Epic Ride!

Being on the western edge of the time zone, it didn’t get dark until after I was asleep. The rain started first.

It started raining at 10 PM and was still r

Our support fleet at 5 AM, the only time I see them all together.

aining when I woke up at 5. I took down the tent in the rain, packed up in the rain, and rode down to breakfast in the rain.

Breakfast is the only photo I have to upload from the day. It was too wet to take any other pictures.

We rode 103 miles in the rain, the last 50 into a headwind. I would not have made it without the company of Alan from Kirkland, WA and Ed and Ally (a father-daughter team) from New Jersey. I rode with Ed and Ally for much of the day, Alan for part of it, and the four of us together rode into Missoula, after we came upon Alan changing a tire just a few miles out of town.

Ally is a newly-minted RN from Rutgers who decided to go on this trip “before I have to be a grown-up”. I can attest that she is a grown-up, riding relentlessly through a driving rain that left us all coated in grit and soaked.

Ed is a union carpenter. He confessed that he likes to ride in front in order to control the pace so Ally doesn’t leave him behind. Being a good daughter, she waits for him at the top of climbs. She is a mountain goat.

Since I have no photos from today, I’ll add some that wouldn’t upload from Thompson Falls. The dam at Thompson Falls

Group photo at the pass
Lunch at the pass, Alan about to summit

The road we took to the pass, view while riding upstream, dawn before the climb

And on the 7th day…

We don’t yet rest. Seven days, 602 miles. Tomorrow we rest. Today, on the other hand, we ride 99 miles.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Today is the first day of Co-op Camp Sierra. This is a camp that was started in 1939 – that makes this the 80th year of Co-op Camp. Camp Sierra itself has been here a few years longer.

Camp Sierra
From Campsierra.org (For a week each year, we used to mount another log center top that said “Co-op”. It was carved by the same person who carved the originals.)

My introduction to camp came in 1985. I had a new job (Maintenance Director of Twin Pines Co-operative Community) and they sent me to camp to network and hobnob with my fellow wizards. Little did I know it would lead to an annual job for several years and a place I’d later bring my whole family.

You’d probably call me the Administrative Assistant to the Camp Manager. She called me img_0009her Mom. It was my job to make sure she got to all of her meetings on time and to drag her rolling suitcase around on the trails, as well as help plan and run the educational programs. For this, her kids later rewarded me with one of my most precious possessions.

Co-op camp was officially a place for people from the California co-ops to gather for continuing education in a mountain setting. It was and is much more.

potholesJPGIt also has the best swimming hole around, miles of hiking trails in national forests, nearby Sequoia groves, and possibly the biggest tie dye project ever. (Camp photos from coopcamp.com) Lodging is in either your own tent or a camp cabin.cabintiedyeJPGWhile I didn’t bring the “grandmother” mug on this trip, tomorrow morning I will raise my cup on our first day of rest, in solidarity with my old friends at camp, who will be raising their cups on one of the cabin porches. I haven’t been back since 2006. Someday…

But what about today’s ride?

Oh yeah. The rain lasted all night but stopped by morning. The day started chilly, with fog/low-lying clouds. We packed up wet with one of the riders humming circus music. We are kinda like a traveling circus, rolling into town, setting up our tents, and leaving in the morning. We don’t provide much of a show.

We started flat and easy, retracing our steps from yesterday. The road started to tilt upward and the sun came out so we shed some clothes. We rode up and over Thompson Pass, with a gradually increasing slope, to 10% for the last mile. At the summit we crossed into Montana and Mountain Daylight Time.

A fast downhill seemed to go on forever and, as the road flattened out, a tailwind pushed us along. Only a little over 4 hours in the saddle today.

Tomorrow is another 100+ mile day over busy highway to Missoula. Then comes our day of rest.

I can’t upload photos from my current location. I should have better luck in Missoula. It’s past my bedtime anyway, and a wall of dark clouds is closing in.