Ride the Rockies

The cycling in Colorado is amazing! Choose your bike; road, gravel or mountain. There is something here for everyone.This week Glenn and I along with our friends Jeff and Darla and Bob and Brenda participated in the Ride the Rockies Bicycle Tour. Over the course of the week, we cycled 434 miles with a total ascend of approximately 29,000 feet! We camped in local gymnasiums and community centers, except for the two nights at the end of day one and again on day six which both finished in Gunnison, were we parked the RVs in the KOA for the week. The weather was perfect, 40’s in the morning and 70’s in the afternoon. We left base camp between 7:00-7:30am each day and finished early afternoon. The hospitality and organization of this event was fantastic. The jerseys were cool too!

Highlights

Day One: Crested Butte to Taylor Reservoir to Gunnison. 73 miles with 2,492′ of elevation gain. Great warm up for the climbing to come. From Crested Butte we descended to Jack’s Cabin Cut off and began a gradual climb to Taylor Reservoir. Jack’s Cabin Cut off gave us the opportunity to practice our gravel riding for a bit. After leaving the cut off we continued on CR742 to the reservoir, some quick selfies, a 180 back down CR742 with a descent all the way to Gunnison. The ride out to the reservoir had light traffic, ran along the river, and was beautiful.

Day Two: Gunnison to Buena Vista. 83 miles and 5,693′ of elevation gain. Ride the Rockies always has a rolling start which is nice as you see other riders all day long. We started out with our friends and rode with them until mile 35 and got split up on the climb up Monarch Pass. We met up in Buena Vista and enjoyed a excellent lunch at the House Rock Kitchen.

After lunch we helped Jeff and Darla set up their tent, so they could give the outdoor camping a try. I headed off to a massage and Glenn listened to a local band in the “tour village.” Glenn and I stopped off at the Eddyline Brewery for a pizza dinner on our way back to the indoor camping.

Day Three: Buena Vista to Snowmass Village. 73 miles and 5,779′ of elevation gain. Monarch Pass yesterday was quite the climb, but today we conquered Independence Pass. This pass actually only opened a week and a half prior to the tour due to the large snowfall and late snowfalls this year. The climb was amazing and over the course of the ride the snowbanks grew and then disappeared as we descended into Aspen. The decent from the top was breathtaking! We stopped in Aspen and had lunch at the Butcher Block and then rode onto Snowmass Village along a bicycle path.

In Snowmass we enjoyed the heated pool and hot tub while waiting for dinner and the band to play. We slept in the Recreation Center and prayed that the bears wouldn’t get us as we slept with the doors open.

Day Four: Snowmass Village to Carbondale. 33 miles and 1,211′ of elevation gain. Today was like a recovery day with just one short steep bump at miles 22-25, 8-10%. The hill dished out a nice punch, but again what goes up must came down! Carbondale Beer Works was the spot for lunch, the local farmers market, was happening and White House Pizza-gets our highest recommendation for dinner.

Tonight’s view from the Carbondale Middle School. Day 5: Carbondale to Hotchkiss. 65 miles and 3,958′ of elevation gain. We left Carbondale on the bike path following the river through Redstone, climbed over McClure Pass, and let the brakes go as we sailed down into Hotchkiss. Top speed today was 53 mph!

The small town of Hotchkiss welcomed the tour with various school groups selling food and desserts and local artists entertaining us with music. There is not much to see or do in Hotchkiss, but we enjoyed hanging at the park.

The scenery today was again amazing. Beautiful waterfalls, farmland, small towns, and of course majestic mountains. Day 6: Hotchkiss to Gunnison. 79 miles and 6,861’ of elevation gain. A long 30 mile steady grind to the ridge of Black Canyon. Well worth the views! The climb was followed with a flowing decent down to route 50 and then a steady push to Gunnison.We took advantage of every rest stop today. The tour did a great job providing water, scratch, fruit and snacks each day. Stopping at the rest stops let us regroup and break the ride into shorter segments. The stops were always strategically placed; bottom of a long climb, top of the mountain and at great photo opportunities.

Day 7: Gunnison to Mount Crested Butte. 31 miles and 2,086′ elevation gain. Slow and steady was the ride today. We were definitely tired and wanted to keep the “Tandem Trio” together. We started together and we’re determined to finish together!

