2017 Tour Ride

Day 9 through 13. Wow, I'm late on updates

Phone. Dictation. Language problems. You know the drill

  

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Day9. Day9. I ended up leaving the hotel a little late. Well a lot late. Mainly because I've been exhausted. I'll get into why much later, but because of it I was lollygagging. 

I I ended up traveling back on the routes and going to the bacon bike hostel. The climb up was as severe as was promised. When I got to the hostel, it was empty. The door was open, so I went in. And after debating for about half an hour, I decided to call them up and find out if I could stay. Nobody else was scheduled to come, so I did.  

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In this in this picture you can see the maps on the wall. What people do is they write their name and their Hometown, and then pin it to the board where they're from. It's kind of amazing to see. 

I I ended up making myself dinner there, because the people who owned it were nice enough to drive me down into town to buy some groceries, so I could cook myself dinner. I ended up cleaning up the place a little bit, doing a little bit of laundry, and gawking at some beautiful cars that were parked there. I hope they're being worked on. 

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Dayton Dayton I intended to start early. I did wake up early, but not so fast to roll out. I'm finding this is a problem with me. But I did leave a future guest a little bit of a present.

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From from here my goal was to get to Ione Washington. The only issue with that is there are wildfires going on in the area. Specifically the Noisy Creek Fire. So Ione is completely slammed with fire fighters who are staying there. This leaves people like me high and dry, but under the circumstances understandable. I did however stop at Tiger Washington. And eventually I'll post a lot more pictures, but for right now, have some cute kittens.

Technically, if you ever wanted tiger cubs, free kittens and tiger Washington! 

Technically, if you ever wanted tiger cubs, free kittens and tiger Washington! 

Because because of the wildfires, I really didn't have much choice. Instead of turning left, I went right. And I just cuddling. Eventually, I stopped...  I just I just had to look it up. Cusick Washington.

Everything everything about the stop felt wrong. It was a campsite attached to a County Fairground. A County Fairground that's going to have a fair this weekend. When I pulled up, I didn't know where to go. A couple of people setting up exhibits directed me to the caretaker's house. The caretaker informed me that it was technically Fair week, technically nobody but fair exhibitors were supposed to be in the campgrounds, but a rule could be bent here and there. 

I I ended up essentially camping in the caretaker's backyard. I got a good shower in, so at least I got that. Unfortunately for me, here's where some of the expert advice given to me on the road is biting me in the tail. Remember how had sent back that bear container? I was also convinced to send back my winter clothing. This was a bad decision. 

UC you see, I'm set up for summer camping, not cold. So when the temperatures dipped down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit at 3 a.m., it didn't go so well. I woke up to find my Garmin telling me that my pulse was 30. I also could not see my breath. And nothing I could do to warm up was working. I was in trouble. 

I I couldn't sleep, So eventually I rolled out of the tent to just try to warm up move around and repack the bike. Oh, and the rain fly was completely soaked with moisture. Not surprising, except that it left both flaps open to try to prevent this. Oh well. 

I I decided to just start rolling. What little gear I had try to stay warm didn't work. What I have is a rain jacket, a summer weight Jersey, Long Camp pants, flannel sleep pants, Mechanix gloves, and my long socks. It kind of worked, but it didn't stop the cold. It took me 2 hours of riding before I felt comfortable enough to start shedding any layers. 

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Through through persistence, I made it to the Idaho border. I also stalled here, taking an extended break at McDonald's so that I could at least check email and other internet stuff. I then started to just crank towards Sandpoint.  

Fortunately fortunately for the other trees on this bridge, I happen to carry a 5-liter bucket. So they all got watered not just this one

Fortunately fortunately for the other trees on this bridge, I happen to carry a 5-liter bucket. So they all got watered not just this one

It it took me a while, but I finally did reach Sandpoint. My exhaustion level was off the scale, something that you can easily see if you take a look at my live stream that I did from the motel I stayed in in Sandpoint. I did end up going to a bike shop called Syringa Cyclery. The gentleman there help fix my helmet. I did go to one of the other bike shops in town with the same problem? They kind of blew me off.

