It’s a bitter-sweet feeling to know that the trip is basically over. I’m happy that I can finally see my old friends and my family. But, I made new friends on this trip that are just like family. When we get back to Chapel Hill I will tell my friends all the stories but they won’t understand me fully because they weren’t actually there. If I want to talk to Mahlique or Jeimy about the things we did on the trip they will, of course, know exactly what I’m talking about. For example, the clothespin game! It was lots of fun while it lasted. This is where you secretly attach a clip-on clothespin somewhere on a person’s clothing. Very similar to a game of “Tag” but with a big surprise in the discovery that you’ve been TAGGED!
Also, Jo Jo would laugh hysterically when I reminded him of the time that he tossed a frog onto Maysa’s back but no one else outside of the tour really knows that story. It is one of the many things we share amongst the group. I am never going to forget this trip and the people who I journeyed with. The North and South Dakota Badlands, Yellowstone and the Grand Teton are only a few of the memories of the National Parks that we’ll share. Natural beauty, the friendships that were strengthened or the new friendships that were created made those locations some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of my life.
There are a lot of people out there who can’t say that they’ve been to half of the places that I have this summer and I’m proud to not only say that I’ve seen the places in person but, most importantly, that I was able to enjoy those places with people close to my heart.
We are finally on the coast and it is gorgeous! I have never been out here and it is everything I dreamed it would be and more. After a long day of riding it feels nice to know that I can sit down, relax and watch the sun fall beneath that gigantic blue horizon. On days we would stop and just take a break on the beach most of the time we would find starfish or crabs. If we found them we would take the time to take photographs so our families could see what we did.
Once we made it to the campground we often had ocean lookouts and we would go as a group and search to water for signs of life. Almost every single day we would see whales resurfacing for air or see seals sunning themselves on large rock formations and often large colorfully billed birds. I have never seen anything like that before in my life.
Once we made it to California we decided to go to the Redwood forest, the tallest trees in the world that can only be found in this one specific spot in California (and as I just learned there are four here in Chapel Hill). When we actually got a chance to hike through the Redwood Forest we saw trees so tall that you would become dizzy in the effort. Banana Slugs, a sign of a healthy forest ecosystem, were found everywhere. We were able to walk through a hollowed out base of a tree and you could tell that the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees! Now I have bragging rights in saying that I have been to the Redwood National Forest.
Joseph ~ Expressions Along the Lewis and Clark Trail (#acaLewisClark) on The Tail End of the SnR Tour of Discovery
I’ll never forget the day we reached the west coast. We had only left Portland, OR a couple of days before
and we made it there cycling all the way. The closer we got to the beach the stronger the headwinds became. Once we reached the end of the roads and were cycling alongside the sands and the ocean I knew the ending of the Lewis and Clark journey was near. As usual, Mr. Brogden was in front and the rest of us followed. While maintaining my balance, I leaned my bike to the right to look ahead beyond the line of cyclists. There, in the near distance, I saw a large crowd of people gathered around the gigantic statue of Lewis and Clark. A big sign in front of the monument spelled out the words “End of Trail”. I think we all were relieved to finally reach the end of the trail. It was a personal goal of Itza, Mahlique and I to cycle the entire route and we had achieved that goal. I was proud of our accomplishment.
I thought about how hard it must have been for everyone on the expedition to walk the distance. With that thought came a greater respect for the men, woman and child who had the courage to help link the eastern United States to the west.
Cycling to Astoria, OR was chilly, windy and full of hills, yet it was still pretty great! We arrived to the campsite an hour before it started sprinkling rain. We set up our tents and started “cooking” ramen noodles for dinner. Even if it was sprinkling nothing could place a damper on our arrival to Astoria!
Rich took a handful of us to Fred Meyer (a chain similar to a Super Wal-Mart but BETTER) to buy our celebration desert which consisted of pies, brownies, s’mores and (haha) salad. This was a specific donation in honor of our arrival to Astoria and completion of the Lewis & Clark tour by Tod’s friend in Japan, Portly Joe. Thank you SO much, Mr. Joe! We were going to have a sugar overload that night but decided to eat only the ice cream and have deserts for the next couple of nights.
