Well, it's Hannah's bike log, but Mom will do at least part of the intro. As I mentioned on other pages, the bike ride took shape over a period of YEARS, and it’s final form was very much a function of timing (Hannah is thirteen this summer, old enough, and strong enough to make the trip). It will also ensure that she doesn’t miss large chunks of material that will be on the SAT’s, as she isn’t starting high school until the fall of 2004. As I was planning the trip early on, when Hannah was 11 or so, I asked her what would convince HER to go on the trip. She was impressed with geysers, and had done a report on them for a school project. So, her answer was that any cross country trip had to include Yellowstone on the bike route. It's taken some amount of rearranging to work it into the route, but it's definitely there! Getting back to the Lewis and Clark trail from Yellowstone will ensure we see LOTS of Montana, however. It’s a good thing it’s a beautiful state.
I think at age 11, Hannah had NO concept that she could actually make the trip all the way across. She had her doubts even as we started training in March of this year (2003). I DID sit down with her with John Forrester’s book “Effective Cycling,” and show her how training had an effect on building muscle tissue and producing more red blood cells to transport needed oxygen to the muscles for a venture like this. The bottom line of the explanation was, “If you stick to the training schedule, you WILL be ready to do the trip.” A simple, but effective statement, apparently, because Hannah’s done extremely well at getting in her weekly mileage, and exceeding it some weeks. I would still consider her attitude to be “cautiously optimistic.” She's looking forward to the trip, even as she realizes she's also missing a summer of hanging out with her friends. It will help that she can have phone and e-mail contact.
Contrary to what was said earlier, I didn't say that I would go across the country if we stopped at Yellowstone. I said that if I went on the trip AT ALL, I would go AS FAR as Yellowstone, MAYBE more. This was agreed, and I figured that it would be a summer trip for me. About a year later, I was somewhere with my mom who is talking with a stranger about the trip. In the conversation, I overheard her saying "yeah, she thinks she is only going to Yellowstone, but she is going all the way across with me." I have absolutely no clue when that decision was made, but I went along with it. Now, two weeks before we leave, I am still terrified of the Rockies, but I believe I can make it. Hopefully, we will still have enough energy to get the rest of the way after we get through the Rockies.
whatever optimism I had earlier is just about gone now. I got up at 3:30 a.m., and was on the plane at 7:00.we flew to New Jersey, and then switched flights to the one that would take us all the way. It was sooooo depressing to see all of the ground beneath you and know that you would have to cross it on two wheels. I had to pay for some headphones (that I am pretty sure are only usable on that kind of airplane) so I could listen to the movie they were playing (daredevil, man that is a strange movie), and I had to listen to songs that are sung in spanish! anyway, six hours later (what would be 3:00 at home, but is noon here) we landed, ate lunch, and then spent the next three hours putting out bikes back together. there is one thing that I really like about Oregon though: they have a lane on the roads JUST FOR BIKERS!!!! we only got 5 miles today, but we were exhausted (you would be too if you had a 27-hour day!!!!!) well, that is all I have to write for now, and I donít know when I will be able to write again (it was by a stroke of luck that the hotel we chose tonight had a computer with Internet), but I will try to get back soon.
Just something I have to say: people out here are WAY too friendly! the way just come up to you and start talking as if you have known each other forever! Anyway, our first day went pretty well. The biggest problem we had was there was a pretty bad omen within the first 5 miles: a flat tire. It took us about 20 minutes to deal with that, and then we kept going. Our camp that night wasnít too great though; we were at a mobile home park, but the guy just let us take the grassy area in front of the parking lot. The place has definitely seen better days! the doorknobs were broken, all of the campers seemed rather rusty, the bathroom was an outhouse, and the owner of the place looked like one of the guys that just gives up on living around 40 years old and wastes away in front of the t.v. with a beer bottle in his hand (although he was pretty friendly). there was also a cat that we kind of became friends with. I made the mistake of petting him for awhile, and he didn't leave us alone after that. Not to say that the place didnít have any good qualities; the showers were good and there was this nice mint-smelling thing growing on the ground.
