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

Riding Stats


Route Tracker

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

Riding Stats


Route Tracker

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: 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.

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.

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.


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.




Northern Tier Ride Prep: Who’s With Us?

How ironic. Adventure Cycling Association’s Bike Travel Weekend coincides with the very first day of our coast to coast ride.

What is Bike Travel Weekend? It’s a weekend set aside to encourage people of any age, any cycling experience, throughout the world to go on a one or two night bicycle trip with friends, family or even solo to a campground, hotel, cabin, friend’s house, whatever. The idea is to promote bicycling as a healthy, sustainable way to travel and have fun.  This is the third year Adventure Cycling has sponsored the event.

This year there are over 500 rides registered with 6,100 participants.  Here’s your official invitation to join us on Bike Travel Weekend or any part of our coast to coast ride. Don’t worry, Tom is taking the lead on navigation. #debsalwayslost


If Washington state isn’t in your summer travel plans maybe there’s a bike trip closer to you.

The Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA) has a ride registered right here in central Indiana. Whether you’re a beginning bike traveler with lots to learn or a seasoned veteran with lots to share, consider participating.  Your contact to sign up is Nathan Dinges, neddingo21@me.com

Are the reserved campsites sweet or what? Nathan even has a limited amount of gear for you to borrow.


#getoutandride #beatsyardwork

And, if you register and ride, you’re eligible to win a bike and Amtrak tickets to Glacier National Park.  Check it out here. Riding the Amtrak Empire Builder is an unforgettable experience. #beenthere #donethat

PS: As of April 28th, they are looking for ride leaders in North Dakota and Hawaii, the only states not yet represented in Bike Travel Weekend, so if ya know someone….

Whether you join us, CIBA, or do your own thing on Bike Travel Weekend, post pics using these hashtags because as the saying goes, “pics or it didn’t happen.”






Northern Tier Ride Prep: What’s In the Bag?

One of the most frequently asked questions about riding coast to coast is, “What’s in the bag?”  So here goes:


Tom’s Panniers (38 pounds)

Rear right:

  • REI Co-op Half Dome 2 man tent
  • G4Free camp chair

Rear left:

  • Kelty down sleeping bag
  • REI Air Rail 1.5 sleeping pad

Front left:

  • The “kitchen”, includes 2 mugs, 2 bowls, 2 sporks, coffee filter, spatula, cutting board, knife, MSR pan, MSR whisperlite stove with wind shield, soap, scour square, pan grabber, P-38 can opener, lighter
  • 1 liter fuel can
  • Flask

Front right:

  • Clothing bag including 3 jerseys, 2 cycling shorts, Chacos sandals, 2 pair socks, 1 pair Smart Wool socks, stocking cap, gloves, fleece, rain jacket, cycling leggings, arm sleeves, cycling shoes, convertible pants, shorts, 2 short sleeve t-shirts, 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 2 underwear, baseball cap, head buff
  • Bath bag includes camp towel, tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss, shampoo, liquid soap, deodorant, razor, shaving cream

Handlebar bag:

  • Electronics bag including chargers for phone, Garmin 1000 GPS, portable charger, shuffle, charging cord for front and rear bike light
  • Sunglasses case
  • Bike lock
  • Tire pump
  • Rag with chain lube
  • Head lamp
  • Suntan lotion, chap stick, bug juice
  • Duct tape, bungee cords
  • Snacks
  • Passport

Strapped on back between rear panniers:

  • Tent poles wrapped in tarp

Seat bag:

  • Multi tool
  • 2 spare tubes
  • 2 CO2 cartridges
  • Tire levers
  • Patch kit


Cycling shoes

Cycling gloves

Water bottles – 3

Front rechargeable light

Rear rechargeable light


And the second most frequently asked question regarding bags is: Why is Tom carrying twice as many bags as Deb?  Answer? Because if Deb carries equal weight she won’t get to Maine until two weeks after Tom.



Deb’s Panniers (24 pounds)

Rear right:

  • Cycling clothing bag including 1 short sleeve jersey, 2 sleeveless jerseys, 2 bike underwear, 2 shorts, arm sleeves, cycling leggings, 2 pairs cycle socks, 1 pair Smart Wool socks, bright orange cycle vest
  • Camp clothes bag including 1 sleeveless shirt, 2 short sleeve T-shirts, 1 long sleeve T-shirt, black running shorts, khaki convertible shorts/pants, pink anorak, Marmot raincoat, 2 underwear, 2 jog bras,  1 extra bandana, gloves, stocking cap
  • Food bag

Rear left:

  • Kelty down sleeping bag
  • REI Air Rail 1.5 sleeping pad
  • North Face fleece
  • Solar lantern
  • Bathroom bag including hair brush, toothbrush/paste, floss, soap/shampoo combo, moisturizer, wet wipes, razor, deodorant
  • 2 gallon water bucket (I never go camping without it. Serves as a laundry bucket, ice chest, dish pan, etc.) #BestGadgetEver
  • Camp towel
  • ACA route maps

Handlebar bag:

  • Bandana
  • Waterless soap
  • Chap stick
  • Sunscreen
  • Electronics bag (iphone charger, portable charger, shuffle, shuffle charger)
  • Headlamp
  • Ball cap
  • First aid mini kit
  • Snacks
  • Passport

Strapped between the panniers:

  • G4Free camp chair
  • Chacos sandals 

Seat bag:

  • 2 spare tubes
  • Patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • 2 CO2 canisters
  • Spare cyclometer battery


Cycling shoes

Cycling gloves

Water bottles – 2

Rear rechargeable light


We had three consecutive riding days with no rain, snow or sleet. #shocker

Twenty five miles on Friday and back to back 50’s on Saturday and Sunday, fully loaded.  Northern Tier, we’re coming for you!

Below is our weekend riding recap video.  As you’ll see, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.





Northern Tier Ride Prep: Finally

The bags, aka panniers, are loaded and on my bike! Tom will be carrying two front and two back panniers, and I, just two on the back.


What goes in the bags if you want to camp, cook, clean up and keep the top layer of your skin in tact on a 4,000 mile bike trip? Find out next week.

Godspeed to all participants in the Boston Marathon tomorrow. #BostonStrong #Boston2018 #WhereChampionsRun

Northern Tier Ride Prep: 25, 30, 35, 40

If you only ride your bike when it’s warm and sunny in Indy you probably don’t ride your bike very often. Especially when it’s April 8th but it feels like January 74th because winter has overstayed her welcome.

Last Thursday Tom and I made a pact. We going out riding, no matter the weather. Tom’s been spinning and commuting to work but we have only been out once together for a short 20 miler.

It’s not so much strengthening the legs and lungs as it is reintroducing certain body parts to the saddle, especially over multiple days. #ouch

So the last four days… 25, 30, 35 and 40 miles. Today Tom loaded his panniers and we took a spin. #allgood

As for fair weather riding, we didn’t get much of it. Just wind. Lots of wind. And cold. But oh was it nice to be out.

We are stoked to start on June 1!