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Steve and Ruth Ride Across America
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Newport WA
Hi Everyone,

We are in Newport, WA but we were in Idaho to buy some cable ties at the hardware store and then came back a couple of blocks into Washington for the hotel.

This morning Ruth told me about a motorcyclist who was camping below our cabin.  It was Katelyn (sp?) a 26 year old woman who is originally from South Carolina who is riding a motorcycle all over the US.  She was riding with a friend but he headed off to Arizona and is now in Fallon, NV needing an engine rebuild.

I thought that would be an easy day because of no big hills but it was in the 80s and I think the got to me.  It is supposed to warming up everyday and will get to the 90s this weekend.

This morning started with a nice downhill to the turnoff with Ione (27 miles from the Canadian border) where we had planned to stay yesterday and we asked the information office woman which was the better route.  The Adventure Cycling route across the river or Hwy 20.  She did not come back with a quick reply so I assume that they were about the same.  The Adventure Cycling route had less traffic and had more shade but there was very little traffic on Hwy 20 and the shoulder was wide so we took Hwy 20.

Soon we ran into logging trucks, sometimes going both directions, but mostly going our direction.  They were courteous and gave us plenty of passing room.

At Cusick we stopped for a snack and the shoulder became smaller - about a foot.  We then met a local and a couple of bike tourists from Corvallis, OR who are on their way home on what I assume is a Cascade loop trip.  He was riding a recumbent and she was riding a Co-Motion Nor'Wester.  We were happy to inform them that there was a RV campground in Cusick.

A few miles further, we passed by the source/destination of the logging trucks and wood chip trucks - a paper mill.  At that point (about 15 miles from Newport) the rolling hills became steeper and higher.  We actually had to climb up and then drop into town!

The Statistics:  59.94 miles,  734 feet climb, and 1894 feet down.

The wifi is fast in this hotel.   2.5 Mbps download and 530 Kbps upload. I will download my Olympus 7070 manual to my iPad to find out how put it into "playback" mode so I can transfer photos from my camera to my iPad.


Steve and Ruth in Newport, WA


Sent from my iPad




Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Colville
Hi Everyone,

Today is an easy and instead of taking a rest day, we are riding a low mileage day to the top of a plateau so the next two days will be mostly downhill or just rolling hills.

Colville is larger than I expected. On the way out of town I saw my first McDonalds since Oak Harbor on Day 1/2. Then I saw a WalMart. Colville is a big town! Finally and most importantly, I stopped at a Radio Shack to get a mini USB to USB converter/cable so that I can download photos from my camera to the iPad.

Leaving town I took Hwy 20 instead of the Adventure Cycling circuitous route and started climbing but I expected that. At the top of the first rise in the residential section, there was a sign that stated WARNING BICYCLISTS: logging trucks and narrow shoulders for the next 36 miles. I don't know why the sign was there because the shoulder was wide except for 100 yards or so and the logging trucks with logs were on the other side of the road heading for Colville and there weren't many of them.

We stopped at the Beaver Lodge for food and found that they have cabins here so we are staying the night. Most importantly, there is wifi.

The Statistics: 27.01 miles and 1438 feet.


Steve and Ruth


Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 9:54 PM EDT
Monday, 5 July 2010
A Jack Russell Visits
Mood:  surprised
Now Playing: July 5th
Hi Everyone,

It is getting hard to make up new lies after 7 days.

Today as we were packing, we had a visitor. Ruth did not shut the door completely when she returned with coffee from the office so a Jack Russell terrier (the hotel dog) walked in.

As we left town, we saw a bike tourist leave the fairgrounds headed in our direction. There were others in the fairgrounds but they did not come out at the same time. Eventually we caught up with her and she is from Portland going across the country also but camping. She is a teacher and has to be back in time for the school term. At the country store where she stopped, there were many flags flying including Wales (the reason that I stopped), Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Norway, etc. I had to show her and the storekeeper my Wales jersey which I just happened to be wearing.

She met the two bike tourists that Ruth and I met yesterday at the Shell station/restaurant, the ones who bought brand new bikes and gear at Anacortes. She also met the person from Boston who is riding from Vanvouver, BC to Boston and said that he is riding 100+ miles per day. There is also a group of 20 going west. She didn't say where they started.

I must be getting stronger or else I am hallucinating because Sherman Pass at 5575 feet was not as bad as thought it was going to be. I was riding in a higher gear up the hill and almost never used the small chainring.

