Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Rap"-ping up 2011

It was another fine year with lots 'o bike ridin'
From all the hard work I surely wasn't hidin'!

Spent 48 days in the Sierras and Cascades
Doin' all 'o that climbin' is why Stella was made.

Grindin' up all those passes goin' 3 miles an hour
Fortunately for me, my legs they got the power!

My night's on the road were mostly spent
Sleepin' nice and cozy in my little 2-person tent.

CouchSurfing and Warmshowers I used them both well
Even spent a night in a sleazy motel.

Spent a couple of days with my cousins in Bend
And in Hood River, Oregon, I did it again.

I had a few detours due to too much snow
From Yosemite over Tioga I just couldn't go.

If it weren't for my heroes, Jessica and John
The schedule I was plannin', I couldn't have stayed on.

Then there was Bruce at Almanor Lake
He showed me a detour around Lassen to take.

He even invited me to stay at his place
I quickly agreed since he had a nice face.

In some state parks I met PCT hikers
But I didn't really see very many other bikers.

Except near Sequoia I met a kid named Sean
We stayed together a day, but then I moved on.

After Hood River I had my third and final detour
I went West instead of East and rode to Vancouver.

I did a little hike to the top of Beacon Rock
Where, with David and his pals I had a nice talk.

In the end I rode over 2000 miles without a single flat
I know you all are thinking, how amazing is that!

I managed to be home for just a few days
Before Christian made it here for a 2 day stay.

We did some sightseeing, in the car we did go
Went up to Mt. St. Helens to the volcano.

Then it was back on the bikes to head out to the Coast
With Christian and his harem it was 75 miles at the most.

Day 2 we got to Raymond and not a restaurant was seen
We ended up eating at a Dairy Queen.

We said goodbye to Christian, it was sad but okay
Because we met two other Germans who were goin' our way!

When we made it back home Nolan didn't have a clue
I'd left with one German, but I came back with two!

Up to Mt. St. Helens I took them and their stuff
The weather wasn't great, but it was good enough.

When August rolled around it was time to go again
I was off to France to see my good friend.

I did some hang gliding from Col de Forclaz
The ride was spectacular and I was totally in awe!

We went to La Baule on the French West Coast
Of our four days there we definitely made the most.

We drove along the coast and saw a lot of scenes
For Maximilien's birthday I had langoustines!

We rented bikes and Pornichet we did reach
Then we spent the afternoon playing on the beach.

Less than 24 hours from France I was back
Lorraine, Annette and I headed to the cabin where I relaxed.

We met up with Christie and floated down the river
The day it was so hot that we didn't even shiver!

After returning home I took Kyle to school
With all the bikey culture I thought Eugene was cool!

In Kyle's small apartment we did stay
Then out to Bike Friday we went the next day

I really wasn't planning on getting a new ride
But my eyes lit up when we walked inside.

We did a short test ride down along the trail
Little did they know they had likely made a sale.

A month or so later, well into the Fall
I looked up the number and gave Bike Friday a call.

I placed my order for pickup in mid November
I racked my brain deciding what to name her.

Then the name "Betsy" popped into my head
It's due to her color which they call "Flag Red".

Well, 2011 and this rap are at an end
2012 will be New Zealand with my very good friend!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's a Most Wonderful Day for a Ride!

The sun it is shining, the wind it's not blowing, we're having good times! It's a most wonderful daaaaaayyyyy....for a ride!

Here it is, Christmas Eve, December 24th! The weather report said it was going to be 40% chance of rain. But, NO! This morning it improved to a mere 10% chance of rain! I put away the rain coat and didn't even consider the lobster gloves!

Today's goal was 50 miles. Leandra, Shawn and I headed toward Yelm to do "The Big Loop". The road to Yelm, trail to Tenino and road back. When we got to Tenino, we realized it was not going to be quite 50 miles. So, instead of continuing on the road from the trail, we came back on the trail. We were still going to be a couple miles short so we looped through Indian Summer where Leandra's folks live. They weren't home, but the added loop put us over the required miles to 51.

