Bike Across the US - June

Monday June 1, 2009

Miles today – 58.2

Daily ride time – 4 hrs 57 min

Average – 11.9 mph

Daily Climb – 2,097

Total BRAA mileage – 728.6

Weather Start – Clear 49; Weather Finish High clouds 70

Today should have been an easy day for us but two things came into the limelight for us. The first was a 4 1/2 mile climb.

As you can see from our elevation profile we had a difficult 4+ miles of climb today. For 4 1/2 miles we were climbing an average of 5 to 6% with occasional gusts of up to 10% climb. On the bright side we did NOT walk our bike at all for the entire ride today so our muscles are getting more conditioned.We started our day at 7:00 eating at our Lochsa lodge and hit the road at 7:30. The first 12 miles was up to the Lolo Pass which included the previously mentioned climb. We crested the Lolo pass at 9:30 (Pacific time) stopping at the visitor center – but wait – the visitor center is on the Montana side and they are on Mountain Time. Since it was now 10:30 mountain time we spent our break talking to the other tourists about our adventure. The other item that came into our limelight was the high winds at 6,000 feet were 25 knots. The pass is at 5,335 feet. Our steep climb was also accompanied by the occasion high winds. Our descent on Montana side was always into the wind. We were peddling down 3% down grades at only 13 – 15 mph. (we normally can do 30+ on a 3% downgrade) Yup, nothing more exciting than pedaling hard downhill!

                                                                                           Pam at Lolo Pass

We stopped off at Lolo Hot Springs Lodge to drop off 3 keys from the bicyclers we met Saturday who cleaned the 3 rooms in exchange for dinner and breakfast but forgot to give them back their keys – they were grateful. We then pulled into the city of Lolo at 1pm and finally ate lunch. An hour ride after that we were at Missoula.

Photo left: View from Idaho side of Lolo PassPhoto Middle: Wildflower at Lolo PassPhoto Right: Lolo Mountain as seen 20 miles into MTWe are 3 days ahead of schedule. Our plan now is to fly home on Thursday for 48 hours to pay bills and feed the cat and then head back to resume our trip on Sunday morning. We will do some site seeing around Missoula for he next two days and go for a couple of days rides around the area. More to come……


We had 5 days off from riding. We arrived 3 days ahead of schedule into Missoula due to the awesome weather we had… sunny skies… above average temperatures. We spent our time in Missoula at Fort Missoula and the Fort Missoula Museum as well as the Smoke Jumpers museum which turned out to be a fantastic tour of their training facility for the regions smoke jumpers. Being sky divers it was especially interesting to us.

The Iris Garden at Fort Missoula

We flew home on Thursday and then back to Missoula on Saturday. While at home we fixed the broken window on one of our apartments, sprayed for bugs, sprayed for weeds, paid the bills, and other miscellaneous work associated with being a landlord. There never seems to be enough time for everything but duty calls, back to our bike ride!

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Miles today – 80.8 Daily ride time – 7 hrs 7 min Average – 11.4 mph Daily Climb – 2,967 Total BRAA mileage – 842.1 Weather Start – Cloudy 40; Weather Finish cloudy 52 The first day back in the saddle proved to be a trying one. We started off waiting for the local restaurant to open for breakfast since the next town was hours down the road. Had a great omelet and was able to start our day at 8:23. The clouds were dark and it was sprinkling on us on and off but not enough to put on our full rain gear. The wind was out of the Northeast at 10 – 15 mph and we were unfortunately peddling northeast so our speed was much lower than had hoped for. We already knew we were going to be peddling up hill towards the continental divide all day but the wind made it even more difficult.Around 10:30 we had made it to a lodge in the middle of nowhere where I had my second breakfast, another omelet, and recharged our batteries. When we came out of the restaurant we had a pleasant surprise, the wind had calmed down to a slight breeze out of the North so we were able to pick up the pace a little. Yeah!At 2:30 we pulled in to Ovando (pop 731), our first town on our route for the day, and ate the best home cooked lunch we have had since the start of our trip. The food was not at all restaurant style and was truly home cooked, funny how we notice things like this after being on the road so much. It was leaving out of Ovando that the pain started to set in. After being off the bike for so long that our muscles were not as conditioned as when we had stooped in Missoula last week. Not only were both Pam and my leg muscles starting to hurt but since it was so cold outside I was still wearing both my layers of sweat pants and they were starting to chafe the tops of my legs and they were getting pretty red. We still had 27 miles to get to the next hotel (town) so we started to peddle only 7 – 10 miles and take a small break until we finished. We finally arrived in Lincoln just after 6pm and I was one whipped puppy. We checked into our room, went next door to eat dinner, and I was showered and in bed by 7pm. It was by far the most strenuous day I have had on a bike and now we know how long is too long to take a break without riding. Until tomorrow….. BrianMonday, June 8, 2009 Today we awoke to the gentle snow falling. I checked online and Great Falls, our next destination, is calling for Thunderstorms all day. We still need to climb another 1,000 feet to cross the continental divide and while eating breakfast this morning one of the locals says last Saturday it snowed 6 – 8 inches up on the pass. We decided to take our first official weather day today an hope for better weather tomorrow…. Until then! BrianTuesday, June 9, 2009

Miles today – 86.9

Daily ride time – 6 hrs 31 min

Average – 13.4 mph

Daily Climb – 3,204 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 929.5

Weather Start – Cloudy 40; Weather Finish partly cloudy 70

Photo Left: Web Cam from Rogers pass (looking West) as we saw it when we woke this morning. (photo 6:01am at mile post 90.3)Photo Right: Web cam from Rogers Pass (again looking West) Photo taken at  6:16am at mile post 90.8. What a difference

a half mile makes

This morning’s ride did start out with a couple of mishaps.  Right out of the gate Brian bruised the top of his middle finger when the bungee cord snapped back while he was tying the bags to the rack.  Then a few miles into our ride at the 848 BRAA mile mark we tipped the bike on the right side after a photo stop.  The shoulder of this part of the road was almost non existent, and there was a lot of gravel on the shoulder where the asphalt started.  Needless to say we slid sideways on take off causing the front tire to slip.  Both of us came away unscathed, thankfully!  In the almost 12,000 miles on the bike this was our first spill. Not too bad!

