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Profile picture Bob Knott
Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Dan Partner has been training for months to ride 1500 miles to Denver for the WRHS66 Reunion. His wife Margaret drives ahead on his route and scouts camping, lodging and restaurant sites. We are inspired by their efforts! Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Apparently living one's dream sometimes involves fixing three flat tires within twenty-four hours, running out of spare tubes, and the universe providing the guy at Blazin' Saddles bike shop to do the fourth fix. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Margaret (ever making friends) chatted with Joe (trail name Banjo) in our campground, a good looking kid of about twenty years. His story: He'd hiked 1,700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border until shin splints brought him down. So somehow he found a beater of an old bike and, to allow his leg to heal, was riding it north with his backpack and guitar strapped to the back. The chain broke in Sisters and he spent his last five dollars on a master link for the chain (six hot dogs were thrown into the deal, apparently because he was hungry).

Joe was working on the chain when I arrived. I doubt that that chain had ever been lubed. I said, "Let's lube that chain." Joe came over to our camp and we worked on the bike. It was hard to determine which of us was the more incompetent mechanic. I claim some credit because I had the tools. Meanwhile Margaret made him a peanut butter sandwich. We gave him two carrots, a pocket full of candy, and a twenty-dollar bill.

He turned and rode out of camp. His destination: Government Camp, OR* and then to rejoin the PCT and walk the last 500 miles to Canada.

I said to Margaret, "Now that's an adventure." She replied, "You did that when you were his age."

Not quite, but she's right. -- DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I've always liked to drive through the Ochoco Mountains, a low range dividing Central from Eastern Oregon—Ponderosa, streams, shade, undeveloped, low traffic—and today, taking the slow way was all the more lovely. Margaret found a Little Free Library near a house just west of the climb to the summit.

The climb was gradual for the most part and the beauty makes it easy. At the summit a sign warns truckers of a seven mile descent. "How," you may ask, "do you do that on a bicycle?" My answer: "Engage your abs."

Mitchell. is high desert hot. There's a very nice hostel in an old church on the highway set up just for bicyclists. The Spoke'n. We didn't know this until we got here. Showers, air conditioning, privacy. All the amenities. The charge? By donation. They get many cyclists through here on the Trans America Trail, which we are following as far as Denver.

The ride today was the same distance as yesterday—about 48 miles—but it took 1.5 hours longer—6 hours—because the climbs slow me down.

Tomorrow we're on to Dayville, OR—38 miles, mostly down hill. There we'll have time to visit the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
This coffee place is closing in 15 minutes—4 pm. It's the only wifi in New Meadows, ID, 40-some miles from Cambridge
Everyone knows maps. I like maps, and these are particularly good. The map case is made just for the ACA bike trail maps. (Attached photo)
The mirror is vital. It's a Mirrcycle, Moe's in North Bend, OR sells them. It is solid and makes it easy to see what's coming up behind. I was going to tell everyone about the wobble, which is a way to get upcoming vehicles to give up room to a bike. No time. I'll do this tomorrow.
It was a good day, though slow—like my eighth-grade algebra class. I'm off the state roads and onto US 95 in Idaho—more traffic, more trucks.
Thanks for listening. We'll talk again tomorrow. ~DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Discussing the Wobble - at the New Meadows (Idaho) Library, across the street from the coffee place that just closed. Thanks to you all who've replied to my mails. I try to respond. Forgive me if yours slipped by without a response.

After two weeks on the road I find that I'm more cogent at the end of the day than at the beginning of the trip. Cool air from Canada has slipped down into these parts over that past few days so the heat has not been much of a factor for my ride. Tomorrow they say that ends. We'll see tomorrow how I feel at the end of a truly hot day.

I've traveled ten days, from Sisters, Oregon to Cambridge, Idaho on state highways that are lightly traveled making it easy to manage the traffic. Today the route picks up US 95 with more traffic and trucks. Sometimes there's a shoulder on the highway, sometimes there's none. Nonetheless, trucks and cars come barreling up from behind, and so I'm perfecting the use of what I call the wobble, Shich was first mentioned to me by Alan at Moes Bicycles of North Bend, OR. This is what Rivendell Bicycle Works says about the wobble:

"As you’re riding down the road and you notice a car coming up about two or three seconds back, wiggle a bit, or swerve just for an instant out toward the car lane. Don’t do it so close to the car that you’ll shock the driver, don’t do it if there are cars coming toward both of you in the other lane, and don’t try this if you aren’t the captain of your bike. Or, if you’re uncomfortable with the Safety Swerve, give yourself a little shake, as though you’re shaking out the stiffness and are totally unaware that you’re in traffic." This causes the car's driver to make extra space while passing.

