Tuesday, May 31, 2016

First 37 Miles!

Bill picked up his bike from REI this morning. This time, we put fenders on it.
During the first trip 27 years ago, the bike didn't have fenders and he sported a mud stripe up his back more than once. It was impossible to get all the way out and the shirts he wore had a shadow of the road grime for years afterward. We added a bag on the back too so he can bring snacks and an extra water bottle with him.
After having multiple flats in Tennessee during his training, he bought some kevlar tires called Gators; so those went on too.
The last thing was a mount for his cell phone so he could use the GPS feature to find his way around.
Helmet on, riding shoes tied, bike shorts,Twice Across America shirt and gloves on, and away he went!
I went to the laundry area in the RV park and got sticker shock washing and drying three loads of laundry....$11.00! But I want to make sure we don't run out of clean underwear! LOL! I was just finishing up when Bill came rolling up after several hours. He started at Pier 59 just like we did 27 years ago. He used the bike path through most of Seattle, but hit some wet dirt and moss and laid the bike down. He scuffed up his leg
and thumb and scraped his brand new snack bag.
The long sleeves protected his arms and the bike was undamaged except for a lost handlebar cap. But he still had a smile
and we look forward to continuing the trip hopefully on Thursday. There is a tentative meeting with the police commissioner tomorrow and the oil change is scheduled then too. Hope we can fit both of them in! Bill put up his Garmin info on our Facebook page, Twice Across America where you can see how fast and far he went on the two trips he did today. Thank-you for reading!

Seattle, Washington!

Had some excitement last night around Skykomish. We had just passed the town when we realized we had quite a line behind us. We have to go slow down mountains or it could turn into something a little too exciting! LOL! There are plenty of pull offs on the side of the road for slower traffic to pull over to let people pass and we did that on three separate occasions. Each time, the cars and trucks rocketed past us. A few minutes later, cars were at a standstill ahead of us. An ambulance raced by and we stayed in line for a little while. We were down to an 1/8th of a tank of gas so turned around and went back to Skykomish to fill up and wait out the traffic situation. We pulled into a parking lot and made some supper and watched the cars still parked on the road. We saw a second ambulance go by and the cars still didn't move. Someone told us about a state park back up the road so we headed there. It was rainy and wet with lots of moss on the trees and large ferns growing beneath the trees.
I was concerned about our tanks, but there really wasn't much choice. We badly needed water, so searched through the camper for something to use to pour water into the tank. We would have used the hose, but the public water faucet didn't have threads to fasten the hose to. Dishpans to the rescue! As we worked, we met some nice people who were happy to hear about the upcoming bicycle trip. Jerry and Judy offered us 6 gallons of water they carried "just in case" and he helped Bill pour it in while I talked to Judy. They were helpful and kind to us and we were greatly encouraged by them. Another lady came by and showed us a picture of the accident that had happened just a few miles from where we had stopped in the line of cars. The vehicle was burned beyond recognition and the man lost his life. Please pray for his family. We talked to the gentleman who ran the park and he showed us a spot we could park in.
There were only spots available because of the rain...people had left early. It was quiet with a stream running behind us but the accident was still on our minds and we didn't sleep well. We woke up at 5:30 AM and just decided to pack up and go and were out by 6:15. We drove on toward Seattle
and stopped just outside the city at Issaquah Village RV Park later this morning. Bill dropped his bike off at REI to get his tires put on as well as fenders. They will check it over and set everything to rights. He put over 1000 miles on it during his training so we wanted to make sure everything was in order. Tomorrow we will be contacting the Police Commissioner so we can give her the coin from Boston and get one to give the Chief in Boston in return. Today Bill washed the truck and camper and did the housekeeping while I caught up three days of blog work. Oil change, laundry, and hopefully we will be on our way on Wednesday or Thursday. Be watching our Facebook page, Twice Across America, the Thank-You Tour to watch Bill's progress each day. Also, watch for a video on Facebook telling you about a fun way you can participate in the Thank-You Tour.  Thank-you for reading.

P.S. We learned this morning that the accident was a five car pileup with others injured. We came very close.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Spokane, Washington to Issaquah, Washington May 29th

I haven't had access to the internet for a couple of days, so am playing catch-up; so here goes....

