Saturday, October 22, 2016

Day 51--Day 3 of the Long Drive Home...Home

We left Pendleton at about 8:00 this morning. It was easy to get up early because our bodies were still on Mountain Time Zone. We wanted to get to Stevenson before my brother and sister-in-law's coffee shop, The Cabin, closed at noon. We made it before 11:00. Scott made me me a pumpkin pie frozen custard. It was delicious! Connor had a monstrous caramel turtle frozen custard. Derik had a lavender London Fog. We got the 20 second tour. They had quite a few customers, so we didn't get to chat much. We left around 11:30. 

Derik drove the rest of the way home. We stopped for a late lunch in Kalama at the Lucky Dragon. Derik said it was the best Chinese food. It was pretty good. I couldn't eat all of it because I was still digesting the frozen custard. 

We pulled into town around 3:30. First we went to Derik's and dropped off him and his stuff. From there I drove home where Connor and I unloaded the rest, and swept out the truck. Derik met me at the U-Haul place, and gave me a ride home. We opened up the three boxes we had sent from Whitefish, Helena, and Steamboat Springs, and Derik took his stuff, and headed home. 

It's going to be strange for a bit as the three of us have, as Kirsten said at Brush Mountain Lodge, "moved as a unit" for the last 50 days. Now comes the fun part of every tour...unpacking, cleaning, and putting stuff away. Later, I'll tally up the miles, and a few various other stats, and maybe post them.

For now, we're home...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Day 50--Day 2 of the Long Drive Home...Some Music to End the Day

This will be a very short post. We drove from Salt Lake to Pendleton. Funny, the amount of hours spent driving was similar to a long day in the saddle, but we came so much farther! Go figure. We hit rain coming over the Blue Mountains. Here was the view coming down.
We were joking that as we came into the clouds below, it was like coming into SeaTac. "Okay ladies and gentlemen, we've begun our descent, and the Captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. We may experience a little turbulence as we pass through the cloud cover. We'll have you on the ground in no time." And, later..."Please remain seated until the Captain has turned off the fasten seat belt sign. Welcome to the bottom of the hill, and thank you for choosing U-Haul."

We rolled into Pendleton in the rain. We had planned to camp, but decided to hotel it instead. We are at the Howard Johnson. It's pretty cheap compared to the other hotels we've stayed in.

For dinner we went to a place called Great Pacific. It's the hoppin' place to be on a Friday night in Pendleton. There was live music tonight. Ezza Rose Band opened for Yaquina Bay. Connor and I like Yaquina Bay better, but Derik liked Ezza Rose (to dark and depressing for my tastes). 
This is Yaquina Bay. Notice two gals on violins! They needed to be louder. 

Tomorrow we should be home.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Day 49--Day 1 of the Long Drive Home...Might as Well Have a Little Fun

We packed up the bikes one more time this morning to ride to the U-Haul place. Once we had the truck, we secured the bikes and panniers in the back, and left Steamboat for good this time.

Google maps wanted to take us a way that would bypass Salt Lake City. Derik wanted to eat at the Red Iguana, a very good Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake. So, we went via Salt Lake. I drove until lunch, then Derik took over the driving.
When you are not driving, you can take pictures out the dirty windshield.

We rolled into Salt Lake around 4:00ish. We made our way to the Red Iguana where we had a delicious meal.
We were all stuffed.

We got back on the freeway for another hour or so to get to Willard Bay State Park. But, as we were driving along, in rush hour traffic, we saw a place where there was camping and an amusement park! We drove past the exit, but by the time we got to the next exit, Connor had looked up the camping and how much it cost to get into the amusement park. We decided to go back, and stay there. I told Connor he would have to pay for his own ticket to get into the amusement park. 

We pulled up to The Lagoon Campground and Amusement Park. The had a tent site that would accommodate our U-Haul truck. Because we were staying at the campground, we got discounted tickets for the park. We arrived about 6:00, but the park stays open until 11:00. We set up our tents, and headed over to the park.
It's all decorated for Halloween.

First we went on the bumper cars.

By the way, notice Connor got a haircut!

Then they decided they wanted to go on this monster of a ride called The Cannibal. Great, I thought, I'm gonna die!
That tower was an elevator that took the car to the top. The door opens at the top and you get a lovely view of the sunset. Then...well...I didn't see anything else, as my eyes were squeezed shut! I thought the headrest could have used a bit more padding.

Then we went on to a ride called The Bat. Another rollercoaster type ride but with your feet hanging down. This one was much more tame...more my style. After that, it was over to the old classic wooden rollercoaster. Connor and I were in the very back. Oh my God, it was the worst ride ever! Connor says it was so rough because we were in the back. Of course, the guys were ready to go on to the next torture, something called The Colossal. As I still felt like my innards had been shaken and stirred, I told them I would sit that one out. Instead, I went on the mild swings, then got a bottle of water. They went on a couple of rides. Once back together, we went over to The Spider. It's like the Mad Mouse, except the cars also turn around, so sometimes you are going backwards or sideways. After that one, even though it was just 8:45, I told the guys I was done. This body had been jolted and jerked enough for one night (maybe even more than one maybe a month...or even a lifetime). They took off with glee to the next bit of horror. I walked back to the campground and am now in my tent writing this. 

