Author Archives: deefduke

About deefduke

Pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church, ride a bicycle, fish, hunt, and have 25 grandchildren.

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.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 48

The weather for the last three days has been terrible to ride a bicycle in. It has downpoured, snowed, been very cold, and the wind has blown 30 mph. So we have not ridden our bicycles for three days waiting for this storm to blow over. We have driven the planned route with the bicycles in the trailer and we have stayed in motels, the cheapest we can find. Today we are camping in Ennis, Montana and riding our bicycles tomorrow to Dillon, Montana. The weather prediction is winds averaging 20 mph with gusts to 40 mph and most of it will be headwinds. I am predicting a very difficult day on the bicycle. After tomorrow I think it is going to be mostly good weather with moderate to little wind. The three days of not riding have given me a good time of healing up various ailments so the next ten days of riding should be good. One of the things I have done while waiting out the storm is to go back and read my blogs from previous bicycle trips. They have all had their adventures, challenges, and set backs.

A flag on the office where we are camped tonight

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 47

Tonight we are in Ennis, Montana. It is a big fly fishing center with every other store in town being some kind of fly fishing place. The Madison River runs through town and there are lots of guides, drift boats, and rubber rafts. It is raining here and very cold, in fact, an inch of snow is supposed to fall tonight🥺😫 Whooooeeeee I hope that doesn’t happen. We opted to stay in a motel again tonight because of the weather. With the price of gas, unexpected breakdowns, and bad weather lodging expenses I have gone way over my planned budget for this trip. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to do these trips economically is to do them without a support vehicle, at least not a pickup but a high mileage little car with a bike rack, and to limit the number who go at a time to four. The reason for the small number is to be able to take advantage of “warm shower” host homes. “Warm Showers” is an organization of about 100,000 homes who are bicycle enthusiasts around the USA who will let you camp in their yard or even stay in a spare bedroom, take a shower, and usually feed you breakfast and dinner, and they do it for free. The problem is that most host homes will only host groups of four or less. As I wrote before, my favorite areas to ride in are the Western United States, so I think I am personally going to stay in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and Oregon for all future rides. Also I will plan the rides to be 40 days or less, I like the 60 day trips but there are so many other things I want to do besides ride a bicycle. There are thousands of miles of bicycle club sanctioned bicycle routes in these States as well as a growing number of paved bicycle paths exclusively for bicycles. They are called “Rails to Trails”, which are abandoned railroad tracks with the rails and ties being removed and the gravel paved. They are very nice because you don’t have to worry about a car or truck running over you. I have a trip all routed and planned to hit every State in the lower 48 States. It would start in Maine and end at my house, would be 6,000 miles long, and would take three to three and a half months to complete. I have almost for sure canceled that out of my life. I also have planned a trip to go from the tip of Florida to Fairbanks, Alaska. That trip, as well is going to happen only in my dreams. It is kind of sad when my age and health catch up with my dreams, and cancel them out. Oh well, the things I will do when I get my new glorified body and am in the Kingdom of heaven with Jesus will be many times greater than anything I have done here.

Are you going to be in the Kingdom with Jesus and me? If you don’t know for sure you probably aren’t. It would be good to take care of that before it is too late.

Here is Tom’s answer for a rain coat, a plastic bag and a shower cap.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 46

Today we are in West Yellowstone in a cabin at a KOA campground and it is pouring rain so we are sticking around here today and heading out tomorrow for Ennis, Montana. I am reading mostly, doing some writing, sending out emails, and I am going to work on the trailer if there is a break in the rain. I looked at the weather report for each town on the date we will be there through the end of the trip and it looks like tomorrow will be our last rain day, here’s hoping!

I am not going to ride the last four days of our trip. The afternoon that we arrive in Baker City, Oregon I am going to get picked up by one of the guys that is camped in Huntington, on the Snake river catfish fishing, and I am going to camp there with them for a week of fishing. So that means that the 22nd of June is my last day riding. That also means that I have ten days of bicycle riding left. So far on the 46 days of our trek I have not ridden for eight days, either we were taking a day off because of rain or I rode in the pickup because of bicycle problems or I was taking a rest day. That means that I will end the trip with 48 days of riding with an average day being 70 miles which calculates out to 3,360 miles of bicycle riding.

I now I have lost 15 pounds of weight and I am going to work hard at losing 5 more pounds before the end of the trip making a total of 20 lbs. That is only half of what my goal was, but I am always so hungry when we get into camp that I eat like a horse or a pig. But 20 lbs is 20 lbs and I am going to work very hard to exercise great self-control and lose 20 more in the next couple of months. I feel so much better when I keep my weight down under 200 lbs, though it has been so long since I have been under 200 lbs I can’t hardly remember how I felt! Do you ever get disgusted with yourself for not doing what you want to do, or doing what you don’t want to do? I experience that feeling often! I repent mentally afterwards, make goals, establish strategies, and mess up again! Sometimes it seems like two steps forward and then three steps back, or four or five! I am looking forward to the day I get my new, glorified body that won’t have a sin nature, wow! In the mean time I will run the race with endurance, pressing on to maturity, asking Jesus everyday to forgive me and asking for His strength. Living life is like being on a bicycle trip, just keep pedaling.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 46

Today we are in West Yellowstone in a cabin at a KOA campground and it is pouring rain so we are sticking around here today and heading out tomorrow for Ennis, Montana. I am reading mostly, doing some writing, sending out emails, and I am going to work on the trailer if there is a break in the rain. I looked at the weather report for each town on the date we will be there through the end of the trip and it looks like tomorrow will be our last rain day, here’s hoping!

