28 August 2010


This is Ken.  I've hijacked Jen's blog so that next time she logs on she can see this:

You are the light of my life..  keep on shining.     Ken

Montana - The Last Best Place

Montana is not what I'd expected it to be.  For some (ignorant) reason I thought it was flat and boring here, with brutal winters and lonely ranches dotting the terrain, but this trip is teaching me that there is a lot I don't know.  That is certainly the case when it comes to Montana.  I haven't seen all the states yet, but I am tempted at this point, to call Montana my favorite.  There is much to love about this mountainous state with it's peaks and valleys, it's vivid sunset skies, and it's friendly people.

Here are some pictures of some of the valleys we've been so lucky to have pedaled through.  To view them at their best, click on them.

We've seen more bee boxes here than anywhere else on the trip.  Good sign.
These horses were PLAYING in the water!  Jumping around in it and everything.
After seeing this sign the suspense was killing us!  7 Miles of WHAT?  Now we know it must have said, 7 miles of absurd winds.

Crossing these two passes it felt like we were in another world.  The wind was trying to knock me over and I literally had to sit on the left side of my seat and lean hard to the left to keep the trike from flipping.  It was so loud Ken and I couldn't even talk to each other.  It was terrible, and a bit frightening to be honest.  Tears ran down our faces (from the wind, we weren't crying, we're not babies) and our hats blew away. There was no place to hide and nothing to do but keep riding.  For hours we did this.  Hours.  Funny thing was, other than some dark clouds in the distance behind us, there were blue skies most of the time this wind blew.  Weird.
We finally made it over both of the passes and got to lower ground.  It was still windy but for awhile it was at our backs.  NICE!

Lots of happy cows out here.  Sure beats seeing them in those feed lots in Kansas.
These haystacks are GINORMOUS!  
They make them with these somehow.
There is more hay here than anywhere else I've ever seen.
We saw a pair of Golden Eagles!
She let me park the trike and get off to get a closer picture.  The other one circled overhead as I snapped pictures of his mate.  Awesomeness.
The road less traveled is sometimes less traveled for a reason.  :)
This was one of the most difficult rides so far.  Stupid wind.

Twin Bridges Bike Camp

After staying in Alder at the KOA we thought we would try to make it to Dillon but our friend Michell said we needed to stop at the Twin Bridges Bike Camp.  So we took a short day and coasted (yes, it was nearly all downhill) the 25 miles or so into the small town of Twin Bridges where we quickly located the Bike Camp. You could tell someone had put some love for cyclists into this place and we felt right at home.  Right next to the small but fast river was a building to sleep and eat in, a bike wash, an outdoor sink, a shower and bathroom, and a counter top that was perfect for making JenTiles on!  During our stay there we met several other cyclists who came and went but when it came time for bed we had the place all to ourselves.  And we got a special visitor!  Bill White, the man who built the Bike Camp!  We gave him a JenTile with the mountains on it and talked to him for a long time.  He's not even a cyclist but after trying out a trike we may have converted him.  :)  Hi Bill!! Thank you for your awesome Bike Camp!

It was a pretty hot day so we saw lots of people floating or boating.  See the kids?
Fun!  So nice to see people outside playing in the river.
Outdoor sink and bike wash area.
JenTile operation. I could only get a couple done since I am out of supplies.
Biker shelf - take something, leave something.
Leave the ukulele, please.  :)
This is Lee.  He actually knew how to play that ukulele!  See the brown bag?  It has cherries in it that Lee got from a roadside farmer.  He gave them to Ken and Ken gave him our extra tire pump since Lee didn't have a pump anymore due to a malfunction.
With all the screens there was a great breeze in here.  Ceiling fans would be a great thing in here.
Bill White, the man who made this camp.  HUG!
It was great to meet you Bill!  We will send our cycling friends your way!
As usual, Simon was the last to get up.  We got another late start but made it to Dillon.  Along the way we saw this...
We stopped and looked at him through our binocs for quite some time.  Then we were interrupted by a haunting and continuous "scree" sounds.  It was a juvenile eagle, probably waiting for this one to get home with some food.  It took my breath away watching them.  Having briefly worked with birds of prey in the past I am so moved by how majestic they are, especially the bald eagle.  It was intense seeing these so closely.

