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Day 10 Missoula, MT to Lincoln, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 3, 2011 in Day 10

Day 10 Missoula, MT to Lincoln, MT
Riding time today: 7:11
Riding time total: 63:09
Distance today: 84.68 mi
Distance total: 762.17 mi
Average speed: 11.8 mph
Top speed: 31.0 mph
Average cadence: 67 rpm
Max cadence: 189 rpm
Calories burned: 4,299

I started off today an hour later than I normally do thanks to this new time zone. However, that didn’t really matter. I wanted to slow down my pace a little today to recuperate from the past two days of uphill climbs.

I visited The Bike Hanger in Missoula to get a new pair of gloves because the ones that I was using at the time had zero padding left! It was like getting premature arthritis. I also wanted to inquire about which route I should take. I knew that I either wanted to take the 12 or the 90 to the 94. To my surprise, there was another route that I had over looked, Hwy 200. The friendly staff launched Google maps and showed me the route. It looked good and there would be a lot less traffic which is always a good thing. The towns were a little farther apart than I normally like, but nothing I couldn’t handle.


Downtown Missoula was right up there with Portland. It was super bicycle friendly and seemed very community oriented. I was feeling good leaving Missoula. I had the nice Montana smell and the weather was perfect.


I saw some other people touring today, which is always a nice thing. I met Eli from Portland. We were both east bound and both traveling to Milwaukee. We had a nice chat about our tours thus far. He had also met Rebecca back in Idaho. However, he was fully loaded with camping gear and road at a slower pace (which is completely fine). I had to pick up my pace again in order to make it to Lincoln. I originally wanted to make it to Great Falls, but that was a little more than I could handle with sore legs.


I arrived in Lincoln and realized two things. One, this is an uber small town with two motels. And two, because this weekend was Independence Day, all of the rooms were booked. I didn’t have too many other options. I was looking at another 50 miles to the next town that may have a place to stay. I was going to push forward, but as I was leaving, I knew that my body didn’t have the energy to make it. I had already done almost 85 miles and I was pretty spent.

I checked out one of the RV campgrounds, paid $7 to camp, and that was that. At least I had my emergency sleeping bag, pillow, and insect repellent.


Tomorrow, I may cut back onto the 12 as there are more towns, and thus more accommodations. Here is a video of my campsite:

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Location:Lincoln, United States

 
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Day 11 Lincoln, MT to Helena, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 4, 2011 in Day 11

Day 11 Lincoln, MT to Helena, MT
Riding time today: 4:40
Riding time total: 67:49
Distance today: 60.42 mi
Distance total: 822.59 mi
Average speed: 13.0 mph
Top speed: 34.1 mph
Average cadence: 69 rpm
Max cadence: 201 rpm
Calories burned: 3,340

Even though it’s Summer and the temperatures are in the 90s, Montana does get pretty cold during the night. It was so cold last night that my sleeping bag and my layers of clothes weren’t cutting it. Around 1:00 am, I took my sleeping bag along with some of my valuable items into the shower house and slept in a chair. It was much warmer in there and I was actually able to get some sleep. Once dawn approached, I felt it would be warm enough to head back to the bench I was sleeping on and get a few more hours of sleep. I honestly didn’t want to be found sleeping in the shower house like some sort of transient. I am a little too modest for that.

After waking up and getting the bike ready, I wanted to talk to one of the locals in Lincoln to see if Fletcher Pass (Hwy 279) was paved the entire way. From my map, it appeared to be another one of those gravel frontage roads. I went back to The Three Bears Motel (I went there yesterday, but they were fully booked) and asked the owner’s opinion on that route. She was super friendly, took out her map and then quickly recalled driving that route a few times before. She said it was indeed paved the entire way and that the road traffic would be low. That was terrific news. Now, I wouldn’t have to backtrack and go through Avon. The only downside to that route would be having to climb 2,000 feet over Fletcher Pass. No biggie, this way going to be a light 60 mile day, so I could handle that.


