Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 36: one bag!

A pleasant morning indeed with thick clouds in east. Temps are in the high 70s, which makes the morning ride nice and comfortable. I stopped for breakfast at The Walnut Express in Walnut KS and got caught up on the news throughout the town from the retiree coffee club.

Also, since I sent home a few more things I am now able to fit everything I have into just the one bag on the back. It is great!

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 35: stats and highlights

Eureka KS to Erie KS
miles: 76
Actual miles traveled because of detour around broken bridge: 82
Temp: 102
Winds: light and variable (I actually had some swirls of cool air near the end of the day)
Spanish verbs I've successfully conjugated: hablar, trabajar, manejar, caminar, estudiar

Waking up in an air conditioned room!

This yard decorated with large metal dinosaurs:

Sending home my long socks and rain booties. My pack is so much lighter now!

Managing to put in a respectable day's ride despite my lack of interest in riding my bicycle today.

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 35: estudio espanol

I stayed up late last night watching TV so I ended up sleeping in. Not a bad thing, I think my body really appreciated it.

After my first segment of riding today, I decided to put on my Spanish album. I am taking courses full time at Harvard Extension School this fall and attempting an intermediate Spanish course. So I am trying to bone up on mi espanol with a learn Spanish in your car type deal on my iPod. If you thought the cows looked at me funny before, you should see them when I ride by saying things like "Ella maneja a la biblioteca" (she drives to the library).

Otherwise, things were hot and kinda boring:

YouTube Video

There is a bridge out east of Chanute so I had to do a little extra mileage to end up in Erie KS for the night. I had 9 deviled eggs from the grocery. Just be glad you are not sharing a tent with me tonight!

Here is me pointing to where this air conditioned rest stop is:

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 34: stats and highlights

Newton KS to Eureka KS
Miles: 72
Temp over 100
Wind: light and favorable
Showers taken in Kansas: 1
Rotisery chickens consumed: 1

Highlights: chatting with Peter

Sitting in the air conditioning of my motel room. Watching the Olympics. Watching "Aladin" my favorite Disney movie ever!

Here is a picture of a chicken in Cassoday (the prairie chicken capital of the world):

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 34: when animals attack

After 33 days without incident, I have now had three animals make an attempt on my life within the past ten hours. However, they have all been smaller than a breadbox. The first one was last night. As I rode back to my campsite from the grocery, I heard a dog bark. I looked over and saw a tiny doxin running straight for me through the open front yard gate. I have been preparing for that moment every time I hear a dog bark and I initiated plan: out pedal angry dog. My pedaling was no match for his tiny little legs and I easily out ran him. The second incident was a crazy bug. It flew straight at me and attached itself to my beard just under my helmet strap. I tried to swat it away but I think it bit or stung my finger before I could shake it. The last and most treacherous assailant was a small bird. It swooped down towards my head and pulled up before he made contact. Then it did it again, and again. I pedaled faster but couldn't shake it. Then I tried swatting at it but it persisted in its swooping and squaking. Finally I pulled over and took off my helmet. I started swatting at it with that and it seemed to be more hesitant. Eventually this caused the bird to squak at me some more and then fly away.

After a few big days, it's time for a break. I rode to Eureka KS today. On my way I met a guy named Peter who slowed down beside me and asked, "Hey, you want a cold water?". That is the best question to ask a touring cyclist. I drank some water and we chatted about our trips. He is out doing a little driving tour, checking out some sites and talking to people he meets along the way. Thanks for the water Peter!

I am now in a motel room watching TV, eating lots of food and letting things dry out.

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 33: stats and highlights

Larned KS to Newton KS
Miles: 105
Temperature: 105
Wind: light but mostly in my favor
Trees: they are starting to appear along the road more often

Sun rise (lowlight: smelling the feed yard while I watched sunrise)

Afternoon rest in Buhler

My current campsite:

YouTube Video

Here is a picture of irrigation at work:

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 33: hot and smelly

Hot and smelly are two words to describe both me and Kansas. I woke up at 3:00 this morning and thought about riding but I decided I was too tired. I still got out early and enjoyed watching the sun rise over central KS.

The morning is definitely the best time to ride. I rode through the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge where I learned about birds, Coronado's search for the golden city, and all the different grasses of the prairie.

I ran into a bunch of other bikers when I stopped at the Nickerson Kwik Stop. 2 couples on tandems, a couple headed east, and a brother and sister out for a 40+ mile loop.

With 30 miles left in my day, I am taking a break from the heat and drinking some water.

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 32: uneventful

Not much happened today. I did make it to Alexander before the post office closed and picked up my mail drop. That was nice.

Otherwise, there was a lot of biking, lots of sun, and a little bit of wind.

