Neil and Mel's Big Adventure

Adventure Tunes

Monday, September 29, 2008

To and From Dolores, Monday, Tuesday

The guys are in Dolores, Colorado, at an RV camp tonight, having traveled 63 miles today. They climbed up to the Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 feet, then downhill all the way along the Dolores River. They met up with a bicycle racer at the pass who rides up to the pass from the little town of Rico and back during his lunch hour every day, around 25 miles round trip. He was an interesting visit. He rode back down to Rico with the Gray Beards, who continued on to Dolores, a beautiful ride. They ate dinner with a guy named Chris from Mancos, Colorado. He was very interested in the "Long Haul Trucker" bike. Chris also rides a Surley. The picture is of the river which flows into a reservoir, and town from above. On Tuesday the ride to Monticello, a big uphill the last half of the day. They ran into a biker "John" from Holland. He has ridden cross country USA 5 times in organized groups and is going it alone this time. Seemed like a real nice guy. Tuesday midnight they received visitors from home at the Motel in Monticello. Pictures to be added later.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finally, a day of rest...

Surfer Joe at lunch in Placerville. Also an nice view of Telluride.

Here are the newest notes from Mel, "Hi all, Today (Sunday), we are taking our first rest day--in Telluride. Slept in until Neil woke me up at about 8:30. I probably could have slept till noon. We had a hard day yesterday, but I'll get to that. Last I reported was in Montrose. Our ride out of Montrose was very easy. We have to plan our rides for any number of contingencies, i.e., elevation gains, passes to go over, next-day rides, supplies, etc. You just can't bank on going 60 mile-days and have all the things you'll need. Everything has to be thought out in advance so you don't get caught short without the necessities of life--like water, food, etc.--not TV. We knew we had a big jaunt to get to Telluride so we had to position ourself to be able to do that in a day. The best place we saw we could accomplish that was to launch ourselves from Ridgway. Now Ridgway was only about 30 miles from Montrose--an easy 1000 foot elevation gain that we could accomplish in half a day. That made us kind of sour because it seemed like we would be wasting half a day. There was no good place for us to stay in Ridgway, so we got to Ridgway State Park at the Dutch Charlie's campground and strategized. Should/could we push on towards Telluride? There was really no camping places (mostly private land) between Ridgway and Telluride. So we disappointedly stopped at Dutch Charlies camp and made it a very short day. Dutch Charlies was 4 hilly miles on the north (wrong) side of Ridgway. We were a bit dejected, realizing we would have to ride into town to eat and back out to the camp--giving us about a 40 mile day. The camp was very peaceful and they had nice shower and laundry facilities. It was relaxing with a view from our camp of these huge mountains and Ridgway in the valley below us. We set out for town for some dinner and discovered the most wonderful paved bike trail. We've never ridden such a beautiful bike trail--called the Marmot Run. It literally went from the reservoir at our park into town. Crossed an old railroad bridge and past a crystal clear pond, alongside a river with lots of bird life. That changed our whole outlook on the short day and made it all worth it. We packed up early and left the next morning for our big ride to Telluride. We lingered along that wonderful bike trail even knowing that we needed to get a good start. And we had to stop at Kate's Place in Ridgway (recommended to us by the bike guy from Pennsylvania) for a good breakfast. It was a happening place on a Saturday morning. Fueled up, we started up for the big day ahead. We had a beautiful (not to strenuous) ride through the Dallas Valley heading to Dallas Divide. That was a 2000 foot elevation gain in 11 miles with most of the tough part in the last 3 miles (it's always that way). It was sweaty. We generally have to walk the last mile (or two or three) on passes as it generally gets steep for us old people. Thunder heralded an approaching storm and sure enough, just before reaching the top of the divide, a rain and hail storm slammed into us. We were pelted and had to simply stop and take it on the chin. Neil found out that his rain coat which had been advertised as rain proof was only water resistant. He was soaked so I gave him an emergency blanket which the wind tore in shreds. Finally Mother (or Father--as my son Will calls him when nature turns bad) Nature let up and Neil put on some other layers to try to warm up. My poncho and coat and hand warmers kept me from faring too badly. Then we headed off down the other side of the divide for a whale of a ride. It just kept going so we wracked up a lot of downhill miles. But it seemed like when we'd get to a dry stretch of road, the rain gods would plaster us again. The autumn leaves were a riot of color in the rain. It was a beautiful ride despite everything. We stopped at the little store in Placerville at the bottom of the ride and who should we see? The legendary Surfer Joe from Minnesota. Remember earlier