Total kms : 6195
Average Km per day: 131
Saddle sores: 0 ( thank goodness )
My bike was amazing 6195 kms, only one puncture and nothing needed adjusting. A big thank you to Mark Williamson from Free Wheel Bike Store in Cannington who once again did a fantastic job preparing the bike for me. Almost everyone else had problems from wheel rebuilds to new wheels, gear failures, new crank sets etc etc. Of course the fabulous Campagnolo never let me down.
We were extremely fortunate with the weather. We rode for 47 of the 50 days and it only rained for 2 of those days. We had a very light shower on another day but it was warm and we were dry within a few minutes. Talk about dodging the rain !! If you could do a 50 day radar map of our route it would show rain above and below us for almost the entire trip. In Little Falls had we been there 10 days earlier we would have been unable to continue there was so much water raging through the town. We walked over a bridge which was about 25 feet above a river, I saw a photo of the previous week with the water lapping at the bridge.
The wind was our friend for most of the ride and although we had 4 fierce days in South Dakota we were repaid in the end with continuous tail winds. I think I'm owed that after China !!
The roads on the most part were very good, there is a traffic law in many states which stipulate that if there is a marked shoulder you MUST ride within it. In Wyoming it was taken very seriously by the drivers who almost aimed at you tooting their horns and coming very close if you dared to venture out of the skinny shoulder. I think Lycra clad men striving to maintain their tan lines and shaving their legs scare those country boys !!
The major issue on the roads was that much of the centre of the continent has extremely cold winters and the roads suffer badly. The road crack up, not across the road so much but in the direction you are riding sometimes leaving cracks 5 to 10 cm wide and also up to 10 cm deep for a meter or so along. This meant that when riding a pace line you had to concentrate 100% of the time. We had 4 riders go down, 3 of them were repaired in hospital but all continued the ride.
The staff were fantastic, so much better than many other trips I have done. My only complaint was they tried to foresee everything which took away some of the adventure.
The riding group as usual varied with a huge disparity of abilities and initially I found myself doubting some would make it BUT they did. About 10 of the 36 whole tour riders spent time in the sag van or missed days. On lots of days riders would come in 2 to 3 hours after our group. I guess they were almost riding a different tour to us ( I guess their tan lines were better !! )
At the final dinner I remarked to the Americans on the ride that they should be proud of their fellow Americans across the nation. I have never experienced such friendliness, on a trip of any kind. They were genuinely interested in our journey and enthusiastically wished us well or offered help on every occasion we stopped in a town, or even on the side of the road ( see note about Wyoming above - haha )
In Astoria on the day before the ride started one couple congratulated me on the trip. I thought their congratulations a tad premature.
Would I do the trip again ?? NO, of course not why would you do it twice when there is a whole world out there waiting to be seen. Would I recommend the trip, YES. I still think there is no better to take in a country but to do it from the seat of your bike.
Janette, once again thank you for understanding my wanderlust and being so understanding. I am so lucky to have found you.
Finally a few photos which made me laugh, I filed them in a folder called " Fat America " it's not meant to be a dig at Americans but more a warning for Australia and our own eating habits.
That's rich i know coming from a confessed ice cream and milk shake connoisseur.