Last December, we held a contest challenging folks to write up their best experience on an Adventure Cycling guided tour. The winner was given a prize of $100 off the 2009 tour of his or her choice. One of the winners, Kamila Gwiazda, wrote about her 2008 trip touring the Pacific Coast and, with her $100 credit, chose to ride on our 2009 Tetons to Tides adventure. Since I already know that she’s a fantastic writer, I asked her to do a guest posting about her recent adventure. What follows below is her contribution. Thanks, Kamila!
“I was part of this year’s Adventure Cycling Tetons to Tides trip, covering the western third of the TransAmerica Trail. We started in Jackson, Wyoming, and were headed 1700 miles west towards Florence, Oregon, via the ‘scenic route’. This included riding up the steep (9-10%) 5-mile Teton Pass on our first day, a two day loop through Yellowstone National Park, and a layover in Missoula, Montana, to visit Adventure Cycling’s office.
We experienced the whole gamut of weather the West has to offer: headwinds in 100+ degree temps in Montana, lightning at the top of a pass in Idaho, a 12-hour downpour in Eastern Oregon (which gets an annual rainfall of 10 inches and boasted a fire danger of ‘extreme’), and fog on our final day down the Oregon coast.
One particular aspect of this 30-day trip sticks out in my mind: the feeling that ‘real life’ stops. I had to keep reminding myself that life kept going for everyone around us, which explained why the roads were busier on Saturdays and stores were closed early on Sundays. A striking example of how our group took leave of ‘real life’: while in Idaho, we rode along the Snake River, jumping in and out of the Mountain and Pacific time zones for a few days. Instead of following local (‘real’) time, we stayed on Mountain Time until crossing into Oregon. We called it ‘TTTST’, or ‘Tetons to Tides Standard Time’. Conversations regarding grocery shopping or dinner went like this:
Meet at the restaurant at 6pm.
Local time or ‘TTTST?’
Local, but remember it closes at 7 [local], so that’s really 8 [our time].
It got rather confusing, especially when certain cell phones switched time zones automatically. Needless to say, we all managed to wake up for breakfast on time!”
ON THE ROAD is posted each Tuesday by Sarah Raz, Adventure Cycling’s Tours Specialist and Intrepid Traveler, and shines a spotlight on the daily delights that take place on Adventure Cycling Tours.