 - - Today we crossed the continental divide. - -

Today’s weather proved to be remarkably better than forecast.  It was a bit chilly riding from Lincoln through Roger’s Pass, but the sun did begin to shine a bit.  Yesterday’s snow storm was visible on the mountains surrounding us as we made our way up, up, up…  When Brian used the “Map My Ride” program on the internet for today’s route, we were only supposed to climb 2,500 feet.  I guess the hills after Roger’s pass and before the town of Simms were not registering on this program.  We climbed several rolling hills after the pass, for about 700 feet of unexpected extra climb of sometimes up to 5-7%.  We did very well, considering. The wildlife in the area from Missoula to Great Falls seems more abundant.  We saw a beaver (or maybe a muskrat?) on our way into Lincoln.  Also saw a bald eagle (and a huge nest near where he was souring), and plenty of blue and bright yellow birds.  Today there was a huge elk up on a hill (too far off in the distance to get a good photo), but we were only riding approximately 9 mph up one of the numerous inclines so there was plenty of time to watch him.  He did have quite a rack!  After the pass there were a half dozen antelopes.  I thought they were deer, and at first Brian thought they were goats, but the locals said they were antelopes.

We stopped in the small town of Fort Shaw at the only Café along the way to have lunch.  It was already 2:30 in the afternoon, but the lady there was still serving lunch.  She brought us each a HUGE tuna sandwich (one can of tuna per sandwich), and amazingly we ate it all.  We visited with Jo Ann, a local who ate lunch with us, and another local couple came in for coffee.  It’s always interesting to hear the stories of the area, and of course our bike is quite a conversation piece.  I have to say I was quite surprised when Brian ordered a cup of coffee.  I’ve never seen him drink coffee in the 16 years we’ve been married!  Guess he was still a bit chilly.

That’s all for now! PamWednesday, June 10, 2009

Miles today – 51.3

Daily ride time – 4 hrs 27 min

Average – 11.7 mph

Daily Climb – 1,998 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 994.0

Weather Start – Partly Cloudy 58; Weather Finish partly cloudy 67

Today we started a little different as we wanted to visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls – and they did not open until 9am. Sooooo we dragged out of bed and made it to the closest breakfast place and they FINALLY had a hungry bikers omelet – their garbage omelet was an 8 egg omelet with EVERYTHING and I mean everything! So I was off to a good start!

We ended up not leaving the L&C Interpretive Center until high noon so we had to grab lunch before leaving town. We left town at 1:30 which is by far the latest we have ever left town. Our thinking was we only had a little over 50 miles and the weather was predicted to be perfect for riding. What could possibly go wrong??? Some of the Montana license plates have a slogan “Big Sky Country” on them. I have wrote the governor and asked for him to change it to “Big Hill Country”. Even though we only rode for 51 miles and climbed just under 2,000 feet, they were the most painful and steep hills we have encountered. My bike odometer/altimeter was giving me readings of 9 – 11%, much too steep for us to peddle up, soooooo we logged 1.5 miles of bike walking today. And you may as well kick a man when he is down….. today we hit mosquitoes even the Minnesotans would be envious of. Another letter to the governor for the slogan “Big Mosquito Country” will be going out. The bad part was the only time they would be after us was when we were peddling 4 mph up the steep hills, once we crested the hills the head wind plus our forward speed would keep them in check. (not completely but bearable) Having said all that we arrived in Fort Benton just after 6pm. Ft Benton is on the Missouri River and has many historic buildings, four museums, and lots of points of interest pointing out all the history that happened around town. It is a very interesting place and we will be starting late again tomorrow to take it all in. Resting our weary legs,



20% of Route Completed!

We have now completed the first 20% of our route! Here are the stats from the first 20%:

Flat tires – 2

Time spent peddling through the rain – 4 hours (5.0% of peddling time)

Miles – 994

Hours Peddling Time – 79.2

Overall Route MPH – 12.5

Total Climb – 29,232 feet     (Mount Everest is only 29,029 ft!)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miles today – 66.5

Daily ride time – 5 hrs 53 min

Average – 11.4 mph

Daily Climb – 2,907 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 1,061.4

Weather  – Scattered Clouds – temps 63 up to 73 back down to 61

Well, it felt like we climbed Mount Everest yesterday, and this morning when we started peddling with a 10 mile climb out of Fort Benton I definitely felt it in the legs.  Today only had two hills of 6-7% climb… much better.

The Pioneer Hotel proved to be very comfortable.  It was nice getting to visit with Sue, the owner.  The Pioneer has been around for quite a while.  We stayed in the Lewis and Clark room (how ironic).  Before breakfast we walked along the Missouri and read the information about Fort Benton offered along the beautiful river walk path.  Apparently Fort Benton is considered the birth place of Montana.  We stopped at the Fort Benton Upper Missouri Interpretive Center and learned a bit more about the Montana geology and a little history.  Before we left town Brian went in to the Ace Hardware store to pick up some miscellaneous bike parts, and I visited with one of the locals, Roger.  What nice people!

