said goodbye, finished dinner, patched tube, slept.
Woke up to cold drizzle. Went for breakfast. Got going late. Still raining a wee bit. Slowly improved. iPad keeps crashing tonight. Not sure if it's the iPad or the motels server. Going to keep this short. Maybe add more tomorrow.
Was a marvelous ride. Made it to Jackpot just as it really began to pour again. Hid out on the casino porch for 40 mins or so.
Got weather report from Tony the weatherman(thanks Tony:-)
Crossed the border into Idaho and had just an unbelievably great ride all the way to Bliss. It was after 10pm when I got in. Hwy30 is one every cyclist should ride. In the same direction did. Downhill most of the way. I sense I really missed some scenic views after dark but, well maybe next time.
Nice thing bout casinos is the awesome yet cheap meals you can get in their cafes. Plus they are open 24hrs a day.
Not that I strolled in there demanding service oh so early or anything.
After a colossal meal and once again too much coffee I put Ely behind me.
The next 4 hrs were as if I was having Aussie flashbacks or something. Zipping along on a flat road with a tailwind, no traffic and vast, wide open arid space.
I averaged better than 30km/hr for 125kms. Then the fork in the road appeared.
I had to take the west road which put me into the wind and became a very rough, narrow road with no shoulder other than rumble strip for the next 60k. My speed and average dropped way down but I still enjoyed being out there.
Met a guy who just wanted to say how speedy I was as he was taking every gravel exit in his relatively new, shiny ford F150 looking for empties along the road, then doubling back to proceed up to the next gravel road. He had a holstered hand gun on his passenger seat. Something you don't see every day in my neck of the woods. He offered me a bottle of ice cold water that he procured from his cooler.
We talked awhile. He said i should watch for 1700 corralled, wild horses near the hwy up the road a ways. Eventually we went our separate ways.
The mtn range to the west had high mtns with snow up top. I never did see any horses and I was keen to. 1700 wild horses isn't something you see every day in my neck of the woods either.
The highway resumed it's earlier smoothness for the last 40k into Wells.
Motel6 after my ACA discount was $44
Had fajitas and apple pie a la mode for diner at the casino across the street.
All in all, a near perfect day.
I got up at 6:30. Cafe opened at 7 and I wanted to have a decent meal before taking off.
At that time it was cold and pouring out. Pioche is pretty high up in the hills and it was a high up in the hills kinda chill. I didn't go for breaky until 7:30 and it was still pouring. I had turned in the motel room key so no turning back no matter what.
I stretched breakfast out about 1.5 hrs before venturing outside again. Deciding to go for it no matter what. To my surprise, it had warmed up considerably and maybe, just maybe tapered off some too.
Within 50kms, it quit raining, eventually the sun came out. By 2pm I was back to riding in shorts and T.
Well, all I have are shorts. Haven't had pants the entire trip and sent the long johns home while in Europe.
I do have shorty leg warmers though and used them today until well after noon.
There really wasn't any big steep climbs like yesterday until the very end where I climbed up to 7720ft elevation.
Eventually dropping into a spectacular valley in the evening with a small climb to Ely at the end.
It was an unbelievable day. Hard to describe the beauty. Mountain ranges on both sides and a sweet road cutting tween them along the valley. So vast, so remote. Hardly any traffic. Just amazing. I'd love to come back, share it with someone. Either by bike or vehicle.
I wasn't in Ely 20 minutes when some guy tried to scam me saying he needed 40 buck for gas to get to a sure thing job down the road that wasn't going to be there for him if he wasn't there by morning and his visa had been declined and he lost his bank card.
44bucks for a motel6 room for the night though. Gotta love that.
I had 2 choices today. 150k or 330k
Was gunho to try for the latter until I took a close look at the toppo. There was going to be lots of climbing.
What cinched it was not getting going early enough. If I was shooting for 330 I had to be on the road by 6at the absolute latest. Didn't happen.
So, out of cedar (5600ft)on 56 you drop a little into the valley. Once across it you climb to a 6500ft summit, drop into another valley,climb to 6800ft(crossing the state line into Nevada) then there is a fantastic 2000ft descent in 19kms to Panaca where 56 meets 93. I turned south there and climbed back into the 5000ft range to the town of Pioche. A small ore mining town on the edge of the mtn overlooking a valley.
It was near dark and getting chilly when I arrived, grabbed a room, and went for diner.
The day was made all the more interesting as a series of afternoon thundershowers swept across the vast, ever-changing landscape. As I crossed the days third valley, I could see 4 separate systems all flashing lightning and rumbling across the sky. Then I spotted the mother of them all reaching out towards me. I thought (from a distance) the road curved away from it at the end of the valley and started climbing but that was an illusion. Hwy 56 turned into the storm. I raced along hoping to slide past it unnoticed but she saw me. With great booming thunder right overhead and lightning that cracked the sky she chased me up the mountain to the border and into Nevada. I reached the summit with slight drops of rain beginning to fall and gusts of wind seeming to come from all directions. But she was too late. The descent was long and fast. By the time I headed north on93, she'd given up and turned her attention elsewhere. So today I was lucky. I arrived the days destination tired and hungry but dry.
Had to hang round till the bank opened this morning. Didn't have any US cash and nobody would take my Canadian dollars.
The fiber optic cable that had been severed was still a problem in town as visa and ATMs were out. Was like suddenly being back what 20, 30 years. They weren't even going to exchange my $100 cdn because computers were down and they couldn't be sure of the rate.
Finally loaded up, had a quick bite and by 9:30 was on my way out of town. The next services were 120kms away. I was in the valley but it was a gradual climb all morning. More undulating in the afternoon. It rained off and on. Sometimes heavy enough to have me get off the bike, don my poncho and hide behind the bike using it as a wind break. These were all passing squalls . You could see them all around all day. Many dark clouds booming thunder and flashing lightning.
There was a mountain pass to cover before evenings end. 6700ft summit by 7:30. Then pretty much a long roll out all the way to town. It was 10pm when I got in. Beautiful night. Full moon, thunder, lightning. Wide open country, little traffic, cricket and frog sounds trumping one another as I rolled along.
Had a big breaky and hit the road. South on 68 for near 100kms. Most of that had a dedicated bike lane on it. Had a flat early in the morning and while fixing it a group of cyclists rode by. I finished up and tried to catch up. There was a headwind and I thought if I could catch them and tag along, I'd get a free ride for the duration of their ride. They were going fast but slowly I was reeling them in. Mostly because they were hitting street lights red and I was hitting them green more often. Still, it took a long time. 25kms or so. Just as I thought with one good hard push I could maybe tuck in behind them, they slowed, turned around and headed back the way they came.
Oh well. Fun while it lasted.
68 junctioned with 6. I took 6 west and climbed up and over mt tentin(?) I think that's what it was called. By the top (Eureka)it was raining, windy and cold.
After 20kms of descending there was a rest area that had covered picnic tables. I rolled under one and debated my options. None but the obvious. Keep going. The wind was blowing the rain under the covered areas. Tables were soaked. It was really cold just standing there.so I got going. I dropped more elevation and it warmed up some. Eventually the rain stopped and the sun even popped out for maybe an hr before it slipped out of sight for the night. A near full moon appeared.
About 9pm I got into Delta. Some accident with the fiber optic cable had the town scrambling. No wifi, no ATM or credit card approval machines. No hbo, Or cell phone reception. Though that must've been for other reasons.
All set to roll out the door this morning and my rear tire was flat.
I had bought 4 new tubes in Regina figuring they would last me beyond the remainder of the trip. They were bontragers. Very thin but that's all they had.
I haven't had to use them until yesterday. Two flats. Both rear. Two tubes left. Didn't patch them last night. Figured two tubes would last.
So right off the bat this morning. One tube left. About 25kms down the road rear goes again. Last tube. It was sunny and hot. I saw an overpass maybe 500m ahead so walked there and delt with the flat. Thing is, I hadn't run over anything that would flat the tube. I took the tire right off and inspected it very carefully. It looked fine. Decided to put new one on anyways. Inspected the rim. It seemed fine too. Decided I better patch some tubes. Inspected the tubes and found the one from yesterday, the first one (a Kenda) had a pinch flat. The second one.. A hole on the underside. The side that faces the rim. Only thing I can think is That the rim tape isn't doing it's job.
Inspected today's flats...same thing. The underside.
Okay. Tubes patched, new tire on and pumped up to 115psi. Away I go.
Later in the day the front tire goes flat. Man. Give me a break. I find a thorn puncture. Okay...these things happen. Note to self... I'm in new terrain. Prickly thorn country. Watch were you go.
I'm replacing the tube and noticing the weather. Clouds blot out the sun and the headwind picks up a bit.
An amused state trooper pulls up behind me and tells me I have to exit the interstate. So much for that. Was planning to exit soon anyways but it's nice as a backup option. We talk for a while and it starts to rain. Not hard, just steady. The wind increases too.
I exit the interstate, get my bearings and push off. Late the day now but decide I could ride into the evening and get another 60k in.
I'm deciding I like this road much better than the interstate except for the traffic lights but I'm hitting most of them green so it's all good.
6:30pm...pfsssssssssssssssssssss. Rear tire flats. I don't yell or swear or have a tantrum. I laugh. One of those laughs that you laugh when there's nothing else to do but laugh.