Out here where the sight lines stretch for miles, I can see an upcoming vehicle from a long distance in the mirror and so time it's arrival. I ride to the left of the white line, inside the lane so the upcoming driver can see me in the lane. At the appropriate moment, I wobble to the left and then cross to the right of the white line, if there's a shoulder. The driver always give me extra room. (This isn't as risky as it sounds. I can hear the car or truck and clearly see it thanks to that fine mirror, and so judge when it will pass.) This won't work, of course if there is oncoming traffic, because the upcoming driver can't cross the center line. That wasn't usually a factor on the lightly traveled state roads. Here on US 95 it occurs more often. (Later I'll talk about the big trucks.)

The traffic runs much faster on US 95 where the speed limit is 65 and most go faster, so I hug the right or stay outside the white line yet still wobble. Most drivers give me room when they can. ~ DP
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I'm on Woody Guthrie's ribbon of highway running across plains north of Grangeville, Idaho; above me an endless skyway; around me yellow fenceless fields of freshly cut hay that stretch out as far as the far mountains. All this continues, all through the Nez Perce Reservation as I roll on a road laid out like a lightening bolt.
All at once I'm dropping down Lamb Grade Road, winding, plunging a mile through the enormous landscape into the valley of Stites and Kooskia and Syringa and Highway 12 flowing with the South Fork Clearwater River that glistens a hundred yards wide off to the right, running forever through the Bitterroots upon a cobbled bed, transparent as its name promises it is.
The valley heightens and narrows and becomes a canyon of steep wooded slopes and the river flows on in ripples and low white water just as when Looking Glass and White Bird and Chief Joseph with children, their mothers, grandmothers, and elders herding their 2000 livestock, hoping for peace, were hounded by our army for no good reason but that it had to be done, topped Lolo Pass but gave up, somewhere in Montana, exhausted, short of the Canadian Promised Land and then said, "War no more."
I ride on a highway paved upon their footpath and also that of Lewis and Clark, traveling fifty miles.
Lowell, Idaho claims to be twenty-six people. To passers-by it is a wood-paneled restaurant decorated with museum quality hunting trophies next to a well-kept eight room strip motel adjacent to a transcendent mountain river. Margaret and I rendezvous there. I reluctantly attach my bicycle to the Subaru and we too pass Lolo Pass, and, making up for lost time, arrive in Missoula. This Photo - earlier at Rim Rock (BK) Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
It's getting late in Darby, Montana, pop. 720 but big enough for its own brewery—Bandit Brewery, which I didn't visit. I'll try to be brief.
We visited the offices of the Adventure Cycling Association in Missoula today. Thirty people work there full time promoting travel by bicycle. We met Bill from Winooski, Vermont who has biked from there to the west coast by various routes every summer for the past eighteen years. He's sixty years old.
The problem is that I didn't get on the road until 3 PM. Thus we're running late pitching the tent here at the Traveler's Rest RV and Campground. Montana has put in a bicycle path out of Missoula to Hamilton—42 miles so I didn't have to ride on the shoulder of four-lane US 93, which is a river of commerce as far from yesterday's Clearwater River as you can imagine. The traffic thins and the highway narrows entering the countryside after Hamilton.
Tomorrow is the day I've been anticipating since the idea for this trip was hatched. I'll cross the Continental Divide at Chief Joseph Pass, elevation 7,251 feet. My climb will commence in Sula and will rise about 2,300 feet. Joseph and the Nez Perce crossed the pass while attempting to find freedom in Canada during the so-called Nez Perce War. Lewis and Clark also passed over.
I don't know what sort of internet service I might find tomorrow or the next day. But I'll be in touch. Thanks for your interest in my trip. It helps. ~ DP
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I have to say that the climb up Chief Joseph Pass was quite a climb and took quite a while. It turned out to be 2,800 feet over 13 miles. The ladies at the cafe at the start in Sula, Montana (where Lewis and Clark spent two days trading horses with the Indians) said it is a 6% grade, which is better than 7% for sure. It's not something I'd ever thought of or expected to accomplish. But, now I have the merit badge.

