Bill Weidenfeller

Home: Naples, FL

Hobbies: Biking, Tennis

 

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Rails to Trails Conservancy

America by Bike

Across America North Ride

This summer along with a group which includes many friends from previous long distance rides I plan to bicycle across America AGAIN! This second crossing is another fully supported ride with America by Bicycle, a touring company specializing in long distance cycling adventures. It is called the "Across America North Ride", a fifty day journey from coast to coast, beginning in Astoria, OR and finishing at the beach in Rye Beach, NH.

  • Posted: Sat, 8 July 2006

    Day 20 Casper to Lusk,WY




    LUCKY IN LUSK


    Our ABB gang was treated to the festivities of the Legend of Rawhide Days upon arrival this afternoon in Lusk, WY. We were lucky t be here on this day for the celebration of the town’s major event of the year.

    We stood under cover at the Covered Wagon Motel as the parade passed by in a dampening rain. Cowboys, Indians, covered wagons, saloon girls, as well as the local fire trucks spraying the crowd, were all part fo the show.

    The rain and wind had held off for our 106 mile bike ride from Casper. We could see scattered rain showers falling in locations near us, but again --for the 20th day–we remained dry.

    The day began on “road kill alley” as Keith (Iowa) called it. I counted 18 dead cottontail rabbits in the road in the first 18 miles. Keith said they were “mile markers”. We went through Glenn Rock (Home of the Herders), and then onto I-25 East for 14 miles of today’s ride. We crossed cattle guards (too many), saw numerous windmills, a few oil wells, and many snow barricades placed on the hill sides to limit the drifting of snow in the winter months. We saw the town sign in Lost Springs, WY which said “population 1".

    We moved quickly through today’s century ride (averaging 17 mph and in under 6 hours). There was nothing to stop and look at or photograph. We were “between places” in the wild, wild West. We had a rest day behind us and favorable weather, including winds. We made the best of it, and had time to enjoy the town party in Lusk.

    We are off to South Dakota tomorrow,

    Bill

  • Posted: Fri, 7 July 2006

    Day 19 Casper ,WY





    REST DAY IN CASPER

    On a walk through downtown Casper today, a friend and I discovered a wonderful Rails to Trails pedestrian pathway. It passed behind the library, a museum, and several adjoining small parks and gardens. It may have been only 5 or 6 blocks long at this point, but what an asset to the vitality of the Casper community.

    I am proud to dedicate this Across America-North bicycle adventure to the Rails to Trails Conservancy. See the link to their website for information, membership opportunity, and to support our "Team RTC".

    We also visited the National Historic Trail Center, where history is retold of the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express Trails which all came through Casper. Ft Casper was another point of interest in our tour of this city in Central Wyoming.

    To view the progress of our cycling group on a map--day by day-- see http://tinyurl.com/qrz9j. (courtesy of Katy)

    Bill

  • Posted: Thu, 6 July 2006

    Day 18 Riverton to Casper, WY




    THE ENDLESS ROAD


    Today, the longest biking day of our cross country journey, began very early. I had eaten breakfast at the motel and my luggage was loaded by 5:00 am. We waited for the sun to come up at 5:45 before we could ride out onto “ the endless highway” to Casper, WY –120 miles away. Today would be my 31st “century” (100 mile) ride, and the second longest ride of my life. No century ride is easy, but this one was not among the toughest despite the distance. The climbs were gradual (2700 feet climbed today) and not late in the ride. The wind was favorable for most of the day, but turned into a heavy, gusting cross wind for the last 20 miles into Casper. These prairie winds have nothing to block or slow them down, so they can be a BIG factor in a day’s ride. We have all heard the “unpleasant “ stories of the South Dakota winds out ahead of us.

    Our “spectators” today –though few and far between- were the bored cattle in the dawn’s light near Riverton, followed by the undaunted two-pronged antelope on the open range.

    We wanted to get in as many miles as possible early today to avoid the heat, winds, and possible showers of the afternoon. We rolled at a quick pace all day.

    The scenery was not spectacular-except in a few spots. It was barren, flat desert land as far as one could see. What was exciting to me was that we were in WYOMING, new territory, new adventure.

