Woke up ready and raring for the days ride and headed into town to the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) head office.

Day 75

Ride Data

On route we stopped to get some essentials at Super Foods and as we left Andy ‘s front derailleur snapped, darn it….!

We carried on to the ACA regardless and decided to go to find a bike shop after. When we arrived the friendly team greeted us showed us round and took our picture for this years wall of fame.

We also spotted loads of fellow tourers we had met along the route, including this cheeky chap.

They pointed us in the direction of Hellgate Cyclery to sort Andy’s bike out. Fortunately this mechanic new what he was on about and said he would get it fixed ASAP however on closer inspection it turned out the whole drivetrain was knackered.  So this posed a problem with time it looked like we would need to stay another night in Missouri while new chainrings, cassette, chain & front derailleur were fitted on to Andy’s bike. This helpful fellow turned it around quickly.

The ACA provides cyclists with a lovely spot to chill and organised with complimentary ice creams and soft drinks, so we obviously headed back there to review the plan. When we rocked up a chap called Greg greeted us at the door, turned out he was a founding member of the ACA. He had not only ridden but planned the route of the original 76 ride! We got chatting and it transpired that since the early eighties Greg has been documenting a selection of cyclist that passed through the headquarters and offered us to join this elite band. This involved writing a blurb about ourselves, getting the bikes weighed and having the all important black and white portrait taken. Turns out mine weighs in at 37kg, that’s one more the Andy’s.

We are really looking forward to hopefully seeing the pics after the summer and maybe in a copy of Adventure Cycling Magazine. We managed to get another warm showers sorted pretty quickly and headed there without delay.

When we arrived we were greeted by Bruce and Ben (his son) and a host of interesting characters. His house was huge and they had a very laid back approach to hosting cyclist, quoted, if you stay more than a month we will start charging you. We were fortunate to get a double mattress in the living which meant no set up of the tent, whoop. The night was passed with playing some cards and talking to the other cyclists. Got some great tips and advice off a couple from Kentucky who did the Pacific coast route last year. We also took advantage of the opportunity to have a warm coco before bed.

Day 76

Ride Data

We headed to the ACA again to check if Andy’s battery had arrived. We had previously bought a power monkey explorer external battery in order to charge all of our electronics. Since Kansas this has ceased to worked and after contacting Power Monkey via Twitter they were extremely helpful and organised for a replacement to be sent out straight away. Unfortunately it hadn’t arrived and we weren’t waiting around for another day so ACA assured us they would send it on to Eugene for us.

We also got to meet the person behind @acaroutes which was great fun to put the face to the name.

We headed South, for the first time since joining the Trans Am, out of Missouri towards Lolo. We were expecting the first 10miles to be busy and it didn’t disappoint. The traffic was hectic, but luckily there was a good sized shoulder. As soon as we entered highway 12 the traffic disappeared and we started our 30 mile ascent to Lolo pass/Idaho boarder.

This turned out to be a gradual climb which proved to be no problem at all.

It also led to what both me and Andy agreed to be the best road of the trip thus far. The scenery and pine scent made for a memorable day.

Our lunch stop was at this saloon.

On route we were leap frogging three tourers doing the Lewis and Clark trail.

We stopped at Powell and camped out at the back of the store for free, which was very lucky. Since the purchase of the new roll mats and Andy bike maintenance we had run out of money and were waiting for our cash to clear. We had peanut butter and jam (standard) and $8 to buy dinner. We purchased a dubious tin of chicken, sweet corn and crisps (the store was pretty limited), though this made for a lovely little picnic.

Day 77

Ride Data

After our money clearing during the night we got sucked into the beautiful lodge for a epic breakfast. While I just ate a normal sized portion of porridge.

Andy consumed a cheese vegetable omelette, 4 pieces of toast, 4 coffees, 2 huge pancakes with syrup then finished my leftover porridge by smearing it over his final pancake. This was to ensure we didnt have another episode of the hungry monster…!

I think goldilocks had a gun in this story…

We finally got going at 11am only go be reminded that the clocks had changed to pacific coast time so it was actually only 10am, result. I rolled Andy out of the lodge and on to his bike. We were preparing for 66 miles of no services the longest of gap of our route. To counteract this we shall be following a river all the way and be slowly descending through Lolo pass. This ride was official my favorite road of the trip. Not just because it was 66miles of downhill (though that helped) but the views were magnificent and the river was so clear and enchanting there was even secluded sandy beaches.

We stumbled on this bridge which turned out to be a catwalk.

This was our idyllic lunch spot after our hike. It was baking so I was very relieved to submerge myself in the cool clean river water.

The day was so enjoyable we decided to push on for a 90+mile day. This might have not been the best idea since we arrived tired and warm to Sites. Luckily there was a hidden jem of a restaurant, here we demolished everything we ordered in record time. We were discussing with the waitress where to stay and the chef (Steve) kindly offered for us to shower at his. We took him up on his offer and headed back to his to meet his partner mouse and beautiful daughter. Unfortunately we were shattered after a long day and couldn’t stay up to ‘chat’ since we know how much each day takes out of us and sleep is needed.

