The LATE MANASTASH post

In my defense, I attempted to post this about a month ago and the site went down and I lost an entire page with several photos. Needless to say, I was not happy, and not ready to try again right away. I think it is all ok now with my communication with the folks at support and help. Let’s hope!!

Even then, this report of my weekend in Ellensburg with the Badlands Four was late. But you know what they say about being late rather than never ;’-).

Badlands Four: Bette-Ann, Nancy, Brenda, Linda

Just about two weeks after our return home from the adventurous tour of the Mickleson Trail in South Dakota, we loaded up again for our trip to the Eastern Washington town of Ellensburg. We had previously signed up for the Manastash Century/Half Century Metric bicycle ride.

We got there a day early to check into our motel and to have a highlight before even beginning the event. Brenda’s brother Glen lives in Ellensburg and was more than willing to take us on a bike tour of his town. What a treat. My only regret is that I did not get a photo of Glen. We will have to do this adventure with him again!

We walked around town looking for a place to have lunch while we waited for Glen to join us for the riding part. We found our walk to be very interesting and quite colorful.

These ornaments and decorations have been here for years, and I think there is more added periodically.

We were now on the search for the “Daily Bread” cafe that Linda had learned is a great place to eat. We walked and walked but it eluded us. Unknowingly, we were within about two blocks of it when we spotted the church cafe that would provide with a great meal.

As we walked out after lunch, Glen was right there with his bike to be our tour guide for the day. We rode all around town without very much in hills and got a thorough introduction to Ellensburg. Riding through Central Washington University (CWU) gave us a true perspective of the growing campus.

Continuing on we got an inside tour of the fairgrounds where the annual Rodeo is held.

It was fun to ride through all the back area of the grounds.

A few more miles through town and we would head back to the motel to shower and dress for our date with Glen and his wife for dinner in town. But first a stop to visit the horse. Made all of tree debris.

I’m going to post this now before I lose it all! Day 2 coming up later. ;’-)

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Coffee/teaneuring Challenge 2017

This year I chose to add the theme of ‘tea without walls with a water view’. No one has to have theme to participate in this annual challenge, but it is becoming a more popular thing to do.

There are several rules (maybe about 12!), but it boils down to doing 7 coffee/tea rides in 7 weeks to a different place each week with no more than two in a week. And document your outing with details of the stop, and photos.

Let the season begin!!! Teaneuring #1

Theme: Tea Without Walls, With a Water View

10/13/17

Lake Serene, Lynnwood WA

Moroccan Mint Tea
21 miles

An added highlight — the three boys that were fishing off the edge. We had some good interaction and I really enjoyed these boys. They were very welcoming to me when I asked if they minded if I took up part of their beach. When I was packing up to leave they were surprised and asked “are you leaving already?”

Teaneuring #2

Lake Ballinger, Mountlake Terrace, WA

10/14/2017

Japanese Sencha Tea

34 miles

I “roped in” my very good friend Cindy to accompany me on a ride today and made it a pleasant teaneurring day. We each thought we might be a little overdressed for the 45 degree day, but ended up peeling off only long fingered gloves. We were in perfect layers ;’-). Not many people at the lake other than a family with two little boys who chased the ducks ;’-(.

Teaneuring #3

10/16/2017

Silver Lake, Everett WA

Sencha Green Tea

22 miles
Astrid had suggested a meet up and we invited Cindy to join us. This may be the last dry day for several rain days to come. It was clouding up dluring our afternoon tea, and again, no real visitors other than the ducks!

Teaneuring #4

Lake Washington from Matthews Beach, Seattle WA

10/25/2017

Pink Green Snail Tea (appropriate for Halloween)

17 miles

My good friends Cindy & Linda joined me for this outing and the sun we expected for at least part of the day did not appear. Cloudy and cool for our ride on the trail; we enjoyed the crunch of dry leaves under our wheels; liked watching the cormorant sitting atop a floating buoy drying its wings; got a surprise as a flock of Canada Geese landed on the lake not far from us; loved sitting together with our hot drinks, snacks and good chatting; were entertained by a few Halloween decorations along the way.

Teaneuring Without Walls with a Water View #5

Lake Cassidy, Lake Stevens WA

11/4/2017

Kirkland (Costco Brand) Green Tea

24 Miles

Weather forecasters were of course wrong for today. The rain/snow to come in toNIGHT, hit us about 4 miles from the end of our ride. Kathy R and Cindy were good to join me on this day, cold enough for those packets of hand and foot warmers! We ignored the weather and enjoyed our time together and on our bikes! Life is good. In addition to our stop at the lake, we took a new to us turn and found the old cemetery in Machias.