May 29th, 2016

Last night was proof that we can boondock! Okay, I know that there may be some of you wondering what on earth that is so...it's spending the night in your camper at a truck stop or Walmart parking lot without power or water. We have the ability to carry enough water for about 2 days and have a fridge, cooktop, and furnace that run on propane. You get creative by toasting your bagels in a frypan or boiling water in a pan to make tea. We spent last night in a truck stop as the campgrounds have been few and far between. It turned out to be a bit noisy....but free! We'll try a Walmart next time. After breakfast, we headed over to Walmart which wasn't very far actually for a few supplies. We picked up what we needed and started back to the camper. As we walked through the parking lot, we saw a couple getting out of a beautiful black and red pickup with gold striping. Bill asked if it was a firefighters truck and they both said, "Yes!" We thanked them and had a whole conversation. Chief Metzger gave us a coin
and we gave him one of ours. He then gave us a coin that had been engraved with his name.
The chief wanted us to contact him on the way back and gave us cards with his numbers.
God surely directed our meeting. We could have walked through a different part of the parking lot or lingered longer picking out cottage cheese, but the timing was just right. Bill was literally pushing the cart in front of their truck when they shut off the engine. We started off once again. The grain fields go off in all directions as far as the eye can see. I shot a short video just west of Spokane to try to show you how great an expanse this is. And this goes on for miles! I'll put the video on our Facebook page, Twice Across America. Stopped at a pull off with a nice view and I cooked up some spaghetti and Bill sliced up the bread. I brought out our crochet placemats from home and we ate off our blue metal camping plates. And of course, the company was perfect. ;) As we came into East Wenatchee, we noticed fields of cherry trees. We stopped at Lisa Bee's
and bought a bag of cherries that she and her children had picked the day before. We learned that it was primarily apples that used to be grown here but with so many apples being imported, orchards were torn up and cherry trees were planted in their place. Lisa has a very nice place here and has quite a variety of items available. Oh my! Best cherries ever! We are nibbling them as we drive. These are the freshest cherries we have ever had. Further down the road was the town of Leavenworth. 27 years ago it was a small Bavarian village. Today it had greatly increased in size and even the local McDonald's was decked out in Bavarian painted designs. With the high mountains surrounding it, it felt like an alpine village.
Since it's Memorial Day weekend, it was jammed with people so I will try to get more pictures when we drive back through. The little town of Douglas came into view and we took pictures of the same things we saw 27 years ago. How time had flown. Then:
and now:
The General Store was still there, but now it was a private residence. I was able to get a picture of it though to compare with the old one. Then:
and now:
And I just couldn't resist this one.
The hamburgers smelled delicious but we kept moving. Stevens Pass is next....46 degrees and I wore a sleeveless shirt today! LOL! Time to break out the sweatshirt! We're at 3600 feet and there is snow higher up. The downhill side is kinda scary!
Nothing like going downhill for 7 miles! We started for Skykomish to try to find a place to spend the night and ended up at a State Park boondocking again! There is a whole story to that, will tell you about it in the next post. Thank-you for reading!

Help us continue to say "Thank-you" to our officers, firefighters, and military at

Butte, Montana to Spokane, Washington....May 28th

Bill let me sleep until 7:15 this morning, and then it was rise and shine and put the coffee on! After breakfast and showers, did our morning packing up, putting away, and emptying tanks and we’re on our way once again. Yikes! Just passed the town of Anaconda; wonder why it was named that. The mountains march down each side of the highway this morning and I can see the stream next to the road sparkle in the sunshine. Cows have had their calves and they’re warming themselves. The sun is warm even at 50 degrees. The road rolls out before us as we work our way to Seattle. You forget how large and majestic this country of ours is until you start driving across it. The next stop is the Adventure Cycling Association in Missoula, Montana about 84 miles away at this point. Saw my first bald eagle; he flew right over the truck. Starting to see stands of Aspen trees too, makes me want to break out in a John Denver song. LOL!  We got to talk to our son in the Air Force today. It’s his golden birthday. He’s stationed overseas and we miss him. For the last couple of days we’ve seen flocks of sheep in the fields. The black and white ones remind me of Shaun the Sheep. A truck stop came into view just in time to get some gasoline and there were a couple of Montana Highway Patrol cars on the side of the road. They’re both in bulletproof vests and lit up when Bill went over and thanked them. One of the troopers gave us his card and told us to contact him when we come back through. Adventure Cycling in Missoula was closed and a good part of the downtown was craft fair, so we slowly drove through and back out again. 27 years ago, we made a stop in Superior to have some lunch and came to the exit today. We made a quick stop at the same Lutheran church and got a couple of photos.

The town was tucked in amongst the trees at the foot of the mountains. We reminisced about being there with our children so long ago.
We’ve been traveling through the mountains for most of the day. The mountainsides are covered with tall, narrow pines that come right down to the edge of the highway. Beautiful and green. Another blast from the past came into view…the Silver Dollar Bar!
It sure has changed in 27 years. The bar now has over 68,000 silver dollars! We picked up a couple of small gifts for grandchildren and continued on our way. We stopped at a rest area in the middle of the mountains to make up some lunch in our little beach house on wheels. Bill cooked up some Italian sausages while I typed up some of this journal for the blog. We walked around after lunch to stretch our legs and saw quite a few marmots. 

They live right at the rest area and came right up to us expecting food. We each had one sniffing our toes and were both hoping they wouldn’t try to take a bite!
Since it was right along the way, we stopped at the Sunshine Mine Disaster memorial to take a couple of pictures.