I I did chill out in Sandpoint, did some laundry, and eventually had dinner at a place called The Hound. If you're in Sandpoint, I do recommend them. They're good Folk. 

Yet another yet another late start out of Sandpoint, and my intention was to make it to the border by the end of the day. I ended up only getting about 35 miles before everything just gave out. My legs, my soul, my spirit just broke. I've been pushing hard this entire trip, and I really don't know why. Partially it has to do with the lack of towns. If there was a place to stop every 30 to 40 miles, I would. Unfortunately, there isn't. So most of the time, I have to push 50-plus miles to get to where I can stop. 

Here's here's where the hardcore audience is going to yell at me. Because in theory I'm supposed to throw the 10th anywhere and just wild Camp. Problem is, I'm not that good yet. Maybe in a month? But reality is right now I'm not that good. That and the entire Northwest is a Tinderbox. If I make one mistake out in the woods? I could cause a forest fire. And I don't want to do that. 

So I ended up in Clark Fork Idaho. And honestly? I felt miserable. Nothing's going right, I don't like being snickered at because I'm the noob. I don't like a lot of the attitudes that I'm getting from the hardcores. But last night? I made a conscious decision. This is my trip. Not theirs. So what if I'm a little heavy? Just ride. 

I I happen to have food with me, so I just made what I had. Which was couscous with chicken chunks. Hey, you give me access to a stove? I can make food. It doesn't hurt that I also happen to carry with me seasonings, Tabasco sauce, and olive oil. At least I try to be civilized. My now we get to this morning, and the big news. So I did start early today! At least Arlee for me lately. On the road by 7:30 a.m. I pushed all the way into Montana, but not until I found the longest construction project I've ever seen in my life. Seriously, this thing must go for at least 10-15 miles. 

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Then, then, suddenly, Deli. 

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Seriously, seriously, middle of nowhere, Delicatessen. Absolutely beautiful wonderful Delicatessen. With incredibly fair prices on food! I paid $0.75 for another box of couscous! 

So so as I was eating my corn beef sandwich, one of the locals started asking me questions about the solar panel on my bike. This led to a conversation about my route, and when I showed him the map he said "well... That certainly is scenic..." 

Okay, okay, I can read between the lines. So I asked him what the better route to Missoula would be, and he told me just to say on the road I was at. So after he left, I decided to call an audible. I called a couple of friends, and finally got in touch with Nero. 

Just just for the record, Nero is the person who got me back into cycling. So, this entire trip is partially his fault. So I sent him a text, and then gave him a phone call. Reason is, I could get cell signal, but no internet from where I was at. He, however, has internet. 

So so we quickly worked out that the route that I had intended to take would add somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred miles, and possibly two to three extra days on to the trip. The audible worked, I decided to make a straight shot in Missoula. 

Which leads me to where I am right now.  I'm I'm stopping tonight's in a place called Thompson Falls Montana. And yes, I'm staying in another motel. I can't really afford to do this, but I needed internet so that I could plan my next couple of hops. That, and I'm still a little spooked about camping based on the last incident. I'll get over it, but in the short-term I'm more than a little concerned.

So so as I'm dictating this, I have a belly full of pizza. I have my next two jumps planned, and I'll be in Missoula by the weekend. I'm planning on taking a blank in Missoula, mostly so I can get my stitches removed, but also I have a feeling I'll need it by then. 

Tomorrow's going to be a tomorrow is going to be a 70 day, so I'm going to try to get some sleep right now. Should be an interesting week. I'll update next time I can. 

 And as always, if you're enjoying this, I asked if you please donate to pancreatic cancer Action Network. You can find the link on my tracking page, or I'll place it below

http://support.pancan.org/goto/TygerTour2017

Day seven: massive hill climbs and Trail angels

Dictating into a phone, you know the drill.