Due to the nice weather, we saw a fair number of people on the trail. I started wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (Leandra thought I should be tossing candy canes as we rode by). Most people came back with a hearty "Merry Christmas" of their own.

I must say, I'll take a nice sunny Christmas over a cold white one any day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Long Way to go for Lights

As I headed out the door this morning, Nolan said, "I thought you were going to get lights for the tree today." I told him I was. I just didn't tell him which way I was going.

It was pretty chilly this morning. The ducks were walking on top of the golf course water hazard. I just added a couple more layers. Two long sleeve wool shirts with a long sleeve heavy weight jersey and hi-vis jacket. Long padded tights with warm/windproof pants over the top. Two pairs of socks under neoprene booties, a wool buff and a wool bandana. Topped it off with a pair of lobster claw gloves. Bring on the cold!

By the time I got about 5 miles down the road I had to stop and take off the long sleeve jersey. I was cooking and I hadn't even had to go up any hills yet!

I headed north on Pacific toward I-5. At Mounts Rd. I hopped on I-5 for the obligatory 3/4 mile to the Center Drive exit. At Dupont (Northwest Landing) it was noon, but I didn't want lunch yet (I was on a quest to eat at a different Subway). However, I did stop and have a hot chocolate at Starbucks.

I continued on Center Dr. to Dupont/Steilacoom Rd. I headed toward Steilacoom. Although it was gloomy overcast weather, two kitted-out road cyclists blew past me. I'm sure they were toasty warm just from their effort. They continued on toward Steilacoom. I turned on the newly paved North Gate Rd. I like the ride to Steilacoom, but it is really a bunch of gratuitous hills. As I was riding the now nice and smooth N. Gate Rd., I was remembering how on the Rapsody ride a few years ago William (guy I met on the ride) and I were drafting off this kid who was going 25 and 26 mph along this road. I thought to myself, "I wonder how fast we could go now?"

When I got to Edgewood Dr., I continued straight for my only section of road I haven't been on. I thought I'd see how long I could stay off of Washington Blvd. Turns out I was able to avoid it completely. I ended up on Veteran's Dr. which took me to Gravelly Lake Blvd.

Of course, from Gravelly Lake, it's back on the freeway. Actually, it is the section I refer to as "The on and off freeway section". I get on the freeway at Gravelly Lake, then off at Thorn Lane to ride parallel on Union Ave. I was thinking I had seen a Subway on Union. Sure enough! It's kind of in the "Military District"--surrounded by Military Loan places and Military Surplus stores (just as an aside--I thought I'd maybe see if the Foxhole Surplus store had some camo bike clothes for when I want to go as "Super Stealth Biker Woman"...can you say, "Camo-chamois"?). In Subway, a couple jokingly asked me if I was out for a century. I think they were surprised when I said no, I was only out for about 1/2 a century. They said they were fair-weather cyclists.

After Subway, I was back on the freeway at Berkeley St. From Berkeley, it is the longest stretch on the freeway to get past the JBLM. Then I can get off at Dupont/Steilacoom and, again, ride parallel until Center Dr. for the last section on the freeway to Mounts Rd.

As I was riding along Old Pacific, I saw this flock of geese. I guess, instead of "Six Geese-a-laying", it was "Multiple Geese-a-waddling".

Since I had told Nolan I would get lights for the tree, I came back into town on the Woodland Trail to Chehalis Western and then to Lowes for the lights. I just wheeled Betsy right into the store. After all, she's not any bigger than a cart!

So, it was a long way to go for Christmas lights, but not a bad ride for a cold December 10th.

Total miles: 47
Total feet of lights: 48.9

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just Barely the Longest Ride...

...on Betsy so far.

It is December 8th. The sky is filled with clouds and an occasional glimmer of blue sky--just enough to tease. Chance of rain is minimal, so it looks like a good day for a long ride.