Twenty seven miles later as we were peddling into the town of Geraldine for lunch and a rest, we had our third flat tire.  The tire didn’t blow out or flatten immediately (thank you Slime for doing your job).  We were able to peddle into town and make it to the café.  After lunch we changed the tire. (under the shade of a tree and a park bench, yeah!)  So… an hour and forty five minutes later we were back on the road, peddling toward Square Butte. After we crossed the Arrow River, it was one heck of a climb and two dirt road construction areas that we walked the bike through.  We figure the bike walking exercise today was a combined mile and three quarters.  Oh well, we made it!                                                                      You can see the BIG climb for the day below

The animals along this desolate road are fantastic. There are so many antelope. If we are riding 15+mph they just sit there and watch, not flinching. If we are riding slow they start to run when we get close. The highlight was when we had juts been passed by a pick up and two fox were sitting two feet off the edge of the road watching the pickup and did not see or hear us coming until we were four feet from them – then they could not get down into their fox hole fast enough – very cool! The last 17 miles today seemed to take FOREVER since we could see for miles and miles and miles…  We saw the town of Stanford water tower for about two hours (not really, but it seemed like we’d never roll into town).  We finally made it to The Runway Motel at 6:30.  What a nice motel!  It is right next to the end of the runway, and while I showered I could stare out the window at a $3 million dollar airplane parked on the tarmac.  The owner of this motel, the wife (didn’t get her name), is a retired Northwest Airlines 747 flight attendant.  Interesting people. What a surprise when our friend Cheryl Michaels met us here at our motel!  She drove up from Denver Colorado (12+hrs) today to see us, and to see the beautiful state of Montana.  We are going to meet her for breakfast in the morning, and reminisce some more before we roll out of here.  It’s time for me to sign off now as it’s way past 10pm, and we have an early day tomorrow. Ta-Ta for now! PamFriday, June 12, 2009 Miles today – 47.2 Daily ride time – 3 hrs 40 min Average – 12.9 mph Daily Climb – 1,236 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,109.2 Weather  – big blue skies – temps 48 up to 73 This morning we met Cheryl at ‘the’ restaurant at 7am for breakfast. After a few photos with Cheryl and her getting some video of our bike on the highway, we left Stanford at 8:43. Today was definitely in the top 3 days of bicycling we have ever had. Almost the perfect temperatures, a slight cool crosswind out of the North, and the hills are getting smaller. We actually had about half of our ride today on level ground so it was more like biking around home. Just a very comfortable day. At eleven miles from reaching our destination a couple was pulled off the side of the road (in a car) flagging us down. After pulling over we found out they too were riding a tandem recumbent bike. Dave and Heather had ridden 1,900 miles so far from Ohio with no real plan on where they were going. They were real interested in how we rigged our bike and offered to buy us dinner this evening. They had taken 3 days off of riding and rented a car to drive through Yellowstone park and were heading out biking again tomorrow. More on them after dinner…. We arrived in Lewistown at 1:30 and checked into the hotel, The Sunset Motel. Our two tires that Emaloy had sent to us were waiting for us when we arrived. I changed both tires out. The front tire (tire not tube) had seven holes in it from the bridge coming into Great Falls. The back tire had two holes in it. Yesterday the tube had only one hole in the back. The front tube had three holes in it. That slime is some great stuff!                                           Heather, Dave, and Brian

As a side note, GM, Dodge, and Ford have nothing to worry about in the BIG pickup market. I think 50% of all large trucks are here in Montana. Not very many cars but large pickups are everywhere! They should consider moving their pickup manufacturing plants to here in Montana to save on transportation costs. Just a thought….. Our plan originally was to stay in town for the weekend festivities (some squaw creek festival type stuff) but tomorrow is forecasted for perfect weather again then Sunday it is supposed to rain for four days. I feel that if we ride another day East we will be past all the mountains and the rain will be less in frequency and velocity – we will see. More tomorrow…. Cheryl, Brian, and her flat tire                         Brian We spent the evening with Dave and Heather and what an interesting couple! He is an Operating Room Director and they both travel around the country working where there is the need and live in an RV. They already get to see much of the US but thought to take time off to see more and ride their bike. For more on them they too have a blog going at:

Saturday, June 13, 2009 Miles today – 57.5 Daily ride time – 4 hrs 42 min Average – 12.4 mph Daily Climb – 1,107 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,168.8 Weather  –  blue skies temps 48 morning and 81 with high scattered clouds at finishPhoto right: Hay bales and covered wagons - that's Montana!

Photo Left: View coming out of Lewistown

Montana’s definitely a huge state.  The “Adopt a Highway” signs are for two miles here in Montana vs. one mile in Arizona and any other state that I’ve ever taken notice.  Wonder how many miles these signs are in Texas?

We opted to start late this morning, around 9:00, and eat breakfast in Lewistown prior to starting our day.  Fifty seven miles didn’t seem too far in the scheme of things… but along came the wind.  Yes, a head/cross wind of between 10-15 mph for most of the day.  The first eight miles were tough enough with the majority of our 1100’ climb within those first 8-10 miles.  This definitely slowed down our average, and today was the rotting smelling carcass next to the road day.  Yuck!

Stopped for lunch in the tiny town of Grass Range.  Enjoyed an hour of rest there too.  Didn’t see many wild animals along our journey today, just a few cows here and there.  We did see four large cranes today (the first ones that we’ve seen on this trip).  The small motel here in Winnett where we are staying this evening is very cute.  Brian said, “Instead of TV we watch the leaves blow in the wind."  The town itself has a population of 185 according to our map, but it does have a grocery and a couple of cafes.  Hopefully we’ll sleep peacefully tonight as there’s a wedding party staying in the remaining three rooms of the motel.  June is wedding season!