It was forty-eight miles from Jackson to Dillon, Montana, pop. 4,219. Jackson is in the middle of the Big Hole Basin, which is a difficult place to describe. The French gave it the name. It is a gigantic plain surrounded by mountains. If you've seen Jackson Hole, that's the idea, except enormous. I read that more beef cattle come out of this basin than anywhere else in the country. Yet it does not appear to be downtrodden by the beef industry. The ranchers are endeavoring to work the land in a responsible, sustainable fashion. As I was riding out this morning, pronghorn deer ran along parallel with me for two or three miles a half mile off to the west. A half-dozen mule deer focused on me from outside the fence as I passed by. Yet, the vistas also included hundreds of Black Angus cattle grazing for miles into the distance.

Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Mule deer companions Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
There's a thousand foot climb out of the Big Hole. Fine. My problem this morning was the head wind on that Big Hole Pass (the way out of the Big Hole).
The incline – OK. The head wind – I'd face it. But working together the breeze and the slope said, "Think this over."

My decision: Dismount and walk the pass. I trudged up that three-mile hill faster than I could ride.
We're here looking at the sky and the clouds and the mountain skylines and appreciating your interest in our endeavors. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
In the attached photo you'll see a pad, a stick, a ball, and a foam roller.

Laurie Sevier, a trainer at Coos Bay's Downtown Health and Fitness, worked with me on a stretching regimen to complement my riding and my participation in the men's exercise class she leads there three times a week—aka: Men of Steel.

The photo shows the tools I use at the end of each day to pull my body together after the day's ride.

I'd rather not say, but I'm sixty-eight years old. A younger man may never think of stretching and rolling out his muscles after a long day's ride. He may not need it. But I do.

So, with the help of the stick and the ball I stretch from the soles of my feet all the way to my neck—the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexers, back, abs, chest, hands, shoulders, and neck. Then I use the foam roller to massage those major muscles.

There's no need to risk injury.

Best to you all ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
...of a photo taken of me at the Adventure Cycling Association offices in Missoula. It is now on a wall with photos of all the other bicycle travelers who have come through there this year. Yes, both the bike and I are wearing clown noses. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
We're at a pause this morning at window table with an electrical outlet nearby in Sweetwater Coffee in Dillon. This place is in the loop with the TransAmerica Bicycle crowd. I have a soy latte and Margaret her customary Americano a la creme. The computer is charging and we're slowly assessing our short-term future—meaning the two weeks between now and September 16, the gala kickoff of the Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1966 Reunion. My classmate Bob Knott tells me they're posting my updates on the reunion's website. How about that?
We're long on roads and short on time. That's the problem. The solution is that we'll have to drive part of the way. So, let's run an opinion poll. Participation not required. We're thinking to drive from here to West Yellowstone, 140 miles. The bike route takes me through the West Entrance and, around the Grand Loop, past Old Faithful over the Continental Divide twice and out the South Entrance into the wilds of Wyoming. What do you think.? I think that we don't want to miss the Yellowstone. Whereas these arid, low sagebrush lands and their wicked winds have lost their appeal. The South Entrance was recently, temporarily, closed due to the fires. We'll see what's up with that.
I regret not being able to ride the whole way. Maybe that's why I awoke this morning in a funk, not willing to look at the map. It's the residue of my former hardcore self. I thought that life had beat that out of me. The soy latte has helped.
About the photo:
Our third daughter had the prescience to know that Margaret could not bear this trip driving our classic 1991 Izuzu Trooper despite its superior cargo space and lack of radio, and so offered her Suburu Outback. It happened that it was time to replace the timing belt. Our mechanics, Joe and Joe Jr. did the work, which also conveniently included the replacement of both rear wheel bearings, and here we are. I thank you Promise, as does your mother especially! ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!

Red sky at night here in West Yellowstone due to the fires in the park. But I'm told that the air quality and smoke are not a problem for traveling the Loop tomorrow.
I'm energized, excited to swing over the saddle and take off tomorrow. I stopped into the local museum in Dillon today. The volunteer, hearing of my venture, said, "Aren't you exhausted?"
I had to say, "No, I'm energized." And it's true. I've awakened in the tent at night and found difficulty getting back to sleep for all the thoughts and memories of the recent days anticipating more to come.
But this day in the car was most amazing. The highway from Dillon to West Yellowstone, Montana is entirely dramatic in landsape, geology, geography, and human endeavor. The Madison River simply has to be seen. But then so do the rivers that have come before it: The Snake; The Clearwater. All I can say at this time is this: Drop your car or bicycle into the Big Hole Battlefield and take in the tragedy of the Indian Wars—a necessity for all Americans—and then drive on. I can't begin to tell it all or even a part. For example, Earthquake Lake, formed in 1959 when an magnitude 7.3 earthquake cause an 80 million ton landslide into the Madison River. Two hundred and fifty people were in the valley. Twenty eight died, nineteen were never found.
Or Nevada City's Music Hall—a hundred year-old building chock full of museum-quality operational pipe organs, automatic pianos, and similar instruments. Just incredible in the midst of Nevada City. Follow the link.
The mountainous vistas alone are beyond compare. It is all too much for me to put into words at this time.
Tomorrow, as Gene once sang (what a voice), its back in the saddle again to ride through the Yellowstone Caldera. ~DP

