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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Le Tour continues

Howdy y'all, happy 4th July!

Its been a while since the last update so to avoid boring too many people i will stick to the more interesting parts, i have included a lot of photos (worth a 1,000 words apparently).  We are currently in Missoula, Montana on Day 19.

Quick Stats:
Day 6 - 4hrs 34 mins in the saddle, 55.6 miles, 12.1 mph average
Day 7 - 5hrs 41 in saddle, 53 miles, 9.3 mph ave.....McKenzie Pass day!
Day 8 - 5hrs 42 in saddle, 69.5 miles, 12.1 mph ave
Day 9 - 4hrs 03 in saddle, 54.51 miles, 13.4 mph ave
Day 10 - 5hrs 02 in saddle, 59.57 miles, 11.8 mph ave
Day 11 - 4hrs 16 in saddle, 52.5 miles, 12.2 mph ave
Day 12 - Large Dominos Pizzas x 2 (Day off Baker City Oregon)
Day 13 -  5hrs 39 in saddle, 71.17 miles, 12.5 ave
Day 14 - 5 hrs 32 in saddle, 62.4 miles, 11.2 ave
Day 15 - 4hrs 49 in saddle, 61 miles, 12.6 ave
Day 16 - 61.54 miles, 10.8 ave
Day 17 - 4hrs 36 in saddle, 63.6 miles, 13.7 ave
Day 18 - 2 hrs 51 in saddle, 40.33 miles, 12.7 ave
Day 19 - Cat eye not with me.
Day 20 - (Tomorrow) Independence Day, Rodeo y'all or watch Independence Day in the air conditioned motel eating pizza.

Its been a good 13 days since the last update, we have moved from Oregon to Idaho and then onto where we are now - Montana.  We moved out of the Pacific time zone to Mountain time zone, back to Pacific time zone and then back again to Mountain time zone where will stay for at least the next few weeks.

Day 6 was the day of the McKenzie pass, we built this up in our heads to be such a big deal but the gradients were steady and although there was 4,000 feet climb to the top it wasnt too bad.  There was snow at the top and the weather was overcast but not too cold.  The climb was rewarded with a great downhill, this can be said for all the climbs we have done over the past few weeks. We climb for a good 2,3, 4 hours but there is always a substantial descent with little traffic which is great fun.

Since the McKenzie pass we have climbed a number of passes, the terrain is basically lots of ups to around 4,000 - 5,000 feet then back down into canyons at around 1,000 feet.  The average speeds are pretty steady, 4-7 mph on the uphill and 25 - 30mph on the downhill. The passes occupy our minds quite a bit but are never as bad as we think, they are designed to accommodate large trucks so arent too steep...Yet.

The campsites have been pretty good so far, generally the campsites are RV parks, they always have a decent bit of grass for tents though and good facilities, we have only been a 3 nights without a shower although 2 of which we washed in the river.  Tom has always had his restroom for Cock a doodle poo.
We tend to Motel it on rest days so we have a safe place for the bikes (its happened once but this trend will continue i think)

The landscape changed after McKenzie pass from rain forrest to Mountain Desert. We have been cycling through the 'Wild West', the scenery has been stunning.  We have been cycling through canyons and vast flat landscapes, the land looks like the back drop of a western movie, the photos hopefully give you an idea.

We stayed one night in a Presbyterian church, it was on the map as a cycle friendly place to stay and sure enough we knocked on the house next to the church and they gave us free reign.  Another couple of cyclists, a father and son combination Stewart and Ellis also arrived in the Dayville church so Tom and I slept in the sanctuary on our roll mats.  I read the bible to Tom until he fell asleep as he said he found the place a bit spooky.

We arrived in Baker City on Day 12 (Wednesday 26th), we were scheduled a day off to catch up on Laundry, rest the legs etc.  We were thankful for it as we had 2 days straight of rain before we arrived so it was nice to get a chance to warm up, dry tents etc.  We managed to get a cheap motel for the evening and although it was terrible by normal standards it suited us fine.  No honeymoon suite this time, just a standard twin room.