Tomorrow we'll have another long day of driving. Hoping to get to Pendleton. There is, apparently, a good band playing at some place Derik knows about in Pendleton. Could be interesting...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Day 48--I'm Fond of My Fingers and Toes

After yesterday's awesome weather, we woke up to this.

As we were fixing breakfast, trying to keep hands and feet from freezing, no one was saying much. Finally, I asked if anyone was thinking that one option would be to go back to Steamboat and call it done. I had actually asked Connor last night if he had the option of going home right now, would he? He said maybe he would. I asked why. He said he was tired and burnt out. Easy to understand since he's been out since April 26th. Our options were to continue, realizing we had another 3000 feet of elevation to tackle, and 2 or 3 more days before our next possible bailout point of Silverthorn or Frisco, or go back the 38 miles to Steamboat. It was and wasn't a difficult decision. It's tough to bail on the trip when we've come so far. If we could have just made it through Colorado. However, it was an easy decision when we realize none of us are really prepared (especially in the footwear area) for, essentially, winter riding. So, by unanimous decision, we turned around and rode back to Steamboat. It was easier in that it was more downhill. 

It was harder because there was a lot more mud today. In fact, when we got back to Stagecoach Reservoir, Derik had figured out how we could go without going through the part that was already muddy yesterday when it hadn't snowed! I, for one, was very thankful.

We took the highway back for the last 20 miles. It was snowing (that freezing little ice balls kind) the last 10 or so miles. We arrived at the Rabbit Ears Motel around 1:00. We told the gal we tried, but we were calling it. I had her take a photo of us in front of the famous sign to end our ride.

Tomorrow, we pick up a U-Haul truck, and head for home...

I'm disappointed that we didn't finish, but I'm also fond of my fingers and toes. My motto has always been, regarding cycling and touring, if it's not fun, don't do it. This was rapidly becoming not fun!

Day 47--Finally Said Goodbye to Steamboat Springs...or, We've Gone Soft!

Although it wasn't all sunshine and blue skies in Steamboat this morning (in fact, it was spitting a bit of snow), we still managed to actually get back on the road, and leave Steamboat behind! At one point, on the road, it was snowing/ice pelleting enough to don rain gear. If nothing else, we would stay warmer. Off in the distance, however, I could see bits of blue sky.

We got to the end of the pavement, and as the map said, "dirt resumes". Only, it was more like mud. For the most part, it was somewhat easily navigable. We were still following the Yampa River.

Eventually, we climbed away from most of the mud. The guys were ahead of me when I popped up over a little hill. I could see them, but the map said to go right over the cattle guard. I thought to myself, maybe this curves around and goes down to where they are. There was another road than went left, but that went to a trailhead that I knew we weren't supposed to go to. So, I proceeded according to the directions. No, the road did not go down to where the guys were. They took the left. When they saw me, they figured it out, and we're coming back. I just kept going, thankful that I had not gone down the other road (and then would have had to come back up). They caught up, and we continued. By this time the sun was shining, and there were blues skies.
Nice Fall colors up on the hillside.

Before too long, we came to Stagecoach Reservoir. We rode across the dam. 

Looking waaaaayyyy down. I think the creek is Sarvice Creek.

After the dam, we got on the Elk Run Trail.
This went to the other end of the reservoir.

We popped out into a parking lot where we got back on the dirt road. There were a surprising number of houses in this area. Even though we were on dirt roads, there were houses almost the entire way.

About halfway into a four mile climb, we stopped for lunch in a meadow of sorts. After lunch, we finished the climb, and then the route was more rolling. At one point, when I looked ahead, I could see the road going up along the mountain side. I wasn't surprised, since I knew we had to go up to Lynx Pass. The climbing wasn't too bad. I would stop and rest every half mile. When I got to the part that I had seen from below, I took this picture.
Yep, was down there.

Both the guys had gone on ahead to the campground. Derik wanted to do a little hike (it was a relatively short day of just under 39 miles). I rolled in at 3:30 having crested Lynx Pass, then ridden the less than half mile to the campground. This is our first Colorado campground. Wouldn't you know it, they're still open, and charging, even though there's no water (they took the handle off the pump). It cost $10. If there's not going to be water, they may as well be closed. However, there is a dumpster, so we can pitch our trash. To get water, we had to walk down to a pond. We filtered a bunch of water for tonight and tomorrow. 

