Reliving Our Adventure
June 6-10, 2014
“Coast to Coast on a Tandem”
This past week, in 2014, we were 500 miles into our, first, adventure of a lifetime, a 4,362-mile, 72-day unsupported tandem bicycle ride across the Northern Tier of the United States. To celebrate the 6th anniversary of this amazing experience, we invite you to join us as we relive the adventure by reading our book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem,” and following the blog posts, complete with pictures and videos, from the trip. (This week’s post has a great GoPro video of us descending a mountain pass along a cascading stream at 45 mph!) To help keep you on track, we will repost our blogs from each week on Thursdays and share our thoughts. Feel free to check our previous blogs if you missed them or jump ahead if you just cannot wait to find out what happens next. We hope you enjoy the ride!
My overall impression from rereading our blog posts is that they were raw. We did not realize it at the time, but we were expending a tremendous amount of energy every day simply moving ourselves, and our fully loaded tandem (approx. 55 pounds of gear), from point A to point B. After bicycling all day, making camp, cooking dinner, showering, doing laundry, etc. we had little time or energy left to capture the past 14 or so hours. Understandably, the blogs have plenty of grammatical errors and, in retrospect, much of the detail is missing. For instance, on Day 6 the blog reads in part, “(The) First part of ride was over some small mountains just outside of Colville (WA). They were not bad to climb but the downhill was pretty intense with a couple of hairpin turns.” This was a complete understatement and Tracy describes it much better in the book (“Coast to Coast on a Tandem”).
… The downhill is steep, the road is narrow and twisty. It is a technical descent with two fifteen miles-per-hour hairpin turns. Now remember, I have little control over our speed and just need to lean the way Peter does. But, of course, I am able to see the hairpin turn warning signs, and I feel we were going way too fast to make the corner and should slow down. We take the first corner at thirty miles per hour. Peter uses the maneuverability of the bike to negotiate the curve faster than a car can. He sets us up for the left-hand curve on the far right side of our lane, dives to the inside as we enter the corner, then drifts to the right side of the lane again. We make it through just fine.
However, as Peter sets us up for the second turn, again at thirty miles per hour, an RV comes around the corner in the opposite direction and we have to swing the corner much tighter than expected. My natural impulse is to sit up when I get scared, because I know that will slow us down. But this time I have to override that impulse, and with Peter yelling “Lean! Lean! Lean!” we make it through the corner.
Once we get through the corner, I ask Peter to stop so I can quit shaking and yell at him to never do that again. He apologizes and promises he will not try a fifteen-mile-per-hour hairpin turn at thirty miles per hour again. He’d better not.”
We are glad we have both the blogs and the book to relive this amazing adventure. We hope you are enjoying the ride!