There was no wifi at Grant Village, a gigantic National Forest Service operation with RV facilities, tenting, and several lodges and restaurants on Yellowstone Lake, where we camped Friday night. It was completely booked.

During my ride through the park on that day I saw two Bison bovidae, no Ursus arctos horribilis or Ursus arctos ursidae, but many thousands of Homo sapiens. Not a few were wielding selfie sticks.
Later, we exited at the Old Faithful cloverleaf interchange and entered a complex of big buildings and broad parking lots carpeted with cars. As we were searching for a parking space, a man shouted from his pickup truck, "Where's the geyser at?"—The primal scream of a Populus ortus tornacense.*
We looked around and said, "Poor Old Faithful." ~ DP
*tr. National Parks tourist
“In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll begin to see something, maybe. Probably not.” Edward Abbey
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Riding out of Yellowstone's Grant Village I'm headed toward Moran, Wyoming, climbing a bit of a grade, nothing too difficult, and I notice in my rear view mirror a loaded bicycle coming up from about 200 yards behind. I glance every minute or two and see the bike is quite steadily gaining on me. I wonder, "Does that bike have electric assist?"
Nope. What that bike has is Ralph. I met him yesterday behind the Old Faithful visitor's center while he and I and Margaret and a couple of thousand other people waited for dear Old Faithful to be faithful once again. Now he and I again meet on the road.
Ralph, of Leipzig, Germany, began riding from Alaska four months ago—mostly off-road— and expects to be in Argentina in about eight months. He dropped off the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route to see Yellowstone and the Tetons. I told him of my modest ambition to get to Denver in two weeks, on-road, and of Margaret's support in the Suburu. He replied, in that wonderful Germanic accented English, "Maybe you can ride sometimes in the car?"
There you have it folks. Leipzig Ralph—Mr. Riding Off-Road From Alaska To Argentina—endorsed my occasional ride in the car. And indeed I did that today.
It's about sixty miles from Grant Village to Moran, Wyoming, which consists of nothing more than a US Post Office and an elementary school. The route runs along Jackson Lake which reflects those iconic vistas of the Tetons, veiled today by the smoke of the forest fires but framed by the light of aspens yellow from cold nights. Margaret and I met in Moran where she posted post cards, I loaded the bike, and we drove another fifty-six miles to Dubois, Wyoming, a town of cowboy hats, plate belt buckles, and Wrangler jeans on a Saturday night; bars, restaurants, and motels.
Tomorrow will see how far the bike ride runs—Crowheart, Fort Washakie, Lander? ~ DP
Attached photo: Again The Divide—south of Grant Village, Wyoming. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Yesterday I asked Leipzig Ralph, "Have you traveled in America before?"
"What do you think of it?"
That's Wyoming east out of Dubois (pronounced DU-boyce), pop. 971, down the Wind River on US 26/287. After waiting out a morning rain, I took off late and immediately encountered a steady headwind that increased as the miles passed. Though the highway is relatively level with some ups in a steady, slight, down grade, the stiff easterly wind caused it to all be a virtual uphill thirty-two miles to Crowheart, which is nothing but a remarkable old store that seems to have everything, including a gas station. I asked the woman at the store about the wind and found that it is usually westerly but for the storms blowing in today. That means that on any other day I'd have a taken a ride on a tailwind. A first for this trip that was not to be.
Then the sky darkened, lightening flashed, the fresh smell of ozone filled the air, a bicyclist from Belgium named Simon blew in off the highway from the east, the rain began to fall, we packed up and drove to Lander, pop.7,487, where it is now raining. Here even the Thai restaurant illustrates its menu with an image of a cowboy on a bucking bronco
It's on to Sweetwater Station tomorrow. ~ DP
The attached photo was made with my camera by a man traveling by car with his family from Dallas, TX to Portland, OR. This is ten or fifteen miles east of Dubois. A sign on the highway warned of bighorn sheep crossing. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
...Lewis and Clark connection: The grave of Sacajawea in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Photo attached. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
.the graveyard in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Photo attached. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Riding out of Lander, Wyoming I head south. It's Labor Day. The traffic: low; the shoulder: wide. The air: cool; the sun: yellow. Miles pass. The wind rises from the west with only barbed wire to block it. When the highway turns toward the southeast the wind lifts me from the aft starboard quarter. I make good time right away on the long rolling ups and downs of the sagebrush hills. Earlier a electric highway sign warned of high winds at South Pass. But that's far out northwest of me.
The highway runs south. The west wind rises. I lean the bike four or five degrees to the right, fighting the gusts that want to throw me into the highway on the left. I slow down. Thirty miles hence, not safe, I stop in the lee of a cut, sit on the slope, devour the peanut butter sandwich, drink the water, watch the occasional traffic, and get some reading in for the better part of an hour.
Margaret pulls up.
I spent my college summers working as a guide in the lakes of Northern Minnesota and Southern Ontario. As we paddled and portaged, the wind would sometimes rise on the bigger lakes. Windbound, we'd simply sit it out for the day, wait for the sun to drop, the earth to cool, the wind to stop. Then we'd paddle through smooth waters in the evening and, by compass, into the night.
Today, if I were making this trip solo and self-supported, that's what I'd have done. But in this case, Margaret pulls up. She and the Subaru have been beset by the same wind from Lander. We load up the bike and bags and drive down the road to encounters with three pair each of remarkable people in and around Jeffery City, pop. 56, before we land in Rawlings, from whence I write. ~ DP
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Today the map took me from Rawlins, Wyoming to Saratoga, pop. 1,690, via ten miles on Interstate 80, never my favorite highway. I didn't expect that, but it worked out fine. The shoulder is seven feet wide, and ten miles isn't that far.