    We rode through the small town of Shoshone and Marita (pop10) and stopped only for the required SAG’s.

    We got more -and less- of what we had hoped for at HELLS HALF ACRE. We did not get a buffalo burger at the small Western café there; it was closed. We DID get an awesome view of the tremendous rock canyon where the Indians would chase buffalo over the cliffs for the food and hides gathered below. It was an amazing photo oasis in this parched and repetitive landscape.

    After 8 hours on the road, we approached Casper, and old oil town of 50,000 situated on the Platte River. We experienced the winds, we stopped at the Dairy Queen, we coasted into the hotel—and a much needed REST DAY.

    Bill

  • Posted: Wed, 5 July 2006

    Day 17 Dubois to Riverton, WY





    HOME ON THE RANGE


    ( note; July 4 journal and photos were posted late due to inability to access internet)

    Dubois, after its boisterous community celebration of the 4th of July with fireworks, square dancing and street singing–and a little beer I suppose–was quiet this morning at 6:30 am. We finished breakfast at the Cowboy Café and headed to Riverton, WY, 80 miles East on another beautiful day for biking.

    With our longest mileage day from Riverton to Casper coming up tomorrow–120 MILES-, we were pleased to see that today’s topography chart was basically downhill. We would bike from 6900 feet elevation in Dubois to 5000 feet in Riverton. This was not to be a strenuous day, but rather a scenic and enjoyable cycling day in the open range and wild West country of Central Wyoming.

    We crossed the Wind River several times today as we continued the ride down from the mountains of the past 2 days. We stopped to take a photo of a lone antelope grazing in an open field.

    We did have some rolling hills from time to time, but mainly an easy descent through red rock canyons initially, and then the endless open range through an Indian Reservation and past ranch land stretching to the horizon.

    The only town we saw on the way to Riverton was the town of Kinnear (pop 44), where the large and picturesque Ocean Lake is located. We could see it for several miles.

    We dropped into the pleasant town of Riverton and had finished our Mexican lunch (West-Mex it’s called) by noon. It was 87 degrees on our arrival at the Comfort Inn. We watched the World Cup game on TV in the motel lobby (or worked on our blogs) until the rooms were ready.

    From what I have seen of Wyoming, I think “the Cowboys” is a very appropriate nick-name for the University’s sports teams.

    Bill

  • Posted: Tue, 4 July 2006

    Day 16 July 4 Jackson Hole to Dubois, WY









    “ PURPLE MOUNTAIN MAJESTY “


    It was 47 degrees this morning at 7:10 am as we rode out of Jackson Hole, WY. American flags lined the streets of this rustic Old West town on the 4th of July.

    We were riding 88 miles to Dubois (pronounced Du Boy by the locals). We immediately entered a National Elk Refuge at the edge of town–and did in fact see several elk grazing at a distance. We watched 2 colorful hot air balloons rise in the morning thermals against a back drop of the majestic snow capped Teton Mountains.

    It was a National Geographic morning as we cycled along on a road parallel to the peaks. We all took plenty of pictures. I must have heard the words “Wow”, and “look at that!” a hundred times on today’s ride. It was spectacular scenery against a bright blue sky. Eventually we passed a cut-off road to Yellowstone N P located about 60 miles north of our location. We passed a sign that said: “Be Bear Aware”. We happened to be on the same route where a bear attacked an off road hiker a few days ago.

    We had a medium grade (6% max) uphill climb for 15 miles beginning at the 42 mile mark. Finally, at the 57 mile mark we reached the summit of Tagwotee Pass–elevation 9658 feet. At that point we had also reached the CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. We saw several road signs during the sweaty climb that read; “Point of Interest” with an arrow pointing in one direction. Joyce (MA) made the comment: “ The only interesting point I want to see is the SUMMIT. Amen.

    We saw many beautiful wild flowers all day long today–in pastures and along the road. They were identified as: Lupine, Red Cardinal, Rose Marrow, Columbine and Indian Brush among others. We also spotted The Sleeping Indian rock formation high on a cliff. It is a tourist attraction in the area.

    We had a cooling and quick downhill to a small log cabin café where 10 of us had lunch while watching OLN and the Tour de France.