Riding on the 279 was surprisingly pleasant. The pavement quality was very good, it had a small shoulder, and traffic was light. I made my way up the pass and had a blast bombing the hills. There were some wind gusts, so I kept my speed under 35 mph.

I eventually reached the small town of Canyon Creek and decided to stop at the general store to pick up a cool bottle of Powerade. A little ways down the road, there were around 15 sport bikes (motorcycles) parked. On the general store’s patio, the riders were hanging out. After purchasing my drink and walking back outside, some of the riders asked me a few questions about where I had come from,where I was headed, and et cetera. It turns out they were all from Great Falls and were having some fun on the twisties of Hwy 279. Aside from being super friendly, they were also very knowledgeable about all of the various roads and highways in Montana.


I mentioned that I was coming off of the 200 due to how desolate it was and switching back onto the 12. They said that while the 12 does have more towns, many of them are still very small and wouldn’t have accommodations. Their recommendation was to take Hwy 287 to I90 and then to I94. That was going to be the best option by far in terms of coming across towns every 50 to 100 miles. Thanks for getting me back on track guys!


I arrived in Helena in 100 degree weather and was ready for an air conditioned room. Luckily, I had a good selection of inexpensive motels to choose from. I shopped around a little bit to compare rates, and the Howard Johnson had the best deal. It was $50 and that included a hot breakfast. Not too bad of a deal.


Tomorrow, my goal is to make it to Bozeman, which is just under 100 miles from here.

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Location:11th Ave,Helena,United States

 
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Day 12 Helena, MT to Bozeman, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 6, 2011 in Day 12

Day 12 Helena, MT to Bozeman, MT
Riding time today: 8:07
Riding time total: 75:56
Distance today: 98.52 mi
Distance total: 921.11 mi
Average speed: 12.2 mph
Top speed: 27.6 mph
Average cadence: 74 rpm
Max cadence: 177 rpm
Calories burned: 4,841

After taking full advantage of the included breakfast at the hotel, I was off to take Hwy 287 to I90. This was going to be a great day because I would be traveling on a route which has many more options in terms of procuring food and lodging.

Around 33 miles, I made it to Townsend with the intention of having lunch there. However, there wasn’t much there in terms of fast food places, and I didn’t feel like going to another gas station for a microwave burrito. I did a quick search on the gps and found there was a Subway 32 miles south at Three Forks. That was what I really wanted. So, I had a brief rest at the post office and was on my way to Subway!


Hwy 287, despite having some major road construction, was actually a nice road for biking. It wasn’t too busy, nor did it have too many hills. I guess the one thing that wasn’t that great was how flat and boring it was. Seemingly endless roads would create the illusion of riding on a treadmill. It seemed like progress was incredibly difficult to make.


Finally, I made it to Three Forks and there was the Subway in all it’s glory. Even though I had gone 66 miles before having lunch, I felt confident that after eating something, I would have the strength to ride an additional 33 miles to Bozeman.


20 miles had passed, and I was riding at a decent pace, when my seat started to feel squishy. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself. I turned around and I had a flat on my rear tire. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. After all I had already gone 900 miles without a single flat, so I guess I was due. The culprit was a small wire from the re-treads that are scattered along the shoulder. Changing the tube went smoothly, however I am no longer a fan of the Sram Masterlink. It was so jammed up, it made taking it off and putting it back together a real pain.


I got it all back together when some lovely eastern winds arrived. Great, now I was traveling around 9 mph…
I arrived in Bozeman around 9:00 and did some shopping around for accommodations. After looking at four hotels, I found Motel Rainbow for $55. It was also in a nice area to watch the fireworks! Here is a video I shot right behind the motel:


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Location:N 7th Ave,Bozeman,United States

 
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Day 13 Rest Day in Bozeman, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 6, 2011 in Day 13

Day 13 Rest Day in Bozeman, MT

When I was planning this tour, I intended to take one rest day per week. But, as someone who likes to be ahead of schedule, I wanted to space the rest days out to one every two weeks.

