Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus......

At the top of Steven's pass (did anyone cheat, take a pic and say they rode this?) A view of Tumwater Canyon:lunch stop with Daryl & Kim the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth: the Maypole: the curry feast: Sorry, Kevin but I can't help picking on you!  After a hard day of riding, a toast; it was quite a storm!

Didn't go where they were supposed to!!  Following breakfast on Tuesday the tribe packed up and waited patiently for the bus to shuttle them to the top of Stevens Pass.  And waited, and waited, then went to Starbucks for coffee, and waited.  A small glitch in communication: the driver thought she was supposed to go to the top of the pass and shuttle the tribe back down.  After a few terse phone calls the owner of the company brought out another bus and got the tribe on the road: 2 hours late.  So, water stop #1 turned into lunch stop and lunch stop turned into water stop.  Dinner was moved 1/2 hour later to ensure all got to eat.  And eat they did.

We have had many, many days on these tours that the staff has to be flexible and change the plans.  Tom likes to tell the story of one of the first Cycle Washington rides.  We ran the tour in reverse from this route at the time.  When the riders got to the top of Washington Pass a storm rolled in.  The temperatures dropped and the rain started pouring.  No one had rain gear on their bikes and were caught completely off guard.  Tom passed out every article of personal clothing that he had in his van.  Bikes and people were packed into the vans and they headed into camp.  Or so they thought.  The KOA camp ground lost their water pump.  No water, no showers, no bathrooms.  Tom got to Winthrop to see the marks on the road pointing the wrong way and his staff standing on the corner directing the tribe to an alternate camp ground.  It continued pouring and my Dad and I rigged up blue tarps for the tribe to eat under and I cooked ribs and chicken in the rain.  Not the first time and probably not the last.

It was a gorgeous day for a bike ride.  There was cloud cover on the East side which helped keep the temperatures down in the 80's.  Unfortunately, the mosquito situation at Confluence State Park has not improved.  The camping area for the tribe was a swarm of nasty little critters: a few had the sense to bring mosquito netting for their faces.  85 degrees and everyone was in long sleeves and long pants.  The state was supposed to have sprayed for the drillers, but has not done so.  The park ranger said people have been leaving their reservations early because of them.  The only time I have seen them worse was in Montana.  We were lucky that they did not care for the pavement that we set up on and were not bothered too badly.  Hopefully tomorrow night will be better.

I am a little nervous about tomorrow night at Alta Lake.  We don't have the group sight this trip and no one is sure where I will find a place for the big yellow truck.  I'll let you know on that one.  I may just head home.  (Kidding, Tom)  We have been known to set up in some pretty remote conditions: hope this isn't one of them!  The start of Idaho a couple of years ago was classic: the field that we were supposed to have used looked like land mines had been targeted there.  We had to set up in an access road with the water supply 1/2 a mile away.  Sometimes I have a sense of humor.  After the fact.

Tonight was curry night and the tribe did a great job of cleaning up the curried chicken and tofu with peanut yam sauce.  My friend, Jim from Baltimore, loves to compare our food to that of other rides by saying, "where else to you get tofu with peanut yam sauce on a bike ride?"  I don't know: we never have time to ride other rides!

We are missing a few of our friends on this ride.  Bob and Linda headed back to Montana and are working the Divide Tour with Tony and Annie.  My dear friend, Hal from Texas, had to drop at the last minute.  He is amazing still cycling at 70+.  He has ridden with us with his son a few times and came to Utah one year to wash dishes for me!  He saved the day in Bryce Canyon as I came down with the flu and couldn't work.  He and my nephew, Jacob, pulled off dinner with me hollering directions from my tent.  Thank you, Hal.  We miss you!

We got the tribe up this morning, Wednesday, fed them a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and swiss cheese; sausage, oatmeal, fruit and cereals.  Then they hit the road to head up the Columbia to Alta Lake.  We are off to Costco then into camp.  No internet until we get into Winthrop, so I'll write again then.

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