Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hitchin’ a Ride

Dover Loop: 11.99 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 58 minutes, average speed 12.2

The weather continues to give us ample sunshine and we decide to hold off our home duties to get one more July ride in before the month comes to an end. Dover is always a good choice for after work riding. We met up with daughter, Jill, at the Roadhouse for supper and after she parted we continued our journey home on the tandem—or not? What goes ping, ping, pop?


Just a few miles out of Dover, the rear rim snaps and quickly releases air from our back tire leaving us stranded. We realize we must phone Jill to rescue us. The van arrives and our ailing bike is gently placed inside. We’ll have to get the singles out while the Rans spends some time with Kevin at the Blue Heron Bike Shop in Onalaska.

July 2012 — Total Biking Miles 212.57
Accumulative Miles — 1566.85

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Biking the Dells Day 2

Wisconsin Dells to Lyndon Station: 26.96 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 2 hours 6 minutes, average speed 12.7

We had more Dells planning routes to bike today but as we started out, a misty rain began to fall. We made a group decision to bike the Wednesday short route and then drive our vans to verify road surfaces for the longer routes planned for this Post Tour riding day.


We all feel confident the routes are now ready, the host accommodations are filling and a secret surprise will be ready to announce as the registrants for this tour gather in the Dells this September.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Biking the Dells Day 1

Wisconsin Dells to Baraboo: 35.61 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 2 hours 61 minutes, average speed 12.1

We are so excited to be biking in the Dells again. We joined two other tandem teams to put the finishing touches on our bike routes for the upcoming Post MTR ride being organized by our small committee. We currently have 21 teams joining us following the Madison Midwest Tandem Rally and our routes are looking very good—beautiful roads and many interesting stops along the routes. Bike with GPS was a great help with mapping and preparing cue sheets for the various routes planned. The route we tested today will be the Tuesday ride that will take each rider from the Dells into Baraboo, Wisconsin. Traffic was heavy today but promises to be much less in September when we will tour the area again with the teams signed up for this event.


Marsha and Bill Peters again provided a comfy bed for Dennis and I at their beautiful log cabin home near the Dells. They have been very helpful to Tom, Annette, Dennis and I as we worked to get the routes just right so that all will be safe and enjoy biking the Dells and surrounding areas. Tom and Annette, our planning partners, joined us at the Peters’ where we sat up late visiting and getting some more planning done.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Burley Biking with Kennedy

South St. Paul: 13.65 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 1 hour 36 minutes, average speed 8.4

Boy, that Burley moves slow! Today we biked the trails near Kennedy’s house in South St. Paul, Minnesota. We were hoping to find the Battle Creek trail but could not figure out how that trail system connected to the South St. Paul Regional Trail along the Mississippi River.


Our granddaughter, Kennedy, seems to enjoy bike riding as much as her grandpa and grandma—we heard no complaints as we pedaled along the Mighty Mississippi River. Our hour-and-a-half tour was broken up by one stop to allow Kennedy a chance to get out and explore some unusual bugs.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Fair Ride

Biking to St. Charles: 13.17 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 58 minutes, average speed 11.6

With temps in the 90’s today we decided to take a short ride to the Winona County Fair being held in St. Charles. Our sights along the way were pretty average compared to the mountains we were enjoying out west but we still enjoy the wind in our face as we race down the hill into St. Charles.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Western Biking

New Biking State—MONTANA: 42.27 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 3 hours 13 minutes, average speed 13.0

Our plan today was to get some biking miles on in Montana so we headed to Bozeman, MT where we knew a bike shop could be found. We entered the Bangtail Bike Store and inquired about road biking routes in the area. We thought a bike store would be willing to help fellow bikers out but not so here at the Bangtail—we were on our own. I did bring a route map of a possible route near Livingston, MT so we left the Bozeman for the quieter village of Livingston, 26 miles east, to begin our first Montana biking miles. The route took us from Livingston to Emigrant between the Gallatin and Absaroka mountain ranges and beside the Yellowstone River. Stopping at the Livingston Visitor's Center proved very beneficial. We were assured the route was sound and parking could be found near our start.


We started pedaling in the heat of the day but only planned on putting on a total of 24 miles. We climbed for the first 5 miles and then the road leveled with a few ups and downs but the heat was killing us. Kathi and John called to check on us and we asked for their support and prayers that we would get through this torturous ride.


Once we were 12 miles into the route, we realized that the predicted total of 24 miles was only a half-way point and when done with this route we would have closer to 40 miles on the bike. A kind minister watched us struggle as we passed his church. He got in his truck and followed us to a bridge where we were stopped looking at a map as if lost. Before I could even ask him for area information, he began an inquiry about our bike. He did finally inform us that a pub with good food and cold drinks could be found in Emigrant just 5 miles down the road. His suggestion was a life saver—5 minutes after entering the River's Edge Bar & Grill, hail hit.


We waited out the storm in Emigrant enjoying the local company. The food here was fabulous—my first elk burger was mouth-watering. We learned that Montana storms like to sneak up on unsuspecting visitors and as quick as the storm came upon us, it was just as quick to dissipate. We were back on the bike and totally refreshed; ready to bike the remaining 20 miles back to the van waiting at the Carter’s Bridge landing. This Montana route was beautiful but seeing our van at route’s end was an awfully beautiful sight as well.


