Jeimy – SnR 2012 Tour of Discovery Completed! Traveling Along the #acaLewisClark and #acaPacCoast Routes
We’ve done it again! Spoke ‘n Revolutions Youth Cycling has managed to have another successful cycling tour. This year, as a returning cyclist, I expected somewhat of the same conditions we had last year but boy was I wrong! Cycling the Underground Railroad was nowhere close to cycling the Lewis & Clark and Pacific Coast Hwy routes. We faced different terrains, weather patterns and above all, history.
From the start of the trip to the ride home it was interesting to see us cycle/ride through mountains, deserts and grasslands. I remember complaining of how flat Iowa was and how after a while I needed to see something else other than fields and fields of corn. Once we hit the rolling hills and grasslands I started to miss those flat road days. But it was nothing we couldn’t handle, especially now since we have gone up some of the toughest passes in the mountains. The best part of those passes is when you finally reach the top after suffering through going up that hill and just looking straight ahead seeing the most beautiful downhill ride view you’ve ever seen. I LOVED going down the hills because if felt like you were on a rollercoaster! It gave you an adrenaline rush and only lasted for a few minutes. The only part I didn’t like were the sharp turns because they would freak me out and I’d have to ride my brakes so I wouldn’t crash into the woods or rocks (poetic license in use here to add more drama).
Not only did we do lots of cycling this tour but we did our fair share of hikes, as well. We climbed (hiked) around in the Badlands, Redwoods, the trail to Jerry Johnston Warm Springs (outside of LoLo, MT), Grand Canyon, beaches, Yellowstone, and so many more places. We were able to see things we’ve never seen before like Banana Slugs (haha), elk, prairie dogs, bison (buffalo), hot springs, national monuments and national parks! I find it incredible how we managed to visit so many places in so little time. Doing this has definitely inspired me to continue doing this in my future. I really wouldn’t have changed anything about this trip. It was fun and we got to meet so many new people and see new places.
Well, there is one thing I would change, or should I say be more prepared for, and that would be next time packing more longsleeve shirts and sweaters because it got extremely cold (to me) when we got to Yellowstone National Park and most places west of there. Those that know me understand that I do not favor the cold. During the cold nights I would sleep with my fuzzy PJ pants and sweatpants. If I still got cold then I would do the next best thing and go ask my sister if I could get into her sleeping bag. When we got closer to Nevada you could immediately feel the heat. The tables on the weather had definitely turned. In our in Las Vegas the temperature was 103* outside (it was a “dry” heat) and I couldn’t stop thinking of how much I wanted that cold mountain weather. Because in the cold you could always put on another layer (if you had it) but as a woman you can only shed so many layers before your image changes (haha). Anyway, the one thing I will take from this is to always pack appropriately and check the WEATHER beforehand to know WHAT to pack.
In addition to noticing changes in the weather and our surroundings we began to notice how we all were changing mentally and physically. If this tour does anything it would be the fact that it challenges a person to work as a team and be more open-minded. A very good skill to have in any environment. I know that I have learned to become more open socially and took the opportunity to grow a bonding friendship with more people than my sister. The skill to become more open socially came in handy as we cycled and encountered other solo cyclists who joined us for a few miles to a few nights. We met Balthazar who is an English professor in New York. He flew to Seattle, bought a bike from a shop very much like The ReCYCLEry and began heading east. We met Rob who stayed with us for about three days. He was extremely nice and even played Apples to Apples with us. Last, but not least by any stretch, is Michelle who cycled from Chapel Hill, NC to Portland, OR. As you know we had a chance encounter with her in Yellowstone as she was heading west ALONE. She joined us in Portland and rode the Pacific Coast Hwy with the SnR group. She’s definitely an inspiration to all of us!
The historical aspect of this trip granted me a lot more opportunities to learn the history of the Native Americans. In school we sometimes cover the mistreatment of them and how they were forced onto reservations but we never actually focused on how that has affected them as a people and their lives today. We got the chance to bike through some of the reservations and you could always tell when you were in one. Some neighborhoods wer run down and the schools looked like they could use a little bit more support. The times we did talk to local residents they all seemed extremely nice and always commented how they hoped they could have some organization that helped their young teenagers to do better in school and in their lives.
When you actually think about it their tragic story of demise began shortly after the end of slavery and is just over 150 years old. Something interesting that I learned is that there were over 200 known treaties between the nations and the U.S.; not one was honored. Every single one was broken.
On the 4th of July in South Dakota I got a chance to experience the effects of how the Native American identity has been transformed over the years. We were running some errands that day and a Native American man came up to a few of us and asked some questions. He seemed nice but what caught me off guard was his last comment. He said that he was Native American and “not worth anything”. I was shocked to hear someone say that about themselves but is just shows the harsh reality in which many people live in and how depressing it can be.
Overall, I really enjoyed getting a chance to be on this tour. I had many unforgettable experiences. For example, I will most definitely NOT forget my big accident where, even though I literally flew into the air, I got no major scratch on myself. This is the day I realized how much we all cared for one another. I did have a major headache the next day and some whiplash (muscle strain in my neck) but nothing I couldn’t handle. It is something I can cross of my list of “must do’s” on a cycling tour, just like being getting interviewed by a little kid.