The time came this morning when my legs needed a rest. I knew it would be really tough to bike 100 miles to Columbus in my current condition. Plus, my bike needed a tune up and a cleaning, so I booked another night after breakfast.

I road over to Summit Bike and Ski off of Main St. and dropped off my bike with Ben. For some reason, I completely forgot to snap some pictures of the bike shop. Ah, oh well. I had some time to check out Bozeman, so I walked over to Montana State University to have a look around the campus. As you can see in the pictures below, it’s a very clean and modern campus.


I had to take a picture of this gas station/convenient store, Loaf n Jug. What a strange name! “Loaf,” as in a loaf of bread? I’m pretty sure “Jug” is referring to a container of a beverage. Anyway I walked in to get a drink. The cashier, Kevin with the rockin’ handlebar mustache, was interested in the bike tour, and we had a nice conversation about some of a various routes to take, and which ones to avoid. Some of the routes went straight through tribal land, which could get a little precarious, especially at night. Thanks for the tips Kevin!


After getting some supplies at Safeway, I got a call from Ben. My bike was ready. Back at the bike shop, they too had some advice on some possible routes to take. They suggested heading further south into Wyoming and riding through Yellowstone. That is what I want to do, however it’s not the most direct route east, so I don’t think I have the time to go that way. But, I do believe that I will be going through Wyoming and South Dakota on I90. It makes more sense than heading back up north to North Dakota, only to head south again after Minnesota. Thanks for the suggestions guys!

I capped today off with relaxing at the motel pool. I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike tomorrow and cranking out some big days. Stay tuned!

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Location:N 7th Ave,Bozeman,United States

 
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Day 14 Bozeman, MT to Columbus, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 8, 2011 in Day 14

Day 14 Bozeman, MT to Columbus, MT
Riding time today: 9:11
Riding time total: 85:07
Distance today: 108.49 mi
Distance total: 1,029.60 mi
Average speed: 11.9 mph
Top speed: 33.7 mph
Average cadence: 71 rpm
Max cadence: 94 rpm
Calories burned: 5,147

After having a full rest day yesterday, I made it a point to wake up early and be on the road by 8:00. I had a big breakfast, packed up the panniers and was set to go at 8:05. As I was moving my bike I noticed one small problem, my rear tire was flat again. Well, technically it was my front tire because I had the tires rotated at the bike shop in Bozeman. It was the stock tube, which was a no name brand so that may have had something to do with it. I inspected the outside of the tire and found nothing. Then, I looked inside and noticed a small wire sticking out from the inner part of the tire. It seemed the wire was part of the tire, but it could have been from something else.


I replaced the tube, and I was on the road at 8:35. I guess if I had to get another flat, it was good that it happened at the motel, rather than on the side of the road.

I was riding out of Bozeman, thinking that was a horrible way to start the day. I made it a point to start early, and look what happens! Well, that flat was the least of my problems for today. The I90 is essentially my home for the next week, so I was hoping that there would be a wide clean shoulder, as well as it being free of large amounts of re-treads. That hope did not come true, in fact the shoulder was smaller than before, plus there was much more garbage (which causes flats) on the shoulder too! I then made it a point to use the frontage roads as much as possible. However there was only one problem, the frontage roads on my map do not indicate: one, if they will eventually become gravel roads, and two, if they will true into private property roads. I learned that the hard way, hence my ride today was five more miles than it should have been.


Fine, I could deal with a little bit of backtracking, no big deal. Right around 9:00, I the lovely gift of an eastern wind that would last the rest of the day. This was a relentless headwind that showed no signs of letting up. What happened to all of the western wind that I needed to push me along?


