Back in the US, back in the US, back…

We’ve had The Beatles doing Dylan back in South Dakota (Rocky Raccoon). Now it’s time for The Beatles doing The Beach Boys.

We’re on our penultimate week in this journey. That is sometimes hard to believe.

It was 75 degrees at 5:30 AM. It did not get cooler as the day went on. Many campers had fires going all day Sunday. Must be some primitive urge, as I could see no good reason to have a campfire on a 95 degree day, especially during the daylight hours. The air was thick with smoke.

We started the day by crossing the Rainbow Bridge from Canada back to the US. While looking back from the falls I saw a structure that looked suspiciously like the Space Needle. Rather than looking it up, I’ll ask if any of you know what it is.

Back in the US we ran into a stretch of horrendous road awaiting repaving. I think I accumulated several years worth of head trauma from the shaking.

 

The first 15-20 miles were urban riding, then mixed urban/suburban riding, suburban/small town (where the suburbs of one town bled into the next). Finally after 50 miles we got into the country with mixed farmland and forest. At mile 58 I heard a train as I approached a crossing. I was across in plenty of time but knew we would cross those tracks again in a few miles. I tried racing the train but its route was much more direct than mine – enough so that I didn’t have to wait; it was already through the crossing.

We had two detours after cue sheets were passed out last night, so we followed arrows on the pavement and not the cue sheet. Mileage was thus unknown until we arrived at SUNY-Geneseo.

We arrived to a darkening sky. Later riders were hit by a thunderstorm. So far here there has been rumbling and a few drops.

Lest any of you think I am writing this in my parents’ basement and faking the photos, check out the Cycle America Facebook page for actual photos of me in various places across the country. Plus, my parents have been dead for years.

A Day in the Life/Jackson Hole

Every job has its routines. The measure of whether you like your work is more how you deal with the routine than how you deal with the exciting stuff.

This life has its own routines. I awake at 5 most days, with my alarm being Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano, as performed by Mikko Rankin-Utevsky on viola (this excerpt has no piano).

Before getting out of my sleeping bag I check the weather and figure out what to wear. That takes longer than it does for my usual job. What I laid out the night before may be the base layer, not everything.

  1. Check the weather, figure out what to wear today. Get out of sleeping and get dressed.
  2. Take down the tent. Pack up my gear. Carry it to the trailer.
  3. Fill water bottles and tires.
  4. Load the trailer (load time set by the trail boss).
  5. Go to breakfast. We generally start riding between 7:00 and 7:30; possibly earlier on long days.
  6. Ride 1/4 of the route and stop for water; about five minutes.
  7. Ride the next quarter of the route and stop for lunch; about 30 minutes.
  8. Ride the third quarter and stop for water again.
  9. Ride to the end, text my wife to tell her I arrived, find my gear bags and/or unload the trailer, lay out tent and sleeping bag to dry, pitch tent when dry. Set out solar charger (clips to tent poles) to charge backup battery for phone. I generally finish riding between 2:00 and 3:00.
  10. Take a shower, wash today’s riding clothes, put up clothes line, hang clothes to dry.
  11. Write today’s blog entry. Download mail, check messages.
  12. Check out the town or rest until dinner.
  13. Eat dinner, go to tonight’s pre-ride meeting for tomorrow.
  14. Either find an outlet and charge phone, or charge it while I sleep, from the battery.
  15. Read, hang out, get ready for bed. Set out tomorrow’s riding and post-ride clothes. (In reality, I have had very little time to read. The e-books from the library arrive at very different times than expected, and are due before I read them.)
  16. Go to sleep and get ready to start the whole process again tomorrow.

Jackson

It is a day off. I took down my laundry, as there is a parent event for the high school leadership school currently in progress, and they want the place to look pretty.

Then I rode into Jackson for breakfast at a local coffee roaster and wandered around town.

Jackson has a quaint old western town section with false fronts and wooden sidewalks; this part of town leans toward expensive shops. There was a fur store. A mannequin in the display window modeled a tiny fur bikini. I could not bear to take a picture. The archways into the town square are made of shed elk antlers.

I walked beyond there, to where the folks who live and work here live – in trailers and manufactured housing.F1923564-4996-4B80-87BB-03EAACDF12C8

There is a park with climbing walls, and a ski hill right on the edge of town – from a few blocks away it looks like you’d ski right onto the streets.

I found a cafe with the 4 basic food groups – chocolate, pastries, espresso, and gelato.

Perusing next week’s ride profile, it looks like the hard part starts now; a couple of passes over 9000 feet, one of which is part of tomorrow’s 100 miles.

We stay in Wyoming for the whole week and actually ride mostly west-to-east;)

Before leaving Jackson, I need to put in a word about the Teton Science Center, where we are staying. It is an incredible facility. To learn more about their programs, see their website.

Roll up!

We hit the road today!

Enough talk! Let’s ride!

But if you need another fix of the Beatles (in phenomenal cover versions), visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/AllYouNeedIsLub

OK, I gotta add to an earlier post about 1968. We were discussing the Mexico City Olympics and the fact that John Carlos and Tommie Smith were kicked off the US Olympic team and sent home after winning gold and bronze. As Paul Harvey used to say, “here’s the rest of the story”, thanks to Dave Zirin in the Progressive.

The silver medalist was Australian Peter Norman. He wore a button reading “Olympic Project for Human Rights” on the podium that day, standing in solidarity with the two black athletes with whom he shared that podium.

He was ostracized in Australia and left off the next Olympic team. When San Jose State University erected a statue to Carlos and Smith, they left the silver medal spot empty. Carlos said he would have nothing to do with the statue if it did not honor Norman. Norman then told him that the spot was left empty at his (Norman’s) request so visitors “can climb the statue and stand where I stood and feel what it felt for me to be a part of history.”

When he died in 2006, Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his funeral. And that’s the rest of the story. Sorry, no time to add links. Time to check out of the hotel and meet the Cycle America gang.

Here is our route for week one.

We’re in Everett, Washington.The mountains are in sight. Sunday morning we will dip our tires in the Pacific. (I will also seal up a vial of Pacific Ocean water to take across the country. When we ceremoniously dip our tires in the Atlantic, I will add the Pacific water to the Atlantic.) I am wearing a shirt given to me by Curtis to honor his memory. For those who haven’t read that post, he was my riding partner for my last supported tour.

My bike arrived safely. (It came out in the Cycle America trailer.) I took it for a short ride this afternoon. It goes, it stops, it shifts. The motor seems a little weak.

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