Monday, July 12, 2010

For those of you from around the country (world!) thought we should let you know we made it safe and sound back to Iowa City!!!....  one last blog to come soon.  :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

After dominating the thirty miles from montana border to Missoula (at 20mph Dan informed us using stopwatch and mile markers, which is pretty impressive fully loaded might add) we called Greta. We had gotten Greta's number from her dad who we had briefly met a week earlier in NE Oregon. He had told us to call his daughter for a place to crash when in Msla. Greta was visiting her parents in Idaho, but had been expecting our call and left a key -- how great is that?! So we got to stay in her sweet apt anyway and were welcomed by her boyfriend who brought us a bag of delicious cookies and found where she had hidden the key!! People are so amazing!
As for kelseys last comments, it seemed only fitting that we get our noses pierced... The last 800 miles we have been travelling in Nez Perce country, which means nose pierce in French :) obviously we had many days to get excited about the idea,
Secondly, turns out we got to spend more quality time in Missoula than expected. So plenty of time to kill piercing noses. My bikes been making some funky noises and I'd been told a few times it was just my spokes rubbing together, but it had gotten pretty bad so I took it to hellsgate cycle downtown missoula while we went to the Market. Kevin figured out my rear wheels hub was on it's last miles and I was lucky I brought it in- last bike shop was in fifty miles and after that nothing til yellowstone! So all afternoon he pulled together a new wheel for me... Yay! Unfortunately, it wasn't done til 3:30 and kels and I had to make it 70 miles ( few towns in Montana... Base our days and miles on food... Guess not a ton different from home ;) ) so we did our smelly laundry, called Greta and stayed another night in Msla. Extra sweet, cuz out of all of this craziness we end up running into Paul, our biking buddy.. Who in the midst of everything going on brings a little peace. It feels good to run into people going thru what you are:)
So now we're racing across Montana to meet the boys on time in yellowstone.... Done with days off... Two in all 21 days so far, not bad... Kels calls me a slave driver but really I just LOVE to BIKE!! :) :)
Three days ago, we stopped seven miles short of Lowell, Idaho (the goal for the night) to stay in a small rafting town.  We were convinced to do so by the local rafting boys and good dark beer.  The next morning we regretted our decision immensely as Rachel and I were "carsick".  By some amazing feat, the three of us made it our allotted 70 miles uphill for the next day, but it definitely wasn't pretty.  Thankfully, Dan forced us to take a hike to some hot springs that really turned the day around.  Since I had seen a BEAR (literally... not a figment of my imagination, but a real life BEAR) on the road earlier in the day, I wasn't feeling especially ready to take on a difficult hike deep into the wilderness to sit in a pool of hot water.  Rachel wanted to just get to our campsite for the night since it was getting dark.  Dan declared that he would meet us at the campsite after he hiked to the springs.  Since it's against Rachel and my natures to miss out on anything sweet, we reluctantly decided to come along.  IT WAS AMAZING.  We saw the steam a little before we saw the spring, and we rounded the corner to a pool of natural hot water all to ourselves.  Surrounded by huge trees and a river, we soaked up the heat and played.  Question of the day: Why didn't God put hot springs in Iowa!?!?

We are officially in our third state of the trip: MONTANA!  Rachel and I are now on our own again.  Danny is leaving to meet his friends in Colorado for a fishing trip.  Rachel and I are going to make it to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on July 1st where two of our awesome friends (Scott and Trey) are giving us a ride back to Iowa City to finish out the summer.  We're bummed that our adventure is coming to such a quick close, but we figure we'll just have to bring the adventure to Iowa.  Any takers?

Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you, Rachel Hanus corrupted me yet again in Missoula, Montana.  There may be an extra hole in each of our noses upon our return to Iowa.  Someone break it to Grandpa so I don't have to.  Love you all! :)

McKenzie Pass! Our first mountain!

The Murray kiddos!! (and our bed- thanks again!)
Oregon coast... gorgeous!