Today's today's route was kind of long. When from Omak to the town of republic. Honestly, I'm pushing myself too hard. But I really want to get through some of these Hills. And the only way to do it, is to do it. 

During during yesterday's down Dan Omak, I stopped at the Walmart Supercenter to pick up A 2 liter cooler to fill with water. This with the two Nalgene bottles brings me up to about 5.5 liters of water that I can carry with me.  Originally, originally, I thought this should be enough. I was wrong.

Draining of Omak draining of Omak was actually fairly Bland. The only thing I did differently was ignore the maps advice, and took the more direct route across what is essentially desert. Again, I was warned that it would be desert. I didn't think it would be this Stark. 

I I passed through the town of Riverside, not much there that I could see. The next town was Tonasket. (Incidentally, I'm impressed that this voice software knew that name) it was here that I had run out of water for the first time. I stopped at Subway for lunch, and ended up filling my water bottles in the subway. Yes, they said I could. 

I also stopped at the Tonasket Visitor Center. It was already noon, and the temperatures were over 100 degrees. The woman at The Visitor Center recommended that I just stay, because they had free bike camping behind the visitor center. Me being stubborn, I decided to go for it. There's another man there who was from Sweden, and I just explain my actions as being an irrational American. He got a good laugh out of that. 

From from there it was just one very long climb basically over Wauconda pass. Not many breaks over the 30 plus miles. I actually begin to run out of water between Tonasket and Wauconda, and I kind of hope that Wauconda might have something for me. 

Fortunately fortunately for me, another Trail angel came by. He pulled past me in his 4 x 4 truck, and pulled over about a quarter mile up from where I was. As I was slowly cycling up hill towards him I said to him good afternoon he extended two liters of cold water and asked "do you need any water?" 

Yes, please, thank you. 

He explained that he was also a cyclist, him and his wife ride tandem cross country. And he understood that on a day like today, he would love to have somebody pulled over and hand him a couple of cold drinks too. And all reality, I would not have made it to here without his help. 

With with his two liters of extra water, I rolled into Republic completely dry. My hopes for finding something in Wauconda were optimistic. Wauconda Washington has nothing. Seriously, there's nothing there. The post Office closes at 3 p.m., and that's the only thing on the road.  

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I I got into Republic what I would consider late, and begin to look for my hosts for tonight. One of the reasons I don't mention hosts names is for privacy sake. If one of them wants to speak up, I'll be more than happy to let them. But this is their call, not mine. So I was reaching for my phone to call her, and somebody else in town saw me, and asked me specifically opposed looking for her. And then offered to give me directions to the house. This is one reason I love small-town stuff. 

I ended up I ended up having a drink, two handmade sodas, at the local Brewery. Absolutely wonderful, I would recommend them if you're in the area. Came up here and now it's now.

Tomorrow tomorrow I have another ambitious day, and an early rise to it. I have to climb Sherman pass, which is the highest point of my route. From there I'm hopefully going to be traveling 60 miles or so, and visiting a place that is a bike hostel specifically for cyclists only. I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm looking forward to the ride. 

 I think that a really good dissertation / psychological paper could be written about Trail angels and Trail Magic. There's something to this. I don't know what it is, but there's a draw. People just want to help. People just want to do good things. Especially when they see somebody attempting something, for lack of a better word, Epic. But I think I'm going to see how many things happen during this ride. Because honestly? I'm kind of Blown Away at the kindness of random strangers, and people who I've never met.

A lot a lot of times people say that they do by trips or thru hikes and it renews their faith in humanity. I think this is one of the reasons why. 

 

And and really quickly, if you're enjoying the blog, or enjoying the tracking feature, I would like to ask you to please donate the pancreatic cancer Action Network. If you can't, I understand. Please pass the link so long! Even doing that, putting more eyes on the story, helps me out a lot. I would really like to make my goal, I would like to even more double it. So if you can share, please do! 

