Hello and our apologies for the long absence. We arrived in Portland quite a few days ago and are just enjoying this beautiful city too much to be sitting at our computer typing!
Portland is wonderful. There is so much foliage everywhere. It's like a rain forest here. We've been going for long walks, runs, swims and bike-rides all over this place, enjoying the scenery. There has been lots of eating, drinking, movie-watching and movie-making going on here too. All in all, a wonderful respite near the end of this long summer of biking.
We are in the eleventh week now, the last week of the Gift Cycle. It's unreal to see the cycle starting to close. We are experiencing synchronous events left and right that lend a sense of completion. This summer has been so great. A true adventure. We have learned a lot, met so many wonderful people, seen so much beauty.
Today Julia is arriving. She will ride the last three days to Seattle with us, which will be wonderful!
Our art event is tomorrow night and we will depart by bike on Wednesday morning for the last leg of our trip.
We're in Walla Walla Washington! We've had quite a stretch since we last wrote. Big rivers, big heatwaves, big changes!
We left Missoula with our friend Tim, who surprised us there ready to ride us to Portland, where he lives. After realizing we weren't going to make it to Eugene on time, we left the Trans American bike route in favor of a more northern straight-shot to Portland.
We biked along the Clearwater River in Idaho for three days, which must be the most spectacular river in all of the known universe. It is totally pristine, crystal clear water surrounded by National Forest. We saw otters and eagles and deer, and visited some natural hot springs. We swam daily and enjoyed the magical scenery. It really was a special place.
After sadly reaching the end of the Clearwater, we headed north-west-ish and crossed into Washington. The past few days have been extremely hot (103 degrees!!!) and very hilly. We are cooling out in Walla Walla this afternoon because it's just too hot to handle. Too cold to hold.
We expect to reach Portland on Thursday. More to come then.
Oh, Missoula, the pleasure was all ours. Thank you for having us. We bike away from you with tears in our eyes!
The event last night at the Badlander was AWESOME! Adelaide, our shining star, went above and beyond her call of duty (considering her only duty was to find a venue and maybe call a few artists!!!) We started off yesterday morning with
breakfast at a local bakery and then headed off to a radio
interview (booked by Adelaide) at the college radio station. The day continued in a series of
surprises about all Adelaide had done. When we got to the event, she showered us with gifts, then started laying out the spread of food she had made and gotten donated for the event. Did I mention she also got a dj? So many sweet, talented people came out and we had way too much fun to have to be biking on outta here this morning. Adelaide, thank you thank you thank you for everything! You are an incredible lady. It was a total pleasure to meet you and we're glad you're on our side.
There are many more thank you's than are possible to fit on this tiny computer screen, but here are some shout outs:
+ to Jesse and Iris, who know how to host a bike gang. Jesse, thank you
for sharing all your beautiful work with us, your studio, your
portfolio. You are so talented and inspiring. It was a pleasure to meet
you. Iris, thank you for taking us bathing suit shopping and making the
most magnificent lasagna that has ever crossed our lips. We will miss
you two! + to Cody, for showing back up! What? We thought you had to work! + to Jack, who we leave here in Missoula's arms, but will miss on the open road. We enjoyed riding with you so much. You look fat, though. Maybe get back on your bike. It could help. + to the Badlander for having us! It was so fun. + to all the Missoula artists who showed up with a totally fly piece of work! You all are awesome. Thank you for bringing it so strong. We are really proud to carry your work on to Eugene. + to Tim, Herb? Who? for materializing out of thin air. (Our friend from Portland who showed up at the event with his BIKE and his TENT ready to escort us to his town! YESSSSS!) You crazy.
We've been in Missoula for a couple days now, staying with Jack's friends Iris and Jesse. Iris is a Spanish teacher and an accountant, Jesse makes the most beautiful unique wooden furniture you'd ever hope to see. We spent the weekend with them and their friends, a rollicking group of friendly folks who know what to do with a weekend. They take a weekend by its horns and they drive it towards a beautiful river and stuff it full of beer and gourmet sandwiches. They also take their badminton pursuits pretty seriously. Thank you Iris, Jesse, Annie, Cody, Henry, Gabe and Ben. Missoula is right on.
Biking through Wyoming was totally awe-inspiring. The landscapes kept opening up before us into new and different motifs of color and texture, and riding through them with the wind in your helmet is an experience unmatched by other activities. The red rocks and mountains and pastures with the clouds passing overhead making patterns on the ground. It's all just so pretty. Wyoming doesn't disappoint.