The next morning we cycled to Seaside, OR to officially end the Lewis & Clark SnR Tour of Discovery. Prior to reaching Seaside we visited a sunken ship just outside of Ft. Stevens State Park. Now that was cool as it was full of barnacles. This was also we saw the Pacific Ocean. Wow, not really what I was expecting. It was cold and cloudy; but we still wanted to jump in and swim. So, we did! Mahlique, Jeimy, Maysa, Jojo, Sammy and I went in for a quick dip. BUURRR, it was ice cold!! We lightly dried off, got back on the bikes and headed to Seaside. When we arrived we took out last Lewis & Clark photo at the statue. What a bittersweet moment.
WE DID IT!! The SnR crew successfully completed the Lewis & Clark Trail. I was in amazement. Nothing could top or come close to the fun times we had. We saw so many animals, built camp fires, went through tons of beautiful places, raced Mr. Brogden, met many cyclists, saw many bikers, wrote songs, and picked and ate blackberries that grew wild along the side of the road. As a result of our experiences we’ve become more like a family. We all have each other’s backs, no matter what. The adventure doesn’t stop here it continues on.
Pacific Coast Highway, here we come!
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.
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.
I accepted a challenge from this group call “Spoken Revolutions”, I knew the task was not going to be something easy but that’s exactly why I joined. I left home on June the 22nd two days before my birthday, and headed to Indiana, the home of Mrs Sue”s relatives, there we had our first group family dinner played some games and I even had my own little birthday celebration with little cupcakes for me and everyone in the group,thank you Mrs Sue and Kevin for that one, I was not expecting that surprised. We started biking the day after and head to the next state, the first days were the toughest but I always tried to stay on the lead just to prove to myself that I’m not the slowest neither the weakest one, so if I’m not in most of the tapes that’s because I’m in the front. The challenge ended up being the biggest mental, physical challenge I’ve ever faced since we have had to fight against many natural and mental challenges throughout the journey, everything from winds that would blow you off your bike to the ground to 5 and 6 mile hills that would make you want to get off your bike and be like”I’m not doing this anymore, this is absurd and I don’t even know why I’m doing this”. But there is more good then there is bad, you know what the law of gravity says, everything that goes up has to come down and that’s when the fun starts.
Anyways the adventure has been great, I’ve climb the slippery mountains of the Bad Lands of South Dakota, and got lost on the Geyser Basin of Yellow Stone National Park, right where they have all the cool volcanic vessels, I’m hot-headed sometimes, I went exploring the whole park and my goal was to check out every Sauna on the park and so I just walk all around the huge park by myself looking at the cool steaming looking vessels, it was incredible to be honest, I would have never thought there were lakes that have multiple colors in the interior but with such clear water, the smell that it spread was like Hydrogen Sulfate.
When I’m biking it feels like I’m in total control on my actions and with the amazing view around me, it honestly feel like if I was inside a video game, is really a very positive feeling you get when you make your way up one or two big hills, but that’s something you’ll have to figure out yourself lol.
The group activities and the moments we have spent together is being difficult for the most part but at the end we end up coming together as a big weird non-alike looking family. Anyways every single one of the riders are very special kids in their own way, we all are very smart and “I trust them all”.
Badlands Visit, a set on Flickr.
We packed the wet tents and headed toward our next stop of Medora, ND to camp and visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Paha Ska – White Hills (well known as the Badlands). We learned the Lakota word for it is Mako Ce Wankankil (Mahko Che Wha Khan Kil).
We stayed the night at Sully Creek State Park in ND. It was a nice campsite at the base of a cliff. We quickly setup tents so they would dry from last night’s rain. The ground was gray and muddy. Horses were nearby and our noses pleasantly reminded us of that fact.
When the tents were complete and lunch was had we visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park and learned of his early life. In the visiting center there was the cabin that he stayed in during his visits to the Badlands. The cabin was mostly the original beams with the exception of the header. Some of the furniture was original.
