Satellite Track of my Trip

Friday, June 20, 2014

Restless, Shiftless, Feckless...

One might assume from my lack of posting ANY planned tour this year, I am all of these.  I sure feel that way. It's June 20th, and I got nothing official going in terms of pedaling to a far off destination.  This time last year, the Vines to Bitterroots Tour was very close and TWO years ago - this very day, was day one of the 2012 Cascade Traverse By-Pedal Expedition to Save Human Folly. Oh, yes, I recall... what a tough day that was.

So, what is going on here... no tour yet this year yet. Yet, yet, yet...

Well... I do have some excuses. This spring has been very busy for the McKibbin clan. Our house needed some maintenance (flooded basement), our jobs have been very busy (flooded in-box) and I have been dealing with some health issues (flooded by medical bills). None of these issues, singularily is up to kiboshing  a tour - but in total, they have conspired to make me delay any real tour.

Did you say "delay"?! Yes! I did not say cancelled, I did not say abandon, I did not say rescind, I did not say scrub. I said delay! Delay it is...

Yes, there is still some possible - later this summer tour I am conjuring up.  It's only the summer solstice soon. That is the start of summer! I got all summer left to plop in some grand adventure.

Honeeeeeeeeeeey! Guess what?!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Where? Paradise Valley. When? TODAY!

Alright... feeling sorry for myself and the lack of a planned tour for this year yet - I decided to head out on the Santa Cruz Tallboy. I have been slowly re-invigorating my mountain bike riding since I purchased the Tallboy last year. So to some degree, I am going to use the mountain bike as my summer focus until I do end up with a bonified bicycle tour on the Salsa. Well that is the plan at this moment in time.

Paradise Valley or more correctly... Paradise Valley Conservation Area is about 20 minutes from my house. Its in Snohomish county - sort of behind Woodinville. For those of you who do not know the area too well - this is about an hour north east of Seattle - but still in the 'burbs if you will. Got it? Good. There about 11 miles of multi-use trails. Not any real climbs - pretty flat. Its well maintained - The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has done a lot of the work to develop this area. Most of the trails are pretty mellow- but a few can be technical. And there are a few trails with human made ladders, platforms and drops.

>>>> Click pics for larger size:

So this is the site of my first endo in many years. It has probably been 25 years ago in Southern Oregon when I was living down there and riding my Klein all over the Ashland watershed since I have gone over the bars! While being pitched over the bars, I thought this is going to hurt. I landed on my right should / side with a deep thud right on the trail. Once I immediately realized I was not hurt - I started to laugh out loud. Got up and dusted myself off.

In this pic you can see the divot (in front of the fern) where my wheel stopped cold and over I went.

Some of the laddered sections on Cedar Run.

At the end of a long ladder that progressed to a high drop, I noticed this tacked to a tree. It was only when I was at home and did some internet surfing that I learned this guy passed away on the trail from a head injury. This was just last month. He was doing what he loved I'm sure.

This was some stump that has become a bit of a shrine of sorts. This is down the trail a ways, not associated with the accident above. It just looks like trinkets and such. Oh there is a beer bottle too.

This is the sign leading into Cedar Run. One way only. This is pretty technical and a lot of fun.

Here is a plot of my ride. Not very far - but hey it was a good ride anyway!


My last post was simply stated Where? Usually where and when coincide nicely since they go 'handlebar in handlebar' together when one is planning a bicycle tour. I have the where down pat, been in my brain for some time. The when is a bit of an unknown at this point in time.

Has been a bit of an interesting spring for me, Jen and Luna the wonder pup. In a prior blog post, I wrote of ankle biters - this spring has seen a good share of trials and 'tibia-lations'. It does not take much to get knocked off your stride and soon you realize you're going nowhere fast.

We have had to do some major work on our house - due to the massive rains we had in February. Our basement flooded. I have had some smallish health concerns that have been taking some time to work through. Jen has been afforded a great opportunity at work and Luna, well, is actually just fine. All these add up to an official status of my 2014 tour as on hold. There has just been some other priorities right now.

I still hold out hope for some ride in August or September. I may need to down size the days, miles, pedal strokes, power bars and panoramas... but I think I will be able to come up with something.