Until next time, PamSunday, June 14, 2009 Miles today – 77.0 Daily ride time – 7 hrs 1 min Average – 11.1 mph Daily Climb – 2,908 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,245.8 Weather Start –  blue skies temps 43 no wind Weather Finish - 79 winds 13 gusting to 21, with high clouds Today we pushed off at 5:25am. The plan was to make it to the top of our big hill (22 – 26 miles into our ride) before the wind hit. It almost worked. We were half way up our hill when the wind started at 7:10… almost made it…… The ride up to “the” hill and the wind was fantastic. Being early Sunday morning there was very little traffic the first two hours and the animals were out searching for breakfast. Too many antelope to count as well as wild turkey, deer, and various birds everywhere.                          The view we had all day... up the hills! Photo doesn't really do justice. Very peaceful and we were “screaming” (on our Rans Screamer) up and down the hills. The day after 7:10 was a whole different day. Wind makes our life extremely difficult on our bike. Hills that we used to coast down (3%) at 30+mph we now have to peddle down to keep our speed up to 18 mph. Hills that we could peddle up (3%) at 8 – 9 mph we now are peddling up at 4 to 4.5 mph. We also usually travel on level ground at 14 mph and now are only able to go 8 – 10 mph. Add the howling wind noise in your ears all day and now we have a LONG day. Pam started talking about heading back to Arizona.  (What I said was, "We can keep complaining or pack up and head home any time." - Pam) Another item that makes for a long day is no place to rest. We had one restaurant/service station on our map just past our half way point but being Sunday it was closed. They only had one chair sitting outside which we put under ‘the’ tree, but still being out in the wind and not being able to actually rest takes it out of us as well. We arrived in Jordan Montana (population 364) at 2:45 pm. We will stay here until Tuesday and rest up. We have been peddling 6 days straight totaling 386 miles without any rest. The Big Hill and Big Wind state of Montana is taking its toll on our legs. The plan of outrunning the rain storms worked as the whole western half of Montana is getting rained on today. It is also supposed to rain over there for the next few days. Yeah!

Well we have been invited by a local archeology group, from St Louis, to go and spend some time with them this evening as they have been out digging up dinosaur bones – sounds interesting!  More on them later!


Monday, June 15, 2009

We took the day off to rest the weary bones. We visited the Garfield County Museum.  It turns out from Jordan to the East there are lots of dinosaur digs going on – in fact the first full T-Rex was found outside of town here just after the turn of the century. The museum was fantastic and included dinosaur artifacts and antiques from the area. Very cool stop over town!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009  (Day 20 of Pedaling!!!) Miles today – 96.7 Daily ride time – 8 hrs 2 min Average – 12.1 mph Daily Climb – 3,898 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,345.7 Weather Start –  blue skies (actually dark) temps 58 no wind Weather Finish - 82 with cumulous clouds building We started our ride today at 4:25am. For the first half hour to forty five minutes we rode in the pre-dawn mist.  Following the Big Dry Creek (it did have a bit of water in places) was very peaceful and challenging!  The hills rolling from Jordan were a bit steeper than expected.  After about 15 minutes the outer layers of clothing came off, and we were on our way.  We stopped after thirty six miles at a very nice rest area, complete with picnic tables.  We lightened our load by eating some of our supplies, and enjoyed the beautiful morning resting at the comfy bench.  The fog from the morning rose a thousand feet, and we had light cloud cover toward the end of our break.  Out came the coats and sweats again as we were a bit chilly at this point!

Photo Left: Early morning Silhouette

Photo Middle: Highway 24 is the Old West Trail

Photo Right: Wild flax

Photo Below: The view we had all day of he BIG Montana hills.

There were the usual deer and antelope along the way, and two more foxes frolicking in the distance.  Cute!  Once we left the rest area, we said goodbye to highway 200 and started our 59 mile journey along highway 24.  The hills on this road were another challenge…  We are getting stronger!  We stopped about 30 miles along this route and rested under a nice shade tree.  The traffic was so light, and we almost fell asleep there in the shade.  Boy, what a difference when you can actually sit or lay down to rest instead of stand next to the bike. The last 20 miles were really starting to wear on us, as the hills never let up (like Google Earth showed).  We were fortunate for the intermittent cloud cover, and only a slight breeze to help keep us cool.  The10 degree temperature variance between full sun and cloud cover was quite amazing, and very much appreciated!  By the time we rolled past the Fort Peck Dam, we were ready to get off the bike.  The Interpretive Center was a welcome site (and free too), so we stopped in to take a look at their museum.  After a half hour there, we started up hill once again to find the Fort Peck Hotel.  Once we arrived, we discovered there wasn’t a restaurant or store within twelve miles or so.  Linda, the owner made us feel right at home, and brought us water and made us pizza.  What a nice and interesting lady!  She and her husband own and operate this hunting lodge (Fort Peck Hotel) during the summer, and live in Missoula the rest of the year.  They love and raise various birds (exotic pheasants and other birds) and offer hunting and fishing excursions in this area.Photo left: Lake Fort Peck

Photo Center: A Montana Badlands rock formation

Photo Right: An abandoned wagon in the badlands

The lodge is unique, and has lots of character.  I know we will sleep well here tonight.  And tonight there is only us and three fishermen staying here.  Nice!

Pam Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Miles today – 46.5

Daily ride time – 3 hrs 4 min

Average – 15.4 mph

Daily Climb – 432 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 1,392.4

Weather Start –  blue skies temps 68 no wind

Weather Finish – blue sky temp 85 with wind 5 – 7 out of SW

 We started out a little late (6:20 am) due to the short day planned. We stopped off at 7:15 in Nashua for an ohmlet (I have not had an omhlet for the last 3 days) and they accommodated my 6 egg omlet request with no issues. Ahhhh things are getting back to normal!

 The best part of the day is the fact that the terrain is very flat following the Missouri River, much lick being back in Arizona. Our average was back up to normal with a slight quartering tail wind and flat ground we finally managed a day over 15 MPH. Yeah!

 We rolled into Wolf  Point at 10:45, way too early to check into our hotel, but as luck would have it they have a museum for us to attend, AND a Chinese restaurant for lunch! Oh they know how to treat the bikers!


30% of Route Completed!