After we came down Sherman Pass, we saw a big body of water. It is Lake Roosevelt made from the Grand Coulee Dam backing up the Columbia River!

Tomorrow we will deviate from the Woman Tours groups ahead of us. There itinerary states a 87 mile day to Newport, WA but they stayed at a 4H camp outside of town so I don't know how far they really went. Woman Tour is more flexible as they have two vehicles and can carry food and can do their own cooking. We are planning to ride maybe 50 miles and stay at a hotel before Newport.

The Statistics: 55.66 miles and 2845 feet

For those who tried to call us in Republic on the fourth of July, Republic does not have Verizon or T-Mobile coverage, but does have AT&T coverage.

Today, the Comfort Inn has wifi problems but Colville has AT&T coverage for my iPad.


Steve and Ruth


Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 11:46 PM EDT
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Day 6
Now Playing: Day 6

Hi Everyone,

First let me tell you what happened last night.  About 11:30 or 12:30, the fire station siren wailed.  Volunteer fire departments use a siren to alert the volunteer firemen to report to the fire house or call in to find out where the fire is and they can go there directly.  Then I heard a small vehicle leave the fire station and then an engine left with sirens and air horns.  This morning I found out that there was a fire off the highway probably set off by fireworks.

Today we took Hwy 20 / US 97 toward Tonasket and turned off on Hwy 7S (and this time I looked at the instructions and the map twice) and entered Tonasket where we saw the turnoff for Hwy 97 and Hwy 20.  But first we went to a Shell gas station / restaurant and talked to two fellow bicycle tourists who are going from Anacortes to Bar Harbor, Maine.  They had brand new Trek 520s with panniers and a Bob trailer with a solar charger.  One is from Seattle and one is from Tennessee and they started in Anacortes by buying brand new bikes and panniers and other gear.  But they did not have Adventure Cycling maps so they made copies of my maps to Montana where I  told them buy them directly from Adventure Cycling in Missoula.  They are camping and are staying in Tonasket for a third day to recuperate from an illness and a knee problem so I doubt that we will see them again.

Later we stopped at Wauconda just before Wauconda Pass.  The gas station, restaurant, grocery store, and Post Office were closed.  A woman had just bought the entire town and she said that the previous owner (drug addict) had taken the grill, etc from the restaurant and that she had to get the place into running order before she could open for business.  I said that all I wanted was a Coke so she later brought out two Cokes free of charge because she was not prepared to take money.  Ruth saw someone down the road putting up and sign and he drove up to talk to us.  He runs the campground a half mile away but he had no restaurant and grocery store because he depended on the place where we were.  However he offered to take us in his truck up the top of Wauconda Pass but I said (to Ruth's great surprise) that we could ride the three miles to the top of the pass.  

When we arrived in Republic, the whole place looked deserted except for a family picnic at the park.  We found the hotel and asked if any restaurants were opened but none in town.  But the supermarket was opened so we got food at the deli section.  On the way there I saw the motorcycle bunch that passed me at least twice today and other times on previous days.  They are staying at the other recommended hotel.  I wonder what they think of us, always showing up day after day on the road.  

At the supermarket we met another bicycle tourist who is riding from Vancouver, BC to Boston following the basic Northern Tier route also.  We may see him again but he is camping so we maybe miss connections.

The statistics:  59.23 miles and 2828 feet.

Tomorrow Sherman Pass 5575 feet but we are starting at 2400 feet.

Happy fourth of July!


Steve and Ruth  




Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 July 2010

Topic: Day 5

Hi Everyone,

This coming from Riverside, WA instead of Omak.  I have learned today to look closely at the Adventure Cycling maps.  We got to the Omak city limits and the Adventure Cycling map told us to go right at Omak Street so we did.  My instincts told me to go left toward the buildings.  The map lead us around the town on a better cycling route but which has no hotels.  We kept on going as the Best Western that we wanted to stay at is on the far side of town and we assumed (make an ass out of you and me) that we would return back to town later on.  Well we ended up at the next town some 5 miles down the road and there are no hotels here.  We are staying at a RV park in our emergency tents and sleeping bags.  

The local grocery store told us about the RV park and a restaurant a block away so we are dumb and happy.  The grocery store is the place to go if you are interested in getting mileage on your bike without working.  My computer (CycloSport CM 4.4A) went from about 54 miles to 96 miles because of the neon lights at the store.  I have heard of television, high tension wires, and other devices that will interfere with wireless bike computers.