After making it to the town of Big Timber, I had some hot pockets at a gas station, then continued on. It was around 3:30, and the temperature had reached 106 degrees! For me, anything in the 80s or 90s is fine, but a temperature well into the 100s, plus an intense headwind, well that makes for a very unpleasant day.


Anyway, at least I got a room, at a great rate I might add, $42! Tomorrow, I will be stopping by a bike shop in Billings to pick up two more spare tubes, along with a couple more c02 refills. Then, I will continue on to Hardin. I hope tomorrow will be better.


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Day 15 Columbus, MT to Hardin, MT

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 8, 2011 in Day 15

Day 15 Columbus, MT to Hardin, MT
Riding time today: 8:12
Riding time total: 93:19
Distance today: 95.37 mi
Distance total: 1,124.97 mi
Average speed: 11.6 mph
Top speed: 30.6 mph
Average cadence: 69 rpm
Max cadence: 141 rpm
Calories burned: 4,671

I was hoping that the eastern winds would have calmed down a little this morning. I really didn’t feel like battling the winds head on and traveling at a meager 10 mph. As I was entering the I90, I received a pleasant surprise, no wind! A tail wind would have been nice, but no wind was the next best thing.

I made it a point to take a few more breaks throughout today, so I stopped at a rest stop only 11 miles into the ride. I met a fellow bicycle enthusiast, Nate and we had a nice talk about touring. Simply by taking about bicycles and touring, I felt encouraged to make it to Hardin today (I was also considering stopping in Billings).


Around 2:30 I arrived in Billings. The city is incredibly different from Bozeman. It’s much more spread out and didn’t have any bicycle lanes! Anyway, I was here for one reason, and that was to find a bike shop and by a few more tubes and c02s. There will be parts of Wyoming in which I will be without a bike shop for 100 miles or more.


I found The Bike Shop on my GPS, and headed over there. It was a little far from the 90, but I didn’t have much of a choice. Dennis, the owner (pictured below), was a really cool dude. He suggested that I run thorn resistant tubes, instead of traditional tubes. Thorn resistant tubes are much thicker and apparently do not lose air as easily. He also gave me some frontage road tips from Billings to Hardin. And, he gave me is number and told me if I run into any trouble from here to South Dakota, to give him a call. That was really nice of him go do that.


Leaving Billings, I couldn’t help thinking that maybe I should just stay in Billings as the next town, Hardin, was 40 miles away. Whatever, it was only 40 miles, no biggie. The eastern winds had picked up again right as I was leaving. Oh great… I went into concentration mode and didn’t take too many pictures from Billings to Hardin.


I arrived in Hardin pretty worn out, and it was time to shop around for a motel. I saw a Super 8, which are around $80. Is that why they are called “Super 8?” I went a little further into town and came across Motel Lariat with rooms going for $50. Perfect! Tomorrow I will hopefully be in Wyoming, the state with more cows than people.


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Location:N Center Ave,Hardin,United States

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Day 16 Hardin, MT to Wyoming Border

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 10, 2011 in Day 16

Day 16 Hardin, MT to Wyoming Border
Riding time today: 5:57
Riding time total: 99:16
Distance today: 63.40 mi
Distance total: 1,188.37 mi
Average speed: 13.2 mph
Top speed: 32.6 mph
Average cadence: 67 rpm
Max cadence: 100 rpm
Calories burned: 3,629

After checking out of my room in Hardin, late again I should add, I was off to ride an 85 mile day. This day was going to be quite different from the rest because there was essentially nothing except rolling grassy hills between Hardin, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this day because of how remote I was getting. Let’s just say that the traffic on the I90 was substantially less past Billings, then substantially less again past Hardin. There were a few small towns that I located on the map, such as Wyola, however they were nothing more than a barn, or an abandoned barn…

Another concern of mine was riding through the Crow Agency. A lot of people I’ve met in Montana told me to get through that area as quickly as possible. I knew that I wanted to get through there quickly and in doing so, tried to keep a low profile.

