#acaNoTier Libby to Eureka, 69 miles | Now Montana… Be Nice

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The day started like this…

And ended like this.

After another day of riding in cold rain, western Montana decided to throw in some high winds and much more elevation today.

The wind actually pushed us UP a couple of climbs which was fortunate but the way it changes direction in the mountains without notice is not something these Hoosiers are used to.

With four layers on, our bodies were staying pretty warm but our fingers and toes were numb. Also shelter wasn’t available. There is no way we could stop because without the body heat the peddling generated we’d get even colder. If there is such a thing as a hot mess in the cold, rainy conditions that would be me. lol (Not Tom)

Keeping the bikes between the rumble strips and the pavement edge with impaired vision due to wet eye glasses was another challenge.

After the rain ended the wind increased even more. We found a sheltered area to fire up the stove to make some hot tea, have lunch and the sun came out. For a minute.

As we approached Eureka there was rain surrounding us but not on us. The moment we crested the rise to turn right into town and find our camping spot for the night a rain/snow squall popped up and we dashed onto a parking lot which coincidentally was a motel also hosting riders in this wicked crazy event: self supported bike packers racing along the continental divide, Canada to Mexico. Yep we quickly booked a room and ended our day of cycling.

Critter sitings included another osprey, some deer and a fox that showed up when it started pouring, cute little guy.

All is well in western Montana but I sure wish she’d start playing nice.

Heading to Whitefish tomorrow and a day of rest. Yay!

#acaNoTier Riverside to Republic, 60 miles | Something Old, Something New

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Another day, another Washington mountain pass. Same old.


We experienced something new today! Before I give the deets on that let’s talk about the cougar old Wiley talked about at the Wauconda post office near the top of the pass. Wiley is a local who was mending his fence and I think might have been looking for a legit reason to take a break for a while.

Hence the post office visit where he found us. We’d stopped in for something to drink before the last three (and steepest) miles to the top of the pass. As luck would have it, Tom walked out with two La Croix. That happens to be our fave and about all they had in there at the remote USPS office. #trailmagic

Much in the same way I loiter before tackling a pass, Wiley was more than happy to share all he knew about cougars, moose, elk, bears and golden eagles in the area. (That’s right, Gordon, golden eagles). Smiley Wiley was super friendly but I was curious about his motives. lol

He said one way to befriend the locals is to wave at all the cars that go by while cycling. Wiley, I gotta agree with you, it’s a nice gesture when I’m not clenching the brakes to keep my bike under 30 mph going down or charging up the pass going 3 mph and can hardly keep my loaded bike upright.

Tom’s got that hand a-goin’ all day long and when Wiley passed us later on, we were on a flat and I managed a hearty wave. Fortunately no cougars or other predators were spotted the rest of the day. They were only imagined… by me.

Right out of the gate we had headwinds as we road to Tonasket for breakfast. Check out the flag in the vid.

As also seen in the vids, the weather has been stellar – the scenery, so much better than pics could show (unless Becky Andrade or Anna Kirkpatrick were taking them.)

Back to the something new. We decided it might be different to try out Warm Showers.

Warm Showers is a community of like minded folk who host bike travelers and offer a bed, place to camp, a meal, whatever. Since we got the camping challenge going we decided we’d camp.

I gotta tell you. These folk are super friendly and accommodating. We took Patty’s recommendation on the best local spot for beer and pizza, so we passed on dinner but took them up on the warm shower. And then there was that massage chair Tom used. Seriously, when will we ever have that luxury again?

Looks like we might not even have to fire up the camp stove in the morning because Patty mentioned something about coffee and a coffee cake on the counter in the morning. Yes please!

Warm Showers. That and so much more.

PS: We woke up to this note and treat for breakfast. The huckleberry coffee cake Patty made was the BEST!

#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

The Katy Trail: Day Five

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First of all, happiest of anniversaries to my husband, Tom! Ten years and going strong!

We can cross off the Katy Trail from our bucket list. But this accomplishment only leads to additions to the list. #neverendinglist #goodproblemtohave

Another great day of cycling! Here’s our finish pic in St. Charles. Cool that we finished our little adventure in the very place Captains Clark and Lewis chose to lead the Corps of Discovery to begin their epic journey to the Pacific. “Ocean in view. O the joy!”

