Written by Bill Turner Monday, 02 July 2018 00:00
"Hello from Missoula, MT! 770 miles down with 32,217 feet of climbing so far… Just 3,130miles to go!
We started in Astoria, OR with the ceremonial tire dipping. Several times we have had wonderful strong westerly tail winds allowing us to roll at 20 to 24 MPH on the flats and occasionally we have had crosswinds that were a bit too challenging. I felt my body needing to work pretty hard on most days so far; but hopefully that will improve with time. On the 3rd day I managed 100 miles for only the 2nd time in my life.
Riding that week put me in some of the most beautiful parts of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington. There is clearly much industry and agriculture that has taken advantage of the economically priced power and water that is available here. We have been on highways, bike-paths, gravel roads, chip seal roads, and crossed the river several times on very large old and new bridges, some much more comfortable to ride a bike over than others. The team is currently about 29 people and we are learning to work together to accomplishing all types of daily tasks, ranging from a rapid church cleanup or food preparation, to managing laundromats every three days with 300 lbs of cloths and running 10 driers without losing clothes or over drying bike shorts. The churches we have been fortunate enough to stay in have treated us to some very tasty food and plenty of left overs for creative use the next day. We have been in Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches of all different sizes.
Week Number two was rather wild, but my lightweight carbon road bicycle was creatively retrofitted with a 11-40 rear cassette with help from the mechanics at Bikeman. It has worked very well and the extra gears really help on long hill climbs. We eventually left the many miles of wheat and buckwheat crops of Oregon and Washington and then road into the canola fields and large trees and cattle of Idaho. We saw many old trestles from abandoned rail lines and many coal, grain and oil trains moving on the rail lines. Weather was mostly sunny and gorgeous until it changed to a bit more challenging. Rain, rain, and more rain for 62 miles with 50 degree air. I wore a thick wool layer under a cycling jersey and rain jacket on top, and polyester tights with ski socks and wool bike socks over cycling tights. I was warm enough as long as we kept pedaling...stops were very short and not much food was consumed. We had to deal with three 10 mile sections on the Rt 90 interstate, but it wasn't too bad until trailer trucks went by with a cloud of mist moving in all directions and a few too many construction zones...
As you may remember this effort is not just about the riding; the trip is also about the fundraising we are doing for the Fuller Center for Housing where 97% of what we raise goes to providing a helping hand up for folks who need a reasonable place to live. With the partnership approach, the owner provides sweat equity as they are able and whatever funds for materials that are expended in repairing a home or building a new one. The cost of the materials are paid back by the owner with a no-interest mortgage over a time period they can afford, thus resulting in more repairs overall as time goes on.
While passing through Kellogg, Idaho we did five separate build days. We divided into three teams to work on three houses. The team I served with got to install back steps and a small front porch on a woman’s replacement used mobile home. Her previous home had been damaged by a bear who fell on the roof while climbing a nearby cherry tree and the home was also damaged by a fire in her dog grooming studio. The building permit was issued to her and the Fuller Center Chapter and we were plugging away to finish items needed to allow it to meet local code requirements. She is one of the strongest women I have ever worked along-side and she installed most of the leveling blocks under the home by herself!
This year thought the five bicycle rides that the Fuller Center Bike Adventure is running, the goal is to raise $400,000. The trips are currently at $200,000 and continually climbing! If you know of folks who might like to support this type of domestic housing effort please do not hesitate to send them to my donor page.
Through all of your help and support, we are now at about 91% of my fundraising goal of $20,000 for this ride and in 2nd place regarding fund-raising on the team. My bicycle and body continues to work well and I feel very blessed to have the time to be on this ride for such a worthwhile cause. I will plan to post again shortly here as time allows. Thanks for reading!
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