Saturday, July 28, 2012

The End is Near!!!!....Almost Margharita time!!

Today is July 29, we are currently in Silver City, NM, 123.9 miles from the border and the terminus of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.  Unfortunately due to time constraints, we can't update you on the past week at this time, nor can we upload pics.  We will add all this to the blog after we finish.  Our plan is to ride 77 miles tomorrow to Hachita, camp in Sam's yard then leave Monday July 30 in the morning to ride the last 47 miles to the border, Antelope Wells, NM.  We had to book our flight in advance and gave ourselves some time, so we don't fly home until August 2 from El Paso, TX.  We are excited about the possibility of meeting up with our very good friend and my Latin American Brother from another Mother, Juan in El Paso.  He is being sent to the base there before shipping off overseas.   Once we get to the border we will have a shuttle service waiting for us to drive us to our destination.  So this is it, we are excited and overwhelmed at times with various emotions.  Next time need to bring some sort of laptop, netbook, whatever to be able to update more regularly and not be constrained by time.   So hopefully the spot tracker is working, for anyone who really gives a flies butt, you can track us til the end in the right hand column, go down to the map scroll over and click on my name 'Doug Wenger et al' and see us finish.  Can't wait to see the fanfare at the end, hope you all can make it!  ;~)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 41: July 22 Nice and relatively easy ride

We rolled into Cuba, NM, 43 miles, got in early and will dry out our stuff before heading out into the desert tomorrow.  It is now time to trade in our aluminum horses for Camels.  The heat is on and the monsoon season has arrived early, so every afternoon there is some rain and a storm.  We are on schedule to finish up on July 30, maybe the 31st.  Thank you Leif for the cold water today, again, it was a boost to get us into town.  The cattle troughs were dried up and we almost had a stand off with a momma cow that did not want to get out of the way.  Thank you to Winsor, who donated $20 to us at the restaurant today, that was very kind and generous.  I will try to update pics at another time, sorry for the delay, internet is limited, and the blog takes up a lot of time.  We are over our goal, we made it before entering New Mexico, so thank you to all the donors!!  Let's see how much we can raise before we finish in another 7-8 days.  Blog you later!

Day 40: July 21 Toughest Day Yet!

This was by far our toughest day yet, rode 42 miles in 8 hours up to 10,000 feet where we got caught in a thunderstorm with hail and rain.  The temp dropped at least 20 degrees and we ended up camping up high with hail, rain and lightening.  It was a day of uphill all the way, gaining about 5,000 in elevation. Wow what a tough day!!! We were exhausted and did not like the relentless nature of the storms.  Typically one would roll in, then out, this was one after another. 

Day 39: July 20 (i think) Mexican Eatin

Rode 75 miles through El Rito, stopping a the famous Mexican Restaurant then on to the Old Abiqui B&B.  Met John, another divide rider on the trail, ate with him and we all stayed at the B&B, where Wanda was a lovely hostess.  She was willing to touch our laundry in order to wash it.  1 pair of socks and 1 pair of bike shorts holding up rather well, they can also stand up on their own.  On the way to El Rito we stopped at a snack shop along the road that has been in business for 20 years started by a brother and sister and now continues to be in operation by their parents.  What a nice treat in a remote location.  Shared the wine Ted gave us with John and Wanda's friend at the B&B.

Day 38: Not sure what day it is anymore. July ?

We rode from the ponderosa campground, up over the huge pass and down to a camping spot along the Rio San Antonio.  Sounds nice though it was a cow patty stream that was brown in color.  We rode 53 miles in 8 hours, it was a tough day with storms and rough terrain.  We ended up taking a nap in the tent out of the rain for a bit before riding on. 

Day 37: The Ham and Cheese Bagel Sandwich Bandit

This is Reiley the Bagel Sandwich Bandit.

