www.warmshowers.org - Seattle towards Minnesota - CycleBlaze

July 25, 2007

www.warmshowers.org

I woke up at 8:00 and shortly thereafter Howard and I went to the restaurant for breakfast. I ate scrambled eggs, a pancake, and bacon - not the wholesome breakfast I had in Rockport but it should hold me for the grueling day of riding that you'll be reading about. We went back to our room and started packing.

I was all loaded up and about to leave when Howard asked me if I wanted some sunscreen.

When you're packing before the start of a trip, and even after you're riding, you always wonder if there's something you left.... something you forgot to put on your list or simply forgot to pack... like your bicycle, for example. (I actually know a woman who forgot her front wheel on a day ride, but I'm not going to mention her name because I'd like to continue sleeping with her.)

It was at that point that I realized I had forgotten my brand new bottle of SPF 50. It sure could've been worse (like my front wheel, for example).

As we were leaving I realized my gloves were also missing. After asking all the employees on the site, I figured out that I had taken them off when we first arrived and placed them on the back of my bike. When I rolled my bike around to our room last night they fell off near the front door of the restaurant. The lady at the front desk had seen them this morning, but now they were gone. 

A pair of stinky old bicycling gloves? I can see how a thief would want to snatch something like that up. Looking back, I probably should've checked the trash.

By the time we finally left at 11:30 it was already hot. There's a dramatic change in climate and terrain after crossing the mountain pass. The forests are much more open and sparse. This land is much more desert-like, but it has pine trees and sagebrush instead of cactus and sand.

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We rode the fifteen miles to Winthrop (pop 349), then stopped at The Emporium so I could buy more ibuprofen. Howard needed some things, although considering everything he already has I can't imagine what it would be.... A backup washing machine or a small couch to lounge on in the evenings.

After purchasing our necessities we walked across the street and to the ice cream shop for some homemade ice cream.  Then another stop... we rode down the street to the bike shop so I could get some gloves.

I called the local library and learned that they do have public access computers, but there's a thirty-minute time limit. That'll be our next stop.

While we waiting, Howard wanted to make a phone call. He had told me about www.warmshowers.com a couple of days ago. It's a website where you can sign up to offer someone simply that... A warm shower. There's also the choice to offer a place to pitch a tent, an extra bed, or even a meal, though the main focus is at least a shower. Howard used it twice last year, once in Winthrop and once in Fargo. Before we left town he wanted to give the guy he stayed with a call to say hi. The guy's name was Tom Sullivan.

When Howard turned around to say something to me he came face to face with...   Tom. He practically bumped into him.

We chatted a few minutes, but Tom had to go to a meeting. Before he left, he offered his yard and a shower. Of course, fifteen miles is way too short of a day so we said no.

Until we learned we could use his computer. I'd be able to upload some blog postings, and Howard had some things he needed to do online as well.

We were at his house a few minutes later. We pulled into the yard and pitched our tents. 

The grass was so soft I was having a hard time deciding between pitching my tent on it and rolling around on it.
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But finally decided on the former.
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The Sullivans, Tom and Carolyn, were so gracious. In spite of being in the middle of a personal family crisis, they both made us feel like we were the two most important people they knew. Tom helped me get set up on his computer since I'm Apple-challenged. I spent a long time at his desk and eventually got caught up posting my blogs.

Howard wanted to take the three of us out to eat at someplace nice. We ended up in Twisp, a 15-minute drive to the next town, and ate at the Twisp River Pub.

Our tables were outside by the river. 

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There was live music, and when I took a closer look at the musicians I did a double take of the saxophone player.

I don't think I've ever seen a more unlikely-looking sax player. He was thin, and almost cachectic-appearing. His gray beard seemed almost a foot long. He wore a baseball cap, and he sure could play the saxophone.

After we got back I used the computer to upload some more pictures, then went to my tent and blogged for an hour and a half. My flashlight went off at 12:30.

I never really expected to make it all the way from Seattle to my home in Rochester. In order to make it in my three-week vacation I would have to ride more then 100 miles a day for three weeks straight with no rest stops. That doesn't sound like a vacation.

Perhaps I'll change it from "riding to Minnesota" to "riding towards Minnesota," although if I do that I may as well change it to "riding towards Maine." I'm doing that, too.

Miles 14.52  (not quite my low record, but at least competitive)
max 30.6
Avg 10.8
time 1:20:14
Cumulative 140.35 (2 miles more than my longest day)

Today's ride: 15 miles (24 km)
Total: 141 miles (227 km)

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