#acaNoTier Winthrop to Riverside, 64 miles | Loup Loup

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Good news is… we turned the right direction out of the Bicycle Barn Camping place!

Another day, another mountain pass. Loup Loup Pass isn’t as high as Washington but there are no downhills or plateaus to rest the legs. It’s pretty much just one LONG climb. Another stunningly beautiful day of riding with the sun, the Methow and Okanogan Rivers and we moved into some very different topography.

Highlights of the day:

  • Coming out of camp we had the sweetest tailwind and downhill a cyclist could ever have. Just the way you want to start a ride.
  • Touring through the cowboy town of Winthrop.
  • Well now let’s just say second breakfast was stellar. Breakfast sammies and quiche, coffee and protein smoothies with kale and spinach and all good stuff.
  • Hitting the top of a mountain pass is always a high point. Literally. Lol. The other side was wicked awesome. Not as scary as yesterday. I still pumped my brakes but Tombo topped out at a comfortable 36 mph.
  • If you’re going to have another flat tire it’s always nice after lunch and in a Washington apple orchard. Got it fixed quickly and we were on our way.
  • Lunch! Food is becoming something we talk about. A lot. Bacon, spinach and tomato wraps today at a mom and pop organic shop.
  • And finally at one point we stopped our bikes, held up our arms in awe at doing something we always talked about doing.

Not everyday will be as good as this one. But we will take whatever comes and with gratitude.

Quick PSA… you can send in prayer requests at any time by clicking on Contact at the top right. They are confidential and prayed for every day at the beginning of our ride.

#acaNoTier Colonial Creek to Winthrop, 70 miles | Pumping Blood

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As you can see we made it! Praise God for strong hearts and lungs. #pumpingblood

6,500 feet of climbing on an overcast day. Tom was a rock star; it was physically challenging for me to climb that long and terrifying to come down the pass. My hands are numb from clenching the brakes. But we finished seven miles short of our destination for bevvies and food and all is well.

My gosh the views were spectacular today! And I can’t believe it’s only day three. The days are running together; we are forgetting what day of the week it is.

The Barn Bicycle Campground where we are tenting tonight might be the best camp ground yet. Solar outdoor showers, electric outlets available and compost outhouse. Even tops the frigid lake bath yesterday!

We leapfrogged on SR 20 through the Northern Cascades with Serena today, a fellow bike traveler. Thanks for taking our pic at the top of the pass Serena!

Serena also played a critical role in our bike travels today. On our first big mountain climb and longest cycling day so far we turned the wrong way on SR 20 and backtracked seven miles. Yep! My nickname should be “wrong-way Wright”.

In our delirium to find an open tent space yesterday we forgot that we crossed the street when we entered the campground. It wasn’t until we saw Serena at Gorge Creek that we thought that looks mighty familiar. We just had to laugh at ourselves and thought: 1) we won’t make that mistake again and 2) we will always get the best laugh out of cycling seven miles of rollers on SR 20 three times.

Here’s what’s on deck for tomorrow’s ride. Check out Loup Loup Pass.

Click on the image below for a recap vid of today.

 

#acaNoTier Rockport to Diablo, 39 miles | A “No Flat” Day

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Good news is… it was a no flat day. All tires held air! It was also a day when we started to see some serious rollers. #ouch

Although the National Parks guy said there were no tent spaces at Colonial Creek Campground at Diablo we decided to press on and chance it. So glad we did because it’s another stellar campsite with ginormous pines, a roaring stream nearby and plenty big campsites. Flushers too!

No shower? #noproblem

We both jumped in Diablo Lake with clothes on to do laundry and bathe simultaneously. Soap and shampoo are overrated. Just gotta rinse off really well. #ecofriendly However, deodorant and dental floss are non-negotiable.

I missed the chance to capture Tom in a standing-in-the-water dive (which he did TWICE). But he did it! And he went in first. The water was frigid cold but nothing makes you feel cleaner than cold water.

How was the cycling? Compared to tomorrow’s climbs, nothing too serious. But compared to our flat training rides in Indiana? Let’s just say the second half of the day was a “no flat” day. But again, we were awed by the steep rock faces, mountain views and our comrade that ran swiftly along side us all day, the Skagit River.

We missed Vic and Becky today. Vic wanted to ride the pass today and we ended up leaving an hour earlier so we somehow missed them. And there’s no cell service up here.