If you see this bloodhound walking around Alamosa bloated and happy, put your sandwich in a secure place.  So we woke up in Randy's yard, packed up and decided to go to the grocery store again,  as if we had not bought enough the day before.  Jen had made us some ham and cheese bagel sandwiches for the road.  When we returned from our short shopping trip, we found our food bags strewn around Randy's yard and Reiley standing their with a big grin.  The sandwiches were gone!  Then we tried to leave and Reiley decided he wanted to go along, no doubt for more bagel sandwiches.  Finally I called Randy at work and soon after we were able to shake him off and ride away.  Hope you got him Randy.  So we did a detour as we were already 34 miles off route we were able to ride 50 miles and rejoin the route down the trail in Horca, CO.  We stayed at the Ponderosa Campground, where it was x-mas in July and they were having a party with FOOD.  We were invited over to eat by a nice guy named Ted.  This is awesome, thanksgiving and x-mas in July!  Though I think that is the last of the feasting holidays, unless we can find a place that has Easter in July.  Thank you Ted for the conversation on flyfishing, as well as the organic carrots and bottle of wine.  On our way to the campground we stopped in Antonito at the water park (town park) and joined in the fun with the 5 kids that were cooling off. 

Day 36: July 16 Good Eatin at Boogies!

So we rode from Storm King Campground, it was a cold and damp morning until we rode .25 miles up the rode into the sun, where it was hot.  We stopped along the way to call in search of a new water filter as the idea of drinking from cattle tanks and troughs without one, gives me the runs.  So we rode 32 miles into Del Norte, CO ate at Boogies Restaurant, yummy Boogies!  Unable to locate anyone to transport us or the water filter to our location we rode another 34 miles into Alamosa, the closest town with a filter. 
Bought a filter and camped at Randy's house, a nice guy who worked at Kristi's Outdoor Store.

Day 35: July 15 The day the water filter shit the bed

Left Salida and rode 74 miles over 2 passes, getting hit with hail and rain over the one.   This was only the second time we were going to get up early and we didn't like it, though we knew we had to in order to have a better chance at beating the storms.  Well as they say, the weather is a guessing game and you are usually WRONG.  The storms ended up rolling in at 11:30, rather than the usual 2pm.  We ended up at Storm King Campground, but not before filter the last bit of water we could out of our filter.  I am sad to say the PUR Hiker Filter that we have owned for a very long time has been put to rest.  Then we are about .2 of a mile from the campground and we run into mud.  This isn't your ordinary mud from New Hampsha, this is the sticky, gooey thick mud/muck of the west.  It took us some time to reach the campground, having to stop and clean out the mud several times.   I was able to ride through the rest then walk back to help Jen with her bike, which has less clearance between her tire and frame.  We were tired and the coyotes were howling.  This is not your shower and laundry campground this is a forest service, remote, pit toilet campground.   

Day 34: July 14 Salida

During the night Jen was not feeling well, so we didn't get much sleep that night and decided to take it easy in Salida for the day.  A brewfest was in town, though Jen did not think that it would be such a good idea with her no feeling up to par.  So we hung out in town, ate some good food and hydrated up.  We ended up meeting another couple at the campground, who have been biking for 3 years and will be on the road for another year.  We talked with them about biking around South America, sharing stories of various locations.  It turned out they were on their honeymoon. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 33, July 13: The return of the Chammy Butt'r Topic

We rode 50 miles from Hartsel to Salida, CO, needing to stop for more Butt'r and some groceries ended up staying in Salida for the night.  Another beautiful day in the upper 70s and sunny.  The landscape reminded me of Tele-Tubby Land, don't act like you don't know what I am talking about, I never watched them and I know what it looked like.  Green rolling hills all around us with the mountains in the distance.  Today I found out that if you apply enough "chammy" butt'r to your area and shorts, you create a gel seat without actually buying one.  I apparently overused the Butt'r today and I can tell you I was "Gellin!"  Well we are about 2 1/2 weeks out from the end if all goes as planned and friends of ours begin their jouney/adventure down the divide in about a week, good luck Patty and Chris! If anyone is around the Antelope Wells, NM region around July 30th and would be willing to give us a ride to the airport that would be great, otherwise we will hitchhike with our bikes and trailers and hope for the best....just kidding, about the hitchhiking. 