We have now completed the first 30% of our route! Here are the stats from the first 30%:

Flat tires – 4

Time spent peddling through the rain – 4 hours (3.5% of peddling time)

Miles – 1,392

Days Peddling Time – 4.6 (based on 24 hour day)

Days in the saddle – 21 (Average miles per day 66.3)

Overall Route MPH – 12.5

Total Climb – 37,879 feet     (Mount Everest is 29,029 ft!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Miles today – 57.2 Daily ride time – 3 hrs 58 min Average – 14.6 mph Daily Climb – 874 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,451.3 Weather Start –  cloudy skies temps 60 no wind Weather Finish – partly cloudy sky temp 78 with wind 7 - 8 out of WNW I guess we are getting fit, since it didn’t seem like almost a four hour bike ride today (more like two hours).  Yeah!  We rode for an hour and a half from Wolf Point to Poplar where we ate breakfast.  The terrain is mostly flat where we are riding with a chain of rolling hills on either side of us.  The cool temperature and cloud cover was very pleasant.  Just prior to breakfast, another cyclist named Tom rode up to us and we had a nice chat.  He was riding from Washington State (where he lives) to (UP) Michigan in three weeks.  He has ridden with his wife and two children along the coast in California on tandem bikes before.  Very nice guy!Photo Top: The Missouri River

Photo Right: A rock formation along Montana Hwy 1

Photo Center: We are only 62 miles form the Canadian border!      

Photo Left: A small rain ahead we will try to avoid (and do!)                                                     Photo Below: A bike that rides on rails.... hummmm....

We stopped at a convenience store in the town of Brockton to rest for a while, and we talked

with a local Sioux (native American) resident.  She was very informative about the Reservation and history of the area.  This was our last stop in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.  When we crossed the Big Muddy Creek we left the Reservation.  We had quit a climb just prior to arriving in Culbertson.  After we rode into town, we stopped at the Wild West Café for lunch.  After lunch we left for the Culbertson Museum.  Someone spent a lot of time collecting and putting together all of the items at this museum.  We spent nearly two hours looking at all of the antiques.  They even had an old caboose to walk through in the yard area.  The museum volunteers were extremely friendly and accommodating.

Now it’s time to explore the town a bit so we don’t fall asleep at 3:00 in the afternoon!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Miles today – 61.8

Daily ride time – 4 hrs 36 min

Average – 13.6 mph

Daily Climb – 1,791 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 1,515.1

Weather Start –  clear skies temps 60 wind SW @ 5

Weather Finish – scattered clouds temp 81 wind from NW @ 15

While eating breakfast two more bikers came in on the same trail we are on only they were doing 100+ miles per day. They only had a short time to get to Atlantic City so they were only going to do 48 miles today and take the rest of the day off to do laundry then hit it hard again tomorrow.

We started this morning after a good breakfast at 7:01. With a slight quartering tail wind and flat ground for the first hour we were in heaven. Then we again hit the hills and we turned South so our tail wind turned into a quartering head wind. Give some take some.

Today we also hit our first real road construction, real with flaggers, pilot cars to follow, and BIG trucks crossing the road back and forth hauling dirt from hills to valleys. I only bring this up since we are 1,500 miles into this and this was our first real road construction – not too bad!

We crossed the North Dakota state line at 9:35 Mountain/10:35 Central time. Montana was a huge state… when we crossed into Montana we started Mountain time and when we vacated the state we left Mountain time. At 11:30 we arrived at the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center a museum highlighting the history of the area where the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River merge. We then went one mile to Fort Buford – an 1860 – 1880 era military fort. We hit the road again at 2:15, now with full sun and the wind in full cross wind for the next hour. We arrived in Williston ND at 4:30 and checked in to the El Rancho hotel. Tonight was a special night as we finally were treated to a Walleye dinner. All this time throughout Montana they kept talking about the Walleye but we could never find a place that served Walleye – but today we finally had that taken care of – Yeah! The fisherman we ran into at Ft Peck said they were there just to fish for Walleye and would throw back any Northern or other types of fish. As it was not the first time we have had Walleye it sure went down good!

Tomorrow will be a day of rest for us so until Sunday….



Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Day of rest and site seeing. We found the ultimate antique store Hedderich's. This is an old Ben Franklin size store with  a full basement crammed with the most bazaar antiques; toys, games, books, tools, dolls, furniture, etc…Usually the antique stores we have visited specialize in a certain cliental, this place had the widest variety of antiques I have ever seen in one place. We also went to see the movie The Proposal – not too bad!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today we awoke to lightning, thunder, and hail – not the best of biking weather. After checking the weather forecast we decide to hole up for another day. We are ahead of schedule a couple of days and we also could not find a hotel in our next town. In fact the four hotels (over 200 rooms total) are full for the whole week. We decide to bike even farther (why not two days of rest – right??) on Monday, we called and got a reservation just in case….

Monday, June 22, 2009

Miles today – 91.2 Daily ride time – 7 hrs 3 min Average – 13.0 mph Daily Climb – 3,934 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,606.3 Weather Start –  clear skies temps 59 wind calm Weather Finish – scattered clouds temp 78 wind light & variable It’s hard to believe, but as we began our ride before sunrise this morning (5:25am) with the lovely temperature and no wind or clouds in sight we were attacked by swarming clouds of mosquitoes!  Needless to say, we stopped to put on the Deep Woods Off.  There must be a natural way to keep them at bay, but this a.m. the deet came out.  After this ordeal, we started our real climb for the day.  We climbed our way up and out of Williston, and kept climbing for the next twenty something miles.  We stopped at a beautiful, quaint resort called New Cove right on the banks of Lake Sakakawea (this is the third or forth different spelling of her name that I recall since we’ve been on this adventure).  The place was closed, but the owner came out and invited us to sit under his patio and relax as long as we wanted.  Their sign at the entrance read “Cabins For Rent” and “Open”, but apparently they’re closed on Sunday and Monday so they can stock up on supplies and fish of course.Photo Above: Lake Sakakawea (Missouri River)

Photo Right: One of the many oil wells pumping black gold.

Photo Center: A few horses pose for a photo

Photo left: From Williston ND down to Pierre SD they have a highway (1804) following the Lewis and Clark Trail. 1804 was the year they began their journey. They also have a highway 1806 on the opposite bank following the Missouri River.