It was a physically challenging week, but a fun week. We were blessed to have had perfect weather, great riding conditions and no mechanicals. The Ride the Rockies organizers did a fantastic job and the volunteers provided service with a smile. State Troopers rode the course with us on their motorcycles helping to ensure our safety. We are thankful for our health and for our friends who were willing to join in on our adventure!

Advertisements

Katy Trail State Park/Rock Island Trail Missouri Rail to Trails

Pre-trip Details: 7 Day Itinerary

RV secured for the week in a nicely shaded campground (full hook ups/$20 per night) at Farrington Park in Windsor, MO. The plan is for us to ride with two other couples, all of us on tandems, from Clinton to St. Charles and then from Lee Summit to Windsor. Day one will be an out and back from Windsor to Clinton and back to Windsor. Why? The Katy Trail begins in Clinton, we have to ride this section so we can say we did the entire trail next Sunday. Also, it’s 17 miles each way which makes for a good test ride with the panniers, and the Rock Island Trail from Lee’s Summit, outside Kansas City joins the Katy Trail in Windsor. After we arrive in St. Charles we have a shuttle taking us to Lee’s Summit, not Windsor or Clinton so we can ride this second trail.Day 1 — Katy Trail Adventure across Missouri from Clinton to St. Charles. 300 miles to go!

Windsor to Clinton and back to Windsor, 46 miles. Trail conditions were excellent: crushed gravel/granite surface on the trail, wooden bridges, and great signage! We ate Lunch in Clinton at Lee Theatre Restaurant 109 Bar and Grill. The food was delicious and the people we very friendly! Several stopped by our table to visit and ask about our journey. One lady even gave us her card and told us she was a Katy Trail Ambassador and to call if we needed anything while riding. Day 2: Windsor to Boonville 58 miles. Headed out early trying to take advantage of a dry window between the storms. It was a great plan, only got lightly rained on the last 5 miles. Check out the rain caps! Lunch at Maggie’s Bar and Grill in Boonville and lodging at the Isle of Capri Casino also in Boonville right off the trail!

Sloppy rail trail today, but totally rideable. Looking forward to the sun coming out tomorrow!

Day 3: Boonville to Jefferson City 57 miles. Todays plan was breakfast at 8:00am at the Derailleur Coffee Shop and Bistro, walking distance to the hotel, wheels down at 11:00, lunch at the winery at 12:30 and onwards to Jefferson City. The goal today was to out run the rising MO River!

Quickly the word of the day became “closed.” Out lunch stop was at Les Bourgeois winery; however, the winery was closed, but we didn’t know that until we hiked up the path. The community of Rocheport was busy filling sandbags to hold the floodwaters at bay. With parts of the trail closing, we had to ride a little road and a little gravel. Sometimes we didn’t heed the warning and persevered the flooded trail.As we arrived in North Jefferson we were informed that the pedestrian bridge over the river was closed in preparation of the river cresting this evening. Lucky us, the kind policemen unlocked the “closed’ pedestrian bridge so we could cross the MO River to the Baymont By Wyndham Hotel. We ate a delicious dinner at Arris’ Bistro next door to the hotel. After dinner we began making arrangements to get back across the river in the morning. Nick, the owner of Red Wheel Bike Shop agreed to take us back across in the morning to the trailhead on junction further east. We will get out of Jefferson City on schedule, time for some sleep.

Not so fast! Shortly after getting snuggled down under the covers, the tornado sirens sounded around 11:15 pm and all hotel guest were encouraged to tuck and cover on the first floor. Approximately midnight we returned to our rooms.

Day 4: Jefferson City to Augusta 77 miles ended up being 106 miles. Rise and shine! Tornado touched down last night approximately 3 blocks away. Thankful we were safe and prayers go out to Jefferson City.

Red Wheel Bike Shop arrived at 9:00am, loaded up the 3 tandems and off we went back across the river. We rode the trail! We rode in crazy deep water! We waded in more crazy deep water! We finally had to give into Mother Nature and take a road detour, the longest detour EVER-29 miles to bypass only 7 miles on the trail! After the detour (State hwy C to O to D) we still had 50 miles of the trail to ride. Lodging was scheduled at the Swan Haven Inn Bed and Breakfast in Augusta. We called Gene and Jackie to let them know we would be arriving later than expected. They were so kind and went out of there way to secure dinner reservations at the Silly Goose for us. We arrived at Swan Haven shortly after 6:00pm. secured the bikes in the barn, showered, had a glass of wine and bite of cheese and then Gene drove us a short distance to the Silly Goose. Very nice, delicious dining experience! We walked back to the B & B after dinner. Fantastic accommodations by the way! 106 mile day, but we’re still smiling and we are going to sleep well!