Fortunately I can pick up AT&T wireless here.  There are a couple of Qwest wifi here but both are locked and the RV managers are not here so I can't ask them if the RV Park has wifi.

Statistics:  56.04 miles and 2495 feet.

We saw the smokejumper site that Bob worked at on the way here.

When we left Winthrop this morning, a driver told us that there was a better bicycle road across the river.  Then I looked the Adventure Cycling map and that was the recommended route.  It also was the road to smokejumper site.  We met a couple on bikes going Twisp for the farmers market.  Then we got passed by a racer motorpacing behind a motorcycle.  Later on we met a group of 6 riders including 2 women.  Climbing up Loup Loup Pass (4024 feet Winthrop at 1800 feet) we were passed by a fast rider who turned around at the top and told us the mileage marker at the top.

I think that I am losing fat around my gut.  It is going to my head!  I felt ok today.  The stiffness in my legs went away in a few miles and I did not feel as tired as I was on Rainy Pass and Washington Pass.  

Tomorrow is Wauconda Pass (4310 feet and Riverside is at 1000 feet) and the day after that is Sherman Pass (5575 feet but we will start about 2300 feet).

The weather is great.  It is mostly sunny and in the 70s.


Steve and Ruth



Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 2 July 2010

Now Playing: Winthrop
Topic: Day 4
Hi Everyone,

Now the truth about yesterday.

We met interesting people at breakfast.  One couple was from
Charlotte, NC where my college roommate's brother lives and who used
to visit me on his business trips to EPRI in Palo Alto.  My oldest
niece who got married this year also lives nearby in Raleigh.

It was raining very slightly when we started at 8:30, but the rain
last only a few minutes.  It was about 15 easy mil3/ to Newhalem where
we talked the National Park Service ranger.  It was the first day of
the tourist office and she had only one previous customer.  She told
us about the road ahead and where to stay in Winthrop and where to
eat.  The only thing she didn't us was how hard it is.

It was fairly easy climbing to Diablo Dam and at the overlook we met
the couple from Charlotte, NC who were impressed at how far we had
gone.  I didn't tell them that we had just gone a quarter of the
distance and done a quarter of the climbing and that the hardest part
was yet to come.

Ruth kept telling me that there was a downhill ahead and I assume that
she was trying to make me feel better, but all I could think was that
any downhill meant more uphill as the elevation down would have to be
made up later.

When the grade was 3 - 4 % I could use my middle chainring (34) and
large cog (36!) but at 6% I had to go down into my small chainring
(24).  However as the miles added up, I had to take breaks to get off
the saddle.  By the time we got close to Rainy Pass, I had to take
saddle breaks every half mile.  It is fortunate that I can get on the
bike easily on a hill.

Rainy Pass was farther than advertised and it was always just around
the corner and we could see cars go over the rise and trees were
always lower just ahead.  Well after numerous instances of that, I had
my doubts about the distance information that we had been given.
However my bike computer altimeter kept saying we had another 1000
feet to climb, then 500 feet to climb, etc.

At Rainy Pass, we had a nice downhill so we had to make up 500 feet of
downhill and then go up 700 feet from where Rainy Pass was for a net
gain of 1200 feet.  There were many times when I looked at the side of
the road or trailheads and thought how we could set up our tents and
just camp out there for the night.

Finally we got to Washington Pass (5500 feet) and it was still light
enough to ride and it was only 32 miles to Winthrop and with a 4000
foot drop, I estimated that we could get to Winthrop in about 2 hours.
 It was 6 pm so I rationalized that it wasn't going to be dark until 9
pm.

It was 7% for 7 miles and I decided that I didn't need my shoe covers
or to put on my wool shirt.  My new brakes levers (Cane Creek) were
more comfortable that my old Dia Comp brake levers so I was glad that
I made the switch for the trip.  The brakes squealed only once and
that was for the last few feet for a rest stop part way down to give
my hands a break.

It was a long downhill and we finally got to the bottom and there was
still some 20 miles to go and I saw a sign for the Freestone Lodge
(looked like a ranch or a campground) but I couldn't see any lights so
we kept on going.  Then we saw signs for lodging in Mazama and I
remembered Louis saying that there was nothing available there and
there were no lights in the buildings.  So we kept on going and
Winthrop was only 15 miles away.  We ran into two groups of deer.  I
know that when you see one deer, look for several more.  There was a
road sign stating how many deer had been killed on the road and how
much damage to vehicles it had done (in dollars).  At this point I
estimated getting to Winthrop by 9 pm.

