Monthly Archives: June 2022

Riding Coast to Coast on a Bicycle is Crazy

Years ago, when I was a Freshman in College, my baseball coach would give five-minute devotions after practice. He was one of my early life heroes. One particular devotion had a major impact on the rest of my life. He taught on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, and one sentence that he spoke burned into my brain and heart.

“The toughness of the physical challenges that you accept or reject in your life are the foundation of all other areas of your life.”

School – some people work hard, study hard, and make high goals, others, not so much. Occupation – some people work hard, are super conscientious, are constantly learning, and are always trying to do better, others, not so much. Relationships, marriage, and family – some people see the quality of all of their relationships as their responsibility, they work hard at becoming a relational genius, they never blame others and they are never satisfied, others, not so much. God – there are a few who read their Bibles every day, spend time with God in prayer every day, memorize and meditate on scripture, and look for every opportunity to serve, others, not so muck.

According to my baseball coach if you took the easy way in physical challenges in your life you will tend to do the same in all the other areas of your life.

His admonition to us on the team was that if we wanted to accel in all areas of our life we ought to make a habit of regularly looking for something that challenged us physically. He emphasized that those challenges would be different for everyone and would change as we got older, but being lazy, fearful, mostly concerned about comfort, and generally inactive would most often result in a mediocre life in every area.

My baseball coach was just a man with his own opinions on things. You don’t have to believe what he says is true.

I believed what he said was true when I was a freshman in college and I still believe it is true.

2022 Bicycle Trip Summary

Dave Kennedy, Cliff Duke, and I began driving to Yorktown, Virginia, on April 26th, a 3,000-mile journey. We went straight through rotating drivers every three hours. The big deal on this part of our adventure was the tongue on my home-built trailer was too light and bent so that the front was dragging on the road. With several attempts to fix it we finally got it fixed permanently and good by a metal Fab shop on the day that was supposed to be the first day of bicycle riding. So our official first day was riding in the truck with the bicycles in the trailer to our scheduled campground.

The first 9 days of riding we were in Virginia, which will be best remembered for the Appalachian Mountains and the “rollers,” that is hill after hill after hill that was 10 to 15 percent incline that were “killers” to climb all day. Virginia and the mountains were beautiful and the people we’re extremely friendly. The third day is the day Cliff ran into a mailbox because he got sunscreen in his eyes and Kathy then ran over him and wrecked as well. Someone saw them and called 911 and before long there were three emt rigs and two police cars looking for the bicycle wreck! Cliff and Kathy were fine but the bike needed some work.

Day 11 through 16, we were in Kentucky. The memorable thing about Kentucky we’re all the dogs that chased us, and Kathy spraying me with pepper spray accidentally as she was trying to get a dog. I think the State sport in Kentucky is watching your dog chase bicycle riders. Kentucky was also the State where I was in 3 different shops trying to get the pedal on my bike fixed. The positive highlight in Kentucky was having lunch with Laverne Purdy and staying overnight at James Barlow’s house, both who used to attend JBC before moving.

We were in Illinois only three days, days 17 through 19. The main thing about Illinois was that it rained every day, every day was a plus 80 mile day, and had lots of hills, so I was totally bushed every night.

Day 20 through 24 we were in Missouri. Missouri is the State with the Ozarks and if anything could be worse riding because of the hills, the number and the steepness, than the Appalachians it is the Ozarks. Also we had very loud thunder and lightning storms 3 out of the four nights we were in this State.

Next was Kansas, nice flat Kansas. It seemed like we were never going to get out of Kansas, but we were only in it for seven days. But the wind blew hard most of those days and for most of those days it was in the wrong direction, a major head wind that wrings the energy out of you.

Colorado was the beginning of the Rockies, deer, elk, and antelope. We were in Colorado eight days, day 32 through day 40, one day longer than Kansas. Colorado was lots of climbing. Not the up and down kind we experienced at the beginning of the trip, but a 6 percent incline all day long. We went over a number of passes over 9,000 feet and one that was close to 11,000 feet. Now, that will make you pant, for sure. Colorado was very beautiful riding with lots I snow-covered mountains.

Day 41 through 46 was Wyoming. Almost every day while riding we saw probably a hundred antelope, and many were very close. Wyoming was also the State with Yellowstone but it was raining so hard that they closed Yellowstone down because of severe flooding. But even with the rain and wind Wyoming is incredibly beautiful.

Next was Montana on days 47 through 51. Montana was another very beautiful State with mountains, rivers, lakes, and trees.