I find a spot to pull off and fix it. Now I'm thinking I don't want to do this anymore today. I don't want to risk riding into darkness and have to fix yet one more flat tonight. I'm packing it in. I'm going to linger tomorrow, find a bike shop, get some rim tape, new tubes and a patch kit. maybe new tires too.
Once on the road again I spot macdonalds up ahead. I pull into parking lot and get out my iPad to google motels. Find motel6 close. Then I google bike shops. What...right next door to this exact spot? Cool. I check time. 650. Hmmm. Probably closed but worth a look. It is Saturday after all.
I pull in. Looks closed. Get up close. It is closed. Closed since 6pm. Worse than that, sign says closed Sunday's.
Then I notice two guys loading a bike on their car rack in the parking lot and go over to talk. Turns out they work there.
I plead my case and they have simpathy for me. They open up shop and though they didn't have size 650 tires, had 5 specialized tubes of substance, rim tape and patch kit.
Life is good again.
I reward myself after dinner with a bowl of caramel apple crisp and vanilla ice-cream.
Late so real quick one. Very late start on the day. Wasnt 100%. don't know why. Spent long time making sure I had the final distances correct and tried my best to squeeze the distance I need out of the area I have left.
Spotted Denny's on way out of town and talked myself into breakfast. Met some people there and we got to talking. Practically lunch by time I really got rolling. experienced 2 flats. Both rear. The day was great. Maybe 3 real climbs. The rest was cupcake. The road follows valley tween two mtn ranges and is very scenic. Spotted vehicles carrying race bikes heading south all day. Turned out they were all heading same place I was. Big race tomorrow. Big prob. Full motels. Just happened to be at the last one double checking the truth to the word that they were all full when they got a cancelation. Lucky for me as it was near 9pm.
A day in the life.
Alarm went off at 5:30am.
I shut it off and went back to sleep.
6:45 I got up, got dressed, checked the weather outside...cold.
Checked the days forecast...warm
Ate a can of peaches and 2 blueberry pop tarts.
Checked my days saved route on google again.
Loaded the bike.
Quickly went over the bike. Checked for tire wear etc.
Pumped 30psi into rear tire wondering if one of the patches was beginning to fail, if a new, small leak had occurred, or if it was just one of those things.
Dawned all my warm clothes.
One last look around the room. Checked the time..just before 8am.
Rode to gas station wishing I had more warm clothes.
Bought 2 bananas, 1 ltr chocolate milk, 2ltrs water.
Down the road a ways stopped, ate the bananas, drank the milk. Stamped my feet, blew on my hands.
Resumed riding. Crossed continental divide at 7072 ft. left Montana (again). Last time briefly for Wyoming, this time for Idaho.
By 10am, serious climbing began.
By 10:10, started to shed warm clothes.
In Island Park stopped at gas station and bought another liter of chocolate milk, can of wieners and beans, and a can of peaches.
Enjoyed a long fast descent (about 8k at 6%grade). much much warmer when done.
Stopped by river, walked down to river, had a late lunch.
Rode my bike. Enjoyed the view.
Rode it some more. Worked out some of the worlds problems.
And rode some more. Texted Jessica, twitter,Martin from Cycle_Around. Thought about the ride. What was left, what had passed.
At 170k, Idaho Falls, got on interstate 15 and continued riding southwest until 9pm (still in shorts and jersey)where, after exiting on 72 to interstate 86, took exit 61 to motel 6 where I finally got to use one of my 3 free night coupons.
Killed a cockroach (small one) for squeamish reception girl.
Settled into room. Had shower. Washed clothes in sink. Wrung them and hung them to dry
Loaded photos on iPad. Checked tomorrows weather.
Checked tomorrows route.
Went wandering a bit. Bought some food for dinner.
Noticed how late it was getting.
Called it a day.
Was 90k along paradise valley to the gateway. By 115k I'd climbed the 500m to the plateau. Rode along good flat road for 25k, met Bart smith( www.walkingdownthedream.com ) a man walking a long ways
The last 40k were practically all downhill. Glad I picked the route I did. Saw lots of elk. A few bison, a moose far off. Was dark when I rolled into west yellowstone. A bustling little tourist town on the edge of the park.
Was really fun. I encourage all Guinness record pursuers to go this route:-)
I'm pretty much at the gateway to yellowstone. Tomorrow I will be doing a lot of climbing.
Temp was 90 degrees with a breeze. Scenery was amazing.
I saw 2 rattle snakes today. One dead, one alive. Tried getting picture of the live one but he turned out to be camera shy. Saw mule dear, another fox, plenty of prairie dogs, had a close encounter with a family of white tails at dusk but was watching for movement from either side of the road and spotted them before they suddenly crossed the road. Saw elk and what I think were maybe antelope but not sure.
It was a day without services until just before Roy. 180k.
I met a family heading home from a weekend of prospecting with a few gold flakes and small nuggets for their efforts. They made a point of stopping to see if I needed water or anything.
Truly an eventful day. Slow though. I had hopes of making hawthorn. That's maybe another 120kms. Not a chance.
About 20 kms from Malta I crossed paths with three touring cyclists. 2 on honeymoon and a guy they met yesterday going their way a ways. We talked for awhile. The first cyclists I've seen in weeks. Was nice talking with them.
Anyway...a super short day that was a huge effort yet fun too. Spotted a fox and some deer on the plains. Crickets everywhere and grasshoppers constantly landing on me or bouncing off the windjammer.
It was basically 200kms without services. I had lingered in town this morning until the store opened so I could stock up for the day. A late start gave the day time to warm up a tad. That wind chill was brutal.
The landscape was amazing. The road awesome. I could see isolated showers going on around me. Sometimes sweeping over road ahead of me, sometimes behind me in my mirrors.
I stayed dry all day. The wind warmed up and died down in the evening. The sun set and I rolled into Glasgow.
Breakfast went by way too quick. Next thing you know, I'm saying my good byes. It was tough to leave. Dad drove out to the edge of town and when I caught up, took a couple pictures.
Then it was just me and my bike again.
I was all gun ho to ride to Glasgow MT today. Near 300kms. Mother nature wasn't going to make things easy though. The cold 25km wind came at me all day long. gusts blew me all over the road. I was reduced to inching along at about 15kph and that was an effort. A squall hit me and though I did get my rain gear on, still got pretty wet and really cold. I couldn't warm up from that. Even dropping a couple gears and ramping up the cadence didn't work. At one point, I was cresting a small rise and was slammed by a cross wind that blew me right across the highway and onto the opposite shoulder. It didn't catch me by surprise though and no traffic was around.
So.. Assiniboia, a mere 110 kms ends up being my days end at 5pm. I knew of no motels tween Assiniboia and Glasgow and figured at best I'd make Glasgow by 1am if I pushed on.
Grabbed a motel, got outa my wet clothes, checked weather and with the forecast calling for rain all night, was glad I didn't push on.
I'm a magnet for locating road construction. A long stretch being worked on today made for a slow, bumpy couple hrs but at least it took my mind off the wind. Cold...did I mention it was cold. Warmed up late in the day. Made moose jaw by 5pm. Met my dad downtown, had a snack. Met him and Shirley later at his place. We went for dinner then over to my aunt and uncles place. I had a really great visit despite arriving 15 minutes too late to see more of the family.
Eventually, back at dad and Shirley's, over a beer, we made plans for the morning, gabbed a bit and called it a night.
"Huh" I say. " it's probably just morning fog. It'll burn off by the time we're ready to ride."
"I'm not riding 300 and some odd kms in that. We need to rethink our route. Turn on the weather channel and check what's forecast."
"okay, well let me grab my chocolate milk from the fridge first"
He waits patiently while I get my milk and turn on the tele.
"ah, there, you see. Thunder storms, rain. 10 mm this aft and another 10 overnight. Wind from the south most of the day. I refuse to embark on such a crazy idea with you. Plan another route"
"I say we stick with the plan. It's a great spot to finally get a 300plus km day in. Let's go for it"
"he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day" the wussie says.
"huh" I say.
"if you force me to do this, I will make your day most miserable. I will wine and complain the whole way. I will drag my ass every damp, wind blown kilometer."
"okay, well let's take a look at our options"
"there aren't any options. You find the fastest route to Regina and let's go"
This goes on for awhile, the wussie getting more cranky all the time. Finally I relent, we pack up and get going.
I quietly think to myself..." crap, it is cold"
"I heard that" says the wussie. " let's stop and dig out the cold weather clothes"
Again, I relent.
It's a cold cloudy morning. The sun makes an appearance late in the morning and I'm preparing to chastise the wussie when it slips behind the clouds and I hear the first rain drop splat against my windjammer. I keep quiet.
The rain comes on heavier then and I dig out the wet weather gear.
For 40 or 45 kms we put up with the rain. Eventually it let's up and soon the sun seems to burn off a good percentage of the dark clouds. This holds for a bit but looking around I see serious storm clouds stacking up in the distance. I keep quiet.
We get into Regina fairly early, get a room and grab some food. The wussie had been drowned out all day by copious amounts of Gatorade and probably too loud iTunes. It's really blustery outside and the thunder is rumbling in the near distance
The wussie speaks up. "thanks" he says.