Stats and highlights:
Scott City KS to Larned KS
Miles: 110ish??
Encouraging honks: 6 cars (I know they are encouraging because they beep twice and are coming from the opposite direction)

A tractor!

This cloud that blocked the sun for about an hour:

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 31: stats and highlights

Haswell CO to Scott City KS
Miles: 128
Wind: mostly ENE force 2
Apparent wind: in my face
Milestone pics:

My make shift Welcome to Kansas sign on the post of where I imagine the old sign used to hang in all its glory.

Entering central time zone

Highlights: chatting with Rolf

Meeting Leoti guy

Trying to help Sheridan Lake guy catch his chickens

Starting to get used to the landscape

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 31: milestones

YouTube Video

Although there were no actual stones marking my mileage and very few signs defining borders, I hit a few figurative milestones today. The first was four miles into the day I passed 2000 miles for the whole trip. After an enjoyable morning ride, catching up with Englishmen and fellow biker Rolf at a gas station, and watching some locals recapture escaped chickens, I made it to Kansas. Then I entered the central time zone!

The riding was great but the highlights were the people today, including a guy in Leoti KS who bought me some snacks at the gas station and gave me a slice of pizza. He also told me about the county fair going on in town. I hope there is a spirit of the fair award so that he can win it. People like him really charge me up and keep me riding happy. Thanks man!

Here is some proof that sometimes the grass is greener on the other side:

Day 30: the plains

Well the Coloradudes from the Great Divide bike shop relaced my back wheel and had me all fixed up by the early afternoon. I had spent the morning getting my things back together and rewatching John Carter where I found even more plot holes. If John Carter is just a copy of himself, how does the medallion get transported to Mars, or why is it not with his old body on earth???

The plains are indeed flat and I made good time. I thought about staying in Sugar City, but after further thought I decided to ride on into the night.

YouTube Video

The hour long night ride was kinda fun and the park at Haswell had, well... everything I needed: water, restroom, pavilion. So I did not set up my tent and slept under the stars. I figured if it started to rain or irrigate on me, I could move into the pavilion. No sprinkles last night (man made or otherwise).

Here is the sun setting over eastern CO.

Stats and highlights:
Pueblo CO to Haswell CO
Miles: 90
Wind: N force 3
Lowlight: trying to ask a lady where I could get water and having her straight up ignore me
Highlight: sunset, stars, feeling like I was back on a boat in a sea of farmland

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 29: Puebloms with my wheels

So I guess the wheels I had sent here are a touch too big. So I will be returning those back to Wyoming and the guys here in Pueblo are getting me a new rim and putting in all new spokes on my back wheel.

Since I am in Pueblo another day, I took a stroll around town. Walked along the waterfront, grabbed some tasty Asian food, and had a triple feature movie marathon. Let's hope I get on the road tomorrow before I decide to just stay here for the rest of my trip and post photos I find online of all the places east of here.

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 28: pausing in Pueblo

Not much to report. Wheel not here. Watched the movie Hugo. And a nice lady named Kate from the church invited to stay at her place with her husband and daughter. They made Salmon tonight, and then we ate ice cream. I didn't take any pictures today so here is a look back on my rides over the divides:

First time, in MT.

Riding through the rain in Yellowstone. Sign is to my right off camera.

Still riding through the rain in Yellowstone.

The next day in was nicer.

No signage for this one. I believe it's Togwotee Pass in WY.

I rode downhill a touch to get to this one... curious sign placement.

Small climb to get to this one.

Bigger climb to get here.

Highest point, it's all Atlantic now folks!

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 27: the good people of Pueblo

After a restful night, I was up early enough to grab a shower before church (this way people with smell receptors could sit near me). During the service Pastor Rick introduced me to the congregation and let me talk a little about World Bicycle Relief. The service was great and it just wouldn't be a Sunday with listening to a sermon from a Calhoun.

After the service, I felt the full warmth and generosity of everyone as I received donations for my snacks Rick had mentioned I would be buying. I also gave away all my cards with my blog info and received many well wishes and blessings. I was hooked up with a mattress for tonight and even a new ziplock baggie wallet!

Then I walked downtown and ate two feet of Subway sandwiches. There is some cool street art around here too. I bought some snacks and two movies from the redbox. This afternoon was all about relaxing.

Here is the sign outside the church:

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 26: church on time

Well the ride down to Pueblo was great but not nearly as downhill as I was hoping for. I got so frustrated with the few uphills there were I would try to spit on them. However, it was so hot my spit vaporized before it could hit the scorching hot road.

The towns were lovely and often times offered a few trees for shade and always an unlimited supply of cold Gatorade and Powerade (if either of you are reading this blog I would gladly drink your brand exclusively if offered a sponsorship). I also found myself riding through Florence again, I thought that was where I started...