27 August 2010

An Inspiring Letter

Recently we received a letter from a very special person who not only performs an important function in the Donate Life world, but who is also about to become a living donor by giving a kidney to a complete stranger.  The letter was beautifully written, and the writer and I have since become good friends through the many letters that followed this one.  Kind enough to give me permission to reprint the letter here, this incredibly giving soul is helping us get the message out, and after reading, I hope you feel inspired to follow your hearts and to dare going after your own dreams...   Thank you to "L" for allowing me to share this with you:

Dear Ken and Jen.....

My name is L and I've been reading your blog for the past couple of
hours while watching a kidney that we recovered earlier today. Watching
a kidney means that it's on a machine to assess function.  I'm getting
ready to take it off the machine where it will make it's way to New York
in a couple of hours.

I am a Preservation Coordinator here at CDS which means that I go into
the OR and help surgeons recover organs, make sure they are packaged and
labelled correctly and then make sure they get to where they are going.
I've worked with CDS for the past 6 years and I have the best job in the
world.  The conduit between death and life.  It's humbling,
bittersweet....it's like nothing I can describe to anyone unless you've
lived it.  I'm also a cyclist.  I'm training for the Bridge to Bridge
Incredible Challenge, a 100 mile bike ride from Lenoir, NC to the top of
Grandfather Mountain.  They say it's one of the most challenging bike
rides in the country.  I told my girlfriend that I would do the best I
could do.  But now after reading your blog I have new inspiration, new
motivation and a new attitude on what it means to keep going.  Both
emotionally and physically.  I have never been personally touched by
organ donation. But this job reminds me of how precious life is and
because of that, I have decided to donate one of my kidneys to a
complete stranger.  It's what I feel I can do to help someone else
live the gift of life we all want to experience.

Thank you.

For what you are doing mile after mile.
For spreading the word about organ donation through your bikes, your
souls and your wisdom.
For sharing your daughter with me, for her life and for other's lives
you helped save.
For your amazing relationship with each other and the energy you
transmit from your blog.
For Simon and his sweet adorable face.
For giving me another reason to get back on the bike and train.
For so much I can't put into words at 0130 in the morning.

I hope to meet you two one of these days.  On the bike, hopefully.

Be safe out there, godspeed to you and your support crew.

Preservation Coordinator
Carolina Donor Services

24 August 2010

Western Towns and Other Stuff

There were several interesting things to see during this couple of days.  Some of the small towns we passed through like Virginia City and Nevada City were original frontier towns from the Old West and they looked as though nothing much had changed since they were built back in the 1800's.  There was a slightly touristy feel but not overly so.  We didn't stay long and I kind of wish we would have spent more time exploring this area.

This place looked like it was a movie set or something.  The house was HUGE and weird.
And speaking of weird...
Need a closer look?  I did...
Danger?  Really?  I wanted to go in here.  Why, I do not know.  lol

This guy honked at us when we pedaled by, so we stopped and I gave him some bread.  He was in a fenced in area with a bunch of cows and appeared to be the only one of his kind there.  
Wonder how he felt about being around a bunch of cows.  lol
Part store, part Post Office.  Small town.
A package?  For us?  What could be in this box????
Thanks to our new friend Michell, Ken and I are no longer at risk of running over our own feet!!!  Michell sent us shoes and pedals and since we've gone clipless, our riding is so much more fun!  I am amazed at how much energy, mental and physical, we were using just keeping our feet on the pedals.  Now we can just relax and ride.  Pedaling is so much more efficient and enjoyable now!

Simon used to be afraid of the camera but he has changed so much on this trip, and one of those changes is that he loves to pose for me when I get the camera out.  lol  Look at these pics I took the other day when we were stuck in the tent due to rain...

Seeing him come around and become a happy dog has been one of the best parts of this trip.  He used to be so scared and growly at everyone and now strangers can actually pet him!  He LOVES to play and he LOVES to ride in his camper.  Sleeping with him in our sleeping bag is one of our favorite things.  He is so snuggly and that helps keep us warm!

Back on the road...  Check out these wavy, swirly clouds.
The sky was full of these strange clouds.  The skies really are different here in Montana!
Thanks to all of you who make doing this possible.  We appreciate your donations and your JenTile orders so very much!!!  You keep us going!
God Bless America!  And everyone else!  :)