Day 32, July 12 Silverthorne to Hartsel, CO

So we rode 70 miles, fueled by the feast the night before and the big breakfast as well as some leftovers we had along the way.  Conquered the 11,600 foot Boreas Pass, which was a nice gradual grade all the way to the top, thank you railroad.  Before the pass, we stopped in Breckenridge for some much needed ice cream.  Once over the pass, we stopped in Como, CO at the only gig in town for some onion rings and green chili.  Made it to our destination the Hartsel Springs Ranch/Lodge to camp in the lawn.  Scott was our gracious host and allowed us the use of the facilities.  We met up with 2 girls Patrice and McKinley and Bill, Mckinley's dad who were riding the Trans America route and we happened ot intersect at the same place after seeing them on the bike path in the morning outside of Frisco, CO.  Thank you girls for making the pasta dinner and sharing your bagels for breakfast, great to meet you and good luck on your ride!  We grabbed most of our food to store inside, when I realized I had left one bag out in the trailer bag.  Got that and began munching on the snacks we had packed.  Jen came in frightened and stated that a mouse just ran out of the BOB bag.  I brought the bag in and kept eating, when I noticed a hole in the snack bag that was not there previously.  Looked at the grocery bag with the same size hole, thought for only a second, 'could i catch something from this mouse that was nibbling on our snacks?' Then commenced the chowing I had previously started as my hunger pangs outweighed the potential, at least in my mind.  Washed it down with rotten egg smelling water, mixing it with gatorade powder to mask the smell.  The next morning went to put our bike shoes on that we had left outside and the little mouse, not only at some of our snacks, he then proceeded to poop in our shoes.  Thanks for the return of the snacks there stuart little!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thanksgiving in July

Doug and I want to say a BIG thank you to Bona for allowing us to take over her house and chill out for the day.  We had pasta salad upon arrival and then she made an awesome turkey dinner with a garden fresh salad!  We ate alot and it was amazing!!  I think we may enter a food eating contest upon our return to NH.  Thank you also for allowing us to use your car so we could go to the grocery store.  And the whirlpool bath was awesome as well,  I did not want to get out.  Thank you so much for your hospitality and allowing us into your home.  This was a real energy boost for the last 1,000 miles.  Can't wait to see what we are having for breakfast!  ;~)

Day 31 July 11: The road to the feast in Silverthorne

So we got up at our usually 7am time, after a night of howling coyotes and foxes and set off at 9am to ride as fast as we could to Silverthorne, CO.  Our very good friend, Sara, has a sister-in-law, Bona, who graciously invited us into her home for a "feast," whirlpool tub and a place to sleep.  We pondered this (not at all) and decided to accept the offer.  We rode fast and hard thinking of what will come at the end of our day.  We did 38 miles and got in around 1pm to Silverthorne.  We rode over another pass, Ute pass 9, 524ft.  We still have at least two more 10,000ft + passes to go over.  Only 1,055.2 miles to go, on the home stretch!  I will say spandex by themselves are not a good look, tight spandex even worse, and loose spandex, well that isn't any better and is where we are headed.  I was informed today by my lovely wife that I have lost some weight and it shows, though I say I wear it well, spandex included! 

Day 30, July 10: up, down, up, down, way up

Rode 52 miles from Lynx Pass to William Ford Resevoir Campground.  Went through Radium, CO where all the ups and downs happened along with an unbelieveable double up hill that was not followed by a rewarding downhill.  Though the downhill earlier in the day was rewarding enough as we had heard horror stories of the riders heading north having to go up some of what we went down.  It was a hot day, difficult to hydrate with warm/semi-hot water and gatorade.  Found a purple handkerchief to go with my newly found t-shirt, this outfit is shaping up nicely!  Stopped at Radium RiverRunners and got some cold drinks, this was a nice treat as there was nothing indicated on the map.  I will say, we are waiting for the Coloradians to step it up here with some much needed trail magic, cold drinks, invites for dinner, etc.  If anyone is out there following this blog and in colorado, follow our spot and feel free to bring us a treat.  ;~)  So we saw our 3rd UPS truck on a back, dirt road that is sparsely populated, go brown!  Made some spaghetti that turned to mush as we attempted to save some fuel for our stove and put the pasta in the water before boiling.  We choked it down with some olive oil and parmesan and called it gourmet. 

