PAC Tour Day 3: Winthrop, WA to Coulee Dam, WA

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Route: Winthrop, WA to Coulee Dam, WA
Temp at start: 52
Temp at finish: 82
Interesting animals seen: More sheep, several deer, and Big Foot.
Strava file: PAC Tour Day 3

As day 2 ended, the group was told that a road in our original route to Coulee Dam was closed. Thus, a re-route was in short order. Fortunately, a new route was available 4 miles shorter than the original route. However, the new route took us through an additional pass and 2600 additional feet of climbing.

One of my weaknesses in cycling is climbing. With my training in the Vicksburg Military Park, I felt I was able to ride steep rolling grades pretty easy. In Mississippi, we are hard pressed to find anything to climb longer than just over a mile. So, training for sustained climbs is very difficult for me.

Surprisingly, the 10 mile climb up Loup Loup Pass was not as difficult as I imagined. Two things I learned were that I don’t like climbing in a paceline as everyone has a different climbing style. The second is that you must adjust your body position on the bike regularly. To remedy some of the discomfort of the long climb, I started standing for .1-.2 miles every .5 miles. It sure helped tick the time away. Although, I am not a fast climber, I found that I was able to climb both of the days passes without much trouble.

Here I am at the summit of Loup Loup Pass - elevation 4,020 ft

Here I am at the summit of Loup Loup Pass – elevation 4,020 ft

The terrain started changing from the more forested area west of the Cascades to the more barrenness east of the Cascades. One of the things I love most about riding my bike across the US is seeing how the countryside changes with each pedal stroke. One minute we are riding through our majestic purple mountains and the next we are cycling by amber waves of grain.  It is breath taking!

View of the Cascades - our purple mountains majesty.

View of the Cascades.



Forested area just east of the Cascades. Can you see Big Foot?


View of the Columbia River just before we arrived at the Coulee Dam.

View of the Columbia River just before we arrived at the Coulee Dam.


Amber waves of grain. This picture was taken on Day 4 heading to Spokane.

Amber waves of grain. This picture was taken on Day 4 heading to Spokane.


Another Day 4 photo showing the different terrain.

Another Day 4 photo showing the different terrain.

Tomorrow we will be riding to Sand Point, Idaho – our first state line crossing. In future blogs I will detail a little about crewing but we are so busy on our crew days it is hard to find time to sit down.

PAC Tour Day 1: Bike Everett WA to Sedro Woolley WA

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Route: Everett, WA to Sedro Woolley, WA
Temp at start: 55
Temp at finish: 90
Interesting animals seen: Woolly long-haired sheep
Interesting birds seen/heard: Goldfinch and Cedar-waxwings
Strava file: PAC Tour Day 1

Today (Sunday July 17) was the official first day of our ride across the United States. I have had my fingers crossed for weeks that my first ride day would be today as the route was similar to climbing 100 miles in the Vicksburg Military Park. As there were no sustained climbs (like tomorrow’s climb over the Cascade Mountains), I felt as if I was better prepared for a ride with lots of hills as compared to one with one ginormous hill.

Lucky me! I got to ride today and will be riding all of the odd days and will crew the even days.

Todays’ ride took us from Everett to Whidbey Island. To reach the island we had to take a ferry to cross the Puget Sound.


Cyclists boarding the Whidbey Island Ferry

After the ferry ride we had a fairly hilly ride heading north on the island. As I was trying to stay in a paceline, I did not take many pictures, but here are a few:

First barn of the Transcon

First barn of the Transcon


View from the bridge of Deception Pass


Jack from CO and me at Deception Pass


Bridge over Deception Pass

Jack (CO) and Bob (NC) and I at our inn for the night after the ride. I was the navigator and they were the engines that pulled me through the day!

Jack (CO) and Bob (NC) and I at our inn for the night after the ride. I was the navigator and they were the engines that pulled me through the day!

It was an awesome day with awesome new friends! I finished strong and am pleased that my training paid off!

Tomorrow will be my first day of crewing a full breakfast and lunch. I am in charge of the hot water for tea and toasting bread and bagels at breakfast. My lunch duties will be too numerous to count, but I know we are having PAC Tour’s ultimate lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches!

The riders will have a long hard day in the saddle as they are heading 128 miles to Winthrop, WA. To get there, they will climb approximately 100 miles across the Cascade Mountains.

Thank You Friends!

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Hey Y’all!

It’s been a while since I have blogged and I want to go ahead and keep a record of my current adventure.


This past Thursday, I left the sultry heat of Mississippi to crew a Northern Transcontinental bike ride from Everett, Washington to Boston, Massachusetts.

The company I am traveling with, PAC Tour, is the same company I rode across the United States with in 2010, as well as, the company that holds the tours I attend out of Tucson each spring. PAC Tour specializes in long distance bike tours for cyclists that enjoy riding lots of miles every day.

As a crew member for PAC Tour I will work a day and ride a day. Thus, I will be riding approximately 114 miles across the US every other day. I am very excited about starting my second transcon. I couldn’t have done it without many of you!

Thank you, Frank Jarmin! For several years you attempted to talk me into riding RAGBRAI (a bike ride across IOWA). I had not been in the mood to train for a bike ride until I signed up for the week biking and camping in the corn. It was during this week that my passion for bike touring was rekindled and I decided I wanted to ride across the US again.

Thank you Germantown and JMC cyclists! I have ridden many miles of bike rides with you. You have helped me more than you will ever know – especially with my paceline technique! Having friends to ride with and a club that sponsors rides with rest stops has made it easier for me to train.

Thank you, Marsha Shaw, Marilyn Beach, Danny Husbands, Dale and Sarah Lea Anglin, Rebecca Walley and Alice Howell. You have been a part of many of my hardest, longest, hilliest, hottest, and fastest rides. I would not be as prepared for my trip had it not been for each of you. I value our friendship and riding time together. Thank you Marsha Shaw for being willing to ride anytime, anywhere, for being my major training partner, my security blanket and my “wheel” to suck when I needed relief from the wind or hills. I definitely would not have been as prepared for this ride as I am without you.

And finally, thanks to my wonderful husband, David for loving me enough to let me take a month to go ride my bike across our wonderful nation again. Thank you for putting up with all my antics when you could have easily married a nice demure (and boring) women and been spared watching all of my crazy adventures. I love you and appreciate all you do for me!

Today was a work day for all of the crew. I was only able to take this one picture of our route map and information board:

Pac tour day 0 map

Tomorrow we will leave Everett, Washington and head west to Whidbey Island, Washington and then head north to Sedro Woolley, Washington. Fortunately for me, it is my ride day and I am looking forward to a day that will be similar in nature to riding 100 miles in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Thanks again to all of you who have made my journey to the beginning of my northern transcontinental easier!



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