Wild Wild West

*This post is for my mom- who I have been promising a blog for way too long.  Thank you for everything – for my bike (thank you too, dad :)), for helping with fundraising, for taking me shopping for my trip, and for getting tickets to San Fran!!!  Thank you for supporting me and being excited for me!  It means so much!  I love you.

 

I finally figured it out.  Everyone has always asked me why our route is from east to west instead of from west to east.  Some people have even argued that west to east would be easier due to the direction of the wind.  I never knew the answer.  But now that we are here- way over half of the way done- I have no doubt why we go from NY to San Fran and not the other way around.  It is because, now that we are on day 47 we are tired and are physically and mentally worn down, but the sights make everything worth it.  The beauty of the west, and what is yet to come definitely helps me get up at 6am and get back on my bike every morning.  I could not fathom going on day 50 and being in Ohio.  We have simply saved the best for last.

 

The official dividing line between the east and the west is the Mississippi River, which we crossed way back leaving Wisconsin.  Then I thought the West was Minnesota.  I had no idea.  The true West was when we started seeing signs for “last stop for gas,” and when the only towns we saw were where we started and where we finished.  Our first day riding through Wyoming we rode 65 miles without seeing so much as an exit.  The real West is when the towns elevation is ten times the towns population.  The real West is absolutely breathtaking.  Every day somehow gets more beautiful than the last.

 

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of sights and attractions.  And I honestly couldn’t pick my favorite.  The day from Murdo, SD to Wall, SD we rode through the Badlands.  The entire route we saw more than dozens of signs for the famous Wall Drug.  My favorite said, “Badlands then Wall Drug.”  So of course we went shopping for more than four hours in Wall Drug and drinking 5 cent coffee and free ice water.  We also saw Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and Yellowstone NP.  We rode 35 miles uphill through the Big Horn Mountains.  We climbed averaging 5/6 miles an hour uphill, but in the end we reached over 9600 feet and were rewarded with a 20 mile downhill.  I didn’t have to pedal and flew at speeds around 30 miles an hour.  So pretty much it took all day to reach the top and less than a half hour to get down.  But every second was worth it, especially at the end when the Mountains opened up into a huge valley.  Not only was the Big Horns one of my favorite sights, but one of my best accomplishments on this trip.

 

I didn’t think that any view could beat the Black Hills or the Badlands but I was wrong.   Today we rode through the Madison River Valley in Montana (yes, I’m all the way in Montana!) and it was so pretty it looked fake.  It was like a green screen or like I was in a biking simulation.  There were mountains surrounding every side of us.  I also got to see a baby big horn along the way!

 

That was just my first day in Montana.  I am willing to bet I will see a lot more on our way North to Missoula and then onward all the way to San Fran down highway 1.  There is no doubt the best is yet to come!!!

 

Comments (5)
  • Robin Tisdale says:

    I am so glad you and Ron are enjoying your trip, the pictures are awesome. You will remember this for the rest of your life. I hope you enjoyed your little care package I sent, let me know if you need any necessity’s I can send it to the next mail drop. Have fun, be safe and see ya soon. Love ya, Momma Tiz

  • Jill Canaday says:

    The BEST blog ever! Thank you for taking the time to write to all of us that are following you. We love you all for doing this trip.
    Jill

  • Nancy Replogle says:

    Lauren, Amazing picture of you riding the mountain. The colors are so vivid! Your downhill through the Big Horns sounded like a thrill ride –30 mph on a bike, Yikes! I guess that’s what they make helmets for :-) I’ve never been to Montana, but when I do go I’ll be sure to drive through the Madison River Valley. Enjoy the rest of your ride!

  • Jennifer Jennings says:

    Lauren- What an amazing adventure. I love the pictures. I can’t wait to see you. I want to hear all about your trip when you get home. Your group is so amazing all the money and awareness you guys are raising is wonderful! We miss you!

  • Deb Yoggerst says:

    Almost there! Just think of the AMAZING shape you are in now! LOL This is something you and Ron will always have together! Check in with us when you get home!

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