I exited on to Wyoming 130 south at Wolcott, pop. 30. As usual the wind rose as the day passed. I'd like to have that wind at my back for just one day. But that wasn't this day. It was manageable though, unlike yesterday.
In this landscape there are no landmarks for a focus or a goal. Dry grass and low sagebrush for a long, long ways (see photo). The one thing one might cultivate in this land is the mind. I did see some lovely pronghorns. This is their land.
Saratoga is a nice town with its own public hot springs and airport. We're staying in its 1893 Hotel Wolf. Tomorrow I'm rising before the sun to beat the wind for a while. I'll ride on along WY 130 to 230 and Riverside, pop 52, then into Colorado on CO 125 to Cowdry and Walden, pop. 608. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Today the ride from Saratoga, Wyoming to Walden, Colorado was one of my longest in terms of mileage—sixty-five miles. I took 7.5 hours to make the trip. The roads were often long low up and down grades through the same wide expanses of grasses and sage with some nice level stretches and frequent tail winds. There were higher climbs as well and a couple of those long speedy 7% downgrades. But the up and down progress was steadily upward from 6,791 feet at Saratoga to 8,099 feet at Walden. The total climb was 1,308 feet populated by pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, and Canada geese migrating south. Wyoming is to be commended for its highways, which include ample shoulders. On the other hand, Colorado's highways in these parts have shoulders that range from eight inches to two feet. Get with it Colorado.
How do I feel after such a ride? A bit drained. My quadriceps are making themselves known. But after a shower and a little time to unwind and reset my mind, I feel fine. I'll sleep well tonight for sure.
Before I began this journey, people asked me about how I expected the elevation would affect me and I wondered the same. Here at 8000 feet, while climbing the stairs to our room I noticed a little extra breathing because of the thin air, but nothing to be concerned about. No altitude sickness because we've gradually entered these heights over the past weeks.
I began riding this morning just as the sun came up and enjoyed the morning with little effect of wind. But, Wyoming highway 125 turns directly south when it comes into North Park. The vigorous afternoon wind had come up when I arrived and I rode directly into it for the last fifteen miles. That was tough and slow, and the traffic had increased. No fun at all. By the time I arrived in Walden my eyes were dusty and the zinc oxide was gritty. No matter. Margaret had everything ready, she'd explored the town and I had a place to land.
The day-long climb took me up into Colorado's North Park, a vast basin surrounded by mountains similar to Montana's Big Hole that I mentioned previously. Here is the place to hunt and fish. It is replete with the North Platte River and its tributaries, the Michigan, Illinois, and Canadian rivers, an elk population 10,000 strong, and 800 moose. The human population of Jackson County is 1,356. Walden is the only actual town in the county. It's population is 608 and its classic Greek revival county courthouse includes a pair of owls living above the Ionic capitals and pooping profusely on the porch thirty feet below. Everyone enters the building from the parking lot in the rear, so the remnants of rodents littering the front entrance are apparently no hindrance to the carrying out of civic affairs.
High cirrus clouds are tinted pink and orange tonight as the sky remains blue and the sun insists on setting. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Walden Colo. owls... Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
We rode off the Adventure Cycling Association's maps today. These detailed and helpful maps have guided us all these days on many highways and into campsites, stores, and highlights along the way. I recommend them to anyone traveling by any means
The ACA maps take Colorado 125 toward Hot Sulfur Springs and eventually Estes Park and on to Pueblo. Since we're on our way to Denver, we instead followed Colorado highway 14 east out of Walden and North Park toward Fort Collins. What a jaunt. The idea of riding a bicycle on top of the Rocky Mountains had never come to mind. But I did it today and I don't know what to say.
The wind was three layers cold at the top of Cameron Pass, a gap between the Medicine Bow Mountains to the north and the Never Summer Mountains to the South. The layers were a grey long-sleeved cotton tee shirt, an orange checked long-sleeved cotton shirt, and a bright yellow rain jacket.
I grew up here in Colorado, you know. Today, entering again these soaring granite mountains blowing their dry, dry air, I found an unexpected homecoming. The aspen are changing these days—yellow as they can be at the higher elevations. The blue spruce, ponderosa and lodgepole pines, and the willows on the river are all ever here, just as they were when I was a boy, rooted somehow in the shallow gravely so-called soil.
And I freewheeled down with the Cache de Poudre river mile after mile of blue and white sky in a precariously stony canyon, unimaginably ancient and fresh with evergreen, until I met Margaret some thirty miles from the summit, sixty perhaps from Walden and nowhere near Fort Collins.
So we made a plan: I'll load up the bike yet again (which I did), we'll drive into Fort Collins and take up our rooms there at the Fernweh Hostel (from whence I write), arise and drive back up the Cache de Poudre canyon tomorrow (Saturday), and make camp for the night. On Sunday morning I'll complete the ride down the canyon into Fort Collins yet again. I'll let you know how that goes. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Yesterday we went to a fair in Walden, Colorado. Young people from the 4H and Future Farmers Of America were showing their animals. That's all there was to it. No games. No booths, no fried bread or fried anything. It was only young people with their horses, pigs, cattle, sheep, and dogs. How refreshing.
Many of them, and their fathers and mothers, were wearing cowboy hats. Why? For protection from the sun. That's why these westerners are serious about their hats.
So am I, though I can't ride a horse. But by now I have ridden a bicycle fifteen hundred miles and more through the American west under the American sun. Just as a cowboy protects himself from the sun with his hat, I do the same with that broad brim you see on my helmet. It's called DaBrim, and is made somewhere up near Portland, Oregon. Get yourself one. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
This is a sign on the highway between Dubois and Crowheart, Wyoming. Photo attached.

