Inspiration Day

Day 3 – Part 1

on July 10, 2016

Today is our 40th wedding anniversary.  John and I were married during wheat harvest on a hot July afternoon 40 years ago. The last 10 years or so, we have only spent the day together every other year because of my adventures. This one is tougher being away from him mostly because it is a truly notable momentous number. I wonder where I’ll be on our 50th 😎

This picture is for John. Daisies are his favorite flower because he believes them to be “happy”. I agree.


Meadow of happiness!

While breaking camp, I teased two of the women that from now on they were required to “sleep in” an extra 30 minutes every morning because they are so darn efficient in getting ready to ride. They have to stand around and twiddle their fingers while the rest of us are still strapping on our panniers. They take the round-about compliment well and patiently continue to wait.


Bikes wait while we shop at the Boulton Trading Post

Our first stop of the day was a great one. We took a paved bike path to the Boulton Trading Post. I didn’t really need any supplies, but I thought I might buy a Payday or two for snacks. I started eating Payday’s on bike rides years ago when one of our very best friends and mentor, Orland Crooks turned us onto them calling them “energy bars”. Never referred to again as a candy bar, but as a nourishing totally legit alternative to less tasty alternatives.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ANYWAY, the Boulton Trading Post in Canada did not carry them. Coming to terms with knowing that perhaps they are not sold in Canada at all, I was back to my bike checking my many straps when Mayumi and Erika came up to me and handed me their last Payday and wished me a Happy Anniversary. Tears came easily, not because I was being given the bar, but because of the gesture of these wonderful ladies to recognize my anniversary. Friendship cemented! In retrospect, I am super glad I snapped this photo to help me remember SOMETHING that day that brought on happy tears.


Another mile of pavement and we were back to the reality of steep rocky sections that I absolutely did not have the power to get me and my bike to the top.

If it came to it, I could always I remove my gear, push Justice to the top. Walk back down however many times it required to retrieve said gear, haul it up, strap it all back on…all the while the other ladies would most likely patiently wait.

For these two and a half days, I have been plotting in my head where and when and what it was going to take to make this adventure more than a sufferfest. First, I knew I would eventually get acclimated to the altitude and that would take care of the constant low grade headaches as well as give me back my power. Secondly, I’m mentally going through my panniers to eliminate all but essentials in order to lighten my load. I was carrying way more food than I needed and once I ate it down, that would be simple and effective. I was carrying my camp chair. It’s not heavy, but it takes up space that could be used to transfer items from my orange bags to my regular panniers. I go back and forth with this tough elimination decision because this is one item that I actually use every single night. What else? My mallet. I can use a rock like everybody else. Less electronics perhaps? Garmin 1000, iPad, solar charger, telephone, and Delorme SE spot tracker. A couple of small stand alone chargers. Which can I eliminate for weight and volume?

I’m carrying three pair of riding socks, my bug socks and a pair of warm ones to wear to bed. Surely I don’t need five pairs of socks. Shoes? I’m wearing my riding shoes, plus I brought my light-weight Brooks running tennis shoes and a pair of water sandals. Either the tennis shoes or the water sandals have got to go home. Neither weigh much, but the volume they take is substantial. Got to do it. Got to shrink my gear weight and volume to make climbing easier. I’ve also discovered that I’m the only member of this team using the original gears that came on the bike. Two of the gals are on mountain bikes and four are on Salsa Fargo’s with modified gearing for easier climbing. Is it enough of a difference for the expense, time and trouble? These are the things running through my head at any given time.  You may laugh at the absurdly sounding conflict of too many socks vs comfortable toes at anytime of the day or night, but I’m here to tell you that when you are depending on others to get you up the first three days of mountains and with a three month journey ahead of us, tough decisions have to be made.

MEANWHILE..the strong girls come to my rescue (I refer to them as the National Guard) as they come walking down the rocky slope to push from behind to get me to the top. Finally, we were at a place to descend for while. It wasn’t a particularly steep descent, but I got my speed up and was enjoying the ease for awhile and perhaps letting my mind wander about the things discussed above, when I come up on two large culverts spaced about two feet between them. My front tire rolled over the first one but I didn’t notice the second one until it was too late to pull up.

To be continued…

4 responses to “Day 3 – Part 1

  1. Myrna Brensing says:

    Traci, I am so sorry for your accident. God Bless You. He must have other plans for you. Well we know he does. Prayers for your healing and disappointment.

  2. Thank you so much Myrna. I appreciate those prayers as well as your friendship.

  3. Marci Roe says:

    Traci, your Iowa friend Marci here, I hope you are on the mend. Praying for you.

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