Idaho was days 52 through 56 and I left the group to go fishing on the Snake River for catfish. The fishing was so poor I should have stayed and finished the trip which ends tomorrow June 28th.

We slept at private campgrounds, state campgrounds, city parks, people’s houses, and churches. It was an awesome adventure and I am so glad that we did it. I have now been in every State in the United States on my bike except for Hawaii.

2022 Bicycle Trip Finale

I just got home from a fishing trip on the Snake River near Huntington, Oregon where I have been for the last four days. My last day bicycling was on Wednesday, June 22nd. On that day, we pedaled about 60 miles and camped at Mundo Hot Springs in Cambridge, Idaho. When we got in there, one of my fishing buddies came and picked me up and drove me to the Snake. It was about a 50-mile ride from the bicycle camping spot to the fishing camping spot. The rest of the bicycle team has two more days before they finish the trip.

I didn’t have any cell service or WiFi where we were fishing so I couldn’t send any blogs. I am totally tuckered out so I am going to write a summary of the bicycle trip tomorrow and call it a day.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 55

Tonight we are camped at Zim’s Hot Springs near New Meadows, Idaho. We rode 77 miles today and it was mostly uphill. It was the kind of uphill that follows a river so it wasn’t extreme but it definitely wears you out when you are plugging along all day long. The river we followed all day was the Salmon River and there were a lot of fisherman. It was a beautiful ride. We saw quite a few bicyclers today who are doing the Transamerican going West to East, and a number of them that I talked to were from England. I have very weak cell service and no wifi here where we are camped so I won’t be able to send any pictures. The hot springs here is 140 gallons a minute of artesian water that is 180 degrees. They have a big swimming pool and two smaller pools. They have a mixing valve like what is on your shower valve to regulate the water temperature in all of the pools, and they blow it up in the air in the pool to help cool the water off a bit. We enjoyed ourselves in the pool tonight relaxing the overworked muscles.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 54

Woke up this morning to pouring rain, and it has been poring rain all day long. This morning when I saw the rain I opted to ride in the pick-up with Dave. I felt terribly wimpy as everyone else took off this morning on their bicycles all bundled up in their rain gear, but as we rode in the truck with it pouring rain having trouble seeing the road I began to feel very wise😀 The forecast is for the rain to go away tonight and tomorrow to be nice. We will see, the weather man has been wrong on numerous occasions on this trip. I really hated missing the ride today because I only had three more days of riding before I bail on the group to go fishing on the Snake river, but I hate riding in the rain. I can’t see very well with my glasses off and when it is raining I can’t see at all which makes me very nervous, and then cars pass you and they spray more water all over you and trucks just about drown you. I hate riding in the rain, but I think I said that already, not complaining, just stating the facts. I am looking forward to a nice sunny day of riding tomorrow and the next day and then fishing!

Paul Risinger and I celebrating the top of Lolo pass and entering Idaho.
An appreciated stop for coffee.
Taking a break out of the rain in the back of the trailer
Looking for small pieces of wire in tires.
Cruising along with all my rain gear on
Pau waving, or saying “don’t take my picture!”

2022 Bicycle Trip -Day 53

We left Lolo Hot Springs at 9:00 am today, we usually leave at 6:00 am, because it was so cold and rainy hoping the rain would quit and the sun would come out. The rain quit for awhile but the sun never did come out today. We rode over Lolo pass today at about 7,000 feet and then had a fun ride down the other side. We also crossed into Idaho. We followed the Locksa River all day. There were places where it was the wildest river I have ever seen. There were a bunch of rafters camped where we camped tonight and one person that I talked to said it was in the top five rivers in the Northwest for difficulty in rafting. We rode 62 miles today and camped at Wilderness Gateway campground. There was no cell service all day as we rode through the wilds of Idaho, the reason this blog is a day late. It rained off and on all day. My least favorite thing to do in all of life is ride a bicycle in the train. Camping in the rain is a close second, but I am not grumbling and complaining.😀 Wasn’t much to do in camp with it raining so we walked to a covered area, built a fire in the fireplace and fed the chipmunks Ritz crackers.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 52

Today we rode 67 miles. The first 40 miles were on a paved bike trail. It is so relaxing to ride with no traffic. It seems like a person would get used to the traffic, but it is hard to get used to cars zipping by at 60 and 70 mph just a couple of feet away from your left elbow. You don’t fully realize the tension you are under until you have a day like today. After the 40 miles of bike trail we had 30 miles of uphill riding in low traffic. Overall, today was a 9 day with 10 being perfect.

