Day two

We actually got to wear our shorts today and, halfway through the ride, our short sleeves! Beautiful day, nice temperature. Pete managed not to get his lips sunburned this time. (He always took my chapstick when offered, this ride.)

We were riding an out and back, so yesterday’s tail wind was today’s headwind. We seemed to do fine with it. It probably slowed us less than one mile per hour. The bigger challenge today involved about 500 more feet of climbing, with the steepest climb right at the end. We made it fine, but pretty much collapsed after getting off the bike at the end of our ride.

We probably won’t do this ride again, mainly because there was little to no shoulder most of the ride. Some cars gave us plenty of room, some not so much, and some had no choice due to oncoming traffic. Moving uphill at 6mph on a road with vehicles zipping by at 65mph or more, feels a little sketchy.

I think our biggest mission for Europe is to keep the mileage short enough each day to have left over time and energy for sightseeing.

Second multi-day ride

Last night we drove to Cedar City and stayed at accomodations booked via Airbnb. First time experience with Airbnb. The host family was a young couple with two small kids and were welcoming and easy to work with. We didn’t know what to expect, but so far so good.

This morning we left around 9 and had a completely different experience than our last ride. For starters we had a strong tailwind for most of the day. Although we’re going to tell you some things we think we did better, all credit might go to the wind.

In addition to a great tail wind, the weather was great. It was probably in the upper 30s when we started and warmed nicely to 60 degrees by the end of our ride.

We rode 70 miles with 2700 feet of elevation gain. We selected this route because it has many similar characteristics to our days planned for Europe.

We did a much better job of pacing ourselves on the hills. I selected this route specifically because it didn’t have many segments steeper than 5 percent. The few that exceeded that were short. We had a better understanding of what to expect because I wrote some software to analyze the route in a way that makes it easier to compare to other rides we were familiar with. It helped to know in advance that every hill was within our reach.

It really helped to not push for speed – not even a little. We had plenty of time, so we took it. 

Finally, we were a little lighter today as we are not carrying camping gear – just camp food.

For lunch today we ate at a little diner in Enterprise. Classic diner. Not many vegan choices, no surprise, but we had a big fresh order of delicious fries and a salad each. It was yummy and a good break.

We are staying at another Airbnb tonight, and in this case we have the whole house. There is no restaurant – not even a gas station – so we are cooking a backpacking dinner tonight. Nothing says romantic dinner like Mountain House.

We are tired but happy. This is an out and back, so tomorrow we retrace our steps with slightly more vertical gain.

Day 3

Last night, after soaking in the hot springs, we thought we’d sleep well and be plenty warm. Not so much. Pete did seem to fall asleep pretty quickly, but I was sleepless until about 2am, I think because I was too​ cold. I was sure the temperature must be in the 20s, but when I checked my phone about 7am it was it the high 30s! We must be getting old. Our tent and sleeping bags were comfy, and the campground was practically deserted — except for an owl or two — but I just wasn’t warm enough.

After oatmeal by our campfire, we bundled up and headed​ out. The day began with thick cloud cover but warmed and brightened nicely by afternoon. For the first 10 miles we were on a stressful busy highway, but we able to finish most of the rest of our ride on farm roads, some of which were dirt. The dirt roads were slower but peaceful. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was honestly ideal. We had a little headwind but it was the least of the three days.

We finished in Logan about 3:30, with a total mileage of about 188. We were able to spend some time with our grandkids, which was delightful and rejuvenating. 

It was a great adventure, we learned a lot, and we enjoyed being with each other. We are better prepared and even more excited for our Europe trip!

I do think we’ll sleep well tonight! 

Day 2

Last night we stayed at the Largilliere Carriage House bed and breakfast in Soda Springs. We slept great and had an amazing breakfast of grilled vegetables, potatoes, vegan gluten free blueberry muffins, and fresh fruit. Thanks Robbie! By last evening I was questioning our choice of hobbies, but by the time breakfast was over we were all in once again.

Today was much better. We rode 62 miles from Soda Springs to Downata, a lot of it downhill (only 700 feet of climbing). We rode on old highway 30 which added 10 miles but bypassed a big hill and avoided a lot of traffic. Easily worth the extra miles. We had a tailwind for the first 20 miles and a headwind for the rest. The weather was at least 10 degrees warmer today. We also paid much better attention to our nutrition and pace.

Downey Idaho has no grocery stores and no restaurants. Luckily a kind lady at a Phillips 66 with a deli made us awesome salads using sandwich fixings. We also had fries and a Mounds bar.

We are camping tonight at Downata hot springs, posting this from the hot pool. :-):-):-) 

Headed toward the mountain in the distance
Idaho colors
Our hosts
Inside the bed and breakfast

First day of first multi-day tour

We loaded up our bike with about 60 pounds of gear (clothes, food, tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, bike tools…) and left from 5 miles above Garden City headed for Soda Springs Idaho. It was a slog! We had a powerful headwind for 90 percent of the ride. The high temperature for the day was about 35 degrees F. I used a German route mapping program to set our path. I thought I had a route with minimal hills and all pavement. We ended up climbing about 1700 feet over 67 miles, with about 20 miles on a dirt road.

The fully loaded bike is heavy! It is probably about 150 pounds. That isn’t a big deal on the level, but the hills are punishing. Maybe I shouldn’t have changed the gearing to give up better speed… The hills plus the headwind were exhausting! This was far harder than the centuries we’ve ridden on our road bikes.

We are exhausted but happy.