Friday, July 31, 2009

we made it to Pierre SD... battled 40mph headwinds at one point but with the help of a passing pickup truck made it out of the gnarly section. we are now camped alongside the missouri river gearing up for a 100 mile day tommorow. by the way the badlands are way bad ass... when we get to minneapolis we will post the pics.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

loaded up and on our way!!!

back in business!! the bikes a beauty....badlands or bust

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rapid City, SD

2000 miles in and... we finally encontered some serious problems (So you don't worry, we're both physically fine). Today as we rode out of Rapid City, SD and got ourselves prepared for the much talked about Badlands National Park, Nico was stopped dead in his tracks by a storm grate. Bags flew into the air, Nico performed a flawless frontflip, and the frame of the bike has been... TOTALLED!!! The rider however stood up from the accident with out a scratch (At least no NEW scratches) As apparent in the pictures below, the frame was seriously bent in two places which has completely messed up any riding ability and left us with the only option of finding a new frame. We considered taking the frame to someone who could possibly weld in sections, however traveleing on downhill sections at 45+ would be too nerve racking on a pieced together bike. So, here we are, in a search for a new frame.

Immediately after the accident a nice fellow gave us a ride to the nearest bicycle shop. Here we met a very generous employee named Eli who has been helping us out. There is hope that he may be able to sell us a similar Bianchi frame that will be very compatible with the component set that I am riding with now. If this is the case he has willingly offered to help us put the bike together at his house where he has the tools to do so. We are waiting for his call.

Despite the accident, we have had a good time in rapid city! We just enjoyed some Buffalo burgers and beers at a great local brewer to ease the pain of the wreckage. Many games of rummy later, our spirits are not crushed and we know the trip will continue. We also have friends waiting in Minneapolis. If the bike doesn't work out here, we plan to find a ride to the twin cities and work it out there.

We appologize for such a long post about not very much... it's just that this is all that is on our minds at the moment. Other than this unfortunate happening, we have been doing quite well. We have spent the last 4 or 5 days in the Black Hills National Forest, where we have enjoyed wonderful riding, amazing sights, and very nice people! We've stayed with Billie Jane Hamblin in Belle Fourche, an 83 year old woman with a rich life story and an amazing attitude. Belle Fourche has been determined the geological center of the nation if you factor in alaska and hawaii, and it was cool to stand on the marker. Mt rushmore had some crazy tourist attractions, the town right nearby is Keystone, it is a combination of the boardwalk and pier 39, cotton candy salt water taffy, but also and awesome 2000 ft slide that we went down, on small karts. We came out from the slide with more scrapes and burns than from the last 1950 miles of our trip. Last night we stayed at Jean-Claire's house (billie's daughter) with two other bikers we had previously met in yellowstone, it was quite a coincidence. We are looking forward to getting back on the road, we should have everything worked out soon and will be heading due east.

Here are some pictures:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

we made it to tourist this place is strange but kinda cool....the best part so far was the 35 foot cliff jump into horsethief lake on the way into the park. we are off to rapid city with a house to stay at tonight... we are making our way woo hoo..

Friday, July 24, 2009

dinosaurs..i think is what nico meant.

Devils Tower WY

Devil's tower! quite an amazing sight... we camped there last night and today enjoyed taking a closer look. we have just passed into south dakota and plan to camp in the black hills national forest. tomorrow we'll see some dinosoars!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Plan

Hello everyone. We must get on the road so this will be a short post. We wanted to post our new proposed route. Once again, if there are stops along the way that people have friends or acquaintances in, we would love to hear it. Respond on the blog, or call or text Nico at 831-706-6365. Thanks!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gillette WY

New plans! we've been checking out the maps and with the help of our new friends in both buffalo and gillette we have quite an exciting next leg... we plan to ride tomorrow to devils tower, the tall standing center of an ancient volcano. from there we will ride a scenic route to see t-rex stan in hill city and then into mt rushmore nat'l mon. we will continue to head east into the badlands and spend some time off our bikes checking out the sights... tonight, we once again have the luxary of beds, showers and await more pancakes! we also have started to plan a much more northern route through minneapolis and hopefully a ferry (thanks diz) across lake michagan! much more to report when we get to a computer... until then, we are excited and really looking forward to what is ahead.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