when I mentioned that Will from Chico told us to watch out from him? His bike and fullblown surfboard were parked in front of the Placerville store. He came out of the door, all smiles, carrot-top hair, orange shirt, eating a banana and drinking chocolate milk (the drink of choice for most bikers--Neil excluded). He had a Swedish accent because he grew up in a Swedish town. What a guy! We got his story on tape. I know I've mentioned it before, but these end of the season transcontinental bike riders are absolutely amazing people. Joe decided on a whim in the space of two days (when his girlfriend left him and he quit his job), to buy a plane ticket to San Diego and surf his way up the California coast to San Francisco and bike his way across the country. True grit. Absolutely amazing. He's 26 years old, a youth minister, and a gentle soul. He's just sleeping in the forests along the way. I asked him how difficult it was when he started to go it alone. He said the first two days were tough, but now he regales in the solitary moments. He especially likes the starry nights. He's found that weather is only a temporary inconvenience and that he just keeps on going no matter what Mother Nature throws at him. He said he started out kind of pudgy, but has lost twenty pounds. I'm waiting for that to happen in my neighborhood. My gut is getting microscopically smaller day by day. I've had people comment on it out on the road (truck driver in Beeler, Kansas). Isn't that the key reason I'm doing this ride--to lose the gut? Well, no, but it could be a good by-product if it works. But we spent about an hour in the Placerville store shooting the breeze with Surfer Joe. What a great day! We said goodbye to Joe and each of us headed off in the rain. Finally the rain stopped about five or six miles down the road. We had to climb another 1,400 feet to get to the turnoff to Telluride. Of course, we had to do our little hike near the end when the road got tough. Shoulders were very poor so it felt good to finally get to their little bike trail into town. We went to the campground in the city park. It was 6:30 when we arrived. I guess we could have camped free (a perk to the transcontinental bikers), but we got here too late to figure out where and how to do that. But the camping rates were a reasonable $12 and the camping grounds in a beautiful aspen grove. There are no LDS church meetings in Telluride. This is a play and recreate and drinking town. Lots of young people here looking for fun. After breakfast in a little park, Neil and I rode the free gondola ride up to the top of a 10,500 foot high mountain. Talk about a beautiful setting! Fall colors with barren, snowy, lofty peaks. When we rode into Telluride yesterday, a guy yelled out at me, "Hey, Long Haul Trucker!" It's like I'm riding the Ferrari of bikes! As the Penn biker says, I've got a "hot ticket" for a ride. The bike is holding up real well, but the rider is feeling his age. Using a lot of vaseline to keep the posterior from cranking up on me. I'm not getting on the saddle at all today. Tomorrow we'll set out to climb 2000 feet to the 10,200 foot Lizard Head Pass. Today Lizard Head has been hidden in a cloud. Then we should have a great long ride down the other side. We'll have to decide how far to go later today. We want to position ourselves so we begin a tough ride in Utah in Blanding--75 miles with no water to Hanksville. We hope to be in Utah by Tuesday or Wednesday. What a feeling it will be to have come through these massive Rockies--all their ups and downs and high passes--and skimpy shoulders and headwinds. Maybe I'll take one more gondola ride, then look for a little nap time. Some have asked again what Becky's blog site is with the photos and daily log. It is Karen says she's looked at it and the photos are great. Take a look and see Surfer Joe. Miss you all. Mel"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

When its Stormy in the Rockies

I am assuming this is a picture at Telluride, CO.

This picture was sent on Friday and may have been taken on the route that day from Montrose to Ridgeway, CO.

Friday was a strange day. The bikers went only 26 miles to Ridgeway, then heard there were no services for 50 miles along the road and there was rain on the route. So they stayed in Ridgeway. Later they found the information of no services was not entirely true, but too late to move on. A later start on Saturday went over Devils Divide, elevation 8970 and to Placerville for lunch. The last half of the morning was through hail and rain. Neil discovered his jacket was not waterproof and couldn't get enough clothes on to stay warm. They met the guy in orange with his surfboard tied to his bike at the restaurant in Placerville, and visited until the storm rained out, about 1 hour. They were excited to meet up with him, having heard of him from another biker earlier this week. These guys are all nuts! Up another 800 feel elevation to Telluride and camp at around 6pm tonight. They will be staying there tonight, and tomorrow night, taking a day off and resting. Neil is keeping his phone off except when he calls, because the charge is running out in only one day, searching for service. Possibly Mel, too?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The long and short of it, Thursday night.