Or or you can just outright donate if you'd like, and here's the link. http://support.pancan.org/goto/TygerTour2017

Tour day four, five : ho boy we've got a story to tell

Once again I'm dictating into a phone. So if it doesn't make sense, just kind of read between the lines, it's the best I can do from where I'm at.

Day 4 begin the small sleepy town of Concrete Washington. It really strikes me as one of those towns that rolls up the sidewalks at a certain time? Possibly just a tourist kitschy town. But, clean room, great shower, decent television! I'll take it. 

The the road out was actually not that bad. It was relatively flat, which is what I expected. Some strange stuff though, for some reason there seems to be a lot of these Blue Fish on the road and I don't know why. But, sometime when I get home, I'll look it up. It'll bother me until then

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The the big milestone was getting to the North Cascades National Park. This is where I knew the climbing would actually begin. I prepared as much as I could back home, but to be honest, nothing prepared me for this. 

 

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The the opening day climb was about 2,000 feet total. I pretty much sucked it up in granny gear for the entire time, desperately looking for landmarks that match the map so I knew exactly how far I had to go. Honestly though, I don't know if it helped. I eventually did get over the Ridge, and got to my Campground which I chose because it was the last Campground along the way. Meaning less climbing for today.

Now now, something about this trip that's been freaking me out ever since I planned it. Bears. 

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This is is as close to a bear as I ever want to get. Yeah, Taxidermy, but still! So a lot of my decisions in the last week leading of this tour was made in fear of bears. I have a bear canister. I have sent proof bags. All of which was highly recommended to me.

I'm I'm getting a feeling I don't need any of it. 

But but that said, when I got into the campground, my Campground had this wonderful thing all the way in the back, about 20 ft away from the tent pad. 

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That that brown thing behind the bike? That's a bear vault. You put anything in there that smelly, and bears can't open it. So pretty much everything I owned on the bike went into that thing, I would have probably stuff the bike in there if I possibly could have. 

Come come to think of it, I would have slept in it if I could. 

Ends up ends up the night was very uneventful, really nothing happened other than early morning. Made breakfast this morning, piled everything on the bike, and went. 

 

Well, well, except this little thing kept on yelling at me. 

Well, well, except this little thing kept on yelling at me. 

Today started today started the real grueling climbs. I knew I had two of them to conquer, did not account for the false one at the beginning. And the problem started right away. 

It it really feels like something in the mechanism of the bike is Gummy or sticking or something. I'm down Hills I have to Pedal in order to gain speed. This shouldn't happen. I got about 15 some odd miles Inn, and I realize that the problem was not going to go away on its own. The problem is, there's absolutely nothing out there. No gas stations, no rest stops, no nothing. 

This this also serve to be a problem, because I also ran out of water. Thankfully, my paranoia before the ride cause me to buy a water purification system. That came in handy today and may have saved my tail. But it still had a major problem, mainly the bike was almost impossible to Pedal. 

So so just before the second major climb of the day, I decided to walk the bike. And I sent a text message through the satellite GPS that just said hope for trail angels. And I got one. 

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Technically, technically, I got two. These gentlemen are from Spain, and they're touring the parks of America. When I put my thumb out they pulled over immediately we piled the bike in, they made more than ample room for me, and they hauled me over the major climbs of the day. I can't tell you how absolutely grateful I am that they did this. 

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They actually they actually took me to The Bike Barn that I'm at tonight. They said they were doing it to put more Good Karma into the world? I cannot express how grateful I am I did.

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 It ends up that just outside of the Bike Barn, there's a place in Mazama that has all these organic homegrown stuff. So I picked up some food there, and after being dropped off at the Bike Barn, I put it into the mini fridge at happens to be here.

I I didn't take a picture of it yet, but this place has an outdoor shower. If you have any modesty, toss it out the window when you go bike touring. 

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All in all, today was a very interesting, long, but good day. I'm currently sharing this location with another gentleman who just rolled in. He's a longtime tour cyclists, so he might be helping me shave down my pack. All I know is tomorrow, I'm rolling into a major town. They have a bike shop, I'll have them look at the bike. And I might stop at the post office to jettisons some stuff. I'm not sure yet.