Day 5: Augusta to St. Charles 32 miles +10 miles. We needed a chainsaw today! Little did we know that The east side of Augusta also got hit with either very high winds or a tornado. Trees were down all across the trail and of course we didn’t pay the “closed” sign any mind until the jungle got too thick! Shorter road detour today, only 5 miles, and we were back on the trail. Only a couple of low water crossings which were now considered nothing in comparison to yesterday.

We were very happy to arrive in St. Charles! Trailhead Brewery was the first stop! After lunch, we continued east on the trail knowing that we could only make it another five miles before it was closed again to the end in Machens. Give miles back to St. Charles. (32 +10 = 42 miles today).Lodging at the Comfort Suites, dinner at Llewellyn Pub, and ice cream at Kilwins.

We rode the Katy Trail as far as Mother Nature allowed us! We had a great trip across Missouri and would encourage anyone who is interested in this ride to make plans and just do it!

What did we learn on this trip?

  • If you come across trail closure signs, they are there for a reason!
    Carry snacks. Don’t assume stores will be open or keep regular hours. There are some very small towns out there!
    Mother Nature dished it out, but we persevered and had a ton of fun!

Day 6: Shuttle from St.Charles back to to Windsor. If you ever wondered how to transport 3 tandems and 6 people here you go…Defiance Bike Shop offers a shuttle service.

Due to the continued threat of rain, as a group we decided to shuttle back to Windsor instead of Lee’s Summit. Tomorrow we will decided if we ride the Rock Island Trail-Out and back.

Pit Stops-Family and Friends

We have definately been on the move traveling from Florida back to Texas catching up with family and friends.

From Ocala, FL we headed west to Orange Beach, AL. Gulf Shores State Park is a gem! The state park would be my first choice of places to stay as there are approximately 20 miles of paved bikepaths that meander through the park and also lead right to the beach. Make reservations well in advance or you will be tough out of luck. Since we were tough out of luck, we stayed at Pandion Ridge RV Resort on Canal Rd. a fantastic first class accommodation park with access to the bike trail and The Wharf across the street. Goodbye Orange Beach, hello Clinton, MS. A one night stop with a morning bike on part of the Natchez Trace. The Natchez Trace runs 440 miles from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS and will definately be a future point to point bicycling trip. There are fantastic planning tools on the internet for this adventure.Moving on from Clinton, MS to Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, LA. Lincoln Parish Park has become one of our favorite places to stay. It is located approximately 3 miles north of I-20. The park has approximately 25 full hook up sites nestled in the pines and next to the lake. There is a paved walking path around the small lake, a beach, playground, and 12 miles of fantastic trails for mountain biking and hiking.Time to return to the Dallas, TX area to check in and babysit the grandkids for a few days. Of course we showed up to ride with our friends too. If ever in the north Dallas area and you want a group ride, check out Plano Bicycle Association, Planobicycle.org. They have organized rides for all ability levels during the week and on the weekend.Dallas to Houston, TX and Lakeview RV Park. Lakeview RV Park is situated in downtown Houston approximately 5 miles from MD Anderson Hospital. Nice park, nice people. We stayed here for 3 nights so we could support Glenn’s mom during here follow up visit. Good news was received, so off to the beach.Port Aransas along the Gulf of Mexico is a unique beach, in my opinion. The sand is actually hard packed silt that you can drive on, camp on, but it is still the beach with lots of sunshine, water, waves, and fishing. We stayed at Pioneer RV Resort with direct beach access. Renting a golf cart to get around was also money well spent. We not only drove the golf cart to the beach, but drove up and down the beach and into town. It added a layer of fun to this trip. From Port Aransas we headed to the San Antonio airport to drop Glenn’s parents off for their flight home and headed a little further up the road. Next stop KOA in Leander, TX for a night before stopping to spend a couple of nights in Liberty Hill at our friends new home. There is definately pride in ownership at the Leander KOA, just north of Austin. Beautiful little park; full hook ups, humongous dog park, hot tub, pool, laundry, morning coffee social, and cabin rentals-highly recommended park!Our wonderful visit with friends in Liberty Hill, TX landed us at The Vineyard at Florance. Again highly recommended for and afternoon or evening of wine and fellowship!For the most part you are now caught up with the Rudolph’s and the Reindeergames!+Next up will be Easter Hill Country and Fredericksburg and Kerrville, TX. Stay tuned!

