View Tom's trip in a larger map

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Going home

I was hesitant about doing a blog at first.  I wasn't
sure how far I would make it and did not want to be bothered with keeping up with it everyday.  But I knew the memories would fade and I would regret not having a record of the trip.  I'm glad I did it. 
It doesn't seem possible that a 2 month trip like this could go as smoothly as it did.  I was never sick, injured or burned out at any time during the trip.  Any mechanical problems that I had were in convenient places where they could be fixed.  I had a total of maybe 6 hours of rain while I was on the bike.  Prolonged headwinds never materialized.  There were certainly challenging climbs but nothing insurmountable.  My gear worked out extremely well.  I don't think I lost any weight.  Going solo was a good thing for me.  I enjoyed the company of the people I rode with but I also enjoyed the time alone.  I can't really think of anything I would do differently.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely.   

Many thanks are due.  First my wife, who did not just tolerate this but supported it from the first conversation.  My parents, who may have been more excited about it than I was.  Jack and Elaine Crumpton,  friends who gave me a vacation within a vacation.  The many friends and family who told me they were praying for me.  I felt the support and protection everyday.  The folks at work who kept things on the right track while I was gone.  Marc and Greg, for giving me the time to try this.  All of the wonderful people that fed and housed me along the way.  Thank you all.     

Favorite places:  Telluride, Colorado.  first big valley in western Utah,  Blue Ridge Parkway,  Mt. Diablo California.

Least favorite place:  eastern Kentucky.

Best drivers:  Kansas.

Best meal:  The Wooden Nickel in Crested Butte, Colorado

Hardest climbs:  unnamed climb east of Hindman, Kentucky.  Afton, Virginia.  canyon west of Boulder, Utah.  Mt. Diablo,  California.

Flat tires:  3


18 miles.  I spent last night camping on Mt. Diablo.  I rode the 22 mile climb to the summit yesterday afternoon and then came down to about 1000 feet to camp.  The view from the top was as good as anything I had seen on the trip.  I found a great place to camp with a view of the valley and bay.  I dropped my bike off this morning to be shipped home.  Around noon I took the train into San Francisco aind walked around town for several hours.  My flight leaves at about 11:00 tomorrow morning.  I'll wrap up the blog with some final thoughts on the flight home tomorrow.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 59

8 miles.  I had no problem waking up early today.  Took a nice ferry ride across the bay as the sun was coming up. There were a couple of short steep hills in town but they didn't really matter.  At 8:30 I got to  the end of the road.  It was finished.  I sat there for a while and thought about how fortunate I was to be able to try this.  So many kind people had helped along the way.  I looked at the pictures I had taken.  It went by so fast.  Sort of like life.  I see the old man in the pictures and can't believe that's me. 
I rode over the bridge, took some more pictures and put my toes in the Pacific.  I celebrated by eating lunch at an exclusive San Francisco restaurant, Subway. 
Took the train to Walnut Creek and will spend the night camping on Mt. Diablo. 
I will do one more post tomorrow and then wrap it up.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 58

66 miles.  Davis to Vallejo.  Nice riding through vineyards and orchards early in the day.  The weather was perfect   Urban riding later in the day.  A ferry ride across the bay and then 6 miles to the Golden Gate bridge.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 57

67 miles.  Placerville to Davis.  About 40 miles of bike path riding today.  I saw more cyclists in the first 15 minutes than I had on the rest of the trip.  Hundreds of lycra clad, grim faced, carbon fiber riding vegetarians whizzed by in both directions.  I felt like I was driving a garbage truck in the Dayton 500.  No one smiled or waved.  No one ever coasted.  I passed a woman reading a paperback while she was running.  I felt more at home in the Nevada desert. 
I made it to Davis early in the afternoon.  It looks like a nice college town with lots of neat restaurants.  Tomorrow I will ride into Vallejo and then finish up on Monday.            

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 56

66 miles.  Kirkwood to Placerville.  Last night was the coldest of the trip.  I had my fleece hat on while I slept.  Plenty of rolling hills on the way down to Placerville.  I had my third flat tire of the trip.  Traffic is starting to increase as I move out of the mountains.  The second half of the ride tomorrow will be on a bike trail.  I ate a world class burito supreme at a small Mexican restaurant.  It was as big as one my shoes.   Tonight I'm in a nice little mom and pop motel. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 55

63 miles.  Dayton, Nevada to Kirkwood, California.  I said goodbye to my folks at 6:00 and headed to California.  As soon as I crossed the state line the climb up Carson Pass began.  I gained 4500 feet over the next 21 miles.  It never got real steep and turned out to be easier than I had feared.  Going over the top was a great feeling knowing that it was the last big climb I would have.  The Sierras are beautiful.  I am camping near the pass at a gorgeous lake. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


2 miles. 