So, as I think about it... we're back to where and when.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


It's that time of year again. Plans are formulating. Where, where, where? State maps unfolded, peered over and towns, distances and mountain ranges are duly noted on a yellow pad. I sit my support crew down and throw out a few ideas for this year's bike tour. Luna The Wonder Pup is amenable always, but me side kick says, what would we do in Middleofnowhereville while you get ready for the tour? And, why am I picking you up in Godforsakenwastelandistan? And so it goes each year about this time.

But- by gawd, I love it. I replay last years tour in my head, scroll through the 100s of pics in Iphoto from the tour, conjure up (hands rubbing) some neat, new, beautiful place to go and always throw in one day (or two) of slogging and grinding up some unimaginably difficult mountain pass and I am in nirvana. Or at least I think I will be on the tour - right? Ah, sitting here writing this reminds me Buddha taught suffering as a noble truth. And my 20-20 hindsight view to last year's 'suffering' makes me indeed feel noble right now, but in reality, at the time, the Winchester Grade on highway US95 in Idaho was brutal! But ya gotta have a least one day when you hammer and suffer and curse and believe your death will be long, painful and no faster than two freakin' miles per hour. 

So- I hear the clan asking - whatcha thinking? Well... one thing I have learned is that riding in an area that is pleasant or, if I am lucky, even beautiful to behold sure is awesome. Last year, over Lolo pass was just darn spectacular. I've done rides in some pretty austere areas, my preference is... it's gotta have some scenery. My tentative plan is to do some riding in Montana. I believe it will be a Western Montana to South Central Montana extravaganza. Missoula to Bozeman is the plan, by way of a little 'feature' called Skalkaho Pass (looker upper). Woopie!

'She' cuts a nice remote path from Hamilton, MT across the Sapphire Mountains and ends up in the Flint Creek Valley by Phillipsburg, Montana. The pass tops out at 7,258 feet and has some long stretches of the road that are gravel. More woopie!

I'm thinking about 4-5 days with a total of 350 to 400 miles ought a do it. And... I may decide to do more camping this trip. But, as I have mentioned in the blog before, like staying in 1 star motor inns! 

So here is a sneak preview of some of the terrain.

So stay tuned. I know Luna the Wonder Pup and Mergatroid are waiting with bated breath. The former- stinky breath for sure and the latter - well, I'm sure she's breathing through gnashed teeth right now while reading all this. More, more, Woopie!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How To Be A Road Biker - Funny!

This is pretty stinking funny! I have not blogged since last fall. I'm going to let this vid serve as my 'start' of the new year's blogging. Spring is around the corner! And so is CYCLING! Yea!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Bike Is a Bike Is a Bike

I'm in Florida on vacation. Flew in a few days ago. Staying in Seagrove Beach. It's on the gulf, up on the panhandle. So we rented some bikes while we are here. Lots of beach cruiser bike rentals around here. Very easy to get around... It's bloody flat! Anyway, I have this fine looking steed below. The seat alone must weigh five pounds. But, yah know what?  In terms of wind in your hair (I'm bald, so this does not apply to me), ear to ear grin and bebopping down the road, a bike is a bike is a bike. They are all fun.  Of course, I'm not riding long distances on this barge, but that's not the point. Point is... Hop on, ride, have fun. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 5 - Vines to Bitterroots, Up and Over the Top! [Full Update]

Note: This is the last post of the 'full updates' series which means it is the last detailed post of the trip... if that makes sense. I rode into Missoula on July 9. It has taken me over two months to finally post all the daily ride details. It was only five days to write about... but normal life can get in the way sometimes. To all the blog fans (there must be at least 2 or 3 - thanks family!), thanks for being so patient while I doled out the updates ever so slowly!

Day five, the last day of the Vines to Bitterroots Tour. The day's ride entails a brief final climb up Lolo Pass and then its all down hill to Missoula!

I am a bit worried about the "brief" uphill section - it gains 1700 feet in 12 miles. But this final day- when I wake, I am on cloud nine! It's been great trip and I am proud of the accomplishment. I get out of bed, not too early and head to the lodge for breakfast. The lodge opens at 7 a.m. and there is a small line outside to get in. We plod in, a bit of an odd, still groggy bunch. There is the family or two, a few elderly folks- nature lovers who I'm sure have been coming to the lodge for years and a medium sized group of young forest workers - all decked out in US Forest Service green. I grab a seat at a four top - it's the only one left. My coffee shows up and I'm scanning my day's route on my now tattered Adventure Cycling Map and a guy asks if her can sit at the table. I said you bet. He introduces himeself- Steve from Memphis and in a southern drawl - says man it's cold out there this morning. Well, we ended up having a nice conversation over bacon and eggs. He was riding cross country on his Harley. I am riding across state on my bicycle. He had just come over the top of Lolo this morning. My other passion (aside from bicycle touring) is motorcycle riding. If its two wheels, I like it! So we discussed motorcycles and a little bit on bicycling.