I am not going to ride the last four days of our trip. The afternoon that we arrive in Baker City, Oregon I am going to get picked up by one of the guys that is camped in Huntington, on the Snake river catfish fishing, and I am going to camp there with them for a week of fishing. So that means that the 22nd of June is my last day riding. That also means that I have ten days of bicycle riding left. So far on the 46 days of our trek I have not ridden for eight days, either we were taking a day off because of rain or I rode in the pickup because of bicycle problems or I was taking a rest day. That means that I will end the trip with 48 days of riding with an average day being 70 miles which calculates out to 3,360 miles of bicycle riding.

I now I have lost 15 pounds of weight and I am going to work hard at losing 5 more pounds before the end of the trip making a total of 20 lbs. That is only half of what my goal was, but I am always so hungry when we get into camp that I eat like a horse or a pig. But 20 lbs is 20 lbs and I am going to work very hard to exercise great self-control and lose 20 more in the next couple of months. I feel so much better when I keep my weight down under 200 lbs, though it has been so long since I have been under 200 lbs I can’t hardly remember how I felt! Do you ever get disgusted with yourself for not doing what you want to do, or doing what you don’t want to do? I experience that feeling often! I repent mentally afterwards, make goals, establish strategies, and mess up again! Sometimes it seems like two steps forward and then three steps back, or four or five! I am looking forward to the day I get my new, glorified body that won’t have a sin nature, wow! In the mean time I will run the race with endurance, pressing on to maturity, asking Jesus everyday to forgive me and asking for His strength. Living life is like being on a bicycle trip, just keep pedaling.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 45

Today was one of those days that can make you grump if you aren’t careful. We got into Yellowstone and there were no campsites anywhere, and Yellowstone has a lot of campsites. I called, and I called, and I called some more, no campsites. So we decided to load all the bikes in the trailer and drive down to West Yellowstone, Montana and find a campsite and then drive back up tomorrow to see all the sites at Yellowstone. On the drive down it started pouring rain and we weren’t excited about camping in the rain so we rented a cabin for two nights. West Yellowstone is about 30 miles from Old Faithful so we are trying to decide if we are going to ride our bikes up or ride up in the pickup. I am voting for the pickup. A couple days break will be super!

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 44

Today was the most challenging day of the entire trip. It was 76 miles, which wasn’t that bad; we have had lots of days that long or longer, it was all day a steady uphill climb, but it wasn’t super steep like some days have been, BUT we had headwinds of 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph most of the day as well. I hate headwinds; they are worse than a mountain. You put your bike in its lowest gear and barely plug along as you work like a horse. There is something about a headwind that wears you out psychologically and physically. I am now sitting in camp writing this blog feeling like a jellyfish!

Now that I am done with my whining, I will tell you about the rest of the day. We saw hundreds of antelope, many right next to the road. Tomorrow we enter Yellowstone National Park, we will be in it for three days, and we will be riding through it at 35 miles a day, so we will have plenty of time to see the sites. We are camped at the KOA campground in Dubois, and it is a very nice one. The showers were wonderful, and I stood in it for a long time and let the water give me a massage of my aching body. I am really hoping that tomorrow isn’t a repeat if today. We bike 82 miles tomorrow, but right now 5he weather man has the winds at 5 mph.

That’s me working hard against the wind
Nice buck antelope
Dubois
That is a lot of elk horns

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 43a

Most nights, we stay at campgrounds. There are private campgrounds, county and State campgrounds, and city parks and campgrounds. We have also stayed in four churches that have opened their doors to bicycle riders doing the Trans Am. The churches have been the best place to stay; they have showers, a kitchen, lots of room, and they are free. Of the campgrounds, the private RV campgrounds are the best. We park the pickup and trailer in the RV spot and set up our tents on the grass next to it or some time on gravel, which works because we have good pads. The State and County campgrounds often don’t have showers, pit toilets, and sometimes no electricity which makes it hard to charge our batteries. Also the private RV campgrounds usually have very nice showers and bathroom facilities. Tonight we are staying at a private RV campground called “The Sleeping Bear” and probably has the nicest bathrooms we have stayed at yet. They have six rooms and each one has a shower, a toilet, a sink, a bench, chair, and lots of room. They vary a great deal in price so we do a lot of negotiating. The place we are at tonight charged us $35 for all of us, which for as nice as it is, is a very good price. We are paying $70 tomorrow night at a KOA campground which are always nice and usually have a swimming pool and hot tub. I have several Apps on my Ipad that have every campground in the USA in them, and one that shows the “Hostels”, the churches, individuals, and businesses that provide a place for bicyclists to stay. One of the reasons we will have a fifty mile ride one day followed by an 80 miler is because of the placement of the campsites. We have gotten pretty efficient now in getting everything set up and then taking it down again in the mornings.