TransAm Days 73, rest day, 75, 76 and 77 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th of July

Tom writes:

Halfway to Baker City: 87 kms

Baker

Baker City to Prairie City: 108 kms

Prairee

Prairie City to Dayville: 72 kms

Dayville

Dayville to Mitchell: 62 kms

Mitchell

We can almost smell the ocean...
We can almost smell the ocean…

Total distance so far: 6324 kms

 

First to a point of order.

I received a complaint from a reader who shall remain nameless but obviously has too much time on her hands (due in the main to the fact that she spends most of it in various South Sea paradises), that I spelled the word hail/hale wrong in not one but two of my previous pieces.

This is of course the fault of the English language generally and The Oxford English and Webster dictionaries specifically and can hardly by any stretch of the imagination be attributed to your humble correspondent in any way whatsoever.

To those among you who may feel the need to comment on similar vulgarities in the future, I recommend a course of genuflection¬†and a dozen hale maries until such time as you realise the error of your ways. ūüôā

OK back to the business in hand.

We left you in limbo last time as we prepared to power our way into the amazing town that isn’t Baker City. My weird mind couldn’t get a certain quite good song¬†made great¬†by a phenomenal sax solo, out of my thoughts as I was riding but sadly there was nothing about the place that lent itself to such musical wonderment.

I was  reduced to vaguely hoping for Sherlock Holmes or even Danny the brilliant radio presenter to bring this cruddy place to some sort of life but sadly it was not to be.

We did play a solitary tribute round of the sausage sandwich game just for the hell of it though. It was a layover day after all and there was shit all else to do.

On the way there we broke the 6000 km barrier which we celebrated in the usual way by taking a stupid picture. We were for once at the top of a nice mountain at the time so there was a reasonable view for a change.

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We are now three days into the last seven and I must admit that my enthusiasm for describing more routine examples of astonishing beauty is diminishing at the same rate that my thigh muscles are getting more toned after fighting and defeating yet another slope.

It is beautiful around here but I am no poet and can’t be arsed finding new adjectives to describe it.

This picture anyway is typical for the deserty and scrubby landscape that we see between the foresty bits.

Eat your heart out Wordsworth.

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I am so uninspired right now that I just spent an hour watching chess on the computer which might sound geeky but really is.

But even someone who understands only the fundamentals of this honourable game (like me for example) should sacrifice an hour or so to see the brilliantly funny communicator and pedagogue, Jan Gustafsson playing banter blitz against patsies. (While discussing movies, basketball and other bullshit).

Anyway we stayed at our final campground a couple of days ago and I managed to grab quite a nice picture of an old railway station (I refuse to utter the word “railroad”).

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We apparently have enough money in the kitty to stay indoors until the end now so the tent has been packed away and won’t be seen until sometime in another life if I have my way.

To be fair I have quite enjoyed sleeping under canvas and being woken by annoying birds but the pitching and unpitching part I can well do without.

What do you all make of this by the way?

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Anyway we will skip to where we are now which is the nicest hostel we have stayed at so far, run by people who burn for providing cheap accommodation for velocipedes.

It is an ex church that is now half a church/half a hostel and is an interesting concept.

A lovely place it is, in any case.

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If you are ever in Mitchell, Oregon why not give Spoke’n Hostel¬†a try.

We got some pics of the famous painted hills and another gorgeous gorge but now it is time for some nourishment so until a later moment in my life, au revoir.

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Meet the Triangular Impalas 8

Tom writes:

Here he is, the man you have all been waiting for, the dear leader himself, Kim Jong Jared.

The man who has supported and torn his hair out for us for over two months without ever showing an iota of irritation or stress.

(I am sure he has felt some though…)

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Name: Jared

Age: 40

From: Minneapolis, Minnesota

How I got into cycling: I am a born again cyclist. Five years ago I got into commuting to work tand then got the idea of cycling from brother Jesic in LA to friend Susan in DC.

Favourite moments when cycling: A day on the Kankamagus pass, it was Sunday morning and I got up early for a tough day. I met lots of people and it was very friendly. A great view down the hill and to top it all I met some guys riding Harleys who I struck up a great conversation with.

Cheese or chocolate?: Chocolate

Biggest disappointment or negative moment when cycling: Last August when hit by car for the second time while trying to cycle across the country. It was in Forest Grove, Pennsylvania at a stop sign, hit by a hit and run driver.

Say something funny: Billy Goat Ace Eater Alligator One

Cycling ambitions: To make it across the country without getting hit by a car. To cycle 50 miles in every state.

If  you were to strap a piece of bread and jam with the jam side up onto the back of a cat and drop it from a high building, how would it land?: If you did it you would create a perpetual motion machine. You wil have discovered free energy.

Music: Awakenings by Michael Allen Harrison

Film: Fifth Element

Five people you would like to have at a dinner party:

Joel Hodgson

Penn

Teller

Isaac Asimov

My brother Jesec

What would you serve: I would take them to the Travail Restaurant in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.

 

Thanks Jared. It has been a real pleasure getting to know you. Hope to see you down under some time in the future.

Meet the Triangular Impalas 7

Tom writes:

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeres Johnny! Our leader since Pueblo, Colorado gives his amazingly insightful answers to my impertinent questions.

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Name: Johnny

Age: 39

From: Los Angeles, home of Lax airport

How I got into cycling: I rode as a kid up to high school, bought a car and forgot about the bike until 2008. I was then asked to join my company’s triathlon team, even though I can’t swim and fell in love with the bike again.

Favourite moments when cycling: My first day riding in Spain to France. It was such a milestone, a new country and a new language, the only thing that kept me going was the bike.