We are at 8900 feet. As you would expect, it's rather chilly. We are all cold. I guess we got a little too accustom to warm hotel rooms. We are no longer acclimated to the cold. We've gone soft!!! We've all retreated to our sleeping bags. Hopefully, the weather will continue to be nice tomorrow. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 46--Karma Can Be Kind of Strange

We got our stuff packed up this morning. I walked down to the post office to mail a couple of boxes (one to My Sweet Baboo, and another box home of things we are done with, or don't seem to need). It was about 50 degrees and cloudy. We knew the forecast was for rain around noon. Connor had taken his tent to Big Agnes at 8:00 or so. They said it would be ready in a couple of hours. Our plan was to leave the hotel around 9:45, ride back to where we had gotten off the route (near Big Agnes), stop at the grocery store so Connor could get his snacks, then be at Big Agnes to pick up his tent.

Once Connor got his snacks, Derik and I decided to head on along the Yampa River Core Trail (the route) while Connor waited for BA to call about his tent. We would wait for him at the end where we would get on the road. 
The Yampa River.
The Yampa River Core Trail

It had started to sprinkle a little. We rode along about 3 miles or so, and came upon the Steamboat Botanical Gardens. Of course, there's not much happening at this time of year, but since we were close to the end of the trail for us, we decided to wait for Connor there. It had started raining more, so we put our rain gear on. Then it started raining more. The temp dropped about 15 degrees. The rain was turning to hail. Derik looked at the weather and saw it would be raining until around 4:00 where we were heading. As much as the temp dropped, we were concerned it would be snowing at Lynx Pass where we were going, and would be camping tonight. Derik suggested maybe we should hang out another night in Steamboat. Since I was already freezing cold, I agreed wholeheartedly! Derik called the Rabbit Ear Motel and reserved a room. It was just a mile back on the trail. I called Connor and told him to meet us there (he was on his way). By the time we got to the motel it was rain/snowing. 

So, we made it about 6 miles today. The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow with just a 15% chance of rain, but with warmer temps. 
Funny thing, this is a much nicer hotel for not much more money. And, since breakfast is included, that makes it closer to the same price as the Western Lodge.

Karma is strange. If Connor had gotten his tent fixed yesterday, we would have been about another couple of hours up the road. Instead, we are cozy warm in a hotel room.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Day 45--Have You Heard of Flat Stanley? Well, This is Flat Will!

This is our final day in Steamboat Springs. We'll be heading back out on the road tomorrow. This morning we went to the Creekside Cafe for breakfast. It won first place for breakfast in the Best of the Boat. Yesterday, we seemed to hit mostly the third place winners. It was crowded, and we waited about 20 minutes for a table. It was pretty good though. I had a stuffed French toast. Delish!

Afterward, we came back and I had to change my rear tire again. Yesterday, after I changed the new/old front spare tire to the rear, the tire was flat. I took it off, but couldn't find a leak. Derik thought it my be the valve core was loose. He tightened it, and I reinflated it. This morning it was flat again. This time we had to fill the sink with water to finally find the hole. I patched it, and it seems to be holding.

At 11:00, Connor had an appointment to take his tent to Big Agnes (located here in Steamboat Springs) to see if they could fix his failing zipper. Derik and I were going to go to the Old Town Hot Springs, so we took our suits with us, and walked Connor over to Big Agnes.
This is one of three places in Steamboat where BA does business. 

Then Derik and I headed to the hot springs. Now would be a good time to tell you about the title of this post. For those who don't know about "Flat Stanley", he is a character in a children's book who gets flattened and can therefore have all these adventures because he can be mailed to anywhere. When my boys were in 1st or 2nd grade, they read "Flat Stanley". They created a their own Flat Stanleys, and sent them to a friend or relative who took Stanley on various activities, and recorded them before sending Flat Stanley back. Well, we don't have Flat Stanley, we have Flat Will. While we were in Rexsburg, Idaho, Derik had had Koder, from the bike shop, send a few things we needed. Included in the box were a few "extras". This photo of Will was one of the "extras". Today we decided to take "Flat Will" with us on our adventures in Steamboat Springs. On the way to Big Agnes Flat Will met this colorful Fall pig.
They look happy together!
At the hot springs, Flat Will enjoyed the mineral hot pool with Derik.
Don't worry Flat Will, you're protected in a ziplock bag!

He also checked out the not as hot pool.
Flat Will thought the bridge was cool.

This hot spring has been a fixture in Steamboat since the 1800s. Here's some info.
It is the swankiest hot spring we've been to so far. It's actually almost more of a water park/fitness club.
Unfortunately, the slides are closed for Fall. Strangely, they will open up again in Winter. There is a waterfall climbing rock wall in the pool to the left of the other bridge. There was also a waterfall into this other pool.
That one was not for climbing. 

After an hour or so of soaking, we called it good. We stopped on the way back to the hotel for groceries for the next two days. 

Turns out, they were not able to fix the zipper on Connor's tent. However, tomorrow Connor will call them at 8:00 to see if the guy who can replace the sliders on his tent zipper can come to the red house. Apparently, it only takes about 10 minutes to do the job. Then, we'll be back on the road, headed for the high passes...YIKES!!!