We arrived at Lola Hot Springs about 2:00 pm and promptly put our swimming suits on and hit the pool. There is the big pool where the water is about 100 degrees and the small one that is 110 at the end the water comes in at and the cooler end is 103.

We no sooner got started swimming than the thunder and lightning began and they ran us out of the pool, citing danger to our lives. I am in the restaurant because they have good WiFi and there is none in camp nor cell reception.

The waiter and waitresses keep eying me suspiciously when they they walk by me, I think it because I keep falling asleep. There are quite a few people playing the slot machines so I figure they should be taking care of me. When the lightening quits I am heading back to the pool. It is open until 12:00 pm so I may not get much sleep tonight.

Tomorrow we follow the Louksa River all day as we enter Idaho. As result of following the river we have a gradual downhill all day long and I am anticipating great scenery and a very relaxing ride.

We stop every five mile for a break. I have learned the art of falling asleep while standing up. I get my feet spread and rest my head on my arms and go to sleep!
Cliff is trying to convince me that he is in charge.

Kim

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 51

Whoooooeeeeeee 51 days of bicycling across the United States. Tomorrow we will be in Idaho and only ten days from home, whooooeeeee! We are in Hamilton, Montana, tonight at a lovely Campground called “Anglers Roost.” We are right on the banks of the Bitterroot River and which offers world-class fly fishing. People come from all over the world to fish here.

We rode 73 miles today with a big hill at the start and then lots of downhill. I got up to 45 mph several times. Tomorrow we are on a bike trail most of the day. It is a paved trail just for bicycles, no traffic, or trucks to contend with. Tomorrow night we will be at Lolo Hot Springs and will have a wonderful time swimming in a pool that is 100 degrees and you can jump over to the next warmest or the next warmest after that which is about 108 degrees. Very nice after a long hard day of bicycling.

Last night we had another bicycler join us until the end of the trip, Paul Risinger, so now we have six riding and Dave is driving the pick up.

Even though today was 75 miles it was a fast ride so we were in camp by 2:00 pm and have had lots of nap time, read time, eat time, and general relax and do what you want time.

Tom Zilverbeeg
Cliff Duke

Dee Duke keeping up, barely.
Kathy Duke, Cliff’s wife
Dee, Cliff, and Kathy

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 50

Today we had two huge hills to climb, and they were both over 7,000 feet in elevation where we hit the pass. But what goes up must come down, so we had some awesome downhill rides. I got up to 45 mph going down one stretch, and Cliff said he got up to 47 mph. When you are going that fast on a skinny bicycle, it is a major adrenaline rush. Also, on the downhill after the second pass, we had a 20 mph tailwind. It was a 25-mile gradual downhill, but with the tailwind, we cruised along at 20 mph for most of the way without hardly ever pedaling. That is a nice way to get some easy miles. We have had almost a bug free trip so far, but today we got into the mosquitos. So we broke out the deet and applied liberally. We rode 70 miles today and again had breathtaking beauty with all the snow-covered mountains. June 15th is when the BLM land opens for grazing so we got engulfed with beef cows being herded up the road to pasture. We are camped in a town called Wisdom, Montana. Tomorrow we have a very similar day as today.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 49

Today was a good day of riding even though we had a very strong head wind for the last 15 miles of the day. We also had a big climb the first 12 miles of the day then it was mostly flat after that. The scenery was beautiful with lots of snow-covered mountains, streams, lakes, and big fields that I imagine have lots of deer, antelope, and elk feeding in them. We did see quite a bit of wildlife today as we rode along. I had a minor wreck today. I was riding along looking at the scenery and I got to close to the edge of the road and went off into the gravel and then down a slight embankment and flipped over. I didn’t get hurt and my bike was fine, and the most important thing, nobody saw me! We are at a bicycle hostel tonight which is very nice. This old guy who is a bicycle enthusiast leased land from the government and he built four log buildings and finished them very nice. There is a bathroom, a shower, nice eating area and an area to sit and read or do whatever you want. There is plenty of area for cots, pads and sleeping bags as well. He did this as a service to the people who bicycle the Transamerica route each year. There is no charge to stay here though I did see a little donation box on the door. We bicycled 72 miles today and we are in the town of Dillon, Montana. I think we are done with the rain for the rest of the trip; hallelujah!

The road at the bottom of the picture is what we rode up this morning.