The short version The Gray-beards are in a motel in Montrose, Colorado, having gone over 2 more passes today, and stayed at the east end of Blue Mesa lake last night. They have met some real characters and are preparing to head up towards Telluride and possibly some bad weather.
Mel gives us the long version:
"Hi All,We are back in civilization--in Montrose, Colorado, tonight (whatever night it is). I asked another library patron and they said it is September 25, Thursday. Not time for me to take an Alzheimer's test. Been there, done that. And that is one of the questions. Sunday in Westcliffe was my last e-mail opportunity. I remember that. We had a beautiful drive out of Westcliffe. Probably the most sustained beautiful bike ride I've ever done. Sangre de Cristo Mountains (12-13,000 footers for almost 20 miles on the west of our road--and a tail wind. That is a blessing. Love it when the wind is right. Even a head wind (if not too strong) is good if we're hot. To catch up on Sarah. After she left us on Sunday, she got a severe flat tire on a new tire. Someone in Pueblo yelled at her that she was driving on a flat. There was no tire place open that could replace her tire, so she rode 3 hours back to Fort Collins on the little donut tire. Hopefully I will be able to get in touch with her tonight. Communication by phone is very tough in these mountains. Back to the ride on Monday. We took the unmarked 1A back road to Cotapaxi where there was a really strong wind blowing down the canyon. That was not a welcome headwind. After getting back our electrolytes at the Cotapaxi store, we drove up canyon against the headwind along the Arkansas River. Very beautiful. The wind died out after awhile. Then we pushed on past Salida--one of the bigger towns with a very large historic district. No time for sight-seeing as we wanted to get as far along the road so we wouldn't have to ride so far the next day up and over Monarch Pass. Monarch was giving me the willies. I had dreams for two nights running about having to walk down the other side. My son, Adam, had ridden over it about 6 weeks before on his BMW motorcycle. I kept replaying his comment about the road on the other side, "Better have good brakes." We got the same comment from a guy parked in a pick-up truck in Poncho Springs where we stayed. He had all of about three teeth and couldn't believe we were going to go over that 11,312 foot behemoth on bikes. He said something like, "Better not run off the road. There's no guard rails and 500 foot drop offs." There were no camps in Poncho Springs--the free camps in parks seem to have dried up. We stayed in a motel--right next to a Thai restaurant. Love that green curry. Neil even got adventuresome and ate some Thai--the less spicy kind. When morning came, off we went for an 18-mile assault on Monarch. That will be our highest pass and to start it that early in our trip was worrisome to me. Nonetheless, we kept plowing ahead and made it in a single day. Really amazing for us. We only had to walk a few miles near the top as it was as quick to walk as to ride. Small shoulders and a headwind decided the walking for us. We met a young guy at the top who had been hiking the Continental Divide Trail and was looking to hitch a ride down to get some supplies at Salida. He had been trying for hours and we saw him get a ride so that was good. It's good to help all us non-car people out. After getting on warm gloves and coats (it was a bit cool), we pushed off for the ride down. I rode like an old granny. I was so glad when the road evened out. Neil can't go over 25 with his bob trailer as it will start to fishtail and could cause him to crash. I think I went even slower than he had to. We got to a place called Sargents in a beautiful area about 8,000 feet. So we had a 3,000 foot drop in about 10 miles. We stayed that night in a little RV park in Sargents. Our water bottles were frozen when we got up and there was frost on the saddle. We slept in a little cabinette in bunk beds. The ride from Sargents that morning was done in coats, ear covers, and warm gloves. But it was a dang beautiful ride down to Gunnison. A nice coast. The fall colors are absolutely spectacular. Gunnison is a college town. An old buddy, Bob Marshall, went to college there on a football scholarship to Western States College. They have the largest block collegiate letter on a mountain there--a big white "W." We dinked around town a bit then headed out to see how far we could get. We got out to the farthest western end of Blue Mesa Lake--the largest lake in Colorado. It is about 20 miles long at about 7,500 feet. Before we got to our camp (Lake Fork), we met a bike guy headed east solo. The bike people are really thinned out this late in the year. He was from central Pennsylvania and was true grit. He had legs like tree trunks. Not following any map, only his desire to see something new--preferably at high altitude. Neil and I are just wooses compared to some of the bike people we've met. He was going all over and planned to go down to New Mexico to catch a train back east. He was very complimentary about my Long Haul Trucker bike frame. He said he had tried to get one, but wasn't successful. It was a "hot ticket." His parting words to us, "Ride your bike like you stole it." If we had stolen our bikes, we wouldn't be hard to catch. This guy was pony-tailed and bearded. Had grit. We camped next to the big lake and Neil's thermometer read 35 in the morning. His fingers were shaking trying to open the oatmeal packet. He said, "Man, this is living!" Cracked me up. He always says things that crack me up. Every time we snow shoe, he says when we get home, "Well, we cheated death again." He hasn't said that once yet, but we're doing more death-cheating now than we ever did on snowshoes. Neil made the mistake of chatting up an old fisherman before we left and we got a late start. We had to climb two energy-sapping passes to get to Montrose, where we are now. On the way, we stopped at Little Cimmaron to fuel up. While there, another bike guy hove into the place. His name was Will, from Chico, California. He had a home grown bike loaded down with a ton of gear. Front and rear panniers. What a character. About 25 years old. He always had a hare to cross the U.S. on a bike. He started out with no map, only heading east. In Austin, Nevada, he met two girls who wanted to do the transcontinental, but gave up after only getting through California. I imagine there is quite a bit of that, and it is understandable. They gave Will their maps which are the same as ours. He started riding on Labor Day so is to here after almost a month. For fenders he had fashioned some out of cardboard and tape. I took a picture of his bike it was so wild. He told us to be on the alert for an orange haired guy who is coming hauling a surfboard (full size) on his bike. It has the initials "R.S." on the surfboard for "Ride Surf." I told Neil to be on the lookout for him. We don't want to mistake this carrot-top for some other transcontinental guy hauling a surf board. Neil and I really think we are quite normal, given the other kooks we come across that do this kind of thing. Maybe the view you have of us differs, but life is different when you're out in the middle of nowhere on the road. Love it when people come up to us and are just flabbergasted at what we are doing and give us God's blessing. We thank all of you for pulling and praying for us. I'm on a timer, so it's time to sign off and send this your way. Tomorrow we'll be back up in the big stuff again heading for Teluride hopefully. We hear a storm may be coming in Sunday, but we've been very fortunate with good weather so far." Mel