    Unfortunately, our German friends, Eberhard and Anja, raced all day to get into the hotel by the 1:00 pm start time for the World Cup match between Germany and Italy. They were disappointed when I saw them at dinner.

    The last 20 miles into Dubois (pop 982) could have been one delicious descent if not for a serious patch of road construction mid-way. We sailed into town with a breeze behind us. It felt great.

    On arrival in town, we were surprised to be the tail end of the July 4th parade in this very Western town. The main street is right out of the set of “Gunsmoke”. Horses, cowboys, saloons (yes, we did join them) are the common denominator in Dubois. Fireworks are planned for sunset.


    We saw America the Beautiful in its full mountainous glory today. What a ride!

    Bill

  • Posted: Mon, 3 July 2006

    Day 15 Idaho Falls to Jackson Hole, WY

















    AWESOME TETON PASS

    Jackson Hole, Teton Pass, high mountain scenery; this is the day we have been waiting for.

    Today’s 88 mile trek to Jackson Hole, WY was a CLASSIC bicycle ride. We had 5600 feet of challenging climbing, including over two mountain passes in the Tetons. We saw some of the most beautiful and memorable scenery in America. It is a ride we will remember and talk about for the rest of our lives.

    We had enjoyed our time in Idaho falls, learned a bit about bicycle mechanics, and had a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

    This morning departure was at 6:30 am –we would be on the road until 3:00 pm. We could see in the haze ahead the peaks of the Tetons. We knew from route rap that the summit of Teton Pass from which we would descend into Jackson Hole was at 8431 feet. We would not begin our “assault” on the summit until the 70 mile mark in today’s ride, and in the afternoon heat. The climb to the summit would require pedaling up 2400 feet in 6.6 miles with a 10% to 12% grade at times. It was clear to all of us that today would be a major challenge.

    In the morning riding East on Rt 26 we encountered an estimated 10 to 12 mph headwind. in the flat lands approaching the mountains. The fields we passed were as rich a GREEN as I have ever seen. It was perhaps alfalfa or hay irrigated to perfection. We cycled single file against the wind until about the 40 mile mark when we crossed over the Snake River and began to climb. We turned onto Rt 31 ; “Teton Scenic Byway”–You bet! In the town of Victor we “fueled up” with a milk shake for the climb to the summit of Teton Pass. We entered the Targhee National Forest and climbed over our first summit at Pine Creek Pass. A difficult climb in itself. BUT, the views were incredible! Here I heard the best quote of the day; “What could be more beautiful than this?”

    The day’s real hard work began at the 70 mile mark. The grueling climb started here. For most of us it was the most demanding and difficult climb ever attempted. The reward was a speedy 5 mile descent, again with a 10% down slope. Dan (CA) hit 58.3 mph in his “free fall” descent. We all expected a big challenge in the Tetons.....and we found it!

    Today was a banner day. It was described in so many ways at different times today: scenic, steep, windy, hot, exciting, “bloody hard”, sweaty, and exhausting. It was all of those, plus...fantastic!

    Tomorrow morning on the 4th of July the ABB cyclists will wake up in one of the most beautiful spots in America: Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

    Bill

  • Posted: Sun, 2 July 2006

    Day14 Blackfoot to Idaho Falls, ID







    A SUNDAY RIDE

    We pulled out of Blackfoot at 8:15 am this morning. It was a late start due to the short distance of today's ride. We immediately crossed over the Snake River, the first of several crossings today. It was a beautiful Sunday morning--clear and bright. We were headed for our destination; Idaho Falls.... for brunch.

    Team RTC was together today for the entire ride--all 7 of for the first time, now that Dale(AZ) has arrived. Everyone had a good night's rest after yesterday's century, and we are happy about today's "shortest ride ever", knowing what is ahead of us in the next few days.

    A Sunday ride in the countryside is a nice tune-up for tomorrow's "Blockbuster Day"; a climb day in the Tetons and into Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

    Dan (CA) was busy filming for the DVD he has promised to make for all of us at the conclusion of the cross country trip. He has already chronicled several of our long distance tours with outstanding DVD's.