SOORTA Santos Fun-Mountain Biking in Florida

March 1-3, 2019

Santos State Park, Ocala Florida sports a great campground (water & electric) located at the Santos MTBing trailhead. More than 85 miles of trails awaited twenty plus tandem mtbing couples for some weekend fun! Couples from Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, New Jersey, Tennesee, Massachusetts, Geogia, and Florida escaped the cold to ride in the sun.

Our Florida hosts, Chris and Monica Judd, did an outstanding job planning and organizing a fun filled weekend: 5 bike rides in 3 days, screen printing t-shirts and coozies and a pot luck dinner. Alex and Kim Nutt, MTB Tandems, brought demo bikes, sponsored snacks and mechanical support.

There may not be mountains in Florida, but the fast flowy trails provided the opportunity to work on technique while speeding through the trees on miles and miles of single track! All trails are clearly labeled and marked with placards that show direction and level of difficulty; beginner-advanced.

Friday: We drove a short distance to the Ross Prairie trailhead and road a morning warm up, led by Chris and Andrea Smith, which allowed us to acclimate to the terrain and get a feel for how the bikes would handle on the Florida soil. After eating a picnic lunch, we headed back into the woods to take it up a notch on the intermediate trails. Trails were still fast and flowy, just more technical with short rollers with added twisting and turning. After finishing approximately 30 miles, we returned to our campsite for dinner and a ride in the dark led by Paul and Jeanne Knudsen. “Neat and tidy” was the mantra; we certainly didn’t want to lose or leave anyone out there!

Saturday: We pedaled from our campsites to the Santos trailhead. Riding out around 9:00a.m. and returning around 2:00p.m. Trail after trail, ear to ear smiles, great fun riding in the woods was had by all. After a great day of riding, it was time for fellowship, arts and crafts, happy hour, and a pot luck dinner. A total surprise was the recognition of the Isherwood’s and our (Rudolph’s) retirements.

Sunday: Rise and shine, it’s time to sneak in a short ride before most people had to pack up an return home for another work week. Today’s ride highlights included visiting the ride features skill park, Briarpatch, and the rock area. Having the opportunity to ride and learn from other mtbing tandem riders is priceless and sharpens everyone’s skill set!

What does SOORTA stand for? Self Organized Off Road Tandem Adventures #S.O.O.R.T.A.

Want a MTB tandem? MTBTandems.com #mtbtandems

Have a mtbtandem and want to join the fun? Check out our upcoming events on the SOORTA Facebook page.

Fort Meyers to Key West on Bicycle with a day in Everglades National Park

This was our first self supported multi day trip on the road tandem. I’m not totally into roughing it, yet, so lodging was secured well in advance! Adventurous friends willing to go with the flow and embrace the unknown were also talked into joining us early on! Glenn and I had never been to Fort Meyers, Everglades National Park or Key West, so making plans took lots of research and a few leaps of faith. I also contacted a few local Florida bicycle shops for guidance.

Summary of Each Day:

Day One: Fort Myers to Everglades City…80 miles. Naples, FL is gorgeous! No alligator sightings yet! Spent the night at the Rod and Gun Club. Great accommodations restaurant and all!Day Two: Everglades City to Florida City…86 miles. Route 41 is the longest and straightest road EVER! The alligator sightings made it all worthwhile! There were a few places to stop along the way to refill water bottles and grab a snack. Ran into some road construction on 997, so took a slight detour. We road pavement, bike trail, and gravel today! Stayed at the Super 8 in Florida City, clean rooms, pool, laundry and walking distance to restaurants. Day Three: Florida City into Everglades National Park, Flamingo Visitor Center…48 miles one way. Great ride, bent front wheel putting bike in bike rack 😒, 1 1/2 hour Everglades boat tour…saw manatees. crocodiles, snapping turtles, birds…truck ride out, bike shop for new wheel. Second night at the Super 8 in Florida City.