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Can Hear You Now

Neil checked in today about 11 a.m. and lunchtime, from Gunnison, CO, already covering 33 miles this morning. Yesterday it took 7 hours to get to Monarch Pass at 11, 312 feet. The views were great! (See hills of gold attached) Downhill to Sargents is where they spent the night. No cell phone access there. They rented a cabin at an RV place which was good because it got cold enough to freeze their water bottles nearly solid last night. Both are doing well and enjoying the journey. Tonight they may be staying in a forest service campground somewhere along the Gunnison Reservoir. Its a huge, long reservoir that runs over 20 miles next to highway 50 through the mountains. Quite a sight. Who knows, Neil may talk Mel into going for a sail!

Another Night in the Mountains?

No word from the cyclers for a day. They must have stayed in the mountains last night. They were out of cell phone range. Can you hear me now?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Poncha Springs, Monday Sept 22

Another 60 or so miles today to Poncha Springs, a smaller touristy town. The road from here goes up 4000 feet to Monarch Pass at 11,300 feet in 20 miles. Tomorrow will be a tough day. Hopefully they will make it over the pass and down the other side for a way. Tonight they are holed up in a motel trying to rest and save strenth for the climb. Today's ride was a beautiful one with many beautiful vistas of green meadows and thick pines. Sleep well, Gray-beards.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How Mel Tells It.... From Pueblo to Westcliffe, CO