We're enjoying a layover day in Ft. Collins, Colorado, home of Colorado State University. As I mentioned, this afternoon we'll drive back up the Cache de Poudre River Canyon, camp there (the cold has come to those altitudes, it will be frigid in the morning), so I can complete the transcendent ride out of the Rockies. We'll be in Ft. Collins again Sunday night. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
...North Park, Colorado during my ride out on Friday. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I've mentioned that on Friday I rode part of the way into the Cache de Poudre canyon from the summit of Cameron Pass—a wondrous ride. The sun set and prevented a ride all the way into Fort Collins, Colorado, pop.161,000. So, we drove into town and stayed here at the Fernweh Hostel.
Saturday (yesterday) we drove back up the canyon and camped at the spot where I took out. It was a clear, starry night with a warm wind high in the trees and a creek sounding nearby. This morning, as the sun cleared the eastern ridge I put in again on Colorado Rt. 14 and made the forty mile completion of the ride.
I'm sorry to say it's goodbye for now to the Rockies.
The attached photo will give you an idea of the road I rode out of the canyon. It is serpentine curves for thirty miles. But this was Sunday morning—light traffic. The onus is on the motorists in these conditions and they were courteous, yielding plenty of room.
Best to you. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
The day before we departed Coos Bay I realized that a floor pump was a good idea. I called my neighbor Racheal, who has a Topeak Joe Blow pump. She didn't pick up. I left a message: "Can I borrow your pump?" No reply. So I've been traveling with her pump without permission for the past month.
Neighbor Michael, tell Racheal that her pump has been invaluable and I promise to buy my own when I return.
Every morning I use the pump to bring the pressure in my tires up to 90 psi. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I've had this around my neck the whole trip just in case I fall off my bike. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I'm sending this for my sisters, Ann and Kay, remembering when our dad and mother would drive us into the mountains to see the colorful aspens. Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
We're taking it easy at the Fernweh Hostel and getting a few things done here in Fort Collins. One of those things is to find a good route from here to the reunion in Wheat Ridge. Let me know if you have any ideas about that. Fort Collins has a lot in common with Eugene, Oregon—large university, same population, lots of restaurants—except it has wider streets, seemingly more bicycles, and far less rain I'm sure though it snows here.

