Day 59: Unity to John Day and Catch Up

We have had an eventful two days!

Yesterday we rode for Steven’s Aunt Roberta, who is a breast cancer survivor. She is one of the reasons Steven was drawn to I4K’s cause, and she celebrated her 61st birthday and 20th year of being cancer free!

Our ride began as the sun was rising. The sky was a beautiful mix of orange, blue, purple and pink. The team rode 20 miles to Vale, OR, which was a famous stop on the Oregon Trail, for our first rest stop. We then rode 20 more miles to our next rest stop, which was on the side of the road because there was nothing around. Unfortunately, Jason took a tumble between rest stops. The good news is that he is totally fine. He scraped up his elbow and knee, but doesn’t have a concussion or any broken bones. We all rode 20 miles back to Vale while he went to get checked out at a clinic in Ontario because we couldn’t ride forward on such a hot day without van support or service. We stayed at the gas station for 4 and a half hours and ended up shuttling the remaining 60 miles to Unity. It was a long day but we stayed positive, got a good meal at a local BBQ restaurant, and made it to Unity in time to enjoy camping. The stars were amazing last night. It was perfectly clear, and we even saw the Milky Way!

This morning was not as cold as our wake up in Yellowstone. We dedicated today’s 50 mile ride to Adam Hayden, who is fighting glioblastoma. We are wishing him strength and his family peace.

Our ride was a pretty one though national forests. However, there was a 9 mile stretch that we could not rode though due to construction. We shuttled by group through it and then continued on. It feels like it has been a while since we have had a routine day, but such is the west. Nice and unpredictable.

There were a few long uphills, but also some satisfying downhills today. We stopped for lunch in Prairie City at a very cute coffee shop called Roan Outwest Coffee and Decor. They had an “adult coloring table” with coloring books and colored pencils, as well as many comfortable chairs we all enjoyed. We ended up getting a portrait with Judy, the manager of the shop. She also introduced us to her friend Diana who immediately gave us all hugs when she learned what I4K was. She related to our cause of raising money for cancer research because she views it as what saved her. She is a breast cancer survivor and is now battling bone cancer. I always enjoy meeting people that our efforts are potentially positively affecting.

After staying at the coffee shop much longer than we normally stop for lunch we finished the rest of our day. We set up our tents and enjoyed the downtown. Many of us ended up having dinner out in order to take advantage of air conditioning.

Even though our days in Oregon have brought some unforeseen situations, we are still enjoying ourselves and are looking forward to the days ahead!


Day 57: Boise, ID to Nysse, OR

Today was a bit chaotic, but overall a good day.

We dedicated today’s ride to one of Maren’s volleyball teammates, Mason Lemay. She is celebrating being free of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma for 6 months now.

We left Boise a little late today, around 7:40. We knew we had a 62 mile day, and I think everyone was looking forward to a leisurely paced day. Most groups ended up stopping for coffee or breakfast at some point. It is always a good way to meet people along the way and get to see some places we wouldn’t otherwise go to.  Three groups enjoyed a diner breakfast at Bob’s Sunrise Café, and two kind strangers, Mike and Wendy McGowan, paid for our breakfast. We were all shocked and so thankful when Wendy came to wish us luck on the rest of our trip and let us know that our bill was covered. I don’t know how many times I have said this, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to see all of the good there is in this world.

We all reconvened at the 40 mile rest stop later in the day. Our ride was slightly downhill almost all day and there was not a lot of wind. It was the perfect day to ride. Therefore, we were making great time despite our many stops. It was at this rest stop that we learned that our scheduled stay over in Ontario accidentally double booked tonight and couldn’t accommodate our group. A giant “call every place you can find on Google” commenced. We called at least 35 churches, theaters, bowling alleys, park districts, etc. trying to find somewhere that would take us. We didn’t have a lot of luck, and it definitely didn’t help that it was Sunday. Finally, a couple in the gas station parking lot asked what we were up to and called some people they knew. We are so grateful for them because we ended up being able to stay at a church in Nysse, OR.

We spent the rest of the day eating our pasta and lentils, cleaning our bikes, and relaxing.

We are less than 2 miles over the Oregon border, but we are here! Looking forward to seeing more tomorrow!


Day 56: Rest Day in Boise

The team had a lot of fun today. We are all grateful that Shubham initiated looking into and booking whitewater rafting for all of us.