In my quest to get as many miles as possible on Betsy before New Zealand, I set out to cover at least 45 miles (my current Betsy high). I took the trail to Tenino where I stopped for lunch. Fueled up, I continued on Hwy 99 toward I-5. I rode past my friends the alpacas. They are looking pretty scruffy in their winter coats. As I turned onto Case Rd, the wind smacked me in the face. As this was, essentially, a training ride, I just thought of it as an opportunity to see how Betsy would conduct herself in conditions I will likely encounter in NZ. Yes, the going was a bit slower, but not too bad. I turned off of Case at Maytown Rd and rode over to Tilley. I opted to continue on Tilley rather than turning onto 113th. Might have been a good thing to do the climb up 113th (and corresponding downhill on the other side), but that would have resulted in less miles.

I turned off Tilley at 100th (a little back road barely two lanes wide), passed a tractor with a big pile of hay for the cows and came out at 93rd. From there I rode over to 99. It's kind of interesting how I was already on 99 earlier and there I am getting back on 99 but going the opposite direction...sort of.

I rode into Tumwater, cutting through Trails' End and out to Henderson. I decided to take the new part of Yelm Hwy to just before Blvd., then cut through a couple other neighborhoods to avoid the still bad section of Yelm Hwy.

I arrived home having done 46.8 miles. Feet were abit chilled, but otherwise all was good.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Little Added Pounds for the Holidays

That is, on Betsy. Today I put all the panniers (including the handlebar bag) on Betsy. I loaded my barbells into each of the four bags. 14 pounds in each of the back panniers and 5 pounds in each front pannier (would have put more in the front, but that's all the weights I had). I also strapped not one, but two tents on the rear rack with the panniers. I didn't feel like packing up my sleeping bag and sleeping pad for the second bag on the rack, so I just grabbed another tent. Was it as much weight as I normally tour with? No, but it was a start.

I rode the trail to Rainier. The ride was pretty easy. I stopped at Main Street Cookie Company for some sustenance (not that I really needed it, but the cookies sure are good). After the cookie break, I took the road back. I wanted to see how Loaded Betsy handled on the hills. She did just fine. With the 20X1.75" tires, plus the extra weight, she pretty much rolls over most of the debris on the shoulder. Going up the hills, I never even came close to running out of gears.

Even though I wasn't carrying the total amount of weight I normally tour with, I think Betsy will do just fine going up the many New Zealand hills and mountains.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The First...

...SHADOW PICTURE of Betsy the Bike Friday!


...drum roll please...Betsy! She is AWESOME! Carol and I rode about 10 miles on Saturday (Carol test rode the same NWT I did). Then, this morning we got up and rode another 18 miles. Carol had brought her road bike. Can't wait to get her out on the road and get more miles on her!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A final few photos

Some foliage.
An awesome shadow picture!
The second of two trains we had to wait for.

Still more photos

Some friends along the way.
Halloween is almost here!
Another shadow shot.

Photos from today's ride

Here we have the sun burning off the morning fog.
Now here's a good shadow picture!
Julie giving the thumbs up for a great ride!

We have a winner!

Or...A Good Day for Shadow Pictures!

Julie and I rode South today in beautiful sunny and crisp Fall weather!

We made it to Centralia and Berry Fields Café. Just our luck, the special for today was hot turkey open-face sandwiches with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Of course, we had to have it! Why? Because, for the last two rides and, now, including this ride, we have had the same thing for lunch. Never at the same restaurant. This is quickly becoming a Fall ride lunch tradition. Now that we have sampled three restaurant's versions of the hot turkey open-face sandwich, we feel qualified to declare a winner. Today's was, by far, the BEST!!! The bread was a thick toasted slice. Then a nice scoop of stuffing followed by a heaping pile of roasted turkey covered with delicious gravy. The mashed potatoes on the side were also covered with gravy. We both devoured every bit of it! Then, when the waitress mentioned they had pumpkin pie...need I say more?

Stomachs sated and water bottles filled, we headed back to the bikes. We were not quite at the half way point of the ride and it was already close to 2:00. Time to burn off some of our lunch before we burned off the remaining daylight hours.

We continued South for a short stretch. I was looking for Salzer Valley Rd., but all the side streets were dead ending at the train tracks. A nice (and slightly enebriated) gentleman gave us some workable directions. Although, we would have found it a short bit further. But, his way, we got to pick up our bikes and carry them across the tracks as a train was coming! Ah, the adventure of it!