FWD:Buffalo WY

we made it to the top of powder river pass... 35 miles of 6% grade or steeper up. 30 miles of rolling hills down to buffalo... we are staying with some friends of the rangells now here in town... great people..good food.warm showers. thank you margo and david for having us. thanks paul for introducing us... tommorow we are off to gillette where i think we will have another house to stay at..we are living in luxury.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cody Wyoming

Just made it to Cody, Wyoming.. feeling great after a pizza each and ice cream... we climbed over dead indian pass today which has some interesting history and alooong 6% grade... when we left yellowstone yesterday we saw herds of buffalo.pronghorns.and the elusive black bear..we are now out of the cool and beautiful mountains and ecstatic to be back in the desert. looking forward to showers soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

West Yellowstone, MT

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since our last post and that this post is soooo long. We have been without service or internet, as well as completely distracted by our surroundings for quite some time now. But here we are, in West Yellowstone, Montana at the public library finally at a computer! Where to start... The last time we posted we were just getting ready to enter the Tetons and Yellowstone. We followed the Snake River from Jackson, Wyoming all the way into Grand Teton National Park. On this pleasant ride we witnessed two Bald Eagles soaring high above as well as two river surfers carving up a stationary rapid wave! We arrived at Jenny Lake, somewhat early the following day. We had heard great things about the back country camping in the Teton mountain range so we went to the visitor center and found out that we could plan a two day excursion for free! We took the supplied bear box, went to an outdoor shop in which we rigged up our panniers into backpacks, then set off for our hike. The hike was a little over 6 miles of gentle climb through a beautiful canyon. After the day of preparation, night was starting to fall and the further in we hiked the more the crowds of tourists diminished. Just as we started to concentrate more on hiking and less on taking everything in, we were stopped by a massive wall in our path. A huge bull moose was blocking our path. He looked briefly at us, gave a us a snort of recognition and then continued to eat the vegetation as if we weren't there. It was so great to see this beast up close even though we didn't quite know how to get around it. Eventually it cleared out of the path and we kept on hiking to witness porcupines, marmots, streams of fresh snow melt, and the amazing mountain ranges. After a good nights sleep at our camp, the following day consisted of freezing cold dips in the the snow fed streams, hiking parts of some of the ranges and a whole lot of sleeping in the warm sun which in the end left our backs quite burnt.

We hiked out of the backcountry the next morning, and in no rush to leave the beautiful Jenny Lake we decided to spend the night at the hiker/biker site that was right next to the lake. When we arrived at the campsite and started setting up camp we happened to meet two other bikers who were riding from Boulder, Co all the way up to Alaska. The two of them, Loren and Jared, happened to be about our age, and were absolutely awesome company around the campfire. Little did we know, that night was the first night of a series of ridiculous social encounters and coincidences that helped make our time in Yellowstone an absolute blast.

The next day we were fortunate enough to get in contact with a Conner and Lucy, two good friends of Calen's who had spent the last three weeks driving all over the north-west. The timing worked out perfectly and we met up at Lewis Lake, for another night of camping around a warm fire with great company. We hung out with Conner and Lucy all the next day, enjoying the luxury of driving around, and hiked Mt.Washburn one of the highest peaks in the park. We were bummed to leave our friends that night, but were quite content with two nights of socializing and talking with friends. We were not prepared for the absolute circus that we were about to be a part of.

We got another hiker/biker site this time at Grants Village, and as we rolled into the site we were blown away by the fact that the two bikers we had hung out with recently, Jared and Loren were already there. They were accompanied by two other cyclists, (Joe and Carlos), who are biking across the US from the east. Shortly after our arrival, three other cyclists came in, (Jacob, Mike, and Aaron), who were coming in from Virginia. At this point there are 9 of us, all within 5 years of each-other, all with awesome attitudes and outlooks on life, and all heading north through the park the next day. It was absolutely bizarre, first off none of us had met nearly this many cyclists at any point in any of our trips. And second, we all were headed in the same general direction even though we were all going to end up in very different places. We were getting along great and were having a blast. We spent our third night exchanging stories around a fire, getting to know this eclectic group of adventurers.

