Day 51: Day 51: Idaho Falls to Pocatello

Today was a short, quick 53 mile day. We rolled out around 7:30 and arrived at our stay over by 1:00. The route today was straightforward and we beat the heat and wind. Our hosts were kind enough to shuttle us to Idaho State University so that we could shower. They also had fruit and snacks for us, a happy addition to our normal peanut butter and jelly lunch that we waited to eat until we arrived.

We all spent the afternoon differently. Some played card games, some napped, some read, and some cleaned their bikes. We were yet again provided a delicious dinner. We enjoyed chicken, rice, salad, quinoa, gluten free pasta salad, mac and cheese, cookies, and ice cream.

It was nice to have time to just relax before and after dinner. It felt like an extension to our rest day, especially after such a long stretch of long rides. We had gotten used to arriving pretty late to our stay overs, eating, and going to sleep right away.

We have a 75 mile day tomorrow. A little longer but nothing out of the ordinary. We are enjoying the flatness of Idaho so far.

DR

Day 50: Rest Day in Idaho Falls

Our stay over has provided us with a wonderful day. This morning we attended a potluck breakfast before the church service. There was a lot of good food and many kind people asking us about our trip. It is always so nice to feel so welcomed.

Most of us cleaned our bikes, updated our journals, and hung out for the rest of the day. We had a baked potato bar for lunch. People in Idaho know how to eat potatoes. They showed us how to cut it down the middle and then squeeze it in order to open it fully. You then fill it with lots of fixings, eat some, fill it up again, eat it more, then fill it up one last time and eat it like a burrito. It was delicious.

In the afternoon many of us went on a short 4 mile bike ride along the river to see some sights our hosts recommended. I know you’re thinking we’re crazy for riding on our off day, but it was a really nice, leisurely ride. The river was pretty, as were the falls that gave this town its name.

Dinner consisted of lasagna, gluten free pizza, and salad. Needless to say, we were treated very well today.

We are looking forward to a series of shorter rides this week!

DR

 

Day 49: Jackson to Idaho Falls & Catch Up

We have crossed into Idaho! Only two more state borders to cross. It’s hard to believe!

I apologize for the long post…I want to include summaries of the last three days; we saw and did so much!

On Thursday we rode into Yellowstone. We dedicated our ride to my friend Angie’s dad, Dave, who is fighting his second battle with cancer. The ride out of Cody was absolutely beautiful. We rode in mountains all day and got to see the sun rise behind them. We also spent a lot of time talking about how lucky we are. We get to see parts of the country we may never otherwise have had the chance to, and we are seeing it from such a unique perspective.

Once we got into Yellowstone National Park we climbed up to the highest point we’d get to before our campground and waited for everybody to reunite. The mountains are green, with lots of trees, but there were also a lot of trees down. They were so skinny and long and scattered that they looked like toothpicks. While my group was waiting, we got a portrait with a woman named Auni and her son. Auni is a doctor at Mayo clinic, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has been free of cancer for 6 years. She talked about how the experience made her more empathetic as a physician. She doesn’t wish cancer on anyone, but she is thankful for the experience because of how it has affected her as a professional and as a mom. She talked about how she is less of a perfectionist since her diagnosis because she realized that the little things don’t matter. It was really nice to be able to do a portrait with her in such a beautiful place. Even better, her family was on the vacation they had planned when she was diagnosed but had to postpone.

On our way to the campground we stopped by Yellowstone Lake, a very large, very blue lake with pretty pebble beaches and occasional hot springs along its shoreline. A few of us waded in, and it was freezing. It made sense once we realized it was snow melt.

Our campsite was right near the lake. We had a really fun time sitting around the campfire, talking, and making s’mores. It was a bit tight in the tents, but what’s camping without a bit of discomfort?

Friday morning was very cold, and we layered ourselves heavily. The rest of the day was amazing. We got to take our time to explore the park, and explore we did. Many groups stopped at some hot springs. I had never seen them before, and I was amazed at how colorful they were and how clear the water was. The water was actually boiling. We didn’t get to see Old Faithful, but now we have a reason to come back. The groups also stopped at Lewis Falls. Some of us hiked down, waded in, and enjoyed the good weather and good views.

The afternoon was spent riding through the Grand Teton National Park. We rode parallel to the mountains, and we were in awe of the view as well as how large they were.  It’s odd to see snow this time of year, even if it is on top of mountains.

We got into Jackson later than normal because of the very leisurely pace we afforded ourselves. It was well worth it.

