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May 1-2

Hello UTAH!!!

April 30

Cold ride from Twin Falls to Burley today, but I’m glad we took the detour to see Shoshone Falls. Can’t count the number of times I’ve driven out that way on I-84 and never even knew that treasure was there! It was well worth the extra pedaling. 

April 28-29

It was cold and windy when we woke up yesterday. Jax and I just stared at each other for a couple of minutes before we threw off the bedding and started our day, with him performing the classic Downward Dog pose and me struggling to put on layers that would have to come right back off before we started riding. I wasn’t too concerned about the wind. It had actually given us a helpful push for much of the prior day’s ride. It started out that way yesterday, too, but only four miles into our 60-mile ride, the wind suddenly shifted 90 degrees. It caught our mini-semi-tractor-trailer rig broadside and made us swerve a little bit towards traffic. The adrenaline rush was the perfect replacement for the cup of coffee I’d decided to skip that morning. The wind stayed that way for the rest of the day, gusting from south to north, demanding focus, but not really slowing us down much.

The flag took a beating yesterday.
Jax had some fun chasing prairie dogs between Glenns Ferry and Twin Falls

Jax made another friend, a motorcycle rider from Japan. I’m not sure how to spell his name, but I admired his guts for touring America by motorcycle with a very limited command of the English language.

The best part of the ride was near the end when, just as we were about to cross the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River Canyon and into Twin Falls, we heard a horn honking and turned to see our good friends pulling up behind us. Lillan Roquet, a gifted horse trainer ( ), her boxer Laila, who Jax absolutely loves, and her boyfriend’s big, awesome dog Axel all piled out of the truck and we let the dogs play at the scenic overlook. Lillan was on her way home to Salt Lake City from a training job in Bellevue, Idaho and I was really happy she could take the time to stop and talk awhile. She and Laila are like family to Tammy and me.

Getting to know Axel

We took a lay-off day today so I could do laundry, take Jax for a couple of long walks, buy dog food, call ahead for route advice and rest my aching (for some reason) Achilles’ tendons. Tomorrow we ride for Burley.

April 27

Our 72 mile ride to Glenns Ferry was graced with a tailwind and mostly flat terrain. Jax’s new trailer tires are definitely tougher, but also thinner and smoother than the old ones, so they create less rolling resistance. All that made for a smooth and fast (for us) ride.

Wind farm on Old Oregon Trail Road
Downtown Glenns Ferry

April 26

Today’s 53 miles put us over the 500-mile mark! Jim and Holly, our hosts during the lay-off day while the bike and trailer were being repaired, made sure I was well fed and rested while their pack of 4 dogs kept Jax occupied. Road construction and flooding forced lots of detours along my route but amazingly, a fellow cyclist and Fiji brother named Gary Segers appeared on the shoulder of a road in Eagle (just outside of Boise), flagged me down, warned me of the upcoming hazards, led me around them with his truck and gave me detailed directions to my destination! I’d never met Gary before, but he had seen Jax and me riding up a pass in the Blue Mountains while he was driving home from Oregon. Days later, he happened to drive past us again. He saw us heading into trouble and took the time to stop and very thoroughly help us out. Wow. Thanks again, Gary, in case you’re reading this. And thanks to Linda and Trish for stopping to talk about K9s For Warriors and giving us encouragement. All in all, a beautiful day.

April 21-24

The 21st, Easter Sunday, was a bluebird day. Beautiful weather to do some climbing. Up and over Dixie Pass and Blue Mountain Pass, then down to Unity Lake to camp for the night. The 22nd started out fine, but when we stopped in Unity to pick up dog food for Jax, all they had was one 50 lb. bag. The closest place that might have a “bike-sized” bag of food was 65 miles away and poor Jax would be hosed if they didn’t (he’s not a fan of Clif Bars). Not to worry, the wonderful cashier at the Burnt River Market called her wonderful boss, who brought over two large ziplock bags of dog food and a couple of dog treats as well!

Meanwhile, Gorden, a customer at the store, made a donation to K9s For Warriors after I told him why we were riding. Then Matt, a military veteran from a family of military veterans, took the time to share his story with me and also to warn me that we could expect to encounter Goathead thorns (excellent tire-flatteners) with greater frequency as we moved south. As we talked, I noticed one of the trailer tires was bulging out from the rim. Those tires obviously aren’t made for touring. I decided to re-seat the tire, clean and lube the bike while we waited for dog food. Mileage total for the day: 5. We camped behind the store. Everyone we met in Unity was friendly and interested in our trip and in the motivation behind it — K9s For Warriors.

Jax and his new friend, Kinslee

On the 23rd, we rode 65 miles to Vale, our last camping spot in Oregon. Today, the 24th, we woke up to another flat trailer tire. I found and removed the thorn, patched the tire and headed for Parma, Idaho, where we are staying at the Morningwood Ranch, the dog-friendliest place ever, owned by my longtime friend Jim Jolly. My bike is at Rolling H Cycles getting a new chain, thorn-resistant inner tubes, Kevlar tire liners and tire sealant just in case something makes it through all that armor. Wesley at Rolling H, a.k.a. “The Derailleur Whisperer,” promises to end my derailleur problems forever, or for quite awhile, whichever comes first. 🙂 The flimsy trailer tires are being replaced with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, Kevlar liners and sealant in the tubes. These improvements, along with much-flatter terrain, should help us make faster progress toward Florida. Fingers crossed! Here’s a video recap of the last few days:

April 21-23

We’re in Vale, Oregon, it’s late and I’m getting the low battery warning, but I thought I’d share a couple videos to help you understand what it looks like when Jax gets out of the trailer to “stretch his legs.” More tomorrow.