Building & Resting in Craig

To catch us all up – on Thursday we left Utah and entered Colorado.

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These were along the ride in. It was a tough ride due to the heat but we survived it.

We spent the night in Dinosaur, CO courtesy of the Dinosaur Bible Fellowship Thursday night. Pastor Chuck was a congenial host once again. The town is really drying up though. He has only 5 members now.

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I was on dinner duty. Since I had seen the Gallery of Bones at the Dinosaur National Monument last year, I waved off the shuttle where almost everyone else went to see them and cooked instead. Everyone seemed to enjoy it when they got back. Several of the guys were enlisted to help Pastor Chuck move some furniture around. It was a tight fit and made us a tighter fit inside the church!

I awoke yesterday morning to find my back tire flat. Yes, the new one. Searching the tire, then the liner, I found a tiny wire that had penetrated the liner. We put a new tube in and as we were inflating it, it blew. It was time to roll and I was very frustrated so I just took a mental health day and rode the van.

When we got into Craig, there was a package from my dear friend Amy. That was such a welcome treat! Public thank you here, Amy!

I was excited to be in Craig because I knew my kids were coming to visit and help us build on Saturday. Grace was kind enough to stop at the bike shop where they told me they didn’t have anything exactly, but something ‘might’ fit.  I wanted to wait for Mike’s expertise so we headed to the church.

Lindy arrived not long after we did and that was great. Then Mike rolled in so the three of us went to the bike shop. Mike was not optimistic about what they were offering. I was definitely frustrated, but we made a plan for Lindy to drive me over to Steamboat Springs Saturday.

The local Fuller Center hosted us for dinner at the local community park. That’s also where we were to take showers. They’re the kind that you have to hold the button on to get water, and it only gets so-so warm. That was the final straw for me and I just about lost it. I decided to not shower, since I hadn’t ridden, and headed over to the park to meet Lindy. While she and I were walking around looking at statues people started calling my name.

It turned out the lady from the bike shop had dug back in her storage area and found some tubes that would work, then hunted me down to get them to me. When she found me, she provided three tubes and refused payment. Her name is Anna and thank you God for this angel!

After our BBQ dinner, we were back at the church when John arrived. He decided not to do the mountain bike race in Keystone after practicing the route. It was very technical and he felt that for him and his current skill level, dangerous. I’m so glad to have him here but I know he is disappointed. Then he discovered that he had either left his backpack with clothes/towel/gear in Keystone or it had been taken while he was there.

A trip to Walmart satisfied the immediate needs, and he’ll call the race organizers to see if it was turned in, but it was a tough night for him. Hopefully some sleep and food this  morning will turn things a little brighter. It was a tough day for the blonde Westenhoffs yesterday.

Today we will help build here in Craig. There are a number of projects to work on. I’ll try to get some photos.

Into Colorado!

Yesterday’s ride was from Heber City to Roosevelt. The day began with this scene.

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There was a huge climb out of Heber City so several of us skipped that. I started riding at Rest Stop #1, from Daniel’s Summit. It still gave me over 80 miles for the day by the time we got to Roosevelt.

I remembered from last year that the ride from Daniel’s Summit to the next rest stop included a beautiful ride along a lake. I also remembered that in front of the buildings at the lake last year we saw something really special. I kept my eyes wide open and sure enough, I saw this fellow:

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I’m used to East Coast ospreys, so this was a special treat. The lake is actually a reservoir, fed by the Strawberry River, hence its name, Strawberry Reservoir. That river showed up again and again as we descended the mountain on US 40. It was, by far, the most beautiful part of the ride.

The next rest stop was at a fun overlook where I saw a baby dinosaur.Jun21.87

I found a geocache there too! Just a small bison tube, but fun to find. Sadly, there were no bathrooms so I snapped a few photos and moved on. By then Mike had caught up with me (he rode from the beginning). Here are the photos of that overlook.

The next rest stop was at ominously named Starvation Lake, but we decided to pass it up in favor of the next town where we knew we could get real treats. We located a F’Real machine and enjoyed our efforts!

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Starvation Lake was beautiful and I took this photo as we rode over the bridge. I stopped there last year for more photos and the historical info.

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We stopped briefly at Rest Stop #4, but pressed on. At that point everything was sore — my wrists, my butt, my toes…

As we rode into Roosevelt we saw a storm moving over the mountain. Mike, David, and I were the first three in! What we didn’t know until the rest arrived is that a bunch of people got caught by that storm while at Rest Stop #4. I tried to capture the storm with these photos, but it really doesn’t capture how dramatic it was.

Tonight we are just across the border in Colorado. We’re in a tiny town called Dinosaur. It used to be called Artesia, but they changed the name in 1966 to take advantage of the fact that the town is near the entrance to Dinosaur National Monument.

