Day 67+ 68 (August 3rd and 4th 2016) Richland – Baker City OR; 42 miles

Because yesterday was a short day, Sheena and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice breakfast that did not consist of oatmeal. We went to a nice cafe in Richland with one man who did everything – server, cook, and bus boy. He was super busy but made us a delicious breakfast. We set out around 9 am for the ride.

The first 22 miles were great, nice and easy with beautiful views inside the canyon. The second half was a little rougher, but we accomplished it without too much of a sweat. During the ride we kept seeing souped up race cars drive by us, all different kinds. There must’ve been a hundred of them. Now I don’t know too much about cars or racing them, but some of them did not seem like appropriate race cars. Something tells me that a Subaru Forrester is not meant to have racing decals all over it, but what do I know.

Jake decided to make his triumphant return after days away from the group due to major bike issues. I give it one day before his entire bike just completely combusts.

We got into Baker City early and we were able to explore it and have a fun night. Today was a rest day so we slept in and took naps throughout the day. We even went to the movies! We saw Star Trek, a movie I wasn’t too interested in and could barely follow. It was just nice to do an activity other than biking.

There is definitely a sense of excitement to be done with this trip I compare to the feeling of “senioritis”. I know that personally I am more careless with packing and am constantly looking for misplaced things. I am also less worried about the upcoming day’s ride, cause what a hill or two or even a really tough day when in 5 days I’ll be completely done?? Tomorrow is one of those days, we are transversing over the infamous 3 sisters, but eh. We’ve climbed worse!


Day 66 (August 2nd 2016) Cambridge ID – Richland OR; 68 miles

We did it! We made it to our final state! I couldn’t be happier and prouder to say that we all made it in one piece to the last state on the trail. We left Idaho (without seeing one potato the whole time) and entered Oregon via Brownlee Dam. It was beautiful, but yet a tease. While still in ID, we could see Oregon right across the river for miles. Yet when we crossed over the bridge, we were all pretty happy to finally be in its borders.

Oregon didn’t treat Meg too well, with 3 flats it was a rough day. I picked out at least 7 thorns from her tires. Luckily after inspecting mine, I had none. Murph also had a flat, kicking her out of the no flat club. Now its membership is only 2, me and Helena. I have a feeling that my luck will soon run out, likely the last day of the trip.


We are in Hell’s Canyon proper, but it doesn’t seem much different than the last few days. Still hot, still not much in the way of towns or amenities. At the very end of the day we climbed a pretty brutal hill, steep with headwinds. Coming down was terrifying, because not only was it steep with a lot of blind turns, the wind was whipping us all over the road. As per usual, Sheena sped down. I had to take more than one break to cool my brakes. And my nerves.

Tomorrow is a short day, thank God. Much needed after these last few days!

Day 65 (August 1st 2016) Riggins – Cambridge ID; 85 miles

Last night when thinking about today’s ride, I thought it would be much like a log in a failing expedition’s diary. In fact, I thought today’s post would go a lot like this:

“The endless weeks on the trail have caught up to us. We are fatigued beyond comparison and morale is low. Day 2 in hell’s Canyon. Sheena is leading a death march. 35 miles in this god forsaken place without a break. It is hot. Really hot. We almost ran out of water but the friendly natives replenished our reserves. This land is not fit for human habitation. The good in this is that old Bessie is has proven to be a noble and reliable steed in these trying times. While others have fallen, she has stood the test of time. Speaking of time, we are all disoriented. We have no concept of what day it is, let alone what time zone we are in. Idaho has proven to be a worthy adversary. We have yet to find ourselves in need of resorting to cannibalism. If/when we do, Jake will be the first to be sacrificed.”

Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it was a fun distraction when riding today. Since tomorrow we are in the thick of Hell’s Canyon, don’t be surprised if the blog post reads very similar to above.

Shockingly, today wasn’t bad at all! Sure it was hot, but when riding along Hell’s Canyon and street names like “Seven Devils”, what do you expect? There were plenty of hills, but there were also plenty of descents to make up for it. We rode pretty far without breaks, trying to beat the heat.

We crossed the 45th parallel, which I didn’t know was a thing. It apparently is halfway between the equator and the North Pole. The sign denoting it does a fine job at explaining it, as the picture also shows.


We are staying in a city park tonight without showers. We were reassured that the sprinklers weren’t going to be going off tonight, so hopefully we stay unexpected shower free. We talked with a guy, Chris, who rode two TransAm tours before, in addition to other tours as well. He is house/dog sitting for a friend and invited us to use the shower. It was a welcome invitation because of how sweaty we were after the ride. Another trail angel to the rescue!

For most people August denotes the end of summer and isn’t necessarily a positive thing. But this year, August 1st is special. Even before this trip, I knew it was going to be special. It felt so far off and I knew that if I made it to August, I would definitely finish the whole trip. And it’s here! So if nothing horrific happens, in 9 days we’ll all be done this epic adventure.

Day 64 (July 31st 2016) Kooskia – Riggins ID; 90+ miles

I wrote a really nice post, but it got deleted because Idaho hates reliable internet connections. So here are some bullet notes:

Felt like Kentucky, steepest hill we’ve encountered since.

The second climb of the day gave way to 10 miles of hairpin turns without a guardrail to protect us from flying off the cliff. Sheena loved it, me not so much.


Really hot, we have entered the mouth of hell’s Canyon, greeted by the locals with “how’s Hell treating you?”