The morning came and none of us were really sure how the pacing or grouping was really going to go, but as the day went on, we formed a massive pack, and took Yellowstone by storm. We were riding in one huge group for the majority of the day, stopping at the sites and absolutely clogging up any bike rack we could find. As our turn away from the group neared, it became clear that the whole pack was heading west out of Yellowstone, and were going to go see Harry Potter 6 at the local movie theater. We were planning on heading north to Mammoth Hot Springs, but were having too much fun with this circus of riders that we decided, "hell lets head west". We rode 14 miles west in a huge draft line cruising up hills at about 17 mph, and reaching speeds of 25 mph on the flat. We made great time and reached the cinema in time to get tickets for the show. We all enjoyed the movie, an excellent escape from the normal routine of ride sleep ride sleep. Almost all of us completely forgot that we had ridden across the US to get here. We gorged on pizza after the movie, rolled a couple blocks out of town and found a nice group of trees for the 9 of us to camp behind.

We have now separated from the pack, and are headed back into Yellowstone Natl. Park, and back east. We are definitely going to remember the awesome group of people we met,the ridiculous jokes and stories we heard, and the fun we had cruising through the park with such a pack.

We have about two days of riding ahead of us to get back through the park to the north-east entrance, we will be riding the Beartooth highway in which parts are rumored to be elevations of 11,000 ft. Someone also told us it was once called the most beautiful highway in the US. We are excited to start making some more miles, but have enjoyed our slow cruise through these beautiful National Parks. We will try to keep updating the blog a little more regularly. Our next big stops will be Mt. Rushmore and Badlands Natl. Park in South Dakota, we should be there pretty soon. Yesterday was exactly 4 weeks that we have spent on the road, and it has flown by as if it were only one week, this trip has been great so far and we are looking forward to what is ahead. We miss everyone back home, talk to you soon.

calen and nico

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Idaho-Utah border

we are looking out over bear sits on the border of utah and idaho.. and wyoming is not too far in the distance. we just spent the last 40 miles going up hill through logan canyon... a beautiful canyon full of wildflowers. towering rock walls. and a really cold river. utahh seemed to go by fast... but idaho will be a flash.. here we come Yellowstone.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July in Salt Lake City

We are in Salt Lake City, taking a day of rest. Feeling great and stoked that we have finally put a substantial dent in the map. We are staying with some friends right now (Steve and Carrie...thanks again guys), who have generously let us stink up their house a little bit and relax on their couches. It has been really great to have a place stay in the city because we can't just pitch a tent anywhere and camp for the night. We thought that we would post a general proposal of where we will be heading, with the hopes that maybe some of you might have a connection down the road for a place we might be able to stay in some of the bigger cities. The route shown is flexible and we can adjust based upon if we have a place to stay. If anyone thinks they might know someone who would be willing to house us you can respond as a comment on the blog or text message Nico @ 831.706.6365 or Calen @ 831.818.4795 , if not dont worry bout it for we have gotten pretty good at figuring things out as we go. We are leaving tomorrow bright and early, making a beeline for the Grand Tetons. 

View Larger Map

Proposed Route Above

Friday, July 3, 2009

Map of the route so far

View Larger Map

The next leg that we have a pretty good idea about will take us to
Yellowstone through Logan, from there we head to Buffalo WY,
then to the Badlands in South Dakota.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hinkley UT

UTAH!! we finally made it out of nevada. crossed the border this morning before 9am.. got interviewed today as a part of a rained on...sailed up hills using a tarp to catch the wind...took a nap in a cave...and rode our first 100 mile day! we are now hunkered up in our tent just outside hinkley..expecting rain tonight and a goods night rest.

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