The last 25 miles of the day were the hardest. I rode exposed to the sun and low on water. The ride was downhill with a light tailwind at times. But there sure were a lot of hills, and the wind in a fickle beast. Just as my optimism and water bottles had run dry, a family pulled over and asked me to stop. I was worried I had made a mistake and they were going to tell me to be more careful and take up less of the road. This was the opposite of their intentions. They were planning a ride along this road and wanted my opinion. They also gave me a water bottle's worth of ice cold Gatorade! Thanks guys!

With lifted spirits, I rode into Pueblo where Rick Calhoun and the United Methodist Church gave me the hook up. Air conditioned room with a couch, and a tv to watch Veggietales? Yes please.

Stats and highlights:
Miles: 124
Highlight: finally being here in Pueblo

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, aand general life liker.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 25: Hoosier daddy!?

Up and over Hoosier Pass today!

YouTube Video

It is the highest spot on the route and I do believe the last time I cross the divide.

I stopped early today because I was unsure of my camping options down the road. Reviewing my map and corrections, I think there was a better stopping place just ahead. I am still set up nicely for tomorrow though. It is mostly down hill to Pueblo and I took a hot shower, ate a double dinner, and will go to bed early. I will be ready for a big day.

An English biker named Rolf just rolled into camp. He outran a storm over the pass. I was watching that storm from here and was glad to be not dealing with it. I am glad he made it unelectricuted.

Here is "camp rest":

Stats and highlights:
Near Heeney to Fairplay
Miles: 55
Highest elevation: 11,524
Bike path miles: 25
Highlights: fruity pebble breakfast with James

The ride around Dillon Resavoir

Asking Hoosier Pass who it's daddy was

Saying goodbye to the divide

FaceTiming with Samara now that she is back from her trip to Isreal!

12 inch post dinner sub

Whatchya got there: footware

Sorry for the bad lighting.

YouTube Video

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 25: back in Breck for a break

Great visit with James last night and I just had a beautiful morning ride.

The ride from Silverthorne to Breck was quite nice and on a bike path.

YouTube Video

Now I am going to grab a few snacks and take on Hoosier Pass. This next section is actually stage 5 of the USA Pro Challenge. It should prove to be challenging and I am already huffing and puffing in this high altitude.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 24: Breckenridge preview

I started the day nice and early with the hopes of making it to Breckenridge. Before noon, I had biked 60 miles and went over the divide once.

I was making good time, but just as James predicted, an afternoon storm rolled into mountains. I saw some lightening and decided to wait.

Eventually it kinda cleared. No more lightening, just a little bit of rain and lots of wind. I fought with wind for a while but instead of burning myself out to get to Breckenridge, I called up my buddy James and he came and picked me up. A younger, more daring and perhaps less smart me might have made a miserable and somewhat dangerous break for Breck. My older wiser self however enjoyed an evening catching up with an old friend and will the hit the trail again tomorrow after James drops me back off on his way to Denver. I will bike through Breckenridge again tomorrow on my way to Hoosier Pass.

Stats and highlights
Walden CO to near Heeney CO
Miles: 100
Ice cream flavors consumed: huckleberry, Carmel something or other
Chicken wings consumed: 20
Showers: 1
Loads of laundry completed: 1

Highlights: chatting with Fred this morning

Eating my lunch and then some ice cream in Kremmling

Reading about the history of the area from my maps while I waited for the storm to pass

Listening to all the cool music James has been making from his music studio / apartment

- Jeremy Tagliaferre; hiker, biker, and general life liker.

Day 23: the last of Wyoming

Here's a video from the morning:

YouTube Video

I got a late start because the US Postal Service does not start work until 8am. The long, straight, lonesome roads started to get to me today and I found myself piddling about slowly. However, a phone convo with my grandma lifted my spirits a good bit. I also talked with my buddy and old shipmate James Smith about meeting up with him tomorrow in Breckinridge. This also helped to lift my spirits.

The end of the day was a pretty long section of open road. I actually really liked it. I think I am going to miss those uninterrupted stretches of road that Wyoming offered time and time again. The solitude was sometimes lonesome, but it was also kinda nice. One can think about a lot of things and sing a lot of Taylor Swift on those kinds of stretches.

Anyway, here is me getting to Colorado:

Stats and highlights:
Rawlins WY to Walden CO
Miles: 111
Rainbows: 1
Rain showers while it was sunny: 3
Mini hills I had to go up and then down during the last ten miles: 1 million
Bikers I've seen today: 7
Highlights: a local telling me I'm lucky, it's usually windy (I rode into a lot of what i would consider strong head winds today, I guess I am lucky)

Eating food and chatting with another biker named Dave in Riverside

Eating an avocado in Saratoga

Having the cows cheer me on during a few of the climbs