Fortunate for me, the eastern winds had died down again, so at least i didn’t have to battle another headwind. But, what did slow me down was how much extra weight I was carrying in water and Powerade. I loaded up with four big bottles of Powerade and one big water bottle. All I could think about as I was riding was pacing myself with drinking. There could be no mistakes here in no mans land. If I didn’t conserve, it could be big trouble.


Roughly 20 miles in, I arrived to the museum of the battle of Little Bighorn (located in Crow Country). I thought it would be a good chance to take a 10 minute break before continuing on. At the museum, they had some vending machines with some ridiculously overpriced juice drinks. Although, it didn’t matter to me, I was more concerned with saving my own packed drinks.

Outside the museum, I met Jason and Lindsey from New York. They were on a road trip across the country and would eventually end up in Missoula, MT. They were seasoned travelers, so it was nice chatting with them about various destinations to see and experience. I would have liked to hang out with them under that nice shady tree for a while longer, but my destiny was in the 95 degree weather on the road with next to no trees.


Just as the motel owner from this morning had warned me, the hills were to get a lot steeper and more frequent than compared to Helena to Hardin. I didn’t know if he was exaggerating, or being completely truthful until I was at the 27 mile mark. Yeah, he wasn’t exaggerating, the rest of the way to Sheridan was going to be a long haul up the countless hills.


It got to the point after: being scorched by the sun with no shade whatsoever, seeing the same rolling hills again and again, watching the trip calculator barely move up due to slowly climbing the hills, and listening to the same techno music on my iPod, that I began questioning why I was doing this trip in the first place. It just wasn’t fun anymore. I had to use strategies such as staring at the pavement because looking ahead and seeing what I had to climb would be too unnerving.


Finally, I reached the Wyoming border and saw the moat gigantic state sign that I’ve ever seen, check out the picture below. As I was nearing the sign it began to sprinkle, however I completely disregarded the rain and the looming clouds as any sort of threat. I was in victory mode, and nothing could distract me from how nice it was to finally make it to a new state.


No more than 200 feet in front of me a semi truck makes an abrupt stop at one of the turnouts. At first I was thinking how bad his timing was because his truck was going to block my shot of my bike parked next to the sign. Meh, it wasn’t a problem. The driver got out of the passenger door holding a small dog. I greeted him with a simple “how’s it going?” After saying “hi” back, he proceeded to ask me if I knew about the impending hail storm that was moving 35 mph south (in my direction). He explained that there was a severe storm advisory on the radio station he was listening to warning people to get indoors. “I can give you a ride to Sheridan if you’d like” he said.


Hmmmm, I was now facing a moral dilemma as I was supposed to riding my bike across the entire country, not get rides here and there. One the one hand, I could risk getting caught up in a hail storm with hail the size of quarters, not to mention the lighting that went along with the storm. On the other hand, I could take this guy’s offer and play it safe. It was a tough decision in which I couldn’t answer right away. After a minute of deliberating on what choice I should make, I agreed and told him that I would love a ride. (Thanks again Mike for saving my bacon back at the border!)

I hoped up in his super cool Volvo truck and introduced myself. He introduced himself as Michael. We shook hands and we were on our way. Little time had passed when the storm was drawing closer to Sheridan and becoming more and more ominous. Looking back at the storm though the side mirrors, I sign of relief washed over me in knowing that I had made the right decision in accepting his offer.


Michael was going to be on I90 all the way until Sioux Falls, SD. He mentioned that I could ride with him the entire way there. It was a generous offer, but I should be riding my bike, not hitching a ride with him. As a veteran truck driver, he had also mentioned that severe storms in Wyoming and South Dakota can sneak up on you very quickly. Riding my bike through these plains with 70 to 100 miles in between towns, what was I to do if I were to get caught up in a hail storm with lighting? There is no shelter whatsoever. The only plan I had, which wasn’t much of a plan at all, was to layer up my windbreaker and my rain jacket and hope it absorbs the pounding of the hail.