We made it onto Salzer Valley and worked our way along the valley in the sunshine. There were very few cars. At one point, I stopped to take a photo and it was almost completely silent. No wind and no cars! Very nice!

We had one longish, but relatively gentle climb then down to Little Hanaford Rd. Then, following Teitzel Rd on the oops-we-didn't-have-enough-chip-seal-to-cover-the-whole-road-so-we-just-spread-it-out road surface, we came around to Big Hanaford Rd.

From there, the shortest way would be to go right and go past the steam plant and over Tono Rd. But, Tono has a couple of nasty climbs that we didn't feel like doing. So, instead we backtracked to Hwy 507.

Back in Tenino, we took Hwy 99 home. The sun was setting as we pulled in the driveway. Really, a gorgeous day!

Total Miles: 68.7 for me
72 for Julie

Saturday, October 15, 2011

HUGE Pumpkins!

Still More Photos

A nice sentiment.
Julie warmed up!

Photos from Today's Ride

Heeeeerrrrrreeeee'sssss Julie!
Fall colors!
Up close and personal with a caterpillar.

It Turned Out to be a Beautiful Fall Day!

The weather report was for sunny skies and 62 degrees. Julie and I headed to Yelm on the road in the fog and overcast sky. Our plan was to eat lunch at a restaurant called Doug's in Yelm. On another ride, we had eaten at the Mt. Tahoma Golf Course restaurant and a couple there said they usually eat at Doug's. We thought we would give Doug's a try. We arrived at about 11:00. It was a tough decision, but we both decided on lunch food over breakfast food. We both had hot open-faced turkey sandwiches. We were not impressed. It was okay, but the food at Mt. Tahoma is better. Guess we should have asked the couple what was good.

After Doug's, we hit the trail and headed to Rainier. Of course, Rainier is home to the Main Street Cookie Company. We stopped. Mindful of the need to not go overboard and order my usual three cookies, Julie and I each ordered one, had them cut them in half and we swapped halves. It's just so hard to choose one variety! This was a good compromise. YUM!

Back on the trail, instead of turning onto the Chehalis Western, we continued on the Yelm/Tenino trail to Tenino. From there we took the road home, stopping periodically to take photos. The sun finally burned off the fog and clouds for a gloriously blue sky. We stopped at Kipperts feed near the Oly airport because they had two HUGE pumpkins out front. One weighted 1142 lbs.!

We cut through Trails' End (this time without the gratuitous hills) to Henderson and over to Julie's.

It wasn't the warmest day for most of the ride, but, nonetheless, it was a beautiful Fall day for a bike ride!

Total miles: 51

A Beautiful Night to Ride to Mah Jongg

As I pulled out of my driveway I noticed the sun was setting and the sky was pink. You know what they say, "Red sky at night..." that's right, CYCLIST'S delight!
As I was riding along Yelm Hwy. on my way to play Mah Jongg (ancient Chinese tile game--not to be confused with the Mah Jongg matching game on the computer), the sky just kept getting more beautiful. At the Chehalis Western Trail bridge, I just had to ride up to the bridge so I could take these two photos. They are not the best as I took them with my phone, but still beautiful. Of course, a photo can rarely do justice to what the eyes see! A lovely Fall evening!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back to Fall Riding

Yes, Fall is definitely in the air (along with some rain)! Julie and I decided to put the bikes in her truck and go someplace besides the roads we have ridden a million times. Julie wanted 40 to 50 miles so we headed south to Rochester High School where we parked the truck and unloaded the bikes. It had been raining on my ride over to Julie's, but by the time we got to Rochester the rain had pretty much stopped. Still, I kept my rain pants on for the moment. We headed south from Rochester toward Centralia. Along the way we met up with a couple of guys from, I think, Minnesota. They were doing a sag supported tour from Vancouver, BC to Bandon, Oregon. We pointed them in the right direction to Centralia.

When Julie and I got to Centralia, we decided we should probably eat lunch because there was not going to be any other food opportunities until we returned to Rochester. Shockingly, we did NOT eat at Subway! We ate at the Country Cousin, an icon of sorts, in Centralia close to the outlets. We both had delicious hot turkey sandwiches.