Cheese or chocolate?: Chocolate.

Biggest disappointment or negative moment when cycling: Not riding all the way to the Black Sea because my friend was fatigued. We weren’t having fun anymore and felt it was time to quit. I really wish I had made it.

Say something funny: What did the snail say on the back of a turtle? Weeeeeeeee!

Cycling ambitions: Go anywhere and everwhere possible with a bike. All  seven continents would be cool.

If  you were to strap a piece of bread and jam with the jam side up onto the back of a cat and drop it from a high building, how would it land?: I default to the jam side.

Music: “In Rainbows” by Radiohead

Film: Pulp Fiction

Five people you would like to have at a dinner party:

My dad

My mother

My sister

Both grandmothers

What would you serve: Mixed chinese vegetable dish

 

Thanks Johnny. Read all he has to say on the Milestone Rides blog. A bloody good read!

A Song for Every State 9

Tom writes:

This is the pits, it has to be said. Not only is it (as usual) in the wrong key, it is also in the wrong tense and to top it all almost impossible to hear.

“Idaho lot of shaking going on” was the effect I was looking for anyway which is unworthy of a state that has actually proved to be my favourite in this whole continent so far.

Here it is in all its patheticness:

Here is the original in a magnificent live version:

TransAm Days 70, 71 and 72 20th, 21st and 22nd of July

Tom writes:

Grangeville to New Meadows: 130 kms

NewMeadows

New Meadows to Cambridge: 86 kms

Cambridge

Cambridge to Halfway: 98 kms

Halfway

Into our final state
Into our final state

Total number of punctures so far: 7 (Ami 4, Tom 3)

Total distance so far: 5995 kms

 

Literally minutes after writing my latest masterpiece in Grangeville, which incidently I am sure you all enjoyed as much as the latest episode of Eastenders, we were hit by a hale storm that made the one in Powell, Montana look like being sprayed by a medium sized sprinkler.

If table tennis balls were the order of that evening then here it was their tennis equivalents¬†and by the way they were striking the sides of our tent it felt like it could have been Roscoe Tanner serving them up. (A reference for the old timers ūüôā )

Our tent stood tall as usual but some were not so lucky. In the aftermath of the attack I took this photo of one of the unfortunate ones. (No one we knew I hasten to add.)

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Our ride the day after was one of the longer ones on this tour and we set out early (amazingly on the notoriously late rising Ami’s insistence) for New Meadows.

We have both come to the conclusion that Idaho very easily could qualify as our favourite state. The landscape has been wonderfully beautiful but crucially also incredibly varied. (Take note, Kansas).

After an early climb we were confronted with a view over a valley to end all views so we just gawped at it for a while.

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This photo, despite Ami’s beauty, barely does justice to its wonderfulness.

We then followed the gorge of the Salmon river which even had fine grained sand beaches to lure you into its clutches. We resisted the urge to bathe this time as we had a lot of pedalling left to do, but it would have been pleasant as the heat was really starting to come into its own by this time.

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I quite liked this bus as well.

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On leaving New Meadows the day afterwards we were confronted with the following information that left us so underwhelmed that we had to take a picture of it.

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I guess we had to cross it at some point.

An uneventful, reasonably short and not too hilly ride was met by quite a civilised camp ground that had a (shock, horror) hand shower, hot pools and above all a really comfortable temperature all night long; so comfortable that I was able to sleep in just my pants (underwear for you Americans), snugger than a bugger in a rugger scrum.

A lovely picture of Ami outside our tent:

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And today we hit Hells Canyon. After a climb it just hit us as we rode down a sweet gradient and it was very beautiful. Our resident know-all (in a lovely way, he just happens to have done this trip about 30 times already), Ronny, warned us that this could be a tough day what with head winds and temperatures in the 40’s, but this never really materialised.

Instead we just pedalled jauntily along marvelling at some spectacular sights.

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Slightly after this award winning photo was taken, we hit one of our final milestones.

Oregon!

Yupp, our final state (if you don’t count Euphoria) is now in our greedy little grasp and it really makes you feel like you are at last on the finishing stretch. We feel ready to sprint like Usain Bolt (on a bike) into the welcoming waves of the Pacific Ocean in the very near future.

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It gives the extra energy we need to stay focused and enthusiastic about the final week.

It has been a long trip and it is easy to tire of the routine of riding a long way, pitching a tent, sleeping in a straight jacket before packing your tent once again in everything from freezing cold to boiling heat, winds and rain.

Repeat the above ad infinitum and it is easy to see why you might get slightly pissed off.

There has been the occasional meltdown, and one or both of us have at times been the guilty party when they have occurred, but in general I am amazed how well our group has kept everything together.

Now when the finish line is in sight we both feel like we have got a second wind and are raring to go all the way to the bitter end.

Until then, bis später.

 

 

Some pictures from Missoula, Montana. ACA headquarters

Tom writes:

While in Missoula we got some quite nice piccies taken.

From left to right top row: Ami, Dave, Karla, Tom, Jack, Jared, Madison, Zo√ę and Ronny. Kneeling: Johnny and Christi.
From left to right top row: Ami, Dave, Emily, Karla, Tom, Jack, Jared, Madison, Zo√ę and Ronny. Kneeling: Johnny and Christi.
Zo√ę and Ronny.
Zo√ę and Ronny.

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Dave, Madison and Jared.
Dave, Madison and Jared.
Jared and Karla.
Jared and Karla.
Johnny, Jared, Christi and Arlen( ACA's big boss man).
Johnny, Jared, Christi and Arlen( ACA’s big boss man).