We left around 8:30 and drove about 40 minutes to Banks, Idaho. It was an absolutely beautiful day. When we arrived we all checked in, and got life jackets, helmets, and paddles. The team split up into 3 rafts and all had a great time. Our instructors were very patient with us and provided a very fun, safe experience. We rafted on about 7 miles of the Pyatte River and went through 3-4 class rapids. A few fell out of our boats but everyone was good natured about it and laughed. We also had the opportunity to jump off of rocks about 25 feet up, which most of us did. I’m so thankful that we have a team that chooses to be together on our off days. I think it shows how committed we are to having a great time together and how willing we are to try new things.

We got back to Boise around 3:00 and everyone spent a little bit of time doing their own thing.

We had dinner donated from Noodles and Company. It was great eating a different type of pasta.

Tonight we had another silly but super fun event. Similar to our Thanksgiving event, we celebrated Christmas tonight. We all drew names for a secret Santa event about a week ago, and have been trying to find presents for each other throughout our rides. We exchanged presents tonight and even played Christmas music. Presents ranged from a deck of cards that say Idaho, a pair of glasses found on the side of the road, local honey, and a massage that can be cashed in whenever. It was a very goofy, very fun event.

We are looking forward to the next stretch of our ride. Oregon here we come!


Day 55: Glenns Ferry to Boise

This morning Lindsey suggested we dedicate our ride to Dayna Willis. She is suffering from breast cancer, and tomorrow is her 51st birthday. Since tomorrow is a rest day, we thought about her during our ride today.

Today was a long one. It was windy from the start and the day just kept getting hotter and hotter. The scenery, while somewhat pretty, was monotonous. I’ve decided the high desert is not my place of choice. I don’t want to completely discount Idaho, because I have heard that the northern part is beautiful. However, considering that we don’t go north, I think it’s safe to say that we are all looking forward to crossing the Oregon border on Sunday.

Some positive sides of today include the fact that we stayed hydrated and positive, got to shower at a nice YMCA, and the chipotle burritos we got donated for dinner.

We are looking forward to a rest day tomorrow. Let’s be honest, when are we not? Tomorrow should be extra fun, though, because all 17 of us are going rafting! I’m looking forward to reporting back.


Day 54: Twin Falls to Glenns Ferry

We did a great job being efficient today. We had 70 miles and were all in around 2:00 today. It was important to keep moving because the temperature reached 102 degrees this afternoon. Thankfully we all did a great job of hydrating and finishing before the hottest point of the day.

We also met yet another kind stranger today. Our lunch stop ended up being at the bottom of a driveway, and a few minutes in the owner of the home came riding up to us on her bicycle. Debbie had just finished her day’s ride and was super excited to meet us. She allowed us all into her home to use her bathroom and took great interest in not only our mission as a team but in us as individuals. She is hoping we pass through the same route again next year so that she can host the team! It is so refreshing to meet such generous and gracious people.

Our ride was dedicated to Trisha’s grandpa, Robert Zacharias. Trisha is a 2012 rider and her grandpa was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 cancer earlier in the summer. He is in hospice now, and we are thinking about him and his family.

After we arrived at our stay over we went to shower at the local pool. They, too, were generous and allowed us to swim for a bit. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

We were provided another delicious pasta dinner tonight, and rumor has it there are cinnamon rolls for the morning. Can’t beat that!


Day 52: Pocatello to Rupert

Our stay over this morning provided a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, yogurt, fruit and granola. The pancakes gave us a positive start to the day because it is always nice to have a hot meal.  After breakfast we got together for our ride dedication, which was requested by a previous rider. We dedicated our ride to Marie Koenig, who is battling brain cancer.  Her Aunt Alice is doing the 1 million steps challenge on October 1st, which is 500 miles.

Our route today was pretty nice. Some of the roads were a little bumpy, but most were generally unpopulated. It was a nice change of pace, and we really enjoyed being able to ride next to each other and talk. The terrain became very desolate today. Everything was very dry and we could see all the way to the flat horizon line. We all commented on how it felt like a desert. The positive side of that is that there was very little climbing today. It got very warm at the end, but we all got done by 2:30.

We all relaxed for a bit before we got shuttled to showers. Our stay over then provided a great lasagna dinner and cake. We continue to be thankful for the hospitality we are the lucky recipients of.