It’s a cute little town, but it is slowly dying. The mines nearby closed, and any industry has left. When the Bike Adventure was here last year, Pastor Chuck told us that he had 8 members. This year, he’s down to 5.

Tomorrow I’ll post some photos from today’s ride to Dinosaur.

Up and Over

Today we left Salt Lake City. Here is the obligatory bike and church photo from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

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Salt Lake City is in a bowl. Guess what that meant we had to do? Yep, climb!

Our first climb was up to Emigrant Pass. It was the last pass in the Wasatch Mountains that the settlers heading west had to pass through on their way to Salt Lake City. It was a beautiful and challenging climb!

While at the rest stop, I found a critter trying to hijack my bike!

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We settled it peacefully and I got back on to enjoy some downhill before the next climb. The second climb was really taxing — it was on the shoulder of I-80 with LOTS of truck traffic going by. The pass was called Parley’s Summit. I hitched a ride with our van for the last mile, but then rode the rest of the day.

We went through Park City, home of the Olympic ski venues.

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We were on a great bike trail, but were climbing above 7000 feet. I felt sluggish and depleted due to the elevation!

As we dropped back towards Heber City we enjoyed some more beautiful mountain views.

Now we are at Mountain View Fellowship Church. A fast moving storm has come and gone over the mountains, cooling us and bringing some great winds. They’re supposed to turn into tailwinds for tomorrow!

The ride tomorrow will be just short of 100, with the first 17.5 miles about 4000 feet of climb, but again a beautiful area (not the interstate).  I’m thinking about hitching a ride to the first rest stop. It will depend on how well rested I feel in the morning!

 

Salt Lake City for the Win

Today is our “off” day in Salt Lake City and it’s the best off day we’ve had so far.

Yesterday we rode in from Grantsville. There were only 5 miles on the interstate and the rest was lovely, including a paved trail that went along the river almost to the end of our ride.

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We watched the land turn from salt flats to mixed terrain. As we rode in we were remarking upon the 10 foot wide bike lanes. Then coming towards us, we saw the reason the lanes were so wide there! The riders crossed to the other side when they saw us, but waved and smiled. A while after that, where there was no bike lane but it was a very quiet street, we saw this pair! Yep, that’s a donkey!

 

 

 

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Our host church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, is where we stayed last year. It was like coming back to an old friend.

I was all excited about my tires being here … until I realized they were the wrong size. I ordered 26’s instead of 27.5’s. I called the two open shops, both chains, and neither could help. In tears, I called Green Lizard and talked to Beth. She put Brad on and GREEN LIZARD SOLVED MY PROBLEM! Can I ever say how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them? Brad is overnighting tires to me in Hebert City, where I’ll get them tomorrow. That made a bummer of a day turn around, so I stopped pouting and decided to get some errands done.

I needed to go to Bed Bath & Beyond (the laundry destroyed my delicates bag) so I thought I figured out the bus schedule. I had, but going the wrong direction so I spent an hour watching the world at the Salt Lake City bus terminal. (Hint: It is a lot cleaner than any other bus terminal I’ve been to!) I finally got the right bus going the right direction. I wasn’t sure where to get off, but a guy on the bus said he was getting off there and would point me in the right direction. I got into the store with 10 minutes to spare and cashed out at 6pm exactly (closing time).

I wanted to get something to eat before I tried the journey back. As I stood in line at the Doerner Kebab place, I started chatting with a young woman (Amber) about the bike adventure. Before we were finished she offered to drive me back to the church. Amen and thank you God!

Today Mike and I headed up the hill (via the bus again) to the University of Utah where we spent the entire day in the Natural History Museum. It was awesome – better than the Smithsonian one. We went to the top floor and roof deck first so we could see the entire valley.

From there we worked our way down, starting with the Native Voices and artifacts area, moving down to life science, then geology. We took a break for lunch and then went back to the exhibits on the Great Salt Lake and gems and finally ended with the Vikings. It was overwhelming and fantastic. Oh, and we can’t forget the dinosaurs. This is a dino-freak’s dream museum! SO many great dinosaurs found in Utah, with many more still in situ. One of the cool things about the display area is you can look into the lab where scientists are preparing specimens.

The Viking exhibit was also interesting. These runes spell “Kelley”… although I’m not sure it translates directly.

Also, when we first went in I asked if they had a military discount. The girl was so friendly and asked if we had our ID cards. We showed them and the price was FREE. It’s not very often that retired military and dependents get in FREE! Thank you! Another God thing!

After the museum I called Uber so we could go to REI. The girl driving us, Rocio, is from Guatamala and was delightful. She waited while we ran in to get the tire liners I need (just in case the super glue has seeped through to the one in my current tire). Then she took us back to the church. Mike had never used Uber. I’m not sure he’s a convert but it sure beat waiting an hour for a bus!