When we were in Seaside, OR we took a short break at the beach to take a picture with a statue of Lewis & Clark. There a little boy, no older than 11, came up to me with his family and started asking hundreds of questions about what I was doing. After the deluge of questions was over (interrogation) I asked him if he would ride his bike one day. At first, he said no but after I told him it would be SO much fun he changed his mind and said YES. That was one of my favorite moments. Getting the opportunity to talk to a kid and maybe get him interested in riding his bike, too.
This will always be an unforgettable journey for me. The chance to see several National Parks and monuments in such little time while exploring another part of our vast country. Even though most of the group is getting ready to go to college this fall I know that the friendships we made during the summer will keep going on. I enjoyed being part of this group and feel extremely lucky to be getting the opportunity to do this again next year. And knowing Kevin and Ms. Sue they will not let me down and will plan another fantastic tour next summer. It’s amazing to say you’ve cycled the Lewis & Clark and Pacific Coast Hwy routes but even more rewarding is the fact that you did it on recycled bikes with a group of friends that helped create some of the most memorable moments in time.
Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement that folks in Whitehall and the area are not representative of the person in Cardwell.
For the record, the gas station/RV Park/Casino is in Cardwell. It doesn’t have septic and folks have to drive to Whitehall and use the Whitetail RV Park there. I can’t find where we’ve written the name of the RV Park but it changed name and owners and are trying to get back on its feet from the actions of the previous owner.
The list goes very long for our stay there in Whitehall because from the very beginning Justin, who was managing the property that day, was gracious, obliging and welcoming. He moved his trailer so that we can pitch our tents, he gave my wife a soda after her long ride (which was big for her), he allowed us to use his grill and even broke bread with us. He was fantastic.
The Whitetail RV Park (I think that’s the name) also has a laundry that they allow the townspeople to use as well as a car wash. Justin was great and from the comments of residents of Whitehall he would have made you proud. Justin is how we remember Whitehall, MT.
I’m sorry if there was some confusion about where the event occurred. We remember Whitehall fondly.
THANK YOU, JUSTIN!!
Gorgeous day. 64*
Mahlique got his classes scheduled and I was uploading photos. We left the Horat family as we found them: Happy. Such a wonderful visit with them. I wish it could have been with all of their children but the two who were still home, as far as I’m concerned, made up for those not present. Thank you Terry Tignon for offering their name as possible hosts. They were the first on the second list (pastor Ed and wife were already hosting others and could not accommodate us at this time) and accepted us immediately.
Thank you, again, John and Tanya for hosting us. It was one of the many great visits that we’ve had along our tour from the many wonderful and beautiful people of this country.
In total, the drive to Corvallis, MT yesterday added an additional 7 miles to our ride that day and it officially became the longest ride we’ve had so far in 86.33. It’s amazing (yes, that word keeps coming up), but I am amazed at the fact that as we count the miles the YC’s don’t bat an eye at 50 anymore. They’ve moved beyond that in mental and physical strength. What an accomplishment!!
We took the bike path all way from Corvallis/Hamilton to Missoula, MT.
Joseph had four stops due to air leaking from his tire. 2 new tubes, two pinch flats and it was finally discovered that he was damaging the valve housing when he was inserting the tube.
Missoula Our Adventure Cycling visit. Met Greg Stiles, one of the founders, and got a great tour. Also we got photographed because we cycled in to visit. I also got to meet Ms. @acaRoutes herself, Jenn! What a cool day.
Had great burritos at Taco Del Soul, a nice joint down the street from Adv Cycling. We camped at the KOA Missoula.
My hair’s grown long and I look like George Jefferson but there’s not a thing I can do about it.
The break we have taken has been great. The museums and National Parks have open my eyes to a whole new world. I’ve seen beautiful waterfalls, volcanic vessels, Ice cream mountains, wild bisons, and grizzly bears running around. Everything has made me really happy, I would have never thought the U.S. was SO BIG and BEAUTIFUL!
I remember the views we had of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monument. I will never forget the feeling I got when we arrived at Jenny’s Lake by the Grand Tetons and the beauty of the lake was something I will remember for a long time.
Today was the first day back on the bikes and like usual, I’m injured. I rolled my ankle yesterday goofing around. Even thought I hurt my ankle I still kept riding. For today to be our first day back we all rode pretty fast and we finished 21 miles in only an hour and 10 minutes. After we finished that we took a break at a gas station. Once we left the gas station we kept riding until my seat became loose on my bicycle. This happened while I was riding up a hill. So, I basically had to ride with no seat until I reached the top. I told Kevin that my seat fell so he gave me a tool to fix it. I tried to use the tool but it looked like it wasn’t working so I turned it harder until the piece that held it in place broke. Since we didn’t have any extra seat post clamps on the tour I couldn’t ride for the rest of the day. It would be too painful on my ankle and knees if I rode with my seat broken.
