April 21, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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April 21, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Washington

Soap Lake to Coulee City, Washington and back  (50 miles)

Training ride up Grand Coulee ends with bent wheel.

There are so many details to attend to when preparing for an entire summer on our bikes, and today, it was training - a 50 mile ride from Soap Lake to Coulee City and back. This route follows an ancient river bed, that of the Columbia River 20,000 years ago, when an ice dam diverted the Columbia from its present course through what is now Grand Coulee. Today this route is a series of spectacular basalt landforms, alkaline lakes, and small fishing resorts. At the head of lower Grand Coulee is Dry Falls, the remains of what was once the biggest waterfall on earth.

Dry Falls and Marilyn's rear wheel when it was still round.

Riding up the coulee, we were reminded why we enjoy bicycle touring. The weather was perfect, the balsam root was in bloom, the birds were singing, traffic was light, and the wind was at our back. In Coulee City, we had lunch and big chocolate milkshakes.

By the time we left the cafe to head back, a cool wind had picked up and a dark storm system was moving in over the towering cliffs. We set a brisk pace to outrace the rain and reached the car just as the rain did. Driving in the rain toward home, we heard a thump-thump-thump coming from the rear bike rack, and pulled over immediately. Marilyn's bike had slipped off the rack and was hanging by a bungee, the rear wheel contorted into a pretzel. Now we can add having to rebuild a rear wheel to our long list of things to do before we leave, but we're glad that there was no further damage to our beloved touring bikes.

We do not know all that lies ahead on this big tour, but we can be certain there will be both sun and rain, sweet riding and hardships. We're looking forward to all of it,...coming soon.... in less than one month.

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