Day 29, July 9: Long Road to the Top

So we got out of Steamboat around 2 and figured well we are only going about 40 miles, how bad can it be?  So we each grabbed a gigantic burrito from Azteca Tacqueria, ate it all and set out on the trail.  It felt like a loong day even though we were only out for 5 hours.  I know, only 5 hours, it was flat at first, gave time for that burrito to stay where it was supposed to, then hit the uphill for the majority of the day.  Up to Lynx Pass 8,937 ft.  Jen was having second thoughts about being glad to be in Colorado as the mountains are back!  So our trail magic came at the end of the day when the forest service campground that was supposedly closed was open and we were able to end the day alittle early and it was on route.  Met a 3 day bikepacker, Dave and hung out for a couple hours before going to bed exhausted.  Oh, we did find a t-shirt embedded in the trail, my size, not really my style though.  It said "I'm not a doctor, but I will take a peek" Breckenridge, Co.  We picked it up and ended up using a sleeve to assist in filtering water from the stream.  Hope to ripe the other sleeve off and maybe make it into a sporty, retro sleeveless, half-shirt!  Pics to come.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Currently in Steamboat Springs

July 9, we are currently in Steamboat Springs, getting our bikes worked on at Orange Peel Cycles, will head out this afternoon and put in some miles.  On the spot tracker map in the right hand column click on all riders and then my name and you can see more of where we are and where we have been.  I have not been able to upload pics in a while as it is very slow and time consuming, will attempt to do so in a couple of days.  We are now passed the halfway mark and will be in Silverthorne, CO in 2 days, though you can drive there in a couple of hours.  We are now up to 82% of our goal of $2,754, which is just awesome and amazing, thank you for more generous donations, it is much appreciate.  This has been a very special ride for us and hope everyone is enjoying the blog, miss you all, though we are not very anxious for this to be over.  We take it one day at a time and take it as it comes to us.  Chow for now folks!

Day 28: Riders in the storm

July 8, 60 miles from Ladder Ranch to Steamboat Springs.  Had to get up early for the 6:30am Ranch style breakfast with all the ranch help.  Definitely worth it though an hour and a half later, it was time to eat again.  Got caught in a storm, had to pull over under some pines and sit on our BOB Bags as to insulate us from the ground and lightening.  Almost fell asleep after eating some more snacks, then decided to carry on in the rain as the lightening all but stopped.  Rode through some beautiful country, stopped at the Columbine Store for some delicious instant coffee.  "I rarely drink instant coffee, but when I do, I prefer Nescafe!"  Then stopped at the Clark General Store/Post Office/Library/Deli/Ice Cream Parlor, new meaning to the word "General."  Ate again at Clark's then pushed on to Steamboat Springs.  It is definitely nice to be back in the mountains, though our legs are feeling the climbs a bit after some relatively rolling hills for a few days.  We are having an awesome time and are feeling really good!  To all the people who have been courteous and slowed down on the dirt roads and not flung dust and stones by the speed at which we are passed, thank you. 

Day 27: Then the storms rolled in...

July 7, rode 75 miles from Rawlins, WY to Ladder Ranch WY/CO.  I will say we were glad to be gettin out of Rawlins, while the gettin was good.  We were glad to be back riding after a lazy day, began to get into more terrain with trees.  It is nice to have a splash of green!  As we rode into Colorado, a major storm was building and looked to be moving in the direction where we were initially headed.  So we decided to change direction and take the alternate root toward some camping/lodging.  Well then the storm changed direction and began following us.  We had a difficult time finding Ladder Ranch as we overlooked it in the description of services and only had a symbol along the route to go by.  Stopped and asked some people, they were unsure, finally stopped a car and sure enough our luck returned and the lovely lady lived on the Ranch and told us where to go.  Just as we were shown our rustic cabin, the storm unleashed it's fury, while we were safe and secure inside.  I tried to add some drama here, though it really wasn't that dramatic, though again we had some good luck and good timing.  The ride was beautiful, came across a herd of sheep, one sounded like he needed a throat lozenge, they were everywhere on the road.

Day 26: July 6 Rawlins, update to previous posts

Not much to report, went grocery shopping, visited the library, ate, drank, ate some more then didn't feel like rolling out in the late afternoon and ended up staying.  It is kinda nice to go as you wish and not be on such a tight schedule.  Anyway, forgot to mention in previous posts that we have seen quite a few divide riders heading south to north, which is cool to see other people out riding.  We also encountered a badger on the road through the Great Divide Basin. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 25: When needed the Divde will Produce it!