The next day wasn't so great. mom and I turned onto a road to get breakfast (thinking dad was right behind us) and I ended up having to pedal my way up to about 20 mph to catch up with my dad to tell him that we had turned. after this, we had three HORRIBLE hills, and they left me seriously wondering if I had made a mistake in coming on this trip. At the top of the hill, there was a small park with a great view of the Columbia River.
|Now, picture this: a campsite that was surrounded by trees (to block the wind), has a picnic table (a rare find when not at a campsite), a bathroom with running water not too far off (reeaallly a rare find when not at a campsite), and relatively flat ground. Now, what could possibly be wrong with this campsite?|
|that's what!!!!!!! We had decided that we would at least eat dinner there, and if rangers didn't come and bust us by the time we were done, we would spend the night. They didnít come. We camped illegally. I woke up a bit early, so by the time my dad came out of his tent, mine was already half-down (his face was wonderful when he saw this!!). By the time my mom was up, I was stuffing the tent in its bag, but she didn't notice for awhile. PS: a ranger did find us in the morning, but didnít seem too upset.|
Today, we had a really lousy headwind, so the hills were pretty tough. We did reach Astoria though, so now we are going to (or at least, this is what I have been told for the past 80 miles, but I'm not exactly convinced)have a tailwind, which will make me VERY happy (if there aren't any hills to spoil it)! I don't know what we are going to do for camping tonight, but tomorrow is 4th of July, so hopefully we will be somewhere with fireworks tomorrow.
The day after that, we were at Seaside. We stayed in town for a little bit, and then went to see Haystack Rock (note about haystack rock: there are MULTIPLE haystack rocks. so far, we have only seen two of them, but we here they are all up and down the coast). The next day we had a pretty good day. riding wasn't that bad, and we got 39 miles in (the farthest yet on the trip). I should mention though that I got injured multiple times. first, I had the bike stopped for a second, and the wheel turned and hit me in the knees. Then, we had stopped at a bike store to get a new innertube (dad busted his), and as we were leaving, my bike leaned away from me, and I couldnít get my foot out of the toe-clip, so the bike brought me down with it. (note about that day: it was Katie Holtgrewe's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) This brings us to today. We finally found a spot to dip our wheels in the Pacific (cant say itís a trip across the country unless we do that), and found a place to do laundry and update this page. It has been flat, so riding hasn't been bad.
|notice the long grass, the river that wasn't 10 FEET OFF and yet near impossible to reach (there just so that it could taunt us in the 90+ heat) this is a picture of where my parents tent was, but you can see a little bit of mine in the corner behind it. The grass had seeds on it that were very sharp, and designed to latch onto an animal (or cyclist) and spread its seeds that way. I think that even now when we are home, we may still have some of those seeds stuck in our socks!|
|The next night was interesting. we found a good place to sleep, it had running water and a place to charge up all electronics, but as for where we slept, we had a nice, comfortable, cozy, TEEPEE! it was pretty spacious, and a lot better than some of the places we have had. In fact, it was so spacious we offered some of our room to another cyclist. a girl came down to the teepee section, and was saying how she didnít know what she was going to do that night (because we took the last teepee), so we decided to let her have a spot in ours. Her name is Dana, and she apparently had been traveling with Luke for a little bit (including the dirt road part). Now, you can not believe how creepy it is to come across someone that you have never seen before, and you say one sentence, and they say "oh yea, you are the family that is biking across the country!" Dana was about the 4th person to do that. she says she heard about us from a cashier back in Eugene, and all the others probably heard from other bikers (its an unwritten rule that bikers are friends with all other bikers; so when they stopped to talk, I guess they talk about the other bikers they have met, and we were one of them)|
|Now we get to the "fun" part of the trip. for the past week, we have been hearing about "McKinsey pass" and how difficult it is. well, the day we left the teepee, we started going up it. McKinsey pass is over 5000 feet above sea level, and we started going up it at about 1000 feet. the road is about as wide as a one-way street should be, and yet itís a 2-way street. this leaves just about no room for bikers. we got 15 miles our first day (the shortest distance so far on the trip), then we got to the top at noon the next day. THAT HILL WAS HUGE!!!! all of the hills we have done so far this trip took us about two hours TOPS, and this took us a day and a half. I must say though, it was reeaaaaaaalllllly nice to come down a downhill that lasted 45 minutes w/out having to pedal!!!|