Day Four: Florida City to Marathon..85 miles…Great day on the bike riding the Florida Keys. Lots of bike path and smooth roads. Weekday traffic not too bad. Stopped at Florida Keys Brewing Company, and Robbie’s to feed the Tarpon. We saw pelicans, tarpon and iguanas. Now for a nap and little pool time at Coconut Cay Resort and Marina. Again walking distance to restaurants.

Day Five: We made it! Marathon to Key West…48 miles. More iguanas, lots of bridges, beautiful water, and wind at our backs! Check it off the bucket list! Stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton Grand Key Resort, Key West. Hotel was awesome, free warm cookies, bottled water and shuttle to downtown and back every hour! We spent three nights in Key West: dinner cruise, rented an electric car, had beach time, rented jet skies and watched the entertainment and sunsets at Mallory Square.Returning from Key West to Fort Meyers: Plan A: Key West Express Ferry-only allows single bicycles, no tandems!

Plan B: Rent a minivan and drive back. Yes, two tandems and 4 people can fit in one vehicle.

What we packed per person and carried in panniers:

  1. 2 bike kits
  2. 2 pair of socks
  3. Arm warmers
  4. Helmet
  5. Bike gloves
  6. Bike shoes
  7. Bike computer
  8. Sunglasses
  9. Rain jacket
  10. Athletic shorts and T-shirt for after ride
  11. Sundress (for Barb) in Key West
  12. Light weight nice shorts and nicer t-shirt (for Glenn) for Key West
  13. 3 pair of underwear
  14. Bathing suit
  15. Toiletries including chapstick and sunscreen!
  16. Sneakers that compact
  17. Cell phone and charger
  18. Driver license, credit card, $100 cash

Would we do it again? Travel with panniers, definitely! Same route, no! We would leave from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and head south. The trek across Florida, Naples to Miami, in my opinion was boring except the Rod and Gun Club which was a cool place to visit! If you take a day to ride in and out of Everglades National Park, you will see enough of the Everglades.

Key West was interesting too! You don’t go there for the beaches! Duval Street has a flair like Bourbon St. in New Orleans. Key West has plenty of good restaurants along the water, lots of shopping and people watching. Definitely a place to go visit.

A tremendous thank you to our friends Jeff and Darla for keeping us company and enjoying the ride with us! Key West was a bucket list item for us and we can say, “Been there, done that!”

Mountain Biking in Tucson, AZ

Beautiful weather and amazing trails! Glenn and I spent the last week attending a Self Organized Off Road Tandem Adventure (S.O.O.R.T.A) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1534869173484183/ event.

Riders from New Hampshire to California converged on Tucson MLK weekend to reconnect, make new friends, and tandem mountain bike ride.

We rode the following trails: Honey Bee Canyon Loop, Fantasy Island, McKenzie Ranch, and Sweetwater. We also attempted Gabe Zimmerman Canyon over Pistol Point, but turned around approximately 3 miles in for fear we were getting in over our heads with the chunky rocks, boulders and cactus. (Routes can be found on MTB Project.)

The cactus have a way of jumping on you and sticking you if you are not on the top of your game. There is not a lot of room for error in the desert!

Looking for a place to eat? Try Saguaro Corner, just outside the entrance to Saguaro National Park or Hot Rods Old Vail.

Each day we came across local riders enjoying the trails. The Sonoran Dessert Mountain Bicyclists is also a group to contact when in the area. They were very friendly and willing to give guidance as needed.

We will definitely return to enjoy more desert riding!

Downsized

Purchased in October 1991 and sold in April 2018.Purchased in November 2017 and moved in full time in April 2018.

When we moved to Texas in 1991 we purchased our first and only house. It was a house we never dreamed we could of afforded. We loved our home, beautiful backyard and all the Sunday dinners we hosted for family and friends. But, the desire to seek adventures, ride our bicycles, hike and hang out with other actively minded people,while young and healthy, drove our decision to retire.

We got rid of everything we didn’t need so we could live in the 5th wheel! Between giving our kids first dibs, making donations to St. Vincent DePaul, and using Facebook Marketplace, it all went.

I believe people wait too long to retire and then they don’t have the health, energy or stamina to do what they dreamed of doing. Others don’t retire because they don’t know what they would do with their time. Glenn and I have similar interests and are truly best friends.

Sure, we will need to watch the budget, but we don’t need expensive trips and expensive thing to make us happy. As long as we share our faith, have each other, keep up with family and friends, and the chance to travel and explore, life will be good!

Life Is Great!