So so I'm going to have dinner, which is going to be ssandwiches. Going to be drinking a metric boatload of water, and getting ready for tomorrow. I may take a blank day tomorrow, depends on what happens at the bike shop. I really don't know.

But but I will ask one thing, if you're enjoying the blog, or enjoying the live streams I do on Facebook, or enjoying the tracking, please share this stuff? It would mean the world to me if this just started to take off and I could make the goal of $5,000 donated to the pancreatic cancer Action Network. The best way to do that, is to share the tracking link and encourage people to donate through that. 

 

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Tour day 1, hurry up and wait

I'm currently laying in a bed, dictating this to my phone. So if there are typos, or something licks wonky, that's going to happen. (For example, that was supposed to look wonky)

 Today was officially the first day of the tour. Although, I didn't get nearly as far as I wanted to. The Amtrak train ran late into Seattle. Another train, or bus, or something arrived simultaneously and they didn't have sufficient crew to unload the baggage of our train. Amtrak has this interesting deal where you can roll your bike onto the train, no boxing needed. But you have to pick up the bike yourself from the baggage car. Well, rather than wait for a baggage attendant, one of my fellow cyclists just tested the baggage car door, opened it, climbed in, and casually asked me "so which one is your bike?"

Lesson lesson learned come rules are meant to be broken. 

 So, baggage was late. So late in fact that I was worried about missing an appointment. If you don't already know, I am an ambassador for Nuun hydration. And I went to their Seattle headquarters today. I was actually worried about missing them, because it's Friday. But, they let me come in, and actually assemble all of the parts of my bike. For that, I am incredibly grateful.

A a couple of friends of mine recently moved to Seattle, so they met me there. We walked over to the cafe, and had lunch. I wish I could remember the name of the place, because they made really damn good burgers. I didn't want to leave, but we had to. I'm not going to see them for a while, so it was kind of sad. But, eventually, I got to keep going

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I then attempted to I then attempted to find REI. Not as easy as you think, cuz there's a lot of construction going on in downtown Seattle. That, and it was uphill a lot of away. I ended up finding a small outdoor store and buying one of the supplies there before finding REI. Picked up a bunch of stuff that I couldn't carry with me on the train (you know, things like bear mace!) Then attempted to find the Bremerton ferry

I I say that because finding it as an outsider? Not a as easy as you think. I actually found a police officer and ask him how to get to the Bremerton ferry. He grinned, and said "you've arrived!" He then told me to will my bike into the station to get a ticket. When I got up there, one of the regulars said I shouldn't have my bike there, and I should just take the road and board my bike like a normal vehicle.

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This ended up being the best call. I got on the next ship out. It's at this point that the story takes an interesting turn. There's an app for Tour cycling called warmshowers. It's definitely worth looking up if you are a tour cyclist. The first hosts for me on this trip are Janice and Gary, too incredibly kind-hearted people who are letting me stay at their home tonight. 

Knowing knowing that I was running super late, Gary actually pick me up at the terminal. We stopped my bike on to his vehicle, and drove to hear. We had dinner, a nice conversation, and a lot of really good advice that I'm going to be heading for the next two months.  And and for that, I will be very grateful for.

Tomorrow tomorrow was a big push day. I'm going to attempt a 70 Miler up to Anacortes. I'm not sure what to expect, but I do know it's going to be quite warm so I'm planning accordingly. All of that said though? I'm just grateful to be here. I also know that the trip really starts tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. 

So so with that, I bid you all good night. 

T-2 days and counting.

Amtrak view of Wisconsin

Amtrak view of Wisconsin

Right now this is outside my window. I'm on an Amtrak going through Wisconsin. And this is my home for another 36 hours.

 The sleeper car is surprising soundproof. I can't hear the wheels at all from here. Down side is my door doesn't want to close. But it's nice in here.

Tomorrow I'll work on the mapping . Right now I'm enjoying the quiet and lack of having to do stuff.