|Anyway, while we are here, we are going kayaking, going to see crater lake, seeing legally blonde 2 (what can I say- im a blonde, I cant miss it) and me and my cousin JJ just got back from floating down the river on an inflatable island (complete with palm tree!), and watching le tour de France (but we haven't seen any replay footage of Lance's stunt where he swerved to miss the other biker, Beloki, when he fell down, went off the road, completely skipped a switchback, and then jumped off his bike and put it on his shoulder to miss a ditch and got back on it at a running start and re-joined the pack w/out missing a beat). There is also a bridge that goes over the river that a lot of the locals like to jump off. Well, it was kinda hot out, so I just walked over, asked someone where was it safest to jump from, found out, went over, and jumped (its really fun to tell people you have jumped off a bridge!). turns out the water was a lot colder than I thought, and it is a REALLY LONG wait from the time you jump to the time you hit the water.|
note: legally blonde 1 is better than the 2nd, donít let anyone tell you otherwise, and mom didn't finish order of the phoenix- although I got to reread all of my favorite parts.
|When we went up to Crater Lake, we came across someone who had a really cool kind of bike called a recumbent. Recumbent are basically lawn chairs crossed with bikes. This one is particularly nice (as far as I am concerned) because the steering is down beneath the seat, so you don't have to hold your arms out, and it s a trike, so you don't have to worry about balance. This also means that you can be creeping along at 1 mph, and wonít fall over. on a regular bike, I think my record low speed is 2.5 mph (but my mother might be able to pull off something lower- it takes a long time for her to be going too slow)|
|Our first day out, Uncle Doug and his friend Bill lead us to the campsite, which happened to be at the bottom of a canyon. we filtered water from the stream, and set up camp. well, it turns out that what everyone was telling us at Bend was right: we were in for some hot, dry days and nights. I ended up taking the rain fly off my tent before I went to sleep because it was so hot. the next day we had to go up a hill to get out of the canyon, and we expected to have our usual 2nd breakfast at the next town, Prineville. well, it was an hours ride away, so we got there and ended up having an early lunch. on the way there, we passed a llama farm, so I got a good close-up picture of a llama.|
|The next day, we were down-right boiling (we are going through desert at this time) so we stopped at a reservoir and took a swim. it helped A LOT! we got to Mitchell, a town that I really hope has seen better days. it is an honest-to-god ghost- town. the only buildings that even look USED are the post office and the hotel, which we stayed at. the hotel manager/janitor/owner/everything else was pretty friendly, and he described staying at the hotel "just like stayin' at grandma's" he also stressed that we didnít have to worry about anything getting stolen, because "that just a bunch of big-city non-sense, and besides, I'm in charge of security around here," and pointed to his dogs outside. there was a kitten living at the hotel named Joey, so I quickly became friends with him (even though he kept trying to eat all of the straps on out bikes, and thought my hair was a toy).|
well, we left Baker City, and headed to Hell's Canyon. We stopped at the Oregon trail interpretive site, which basically confirmed what I have always thought: you either had to be mental or desperate to go on the Oregon trail. Mom has been saying that if she was one of the women who's husband brought her out here, she said that when she arrived she would have looked around, said "you brought me out here for this?!?!?!?!", shot him, and called it "justifiable homicide." we left there, and continued to the canyon. we didnít get there that day, but we got to a town called Richland, and spent the night in a park. when we left, it already had promise of a really hot day. we were right. se stopped around mid-day in a town called half-way to a: escape the heat, b: eat something, and c: see if there was a library, but there wasnít so I had to wait until today. we continued on, and found the stretch of road that other bikers told us had them delayed for 8 hours because of a mudslide. we had to be "escorted" through the area because they werenít quite done cleaning it up, but it wasnít that bad (except for the dust: that was horrible). we stopped right outside of the town of Pine Creek. that was a DEATHLY small town. it consisted of one building, a convenient/gas/fishing gear store. you could also just about see both town line signs at the same time if