Last 20 miles were defeating, but we luckily rode with a group of transammers (including a father and 13 year old daughter tandem duo) who kept us going at a good 18 mph avg.


Prepared for my eventual Survivor debut by bathing in the river.

Apparently we have time traveled, because we are back on Mountain time. Idaho is confusing and it makes no sense.


Arlen, an ACA tour director visited us last night. It was nice to meet him and he warned that these last few days tend to be the most dangerous, with the most hospitalizations due to fatigue and excitement to be done = carelessness.

Sleeping next to the salmon River tonight, looking forward to falling asleep to its peaceful flow. Except the wind is absolutely ridiculous.


Sheena’s corner makes a triumphant return!
So the last few days have felt like an emotional roller coaster and maybe a physical one after today. It seems that every time I am feeling completely over this trip, something really great happens and lifts my spirit. So I’m just going to touch on some of those awesome moments.

On top of Lolo pass a couple of days ago I had the pleasure of meeting these great guys. One of them, Sam, was from Baltimore and went to Calvert hall back in the day. It was so wonderful chatting with someone from home. He served 3 tours with the Marines in Vietnam and told me all about his time. Sam and his buddy were hilarious and completely changed my mood and entire day.

Then today turned out to be one of my favorite days, despite how long and hellish it was. The ridiculously long steep climb in the beginning turned out to be totally worth it. That descent was beautiful and so much fun. After that, Em and I were feeling rough and out of nowhere a few other random tourers showed up and changed our mood right around. We ended up crushing the last 30 miles with them.

Fun fact: “Highway to Hell” played on my mix today. Very appropriate. Today was rough and tomorrow we ride through Hell’s Canyon. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t go beyond 100°F.


HEHE Found the original post!

This morning felt like deja vu. I could’ve sworn we were transported back into Kentucky. We hiked up 2 steep hills, one the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Appalachians. We went down one descent that was, to me, really terrifying. It was a steep grade with hairpin turns without guardrails. Sheena, in her usual fashion, sped down like like a crazy person. Every time I went past a curve, I peaked over the edge to make sure she didn’t fly off the cliff. This went on for 10 miles. The rest of the morning was rolling hills surrounded by farms, just like good old KY.

After the morning and some quality breaks, we hit the heat. We have entered the appropriately named Hell’s Canyon, greeted by locals with the phrase “how are you all enjoying Hell?”. It’s lovely. After nearly letting the heat bring us down, we met up with a group of transammers going the same way as us. We stuck with them for the last 20 miles, averaging an impressive 18 mph. We stopped at a local fruit stand for a break and delicious pie. The group we rode with consists of 6 people who just happened to be leaving From VA the same day. They stuck together for the most part. Two of the riders is a father daughter tandem bike, the daughter is only 13 years old. The father does the TransAm with all his kids, with the exception of one who didn’t want to. Kids these days. They were really fun to ride with and were a needed motivation to carry on with the ride.

We are staying right by the Salmon River tonight and it’s gorgeous. We took baths in it and I look forward to sleeping to its soothing flow. Except the wind is crazy, hopefully the tent doesn’t fly away!

Day 63 (July 30th 2016) Powell – Kooskia ID; 90 miles

Usually when the elevation map says that a ride is “all downhill”, it hardly ever is. However, today’s ride proved to be an exception. Besides the very rare gradual uphill, it was all down. The scenery was once again beautiful, however, it was also quite redundant. After a while, you start to get bored of constant dense forest without any towns in between. Crazy as it may sound, it’s true. A rider we’ve ran into a number of times said it best when he described it as being “saturated”. We’ve seen beautiful parts of the country, and now we’re on sensory overload. Things we’d consider absolutely stunning in our routine day to day lives is now just “eh”. A good long break from the bike (in only 11 days, but who’s counting) I’m sure will cure us of these feelings.


11 miles into today’s ride we stopped at Jerry Johnson’s warm springs for a dip. It was a mile walk to and from the springs, which was worth it because they were pretty cool. We stayed only a little bit because the thought of having another 80 miles to ride was daunting.

Tomorrow we have a shorter day, however, there are a few climbs that look challenging.


Day 62 (July 29th 2016) Missoula MT – Powell ID 60 miles

2 months in and less than 2 weeks until this journey is complete. Today was an easy day, and a beautiful one as well. We had to back track 13 miles from Missoula to get back onto route (Missoula is an optional stop on the TransAm), which at first was frustrating, but it flew by. We had a gradual climb with a steep few last miles that ended in Idaho. We spent another good chunk of time in the visitor center, where we met two older gentlemen from Portland. They gave us recommendations on places to go/things to see in the city as well as how beautiful the rest of our ride will be. They said that the huge trees that surround us now are “toothpicks compared to the trees you’ll see in OR. I can brush my teeth with these trees!”.

The last 13 miles flew by, mainly because they were all downhill. The last bit of the ride was gorgeous, we were following a river and surrounded by brilliantly green trees. The smell was overwhelmingly fresh. We stopped for a little to take a refreshing dunk in the river to cool off. The cold temperatures we experienced in CO and WY are over now that we’re back in lower elevation. So now it’s just the scenery that gives me chills.

The town of Powell is a small one and we’re staying on the lawn of a lodge. We got dinner and drinks there and we were able to relax cell phone free when we got in. The huckleberry sangria was delicious.

We have a long mileage day tomorrow, but from what I’ve been told, it’s “all downhill”. I’ll believe it when I see it! As long as the scenery stays as beautiful as it has been, I know I’ll be distracted even if it’s not all downhill.