After we put my bike in the trailer we drove to a state par to get water for the rest of the group and also to rest. Once we finished there we drove to a gas station wo wait for the rest of the group. We waited for a while and then we saw everyone pull in. Some motorcyclist told us that we should wait out the approaching storm that was already in the next town called Whitehall because they had just gotten soaked. Soaked driving through there and that’s what we planned to do. Whitehall was our destination for the night.
Then a man came to Suepinda and basically told her that he had heard complaints about there being cyclists on the road and he didn’t want us on his land because he “didn’t like our kind”. He also told us to not buy anything from his store and that we had to leave his property because he owned that gas station and half the county that we were in at the time. Suepinda told him that we were just high school students just trying to stay out of the rain but he said he didn’t care and if we wanted to stay we had to pay for a campsite. I can’t believe something like this would happen in the west. This is the only time someone has been anything but kind to us.
Yesterday was our first day back on the bikes in 10 days and I must say that it felt really good. I realized on the first 10 miles that I missed the little cracks in the road, the feeling of the wind and the steady beams of sunlight. It was fun but I have to say that by the time we had 14 miles left I really started feeling the burn. The adults told us we had about 45 miles to go because we were going to cycle to Twin Bridges, MT instead of Whitehall, MT. When they told me that I got a little discouraged. Even though the day was going well I don’t think I could have made that last 45 miles. I was glad when they told us they’d changed their minds and only had 14 miles left. After our break we noticed that there were huge storm clouds for miles and miles. We cycled for 7 miles through strong head winds and some scattered drizzling rain. The view was beautiful. I wish I had my camera with me.
Going to the next town went fast. Because the weather was getting worse we stopped at a gas station. We decided that we would wait out the storm there. About 20-30 minutes had passed when the owner of the gas station and half the county (so he proclaims) came up to my mom and told her that we had to leave the property or buy a campsite because he doesn’t like “our kind”. My mother told him our situation and he blatantly told her he didn’t care. I personally have never been put in a situation like that before. It really shocked me that he said that and didn’t care what we did so long as we left. It was kind of bummer on a good day. When we left we had about 8 miles to go. Just as we started to get down the road it started to rain.
The rain felt like little needles. It had gotten pretty cold but the ride went fast. Where our campground was there was no rain so we all chilled outside until we had to go to bed. I was pretty tired so I ended up going to bed before I normally do, which is around 10:30pm. I had a good night’s sleep.
This morning everyone woke up positive and active. The boys and I took down our tent and quickly rushed to get the muffins which were laid out for breakfast. After that the crew headed out without me since I was on punishment and cycled for about 2 1/2 hours until the break. I handed out bananas to everyone and made sure that they were ready and had whatever they needed.
It was a pretty easy ride since they only had to cycle 50-60 miles and the weather was smooth and nice.
We recommend the KOA Campground in Dillon, MT as the place to stay. Bob, Pam and staff are phenomenal hosts
727 W Park St Dillon, Mt 59725 United States N 45.21916°, W -112.65004° Accuracy: 25 m http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:45.2192%2C-112.65
The past 10 days has, in my opinion, been where I learned the most. Visiting the National Parks was a completely new experience for me because I’ve never been to such naturally beautifully preserved areas before. Specially with ones with so much history. I loved learning about the Lakota Sioux and their Native American history. I feel so inspired by their art and way of life.
It was also fascinating to piece together the Lewis and Clark history. I’ve learned with the places I’ve been to. It’s easy to imagine what was going on through their heads as they traveled westward and discovered all the places like the Dakota Badlands, Tetons and the Black Hills. Overall this trip has been one fo the hardest things I’ve done; both physically and mentally challenging. But it has also been one of the best decisions I’ve made as I can’t count how many amazing experiences I’ve hat that I would not have had the opportunity to do so, otherwise.
Since I’m leaving tomorrow I’m filled with different emotions. I’m upset to go because I know there are so many things ahead in Oregon and California that I’ll be missing. At the same time ‘m excited to go because I can’t wait to tell people I know about my experiences. And, of course, have a home cooked meal.
To anyone who asks me if they should consider going on a trip like this I will tell them to think hard about it. But if they can, go without a backward glance. I’m so happy and appreciative to be able to be a part of this trip and am excited to be a part of this organization and to watch it grow in the future.
Damaris – July 15, First Day Back Cycling the #acaLewisClark Tour of Discovery. Goodbye #NatlParkService for now
Today was our first day back biking after taking a few days off to hike, visit museums and go to phenomenal National Parks. We only had a 75 mile day ride so I was pretty happy. It felt so great to finally get back on the bike again and even though I didn’t wear biking shorts I still had a blast.
Unfortunately, our ride had a few negative curves. When we were 14 miles away from our camping destination of Whitehall, MT we decided to bike 7 of it and wait out an approaching mean thunderstorm at a gas station. We arrived at the gas station and about 5 minutes later a man arrived saying that hew owns half the county, including the store, and that he doesn’t like “our kind” on his property. So, we had to leave or get the cops called on us. I was in awe to see people like that still existed and even more confused when I remembered we weren’t even in the south. We did have to leave, or chose to leave without putting up too much of a discussion and ended up biking the 8 miles in the storm.
Even though that little event occurred I kept my head up, biked the rest of the way and enjoyed an amazing dinner.