you were in the right spot. anyway, we stopped at an RV park, and spent the night on their front lawn. we woke up at 4 am, and were on the road by 5:30. we wanted to beat the heat, because canyons always reflect the sunlight and turning it basically into an oven. this would not be helpful because it is already 100 degrees just about every day anyway. we crossed the Oregon/Idaho state line at either 9:00 or 10:00, depending one what time zone you are thinking about because that is also where the time changes. we had a 2000 foot climb out of the canyon, and we stopped 3 times to swim. I swear that must be the coldest stream we have seen on the trip!!!!!!! we got out of the canyon, and had a downhill into the next town. we camped in the town park, but we payed $5 for a campsite at an RV park just so we could use the showers. the next day, we had a long, steady climb, but we had a couple towns to stop in so it wasnít quite that bad. also, as we were going on a little road, a black cocker spaniel came up to us. We tried to read his tag, but it was too worn out. then we tried to lead him up to the nearest house to see if he belonged to them, but mom didnít stop, and he followed her. then he just went down to a stream, and we figured we should just go. Today, I got a flat tire when a truck went by, didnít give me enough room, and I had to go off the road onto a gravel turn-out. I found a staple in my tire (I have no clue how they get there, but there are TONS of them on roadsides). we fixed it, and went on. we have had mostly downhill, but we will pay dearly for it over the next couple of days. tomorrow, we have to go up a huge hill, and after that hill is Lolo pass, which is higher than McKinsey pass was.
now, it is time for the important stuff. Some people will be disappointed, others will be thrilled. some people will be a little surprised, and others have been expecting it since before Christmas. I have been lying to a fair amount of people for awhile, mostly using this website. I have been leading many people to believe I am enjoying this trip. well, I never wanted to be here in the first place. the only reason I am here is because my dad said he was going to go on it, and I realized that if he was going, there would be nowhere for me to stay for the summer. That is the only thing that made me agree to come. I mentioned in the introduction that the way I found out I would be going all the way is by hearing my mom tell some stranger about it. well, with the decision being made like that, she should have been expecting this: I have decided that I am going to come home either on or before August 19th. Biking across the country doesnít appeal to me, and I would rather be home. if I go the 19th, I will have a week to get ready for school, and get used to eastern time zone again. I will be able to see some friends again, and a lot of what I have been dreading missing because of this trip I will get back. Of course, I can never get my summer back: that was robbed from me, and has now been wasted by wheezing up hills and baking in the heat. if I leave on the 19th, that will give me time to see Yellowstone and great falls, so everything will almost be back to the original plan that I actually agreed to. my mom is still planning on going farther though, so there will still be a trip to follow. to everyone back home, see you soon(er)!!!!! :-D
|later on, right when we got to the bad part of the climb up Lolo, it started to rain and thunder (yes, there was another one WEST OF THE MISSOURI DOUG!!!!). I got to a pullout and read the historical sign. "during their journey through the Lolo region, Lewis and Clark were caught in a lightning storm..." and I just think "now, learning history with accuracy is nice, but it DOESNíT have to be THIS accurate!!!!!!!!" while I was waiting for my parents to catch up, a truck with a sleeper stopped to read this sign, so I went up to him and said "ironic, isnít it" and he just started laughing, and then asked if I was Lewis or Clark. I replied I wasnít sure. when my parents got there, they got a picture of me under the sign dripping wet (see left)|
|anyway, we did make it over Lolo pass that day. when we did, we also crossed into montana, and into mountain time. we stayed in a teepee again, but this one was smaller and had bark mulch for a floor instead of a carpet. that must have been the coldest might the whole trip so far. I was wearing just about everything I had on the trip: bike shorts, leg warmers (those 2 things together are pretty much pants), my long pants over that, 2 pairs of socks, one of my biking shirts, my sweatshirt, and moms hat, and it was still freezing out. when I got into my sleeping bag it was a lot better though.|