Day 25:  July 5, Camp in the Basin to Rawlins, WY, We rode 100 miles in about 9 1/2 hours of riding time and about 13 hours overall!  Hot, Dry in the 80s and limited water.  We were getting beaten down a bit, difficult to drink hot water and hot gatorade when you are so thirsty.  We wanted to take a break when we reached the reservoir, the next water source, ended up short of that to refuel on more food.  Just after we stopped, we spotted some bicyclists up ahead and a van behind them.  They were riding the divide with a support van full of cold drinks, what a relief and a boost, both mentally and physically.  Thank you guys and gals from Absolute Bikes!!  We battled a significant side wind all day, that was until we hit the pavement in the basin and got a tailwind that literally blew us 30+ miles into Rawlins.  We were not expecting to go that far and got a boost with the tailwind as we were riding at about 20 miles and hour with minimal pedaling.  What a difference a tailwind can make.  So we are still eating a lot!  We eat about every 1 1/2 hours, breakfast, after breakfast meal, lunch, after lunch meal, 2nd after lunch meal, dinner and sometimes after dinner.  Paydays, pb&j's, clif blocks, granola bars, wheat thins, and occasionally will actually stop and make more of a meal like tortellini, ramen or whatever, as well as stop at random places and eat to supplement all this....And yes, we are still losing weight!  This is awesome, eat and drink what you want and lose weight, while getting into shape!  Looking forward to Colorado, which is only about 50 miles away.  We are about 80+ miles from the halfway mark and making good time and having an awesome time and adventure!

Day 24: Dry, Hot, and more Dry

Day 24:  July 4 Sandy Creek to Somewhere in the Great Divide Basin, 77miles, rode for 8 hours, total hours was about 12.  Found a camping spot in the dark at about 10:30pm.  We rode through South City Pass, stopping at the local Mercantile for a drink and ice cream.  Then rode into Atlantic City for lunch before heading out in the Basin, which is Wyoming's desert with limited water along the way.  Filled up with water at an artisan well that flows from a pipe in the middle of nowhere, literally the middle of nowhere, no one, nothing around, it was actually quite neat to be out there.  Crossed the continental divide 3 times and enjoyed the nothingness that was something to us.

Day 23: The Day the Liquid Carbs appeared

Day 23:  July 3, Hot,  80s, Dry.  Rode 87 miles, 7hrs 30min riding, overall 11 hour day.  Rode into primitive camp near Sandy Creek arriving around 9-9:30pm.  Stopped in Pinedale, WY at the Wrangler Cafe for lunch and had some darn good blackberry pie.  So there we were sitting along the rode in the dry desert of Wyoming, taking a break when a couple in a jeep pull over to see if we need anything.  They gave us cold beer, water and chocolate!  Got to the remote camping area, where a horse outfitter had already set up camp with their clientele, again we were given a couple cold blueberry beer and camped across the road from them along the creek.  Got to wash up in the creek which was nice and used a cow patty for a pillow, things are looking up!

Day 22: Going uphill on the downhill

Day 22 July 2:  Union Pass, WY to Whiskey Grove Campground (otherwise known as "Fly Grove")  40 miles, sunny and in the 80s.  Flies, flies and more flies, I won't get into details, other than to say they were brave and bold and would land everywhere!   The map showed all downhill once we crested union pass, it was the most uphill we did on a downhill.  We could see more smoke from forest fires in the distance and at the end of the day got blasted with wind, rain and dust for about 15 minutes, that came out of nowhere and abruptly ended as fast as it started. 

Day 21 The Smell of Bar-B-Q

Day 21, July 1:  Togwotee Pass to Union Pass, 38 miles, mostly uphill.  So we crest the 9,658 ft Togwotee Pass, come down the other side to the smell of Bar-B-Q.  Taste buds watering, thinking this will be an unexpected treat, roll into the "famous lava mountain lodge." (not sure how famous it is!)  Just to find out that it will only be ready at 3 and it was noon, so much for that.  Rather uneventful day with lots of climbing.  Camped at a forest service campground along the spring creek that locals told us about, that was littered with cow pies.  We could see smoke to the east as a result of some wildfires that were burning 300 miles away.