To catch up on our last days in Wyoming. We met a ragingly awesome kid named Conor who just graduated from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). Unparalleled talent, appetite and energy topped by top notch musical perfomances made Conor the perfect fourth star to our stronger than strong biker gang. Boy likes Moose Tracks ice cream and if you'd been in Dubois WY after 75 miles of riding you would have been pissed if you chose chocolate over Conor's choice of fine fudge swirls and miniature peanut butter cups. Let's share next time Conor, kay? Dubois also threw us another sweet bone...Talon and Ashley, our dear friends from the far-far-far-far-away land of RISD (did we mention we've gone really really really far?) They were randomly driving towards Yellowstone and well, we found each other and took it to the bar. T and A---thanks for nestling us in your familiar bosoms. We needed that hard.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxox m + s + j (c hopefully to catch up to us, that show-off!)
Man, Wyoming is some tough country. The past three days have provided us with the fiercest winds yet. We get just close enough to our destination to want to kick our feet up on our handlebars and roll right into town, and then the blustery gusts blow right into our tired faces for the last 10-20 miles. It feels like the wind is alive, and interacting with us, and is a big jerk with a bad sense of humor. Ha ha Wind, you got us again! You jokester, you!
Yesterday was one of our toughest days, ending in Jeffrey City (once called "Home on the Range" --- no joke)."City" is a wild exaggeration; really all there was in town was a bar and an abandoned building which we slept in. "Slept" is also a wild exaggeration. More like got pestered by persistent mosquitoes throughout the dark, cold, hungry night. Ah, Wyoming. At one time the "city" was a bustling 5,000 people because of the booming uranium mining industry. Now there are nine. However, out of those nine we met two wonderful gems, Bob and Byron. Bob is a rocking sweet citizen of J.C. Byron is a local potter who has just opened an amazing studio in Jeffrey City. A blinking "open" sign attracted us to his studio around 9 pm. He invited us in, gave us a tour and did an exchange. Thank you Byron for the inspiration and amazing hospitality at your sweet home on the range.
Today we got treated right by this big, hard, intimidating state. Everything here is big: The hills, the rocks, the sky, our appetites. But everything was in our favor today. We coasted mostly downhill for our 60 mile day, floating above a landscape too beautiful to do right by writing about it. We saw mountains, streams, red rocks, pastures, all vibrant with color and glory. It was our most beautiful day yet. We ended in Lander, our first honest-to-goodness town in days. They have restaurants here, and a library! I think they even have showers! What have we done to deserve all this?
Good morning from Rawlins, Wyoming! Jeez, Wyoming is windy. So far it's proven to be some rugged terrain.
DAY 44 /// SUNDAY... Elevation is crazy. Everything is harder at 10,000 feet except getting drunk. The climb up the Rockies continued, it was totally beuatiful, there were buffalo. We ended up in Alma for the night. A kind and generous family WITH A HOT TUB took us in for the night. We ate chocolate chip pancakes with their kids for dinner that night and slept really well in their beautiful home. Thank you Mark + Jenny!
Day 45 /// MONDAY... After crossing the highest point in the Rockies, we floated downhill to Breckenridge. It was thundering and lighteninging. P treated us to a hotel room WITH A HOT TUB and we lived it up. TV, bed, shower. Nothin wrong with that!
DAY 46 /// TUESDAY... Iris helped gather an awesome group of lady ceramists to have a short-notice art event at the Robert Whyte House. We loved meeting them all! Even with just a couple hours of notice, about seven or eight women showed up with such beautiful work to contribute! Jen, the arts director there, invited us to stay with her that night in her house WITH A HOT TUB. We obliged.
DAY 47 /// WEDNESDAY... More Rocky Mountains. More beauty. Prairie dogs everywhere. My sis turned 21. Happy birthday, Sis! Can't wait to have a drink when we get back!
DAY 48 /// THURSDAY... We crossed the second-highest point in the mountains. It's all downhill from here! It's crazy how some five-mile streches can take you over an hour, and then you reach the top of a mountain and you just fly down the other side! Those five miles take like ten minutes.
DAY 49 /// SEVEN WEEKS COMPLETED! /// FRIDAY... Crossed into Wyoming. Patrick's birthday. Happy birthday, Patrick! We miss you.