    We had mostly smooth roads and quiet country lanes through Idaho farmland and horse ranches. Later on in the ride we had a long scenic stretch along the Snake River. We caught our first glimpse of the Tetons this morning. It was the ridge behind the ridge in front of us. Tomorrow we encounter those ledgendary mountains.

    We rode rode our bikes into Idaho Falls on Rt 26 East looking for a brunch spot. We found it at Smitty's FamilyDiner....along with half the population of the town. We saw a "Backroads" van with 10 bicycles on top parked in town. They are "the other touring company" probably headed for the Tetons as well. Needless to say , we are not staying in the same hotel.

    The scenic falls in the Snake River in Idaho Falls are right across the road from our Red Lion Inn. I took a photo of the falls with the Mormon Temple in the background.

    We have a mechanics clinic at 4:00 pm this afternoon to help us improve our bicycle maintenance practices. I still have a lot to learn about properly maintaining a bicycle.

    Tomorrow on the road to Jackson, WY we will find out a great deal about our conditioning and climbing abilities. There is some anxiety in the group as we look ahead.

    Enjoying some time off on our last day in Idaho,

    Bill

    By the way: For those of you who may be wondering about the results of the Scavenger Hunt...the results are in. Team RTC was runner-up in a very close contest. We all had some fun and a lot of laughs.

  • Posted: Sat, 1 July 2006

    Day 13 Burley to Blackfoot, ID






    B TO B CENTURY


    We were up, had eaten a full breakfast, loaded luggage, pumped up our tires, and were on the road by 6:15 am this morning. We had the Burley to Blackfoot, ID “century plus 10 mile” ride ahead of us. We all knew that EVERY 110 mile day is tough!

    There was more bucolic scenery as we looked over the potato fields toward the mountains–some with a little snow on them–in the distant background. We had some quiet country roads to ride, although the road surface was a little rough most of the morning. We think the tar and gravel roads robbed us of some speed on today’s 110 mile route.. The sun was rising on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday . At one stretch we were on the loneliest rural road possible. Tim (ME) wondered why they had even BUILT a road there. We could see for miles in all directions ; just sagebrush, grassland and occasionally some cattle grazing We spread out and were able to ride and talk.

    There were another 6 or 7 cattle guards to cross in this open-range area. I am getting better at crossing them without losing any teeth, but they do give me a jolt (especially at the bottom of a hill).

    At the SAG today there was conversation about the current World Cup matches. The UK guys were excited, the French family was anxious, but the German couple was celebrating yesterday’s victory. Anja wore (removable) tattoos of the German flag on her cheek last night at dinner. Of course, we have also been talking about the Tour de France and the sad situation with the allegations of drugging in the sport. Sad.

    We were never far from the Snake River or the interstate highway–we saw both from time to time. We stopped at Register Rock Park at the 45 mile mark. On the large boulder there the early pioneers in the 1860's carved their names or initials on the way to Portland, OR. Early graffiti!

    The town of American Falls had a dam and reservoir for recreational boating and fishing. We then passed through the most desolate, quiet to the point of UNOCCUPIED, towns of Aberdeen (where we had ice cream), Springfield and Rockford. It was along stretch into Blackfoot. We were just hammering out the miles. The last 20 miles are the toughest.

    As we entered our host city of Blackfoot biking on Rt 26, we were chased by horses running beside us inside a fenced area. Keeping our pace they trotted right up to the fence corner.

    We welcomed Dale (AZ) to the ride group tonight at dinner. He is a fellow Cross Country Challenge rider and a member of our Team Rails to Trails. I presented him with his RTC jersey at route rap.

    Dinner took place on the lawn outside the hotel where a caterer had set up a barbeque chicken and lasagna dinner...picnic style. Fun!

    We are pleased to have a short day tomorrow—we all have tired legs and sore butts from today’s century plus. We were on the road 8 hours today–7 hours on the bike.

    Enjoying the group and the cycling,

    Bill

  • Posted: Fri, 30 June 2006

    Day 12 Twin Falls to Burley, ID




    TEAM DAY

    Today was "Team Rails to Trails Conservancy Day", as not only did we wear the team colors, but also we worked together as a team in the ABB sanctioned SCAVENGER HUNT.