This was also one of the places we stopped 27 years ago. So many men lost. We walked around a bit and fed a begging chipmunk then headed for Spokane. The first campground we stopped at wanted $65 for the night. Bill and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s keep driving”. The second campground was full so we decided to boon dock at the truck stop. I tried out their $5 internet, but it didn’t work so looks like I will be catching up with the blog tomorrow. Thank-you for continued prayer for us, we are both doing well.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sheridan, WY to Butte, Montana

Bill spent some time flushing the black tank to be sure there were no problems from being parked in Wheatland for a few days. Then we got off to a good start at 8:45 this morning.It wasn't long before we crossed into Montana.
It's a beautiful sunny day today with no wind so far, 62 degrees. We've gone from prairie to hills with scrubby pines. A few miles back we watched a crop duster swoop and turn over a farmer's field. We're going to try to make it to Missoula by tonight. Bill just went into the Crow Agency Law Enforcement Center. None of the officers were at the station, so Bill left some cards and shared what he is about to start. Gas was 2.30 a gallon here, tax free.
The Garmin led us all over Joe's barn in Billings looking for the West Side Baptist Church where we met one of the pastors. The church website said that Pastor Howe was still there, but we were informed that he had retired sometime ago. The associate pastor didn't introduce himself or ask any questions. He had no knowledge of the letters, emails and calls by us. We don't expect to hear back, but the Lord knows. So far, the churches who say they'll pray about it, never call back. So we travel ever onward towards Seattle where Bill will jump on his bike and start across America thanking police, firefighters. and military along the way. Just got a good shot of snow capped mountains near Big Timber. (As you can see, we lost our sunshine)
One of these is Crazy Peak, 11,209 feet high. Sure glad that Bill isn't going to be cycling over that one! We didn't bring snowshoes! LOL! Drove into Bozeman for a fuel stop and saw the Sacajawea Hotel.

There was a bronze of her and her baby and a plaque that told some of her story.
Took a few pictures and stretched our legs and started out once again. This was a metal sculpture of an interesting looking Buffalo at the hotel.
Looks like we'll be camping in Butte, MT tonight so we're headed in that direction. A KOA campground was the only campground in Butte so we pulled in. Our experience at the KOA in Sheridan was marginal, so we weren't expecting much. When we pulled up, the owner opened the door for us and welcomed us warmly. A nice experience to two travel weary people. The internet here works great and I'm a happy camper indeed! LOL!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wheatland to Sheridan, WY.....

Left Wheatland at 9 this morning with many tears. It has been good for Bill’s training as he was getting more experience cycling at a much higher altitude and dealing with heavier winds. We got to meet the police and sheriffs in Wheatland and also the Wyoming Highway Patrol while we were here. So now we are on Route 25 headed for Billings, Montana to meet with a pastor there. We spoke at his church 27 years ago and thought he might be interested in having us again. On the way back, we’re adjusting our route to come back through Wheatland to speak at the Impact Ministries Church. Looking forward to it! Just stopped in the town of Douglas for a quick rest stop. There are large metal figures on the hills here. I would imagine they are great landmarks. Shot pictures of the pony express rider 
and the jackalope. 

We visited the Wyoming Law  Enforcement Academy where you could hear them target shooting. A few miles north of Douglas, you can see some of the wind turbines that have been installed here. They’re right near the Dave Johnston power plant.
We used to live in Wyoming years ago and when I traveled to Casper with my friend Charlie, this power plant would be all lit up at night and look like a riverboat on the Mississippi. This power plant is in full operation and you can see how clean it runs on Wyoming coal.  A little further along was another metal figure on a hill…a dinosaur this time.
The long road ahead leads to Casper, Wyoming
Bill stopped in at the Casper Fire Department and received 4 patches from Division Chief Daniel Griswold. Thank-you Dan!
and then hopped on over to the Casper Police Department across the street. He came out with 3 patches and a handful of coins. We didn't get his name but would like to thank this kind officer.
We are doing this to thank them but so often, they thank us! Thank-you Casper police officers and firefighters! We appreciate you! Going forward on this long lonely highway to Buffalo, WY, over 100 miles away. 

Lots of high prairie and prairie dog towns along the way. Made it to Buffalo! We had lunch at a rest area in our little beach house on wheels a few miles back and just found the Buffalo Police Department. Nice little town; the downtown reminded me of Jonesborough back in Tennessee. Bill just came out with a patch from the Buffalo Police and another from the Johnson County Sheriff.
They were excited that we were doing this. Thank-you officers of Buffalo, WY! We thought we could make it to Billings tonight, but I wanted to catch you all up on the latest so we stopped at the KOA in Sheridan, WY. Before we stopped for the night, Bill went into the Sheridan police and received 2 more patches.
Thank-you Officer Jeff Forsythe! The internet here is very slow; hopefully I will get to post this tonight. See you tomorrow!