Days on the road.....54
Miles traveled...........3500+
2 miles with the guy who taught me to ride a bike....priceless

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 54

49 miles.  Fallon to Dayton.  An easy day of riding.  I had a nice dinner and a great nights sleep last night.  I rode the last 10 miles in to Dayton with Simeon, a 70 year old rider in great shape.
This afternoon we took a nice drive around Carson City and Lake Tahoe.   I have included a photo of my support crew next to my team bus. 
Tomorrow will be a rest day before the final push over Carson Pass     

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 53

112 miles.  Austin to Fallon.   I made a big push today so that I could meet my folks in Fallon.  I thought I had been riding in the desert before but today I got to the real desert.  All I saw was sand and rocks for several hours.  I had some nice folks from California  pull up next to me and asked if I wanted some ice water.  They stopped and gave me a liter of water and a cold fresh peach.  More trail magic.  I followed the old pony express trail for a while today.  I will be staying with my folks for the next three nights. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 52

70 miles.  Eureka to Austin.  I received plenty of encouragement from drivers today while crossing a 50+ mile section of flat desert.  Lots of waves and thumbs up.  I guess I looked pretty small out there.  Antelope and wild horses were more plentiful than cyclists.  The steepest pass in Nevada was saved for the last 15 miles of the day.  A couple of small passes tomorrow. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 51

78 miles.  Ely to Euureka.  It was 47 degrees when I started today.  I had on a hat and gloves along with two shirts and a jacket.  By the time I finished at 1:00 it was 90.  I met another cyclist on the road today.  David was headed to the east coast from Santa Cruz.  I have half of the Nevada passes behind me..  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 50

62 miles.  Baker to Ely.  Climb pass, descend pass, cross valley, repeat.  You do this 12 times to cross Nevada.  There are no days where I pass another town or any other services across the entire state.  Nevada has my least favorite road surface of any state.  Half of the day was on tar with small gravel on top.  When cars go by in the other direction they throw the gravel up at you.  They also use rumble strips on the shoulders so you can't ride on them.   Fortunately the scenery is still beautiful and the traffic has been light.  Four passers to cross tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 49

83 miles.  Milford, Utah to Baker, Nevada.  I reached my 8th state and my 4th time zone today.  Last night the rain, lightning and wind got cranked up to full.volume.  I pitched my tarp low and stayed dry.  If the weather had kept up this morning I would have taken the day off.  It was cool and calm when I started.  I had three passes to cross and it was slow going.from the beginning.  I only made 15 miles in the first 2 hours.  After crossing the first pass I entered a massive valley.  I could see the entire desent and the next pass 20 miles ahead.  After crossing the last pass a huge tailwind started to blow.  I rode the last 32 miles in less than an hour and a half.  Baker is a shabby little town that has the bare minimum of services.   I'm in a dingy little motel for the night. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 48

56 mIles.  Cedar City to Milford.  A short day today.  The next town is 84 miles away and there are no services including water so this was my only option.  Fairly easy riding through open range land today.  A couple of rain storms blew threw but I stayed dry for the most part.  I passed a house that had a big barren tree full of shoes hanging from the branches.
I'm camping for free in the city park tonight.  Plenty of nice grass and no RV's. 
I learned that one of the pals that I rode with during the first 9 days, Mike Wilkinson, broke his wrist in a fall in Colorado and had his trip ended.  He was one of the nicest folks I met on the entire trip and a great travel partner. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 47

81 miles.  Bryce City to Cedar City.  Last night was the coolest night of the trip.  I had to wear a hat and gloves for the first two hours this morning.  I climbed for over 5 hours today.  Most of it was not steep but it just kept going and going.  The 26 mile desent was spoiled by a hard cold rain.  The majority of the day was spent riding through high alpine meadows.  Some of the meadows had flocks of sheep grazing in them.  I'm at the Super 7 motel tonight.  It's not as luxurious as the Super 8. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 46

75 miles.  Boulder to Bryce City. Tourism is alive and well at Bryce Canyon National Park.   The little towns near the park are all crowded and virtually none of the people are American.  English is hardly heard in the stores and restaurants.  German, Dutch, and French are the primary languages.  I have never see anything like it.  Any rest area or overlook is nothing but European tourists. 
Prices on everything have also gone way up.  Motel rooms started at $135, I passed.  A bad tent site cost me $28.  Rented RV's surround me.  I look like a freak with my little tarp.
  A big all day climb to over 10,000 feet tomorrow. 

Day 45

85 miles.  Hanksville to Boulder.  A great day of riding through Capital Reef National park.  Utah has such an amazing variety of scenery.  I stopped at a tiny bakery 20 miles from any town and had breakfast and conversation with the folks that were there.  After leaving the park I headed up a 4000 foot climb to cool temperatures and aspen trees.  I stopped at a tiny 3 room motel just before a big storm blew in.