    The short ride from Twin Falls to Burley, ID is only 38 miles on flat terrain. It is one of the two shortest mileage days of our tour. Therefore, we departed much later this morning (8:00 am) and had plenty of time for a side trip to Shoshone Falls State Park. Were we ever glad we did!

    The Falls are a spectacular sight as they cascade and fall to the massive Snake River Canyon below. We biked to the overlook down in the canyon where we all took a number of pictures of this awesome work of nature. The most difficult part of today's ride was biking back up and out of the canyon. Shoshone Falls is certainly one for the memory book.

    The next stop was at Hanson Bridge, a suspension bridge over the Snake River Gorge--as deep and narrow a gorge as I have ever seen. Great sightseeing on a clear, warm day in South Central Idaho.

    I could not leave Idaho without sharing with you a photo of a potato field. We have seen more than enough of them, including all day today.

    After leaving the SAG, we watched a small yellow crop dusting plane on a maneuver low over the fields. Piloting a crop duster gives the appearance of being an exciting job--for awhile anyway.

    The gorges, falls, and canyons along the Snake River are clearly world class in beauty and scenic impact, well beyond what I expected.

    After lunch at Morey's steakhouse overlooking the Snake River in Burley, I asked a native what Burley is famous for. He thought a moment and then said "Well, it used to be known for prostitution". The town of 9800 NOW appears to have improved considerably.

    The goal of the ABB scavenger Hunt was to find and present "creatively" as many of the 14 items on the list a possible. (Example: a popsicle stick, an unusual item found in the road, a church key, etc.) I think Team RTC has a good chance to win this contest. "News at 6:00"--when we receive the results.
    Hoping for victory,

    Bill

  • Posted: Thu, 29 June 2006

    Day 11 Mountain Home to Twin Falls, ID




    SNAKE RIVER GORGE

    After a bountiful buffet breakfast at AJ's Country Kitchen Restaurant we were on the bikes and on the road at 6:30 am. The sun was coming up and a little rain was falling when a small group of us missed a turn early on in the ride. Fortunately, we didn't go too far out of the way--only a few miles. It was enough to turn this a scheduled 97 mile bike ride into a 100 mile "century" ride.

    We were headed for Twin Falls, ID, where a famous event occurred in 1974.

    The overcast skies were welcome, and did in fact keep the temperaures mild all day. It was a relief that the scattered showers in the area missed the ABB cyclists.

    The landscape during the early miles was the sagebrush and parched grasses we have seen for days. It turned to irrigated farmland and the green fields brought about by imported water. We have seen so many ingenious and diverse systems of irrigation, from diversion canals to a multitude of sprinklers types.

    Past the town of Hammet we turned onto business 84, which parallels the Interstate and runs along the Snake River. We were pelted by little black gnats as we rode. Not a pleasant experience.

    The town of Glenns Ferry at the 30 mile mark was the location of the first SAG. We then rode through the towns of King Hill and Bliss (we all liked that name) in a stretch covering 20 miles. I don't think I saw but one pickup truck. These were country roads with solitude.

    A big canyon opens up in Bliss with the Snake River running through it. We passed a sign that said "bikers welcome" at the Outlaws and Angels Bar and Grill. I don't think they meant our kind. Do you?

    The second SAG at the 60 mile mark was in the City Park in the town of Hagerman. We observed large scale cattle farms for 15-20 miles past Hagerman. These were milking cows caught in the grip of modern milk production farming.

    Just outside of Twin Falls at the scenic overlooks we had great photo ops of the Snake River Gorge. We stoppped at the site where Evil Kneivil attempted his famous rocketed motorcycle jump over the awesome 1 mile canyon. Of course he failed, but the town has marketed well not only the beautiful gorge , but also Evil's famous event which occured here in 1974. We crossed over "the tallest bridge in the world", but missed the opportunity to see the "base jumpers". They jump off the bridge with parachutes. Tomorrow we visit the scenic waterfalls at Twin Falls.

    I think we all had a good day today. Several groups , including ours, moved right along today. We were "home" rather early and feel good after 100 miles of Southern Idaho road cycling.

    Several members of TEAM RTC celebrated another great biking century with a Fosters at Outback.

    Bill