After another thirty seven miles, we stopped for lunch in New Town.  This was supposed to be where we would stay tonight, but the construction crews had rented every room in the four motels in this town.  Looks like they’re working on various road construction and putting in oil derricks all over the hills and farmland.  We passed quite a few of these oil sights along our route today.  What a waste when we saw the natural gas fires just burning away instead of somehow utilizing this natural resource! Only seventeen miles to go!  We climbed our way out of New Town, and climbed all but the last three miles into Parshall.  The legs were burning for sure by the time we arrived at our final destination for today.  As Brian put it, “My legs are burning in more ways than one.”  Both of us ended our ride wearing shorts, with sunscreen of course, but still…  Time to relax for a bit. Pam

Quotes from the road…..

When ordering a sandwich for lunch Pam asks the waitress if she could get some other vegetable other than potatoes and she relied, “Sure we have French fries, mashed potatoes, hash browns, jojo’s (potato wedges), tater tots, scalloped potatoes, or rice pilaf.”

  Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Miles today – 56.5

Daily ride time – 3 hrs 56 min

Average – 14.4 mph

Daily Climb – 1,658 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 1,663

Weather Start –  cloudy sky, rain to north & west with lightning, temp 53 degrees

Weather Finish – sunny, temp low 70’s wind from the west at 15

Around 5:30 a.m. it began raining in Parshall.  We could hear drops hitting the roof, and some thunder in the distance.  After Brian checked the radar, and the sky cleared overhead and in the direction we were headed, off we went on our peddling journey at 6:45.  We did avoid the heavy rain with only a few sprinkles falling on us.

The first half of our ride took us south along highway 1804.  There was very little traffic, so the animals were more abundant today than yesterday’s ride.  Today was pheasant day!  We scared one as we rode by him (he scared me too, sounded like a large trash bag took flight) he was hiding in the tall grass beside the road.  Also saw a few deer near the wooded areas.  No mosquitoes today!  Guess they took the day off. We passed a strange looking lizard on the road and turned around to have a better look.  Once we turned east we had a nice tail wind, so we were sailing along when Brian spotted the lizard.  We took a photo of this iguana, wondering what on earth he was doing in this part of the country.  As we got closer we discovered this was just a rubber kids toy!  We joked about someone hiding in the old abandoned farmhouse taking video of bewildered passers by who stopped for a second look.

We rolled in to Garrison ND (population 1,318) at 11:15, just in time for lunch.  Nice to sit down and relax after our 56 mile ride.

Until tomorrow….. Pam

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Miles today – 72.5

Daily ride time – 5 hrs 49 min

Average – 12.6 mph

Daily Climb – 1,646 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 1,738

Weather Start –  clear sky, temp 48 degrees

Weather Finish – sunny, 85'F wind from the south at 15–20

We started off at 6:20 this morning to a nice calm day. The forecasters are calling for winds to pick up after lunch out of the south so the race is on – we are heading southerly today. We actually started out heading East for 6 miles, then South for 10 miles, then Northwest for 5 miles then south again, then East again, then south, then east and finally our last 3 miles were North. Why you may ask??? We were out to see a couple of historic points along our way that happened to be on the opposite side of the Missouri river, then we had to cross back over the Missouri to get the only hotel within 45 miles.

Soooo….. at 9:45 central time we crossed the Garrison Dam over the Missouri river and crossed back into Mountain time and into Pick City. Subsequently the only restaurant along our route this morning did not open until 9:00 am Mountain time so we had to wait for them to open. While waiting, members of the breakfast club (they call themselves the Breakfast Club) we showing up to storm the restaurant when they opened and we had plenty of entertainment with the silver haired club members until they unlocked the door. The breakfast sandwiches were awesome and the cheapest we have found on our trip.At 10:30 we arrived at the Knife River Indian Interpretive Center. This was “the” site where Sakagewea and her French fur trading husband were living when Lewis and Clark wintered in 1804 at Fort Mandan. After inquiring around Lewis and Clark heard of the Frenchman here at the Knife River site and arranged for him and Sakagewea to help guide them on the their historic voyage. The distinguishing thing about this Indian tribe was that they built “Earth Lodges” which were permanent structures they lived in as opposed to being migratory as all other plains Indians were with their tipis. The tour guide was fantastic in giving the history of the tribe, building construction, and other historic information about the area. A must see if you are in the area. They also told about the other site we were planning on seeing, the Fort Clark Historic site. After finding out there were no buildings on that site nor a visitor center we decide to forgo that stop. We rode two miles into Stanton to eat lunch and when we came out of the café we found the wind they were forecasting. Blowing from the South at 20mph we turned onto the highway heading South for the next 4 miles pedaling a mere 7 mph on level ground. Boooo. As we turned East again we picked up the pace to 10 –12 mph and felt good about that. We arrived into our overnight town of Washburn at 3:30 pm. We will be spending an extra day here as there are several historic sites within 6 miles of the city and it will take all day to explore them tomorrow. We will give a review of them after we see them. Until then! Blue Skies!


Thursday, June 24, 2009

Another fun filled day of rest and exploration in Washburn, ND!  The two mile ride from the rest area/Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center to Fort Mandan was smooth sailing getting there…  but uphill on the way back of course.  The McLean County Historical Society museum in downtown Washburn proved to be very interesting and rewarding with plenty of antiques, and lots of various rocks, fossils, and specimens donated by a local rancher. Our legs hurt from standing around today – we started at 9am and did not finish the museum tour until 3pm. (with an hour off for lunch of course!)  Below: The Missouri River     Above: Fort Mandan

Friday, June 26, 2009 Miles today – 41.1 Daily ride time – 3 hrs 9 min Average – 13.2 mph Daily Climb – 1,196 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,791 Weather Start – clear sky, temp 62 degrees Weather Finish – sunny, temp 82 wind from the southeast at 10 – 15 Glad to say farewell to Washburn’s only motel, the Scotwood where we stayed for two nights.  Needless to say, it’s better than camping!  Starting out peddling at around 7:30 a.m., with a quick breakfast at the local truck stop/convenience store, we were in for a warm ride.  With only 41 miles to ride for the day we decided to leave later than we normal.  We stopped about 16 miles into our ride at a designated camp site to rest for a bit at a picnic table.  The Missouri at this point was wide and calm, beautiful scenery to view while resting.Photo Left: Hills along the river

Photo Center: Farmers line their fields with boots on their fence posts for entertainment

Photo Right: Missouri River

Just prior to our stop at the Double Ditch Indian Village Historic Site, we had another problem with the front chain guide getting chewed in half.  This is the same thing that happened on our first day of riding.  Not to worry, we still had the extra one that we bought at the Covenant Bike Shop in Portland.  While replacing this, a kid maybe 10 or 11 years old from one of the ranch homes nearby walked over to take a look at our bike.  He informed us that we would probably get caught in a storm on our way to Bismarck.  Not to worry, we had blue skies all the way to Ron and Joyce Gerhardt’s home!