"thanks for taking my advice"
"no worries mate, we're in this together you know. Good call by the way"
Having issues with this app. It might be my iPad though. Going to keep this one short.
The kitchen I slept in last night was real dark and quiet and I discovered I'd slept till 9:30. So after 10 when finally loaded up at gas station and on my way. Had a fun day for the first 150kms. Then, after Moosemon a couple serious climbs slowed me down some. Then a long stretch of broken pavement, gravelly road, and dust from the many semi trucks got me down some. Eventually that was behind me and, like how things just resume after you've merged from 4 lanes into 2 during rush hour, I was moving along and happy again. After langonburg I took the yellowhead hwy (16) NW to Yorkton. Found a cheap motel, showered, laundered, ate buffet across the street and suddenly it was late again.
Great day. Temp only got up to about 90 then clouded over and cooled down in the aft. Rode 83 to Minot. Had lunch. Rode up to 5, west to 28, and to the border where AT&T dropped me.
I had a tailwind the whole day.dark clouds that had been building northwest of me now put on a spectacular lightening show. Soon I was close enough to hear the thunder. Dusk came and with it, so did the rain. I turned on my lights and pushed the final 20k to redvers and it's one motel..... Which turned out to be fully booked. It was a strange place really. I talked to the reception guy over the phone. He had no suggestions for me. Place would've cost me over $100. A rip. Anyway. I decided I'd just spend the night in the hallway. Sleep on the floor.
I went out to get my bike then remembered the first door I went to when arriving in the dark. It was unlocked and opened to a storage room of sorts. I went back and explored a bit. That room opened up to an old kitchen that wasn't in use. I brought my bike into the storage room, took the foam from it's seat, and a bag of cloths(for a pillow) and went into the kitchen, cleared a prep table and used it to sleep on. I slept not too bad actually. And saved some cash.
Had a route all figured out and asked the motel owner if he thought it made sense. He concurred. I was reassured by that until just out of town I came to my first road closure. Once again... These things don't apply to me so I just hoisted corsa up onto the new bridge that was being built, (nobody working on Sunday though), made my way across and continued on. Plan was to take 94 west to 25. North to 28. North to 200. Over the river to 83 where I could resume my planned route.
Where 94 met 25 there was a gas station boasting a travel info center. Figured I'd get a second opinion.
Was told 28 was gravel, that I should take 140 off 25 over to 1806. That would take me to the river.
Well that was very bad advice as 1806 turned into gravel long before it got near the bridge.
I decided to just follow 1806 back to mandan, then 94 to Bismark, get on 83 and eat the lost time and distance.
As luck would have it, at that moment, a cyclist named Bob on a giant TCR advanced came pedaling up 1806. I got good news from him that my first plan would work just fine.
That was the best news as I really hadnt gone far out of my way yet.
That whole area is part of the Lewis and Clark trail and was very hilly and scenic but tiring.
Made matters worse...I got another flat in the am, then another early in the aft. Turned out go be the rim tape. A section was not covering one of the spoke access holes and was blowing tubes. Glad I finally figured that out. Was getting annoying. I was out of ready spares and a slight breeze made it hard to tell where the leak was.
As well, It's rare when a flat occurs near a shady spot.
So the day just bled away. 6:30 I still had over 80 kms to my planned destination. A sign said "Underwood, food, gas, lodging. I took it. A very small town on a section of the old highway 83.
Geez, so much happened today. Began around 4:30am. I could swear the chambermaid was rolling her cleaning cart up the sidewalk from room to room. I was asleep of course but the noise registered and slowly I woke up. Then I thought she shone a light in my window... WTF! Now I'm fully awake. The cart starts to roll again and that's when I realize... It's thunder. Lightening flashes again and the light patter of rain on the motel roof becomes a timpani. Hmmmmm. I go back to sleep. Alarm went off at 5:30. I acknowledged it and that the rain was still coming down heavy. I went back to sleep.
Okay...I got up round 6:30, stepped outside and noticed first, the wind blowing through the trees from the southeast (that's good) and second how chilly said wind was. (that's bad).
Anyway...somehow unexplainable by me, 6:30 turns into 8:30 in the blink of an eye.
It's not raining when I leave the motel. Rains on me off and on during the morning but nothin serious. By 10am it's warmed up considerably. I'd had a quick snack at the local gas station and loaded up with water etc.
So the plan was to ride north on 47, west on 12, north on 271, west on 130, and finally, northwest on 83.
Before I even got to 12 I was seeing signs warning me that 83 north was closed and to take detour. The detour wasn't going to work for me as it went east.
I usually assume these types of signs don't apply to me so I ignored it. I ignored the next 3 or 4 that crossed my path.
Finally I was at the on ramp. I ignored one last sign saying no through traffic. Being Saturday, my rationalizing was that no workers would be present and no traffic using the road and really, how bad could it be. It was hwy 83. A main artery running all the way to Canada.
The pavement didn't Peter out until I was well committed to the route. When it did it deteriorated slowly until I was riding in sand, clay and mud. It collected on the tires and got clogged up around the brakes, fender,and frame. I had to clear it out now and then as it would clog up so bad the wheels would stop turning.
All this sounds bad but really, the entire length to picking up paved 83 again was only about 30 kms. It took me about 2 hrs.
No regrets as I was able to stay on course.
There were a couple more sections during the day that were under construction and really rough but for the most part, it was fast roads, slow traffic, and wide shoulders.
At km 210, 83 merged with interstate 94 west for the remainder of the day. I rode it to the outskirts of Bismark. My destination. It was about 8:45, I could see the city lights and the golden arches when my rear tire flatted. No biggie. Should only take me 10 minutes. That's when the mosquitoes attacked. Millions of them it seemed. Hearty buggers too.
Decided to push/walk/run to macdonalds. It was farther away than it appeared but finally made it. Fixed flat. Used MDs wifi to locate motel6. I have coupons.
Motel was next exit so I got back on the interstate and raced to exit 159. Motel6 sold it's last room an hour before I got there. Every other motel was full too. Got info about motel in next town just across the river off exit 155. Made reservation and took off down the interstate again. Around 11pm the police flashed me down and told me I wasn't allowed to ride across the bridge. I pleaded my case and a sympathetic officer gave me an escort safely across to Mandan.
Found my motel, grabbed some food from next door, had a shower and listened to the awesome thunder boom outside until I was ready for slumber.
Awesome day. Lots of flat, lots of rollers, minimal traffic, good roads, was riding north on 45 and came to where it merged with interstate90 west to Kimball. Google maps suggested a route on the other side of the interstate that turned out to be a gravel road. 247th street. Man that's frustrating. Ended up backtracking into the headwind and taking the interstate for 10kms or so. Had a flat around 6pm. Darn bridges at the bottom of fast rollers that don't have smooth transitions. It was all wide open country. Corn, cotton, sunflowers, and hay.
Staying at the Lode Star motel for 50 bucks. Casino across the street had steak buffet for 12 bucks.
I couldn't use the wind and drop south today. That option is gone for now or I'll loose my exit window out of the USA into SK. Don't want to do that. Visiting my dad is huge on my list of must dos this trip.
Once in Oneil I went shopping. Bought a bunch of fresh fruit, yogurt, juice etc. Had a great feast.
Still no cell service.
Didn't have wifi last night and misjudged todays distances. Next hotel after St Paul was near 100miles away. Might've shot for it if it was earlier in the day but it was another hot day and late in the day. Other options would've thrown me way off course.
I had fun riding past Nebraska's seemingly endless corn fields. A southwesterly kept me company all day. I spent time adding up distance. Getting harder to focus on that so close to home. I mean when I turn away from home direction in order to add extra miles to my route it just feels wrong:) getting anxious I guess. About 5800kms to go. I'm averaging about 12k per day over the record. Still time to improve on that.
The picture is of a road google maps walking dude sent me down. He's got quite a sense of humor. Not the first gravel road he has suggested i take either.
Made it to sutton. Small town, couple motels. I stayed at the fox hollow motel right on the golf course. Loaded up on dinner, breakfast and lunch stuff. Tried to make it an early night.
It started out sunny and hot in Stillwater. I lingered in town until the Cooper Cycle Center opened so I could grab a patch kit. I was right out of good spare tubes. Bought 4 tubes and a patch kit. They gave me a jersey. Sweet. It's a great little shop and very friendly folks running it.
Bout 9:30 I got going. Was hoping to make Newton. A town just north of Wichita. I decided (against my better judgement) to let google maps walking dude mode choose my route. It looked good. Lots of country roads that kept stepping west. The iPad doesn't have the bike route mode. I stayed on 177 until ponca city, then took ranch dr. It took me to a 4way stop, 3 directions gravel and the paved road I rode in on. Haha. I eventually aborted the walking dudes route suggestion and made my own. Around that time I came across another recumbent rider. Keith and I talked for a bit then went our separate ways. I decided to go with the wind west along 11 and then, head NW to Wellington city, Kansas.
It became overcast late in the morning and remained that way all day. Even sprinkled a bit. A very good thing as it was not a typical day with dozens of gas station stop options.
I got settled away in motel and after dark walked a couple blocks to grab a bite to eat. This has been the first night in a long time I can say was pleasant temperature to walk in. Even after dark. About 80degrees.