It was getting dark but since there was little traffic and we could
see the white line for the shoulder we kept on going.  Besides,
Winthrop was just around the bend or just past the trees. Then it
started raining a little and the approaching cars used high beams so
it was hard to see.  I flagged down a car and Ruth asked where
Winthrop was and the driver said another 10 miles further on the road!

At this point it was hard to see.  The approaching cars had high
beams, Ruth had a blinking headlight that bothered me if I looked back
for cars, and if I rode behind Ruth, her Superflash taillights (2)
were too bright.  There was plenty of light to see by if there were no
cars so I wasn't worried.  My lights also bothered Ruth as I had a
Cateye 6 led like Jonathan's on the rack, a Superflash on a rear
strap, and a Superflash on my jacket.

Finally we got near Winthrop and the first obvious hotel (lots of
lights) was full.  Then we got into town and I couldn't see a hotel
but several buildings had lots of lights.  I asked someone and said
the Rio Vista was just down the street on the right (the ranger's
recommendation) and we saw a parking lot full of cars and I was
worried that it was full, but we had a choice of two rooms.  It was
about 10:30!

Tomorrow we are going to Omak only 50 miles away but over Loup Loup
Pass (4000 feet) but we are starting at 1700 feet.  A piece of cake
normally, but my body is worn out.

Allergies:

We had a great (time visiting Pat and Anne) at Port Townsend because there were no allergy
problems.  Being next to the water helps any allergy sufferer.  As we
moved away from the water, allergy symptoms have gotten worse.  I have
to have lots of Kleenex nearby but it is no worse than being at home.


Steve and Ruth in Winthrop, WA



Sent from my iPad
Hi Everyone,

Call off the dogs (search dogs)!

We made it to Winthrop tonight and I mean tonight as in the dark.
Details at 11.  I know that it is midnight now so the news is over.
Tune in tomorrow because we are staying in Winthrop for a well
deserved rest (and recovery) day.

The statistics:  89.70 miles and 4977 feet but the computer lied
because we started In Marblemount at an arbitrary 150 feet and we
climbed to Washington Pass at 5500 feet and there were several ups and
downs including Rainy Pass to Washington Pass.


Steve and Ruth


Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Now Playing: Marblemount
Hi Everyone,

Today it was sunny all day.  We talked to the hotel and they
recommended that we stay on Hwy 20 instead of taking the Adventure
Cycling alternate across the river which has less traffic but is windy
so cars cannot see bicyclists as well.  Also it is 10 miles longer.

We took Hwy 20 which has a wide shoulder and "rumble strips" which are
cuts in the asphalt so that car tires make a lot of noise when they
run over them.  It reminds me of diesel truck Jake brakes or a
compression brake.  Today most vehicles gave us a lot of room and we
could hear the rumble strips.

At Rockport we grabbed a snack and asked the gas station whether to
stay on Hwy 20 or take the Adventure Cycling alternate.  Again we
decided to stay on Hwy 20 because we saw two logging trucks turn off
of Hwy 20.  Then we talked to a couple of touring cyclists coming our
direction and they said that the alternate had gravel shoulders and
Hwy 20 was better.

We got into  Marblemount and had to find the manager of the Buffalo
Run Inn at the restaurant across the street.  We ate a late
lunch/early dinner but did not partake of the buffalo specialties.

We bought food to take on the bikes tomorrow.  It will be about 90
miles without a gas station, restaurant, or hotel until we get to
Winthrop.  We have to climb up to Rainy Pass (4800 feet) and then down
a few hundred feet and then up to Washington Pass (5500 feet).

There is also no cell phone service once we start the climb about 16
miles from here.

If I survive tomorrow's climb (no doubts about Ruth) then you will get
another email tomorrow or the next day.  If you don't get an email
from me for several days, send out the search party.

Today's statistics:  43.20 miles and 744 feet.  Woman Tours advertised
51 miles but they must have used the alternate routes.


Steve and Ruth in Marblemount, WA



Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Day 2
Now Playing: Sedro Wooly
Topic: Day 2
Hi Everyone,

It was a good thing that Ruth and I decided to stay in Oak Harbor
yesterday.  When we arrived in town, it was about 2 pm and we were
told that there were more hotels further down the road.  Later I
looked at Google Maps and there were a couple of hotels on the map.

This morning we left town and passed by a closed hotel and it was
miles further until we found another hotel.  I would guess that we
would have had to ride a good 10 miles to find another hotels which is
passed Deception Pass.  The bridge over Deception Pass is impressive.