We met Ron at his home at around 1 p.m.  He was very helpful!  One of the first things he asked was if we needed any bike maintenance as his friend owns one of the bike shops in Bismarck and was there if we needed anything.  After cleaning up a bit, we headed to the North Dakota Heritage Center with Ron as our guide.  What an outstanding place!  There were so many interesting exhibits, antiques, artifacts, historic information… you name it!  The only thing missing was the mummified duck billed dinosaur, that is currently on loan to Japan but will be back in the fall.  Ron informed us that there is a $76 million restoration under way for this museum.  Guess we’ll have to come back!

We returned to Ron’s, and his wife Joyce made a delicious dinner for us.  During dinner we watched their son Tom on TV, he’s one of the evening news anchormen in Bismarck, ND.  We then went out for ice cream.  Yummy!  On the way home it started to rain.  As we were walking into the house, we heard the tornado sirens sounding.  This is definitely a first for me!  The weather radar showed possible tornado activity, and people from the area called in to report seeing a funnel cloud.  The excitement was soon over, no tornado for us.                                    Photo right: Our hosts Ron and Joyce Ron and Joyce have a beautiful home, and made us feel as though we were a part of the family.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and the time flew by.  We went to sleep early to prepare for our rigorous ride tomorrow. Pam Saturday, June 27, 2009 Miles today – 88.8 Daily ride time – 6 hrs 36 min Average – 13.5 mph Daily Climb – 3,509 feet Total BRAA mileage – 1,885 Weather Start –  clear sky, temp 58 degrees Weather Finish – sunny, temp 75 wind from the Northwest at 15 – 20 Today we awoke at 3:30 from the best night sleep in a long time. There is something about staying in a house as opposed to a hotel that gives me a better night sleep. We left Ron and Joyce’s house at 4am and figured with such an early start we should find a breakfast place open – and Denny’s was found. The bar crowd from Friday night was still there. We ended up starting the ride at just before 5am into the darkness an hour before sunrise. The forecast was for windy conditions today and we wanted to beat the heat and wind. They also had forecasted wind out of the Northwest to start and gradually turn out of the west later in the day and since our ride was mostly South we wanted to take advantage of the wind if possible. There was a brutal hill to leave Bismark and the chill of the air left our bodies quickly. The sunrise this morning was fantastic, especially being from Arizona. In true hospitality Ron and Joyce arranged to have the Arizona flag sun rays shine for us to make us feel even more at home. Another pleasant surprise was all the pheasant that was out this morning. We saw more pheasant in the first two hours today than we have seen the whole trip!

Today’s route has us following the Missouri River and there was not one town along the whole route. We found two nice break areas, the first a boat launch area that had picnic tables and the second was a newer vacant building that was for sale but had a double porch swing on the front that called out to us when we rode by – so we utilized that for our second break. The hills today were tough. There were a dozen large hills with three of them being almost a mountain status. Just after the last of the humongous hills was the North/South Dakota state line. (12:10pm) From there we only had 9 miles to roll into Pollock South Dakota (pop 369) for the night. Ron and Joyce have a ‘retreat’ there and with Pollock being on the lake (Missouri River) it is a very special little town. We rolled into Pollock around 1pm and found the Fins and Feathers Café for lunch. (We see they have Orange Roughy AND Walleye on the menu for dinner – yum!) We found Ron’s retreat shortly after lunch and feel very privelaged to have such a great place to stay. Ron says he may come down on Sunday to go fishing so we may stay an extra day to catch our own Walleyes….. maybe….

At 3pm it started raining in Pollack. At 4pm it started hailing. I flipped the TV on to see the severe thunderstorm warnings out for our county. Good choice on leaving Bismark early. Hopefully the weather will be good for fishing tomorrow…. Until then!


40% of Route Completed!

We have now completed the first 40% of our route! Here are the stats from the first 40%:

Flat tires – 4

Time spent peddling through the rain – 4 hours (2.7% of peddling time)

Miles – 1,885

Days Peddling Time – 6.2 (based on 24 hour day)

Days in the saddle – 28 (Average miles per day 67.3)

Overall Route MPH – 12.6

Total Climb – 56,761 feet     (Mount Everest is 29,029 ft!)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Last evening around 5 o’clock, Ron and his buddy and next door neighbor here in Pollock, SD, arrived to set up for our Sunday fishing trip.  Ron drove us to the local bait shop/convenience store/gas station/supper club to obtain our fishing licenses.  We also picked up the bait… leeches and crawlers.  Kind of slimy, but the fish love them.  Went to bed early to get up at 0-dark thirty to start our fishing extravaganza.

Once Mark navigated the boat to our first fishing stop, Brian, Don, and I put in our poles while Mark trawled the boat around.  The water table in Lake Oahe was about 20 feet higher this summer than this past spring.  We had to try and keep our lines from snagging on the submerged trees and shrubs.  Mark and Ron gave us (me really as I’ve never truly been fishing) a quick tutorial, and off we go!  Within the first 15 minutes I had a walleye on the line.  Got it all the way to the net Ron was holding, but he got away.  Brian and I caught four walleye (two each) and Ron caught a catfish.  When we were finished and back at the dock I asked how long we’d been out on the lake, and found out we’d been out six hours.  I had a great time!