Tomorrow we head for Heber City – only 50 miles but a bit of climbing. I’m going to try to ride it on my Super-Glued tire. It’s lasted for 4 days, hopeful that it can go another 50!

A Doozie of a Week

Let me start this week over. I’ve either been without connection or just too darned tired to write. Read on to find out details.

If you recall, a week ago today, we were in Fernley, Nevada and I had discovered a huge gash in my back tire. We tried to find a tire in Reno, but the one we found didn’t fit very well. It rubbed, making my ride miserable on Monday as we headed for Lovelock. That was also a wet, miserable day, so I rode part of it and then called it quits.

Tuesday we headed for Winnemucca. The church in Winnemucca was a United Methodist church right on the main street in town. I thought it looked like a Krispy Kreme donuts place with its light green and red trim.

Wednesday we headed towards Carlin. Our route went through Elko, so I crossed my fingers hoping I could get a replacement tire. The plan was for me to go ahead in the van and Mike would meet me there. Twenty miles and two bike shops later, no joy. The night before I had put the old gashed tire back on the back, filled the crack with superglue, and determined to ride on it.

The issue with my tires is that I ride 650b slicks. It’s a much more comfortable ride for long trips, but it’s an unusual size and property, so difficult for bike shops to carry – they don’t sell well. I was also having seat issues, so I took the Infinity off and put my Cambium back on. That resolved the seat issues!

I rode the rest of the way from Elko to Wells. One of the additional big challenges to this part of the ride is much of it has been on the shoulder of I-80. It’s perfectly legal but pretty awful. Many of my teammates have had flat tires – due to radial tire waste the trucks leave out there when they shred a tire. I have tire liners, which have come in handy for more than just the gash in my tire! But riding on the highway is also unnerving at a cellular level – it’s just a way of getting from place to place, not much about enjoying a journey. If you’ve driven long distances on interstates you know the feeling – good for getting where you’re going, but no character.

After Wells (where we stayed in a high school), we headed for Wendover. West Wendover and Wendover are on either side of the Nevada/Utah border. One side has casinos, the other is normal. I rode the whole way that day, crossing my fingers over this tire.

In Wendover we stayed at the Historic Wendover Air Force Base Museum. Wendover AFB is where Paul Tibbetts and his crew practiced for the delivery of the world’s first atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The entire program was top secret and everyone around kept the secret. That was laundry night for my team so we didn’t get to do much exploring around the base. It was “way cool” for lots of the team who have never spent much time on military bases. I like the way they’ve preserved the Officers’ Club, especially the dance hall part, but it’s definitely from a time gone by!

I’m having difficulties uploading photos. When one of the interns gets back, I’ll see if she can help me figure it out. In the meantime, know that we are in Salt Lake City tonight and tomorrow, and I made it safely on that gashed tire!

Out of Nevada Into Utah!

I confess that when I looked at the Google images of the area we rode through yesterday and today, I wasn’t excited about biking through northern Nevada. It looked very stark and desolate.

Boy was I wrong. It was fantastic. We stayed two nights ago in Carlin, which is a gold town. I didn’t have any internet, so I couldn’t post how wonderful the people there are. There had been a mix-up for our arrangements so at the last minute – less than 24 hours from our arrival – one of the churches opened up for us, and one of the ladies in town recruited a huge potluck. They were amazing.

Last night we were in Wells, which we got to by way of Elko. Elko is a great little town with a wonderful railroad park. These are our media interns doing what 18 and 20 somethings do.

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These are Maddie, Becky, and Kian. They are documenting the trip, and working at the supporting rest stops and generally keeping the bicyclists happy and sane. They’re all wonderful. Maddie is at University of Alabama, Becky at Biola University, and Kian just graduated from high school.

I’m having trouble with connectivity tonight, so I’ll leave you with their cheerful faces and catch up with things tomorrow night.

Experimenting…

Last night we stayed in Winnemucca where the United Methodist Church hosted us. I think their church looks like a Krispy Kreme store!

Today’s ride didn’t go so well for me. The stand-in tire rubs, which makes it act like a brake. Thus, I can’t coast. When one is supposed to ride 100 miles, coasting is important. Additionally, every bump translated up to my sitting down place! So I bailed out after 44.

In the time that I was on the bike we were in a huge basin surrounded by snow-capped mountains. These are the views I got.

 

I saw these nests when I was under a bridge near one of our rest stops. They’re made by swallows and are very cool!

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They were stuck in the joining area between the bridge support and the deck. Amazing — and occupied. When I showed up to take photos, they flew out but they kept circling around!

So the experiment tomorrow is that tonight I put my Cambium saddle back on, and having superglued the old tire, I put that back on too. It may bump a little but it won’t be anything like the one that’s rubbing. I just hope it can last until I get to Salt Lake City. Fingers crossed!