After lunch I took off my rain pants and switched to my fingerless gloves as well. Still had the rain jacket and helmet cover on. We took a back road loop to Galvin Rd. and Galvin (the blink-and-miss-it town). From there it was onto Lincoln Creek Rd. for the flat to rolling ride along Independence Valley. Along the way I stopped to remove my helmet cover (it does a great job repelling water, but also trapping heat and sweat). We made it to Manners Rd. where we had to climb the longest hill of the day. However, we were rewarded with an even longer downhill on the other side.

Then it was on to Independence Rd. for the ride back into Rochester. By then I had removed my rain jacket as the sun was even shining! I noticed a lot of what Julie thought were Wolf Spiders on the road. They were probably looking for some warm house to hole up in for the winter. Besides the lots of cows and horses, we didn't see much in the way of other animals. We did pass a field of nice looking pumpkins!

We made it back to Rochester and loaded up the bikes. It was a nice Fall ride!

Total miles for me: 41

(Sorry no photos. I forgot to take my camera.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dinner at Le Pavillon Rose and Fireworks

My starter.
My dessert.
The Fireworks

Beach Time

My own sand sculpture.
Max and I at the beach. Well, there WAS a great photo here, but I have removed it (under protest)!

Photos from Pornichet and La Baule

Sand sculptures in Pornichet.
Pornichet Port
The Sea of Humanity in La Baule

Biking La Baule

Today was a most excellent day in La Baule! It was Max's 19th birthday and the weather was beautiful! We had a nice lunch at St. Christophe, then Max and I rented bikes for a ride along the beach. We rode all the way to Pornachet Port (not really sure how far it is, but we were gone for about 1 1/2 hours). There is a lovely bike lane the whole way.

After the bike ride, we caught up with Mary-Clare and stopped for a 4:00 (French for snack time!). I had a waffle with créme caramel and chocolate ice cream on top. It was delicious!

Since we were still toasty from the bike ride, and the weather was sooooo nice, we went back to the hotel, donned our suits and hit the beach. The tide was coming in so there were some good waves. The water was not too terribly cold (until I got out to about chest high--then it was cold at my feet). In addition to the ocean, there was a Sea of Humanity on the beach. All those photos of resort beaches where there are a ton of people--it was like that. Wall-to-wall bodies the whole length of the beach. Of course, it had something to do with the fact that it was also a major holiday in France! It appeared that all of France came to La Baule.

After our little beach excursion, we returned to the hotel to shower and then off to dinner. We found a very nice restaurant and were able to get a table (even without a reservation!!!). We ate dinner, then made our way back to the beach because there were fireworks at about 10:30. There were even more people than earlier! We had a great spot to watch the fireworks as they were going off right in front of us! It was pretty spectacular!

I think Max had a pretty good birthday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Super Biker Woman Reaches The Atlantic Ocean!

This morning we were up at the pre-crack of dawn. Yes, dawn was just a figment of our imaginations. It was still the middle of the night. But, we were on a mission to take the first train to Paris. That mission was accomplished. In Paris we had to change train stations to take another train to La Baule. We navigated the huge and sometimes complex Metro system to get to the other station. We had plenty of time to spare. Our train to La Baule (with a number of stops along the way) was full. As soon as the track was posted, it was a mad dash to get to the carriage so we would have room for our luggage. My friend was in the lead. Her son and I were following her with the suitcases as best we could. A hole in the throng of people would open up and my friend would dash through it. However, most of the time it closed up before her son and I could get there. We managed to get to the right carriage with luggage space still available. Whew!

We arrived in La Baule a bit after 3:15. My friend had reserved a car. We put our luggage in and headed for the hotel. We found the hotel without too many additional turns. It is one short block off the beach. It's the Best Western Britanny Hotel. I have a very nice room with a very French feel to it. I can see the ocean from my window.

We went for a exploratory walk along the beach. I went down into the sand to the water's edge to dip my feet in the Atlantic. This is my first time to see the Atlantic Ocean! We were looking for a place to have a little snacky and found a place with Belgian Waffles. They were buy one, get one free. I had coconut ice cream on mine. It was delicious!