"Hi everyone,Sarah--you are an angel. I know we already told you that, but you pepped up two tired old men. By way of explanation: Sarah, my daughter, lives in Fort Collins in northern Colorado. She came down yesterday to see if she could find us in Westcliffe. That's where we had hoped to have reached yesterday night, but Hardscrabble Pass (9,200 feet) got in the way. We just ran out of steam. We also couldn't get any phone communication either in or out. Sarah stayed in a nice place in Westcliffe and we bedded down by a stream about six miles short of the pass. We had climbed 3,000 feet in elevation and were too pooped to pop. After we set up camp, Neil found bear scat only fifty feet from our tents. Sarah found some this morning about 1/4 of a mile up the road from where we camped. Neil got out his pepper spray and built a fire. We heard and saw nothing. It's too bad we didn't have more time with Sarah. She came looking for us up the road this morning and passed us right by! All she saw was two old men on bikes. She wasn't expecting Neil to be riding a recumbant, nor was she expecting my beard to be so white. I hollared at her, but I guess I didn't have much volume after riding up that steep road. She finally came back after we'd ridden another 3 miles or so. What a great reunion! I'm getting all teary right now thinking about it. This ride is really tough. Not just physically, but emotionally, too. I guess we've ridden about 300 miles now. You don't know how much your e-mail support has meant. I hope I'll be able to read them tonight. Sarah put us up in the motel in Westcliffe where she stayed. We just got out of the spa and sauna. What a treat. We don't take these comforts for granted. The bodies are really sore. Sarah brought us some homemade chocolate chip cookies, drinks, apples, raisins, and Subway sandwiches. We ate them by the roadside (next to a deer herd) on the down side of the pass. Oh, so good. I can't remember when I last wrote--maybe in Ordway at the Ho[s]tel Ordway. We went from there to Pueblo. Neil has another name for that town. Small towns are better for us bikers. Someone yelled out to us "Welcome to Pueblo," but that was one of the few memorable moments. The town pulled the rug on our sleeping in the park. Pueblo is a crossroads for two transcontinental bike routes. Not too thoughtful for them to yank that privilege from us good and tired bikers. Every other town where we've gone has permitted camping in the park for us. We went to a bike shop that the couple from Atlanta recommended to us for me to get a new spare tire and pressure guage for my presta valve. They've held air perfect. We did our wash at a laundromat. That was pretty funny. Everyone was so helpful to us know-nothings. Told us how much soap to buy, where to put it, which washers and dryers to use and how hot/cold to make the water and dryer. A fat, smoking Hispanic guy and his dad just couldn't get over what we were doing. The dad wanted to send his son with us, but the kid didn't think he could even get as far as the reservoir which was where we were headed to camp about six miles west of Pueblo. By the time we got the laundry finished it was pretty late and a fierce head wind kicked in. When we got to the reservoir (lots of uphill), we were beat and it was real windy and dark. We took a shower and hit the wrack. It's time for us go eat. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers." Mel

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not-so-friendly Pueblo

Today was about a 56 mile day. It was 43 to Pueblo, where they shopped in a bike store about 5 miles off the route, and did their laundry before continuing on and out of town. They were disappointed that bicyclers can't camp in the City park anymore, and that other facilities are so far off the route, which is where both continental routes cross. Pueblo City can expect an unfavorable call and e-mail expressing their views. They are camped at Pueblo Reservoir campground, about 13 miles farther west and 500 feet higher in elevation. They fought a big head wind from Pueblo to camp. All in all, it was a long and rough day, but thats what you might get when you're riding for adventure.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Hostel in Ordway, CO

Today was a littler warmer, and 60 more miles. That means over 200 of the 2000 miles are behind them. They passed 3 groups of bikers going East; (it validates their own craziness) a couple on a tandem, a young woman alone, and another couple who left from Oregon and are going to Virginia. The Gray-Beards are in Ordway Hostel (yes, Hostel) tonight, at $20 each for a room and a shared bathroom. Sounds like it could be exciting. Its right next to the park, which they decided to pass on (park bathroom pictured). Mel is having great success with his Chocolate Milk revitalization program. (Neil has asked him to please keep his appreciative moaning to himself.) They will get an earlier start tomorrow since they won't be packing up tents and bags. It has been about 9 am by the time they pack up and eat breakfast. They'll look for a bike shop for additional supplies in Pueblo tomorrow night. The bottoms are still tender and tin-ish. No iron-buns yet, but they are still hoping.

They're not in Kansas anymore.

