Reflections. - The cat named Chevy won't stop this tour, and neither can COVID - CycleBlaze

July 27, 2020


We made it home and laundry is in the wash. I've looked through the mail. Here I sit on my favorite chair - which feels WONDERFUL! Tonight I get to sleep in my own bed with my own pillow. It will be grand.

But, tomorrow I will not be on the road to a new town, seeing new sights. My legs are now accustomed to hours and hours of exercise each day. My stomach now demands thousands of calories at all hours of the day. As much as I want to be home, I want to be touring. As we passed through Utah, I sent out a text message to friends, let's go ride the Slumgullion! It's difficult to throw that idea at working folks with real schedules. There were also mentions of COVID. Even Jacinto wasn't too interested.


One thing about a 16 hour ride home, we had plenty of time to talk about the tour. We agreed it was amazing that we rode for two months and didn't get more than a few drops of rain. I think it was a trade off - we didn't have rain, but we both had far more than the usual number of flat tires. Jacinto had seven flats the first half of the tour and one flat on the second half. At least his average improved. Jacinto had a broken bicycle seat on day one. I had to switch out my wheel when I got home mid trip.

We were also lucky with mosquitos and black flies. Wisdom, MT is famous for mosquitoes. I stopped outside of town for a pee break. I wondered if there was a town line the blood suckers didn't cross. Perhaps so, that even I was absently scratching two bites. From the sounds of it, I got off easily.

Lodging - we had several sub par stays in a row in Utah. I felt it effected my mood and how difficult I perceived the day to be. After that, I decided having a larger, nicer room was important. Sometimes there's no choice in lodging. Other times, there is. I have been staying more often with the Choice brand motels because I have their credit card. Now I"m swayed towards Best Western because they generally have a comfortable seating area. My back is getting old enough that it doesn't like sitting up in beds for extended amounts of time.

Forest fires - There was a road closure due to a fire near Hannagan Meadow. Had we taken that giant climb, we would have been caught in the closure. There were no more fires near us until we departed Missoula. The sky was slightly gray the morning we left from a fire. We were lucky with fires also.

We missed having riding companions. There was no one to go for ice cream with or have a beer in the evening.

We managed to wind our way through seven states without any COVID issues. It was interesting to see how different businesses and communities handled COVID. Definitely, the majority of small town businesses were life as normal. I was concerned riding through Navajo Nation, which has been hard hit with the virus. The biggest thing we saw there was masks required and the nightly curfew, which is no issue for tired cyclists. By the time we hit Montana, a state wide mask requirement was in place. It still wasn't followed in the really small places.

We saw fewer than 20 touring cyclists the entire two months. We rode a piece of the TransAm around Yellowstone. We also rode a chunk of the Lewis and Clark route.

Much of this route was new to us. It is a guess that there were also fewer cars on the road, which made for more enjoyable cycling.

Besides no rain, we also had great riding weather once we got out of southern Arizona. Our last riding day had a high of 75 degrees. The friendly temperatures made it easier to sleep in a little and depart at a more relaxed hour. I had purchased stainless steel water bottles to ensure cold beverages all day. They were never put to the test. The bottles did keep my drinks cold all day in our typical 75-80 degree weather. This company markets to bicycle riders as their bottles fit perfectly in water bottle cages. stainless steel bottles

We carried a power cord that was useful for charging multiple items at a time. It was also handy in motels with hard to reach power outlets. power cord

I carried a battery pack because my phone and Garmin are both old with poor batteries. I picked a heavier pack, but I was happy with the choice. battery pack

Jacinto wore this SPF 50 shirt - I think the pricing might be an error, it's so cheap. $18. for two shirts. two inexpensive shirts - bright colors

Thank you all for following along. I've had so many positive comments and encouragement in the guestbook. They were a real mental boost for me.

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