I don't think much more needs to be said. No doubt this will have been the hottest day of the trip though yesterday seemed hotter. I've broken away from the seriously humid areas. Dry heats a little easier. A good day. Hi mom.
Saw a buffalo on my way in.
Eventually (say around 9:30) I finally got going giving myself heck for leaving so late. By 10:30 it was once again climbing into the triple digits.
It was a tough day for me. I made many gas station stops for fluids usually downing a liter of water right away and packing one along with my 3liter hydro pack full of gatoraid.
I stopped at 2 picnic areas along the way. Taking a full hrs rest from the sun at one of them.
At 5:00 with only 110kms logged, I rode passed Greenville and it's many cheap motels nearly throwing in the towel for the day. However, the temperature was cooling and I was feeling revived some. Decided to push on to my planned destination of Denison TX. I got in after dark but really enjoyed riding into the evening. I'm not out of the convection oven yet but am now north of Dallas. It will begin to cool as I get into the panhandle.
So I finished up with 205kms.
Still had 55k to go though. Pushed on.felt good to resist.
The message on my iPad said it had to cool down before I could use it. That's never happened before. Partially due to the nature of the hilly day on hwy 69. Climbing up the backside of the hill, there was a void. No air at all it seemed. Just heat. It took your breath. Felt like my back was on fire and thighs were roasting. Over the top a breeze would hit you but it was not any better. It was hot. You could feel it swirl around your glasses and burn your eyes as the speed picked up downhill. I was constantly looking for shade. Even rode on the shoulder of the south ward bound divided hwy in the afternoon to get as much shade as possible. Not too impressed with Texas roads so far. More crappy than good. Look at the shoulder on the pic if it comes in clear enough. Sure it's wide but basically unrideable. One section...the rumble strip was the smoothest area to ride. Seriously.
My recorded ride time was 10:43:24 to ride 225kms. That's a long, slow day. Especially since I'd clocked the first 100k before 11:30. Had high hopes to do a 300k day but no way.
I got going before the sun was up. It was actually kinda cool. By 8:30 the sun was makin it's point. A samoyed was up ahead of me watching my approach. I was apprehensive as I'd had many aggressive dogs trying to chase me, barking, growling and generally looking mean. This guy was nothing but friendly. He fell into stride beside me and ran along with me for nearly 2miles. He'd look over and smile once in awhile. Then he must've decided he'd escorted me through his territory. He stopped running, stood and watched me ride away. He was still watching when I lost sight of him in my rearview mirror. I really enjoyed the company. Talked to him most of the way...but don't tell anyone:) should've got his picture. Never even thought to. Saw a bunch of turtles crossing the rd yesterday. Didn't get a shot of that either.
Today the roads were much better and the wind...tame. It was hot though. 106F at 5:30pm. Guess I'm in the thick of things here for awhile yet. Heading north though. Should climb up out of this heat in a few days or so.
No pool in tonights motel. Sure coulda used it. Doesn't seem to be any wifi either even though I was assured there was. Guess I'll go sit in the lobby for a bit. Maybe it'll work there.
Should've gotten earlier start. Meant to. Alarm was set for 4:30am actually. Just couldn't get out of bed though. So... After the motel breaky and getting organized I was on my way around 7am. Things were going well for the first 30k or so then I got onto #35. what a mess of a road. Cracked, split, uneven, patched, potholed, littered, shoulderless, crappy road. At rayne I loaded up at gas station and enquired from 3 different people as to the condition of both 35 and 90. my plan had been to shoot down 35 to 82 and follow that all the way to port Arthur tx. Something just shy of 300k. That's what I did. Except I didn't quite make it to pt Arthur. The rest of 35 was he'll as well. So over 100k of bumpy travel put me on smooth 82 and into a hot headwind that resisted me all day. By 3pm it was cooled down and raining heavy off and on. Sounds bad but was a refreshing relief. The wind abated in the late afternoon and I was able to jack up my avg some.
It turns out Cameron has a motel. At 7:30, fairly wet and not wanting to ride the remaining 50k to PA in the dark, I grabbed a room.
Spent the day riding many secondary roads. Some good, some not so good, some terrible. Got two flats on the terrible bits but really enjoyed the countryside. Very little traffic. A dodgy thunder storm that kept missing me is probably still out there somewhere. Louisiana has been a lot of fun so far.
There were some fun bridges, fast sections on 90, and shade towards the end of the day. Got to talking to Mike(the general manager) and Caira(the girl at the desk)at motel6 just off interstate 10 and Bullard. Gave them my website address. Mike presented me with 3certificates for 3 individual nights at any motel6. That was very cool. Motel costs have been the biggest expense bar none on this trip.
I went for a swim. The pool was awesome after the days heat and efforts. I wish the water in pools back home was as warm.
Had dinner just down the road and turned in for the night.
Was just going to blow through the town of ft St Joe but as I approached the bridge, a sudden monsoon blocked my path. I ducked under some trees on the side of the road thinking it would pass quickly but it just got worse. Decided to wait it out in mcdonalds. It was lunchtime after all. I spent a good twenty minutes in the can using the hand dryer to dry my cloths so I wouldn't be sitting in the air conditioned restaurant completely soaked and cold.
It let up and I resumed my ride into the headwinds that fought me all the way to Dresden but the sun came out. Much of the ride was along beach front. I fought the urges to go swimming in the ocean. That was tough. Traffic was light there but hectic back up on 98. I got into motel just as weather turned nasty again but went swimming anyways. Feels great to use the upper body for awhile in the pool. And, of course, just being in the water feels pretty nice on it's own.
Golden corral for din din.
A short, tough day.
I had about a hundred kms to go to get to the Ocala national forest. I was thinking it would be well treed and cooler. There were lots of trees, but few that crowded the road. So it was hot.
I stopped at a small lake to cool off and was amazed at how warm the water was. It was well stocked with trout. I saw many.
I made it through and out to the turnpike that crosses #19 just south of Howey-In-The-Hills. That's a towns real name.
For $39, I grabbed a room that included wifi, breakfast, and a pool.
I won't get to see much of Georgia. Not much opportunity to zigzag, stay going west, and not overshoot St. Pete. Florida.
I managed 218 without going in circles today:). I drank copious amounts of everything I got my hands on and I feel pretty good. Finally quenched my thirst.
They say Carolina is experiencing extreme drought conditions and air quality 105. Above moderate.
Tomorrow I'll be on the coast. That should help.
Anyway, a fine days ride. Sunny, hot but not too hot. They say another serious heat wave is to be expected by friday. Maybe by then I'll have dropped below it a bit. Saw in the news that new York got slammed with big rain storm and hail in Newark. I got through there just in time.
Rear tire flatted. Tiny shard of glass worked it's way through to the tube. Funny, no issues for weeks then 2flats in 2 days. Nice shady spot to deal with it though unlike the other day.
Made my way into Washington. Easy to maneuver through but oh so many lights. I rode down to the harbor.
Was hoping to stop the clock, get on the Potomac river boat ferry that would get me to the other side and down river but they don't let bikes on so I asked around about which bridges I could cross. There was a trail that followed the waterline that I took.
I met a guy who was riding home and happened to be going my direction so I followed him along the trail network to his turn. It was cool riding along with somebody else for a change. He pointed me in the direction of mt Vernon and said goodbye. I continued on this awesome trail that stretched for about 30k through the forest. Lots of people using it. Riding, running, walking. I Rode out to where 235 meets #1 found a motel. By then it was about 9pm.
finally on my way again, it begins to rain. Feels good actually after all the heat. Then I get a flat. After that bits behind me, I roll into Perryville. I'd been following a roadside designated bike lane most of the day and it terminated in Perryville. A bridge that google said was bike friendly crosses the Chesapeake at this spot and as I get about half way across, an officer pulls me over, tells me no bikes allowed. He is nice enough but stubborn. He agrees that no sign indicates this is illegal and that there is nowhere even remotely close to this spot to cross but refuses to escort me to the other side. Instead......
(I never would've believed this and half thought he was joking when he told me to follow his lead) he reversed all the way back to the beginning of the bridge with lights on forcing vehicles to all merge into the right lane as I pedaled towards his reversing car.
I called a taxi to get me across the bridge. It took awhile as I needed not just any taxi but a minivan or the like. When it showed, cabbie couldn't get hatch open. I managed it for him after a bit.
On our way across the bridge he warned me that he thought it would be unwise to ride into riverside after dark and that Aberdeen didn't have any motels that he knew of that weren't out of the way. So I decided to call it a day. Only just over 100k, some if which won't count. Still, after the ghetto experience just before the bridge to Philly, I decided to heed his warning.
Got a cheap motel in Havre de Grace, had a great broiled haddock dinner. I wanted to try the famous chesapeake bay soft shell crab but it wasn't on the menu.
So, don't get the wrong idea. I had a great day.
I moved in and out of well treed, shady areas, to wide open, hot, sunny sections along the beach. Wide smooth, clean shoulders. To narrow, nearly non-existent shoulders littered with gravel. To upscale residential areas. End of the day I wanted to ride over to ocean city and find a hotel on the beach. Maybe go for a swim. But I couldn't get over there. Bridges wouldn't let bikes on. Had no choice but to turn away from the coast. Ended up in Mays Landing as it was getting dark. Two options, both full up. Had to ride out to black horse pike. It was near 10pm when I got there. A crappy motel miles from any beach. But it would do just fine.