We dedicated our ride on Friday to Anne. Sadly, Anne was killed by a driver while she was cycling in Idaho Falls on Thursday. She is a member of Bike and Build, an organization that teams up with Habitat for Humanity during their cross country ride. Our thoughts are with her family and the entire team.

This morning’s ride was dedicated to Austin’s mom, Hung Lee, who is a breast cancer survivor. Her birthday is today! Our ride began with a monster 4 mile climb. It was very steep, but we all conquered it no problem! The difficult part of the ride came in the afternoon. It got hot and very windy. The 90 miles to Idaho Falls seemed to go on forever, but again, as always, we made it.  So far Idaho looks like Wyoming, except a little greener.

Our stay over provided a delicious taco dinner. They were so patient with our late arrival. We were all more than ready for a hot meal and are looking forward to a rest day tomorrow!

We are excited to see what Idaho has in store for us!

DR

Day 47 & 48: Cody to Yellowstone & Yellowstone to Jackson

We made it to Jackson! It was a long day, but a fun day exploring the national park. We did not all get in until 9 p.m., but it was worth it in order to enjoy all that the day provided. I would like to post a blog entry that does the last two days justice, so I will be posting more details tomorrow!

We are looking forward to arriving in Idaho Falls tomorrow and resting on Sunday!

DR

Day 46: Greybull to Cody

Today was a nice, short 53 mile day. Our ride was dedicated to Andrew, a friend of Lindsey’s who passed away from cancer this year.

We began the day with a diner breakfast at Uptown Cafe in Greybull. We decided to take the opportunity to relax a bit since we didn’t have any reason to rush to the stay over. It was a very relaxing day with good opportunities for mountain pictures. One negative is that there were very few (as in zero) bathroom opportunities. The first 52 miles were all on Rt. 14 and very wide open. The positive is that there was a big downhill at the end. It is always a nice way to finish.

It is sometimes difficult to come off of a really beautiful, exhilarating day like yesterday and feel excited about an average ride. Everyone did a great job staying positive and realizing that we are still amidst beauty despite the slightly less exciting ride day.

We are staying at Christ Episcopal Church in Cody tonight. They provided a pasta dinner with a sauce that was far superior to our norm. We also did a portrait with a church member, Randy. He is retired and is a part time spiritual councilor for local hospice care. His wife is a breast cancer survivor, and he talked about how the experience made him realize how much families of cancer patients suffer, too. The main piece of advice he had for caregivers or friends of patients is to not talk too much. Being a good listener is the best gift you can give.

We are heading to Yellowstone tomorrow! There is a very good chance that we will not have service tomorrow, so it is likely that you may not hear from your rider and/or that there may be no blogpost. We will update the website as soon as possible!

DR

 

Day 45: Dayton to Greybull

We dedicated our ride to day to Catherine Kemp’s best friend’s mom, Jeni Lehnert, who is currently going through treatment for lung cancer.

Today is the day we all agreed on liking Wyoming. It had been a rough previous 3 days, but today was beautiful. We left for the Big Horn Mountains at 6 a.m. Our cues said to get on US 14 West and we didn’t turn off until 71.8 miles later. We climbed up through the Big Horn National Forest for about 17 miles, enjoyed a downhill, and then climbed about 15 more miles to complete our 6,207 feet of climbing to the highest point. We reached our maximum elevation of 9,038 before enjoying 6,309 feet of downhill. There was a sign that signaled an 18 mile downhill coming out of the mountains. It was glorious.

The morning was very cold, and the afternoon warmed up quite a bit as we descended. Many of us had numerous layers and winter gloves on, then peeled them off as it got warmer. To give you an idea of how drastically different climbing is from descending, it took us 6.5 hours to climb 35 miles, and under an hour to descend them. The view was also unbelievable. Winding down the mountain provided great views of the valleys and we exited through a red rock canyon. The mountains were so green and forested and the rocks so vibrantly red, it is impossible not to like Wyoming after the experience.

We are staying at Greybull Alliance Church. We did a portrait with two members of the church, Kathy and her daughter, Amy. Kathy survived inflammatory breast cancer. She talked a lot about how cancer has changed her perspective. She has become a more thankful person and tries not to worry about things that don’t matter. She also talked about how she believes love should be at the center of everything, and desires to share her experience with others. She is in the process of releasing an album of songs she wrote during her cancer experience titled, “Hope is Alive.”

The portrait was a great end to a beautiful day. We are looking forward to what else Wyoming has to offer.

DR