Without Walls with a Water View

Teaneuring #6

Possession Sound, Everett Marina WA

11/8/2017

Gen Maicha tea (from home)
13 miles

I heard something chasing me. Sounded like the toenails of a dog, or many dogs! I slowed and turned my head to see what it was. What was chasing me was a street full of dry leaves dancing in the wind.

Teaneuring without walls with a water view #7

North Puget Sound from Harborview Park in Everett WA

11/10/2017

Yunnan Green Tea

20 miles

And thus ends my challenge for 2017.

This theme of Water View has been quite a challenge: figuring out where to go for 7 different views; the time it takes to get there; planning and packing for the ride; finding a decent weather day that will fit into your schedule! So I give a tip of the hat to Annie Follett who does this for every coffeeneurring challenge. Annie was the inspiration to do my own water view theme so I thank you Annie. Not that I won’t add a water view in the future, but this year will be the only year I use this as a theme!

Thank you Mary for another fun year of challenge; thank you Annie for the inspiration; thank you all participants for making this such fun.

Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary

One More Event

This will be short, but I would be remiss if I did not include it to wind up this trip.

The Prius has a slight limp as she makes her way to the repair bay.

After breakfast and loading our luggage into the car we were ready to roll. Well — not quite, as it turned out. 

The dashboard display showed that we had a tire issue. Bette-Ann hopped out to walk around and look at each tire until she came to the issue — a flat on the rear driver’s side.

Not enough to put us on the rim, so we drove from the motel to the Free Air offered at the Conoco station just around the corner. My regret is that I was not yet thinking quickly enough to hop out for a photo of the insertion of air. Bette-Ann (again) started to pump us up with just a bit of resistance from the pump when a young gal from inside the station came out to help. I’m sure she thought of us as the little old ladies from Pasadena, but her kindness was exemplary.

Our princess in shining armor told us the way to the nearby tire store and assured us we could make it there safely so off we went to find it.

Waiting in the typical tire store waiting room

Here too, the service was outstanding. The cashier entered all of Linda’s information into the computer and drove the car into the garage. And YAY, we did not need a new tire. They found a sliver of wood — or thorn maybe — in the tire. 

Happy Linda for fairly good news of minor tire repair.

As we were paying for the repair, the cashier said his wife (I’m assuming on the phone) was curious as to what these white haired ladies were doing out in the world of travel. We explained our bike tour and he was adequately impressed.

Being the only customers in the tire store on this morning, we were out of there quite quickly. We had a short back track drive to Claire’s house to pick up Brenda’s charger that she had forgotten when we stayed there on the outbound trip. THEN we were on the road again. That was Billings, no rooms in Missoula (our somewhat planned destination), so we are in Wallace ID for the last leg of the trip. Home tomorrow. (Today actually)

THIS will be my final post for this trip. (Unless another event happens ;’-)

Homeward Bound

We say farewell to Outlaw Ranch with a feather in our caps for having completed the entire 109 mile Mickelson Trail.

Linda promised to stop for the welcome sign on the way OUT. And Phil said he would wait to change the sign until he saw that we had the photo ;’-)

Phil with the sign he had hand painted that will welcome the new group to Outlaw Ranch

We all had a grand time at the Ranch and on our bikes. The staff was outstanding in their helpfulness, patience, knowledge and caring. Now it was time to start our drive home. 

Given a choice of post ride afternoon outings the other day, three of us had opted for the Crazy Horse outing and Brenda had chosen the drive through Needles Highway. We each were happy with our choice and Brenda wanted us to see at least one view that she so appreciated. We took a little spur off the highway to enjoy Sylvan Lake which is at one end of the Needles. 

Note we still have blue sky

No time to drive the entire Needles Highway, we returned to continue our drive toward home — until we (they) spotted the Rock Shop.



Brenda and Bette-Ann are real rock hounds

… but Linda also found something (unrtesistable) inside the shop. After rock hounding we plotted the map for out next stop at Devils Tower. 

In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as the nation’s first national monument.

Note our blue sky has disappeared ;’-(

Due to time constraints we did not walk any of the trail around the Tower, but took a little stroll to the base before looking into the visitor center and gift shop.


On the way out of the Monument we chatted with these little guys.


This will most likely end my blogging for this trip as we are now driving straight for home with no more planned trourist stops. If we do something on a whim I will be back for another post. To those who have been reading and following along, thanks for joining us as it is always nice to know you are with us.

Rochford to Hill City

A day of more cow patties (and cows), 3 tunnels, a long climb, more people, and a tumble.