It was hot though. At 4pm it was down go 95F. Tomorrow I'm going to ride to the edge water marina and hop a ferry to Bedford. That will cut out much if the crazy downtown congestion and put me on my way towards Baltimore. I didn't get far today but had a fun day. Found my first starbucks since setting foot back in America and spent too long sipping on a latte but needed the R and R.
The photo is just 2 days of road grime from socks, shorts, and jersey washing down the drain. Amazing really.
I was just bagged though, so many steep little climbs. One called "the dead horse hill climb" which I tackled just after seeing a temp reading of 87*. luckily it was at least partially shaded. A challenging day, fast evening.
I put up with them, my shoes swimming around on the pedals, making clicking noises with every stroke, constantly popping off the pedals for quite awhile. Asked for help at a few shops but everyone agreed, they weren't going to be easy to remove.
Well today I spotted the Exiter Cyclery in the town of Exiter. A cool shop with high end bikes. They said they would tackle my shoes but were busy and it would take some time.
In the end, I bought a new pair of shoes. They offered me a sweet discount when I mentioned the challenge so I bought some socks(I've worn two pairs out so far), a specialized rain jacket that turns into a vest, some new brake pads, and spare pair of cleats.
Even better deal when you consider the strength of the Canadian dollar.
I left the coast today to get around the Boston area. Basically following the ACA route. Sort of:) had a good day. Many roads. Lots of checking and rechecking to make sure I was staying on track. Cruised through nice quiet, treed countryside today.
Rode until after dark. Had bit of trouble finding motel.
Number one is very entertaining through this section. One town line ends, the next begins. Loads of local shops, eateries, B+Bs and motels. Lobsta madness.
A really good day. And.. Nobody called me SIR!:)
The TDF was on in room though:)
As of today... Under 13000kms to go.
Loaded up and got going. A wonderful sunny day with a tailwind. Just stayed on the #1 all day. Got held up at the border for nearly an hour while they tried to determine whether it was safe to let me in or not. Finally sanity prevailed and I was free to go. Just across the border, a town called Calias. 130k 8pm instead of the 7 i thought it was.Time change at the border.
Had a nice cheap dinner with loads of veggies. Caught Thors amazing TDF ride.
After kentville, I turned southwest and rode along #101 through the annapolis valley with the 20kph winds pushing me all the way.
It's been awhile since I was able to ramp it up to 35 or 40 on flat rodes and maintain that for awhile. That was fun.
With about 50k to go, the valley ended and the hills began again. Nothing severe but enough to slow me down some. Still, I managed 200k in 8.5hrs ride time. Not too shabby.
I'm moteling it at the admirals inn just a 1/4k from the terminal. Had a fine meal as reward for finishing this portion of the ride. Ceasar salad, Digby scallops and a bud light lime.
I had lobster in mind as the finale diner but the scallops were on special and I really love scallops.
Don't think I ever mentioned having kangaroo for dinner one night in Australia, and a fresh moose burger in Newfoundland.
Looking forward to watching the tour tonight. The climbing begins.
It didn't start that way. When I looked out the window first thing this morning, it looked worse than when I checked in yesterday.
I couldn't bring myself to head out into that again so I lounged around the motel.
Once the weather started looking better, (after 10pm) I got going. Got onto a scenic route called marine drive and really enjoyed myself. Almost zero traffic. Many small historic villages,
A short ferry ride, and a ride into the evening after dark getting me into Sherbrooke around 9:30. Just in time to see the last hour of the days tour de France stage.
Crazy carnage when a camera vehicle sorta swerved over and took out a couple riders. Sent one guy into a barbed wire fence.
Coming from the west coast, and living on the Sechelt peninsula, I'm not unfamiliar with ferry crossings. I just want to note a few differences tween the two coasts ferry systems.
Both the ferry and the terminal had fast, strong wireless internet that was free and accessible anywhere. A 6 hr trip and no issues with lost signal at all.
The seats were plush and reclining. They had a place to plug in right on the arm rest.
I was allowed to ride onto, and off of the ferry.
Cost for me and bike was $52.00. Back home, though unfair comparison, a typical crossing is... $12.00 I believe
It was a warm night and the ride to a motel was pleasant. Though it was late, and I tired, I had trouble getting to sleep. I slept in a bit and woke up to an overcast sky. But no rain and no wind:)
Today is my official halfway mark as far as distance goes. I'm still holding at about 187kpd.
Now I board the ferry for Sidney nova scotia. A 6 hr trip. The seas are calm. Sky blue.
Really expected to make port aux basques and the ferry to nova scotia but gave up at 6pm with 110 kms still to go. Toughest day in awhile. Into the wind, I was averaging 16kph.
I started out in shorts and short sleeves but by 4pm the wind was picking up and it was getting chilly. Complete contrast from yesterday.
Anyway, I saw many cyclists today, all going east. A group of 3 young guys, one of them riding a homemade double decker. Check out photo.
About 10 am I came across a guy sleeping on the shoulder of the trans Canada highway. He had some suitcases with him and the police were trying to wake him up to no avail. As I proceeded up the road, an ambulance swung in behind the police car. No idea if he was okay or....?
So I'm in midway motel, halfway tween corner brook and port aux basques. No restaurant, no Internet. Nice room though, and cheap!
Took exit #6 into upper CB to discover both motels fully booked. That was around 9pm. Reception phoned downtown and got me the last room at the CB hotel. A fast, long descent into town proper and I was there. Guess that means a slow, long climb in the morning. At least I got a room.
Between the wind, rain, and hills, it took me all day to make this 125 k. It only rained a wee bit. No biggie. Felt good actually. Stayed in a little place in Badger. Had a great meal. Stocked up early departure.
Forecast still calling for rain... Fingers crossed it's wrong.
After 50k I reevaluated that decision. Looking at the map I realized every town on it was on the water, but the distances between towns was in the hills. The hills were steep. Like I said, 50k in and my legs were screaming. I abandoned plan and took the exit that led me to the Trans Canada Highway.
That turned out being very wise. It was tough enough and very scenic. A sunny, breezy day with a lot of elevation gain. Saw a few cyclists. Stopped just before the TCH and talked to Gordon, a high school math teacher out for a Sunday ride. He reassured me that I'd been wise to abort the Irish loop:)
It was after 9pm when I rolled into the Trailside motel parking lot. It gets cold here after sundown. Nearly stopped to put on my toque.
Had a shower and a late dinner. The special... Prime rib. Mmm. Even had coconut cream pie for dessert.
So I'm up this morning, haven't left motel yet, looking out the window at a chilly, completely fogged in morning. Can hardly see the vehicles on the highway.
Guess I won't pack up the warm cloths.
We docked at berth 2, pier 88. That was cool to watch as the last bit was done by tugs. They nudged the giant into its berth by 7:30. I retrieved my bike, and went through customs at 8am.
The bus left for airport by 8:30. Checked bike box by 10am. Then the long wait for my flight to St Johns NL began. At least I had wifi:D. Eager to get the third and final leg of this adventure underway.
To my surprise, everything was accounted for, and in tact.
No more planes or bike boxes this trip. Couple ferry rides and a bit of pedaling and the trips over.
Got a hotel near the airport. It was after midnight.
Took the next day off. I know... Just had a week off.. WTF.
Took it off anyway. Did a lot of walking.(forgot my camera) got my mobile activated, found a bike shop, got patch kit, new pump(I'd worn out the rubber valve inside my old one and it wouldn't pump up past 90psi anymore). Got new cleats for my shoes. The old crankbros cleats lasted nearly 14000kms but they are so worn out I can't get them off my shoes. Got some more chain lube. Very impressed with the dry wax lube.
Just wandered around. St johns a cool old port town. In the evening I built my bike, had dinner, and txted home a lot. Feeling very homesick at the moment.
That was my day off... Everything ready to go for the morning. Nonstop now till home.
The Queen Mary ll. Flagship of the Cunard Cruise Lines.
She was christened in 2004 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. At the time she was the largest ocean liner ever built (now fifth largest) with a gross tonnage of over 150,000, beam(width) of 131ft, draft(measurement from waterline to keel) of 32ft, and length of 1132ft or just under 2 cable lengths in seaman terms which equates to a tad shy of 200 fathoms.(a fathom measuring 6ft).
She has a crew of 1200, and a guest manifest of 2600. And 2 bikes. One upright carbon fiber Raleigh, and a Bacchetta Corsa.
Full out, she can do 28 knots. A knot (nautical mile) equals one sixteenth of a degree of the earths circumference which equals 6080.2 feet.
A land mile equals 5280 feet.
I don't know how much fuel she consumes to propel herself at 28 knots. Let's just assume it's one heck of a lot.
Presently we are about 500 knots from Southampton. Still over the continental shelf and about to slip into deep waters.
It's overcast. 15*C with a 25knot southwesterly. The seas are moderate with a 5 foot swell that is indiscernible on board. By tomorrow morning we will have crossed 2 time zones since pushing off.
The QM2 is the only vessel still sailing a transatlantic cruise schedule and the only cruise ship with her own planetarium.
