Friday, June 17, 2011

Flat Tires

I am not a big fan of flat tires! But before we get to that, I have to catch you up.  Two days ago we left the beautiful town of Wenatchee and biked through the Columbia River Valley with a severe head wind.  Twenty or so miles later, we climbed out of the canyon.  I researched how high this climb would be and it said it went up 1000 feet.  Oh, how I was terribly misinformed! We ended up climbing 2000 ft at a 7% grade.  It was so painful especially after Stevens Pass, the day before, we only climbed 3000 ft.  Well anyway, When we got to the top there wasn't too much downhill.  For 70 miles, it was just rolling farmland which killed my legs.  BUT WE FOUND WILBUR! we may have crawled in our hands and knees but we made that 98 miles! Yeah, I felt pretty much like a pro after that. 

And then came the next day, yesterday.  We biked from Wilbur to Spokane.  It was supposed to be a nice 66 mile recovery day.  I learned very quickly that things never go to plan.  10 miles into the monotonous farmland, I drove right over a nail.  My biking buddy missed me yelling but luckily the guy behind me stopped and helped me replace the tire.  We filled up the spare tube I had on my bike in about 10 minutes, just to find that it had a hole too! By now, the sweepers (that's what we call the two people in the back that never pass anyone and make sure everyone is alright) had stopped and given me another tube which would allow me to most likely get back to the van (we stop every 20 miles to get a snack and rest a wee bit) so that they could check on it.  Well the van had gone 24 miles so I high tailed it over those remaining 14 miles trying to catch up.  The van sent me on my way after pumping up my tire to it's designated PSI.  Six miles into my trip I hear, "popppppheeeeeeeeeeeeeewww".  ANOTHER FLAT.  By now, I am just ready to quit.  It just wasn't my day.  I still have 40 miles to go and I am probably 30 minutes behind everybody.  I walked a mile before the van eventually caught up to me and replaced my entire tire this time.  And with a quick "thank you very much" I was off to the races because I was determined to catch back up to my partner (keep in mind I am probably like 45 minutes behind that group.) Averaging 25 MPH, I eventually caught the very back end of the last group who had just left the second 20-mile stop.  I went flying past the stop without slowing down, zoomed right past the group with a few quick hellos, and kept trekking.  I wasn't even letting hills slow me down.  I would sprint up them like I owned them.  Well I never did catch my group, but I pulled into the Salvation Army only 10-15 minutes behind them.  What a day!

Once we got to Spokane, I showed some of my friends around the Spokane Riverfront Park and obviously took them on the wagon slide.  Can't pass that up!  We even had a little Zips to acquaint them to the NW.  oh oh, and get this, we went to Dutch Brothers because I told them it was one of my favorite places ever and they came through for me.  We told them about our trip and they gave us all free drinks and even advertised our flyer in their window.  Ok where was I? I started thinking about that smoothie again, ummmm oh yeah then we had dinner at the Salvation Army.  We got to sit down with all the homeless / impoverished families and hear their stories.  One family had a daughter that was going into 6th grade who had brought her best friend to sleepover tonight at their house.  They were the cutest things ever! To my friends disappointment, and to my approval, both girls loved math and hated English class (She is an English teacher).  It was interesting getting to share dinner with them and seeing how all of them get their food.  I didn't eat much because we have 90 miles again tomorrow and the food wasn't really the best quality for my stomach but I did eat a little just to be able to relate with their experiences.  It was hard to see some of their situations.  Most had kids, some had disabilities, some had no jobs.  We felt very out of place because we all have it so well off, it felt like we were taking food from people that needed it. 

Last night the Salvation Army gave us cots to sleep on and I slept like a baby! So much so, that I woke up at 4:45 to write this because I felt so well-rested.  Today we have our last day before our weekend break.  We are biking from Spokane to Kellogg Idaho.  It will be another 90 or so miles through rain and storms.  We will have completed our first state today.  It's tough to say goodbye to Washington but I'll have to try.  Speaking of which, I am still only 500 dollars short of getting to Denver.  I have also opened the door up to go as far as my donations get me.  Let that be Salt Lake City or Washington DC.  But I still need your help.  These houses we are building for this organization tomorrow go to people like the families we visited today in Salvation Army.  People desperately need houses! It may rain on us for a few minutes and it may be cold for a couple hours, but some people go without shelter for days, months, years! And internationally, in countries like Sri Lanka, Haiti, Armenia, we build houses for people who have had everything but their lives destroyed! There's a lot more that goes into and if you want more info you can go to .  If you would like to donate to me just so that I can help out with this group a little longer you can go to Fuller Center Scottie and place my name in the ride you would like to support.  Thanks once again to all of you have got me this far and gave me this experience. 

Talk to you at the next stop (with wi-fi)