|the next day we saw old faithful, castle geyser, morning glory pool, sawmill geyser (I didnít like that one very much, it kept splashing me and it smelled more like sulphur than most of the other things there), anenome geyser (my new favorite geyser- it starts out empty, it fills up right before it erupts, and THE SECOND its done, it drains out. its kinda comical, as if its saying "see, I did it. goodbye now, Elvis has left the building!"), and pretty much everything in the upper-geyser basin, which has most of the famous geysers. on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the various other basins. mom and I have decided that Sapphire pool is our favorite- the color blue it has can not possibly be captured on film I donít think. its BEAUTIFUL!)|
|I forgot to mention earlier that we had a couple traffic jams due to bison in the middle of the road. Most of the pictures we got didn't show how close we actually were to them (you never know, we could have used zoom!) , so I took this one with the frame of the car in it for reference.|
well, pretty much the whole trip between Missoula and great falls was smoky. mom took every allergy and athsma medication she owned every day, and either Iím getting a cold (which is entirely likely) or I got a fair amount of ash in my lungs (which is also likely). anyway, the first day out, we were intending to stay in a campground somewhere along the road, but that didnít go too well. I got there before my parents did, so I decided to check out the campsite, assuming they would follow me in. well, they didnít. by the time I got back to the road, they were already down the road out of my site. I wait for awhile, and then flagged down a driver to ask them if they had seen my parents. they said no, but they also said that if they did, they would tell them to wait for me. I got back on my bike and kept going. I caught up with them pretty easily, because dad had turned around to look for me. because of this, we ended up staying in the "town" of Ovando" that night. im not really convinced it counted as a town. a concentrated area of farms maybe, but not a town. when we first got there, the store and bed and breakfast looked absolutely deserted, so we camped on the front lawn of the museum (which looked even more deserted). 2 people came to talk to us, and the first thing they said was "hi, we are on bikes too, but we are doing it in style." they were Carren and Mark (Carren pronounced car-en, not care-en) Issacson. we found out that they are originally from Maine, but they were staying in the bed and breakfast that night. later, the mayor came by. now, 2 things about that sentence puzzle me. first, that a town that small had a mayor to begin with, and second, how HE got the job. he must have been the only person running, I am not joking. I think he had a mental disability of some sort, like a really, really, and I mean really, strong case of autism. he was kinda like Forest Gump, just talking away and not caring if anyone is listening or not. I missed most of his speech because I was in my tent reading, but when I did come out he had brought his horse over. I tried to ask him how many hands the horse was (for the non horse-knowledgeable people, that is a way of measuring how tall a horse is), but im not really sure if he answered me. he did manage to tell me that the horse was pretty young, and that makes sense because it was kind of jumpy, and looked pretty short (which is why I was asking how many hands it was in the first place). we finally got him to go away by saying we were going to go to bed. when we got up in the morning, we found that there was some life in the town. the store was open, and about half of the town was in there having breakfast. we went to get some provisions, and met the local dogs. I am not kidding you, out of the 50 people living in that town, we must have seen at least 30 of them. it is the perfect example of a sleepy little montana town where everybody knows everybody else. the next day, it was even smokier, so when we got to the town of Lincoln, we bought some visene (the first store we tried was sold out, and with good reason!!). then we stopped at a ranger station to ask if there was a good place to stealth camp, because if we stayed at the campsite that was along the way, it would be a pretty short day. well, there wasnít any, so we stayed at the campground. guess who else was there? Carren and Mark! we invited them over for breakfast, and they gave me some of their pop tarts ( :-D ). we had fun making fun of the RV in the campsite next to ours, that was a: HUGE, and b: had a SATELLITE DISH out on the side. they were kinda loud, which we didnít like too much, but also kinda amusing. the next day we got to a restaurant that was right at a junction. the sign at the junction confirmed what I had been thinking for the past couple days: we were supposed to take a completely pointless 20 mile detour. the map had this almost right-triangle on it, and at the corner was the town of augusta, which is where we were suppose to be spending the night. well, the sign said augusta, go left, great falls, go straight! well, we decided that the map-making people probably had some sort of good reason for the detour, so we decided to take it. Augusta turned out to be a much better