However when we rolled into the campground we found this note on the message board. He found a replacement tube for my tire and, with the tiniest safety pin I think I have ever seen, was able to pin the tube box and this note to the board. Faith and trust indeed, Vic. #trailangel

Not sure if we will see you two again in Washington but don’t forget we are Warm Shower hosts in Indy the next time you roll through town. And we always have a bed and meal for you two!

Another karma moment was when we saw the exact place at Gorge Creek where we saw the Northern Tier cyclists a couple years ago and decided then and there to bucket list this bike trip.

Not gonna lie. I’m a little freaked out with the two mountain passes tomorrow: Rainy and Washington. But ya know ya just gotta keep calm… and pedal on. One mile at a time.

Plus there is always second breakfast to look forward to. But that won’t be until after lunch because there isn’t any cell service or food for the next 50+ miles.

Gonna be an adventure no doubt.

#acaNoTier Anacortes to Rockport, 61 miles | Diving In

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Welp. The day could not have been any more special, any better, any anything!

The video below pretty much tells it all. Our friend Vic (coast to coast completer in 2016) joined us today while his bride Becky went hiking.

We took off at 7:45 am at the Anacortes ferry dock and started our “sea to shining sea” journey with a little uphill. Nothing like getting your heart and legs warmed up right away.

Scenery was spectacular, weather cooperative and the second breakfast unforgettable – especially the cinnamon rolls as big as your head.

I even had a flat tire five miles out of camp but that didn’t matter – just a little surprised since it’s been a while.

After snagging a riverside tent site we feasted on beef stew and loaded mashed taters.

We said goodbye to our friends until tomorrow where we’ll cycle another short day before the big climb on Sunday. #stairwaytoheaven

Many thanks to Vic and Becky today for taking pics and all of their support!

And thanks to friends, family and blog followers for all the love and encouragement. It means a lot.

Today could NOT have been any better. #grateful

Northern Tier Ride Prep: Getting There

Gotta admit that Tom could not have planned it better. Here’s the skinny on the logistics:

We flew to Seattle, picked up a rental car and did touristy things like hit up the Seattle REI store and nap at the waterfront on Pike Street.

We met our nephew Jack and his lovely girlfriend, Jenni for sushi and stayed at their place downtown.

Thursday morning we took the long route to Bellingham REI through Le Conner and Mount Vernon. Every dang shrub and bush are flowering right now in Skagit County.

Picked up bikes at REI, shipped duffles home via UPS and then bought animal deterrents at ACE hardware. #nocougars

Lady at the register actually asked us if we wanted a stun gun to which I replied, “Only if you have a holster, ma’am.”

Drove back via Chuckanut Drive to Anacortes to check out the beginning of our route and then did some final gear and bag checks. Dinner and bevvies rounded out a perfect pre ride day with our friends the Andrades. We might want to be like them when we grow up.

We can’t wait to start riding tomorrow!

Click below for video recap:

Northern Tier Ride Prep: Farewell Family Feast

We’re going to miss our weekly family dinners! The bigs had some travel advice they wanted to share with us before we take off. Not sure why so much advice related to bodily functions. #guything

 

And the bigs might have been schooled on cooking with the Whisperlite, on-the-road bike maintenance and navigating across the country on a bike. #heavenhelpDeb

Life is moving forward for the bigs while we are away.

Three moves.

Two jobs changes.

One new grandbaby.

So as much as we are eager to begin, we will be even more stoked to return home to the bigs AND the littles.

 

 

Northern Tier Ride Prep: FundRiding | 100 Mile Challenge

Riding 100 miles in a day, or a century as cyclists call it, is a solid ride.  Riding 100 miles in a day when you’re hauling bags, or panniers as cyclists call them, is freakin’ outrageous.

As an incentive, a friend offered to donate $100 for every 100 mile day we rode.

Disclosure: Have we ever ridden a century? Yep. On lightweight carbon bikes.  The RAINSTORM ride in southern Indiana is five centuries in five days finishing with the 160 mile RAIN ride on the sixth day.  Steep elevations, hot temps, tasty food and deluxe state park inns at night are included in the price.  BTW if you’re into cycling, ride RAINSTORM. It’s an unforgettable, well-organized, arduous ultra cycling adventure.