At the end of breakfast, I asked if he would oblige me in taking his picture - I told him I do some bicycle tour blogging and I always try to take a pic of the folks I run into. He was very nice and said sure, hand combed his hair and posed for the photo.

To me... this is the best part of touring by bike. The folks you meet.

Well, time to head out. By the afternoon, I'll be seeing Jen in Missoula! Giddy Up!

The climb up the last part of Lolo was no problem. In the cabin this morning, I pitched all unessential items. I got rid of extra food, a half spent backpacking stove fuel can, a few choice, stinky t-shirts and several other now useless items. I also only filled two water bottles instead of also filling my Platypus water bladder. The overall intent was to lighten the load on the rear of the bike - where the spoke blew. It also helped a bunch on the final climb. The climb was actually pleasant. That was a first for the trip!

Heading up the pass.

Looking back down the grade

Using the Iphone panoramic feature

I stopped on the way up and checked out the history information.

While I'm reading the info - I hear these two old, slightly rotund, old coots on their Harley's ranting about some debri and garbage that is strewn across the pullout in front of the history board.

"If I was that kinds Father, I would kick his ass into next Sunday" one guy said.

"Yah, there kids these days. No respect", the other said. "Makes me sick!"

Well- I looked around and sure enough a bunch of crap was left along the side of the road for about 100 feet. Maybe somebody driving by in a car lost a suit case off the top and just kept on driving?

The convo between the two guys on the Harley was hilarious. They put their helmets on and off they road. I decided to get back on the pedals - and road though the debri pile. Oooh! Look at that... a pair of kids angel wings! Saaaaayyy, that will make a cool addition to the Burro! I pick them up. They still fly and I attached them to the bike. Oh coool. Jen is going to love this!

I'm almost, almost, almost to the top! Time for some pics. And a video.

Top of Lolo Pass from Scott McKibbin on Vimeo.

Almost to the top!

Finally! The top! The Lolo Pass Vistor's Center.

I spend about a half hour at the top and start heading down into Montana.

But wait! There is construction starting just past the top. Cue the screeching bicycle touring tires! Turns out they are chip-sealing the top for about 3-4 miles. Hmmm... how the hell is this going to work? I have to wait about 15 minutes with the other drivers before the pilot car arrives. I follow the car in front of me and off we go. After not too long all the cars have gone by me - blasting gravel at me like a Gatling gun. I just keep pedaling and the surface is a bit squirrely. After a couple miles, I come up on some orange vested workers and they look at me like I'm from outer space.  I whiz by at 30 MPH. Around the bend is the end of the construction. A long line of cars and the pilot car are waiting for yours truly - me, the burro, Winchester the stuffed moose and my purple angel wings flapping along behind me. Once I hit clear pavement, I have about 40 miles - all downhill to Missoula!

Lolo Peak

I roll into Missoula about 3 PM. Notice the stuffed moose and purple wings? Jen is going to love these!

My sweetheart and Luna the wonder pup are waiting for me outside the Adventure Cycling Headquarters. Jen grabs the obligatory arrival video.

Rolling into Missoula - Final Day! from Scott McKibbin on Vimeo.

I kiss and hug Jen and am so stoked to be done. Luna is wagging her tail - so happy to see her too.

We tour the Adventure Cycling Headquarters.
see prior blog post:

All in all, it was a great tour! 

Here are the final totals!

Day 1: Dayton, WA to Lewiston, ID
91 miles
4,259 ft of climbing
Ave temp 85F

Day 2: to Kamiah, ID
78 miles
5,348 ft of climbing 
Ave temp 82F

Day 3: to Wilderness Gateway Campgroud
57 miles
1339 ft of climbing 
Ave temp 84F

Day 4: to Lochsa Lodge, Powell, ID
40 miles
1,421 ft of climbing 
Ave temp 70F (thunderstorms kept things cooler)

Day 5: to Missoula, MT
57 miles
2,051 ft of climbing
Ave temp 83F

Grand totals:
323 miles
14,416 ft of climbing
Time on bike: 25:48:30 hours
Ave speed: 12.5 mph
18,057 calories expended