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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 12 - Twin Falls to Burley - The Power of Friendship...





Why go on an organized bike tour across America? - asked my brother, Ed...

...just do it on your own...

Then no one is rushing you...

You could be on your own agenda...

Not someone else's







-But Ed, half the fun is the wonderful people you meet on the tour.



The people who choose to bike across America are a unique bunch...





We are all adventurous, daring...







willing to take a risk...




willing to throw ourselves out on the road on these two skinny tires

- in all kinds of weather...





Struggling to climb our first mountain...


or complete our first century....





and helping our new friends when they get lost...








or tired...




...and cheering with them at their successes.




We have a great group of people on this trip...

It's hard to believe I've only known them two weeks....






As for today, we start out in teams...

This is the day of the great ABB scavenger hunt...



It's a short day of riding - only 37 miles...



So each team gets a list of random objects to find during the ride today...





Some people take this very seriously...

Plotting strategies and techniques for the win!

And great prizes!

Who wouldn't want first place in the dinner line and a free chain cleaning?





So we start out bright and early from Twin Falls with a wonderful tail wind...







Not being one to rush my bike rides I stop to talk with an Idaho horse...






I watch the irrigation spigots spritz the fields with water...




The wheat fields wave like the ocean with our marvelous tailwind...



There are two side trips we can take to see waterfalls today...

Karen, one of our tour leaders, tells us the second waterfall is the better one...




So I take the detour to Twin Falls...




It's an incredible fast descent down to the canyon floor...




but I begin to have my doubts when I see Ian trudging back up the hill...





It's a waterfall, yes.








And I do manage to spot three red-tailed hawks circling above the canyon...





But the ride back up is grueling....














Michael and Matt on the tandem (two of my scavenger team mates, by the way)...

....have to walk their bike up.

They cheer me on as I huff and puff up the 12% grade...



I make it to the top...

but I need to stop for 10 minutes to catch my breath.




I find out later Al visited both of the falls....

...and the first one was the better one!



Not only that, she now has more miles than I do!






As I get back on the main route I see a ghost!

Sandy calls this a ghost bike - left on the road as a memorial for a biker who was struck by a car and killed.



It is a sobering reminder of the dangers of the open road.





We cross the huge Hansen bridge...









...but not before taking a last peek at the Snake River gorge.





For the scavenger hunt I need to find a blue flower...

I stop to pick a kind of blue flower from the roadside.

Jay sneaks up behind me and gets a flower for his team!

It's a dog eat dog world out here!








A sprig of alfalfa?



I'm an expert at that! We used to grow alfalfa on our land in Indiana.






I stop at the SAG for snacks...





I overhear Ellen conferring with her teammate Teresa.








Seeing a farm with lots of trucks, Ellen crosses the road to ask them for a fan belt.

I follow.






Yes, the farmer gives Ellen an old fan belt!



And he has one for me, too.



Ellen takes this scavenger hunt seriously...





She even keeps the list on her handlebars!




At this point I join up with John...



John has been one of the thoroughbreds - the fast riders who speed-bike to the  next hotel each day.

But John has decided to sit back and enjoy the ride more...






With this awesome tail wind we are still cruising at 16 mph...





....but we still stop to take pictures of the wildflowers by the road.









John introduces me to a new crop...

The Idaho Potato...




It does look like the flower of the deadly nightshade.






Whup! There's Ellen again!

She's found a golf ball for the scavenger hunt!

And I find another two hawks!

That's 19 hawks and a $19 donation for Flight!





Fields of large onions bloom along our last stretch of road today....






Then John and I turn into the town of Twin Falls...

There is construction on the road...



But intrepid bikers always find a way...



We get in early but there's so much to do...




Hand wash in the sink...





hang it in a tree...







or at the pool...







or on the balcony....








There are bike clothes everywhere!




Mike Munk, our leader, gives a great session on bike cleaning and care...






It is to his benefit for all of our bikes to keep working for this entire 3,630 mile ride.





And a clean bike is a happy bike...




At dinner we have the results of the scavenger hunt....

It is hilarious!



Jeff MCs the event...




We have a tough team of judges...








My team, the Ace Scavengers, holds our own with a self-created church key...




...and a bottle cap that we think says 7-up (that's extra credit!)




I bring my "blue" flower and sprig of alfalfa...








The judges ponder the entries with great wisdom...hmmm.

This is serious business.






Ellen's team is strong on creativity - for an Idaho quarter they tell a long story about asking a local man for an Idaho quarter...


He gives them a potato....



Which they promptly cut into 4 pieces -

each one an Idaho quarter...








Al's team, the Goatheads, does their best -




Daniel gives their tip of the day in his native Swiss-german with great enthusiasm...

but no one knows what he said...










The team Tomtomkimbobrick tries to butter up the MC...

on their "pretty rock" they've taped a picture of Jeff's wife.







Then there are the Geldings, an all male team...



they say they had successfully gathered every item on the list...




including an authentic church key from a 18th century local church...

But, alas, they say there was some mishap on the big bridge involving a dog named Jimmy...

and the bag with all of their treasures fell into the river below...



The only item they could still deliver is the blue flower on the rug beneath their feet.



Then there are the OWLS - Old Wise and a Little Slow.

These guys are good.

Not only do they have all the items...

They present them singing in harmony...



The judges rule....

and the OWLS win!

Hoot-hoot-hoot-hoot!



What a great group of people I have met on this trip...

And how much I'll enjoy crossing America with 50 great friends!
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