I had mechanical problems along the way.  My handlebar bag clamp came
loose 3 times so I got a cable tie from Ruth to make the quick release
feature permanent.  That fixed the problem.  Then my front (left) bar
end shift started twisting as I shifted.  At lunch I tightened the
shifter.

The main road (hwy 20) was very smooth asphalt and has a wide
shoulder.  At times it was wiser than the traffic lane, probably
because it was uphill and trucks use it as a slow vehicle lane.

Later on after we turned off Hwy 20, the road had a rough chip seal so
it was bumpy.  For a while the shoulder was smoother than the regular
traffic lane.

We are staying at the Three Rivers Inn where we stopped because the
fire chief went by with red lights and siren.  The manager confirmed
that Womans Tour was here last week.

Now for the statistics:  39.67 miles and 1005 feet.  We left at 9:30
and arrived at 3:30 and averaged 9.7 mph.

It rained for an hour or so after dinner but it was sunny for most of the day.


Steve and Ruth in Sedro Woolley, WA


Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Day 2
Now Playing: Sedro Wooly
Hi Everyone,

It was a good thing that Ruth and I decided to stay in Oak Harbor
yesterday.  When we arrived in town, it was about 2 pm and we were
told that there were more hotels further down the road.  Later I
looked at Google Maps and there were a couple of hotels on the map.

This morning we left town and passed by a closed hotel and it was
miles further until we found another hotel.  I would guess that we
would have had to ride a good 10 miles to find another hotels which is
passed Deception Pass.  The bridge over Deception Pass is impressive.

I had mechanical problems along the way.  My handlebar bag clamp came
loose 3 times so I got a cable tie from Ruth to make the quick release
feature permanent.  That fixed the problem.  Then my front (left) bar
end shift started twisting as I shifted.  At lunch I tightened the
shifter.

The main road (hwy 20) was very smooth asphalt and has a wide
shoulder.  At times it was wiser than the traffic lane, probably
because it was uphill and trucks use it as a slow vehicle lane.

Later on after we turned off Hwy 20, the road had a rough chip seal so
it was bumpy.  For a while the shoulder was smoother than the regular
traffic lane.

We are staying at the Three Rivers Inn where we stopped because the
fire chief went by with red lights and siren.  The manager confirmed
that Womans Tour was here last week.

Now for the statistics:  39.67 miles and 1005 feet.  We left at 9:30
and arrived at 3:30 and averaged 9.7 mph.

It rained for an hour or so after dinner but it was sunny for most of the day.


Steve and Ruth in Sedro Woolley, WA


Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 28 June 2010

Mood:  chatty
Topic: Day 1
We actually started the trip!  I can't believe how much junk I have!
It must weigh a good 70 pounds!  As Anne and Pat kicked us out
(because they had to go somewhere) Ruth and I were committed to start
the trip.

We rode a mile or two to the ferry and took the 11:15 am ferry to
Whitbey Island.  We met a couple of German bicycle tourists who are on
their way to Key West, FL.

With the late start and a cloudy day, we made good time to Oak Harbor
where we are staying at the Auld Holland Inn with free wifi but I are
using AT&T 3G because it is faster.  I am having troubles with Google
Mail on the Internet because the mobile version of gmail does not
allow groups of contacts and the desktop version does not allow me to
type the message.  So I am using the iPad mail program (gmail)  where
I have to enter 22 names for the email SENT TO list instead of just
typing a group name of Skyline or Trip.

The Washington drivers are behaving the same way as in 2000.  They
will not cross the center line!  All I want them to do is to go 3 feet
over the center line as they pass us.  The one driver that went over
to the other lane was a garbage truck (thankfully).

I have to admit that we rode only 22.97 miles and climbed 644 feet
today.  But that does not include the miles on the ferry.  We
essentially started at noon and we got into Oak Harbor about 2:30.
There are a few hotels down the road but we didn't want push our luck
with finding a hotel on an empty stretch of highway.

Besides, I am not in shape yet and need a week or two to get into
decent shape.  However I have only a couple of days to get into shape
to do the climb over Rainy Pass and Washington Pass (5500 feet and 91
miles from the last hotel on this side of the Cascades and the first
hotel on the other side of the Cascades.


Steve in Oak Harbor, WA (Whitbey Island)


Sent from my iPad

Posted by skylinecycling at 12:01 AM EDT

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