She has a library with about 10,000 books. She has 5 pools, many restaurants, bars and pubs. A cabaret, ball room, live theatre, DJ night club, casino, Jazz bar, cinema with nightly movies, spa, full gym with over 50 stations, a games room, I mean the list just goes on. It even has a cigar lounge (surprisingly busy) dedicated to Churchill, and the Queen Room serves high tea and biscuits if you please.
Pip pip and all that wrought:)
My room, (as are all rooms) is not merely a room. Nor is it a cabin. It is a Stateroom located on the 6th deck just forward of midship. Perfectly located really. Laundry is just down the hall and I'm one deck down and just under the Kings Court which serves fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner, buffet style.
The 7th deck also has access to outdoor promenades and the gym as well as an outdoor, round the ship jogging route equaling one third of a mile.
There are 14 decks, 13 accessible to the guests. I've explored 2.
It's no where near as stuffy and snobbish as I expected. Just folks on a boat. Everyone from kids in strollers to elderly with walkers. Oh and one global cyclist:) though I did see a carbon fiber upright ready to be put aboard. My mission... Find out who owns it. Needle in a haystack.
So I saunter up to air frances counter and ask for a box. They check my flight plans and see that though the flight was booked with air France, air Europa was my flight out of Madrid and so they could not give or sell me a box.
So I sauntered over to AEs counter and asked for a bike box. They no got.
So I saunter back over to AF and tell em.."they no got no box"
They tells me, after checking that they only have 2 boxes and they are reserved.
I saunter over to every other airline counter and ask em for a box.
They all say same thing..."they no got no box"
I'm not sauntering anymore. I go to air Europa check in counter with my bike and ask em what they want me to do.
They don't know. Make it compact and wrap it in plastic.
Not really what I want to do considering it has so very far to travel.
I don't really want to leave it here and go into town looking for a box either.
What are my options.
Thinking......thinking........hmmm.... Worth a try.
I saunter over to the air France counter(a different counter) and say.."I reserved a bike box for today. I'm flying air France at 6pm.
They say........... "Okay Mr Gordon, that will be 6€ please".
Half an hr later I say goodbye to my bike and realize that I am filthy and starving.
On the way to the lavatory I see an all you can eat buffet and forget my desire to clean up just long enough to get a plate full of food in my tummy. Then I again notice how filthy I am, excuse myself for a bit, return and resume my feast.
That's my day so far.
It's 4:30. Hard to believe I'll be in Southampton tonight.
I haven't worked out the exact figure but I'm about halfway.
Halfway and 70 countable days.
I have nothing to wear:(
Seriously. I'm wearing my only jersey and only shorts. I have no spares. I have no shoes other than my trusty specialized cycling shoes with the completely worn out crank bros cleats.
Usually, that's all I need. I don't pay it any attention. Except at dinner time. Suddenly I'm bikeless for 8 sleeps with one hell of a farmers tan and preparing to experience the Queen Mary 2 where they have suggested I include a tux in my wardrobe. Lol.
Maybe the rent:)
Had planned to go farther today but the days weather was similar to my ride through Macadonia. A storm started building early in the day. Far off to the south. Nothing whatsoever to do with me. Right. I kept riding it kept building. You could feel the energy in the atmosphere. Another very hot humid day. Many hill climbs, many descents, many plateaus. It kept building. Then the thunder and lightning show began and, as before, I turned towards the storm. Again, the race was on to get into the city and find accommodations before the sht hit the fan.
I did. Now it's only sprinkling a Tiny bit, it's very humid, the thunder and lightning are right overhead. Hopefully it blows over by morning.
I had a fun day, wide shoulder on one long highway busy with semi trucks. Lots of friendly honks and waves.
I basically had two roads to follow today. The 340, then the N240. Made life simple.
Then, at the end, I was on a rise with a 5k roll out into town. I was parked looking at a google map of the town and deciding where to go once within the inner city limits when a mountain biker came along on the dirt path beside the highway, stopped and talked for a bit. He showed me on the map right where to go. That made life even simpler.
Found a hotel with wifi for about half what I spent last night on the coast. And a shop that sold canned food etc for cheap too.
Life is good.
The pic though spacious looking is a very small mirrored elevator to the fifth floor. I love it when I can spend the night with my bike:)
I got off the ferry at 1:30. Asked a guard at the gate if it was ok for me to ride the C31.(it looked like a good choice for me) he said yes and in Spanish gave me directions. I understood most of what he said and his directions were bang on. 2 roundabouts to the right turn left and look for bike path. This will take you to entrance to C31.
The bike lane was amazing. Two lanes and stop/go lights that have a bike instead of a pedestrian as the indicator. Very cool. Very efficient. Turned out, right where the C31 on ramp was, was also where the police station was so I went over, parked in front of the windowed front, started grabbing the things I never leave behind on my bike when going somewhere without it, and an officer came out to see what I wanted. He said it was cool for me to ride the C31.
Guess I was all set then. Off I went. Just down the road I spotted a BP gas station and as I've mentioned before about BP and roadhouses in OZ, new there'd be something in there for me.
Milk. I haven't seen milk for sale in days and days. I like to grab a liter and chug it now and again. It's the best energy drink really. Beats the he'll outa red bull or
I also spotted a map of Spain.
There was a tough, fun climb out of the area that hugged the edge of the mountain, overlooked the ocean and wound up and over. The descent was curvy and fast. Lotsa fun.
I saw many cyclists. Even 2 fellow touring folks. But no recumbents and fewer helmets than in Italy.
I quit at 6pm. Could've gone further, felt like it but I knew the C31 ended somewhere just up the road and without wifi and a little research. It could be. Complicated.
I'm not sure if I was merely starving or that I just had the best donar and felafel combo in my life. Man it was good.
It was an overnight cruise, about 17 hrs or so. I had a choice of just reserving a seat, sharing a cabin with 3 other guys, or having a cabin to myself. I chose the later. Cost was about 100 euros and included a shower. I had a fine meal and got s real good nights sleep. The seas were rough but the majestic handled it with ease.
I just lounged around, ate, drank cappuccinos and tried to plot my escape from Barcelona. Hard to do without a map of Spain. No wifi on board. iPads gps was some help but I wasn't sure what roads I was going to be able to ride on. I think I'll go southwest along the coast, drop below the mountains, then head inland and turn northwest towards Madrid.
Probably won't get far today, haven't docked as of this time and it's 1pm. If I was lucky I might get another 1000kms by Madrid. Guess that hinges on many things. Mostly, navigation.
Europe has been a real challenge and leaves me really looking forward to Canada and the States.
After today, 3.5 more ride days.
Stranger in a strange land here. Things are expensive, confusing and time consuming. Partially my own fault I admit but frustrating none the less. Maybe Spain will be luckier for me.
It's great to see the hotpot of mixing cultures here. Locally, people actually do wear polo style shirts with the collar turned up(would keep the sun off ones neck), sweaters draped over ones shoulders, Jean jackets like I used to love in my teens, man purses, and capris. Even truck drivers wear capris.
Then there are women completely covered with only eyes showing. Men in long flowing gowns or robes or whatever they are. Bearded turbaned men, defiantly, as an English speaking whitey, I am a minority. I'm enjoying that and making connections with people is rewarding. I wish I could speak the local languages but most folks, when I ask for help, do their best to help.
Some say something angry and walk away. Some wave a hand, shake their head and walk away. Some ignore me completely. Every now and then, someone will completely catch me off guard by walking up to me and asking in English if I'm Canadian. But most say I look german.
I'm constantly embarrassed by my one stained shirt. I wash it every night but some of the stains are there for good I think. No big deal during the day while riding but when I get into my hotel, shower and head out, or here on the ferry, I defiantly look like a guy with only one shirt who sleeps outside. That and my fairly unkempt hair that hasnt seen a pair of scissors in about 75 days makes me quite self-conscious.
I will have to fork out some dough for new attire on the Queen Mary. That or hide in my cabin the entire time.
Anyway....stll haven't docked. We've all been standing in the lobby as asked since 11:30. No doubt getting close.
Eager to get going. Having separation anxiety. It's been almost 20hrs since I've seen my bike. Same thing happens if I can't keep it in motel/hotel room with me.
Oh ya...bing bong....announcement. Time to go.
For the last few days, I'd been dropping southwest towards the mountains. Yesterday I could see them off in the distance. Today I angled towards them and made for Tortona. That looked like the easiest spot to cross them and end up in Genova.
The first 100k went quick. Having researched the towns I'd be passing through I had little trouble staying on course.
At Tortona, I turned south, directly into the wind and began the climb. It was not so steep until near the end and then that bit was short followed by a real fun ride down into Genova
But the wind was amazing. Buffeting and blowing so fierce it pushed me out onto the road a few times (luckly, no vehicles around at the time), andstopped me dead twice. I had to walk the bike past the spot that was so concentrated.
I thought once into the mountains I'd be sheltered from it but just the opposite happened.
I will post the video I took when I get a chance.
I knew I didn't have far to go and so actually enjoyed it. Saw other cyclists but none going my way. Little traffic except in the towns I passed through and then in Genova. Very busy there.
I stopped the clock at 4:30pm as I prepared to board the Majestic bound for Barcelona.
Yep, just couldn't figure out a route that looked fast through France from this end so decided to skip it.
I expect to arrive sometime around noon tomorrow so I should be able to get some distance in. Hope the weathers better. Was beginning to rain in Genova when the ferry left the dock.