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Five centuries complete. Time to RAIN.

Back to the 100 mile challenge on our coast to coast ride.  Tom’s two back panniers weigh as much as the 21 pound Specialized bike he road on RAINSTORM. Now that’s going to be a challenge. Is a century ride even possible if he’s hauling 85 pounds with bike, bags, fuel and water? We’re going to find out over the next two months.

And then there is me. Deb. I’m not doing the math on that for my Cannondale and bags. #disincentivizing

Find our trip data hereWould you like to match our friend’s 100 mile challenge for a donation to St. Vincent de Paul or Back on My Feet? If you’re in, click on Contact (located at the top right of this page) and message us on the blog. Knowing there are folks willing to make a donation if we push ourselves a little harder is what I call incentivizing.

Northern Tier Ride Prep: FundRiding | Camping for Cash

What is FundRiding? It’s when you’re riding for FUN but you add a “d” and decide to pedal for a purpose to raise funds for organizations in which you volunteer and believe. The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and Indy Back on My Feet are two such orgs.

We thought it might be interesting to throw a couple challenges out there. Challenges, dares, wagers, incentives… #whatever

That makes it a little more fun, doesn’t it?

Tom and I will donate $5 to either St. Vincent de Paul or Back on My Feet for every night we camp instead of taking the easier route and hoteling or warm showering it.   Because we are spreadsheet geeks, we are keeping data here.

We challenge our readers to donate $1 a night for every night we camp. Or double the challenge and make it $2 a night!  If you’re in, click on Contact (located at the top right of this page) and message us on the blog. That will give us an incentive to rough it a little bit and camp for cash.

Disclosure #1: We’re not beginner campers. We have some camping experience and we may air out our dirty laundry occasionally. Stay tuned for pics. Who knows what Montana will bring besides mountains.

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Katy Trail, June 2017

Disclosure #2: Sometimes we pitch our tent but if it looks like there are gators nearby, we hotel it.

Such was the case in the Florida Keys where we pitched our tent in what looked like to me, a gator invested swamp.

So.

We left our tent set up for the gators and high tailed it to the nearest hotel in town where we grabbed some grilled cobia at a local restaurant and hoteled it. #nogatorsallowed

Florida Keys Camp
Swamp just beyond the treeline
Florida Keys Hotel
Gator free hotel room

 

 

Northern Tier Ride Prep: Bye Bye Bikes

We finished our last “loaded” ride last weekend. No we weren’t carrying Baseline IPA or Weizengoot from Bier Brewery in our water bottle cages. Last weekend was our last ride with panniers (bike bags) loaded.  Post ride we tuned up, cleaned up and boxed up the bikes and shipped them to Bellingham, Washington where we will pick them up two weeks from today. That’s TWOA folks!

Thanks to Jon at Carmel Cyclery for the Cannondale tune up and Nick at REI for preparing them to ship.

Folks have been asking about our bikes and bags and how much they weigh. The answer? Too much.

Here’s the “skinny” on the “fat” bikes. BTW Damon and Vic will have conniptions. What can I say? I won’t go without my camp chair; Tom won’t go without his underwear. #essentials

Weight before water, food and fuel:

Tom’s REI Coop:
Bike weight: 39 lbs.
Panniers: 44 lbs.

Deb’s Cannondale:
Bike weight: 29 lbs.
Panniers: 25 lbs.

Click on the image below for a weekend recap video.


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Northern Tier Ride Prep: What To Do With a Weekend Off of Cycling

Why not run in the 20th annual Flying Pig Marathon!  Tom and I decided it would be fun to scoot over to Porkopolis for a quick run, check in with some college buds and visit family. Check, check and check!

Finished! with a bag full of SWAG and snacks.

Hot and hilly but only one minute slower than my marathon time 20 years ago when I ran the Pig. I’ll take it! Tom on the other hand is running half marathons and getting faster and faster after taking six months off from running.

Xavier University friendships, almost 40 years running. #LetsGoX
Thumbs up for the fam!

And finally it looks like the North Cascades Highway, the road we take through the Cascade Mountains, will be cleared of snow by this Friday giving way for scenic and challenging cycling in just about four weeks.  #thumbsup

Cascade Highway
East and west side crews are just six miles apart clearing SR 20 for traffic. #byebyesnow #seeyanextwinter
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