Hello to you all! Pat and I are in the final weeks of preparing for our cross-country bicycle adventure and I am over the top, excited. We have opted to begin in Seattle and head east, cycling on all the completed sections of the Great American Rail Trail interspersed with 1900 miles of roads. Late, last summer we purchased gravel bicycles, added clip in pedals (which we are still getting used to) and now have in our possession a lightweight tent, self-inflating sleeping pads (that require plenty of our inflation) and waterproof panniers. Pat is carrying more than I am, but he has a 2X drive train compared to my 1X drive train.
For entertainment recently, we decided to see if we could really put up the tent and inflate and deflate the sleeping pads -the last time we practiced doing so was in early winter. Our dogs were not amused, and I readily admit we did call our local REI store because the whoosh of air we expected to hear was non- existent.
As our route across the USA continues to unfold, the trickiest section is Montana. After Missoula, there are no rail trail sections, meaning about 13 days to cross the state on a variety of roads, some with wide shoulders, some without any shoulders and some roads with rumble strips on the shoulders. We have decided against cycling on the interstate (totally legal in MT) opting for scenic byways and climbing over the Continental Divide at the MacDonald Pass (but of course, this could change).
Our present daily training ride consists of a 10-mile loop, that has flat sections, several downhills and then ends with a two-and-a-half-mile climb with decent grades up the East Warren Road in Waitsfield. And yes, we are doing so with stuffed panniers, blinking lights and hydration packs. We have train tickets to Seattle (because Amtrak was offering special rates a few weeks ago) and will be spending three days riding the rails and living in a roomette. We will see the countryside twice, first from behind the Empire Builder’s windows and then from our snazzy tinted sunglasses. Stay tuned for more from Two Slowpokes on Spokes.