Funny how straightforward a route can look on the map... I was puzzled within the first 25k. Probably spent as much time stopped looking at the map and guessing what to do as I did riding throughout the day.
So... I was feeling a bit discouraged all morning and into the afternoon. At one point I just decided to enjoy the scenery and stop looking at the bike pc. After that, everything got better.
Defiantly not the most accurate map when it comes to the main, and secondary roads. It doesn't have a copywrite date so no idea how old the info is.
You really have to interpret it as you go. Still, felt much better with it than I did for two days without.
I found some great back roads today. Ones with very little traffic.
All day tomorrows mountain range grew closer and as the road I was on twisted and turned throughout the day, the mountains reassured me I wasn't going in circles.
So I ended the day just west of Fidenza. Tomorrow I will ride west towards Alessandria, cross the mountains, and drop down to Genova.
It's about 170k if taking the autostrade. Will be interesting to see how much longer my route turns out being.
At 6 am I was out on the pier watching kayakers, wind surfers, 2 person row boats, and fishermen. The wind was up already but was blowing my way.
Decided to take advantage if the breakfast that came with the room even though it wasn't available until 7:30. So was on the road by 8:30. Trieste seems like a great city. Mid week and it appeared everyone was either at the beach or cycling. Ocean to my left and shading mountains to my right all morning. Then I moved inland. Towns came and went. I stopped at nearly every gas station looking for a road map of Italy but had no luck. No wifi last night so was relying on google map images I'd saved previously and the iPad gps. Around 4 (rush hour again) I began my fight through the traffic just before Venice. Shame not to visit. So close. By 5:30 I was beyond all the madness and pushing for Padovo. It was fun right up until I took a wrong turn and ended up on the autostrade. More madness and confusion. It dumped me in the industrial zone of the city and it took some time to find an affordable hotel.
At this point, I'm comfy in my hotel room. Full tummy, shower, etc. But I don't have a clue where to go in the morning in order to avoid the main busy roads. Internet isn't working here either.
Guess I'll figure it out. Sure wastes time.
Still haven't found a map.
I saw so many cyclists today. Very cool. Old couples in street cloths, kids, roadies racing round in groups. Guys riding home from work, ladies loaded with shopping bags. They all merged peacefully with the traffic. Lots of vespas and scooters too.
And helmets. Many of the serious riders were wearing helmets. Up until today, I have been the only cyclist with one.
I woke up rested but my legs were still sore from yesterday's amazing climb up into the mountains. I knew I had more in store as soon as I got on my bike. This was making it hard to talk myself into getting going. As well, it was raining a bit, totally overcast and chilly. Breaky is offered with the room and it began at 7am. I took full advantage. Something I ate didn't agree with me though and made the first 10k even tougher.
Don't know what didn't agree with me...I agreed with everything. The cheese, cold cuts, eggs, fruit, cereal, yogurt, bread pate, olives, milk, juice, coffee, and water.
Maybe it was just too much. After an hr on the road I felt much better. But I was still climbing. Finally, the reward that made all the last 2 days climb worth while. A long exciting, scenic 25k drop all the way to Rijeka. The temperature warmed a bit more every 100 meters I dropped. The clouds were left behind and the suns intensity returned. All was as it should be.
Except...I was now at sea level and surrounded by mountains. Not a good thing.
I had lunch, lingering too long but reluctant to face the music.
In the end...I don't know what the big worry was. Once I got going, I had fun. The hills out of Rijeka weren't near as bad. Soon I was at the Slovenian border. I love these border crossings. I just roll up to a booth that doesn't have a lineup (usually), and the process is expitited. I guess because I'm a cyclist.
This one was like that. Lineup for cars, one for trucks, and an empty booth where buses are supposed to lineup. I chose that one. The guy in the booth suggested I wait behind the cars but an officer hurried over, took a look atmy passport, handed it back, and said "welcome to Slovenia Bruce" I was on my way before any of the vehicles in either lineup.
The Slovenian highway seemed brand new. Rolling hills spread out on either side. Grassy pastures, and a row of ...hmm poplars maybe or something like them lined both sides of the road offering cool shade.
An hour and a half later I exited Slovenia on the northwest side. And just like that, I was in Italy.
I made it down to the Adriatic sea again and into the city of Trieste. A big city but not so crowded at rush hour as Belgrade was. I road west along the street beside the ocean until I spotted a hotel that looked cool. It was after 7. Restaurant attached served up a tasty pizza with tuna, kalamata olive puree, and sweet peppers. Sounds strange maybe but it was yummy.
So...best make an early start in the morning and see if I can make up for today.
The road is the bike route and I saw quite a few cyclists but no real roadies. Just folks out pedaling. Many of them in full length jeans.
I also looks like yet another night I won't be able to use google maps to help me determine best route to Madrid.
Guess I'm winging it for a while.
Was up late trying to figure it out but no matter how I did the math, there was too little time and too much distance to squeeze in before June 22. that's the day I have to be in Madrid by to make my flight.
I woke up in the morning still unsure as to my next move. As much as I was looking forward to the next leg of the ride,(the Danube river bike path) and all of northern Europe, I had to pull the plug on it or reschedule all the connecting, prebooked travel plans I had in place. I'm about a week behind my original plan.
So.... I'm in Croatia this evening:) new route. So far so good. Didn't get far as it took me a long time to choose it Iquit the day at 6pm just over the border.
After that I stood at a crossroad beside my trusty steed contemplating direction. Straight ahead on the ONE would take me right through Belgrade. Exit onto the E75 would bypas the city, reuniting with ONE on the other side. It was the truckers route. I decided on the city.
It was just before 5pm... And as in any big city, rush hr was in full swing. A 7% uphill climb appeared before me that looked like it went on forever. Traffic out of city was in gridlock but my side was pretty relaxed. If you can picture it, I had an idle audience watching me labour up the hill for over 2klicks. Pictures were taken. Comments given. People don't know what to make of such a contraption. You can see the puzzled look as I approach. Then, when I'm close enough, and they realize what they are seeing is a bicycle, it's amazing the instant, open surprise. Some positively curious, others closemindedly ridiculing. A carload of teenage guys in the traffic jam on the other side burst out laughing. They failed to see the irony of the situation as they idled there asphyxiating in there own fumes. The recumbent has had that ridicule since it's beginning I believe.
Anyway..I reveled in my luck that all traffic was leaving the city until up over and down the other side of the hill when I suddenly realized traffic was exiting the city in all directions. An explosion of tired distracted city workers eager to get home. I saw no other bikes during my fight through to the other side
With somewhere around 1.5 million people, it was an exciting adventure. As more and more streets merged with the one I was on and I constantly found myself in the middle instead of on the edge. Crossing narrow bridges and trying to get around busses. Actually enjoying the crush of people. Nobody honked angrily, or yelled at me. Everyone gave me all the room they could and slowed down when they couldn't. I had brief conversations with people who's windows were down during red lights etc.
Finally I punched my way out the far side of Belgrade and decided to push on to novi sad some 80 kms away. Making for a total of 260 by 9pm. Novi sad was confusing in the dark but finally I found a hotel and it even had wifi. And came with a 5star continental breakfast.
Well the crazy storm last night hadn't quite given up this morning yet. When I got up, the sun was just climbing above the horizon. It disappeared behind the clouds soon after and all that was left was the rain, the thunder, and the lightning. I wasn't in any hurry to venture out into that so I really took my time getting prepared. I think 9:30 is when I left the motel. By then the rain seemed to have past. The border was only about 20kms away and by the time I got there, I'd caught up with the rain. It was just ahead of me for quite a while. Finally it blew off to the east and the sun returned to my world. Many friendly inquisitive people here and the food is awesome. No problem staying on main rd here either. I pulled over and talked to 2 sets of cops. All friendly. Border crossing and customs quick and easy. 4 times today I saw a pair of black audis with red and blue flashing lights rip by me. Secret police or something:)
I spent the day trying to outrun the rain. It was fun staying just ahead of it. Getting a few drops now and then just made me pick up the pace a bit. Around 7pm my road sorta turned into the weather and I got caught in it for a bit. Instead of outrunning it I had to punch through. Thunder and lightning spurring me on.
The road was smooth and fast. Few climbs but no worries.
Everything is amazingly cheap. My room... 14 euros. Includes breakfast.
My room in Athens... 80euros.
You can get a ltr of milk, a snickers ice cream bar and 1.5 ltr of water for under 3euros at a gas station. Imagine how cheap at a market?!
Macedonia was cheap too.
Woohoo... I could ride the international highway.
So I did, all the way to Kumanovo. I didn't know I was at such an elevation until I started descending through the mountains. I think a lot of the rise must've happened during the police escort and subsequent train ride of two days ago.
As I drew closer to Kumanovo, the sky grew darker and darker. I could here thunder rumbling and soon afterwards began seeing flashes of lightning. These were striking bolts of fork lightning that lashed the sky. I decided then that I would not push the extra 20kms to the border. My plan was to enter and exit Macedonia on the same day. But I wasn't going to push my luck any further today.