The Topeak trunk bag is simply a zippered box that slides and clicks into the Topeak rear rack. In it I've carried four water bottles, a roll of bicycle tools*, my trusty Leatherman PST multitool, two inner tubes, my camera, and daily food, usually a peanut butter sandwich and whatever else Margaret comes up with.

*Includes three hex wrenches, a inner tube patch kit, a chain tool (in case my chain breaks), and a tire lever. I have other tools in the car.

The saddle is a Selle Anatomica (meaning anatomic saddle). The Italian name notwithstanding, it is made in the USA. It has good reviews and I spoke with experienced riders who like it and ride on it. Still, despite the many hours I put in on it before I started this trip, my rear would still hurt on extended rides and long climbs. That discomfort was the one thing that compelled me to stop and take a break. But in less than a week of full days of travel, the discomfort disappeared, though sitting for a long time on any sort of seat or chair has its affect on the body. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
At the top are my old gloves—just fine, but they expose the back of my hands to the sun. The others are the Specialized brand gloves that Margaret purchased for me in Lander, Wyoming—more protection from the sun, some more padding. Just great. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
We set out from Coos Bay, Oregon on August 14, 2016 and have slept in a different place every night since. Those places were usually only forty, fifty, sixty miles apart. The time spent crossing those miles on a bicycle—four, five, six hours and more—transformed scant portions of geography into journeys of mind and treks of body that obliterated the scale of miles so much so that I'd often find it difficult to remember where I'd been the day before. Such distances, though nominally measured in tens of miles, would be better calculated psychogenically, if that were possible, measuring ranges of emotion and reaches of mind to discover how far I'd really traveled.
Yesterday, after a harried ride from rainy, verdant Fort Collins through Colorado's Front Range sprawl we land in a neighborhood in the city of Boulder just off campus that I'll describe as Blade Runner in broad daylight without Harrison Ford or quality production values. Just a few linear blocks of over-the-counter restaurants, tattoo parlors, and spiritually named establishments up and down in over-lit modern buildings selling who knows what. This is set to the sound of pedestrian crossing signals that chirp and tweet as reminders that we are cukcoo just to walk on these streets, among these kids, or hope to avoid dyspepsia if we dare place an order.
And good luck finding a place to lay our heads. Forgive me, my Colorado friends, for saying so but this place is crazy—highways here and there in a helter-skelter covered with cars and construction of every kind. But, I glance to the west and as you know there are the Flatirons pointing skyward above it all, and I get a whiff of a calm knowing that just as their unimaginable granite forms were tilted upward eighty million years ago, so all this will be cast down.
But for now: We stayed overnight in Louisville and soon I'll mount up and roll out of here to the west, catch Colorado Highway 93 south into Golden, pop. 18,867, turn east, and somehow descend into deepest Jefferson County, pop. 534,543, and see what it holds for us.~ DP
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Bob Knott, my classmate of 50 years ago, met me for breakfast this morning here in Golden, Colorado. Thank you Bob for the welcome. I'm sorry I forgot to ask you about the incident that sets you firmly in my memory. It was the day when, finally, someone set the class bully back on his heels. Tell me about this tonight when everyone gathers again after so long so I can pass it along to all the folks.
Bob told me that his senior year was the first in a decade that he hadn't been suspended from school. He went on to graduate from Stanford.
Born and raised in Colorado, I see now that the dry air, the clear blue skies, the cottonwood trees, Clear Creek, Colfax Avenue, and place names galore are encoded. In other words: This is my homeland, unlike other settings where, though I like them as much as can be and enjoy their friends and memories, I've been an immigrant—Kansas, Chicago, Santa Cruz, Boston, New Hampshire, Oregon.
I thank you all for following me on this journey, knowing it was unnecessary for you to do so. I'll let you know what we're doing next after I've consulted with my crew, who doubles as my beloved wife of 43 years. ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
