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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 ( https://www.lr-horsemanship.com/ ), 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.

Buds
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.

April 19-20

Beautiful morning for a ride, but I want to go back to Mitchell someday. Jax loved it.
There were only ~2,000 feet of climbing, but most of it was in the first 6.5 miles.
Jax has been trained to avoid rattlesnakes and vaccinated against their venom, just in case.
On the outside looking in, at the Dayville Cafe.
The amazing and kind Rose let us sleep in the Dayville Community Church.❤️
Monk, a Vietnam veteran, farmer and all-around interesting person, sent us off with a bag of Sunrise Station Hot Cereal Mix, made with four kinds of organic grain from his farm.

There’s only one photo from today’s ride, because it was pretty rainy all day, Jax’s trailer got three flat tires (burned through my spare tubes, couldn’t find the puncture, blah blah) and we only made 31 miles, ending up in John Day. Frustrating, but not interesting, so I’ll skip to a pic of two of the three gentlemen who went out of their way to help Jax and me get back underway.

Ken Olson of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department and Mike Schlappis, citizen of Grant County and Russ (not pictured) of the Fossil Shift Bike Shop 15 miles away, helped Jax and me when they had no reason to do so. It wasn’t Ken’s job, it wasn’t Mike’s concern and Russ’s shop was closed for the day. I will do my best to pay heir kindness forward.

April 17-18

The ride from Prineville to Mitchell on April 17 took us through the Ochoco National Forest. The first 31 miles we climbed steadily, then a nice 13-mile stretch of descending, capped off with three more miles of gentle ascent. Traffic was mostly light and we only saw one person who wasn’t in a car.

That one person was a logger named Kelby Cates. When he learned that Jax and I were cycling across the country, he told me his brother had ridden across America just out of high school, then gone on to become a Navy Seal who is still serving after 24 years.

Jax and his buddy Kelby

We arrived in Mitchell and crashed at the Spoke’n Hostel, a super bike-friendly place run by Pat and Jalet Farrell, assisted by Michael and Timi, who recently completed a TransAmerica tour, staying at Spoke’n en route and eventually returning to help out because they loved it so much. It is a fantastic place for cyclists, so we stayed an extra day to wash clothes (in their ingenious double-5-gallon-bucket-with-plunger machine) and clean the bike and ourselves. Mitchell is a fun little town with a great vibe, tucked into some of the prettiest country anywhere.


Video

April 16

50 awesome miles on a fully-functioning bike! Didn’t see many people, but saw many sheep, cattle, alpacas and deer. Jax didn’t run with the bike, but we stopped a lot so he could claim this region as his own.

April 15

It was a short, smooth, easy ride from Suttle to Sisters, where we are being hosted by Al and Kathy King, two of the nicest people on the planet. Kathy recommended that I take the bike to Blazin Saddles for repairs. I did, they were awesome, and now I can’t wait to see how well it works on the ride to Prineville tomorrow.

On the way to Sisters