Tuesday, June 22, 2010

first few days

Saturday 19th

We made it to the start -bikes and gear are all ok. We got bumped up to first class for our flight. Chris slept the whole trip so he did not get a lot of it that.

We waited around the airport about an hour before getting a ride to Everett. In our van was Mark- the oldest rider on the trip at 81 years old. This will be his fourth trip across the country. He and Chris, the youngest rider, hit it off well as Mark wanted to go around the airport with Chris “looking for fun”. He got both of us a bit unnerved with talk of all the high passes we will be going over. Suddenly our local training trips up Hawk mountain don't sound intense enough.

We are camped at a Boys/Girls club. We are in the outfield with about 30 other tents. We played a bit of ping pong,read and got our bikes ready.

Sunday 20th;

The day started early – we were up around 5:30 am.Partly that was due to noise in the campground and partly due to jet lag. The challenge first thing was just getting re-packed. All the street clothes we traveled in had to now fit in the duffels. Also, things that packed well in a warm dry house did not fit as well in a cold, damp tent. Still we made it all and were on the road a bit after 7.

We all rode to a local marina where we could dip rear tires into the pacific. For those going across the country, tradition is to dip the rear tire in the pacific and the front in the Atlantic. After the marina, we crossed over a high concrete bridge. I saw a fire truck on top and wondered if something happened to a rider. Sure enough, at the top a woman had gone down. There was a metal expansion joint angled across the road. People yelled to us to look and be careful and ride at ninety degrees. We couldn't understand it and looked up at them – that moment of inattention took Chris down. He crashed in what appeared to be simply going over. Unfortunately he bent his wheel beyond fixable. We waited on the side for a while and then got a loaner wheel from the tour van.

From then the ride went better – except for weather. A few miles down the road was the first of many coffee shops we will hit. A warm cup really cheered us up. The ride was misty wet (that's what the metal joint was so slick) but then it really started to rain. We put on all our wet weather gear – jackets, helmet covers. Unfortunately other things were in the vans. We could have used our shoes covers. Chris also had nothing for his hands and that got chilled. Later in the day we got a pair of plastic food prep gloves frm another coffee shop – they worked great t keep the chill off his hands.

Lunch was at a parking area where they set up a trailer with hot soup, sandwiches,snacks etc. It hit the a spot but we were so cold that by the end we really needed coffee. We backtracked a quarter mile and got an espresso. Wow – that really hit the spot. Plus it was only 75 cents for two. Made my day.

Chris and I really want to make sure we enjoy what we are seeing. We stopped numerous times for sights – it included a brief hike ti see a raging river. We are so amazed by the trees here.

Part of the ride was pretty rough along rute 2. it is a busy road the the shoulder was narrow a few times. Many Rvs towing trailers rode by clsoe.

Towards the end of the day, we started the climb to Stevens pass. Monday we will climb from 900 ft to 4200 ft. then it is a 20-30 mile downhill (of course it will be a 16 mile uphill before that)

we are camped in skymonish. Chris and I are under a big roof so the rain won't bug us too much. The town is actually a Superfund cleanup location. 80Yeats ago the railroad depot dumped fuel and oil in the ground on a regulate basis. It worked its way to the nearby river. Now they are basically lifting each house (about 30) and cleaning the soil beneath. Then they re-build foundation and lower the houses again.

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