We visited the ND Badlands and had our first encounter with the prairie dog colonies. We hiked along a trail that went above a river which reminded me of a picture out of the Grand Canyon. We saw prairie dogs and bison by the roadside.
Jeimy was nicknamed AJ for Adventurous Jeimy as she loved to explore.
During one of the hikes through the Badlands we found a cute and small horned toad.
SnR Youth Cyclist visit to ND Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Today we hiked around Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton. It was about a 9 mile loop. the sights were beautiful. The Hidden Falls was my favorite because I love the sound of waterfalls and the cool wind that the waterfall gives off. The hike to the top of the falls was nice and shaded, too. While we were there we met another group of cyclists. They were biking for cancer (4K for Cancer). It was cool talking to them.
After visiting the falls we started to hike back down towards the lake. It took us about an hour and a half to reach where we were going to stop for lunch. By the time we got there big cumulonimbus clouds had formed and the wind picked up. Because we were hiking we decided to wait out the storm which took about an hour. With no more rain in sight we hightailed it back to the van. Bob, Kevin and my mom treated us to burgers and fries afterwards for dinner; it was pretty good.
I hope that in the coming years I can revisit the Grand Tetons and surrounding areas. I’m glad that I came on this trip because of all the beautiful scenery and the chance to meet and get to know new people. Thank you to all the people that helped make this trip possible for us all! It has been truly an amazing adventure.
July 12 SnR #acaLewisClark Tour of Discovery – Side track visit to #NatlParkService Yellowstone Park
Chance of Rain:10%Wind: SSE at 4 mph Humidity:34%
UV Index:10 – Sunrise: 5:49 am Moonset: 3:37 pm Moonphase:Waning Crescent
Chance of Rain:10%Wind: SW at 3 mph Humidity:55%
Sunny Right Now
Right Now Updated: Jul 12, 2012, 9:25am MDT
From SE 1mph WIND
We camped at Grant Village campgrounds. It rained last night and it came in like it owned the place. 100ft tall pines bowed to its powerful winds and told us of the oncoming storm. We did a round robin of “what I like about you” with the YCs. Just as the last person was set to go the approaching storm interrupted everything.
Dinner settings were quickly put away and I rinsed off the dishes and dashed into the tent. It was a chilly night.
?Tonight we’re going to stay at Bridge Bay campgrounds today and tomorrow. All campsites were full in the whole park and our stay at Grant Village was a one nighter. While we await checkin at the new campsite we’re going to see Old Faithful and tour the grounds there.
We passed the Continental Divide this morning. Any rainfall east of it flows to the Missouri River and the Atlantic Ocean, west of it goes to the Pacific Ocean. Photo Op!
Our first stop is Old Faithfull. It went off just after schedule; what about that? Faithful, indeed. Traffic as usual was not particularly BAD if you come from a big city. More like what we get in Chapel Hill at “rush hour”. But there’s always something to stop for in Yellowstone-a bear, elk, bison, prairie dog.
Leaving Old Faithful we started climbing a hill when Suepinda glanced out the window and Beezo Jeezo, isn’t that Michelle?! As soon as we could we doubled back; had to be a qtr mile or so. We couldn’t find the woman on the bike. We continued down the hill for another mile and a half and there she was, bookin’ it at about 30 mph. We stopped to chat. Imagine that!! We weren’t supposed to see her until Portland and here a chance meeting at the crossroads of Yellowstone. Backstory– Michelle left Chapel Hill one week prior to the SnR departure and was traveling alone across the US and making good time. The girls are so inspired by her audacious tenacity and her self reliance. They want to be like her and she humbly wants to be like them. I think they’re equal in their ambition. Take away the age difference and their stories are truly inspirational.
Then we saw the Brink of the Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The falls have a zig zag path down from the top to the lookout point. I don’t know how far and long it was down but, believe me, you noticed it. Specially, on the way back up. Passed the Mud Vaults of hot boiling mud. The smell of sulphur permeated the air with always a comment from the YCs about it. After the falls we headed back to camp at Bridge Bay for the night and encountered more traffic.