TAWM (aka Tom) with all of our stuff in his car!  Thanks for the support vehicle boys!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On Monday night, we ended the day biking downhill along the beautiful Salmon River.  We stopped at the fanciest campground that we've seen yet, and Rachel worked her magic to talk the man down 3 whole dollars!  It's amazing what that helpless woman look can accomplish.  Never have I been more proud.  The next day we started out with an easy 13 miles when we hit the small, lumber town of Riggins.  We stopped for coffee and after talking with Todd- the barista- we were convinced that we had to whitewater raft the Salmon River.  Since the Salmon River ran right along our route for the next 12 miles, we asked the good people at Mountain River Rafting if they would shuttle our bikes to where we would get off the raft after the ride.  SCORE.  We cut off 12 miles of biking and exchanged it for an amazing ride with our guide Tray!  Tray had us play games on the raft, and we all fell in the river multiple times.  Rachel's favorite part was when he whipped out trail mix from his cooler and fed us for free!  :)  After rafting, we put our bikes back together and started the last 19 miles of the day to the small town of White Bird.  A big burly man yelled at us for trying to start a fire in the park so we had smores over propane instead.  And thanks to our new friend DJ, Rachel and I both got to shower.  This morning we had a big mountain climb... you know you're on a mountain climb when butterflies can keep pace with you.  Very humbling.  This afternoon, we're gonna eat up 50 more miles that are mostly downhill to Lowell, ID.  We should be in Montana in one or two days!!!  We just had to say goodbye to our good friend Paul who has been riding with us for a couple days.  He had been so fun to have around, and we'll miss him big time!  Happy travels, friend!!! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

It was the best ride from Baker City to Richland, all downhill! (which of course means big uphill the next day). As soon as we rolled into town we saw a big sign at the park we were camping for free at that read, "Eagle Valley Days june 20-21" All of us jogged our minds for the date, and after asking Debbie at the ice cream shop we learned that INDEED we were there for the celebration!! So the town of 120 people was bustling. The RV park was full, but we thought we could try to sneak a shower off of them..... fail. Just as Kelsey was leaving the bathroom sure enough a very crabby receptionist demanded $5 each from us. BOGUS. I would have taken a longer shower. Later that night Kels and I hit up the ATM which just so happened to be at the local bar where we met our new friends, Gary and Dalelyn! We sat down for one drink and ended up staying hours talking to them! Poor Dan was left holding down the fort in the city park. Ya win some you lose some. The next day we woke up to coffee and donuts just hundreds of feet from our beds. Love it. Then after an hour of learning how to play the Nez Perce flute from one of the vendors, Kelsey and I jumped off the cliff together and made the purchase. Now, we have a new activity for tent time, don't worry, concert to come upon our arrival to Iowa City! Meanwhile, Dan had already been put to work by the locals numbering the parade floats with the promise of a free lunch. After we had stuffed our faces with parade candy and hot dogs we disdainfully started the six mile uphill out of Richland. We joked about how funny it would be to blog about how we vomited up our hot dogs as we sweated up the mtn, but thankfully we all kept them down.
Yesterday we made it into IDAHO! (finally!!!) We camped right along the Snake River. It would have been the perfect night- campfire, flutes, and all, EXCEPT for the fact that it started storming, and never stopped. Our tents were whipping us in the face, everything was soaked, and on top of that, we had set up our tent directly below the only light in the parking lot. Way to go. The next morning was hot, we were tired, grouchy, and dreading the climb out of the valley. After another 13 mile uphill climb, we reached the top just in time for the rain to come pouring down on us. Rain ruins a fun downhill pretty quickly. We raced to Cambridge which was only 8 miles away, completely soaked, and hung out at Bucky's Cafe for the next few hours. We camped out at the local park which had free camping for bikers!! And outlets galore-- awesome! However, we soon learned that the shelter's lights were motion activated and wouldn't turn off! So after laying in our tent under bright light for the second night in a row, Kelsey had the brilliant idea of unscrewing the light bulbs! So I climbed up on her shoulders (and after being terrified of falling down we switched spots), and voila! Problem solved! We slept like rocks. Big 70+ mile day today, we're hoping to make it to Polluck. We're hanging out at a coffee shop in Council with a Frenchman who wants to take our pictures.... just another day. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

WE MADE IT TO IDAHO! Camping on the snake river. Starting up a rocking campfire complete with...uh... music(?) from rach n my new native american flutes!