I have a ferocious cold, so I'm not quite up to snuff for writing, but I must especially thank the Men of Steel exercisers at Downtown Health and Fitness in Coos Bay. During the reunion's delicious sit down meal at Rolling Hills Country Club Saturday night, Kay Dwyer (did I mention that she was my senior prom date?) called me to the microphone and Bob Knott presented me with a framed photograph of the Men of Steel (looking all buff considering that they are in their late sixties and seventies—except for Don who is eighty-eight and just completed the Prefontaine 10K run) posing under a banner reading: Congratulations Daniel! Do you think anyone could tell that my eyes misted up a bit at that moment.
For the past half-year they've all been interested in my endeavor to ride to Denver and always encouraging, but that they would go to the trouble to recognize my effort from half a continent away is most touching to me. Words fail, so all I can say is, "Thank you all again. Your friendship is an unexpected boon to me."
So many of the folks at the reunion took a moment to speak to me about my trip. That was fun, I was honored, and I'm glad we could talk together even just a little. Thanks again to you all. I met some bicyclists among you and learned a few things. Others of you said you might start riding your bikes again. That I encourage because it has been so good for me. Please don't get the idea that I was Mr. Athletic before I decided to ride to Denver. I was not at all, though I do like to walk around town. I had no experience with bicycle touring and knew little about bicycles. I'd arrived at retirement in good health and with no prescriptions to fill. That helped. The fact that I lost some twenty-five or thirty pounds over my seven month stint of conditioning, however, tells a little about my body before I started.
By the way, the organizers of the Wheat Ridge High School (go! Farmers) Class of 1966 Reunion threw such a bash. The details were just right. The venues, the food—just right. I recommend such reunions. And think of it, some of you will only have to ride your bicycle across town to attend! ~ DP Image
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
As if scripted, I awoke on Sunday with a tickle in my throat. During the reunion's "See Ya Later" brunch at Discovery Park in Wheat Ridge a few sneezes came along. By the time it was over, a cold had taken up residence in my head
I say scripted because we'd traveled for a month and a day with hardly a hitch—good weather, good health, great companionship. We'd arrived at our goal, enjoyed the reunion activities, and then as if on cue wham! I'm stopped by a doozy of a cold with a fiery sore throat and painful cough. I so rarely get sick that I can't remember the last time I was laid so low as I was on Monday and Tuesday. This has influenced our plans. Margaret found the right combination of OTC meds that are now mitigating the symptoms and I'm waiting for the cold to pass.
Many people at the reunion asked me, "What are you going to do now? Are you going to ride back?" Just this morning I got an email from Frank Dinsmore, one of the legendary Men of Steel, with the subject line: Will Daniel pedal back?
The weather at the high altitudes prevent a return ride. It's getting cold up there. Last week we pitched our tent out in north-central Colorado in the Walden town park (elev. 8,099) and woke up to temperatures in the 30s. The ride sure could be done with the right equipment—clothing and camping. But we didn't pack for that.
Tomorrow will be our fortieth day on the road, camping for the most part in a different place each night. The effects are ineffable and difficult to describe. As Dr. Seuss said:
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
Alone on a bicycle, far, far away, the thinks you can think are astonishing. We were up for this and we liked it and still do and recommend such a voyage, any voyage, to everyone. And, believe it or not, we're not weary of it. This has much to do with Margaret who is made for adventure. Lucky me to have her.
So, we've decided to book it for Oregon. We're movin' on. More soon. ~ DP
Profile picture Bob Knott Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
We're in Prineville, Oregon, a day's drive east of home. We'll be back in Coos Bay tonight. I haven't had a bike ride for a few days and feel funny for it. Riding has become a habit, it seems. I'll have to take a ride first thing tomorrow. ~ DP
Profile picture Kathy Voorhees Re: Dan Partner's Bike Ride from Oregon to Colo. for Reunion!
Follow up to Dan's epic ride from Coos Bay to Wheat Ridge. The Adventure Cycling Association took note of his ride. Scroll to the third photo.