town than Ovando. sure, people still knew each other, but there was a hotel, couple restaurant, a store, and a gas station, so it earned my respect. as we were coming out of the store, we saw (can you guess) Mark and Carren, and they told us that they were at the hotel in town, so we stayed there too. it was a really dinky little hotel: some of the rooms just had one twin bed, and I think we got one of the few with a queen AND a twin. Other than that, there was a sink and desk in each room, and a bathroom at each end of the hall. apparently in the middle of the night a bunch of drunks were down on the street, and moms line of thought was "uh oh, they are getting closer. uh oh, they are coming up the stairs. UH OH THEY ARE TAKING THE ROOM RIGHT NEXT TO US!!!!!!! then the owner of the hotel had to come up a couple times to quiet them down, and the last time he said "look, I am not coming up here again. who WILL come up here is the Sherif. now SHUT UP ALREADY!!!" at this point one of the drunks said something about going back to jail again, so we got in his pickup and left. finally they did quiet down. as for me? I slept through the whole thing, and only know this because mom relayed the whole story to me. So, this brings us to the next day. oh my. I must warn everyone about this part. only read if you are in the mood to here a long, sad, depressing story. so, the day starts of pretty good. easy riding, tailwind, dead flat ground, what more can you ask for? well, then we met 2 other cyclists and stopped to talk with them. by the time we started riding again, a headwind had picked up. this isnít that bad, but hang in there. We got through a couple towns, and then at some point within a mile of THE LAST TOWN BEFORE GREAT FALLS, I got ahead of my parents. I stop at a store to wait for them for awhile. after a few minutes, I still donít see them, so I turn around. I went a little ways, and didnít see them. I just went back to the store, and figured they would catch up pretty soon. well, dad apparently saw me while I was backtracking, so he came to tell me that mom hadnít shown up, and to wait here while he went back. the next guy to come in the store says "are you with the guy who has a flat tire?" and my mind flashes "I just saw dad. he cant have a flat. wait a minute, what if mom does? YAY FINALLY ITS HER TURN HER TIRES ARENíT INDESTRUCTIBLE AFTER ALL NOW SHE KNOWS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO GET A FLAT WHOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Throughout the trip, dad and I have gotten numerous flats, and she hasnít gotten one, and she is usually sitting there looking really annoyed. well, and hour later, they finally get to the store. turns out they had some trouble fixing the flat. dad and I have a different kind of valve on our wheel than mom (we have presta, she has shreadder), but we only had replacement tubes for a presta valve. we put the presta in, and mom got exactly Ĺ a mile with that. then we pumped it back up, and tried to keep going. one mile later, we stop again, replace the tube AGAIN, and try to keep going. actually got five miles on that try. now, mom just gives up, and says she will hitch a ride into town, and dad and I go ahead to get her a tube. dad dropped me at the first hotel he found, and he kept going to get a tube. about an hour and Ĺ later, he comes back to see if I had heard from mom. I hadnít. he goes out again. He goes to one of the many truck stops on the way out of town, and some trucker made the mistake of asking him how he was. dad tells him the long sad depressing story, and the trucker offers to give dad a ride back out to where we left mom. he gets there, and finds that she is gone. turns out mom walked a few miles, and then a spanish family with a van and a couple trailers with 4-wheelers stops because they had been going the other way about a Ĺ hour before, and when they saw her again figured she was in trouble. mom put her bike in the trailer with the 4-wheeler, and gets a ride to the hotel with them. then we call dad and tell him to come back, its all ok now. the first thing mom does when he does get back is yells at him for not calling her once he got the inner tube. then he said that he was going to but then he got the ride from the trucker. by now, it is almost dark, and we all arenít in the mood to do anything except order a pizza. so, we are in great falls. Today dad and I sent home our front panniers (with the big tent and our sleeping bags, and sent home whatever else we could find that a: we didnít need and b: would fit in the box. then we came here, where I waited for a Ĺ hour for a computer, and then right when I found a far side book (I LOVE the far side) a computer was open. well, the bike trip is coming to and end for me and dad (and there is much rejoicing ::little flags are waved:: if you didnít get that donít worry abut it), and we fly home Tuesday. we pull into Manchester airport around 11 p.m., and get home around one.
Last updated June 30th, 2004