This was our last bike ride for this western vacation. We were able to add 4 new biking states during this trip to give us a total of 22 biked in since 2005. The 95 miles we added to the bike on this vacation were some of the most scenic and adventurous we have pedaled. The rock formations and wildlife kept us entertained throughout our travels in these western states. Our next adventure will be to coax our old van to get us back to Minnesota.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Yellowstone Paddle & Tetons Pedal

5 miles Paddle/42 miles Pedal
TANDEM Pedal Time: 3 hours 19 minutes, average speed 12.6


Our adventure started early this morning with a 3-hour drive back to Yellowstone National Park for our O.A.R.S. Kayak tour on the West Thumb of the Yellowstone Lake and around the West Thumb Geyser Basin. We were at the Grant Village boat ramp by 9:00 a.m. for our 9:30 tour. April, Megan and Leah were there to welcome us and get us psyched for the trip. The ticket price for the two of us for this trip was $180 and it was worth it. Nowhere in the park could you get as close to the geysers as we did in our kayak. Yellowstone lake boasts being North America’s largest lake above 7000 feet and lies at the center of an immense caldera left behind by the collapse of the Yellowstone super-volcano during its last eruption 600,000 years ago. The volcanic activity continues to this day and there are many examples of the region’s characteristic geothermal activity along the shores of the Yellowstone Lake’s West Thumb, including geysers, hot springs and mud pots. We paddled a pine-fringed shoreline to view these geothermal features from the seat of an O.A.R.S. touring kayak.



We experienced beautiful views along with historic commentaries. The Fishing Hole Geyser was an interesting story. An explorer found he could cook a fish in a geyser and he began selling the idea to visitors who would come to cook fish and eat it as a novelty until it became too dangerous—standing over an active geyser was recognized as unsafe and the discovery of arsenic in the sediment put this sport to an end.


This geyser basin used to be the center of attention but now visitors flock to Old Faithful because of its predictability. The geysers here are now covered by the lake and our guides ensured we stayed a safe distance away by creating a barrier between us and these geological formations.



The kayak trip ended too soon but biking was planned for the afternoon and our kayak guide, April lead us south towards the Grand Tetons and Jackson, WY for a recommended route. We had a wonderful lunch in Yellowstone and then pointed the van towards the Grand Teton National Park for some more Wyoming biking.


We were elated to find a newly paved bicycle trail and got on it just south of Jenny Lake. The trail allowed us to view the Tetons from the seat of our tandem—what a treat! We biked 42 of the most beautiful miles at the base of the Tetons on a moisture-free day and even experienced a moose sighting. The temperature was in the upper 80’s with no wind making for a spectacular ride. We biked through the Teton Village and then on to Jackson for a light supper.



Jackson was a touristy town with many restaurants willing to quickly reduce a vacationer’s savings by asking $20-30 for one meal. We found a nice little Bread Company willing to serve us a sandwich for under $10 each.


It was now getting late so we began pedaling back on the trail to where our van was awaiting us. We still had a 4-hour drive to get us back to Big Sky and the sun was beginning to set. We decided to drive through the Teton Pass into Idaho so we wouldn’t have to follow the slow traffic through Yellowstone. This was sure a full day. We reached the Summit Hotel in Big Sky at 11:30 p.m. Mountain Time. We have now toured 4 National Parks on this western trip: The Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and the Grand Teton National Park and were able to bike in 2 of them—life is good.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Continue West to Cody, Wyoming

New Biking State—WYOMING: 5.71 miles TANDEM Pedal Time: 32 minutes, average speed 10.4

We found ourselves in Cody, WY today where we had room reservations at the Cody Legacy Inn & Suites. After checking in, Dennis and I got the bike ready for its first Wyoming miles. We biked around this busy little town looking for a new adventure. We saw a drive-thru liquor store and thought it would be fun to capture a picture. We didn’t expect the saleswoman to play along in our silliness. Today’s miles weren’t many but they did satisfy our qualifications to add one more state to our growing roster. We then pedaled back to the Legacy Inn to rest up for more adventures to come.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Badlands Nation Park, South Dakota

New Biking State—SOUTH DAKOTA: 4.64 miles TANDEM Pedal Time: 20 minutes, average speed 13.2

Dennis, Jill and I began this western adventure with a final destination of Big Sky, Montana. We planned on viewing a few sights and taking extra time to enjoy this route west. We broke up this day’s 10-hour trip by detouring through South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. The entrance fee was $15 per vehicle. We drove down the Badlands Loop Road until Jill offered to drive the van to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center so that Dennis and I could pedal the tandem through this beautiful section of the Badlands—what a treat this was to have our own SAG service through this National Park. Fabulous scenery was packed into this 5-mile route. This was also our first time biking in South Dakota which gave us another new biking state for this year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th Neighborhood Ride

4th of July Ride: 11.52 miles
TANDEM Pedal Time: 59 minutes, average speed 11.5

Happy 53rd B-Day, Dennis. We were pedaling by 8:30 a.m. on this hot, humid 4th of July. The temperature was already 81° so this short trip to St. Charles was all we were up for today. The temperature was raising equal to our increasing miles. By ride’s end, the bike computer was reading 94° and it was only 9:30 in the morning.


The farm crops in our area are looking very healthy with the corn definitely greater than knee-high this 4th of July. The sky continues to have a hazy cast caused, I’m sure, by the Colorado fires. A little rain about now would sure help to keep the farmers happy.


I had a hard time spotting flags on this July 4th journey. I was able to capture a few while on the bike but hope to see more as we travel towards Spring Valley for an afternoon of tubing.