I asked if he wouldn’t mind taking me to Gillette, where I could get a Motel 6, and start off tomorrow riding towards Spearfish. Michael agreed, and before I knew it, we were in Gillette. It’s amazing how much faster a motorized vehicle seems, after riding a bicycle for two weeks straight.

After having nice dinner at Pizza Hut, we were both ready to call it a day. He made it clear that his offer still stood in that he drive me to Sioux Falls tomorrow. I told him that I would sleep on it.

Back in my hotel room, I had weighed all of the pros and cons to traveling through the rest of Wyoming and South Dakota on a bicycle verses riding in Michael’s truck. Did I really want to face more of those freak storms that could crop up in the middle of nowhere? What would be my plan for being 50 miles from the nearest town in a giant hail storm? The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to ride with him through South Dakota. Once in Michigan and then Wisconsin, I would have towns much closer spaced together that I could seek shelter in if a severe storm were to occur.


What decision did I make?? Tune in tomorrow and find out! ;)

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Day 17 Hwy 29 truck stop to Sioux Falls Motel 6

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 11, 2011 in Day 17

Day 17 Hwy 29 truck stop to Sioux Falls Motel 6
Riding time today: 0:17
Riding time total: 99:33
Distance today: 3.20 mi
Distance total: 1,191.57 mi
Average speed: 11.4 mph
Top speed: 18.3 mph
Average cadence: 66 rpm
Max cadence: 99 rpm
Calories burned: 140

Well, you probably guessed it. Yes, I took Mike up on his generous offer, and road with him to Sioux Falls, SD.

The night before, right after we finished dinner, I was riding my bike back from the restaurant to the motel. It was raining and there was an abundance of lightning. I was thinking of how I was going to ride in those conditions (not to mention the hail) when I’m in a great plain with a total absence of shelter. The next morning, I was looking at the weather in Gillette and sure enough there were going to be thunder and lightning storms in the afternoon.

I got up at 5:30, met Mike at 6:00, and we were off. It was really great riding with him for two main reasons. One, it was great having someone to talk to about all sorts of different things. And two, I was able to learn a ton about the trucking industry. It is much more comprehensive than I had previously thought. There are rules and regulations for everything you could think of.


Of all of the things that Mike taught me about trucking, two stand out as being the most important. The first was, you are not driving the truck, rather you are steering the trailer. That made more sense as the more sharp turns he had to make. The second was, “it’s all about time management.” In other words, you should be aware of all stops, breaks, refueling, unexpected things, and know that they all take time. If you are able to group as many of those things together, then you will be using effective time management.

We arrived at one of the truck stops, said our goodbyes, and I went off to the Motel 6. Safe travels Mike!


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Day 18 Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 11, 2011 in Day 18

Day 18 Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN
Riding time today: 6:21
Riding time total: 105:54
Distance today: 71.93 mi
Distance total: 1,263.50 mi
Average speed: 11.3 mph
Top speed: 28.9 mph
Average cadence: 64 rpm
Max cadence: 117 rpm
Calories burned: 3334

I don’t have a lot of time to go into the detail about this day as I normally do. But here is a brief summary.

I took my time and road all around Sioux Falls, which surprisingly is a really cool city. It’s very clean and very bike friendly. However, no one wears helmets here, no one!


I made it into Minnesota via riding on the back roads. It was nice to be able to ride my bike off of the interstate for a change.


The weather was noticeably more humid compared with Montana and Wyoming. I had to drink a lot more due to sweating a lot more.

I finished the day with installing those thorn resistant tubes I got back in Billings. They are a lot heavier, but if they won’t get flats, then they may be worth it.