After the fish were cleaned and we were back at the house, Ron took the fish down the road to Alvena’s house to cook them for us.  Alvena is an 86 year young lady who is an awesome cook!  We enjoyed the fish along with a home made Russian-German dish called kuchen (not sure of the spelling) and home made caramel rolls.  Wow!  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and ate way too much.  We have caramel rolls and walleye for breakfast in the morning.  Couldn’t ask for a better way to spend a Sunday.  What a privilege to meet and spend time with these wonderful people.

 We are now relaxing at Ron’s fishing retreat here in Pollock, SD, preparing for an early morning exit for our ride to Bob’s Resort, an 80 plus mile ride.  At least we have plenty of carbs to burn off tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…


 Monday, June 29, 2009

Pedaling Day # 29

Miles today – 85.8

Daily ride time – 6 hrs 20 min

Average – 13.6 mph

Daily Climb – 1,856 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 1,971

Weather leaving Pollock SD –  clear sky, temp 47 degrees

Weather arriving @ Bob’s Resort – sunny, temp 95 wind from the south at 5 – 10

Today we started at 5:40 am (sunrise at 6:01) and were treated to the fog covered lakes for a scenic view of the area that could not be beat. We were again off to beat the heat as they were predicting afternoon head winds and 90 degrees. Today’s route would be much more flat than previous days so we were much more optimistic about making good time.


At 7:41 we rolled into Mound City for breakfast. The sign on Calicos café was closed but we can see many people inside so we step inside to ask if they were open. “No, but they will open at 8am for food, we are all here just for coffee”, the people said. We sat down at a separate table and a lady gets up to pour us coffee. I asked if she worked there she said no, they all just serve themselves. Pam and I get up and get our own coffee and sit back down. About every 3- 5 minutes a different person would get up (14 people total) and come by to refill everyone’s cups. At 8:05 a lady comes out from the kitchen and asks if we would like some food. We both order eggs, bacon and toast (the only option). When we started to eat you could tell they were farm fresh eggs and fresh bacon. Later the lady asked if we liked the eggs and commented that they were farm fresh eggs. Its kinda funny how you can tell the farm fresh eggs just by taste! Yum!

By the time we finished breakfast the sweats came off and off we went again. It slowly continued to get warmer and around 11am the wind started to blow from the SouthEast. We also ran into some road repaving for a couple of miles which turned out to be very nice as they held back the cars and let us go through the five mile area by ourselves.

The view from our room at Bob's                              .

We arrived at Bob’s Resort just before 2pm. My bike thermometer read 98 and the official temp was 95. Very hot! The restaurant does not open until 5pm but word on the street (Ron Gerhardt) says their steaks are more like “roasts” due to their size. Normally that might not sound too good but after 85 miles today a roast size of steak does sound good. OK, now after the 32 oz ‘large’ steak….. This is the first time in my life I have ever not been able to finish my steak. I left about 8 ounces – I guess I now know my limit on red meat!. It amazed my that they could cook such a large loaf of steak so perfectly and it had a real good flavor. Pam ordered the steak sandwich (about 16 oz) and did a lot of damage on that but could not finish hers as well. As a side note to Pam’s report from yesterday… I was very proud of Pam. I have seen her pet snakes and touch many animals other people would have run from but leeches have been Pam’s eerie animal. In the past she would not get in lakes or rivers if she thought there were leeches with a mile. Well yesterday after the first two hours she started baiting her own hook with the leeches. I guess the prospect of catching her favorite fish outweighed the fear of the leeches. Anyway I was very proud of her!

Until tomorrow!                                                                                                                                                 Lake Oahe view 10 miles North of Pierre


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pedaling Day # 30

Miles today – 60.3

Daily ride time – 4 hrs 29 min

Average – 13.6 mph

Daily Climb – 1,288 feet

Total BRAA mileage – 2,031

Weather leaving Bob’s Resort –  clear sky, temp 49 degrees

Weather arriving @ Pierre SD– sunny, temp 77 wind from the east at 10

Today was a milestone day for us an our bicycle in two ways:  One we broke the 2,000 mile mark for our cross country journey and two we now have over 13,000 miles together on the bike.  Quite a feat!  It is a cleansing experience to ride the bike early in the morning watching all

of the animals waking up and getting fit at the same time.  This morning there were plenty of white

tail deer out, and a few other varmints that I’m not sure of, along with the pheasants and various other birds.  The first 32 miles today were especially nice as we had very little climb.

At about 10 miles into our journey we saw another cyclist biking toward us in the distance.  Turns out he was walking his bike towards us with a few mechanical problems.  Brian helped Jim from Albuquerque, the cyclist, put his chain back on and watched him attempt to air up his tire.  Let us just say he (Jim) wasn’t really mechanically inclined (I’m not one to speak about mechanically inclined, I do have Brian though).  However he was prepared for camping out complete with bear repellant along with various other similar weighty items that I wouldn’t have even thought to carry along.                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Pam held up 2 fingers at our 2,000 mile mark    Brian holds up 3 fingers when our bike reaches 13,000 miles

After our Good Samaritan deed, we took off again toward Pierre (pronounced peer), SD.  Brian informed me that this is the second smallest state capital with less than 14,000 people, the first being Montpelier, VT.  We stopped at the Oahe Dam information center, just six miles north of Pierre.  Two nice ladies shared information with us on what to see in Pierre, first on their list being the capital building.  We will see this and the museum tomorrow as we have one day to explore the town prior to flying home Thursday for 72 hours.  On our way into Pierre, we climbed (and walked the bike about ¼ mile) up another “puke” hill as Ron called the similar hill going into Bismarck.  The only reason we chose this route was to stop at the Super Walmart as we needed vitamins and a couple other items that are hard to find in dinky towns along our route.  By 12:30 we made it to the Days Inn, where we’re using some bonus points for a free night’s stay.  Tomorrow we stay with Tom and Ellen Lee who live here in Pierre, and offered their home and storage for our bike until Sunday. Until next week, Pam

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