Day 78

That morning was an early start and swift pack up due to someone needing the toilet. We headed towards town to the store that opened supposedly at 5am daily (BS). We carried on down the road scanning for any sign of life. In the distance a friendly local gave us a wave so I beckoned him over and asked if we could use his facilities. Fortunately he agreed and we headed onto the farm. As I entered the building a pit bull started barking and scrambling towards me they calmed him down as I slipped into the bathroom. We chatted with the owner about her horses and of course ‘our’ new prince (again). FYI the horse in the photo is for sale if you are interested.

At our first rest stop of the day I finally saw a moose, unfortunately it was mounted.

Managed to get a log truck snap!!

We had lunch in the town of Grangeville which to our surprise had both a health food shop and an excellent coffee house where we had our lunch. We met an interested lady who not only had an English nephew who had biked across Canada, but had friends in Arundel and her dad had graduated from Cambridge Uni, small world.

After lunch we headed out on the 95 which was full of heavy traffic so when we turned on to the old 95/cyclists  playground we were delighted. I think we found the cause for the new road (overturned cement truck)

The switch backs were endless and after 10miles we reached the top and was rewarded with this.

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was nothing like we had ever seen, just awesome!

To follow this we had our own private race track with banked switch backs and only sunflowers to cheering us on.

We headed toasted and tired to a Good Sam’s RV park past White Bird. Only to find out we were being stung for $20 to pitch a tent as there was 2 of us, but we sucked it up and ended up coughing up. We did however take advantage of camping by a river and jumped/fell in to cool off. We also meet a lovely lady who came to give us some lettuce which was great since we didnt have any fresh produce for dinner. She also informed us there was a fruit and veg stall a couple of miles down the road, so that’s breakfast sorted.

Day 79

So we set out in search of local produce to find it was 22miles down the road. I guess it’s harder to judge in a car… When we arrived there was free tasters that me and Andy took no time in inhaling. After many samples we decided on a juice peach each. Mine was delicious and full of flavour. Andy’s was tasty but full of bugs, yuk!!

We pushed on to Riggins across this brand new bridge.

From a distance we saw yellow panniers, a black helmet and beard and thought it was Irish Gary. As we got closer we met Bradford. He was a chilled and genuine fellow that kindly gave us some inside knowledge on alternative routes and a map, what a good chap!!

After a very average lunch we left disappointed in a foul mood. This was only to be lifted by this local legend.

He stuck his finger out of the truck and called us over. He then went on to tell us ‘you look in need of some local fruit and veg’. We then went to reply ‘yes we are’ as he passed us some tomatoes, peaches and a marrow of some form (tasted delicious raw). This gave us a new lease of organic energy.

We then found another natural beauty in this roadside waterfall.

As we continued up the canyon the head wind and heat picked up. We stopped for a cold drink and were told to go and relax in the shade of owners garden. The last 8 miles on the flat was tough. To make mattered worse Andy got stung by a ‘huge’ ‘ninja’ ‘killer’ wasp!

We had a warm showers booked for the evening, but with another time zone change we looked to be a tad late. Luckily Don and Mary were extremely welcoming and understanding. This is a must stay for other tourers their laid back approach is just what is needed after a long days ride. The company was great and food fantastic. Don was retired, but had a business as a ‘bike medic’ and was a keen cyclist.

Mary had just started cycling and had a great sense of humour with a infectious laugh. Both were a hoot and we wish them well with there own charity adventure down the Oregon coast to raise money for Arthritis foundation. Click here to donate.

Day 80

We had a very lazy morning due to a ridiculously comfy bed and good chats over breakfast with Don and Mary. Don gave Andy a great tip to clean chains which was to use coffee filters instead of a rag, made his day!! He also worked his magic on my squeaky bike and found out it was just dirty, whoops.

That morning we notice something unusual in a timber mill, they were watering dead trees, crazy people.

Finally set off for the first 25miles towards council and stumbled on a bluegrass music festival.

Before you new it we had spread our blanket and laid the picnic out. The afternoon was spent chilling in front off three awesome bands.

We also got to try some all American homemade lemonade and yes it was worthy of the hype.

We reluctantly packed up and set off for the short 25miles to Cambridge. Could this day get any better??

Yes it could!!

We headed to our camping spot for the night at the water tower park. When we arrived we were greeted by Patty and Cody. Patty kindly invited us to come and sit with them in the shade and share their dinner. As soon as we sat down we were poured a glass of Colombian Cabinet Sauvignon and the tastiest cheese (best of the trip). It transpired that it was Patty 50th birthday and they were off white water rafting the following day. They unfortunately had to go to a meeting and thoughtfully left us with their luxurious leftovers. As if that wasn’t enough they then offered for us to come and take a shower at their motel room. This turned out to be a great evening and we stayed and chatted for a while before heading back to set up.

We decided to sleep out under the water tower and the stars since the temperature had risen after coming down from the mountains.