Another 58 miles down the road to Eads, Colorado, and another city park. Word is they visited with a group of ladies from a local rest home and got invited to dinner and hot tubbing there. The next stop will be Ordway, Colorado.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kansas Day 2

42 miles and good weather. More headwind. They visited with a biker going the opposite direction from Astoria; another mid-life crisis? Camped at city park in Tribune Kansas. Another day filled with fields and rolling hills and fields and grain silos. A shower and meal at the truck stop in town finished the day. I have included Mel's e-mail below sent on Tuesday:
"We are in Laoti, Kansas--just had a grape limeade. Life is looking good again. We started two days ago in Ness City, Kansas. We were going to start in Alexander, Kansas (20 miles further east), but they only had 75 people living there--no motel. So we chose to begin where we could find a motel to stay in. Technically we are beginning in the center of the U.S. It was an emotional parting from our wives. After driving hundreds of miles over the route we will take, there was definitely a twinge of doubt in my mind that we could do this. It was easier thinking we could do this back in Salt Lake rather than facing the physical fact. Daunting. Maybe we are as nuts as people were saying to us all along. But we just met an English fellow biking across the U.S. He is taking the traditional route, beginning in Astoria, Oregon. He has come 2300 miles and is ramping it up to 80-100 miles a day because his wife is due to deliver on Nov. 3 in Hampton Court (near Coventry) in England. He is headed for Norfolk, Virginia. He looked like he is packing 240 pounds so maybe I won't come back looking like a Somalian. Of course he said he spends his evenings in pubs. He says Americans are much more open than the Europeans. That has been our experience every day. People along this route are used to the bike people, but they still love to talk with us and see where we are going and what makes us tick. Can't help them there. In our first 5 miles an old farmer stopped us and gave us a $1. Told us to buy a beer. Good people. Said he saw the centennial bike bunch come through in 1976 that started this whole cross country bike riding business. Told us we should have stayed with him and he could have given us a good enough breakfast to last us all the way to Tribune which is our stop tonight. Another 22 miles to go. We had a nice night in the Scott City Park last night. Towns let you do that here. Everyone welcomes us. We had a very refreshing rhubarb slush that we bought from some Mennonites in the park at a small farmer's market. I've got to buy me some Ibuprofin to take away the seat ache. It will take about a week to get what us bikers call the iron butt. Right now mine is a cheap Chinese tin." Mel Bashore


After eons loading gear at DerrICK hotel in Ness City, Kansas (emphasis on the ICK), blast off on highway 96. The city limit was the 1st stop for a photo opportunity and reminder not to exceed the speed limit. Karen and Becky drove about 5 miles to the top of a rolling hill bordered by fields of hops to wait.
They passed us in good shape with more photo ops, and down the road they went. Temperature was nice and cool, but a steady headwind made the 1st day "a grunt". They did about 58 miles and 800 feet elevation, and found the city park in Scott City. After a sorry "farmers market" in the park (only 2 customers) Neil and Mel enjoyed a rhubarb slushy?? and threw up their tents.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Last Minute checks and balances

Beast of Burden

Its Saturday and we're off to Kansas. Neil's BOB (Beast of Burden) weighs 40 lbs. He took a trial ride last night in the dark and was very visible and riding easy. All the lights work and things look good. He's looking good, too, with a black eye to start the trip. (Watch out for my left hook! He needs to take something to remember me by). Actually, Winnie, one of his favorite companions, jumped up when Neil bent down and bumped heads. It makes him look tough. We'll stay in Salida Colorado tonight, and tomorrow night in Ness City, which is where we unload.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A First for the Non-Tech

We are now officially bloggers. Neil is planning on a cross country bicycle trip (1/2 way) and we need to share with everyone. He and his friend Mel Bashore, are beginning the trip on Sept. 15 from Alexander, Kansas, halfway point. They are planning on taking 6 weeks and arriving at San Francisco, California. Originally it was to be across the entire country, but job demands changed the trip to half-way. Right now we are busy collecting equipment and supplies, in the very smallest size to put in the ole' "Bob", a travel trailer for Neils bike. The later start may require more cold weather gear. Everything needs to be as light and small as possible: every ounce adds to the load. The plan is to travel by bicycle, about 70 miles a day; preferably early morning. I will post pictures and action as it occurs.