I took the exit, rolled the last 5k down into town with the thunder and lightning just behind me. The town was chaos. Eventually I saw a hotel and wheeled in. I couldn't find anything that looked like reception, and not a soul around. I called out. Nothing. I poked my head into a couple rooms and happened on an English class in session(what luck). A lady explained that the hotel was closed and under construction. She tried to give me directions to another one that sounded far away. When I returned to my bike, two kids were checking it out and it was pouring. We were under cover though and stayed there for better than an hour while the skies opened up and the light show increased it's exuberance.
Huge chances of hail pinger off of everything, an alarm went off in the building we were seeking refuge in front of.
I have never seen anything like this. The boys said same. Water was running down the streets over a foot deep and fast. I will post the videos I took so watch for them. It really was amazing.
My hunt for a motel was still under way but nobody seemed to have an answer for me. How this could be I don't know.
Eventually it was one of the boys who came up with one and said he and his friend would walk there with me. By this time it was dark. Still raining but no hail. We talked a lot about a lot as We walked together not through puddles, but as if walking in a creek. The water up to our ankles. We were all soaked by the time we got to the hotel some 3 kms away. They were right in saying I would never find it on my own. It was really out of the way.
The owner gave them dry t- shirts called them a taxi, I gave them some cash and asked them to be sure and email me or fb.
The room was 25euros and came with breakfast.
The owner made me dinner and kept my orange juice topped up while I devoured my meal. Two Serbian engineers were at a table quaffing beers. The owner asked if I'd like one but I declined.(something I found hard to resist). I talked to the engineers for a half hr or so. Then went up to my room and crashed.
In the morning, I was up to see the sun rise as the thunder and lightning and rain still tried to claim the sky.
The sun rose at the horizon and quickly disappeared behind the clouds.
I had breaky, lounged around too long and finally got going.
That was Macadonia.
Very cool to navigate through these cities. It almost appears as if anything goes so long as you don't screw up. Bikes and scooters(with helmetless riders for the most part) are right in the mix with buses, trucks, taxis, cars, and pedestrians. There seems to be an understanding between everyone as the traffic flows.
Anyway, to get to the #3 I had to punch right through the center. I got a bit turned around and asked a foot patrol officer for directions. I had my map out and showed him where I wanted to go. He sort of hesitated, then said that the route I wanted was no good. Very dangerous. Narrow, mountainous, and curvy.(thats not verbatim). Very dangerous is though. He then pointed to the international road and said..(verbatim) "much safer".
So I didn't question him I just went for it. 77k to Katerini is all I needed. If I pushed.. Maybe just over 2 hours. I wasn't sure if I was taking a risk or not. I'd been warned not to ride on the international twice already. 77k. Rolling the dice. Craps.
Up ahead after 20k was a toll booth. Last time I just rode up to the gate and payed the man. He let me through and I was on my way. Figured that was maybe routine. Not this time. This time I was asked to get off the bike and wait over by the control building for the police.
1/2 hr later they showed. I pleaded my case, they sat stone faced and then helped me get my bike and myself in the back of their truck and down the road we went. They did not talk to me. Guess I really pushed my luck. But I was headed in the right direction.
They had to pull a guy over and give him a ticket at one point. Shortly after that they dumped me at a place called Platamonous and drove away rather annoyed. It was just an insignificant spot on my map and still on the international highway. No secondary roads in site. But there was a train station.
Now I'd already looked into this yesterday and was told No Bikes on train. Same with the bus unless I broke my bike down some. The issue is going west every day, yet staying east enough to make my route work for me. That is why i couldnt just take some other road. Or route.
I met a gentleman at the station who assured me I would have no problem getting bike on train at this station. He was right. So my distance today was good but only half of it counts as ride time. However... I am now beyond the international highway issue. Many routes to choose from and Macadonia in my sites. Hopefully tomorrow I can start racking up the kms again.
Was still feeling whipped from flights etc and so didnt bother setting alarm. Slept until 7am, went and bought food for breaky and the days riding. It's a habit now. Couldn't resist. Faster than sitting in a restaurant and way cheaper. Also, had to find sun screen. I used up the last of what I had in OZ and figured I'd get some in Athens. Figuring on gas stations for supply. Nothing. Must've stopped in at a dozen of em and a couple stores. Everyone looks at me funny when I ask. Found some real nice tanning lotion. Not even a SPF rating. So I went all day without yesterday. Had to hunt some down this morning. Rode to the other ferry on the other side of peninsula. Got there with minutes to spare. Then spent few hrs doing some serious climbing. Had a day high in energy output but short in distance. Beautiful areas all along my route today. All tourist areas but before tourist season. Payed 30euros both yesterday and today.
The attached photo is a typical supply I had on board to get me through a 200-300km day. That's weight I won't have to carry in eu I imagine.
There's a lot I missed this trip..... Had to save something for next time.
301.59k, actual ride time 13:03:50. Started@6am,finished@8pm. So 56 minutes 10seconds were eating or peeing breaks.
It shouldn't have taken me so long. Was figuring 12hrs. But the wind decided to remind me it didn't play favorites. For better than 6 hrs mid day I really had to fight. The first and last 100k were easier.
The proprietor of the hotel/motel in wubin is a very nice guy. Glad I stopped here.
I was prepared for a tough one with lots of hills and crosswinds. I woke up mentally prepared and found my front tire flat again. Fixed it and headed out of town expecting a climb right away. It didn't come. But for some minor stuff it didn't come all day. So I breezed into kumarina just after 4pm. No cell service here and maybe that's better. Means I'll get to sleep earlier. It's a cool place. A sort of run down oasis.
Very scenic day in the hills. Few caravans, many road trains. Still mostly had road to myself until evening.
a good challenging day. Fewer caravans out this way as am no longer on the coastal highway.
Very scenic. Mountainous. Arid. Saw couple snakes. One I recognize now as the black headed python.
The Willare river roadhouse was a welcome spot to spend the night. I actually ordered a large pizza(saw one delivered to a table of 4 and couldn't resist) and 2 liters of milk. Retreated to my room and devoured the works.
In the morning I loaded up. A short day so not too much. Got going just after 7. Saw more croc's today. Made it to the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse by 1:30pm. Now just chillin. Preparing for tomorrow. There's a pool here but completely fenced off as it's just being installed. It's full of water though. Sure looks inviting. There was one at last nights stop but was already closed for the night by time I got in.
It was another services free day. Nothing tween accommodations. Almost empty road. A couple in a rent a van pulled over and waved me over. We talked for quite a while. They are cyclists as well. Had there bikes and gear in the van. I've met a lot of people I wish I had more time to get to know. These were 2 of them.
As well, My buddy Steves emailed description of today's ride was bang on and made the day even more enjoyable.
Willmar...finally an affordable room.
I wheeled bike off rd for photo op, clicked it, rolled on. 10 minutes later both tires were flat. Found tiny thorns in both. No shade to be had but flies not so bad. Nice breeze. Removed thorns replaced tubes and rolled on. I know better. Many of my touring buddy, Ken or my own flats have occurred this way. Have been being careful. Just got careless today. Wasn't even that great of a pic. I now know better...again.
Water running across rd at one point. I had to stop and play in it awhile. Road trains would send up a huge spray going through. Felt sooo nice.
I think there must be a cheeper motel here in halls creek... I just took the first one.... Turned out to be most expensive one yet. Subsidized by buying dinner at grocery store.. There was an ozzy football game in play, I stopped to watch for awhile.
At 190k I crossed the boarder into the Kimberly's leaving the NT behind. At the boarder I learned that the cane toad is making a mass migration from Queensland into Kimberly and that they are very poisonous. About the size of a good sized dungenous crab, it can kill a 5th fresh water croc. See now these beasts I wasn't looking out for during my dunk.
Anyway..time change at the boarder too. 1.5hrs so 5pm became 3:30. Nice. I had 40k to go and it was easy going all the way. Chasing daylight all the way to kununurra. 233k.
I asked the tar bender if he could sell me a liter of milk. He brought out 3/4 of a ltr and gave it to me.
Luckily I had food on board so managed ok. Though I used up all my cereal this morning, the milk will get me going in the am at least.
Real time...13hrs. 6:30am-7:30pm. A perfectly beautiful ride.
I think the proprietor overcharged me as I showed up late on a bike noticeably pooped. She said normally 95 but I could have it for 80. It's by far the most run down room I've been in yet. But it doesn't smell like cigarettes and she delivered a whack of free food after I'd settled in. She said anyone riding to Perth deserves a little extra.
Was a great day. 204k.
Think I may have sim card activated now...maybe things will get easier
Turns out the aftershock I felt around 6pm last night was a 5.3. That explains why proprietor and motel guests who all met instantly out in the yard looked little bit scared. Shock lasted 4seconds or so. Everything was shaking and there was a rumble like a backhoe rolling up the street. I just took it in stride thinking it was one of the common aftershocks. Later I felt two tiny tremors. Nothing today. Christchurch is a great bike town. Easy to get around. Not stressful in the least.
Anyway...did I mention the rain? Been that way since bout 8am.
Was hoping for wifi here but iPad won't accept it for some reason.
It's the A1 Ward Motel in Ward. Really nice lady, really great deal. Really good value. The washer dryer are front load high end. The community building is brand new and very comfortable. Everything is spotless. You can even pitch a tent if you want I believe. So if you're planning a visit to NZ south, be sure to check it out.
Keeps me introverted though. Should give it away and see if I become extroverted in it's absence. On the other hand...it's very meditative...soothing.