My friend went off in search of a guide book and her son and I went back to the beach. My friend was not successful in finding a bookstore, but she did pick up some info at the tourism office.

We had a good dinner then returned to our hotel. We are all just a wee bit tired from our 4:00am wake up. I'm sure tomorrow's agenda will bring more fun in La Baule!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mountaintop Animals

These cows make Roblechon cheese which stinks, but tastes delicious!
Here is a sheep with a view.

More pre-flight photos

The take off area for the paragliders. As soon as one goes, then another goes. When the weather is nice there are as many as 150 flights a day.

Super Dog, Vergoole (keeping watch from under the table).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Take-off and flying!

Getting Ready to Fly

Getting the glider in place.
Getting strapped in.
Ready for take-off!

Super Biker Woman is now Super Flying Woman!

The day dawned bright and sunny. Since Super Biker Woman does not have her Super Stella here, she went for a run instead. She took her Super Friend, Max, with her.

After the noon time meal, prepared by Super Biker Woman's Super Great Friend, Mary-Clare, it was decided that it was a good day for flying. So, off the three Super Friends went up to Col de la Forclaz to see if Super Biker Woman could actually fly. The first place had no more flying opportunities available. The second place had a flight at 6:00 (it was 3:30). Super Biker Woman took it. To kill time, the three had a little refreshment, then SBW and SF Max walked (practically climbed) up to where the paragliders take off. They watched them for awhile then returned to where SGF, Mary-Clare was waiting with Super Dog, Vergoole.

After what seemed like a few thousand more hours, it was time for flying. Super Biker Woman met her fearless pilot (but didn't really catch his name), helped set up the equipment (is it really a good idea to trust the novice?), and don the flying costume (part of which was a helmet which SBW is very familiar with). They moved around to the launch pad. With a few simple instructions, SBW was ready to fly. The flyers were securely strapped in. The wind was right. The countdown was given. Then, with a few little running steps, Super Biker Woman was up in the air, FLYING!!! WOO HOO!!!

Translation: I did a tandem hanglider flight from Col de la Forclaz which, as you can see from the photos, is pretty high up above Lake Annecy. I had thought to do a paragliding (with the parachute-like things) flight, but the guy said the hanglider was a better flight (more adventurous) so I went with that. I was in a harness and helmet. Both the pilot and I were strapped to the glider. I merely hung onto the pilot's harness. We walked to the edge of the platform, ran about 5 steps and were up in the air. Once we were flying, the pilot unhooked the foot pocket and I put my feet in. Words can hardly describe how amazing it was! Of course, the scenery was spectacular! We followed the air currents, circled around to ride the drafts up and gain altitude. Then we came flying very fast over the take off platform. I was Woo Hooing to Mary-Clare and Max who were taking pictures. Then we shot out over the lake again. We circled around, caught another draft and went higher. It was so incredible! We stayed pretty high for a long time. I had told the pilot when I was here last time I had wanted to do this, but I didn't have enough money so I couldn't do it. He said because I had waited 2 years to do this he was giving me an extra long flight. The guy that had taken off moments before me was on the ground long before we were. When we were getting closer to the landing place, but were still high in the air, he asked if I wanted to fly fast and do some tricks. Of course I said YES!!! We whirled around circling left then right then going really fast then almost seeming to stop in mid-air before, again, sweeping around. It was so much fun!!!!! For the landing, it was really quite simple. We came in much like an airplane, landing on the wheels and dragging our bodies in the harnesses along the ground. We came to a stop pretty quickly. I got up on my knees, removed my feet from the foot pocket and stood up. The pilot carried the glider and I just walked along in the harness to the place where they pack it all up. After removing my harness, I went to see the photos the pilot had taken. The camera batteries had died, so there was no video but, there were 26 pictures. The gal gave me a 10€ discount on the CD of photos. As soon as I can download the CD, I'll post actual flying pictures.

Mary-Clare and Max came down to the landing to pick me up. I told them it was awesome and not scary at all. I'm not sure they believed me, but it's true! I was never scared. It was exciting and also peaceful floating through the air. I would definitely do it again!

So, Super Biker Woman CAN fly!