I'm sorry it has taken so long to post, but the tour's satellite dish hasn't really worked until now and it is a little difficult to get to other sites. So far it has been a really great trip. The scenery has been spectacular and it seems to really change a lot from day to day. We are now in Kennewick WA., where we'll be till we roll out again Monday morning.
The start of the tour was quite an experience with all the bikes rolling out in short order. And as Brenda explained earlier, it was difficult to leave my daughter as I won't be seeing her in quite a while. The first part of the ride was on Seattle bike paths, I thought they should have been called the Seattle bike freeway -- I've never seen so many bikes. As we moved more toward the open country the look was more and more forested. The second day was a really tough one as we climbed up and over Stevens pass. The first part of the climb wasn't too bad, but the last 15 miles up to the pass was a real grind. (For the Pella locals, it's like Amsterdam hill for 15 miles after doing 30 miles of a lesser grade.) I made it ok but I had a hip that was really hurting. The downhill was really nice -- my bike likes to go fast and it did.
My sweep team was on duty when we got to camp that night so we still had a lot of work to do. There are 10 sweep teams, and when your team is up you go on duty when you get in and are on duty through the next afternoon. Duties include loading and unloading the gear truck and helping the kitchen staff serve supper and then breakfast the next morning. Then after every one is packed up, you load the gear truck, and then it's your responsibility to make sure all the riders make it to the next stop.
The third day was also another good climb over Blewett pass. It was not nearly as dificult as the day before and as the sweep team we took our time. It was really a fun day even though we didn't get in till after supper was started. The last 2 days have been quite easy days with short miles and generally downhill. The scenery changed dramaticaly in a very short time. It is now high desert with everything being irrigated, even the cattle pastures. We have been following the Yakima river and now the Columbia river. As I said before, we are camped at Kennewick along the Columbia, which in this spot any way is nearly as wide as the Mississippi.
We had a wonderfull church service here in the park this morning with the local churches.
for my biking buddies: the bike has worked very well and has been very comfortable and I've had no problems keeping up. For my wife and mother, I've put one of the reflective vests that we all wear over the back of the bike to make me more visible. The biking here in Washington state has been spectacular.
That's all my fingers will type for now. I'll try and attach some pictures.