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Location:N Humiston Ave,Worthington,United States

 
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Day 19 Worthington, MN to Fairmont, MN

Posted by cgiblin2 on July 12, 2011 in Day 19

Day 19 Worthington, MN to Fairmont, MN
Riding time today: 5:34
Riding time total: 111:28
Distance today: 69.00 mi
Distance total: 1,332.50 mi
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Top speed: 27.2 mph
Average cadence: 69 rpm
Max cadence: 93 rpm
Calories burned: 3,191

I’ve been meaning to get back on track in terms of waking up earlier and getting some big days in, but things keep popping up and getting in the way. For example, last night I spent a good chunk of time installing the new thorn resistant tubes. Keep in mind, it’s not that it takes me a long time to change a tube, it’s that these tubes are incredibly thick and also seemed like they were two inches too long. My c02 inflator couldn’t fill them completely, plus, they seemed to make my tires lopsided possibly due to the extra length of the tube.

I was able to wake up for breakfast at the Travel Lodge, which was one of the best hotel breakfasts yet. And, I was able to get all of my gear together and leave the hotel at a good time. However, immediately after leaving the hotel, I was having front break issues. My cantilever wasn’t pulling both sides equally. I spent an hour making all sorts of small adjustments, until I got it right. Fine, whatever. Then, as I was riding, my rear tire seemed like it was substantially unbalanced. It felt like I was riding over a giant rock every two seconds, but there were none. I pulled over to check the pressure, and it felt okay. Just to make sure, I pulled into a gas station, used my presta to shrader valve adaptor and reinflated both tires. I went for a test ride and it was the same unbalanced feeling.

I was completely ready to get rid of these new thorn resistant tubes and reinstall my old tubes. They were way more trouble than they were worth! However, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt one last time. Thinking that it could be the gas station air pump that wasn’t working properly, I went to a different gas station. Sure enough, the first station’s pump was defective. I deflated both tires and then reinflated them to about 120 psi. That was also the problem with my c02 inflator. Since the rubber was so thick, it couldn’t blow them up to the optimal pressure. I went for a test ride, and they felt great! Not only were they now balanced, but they also felt like they were more supportive of all of the weight that I was carrying. I told myself to ride with them for today, then make the decision of which tubes to use.

All that time spent with fixing my bike ate up nearly the entire morning. But, the bike was back in good shape and I was happy with that. I started off on my frontage road that I had been traveling when out of nowhere I saw a sign that I haven’t seen in a long time. See below:


After a quick check on the gps, there were no other ways to go except to ride on the I90 again. Oh well, here we go again. I was riding on the interstate for 30 minutes, listening to my music, when all of a sudden I hear police sirens. I was listening to electronic music, so in a way the siren seemed like part of the music. However the siren got louder and louder. I looked back in my mirror and I was getting pulled over.


The officer approached me and asked for my drivers license. I told him that I didn’t have one. Actually, for some weird reason, I enjoyed giving him that response. He then asked me for any other form of identification. The only American ID that I had was my PADI scuba divers license. He then proceeded to inform me that riding a bicycle on the interstate was illegal. I told him that I had no choice due to the road that I would have been on had become a gravel road. He was very understanding and mentioned that he knew what I was talking about. He gave me an alternate route running parallel to the interstate. He then went back to his police SUV and ran my name in the computer. It took a good 20 minutes, but then I was back to riding my bike.

I got off at the next exit and had the same farmland scenery and small towns that I have had for the past two days. It was the same low traffic road and the pavement was pretty new. The only downside to the past days was I haven’t seen anyone else touring. Where is everyone?


The bike shop in Fairmont was interesting. It was serendipitous of me to come across it because the owner was a big tourer back in his day. He told me that I was carrying too much stuff. Back in his day he toured with a small bag with a change of underwear and a tool kit and that was it! He gave me a bike map and a bottle of water. That was nice. If you are ever in Fairmont and need a good bike shop, his shop gets my seal of approval.


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Location:E 8th St,Fairmont,United States

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