The weather completely changed the day we left Baker and has continued through until now.  A heatwave seems to have hit the US and although the north isnt getting it as bad it is still pretty unbearable, consistantly above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon (35-40 degrees Celsius for you Brits).  We got caught out the day we left Baker, we left late and tackled all the climbs in the heat of the day.  A mistake we would not repeat, this morning we got up at 4.30am and started cycling at 5.30am.  We haven't quite been as disciplined as that all week but you get the idea.  Finish by the time the day gets really hot, cycling in the evening is out of the question as it doesn't cool down until it gets dark!

We have seen lots of wildlife, some of which as been alive.  Lots of Deer, three ran in front of me at one stage, fortunately i wasn't going too fast but they were only 10 meters in front.  Close enough for me to fill my pants and also understand why we see so many in bits on the sides of the roads.  We have seen lots of snakes and racoons, none alive yet though.  We have seen Pine Martins, Vultures, Chip munks and other unidentified small mammals (all alive). We are moving soon into the territory of the larger wildlife, bear, elk, moose country, very exciting.  Cant wait to see if a bear shits in the woods.  Mosquito country too apparently, the wee bastards drive me wild.
Tom loves the hills, climbing through the rain forrest to the top of the McKenzie Pass

At the top! This was moments after i had falled off my bike in slow motion in front of a crowd of people.  The rocks in the background is Lava, huge lava fields surround the McKenzie pass, vast and beautiful.  The photographer is from Suffolk....

Just left Sisters and this was the view we left behind. In Sisters Tom met a guy from Staffordshire who was selling Oatcakes, I dont think i have ever seen Tom look so happy. He gave us some for free, they were rank.

Entering the mountain dessert, although it is the dessert i make it look cool (it rained all day)
Photo op, Tom riding with his corporate branding......he just cant get enough
Outside the Presbyterian church with Stewart and Ellis, great lads who we bumped into on and off for 3 days.  They are cycling the route in 2 months, 70 mile days, no breaks.
What a couple of knobheads
Typical campsite, Tommy guns flexing

Baker City, apparently the place to be back in the day (early 1900's when the gold rush was on), an early Vegas lots of gambling, boozing and whoring.  All changed, Dominos and Cinema now.

Leaving Baker City, surrounded by beautiful fields and hills in the background

Starting to get really hot, long roads, vast desert land with the odd ranch dotted around.

5 mileish straight flat road, we tool these for granted at the time.

Typical scene, photographs dont do it justice, a pleasure to cycle in

Afternoon nap....5 more minutes, Toms favorite phrase, not sure what his left hand is doing

Just did the up, now comes the down, good times.

Tom reaching the top ready for the fast 3 miles

Dinner time, still my favorite part of the day, it wont ever change

Down in Hells Canyon, this was around 6am before it became unbearably hot.

This was us actually leaving Oregon but we didnt get a picture on the way in

2nd state!!! its taken bloody ages to leave Oregon, a beautiful state but nice to feel like we are making progress

No words

Feels a long way from the North Pole, i know i look cool but it was approaching 40 C at this time
Cooling off in the river and no i haven't been stealing his food.

RV park - it was so hot, we swam in the river in the background, a popular place for rafting.  The RV park owner asked if we fancied going down in just life jackets....why not! It was bloody scary and he had to come collect me in the car because i went to far.            
Little bit dangerous with the logging trucks but we survived

Our new friends.  Very nice couple who ran this particular campsite invited us for dinner.  Smoked pork, everyone only had one piece apart from Tom and I who had 3 each and left with some for breakfast.....they were impressed.

Bobby, 'Roughy', Me and Tom, Thane behind the lens.  Great bunch of guys we met last night, Roughy is from Bradford! Strong Yorkshire accent and the other pair from Michigan were giving him stick for being tight!! we said nothing.

Back to Mountain Time, for more than a day this time, we lost an hour

State #3




  1. Well done guys. You are doing awesome. Very jealous and loving your pics. Keep up the good work.

    Club Tropicarter

  2. Enjoying the trip blog. I am from York and planning to do the trip next year. Why west to east? If it is about the wind then has it been a problem? Accommodation and showers seem the challenge.....any advice?