We are staying in a 1928 Sears Roebuck home kit delivered on the train. It’s old. It’s beautiful. If only walls could talk.

We began our day at Klondike Campground which is a 5 Star campground with a capital 5! Clean, spacious and with hot showers! Plus they have a stellar camp kitchen to make coffee. (Our Bic lighter malfunctioned.) Tom boiled water in our pint sized cook pan on these jumbo burners. Treated ourselves to two cups each this morning. #itsthelittlethings

We cycled close to our old friend the Missouri River most of the day. River on one side; bluffs on the other.

Final critter count:

Turtles: 8 (7 box, 1 oversized painted), Snakes: 2, Toads: 2, Goats: 1, Lizards (Komodo dragons): 2, Beaver: 1, Peacock: 1. And I forgot we saw a herd of alpacas three days ago. No armadillos spotted. Evidently they are a “thing” here.

Found this guy who needed a driver.

Once in St. Charles we still had 20 more miles to ride to the train station in Kirkwood. Doable but probs the most challenging ride of the week.

Once at the Kirkwood station I wanted to get these fascinating (to me) shots of the station exterior. These are all the layers of paint the station has worn over the years. To run your fingers across it is like touching many eras at the same time.

Tom loaded up our bikes lickety split and we went straight to Burger King where we split a Whopper and sucked down two large Icees.  And that was that!

The Katy Trail: Day Four

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Pure joy!

That’s all I can say! Stellar day of cycling. Felt super in the morning with a bit of gitty-up-and-go.

Have been meeting so many great peeps. Carrie and Tim from Kansas schooled us on gravel grinding. Tim you’re amazing and Carrie I want to be one of your 6th grade ELA students. #teachershaveclass

Is the sky blue or what? Absolutely the best cycling weather.

We met 77yo Betsy who has cycled around the world. Her four fave destinations? South Africa, Iceland, Vietnam and Cuba. Count us in for all those. Self supported.

Betsy first cycled across the US in 1988 with two other women using a AAA Trip Tick. #respect

I’ve been thinking about our two little loves, Charlie and Archie and can’t wait to give our grands lots of hugs!

Critter count is now:

Turtles: 6, Snakes: 2, Toads: 2,Goats: 1, Lizards (Komodo dragons): 2 and wait for it…  1 Beaver (and I’m not kidding)

There’s plenty of time for solitude on the trail and to give thanks. Grateful hearts are happy hearts and ours are overflowing.

If only I could just relax a little…

The Katy Trail: Day Three

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Day Three brought another stellar day for cycling.

And it was short on cycling but long on animals spots! I thought we hit the jackpot before breakfast with this little guy who camped out on Tom’s bike bag.

But no, there were two Komodo dragon sitings before 10am. Ok so maybe they weren’t Kimodos. More like lizards.

But Tom earns the animal spot of the day with a dang mountain goat on a bluff. And a black one at that.

This morning we said goodbye to Sherry who has been camping near us all week. Back to Chattanooga she goes!

This evening we camp by the mighty Missouri with little to do but enjoy each other, the outdoors and look forward to another day on the Katy tomorrow.

Happy trails!

The Katy Trail: Day Two

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You don’t have to travel all the way to Missouri to hug an old tree but if you want to hug a 350 year old tree you’ll need to park your bike next to the tree just outside of Huntsdale.

Today brought short, steep hikes to spectacular overlooks and even a visit to a local little league game for pork nachos and a hot dog. In a town of 106 residents a night out is a night out. #ballparkdogsarebest

We encountered our first proper tunnel.

And we listened carefully while William Clark’s great, great, great, great grandson explained how he is creating an authentic dug out canoe. Yep he does this while living in his Marmot tent by the Missouri River. The vessel weighs 400 pounds and he claims it’s unsinkable.

But the biggest news? We’ve gotten reacquainted with the mighty Missouri! We will follow along her banks all the way to St. Charles.

And in case anyone is keeping score… it’s turtles 4, snakes 2.

More you ask? I’m chillaxing comfortably with my jelly beans after our visit to the great American ball park and my beloved pulls out his own stash. There is no man cave in our tent, my love. Finish before you enter.

Best part of the day was the cycling. Small towns, hands down the best weather, light winds and easy terrain.

And I love this!

The Katy goes right through Boonvillle. #nodetours

We started the day out like this.

And ended it like this.

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