The tumble was not one of the four Badlands Babes, and fortunately was not too serious. Sue bumped into her husband, tangled their wheels and she went down. Some scrapes and gashes, but all in all not too bad. We were near our rest stop at the time, and after good attention by several people, she was cleaned up and bandaided. Sue elected to skip the climbing part (good excuse Sue!) and join us on the more downhill grade to Hill City. She’s a tough gal.

I could have waited to take the photo of cow patties as today we really worked at skirting around them in many places along the trail. The roaming cows were out too and a mama and baby meandered in front of us for a while as we gave way to them. They were as anxious to get out of our way as we were, and soon found a path to take themselves to “safety”.

We came upon the largest waterfall on the Mickelson Trail. Actually, I personally did not see any other waterfall on the trail so for me this was the only.


The Babes are lookin’ good!

We went through three tunnels but after the second we were so used to them I didn’t get a photo of the third. The tunnels are dark and can be a little damp. While riding through the first one it felt like some spirit had taken over my handlebar and I had no control of the squirreling back and forth in a slipping action. I was hoping there was nothing wrong with me! Afterwards I found out that had happened to everyone. And only in the first tunnel.

The “spirited” tunnel. Looks so innocuous yet is the only one that gave us pause.


Trees have been uncloaking their autumn colors more each day during the week we have been here.


After the teaser of our nice five mile downhill grade to lunch, we began our eight miles of climbing. Being a railroad grade, the climbs are not steep, but pedaling eight miles goes pretty slowly as we grind our way to the downhill on the other side.

An old homestead


We ended our riding day at Hill City, this time entering from the north, where we bought our tee shirts on the first day of the tour. So ends our bike tour for this time. But we still had a couple of more things on the agenda. First — a visit to Crazy Horse Monument.


The project started in 1948, and in 1998 the completed face was unveiled. It is an ongoing project by the Korczak family with the finished product to replicate this sculpture..


When Crazy Horse was asked “where is your land?”, by response he reportedly pointed and said “my land is there where all my people are buried”.


The monument buildings are vast and hold a large gift shop, museum, art work, and restaurant.


Back at the Ranch we had time for (maybe) a quick shower and dinner, then to our evening program. Ranger Duane Weber (a former firefighter) gave a full and very interesting talk about Wildland Firefighting. 

We head home tomorrow.

Custer to Edgemont

Neither soaking rain nor ferocious wind nor heat of the day shall keep us from pursuing the completion of the 109 miles of the GEORGE. S. MICKELSON. TRAIL! (After all, we got the tee shirt)

All bundled up in as many layers as we had, we were all still cold this morning. The sun and blue sky offered a promise of warmer temps for us but that was hard to appreciate as we shivered at the ride start.

Today we would bike the trail in the southern Black Hills for 45 a mile day. With wind. And lots of it. We were buffered around quite a bit at the beginning part and would get rocked later in the day. Scenes along the way were beautiful and interesting as we pedaled past ranches and open fields.

Our first break was in the town of Pringle (no relation to Pringle potato chips) where we got to see the bike Sculpture. 


In addition to being aware of soft sandy parts on the trail, and hard rutted areas caused by last weeks 600 cyclist event in the rain, we had to watch out for cow patties as cattle do often cross the trail.


Then we entered the prairie and were hit by cross wind so fierce it rocked us back and forth and almost caused some to topple over. Some tumbling tumble weed drifted across our path to remind me of Roy Rogers ;’-). By now it had heated up and we were peeling off layers against the 80 degrees that developed. Without that wind, we may have been scorched. Pick your poison!

Linda in the wind — see her hair?

We reached the top of this hill and were told we could see Nebraska. 

Nebraska is over there…

We fought the wind all the way to our ending spot in Edgemont and were stopped (let’s say for a rest) just outside of town by trains exchanging engineers. All was no so bleak as we were treated to cold Gatorade by the switchman.


We even had a choice of flavors

Though they say this part of the trail is more downhill than uphill, some of us questioned that! But I suppose that may be due to the wind we had for the entire day that had us beat by the end of the ride.

Dinner and an interesting presentation by a photographer and author Paul Horsted brought our day to a close. Happy and tired!

Rochford to Deadwood

My morning view off our porch.

Then the walk to the Dining Hall for breakfast.


A longer drive today to reach our trailhead in Rochford for a slightly longer bike ride. I took this photo of Roger who is our lead bike guy and sweep on the rides. He reminds me so much of our friend John L, not only in looks and build, but in his gentle and kind manner.


We gather up and saddle up for our ride to Deadwood.

See the 82.6 mile mark — we will end at the 109 mark in Deadwood

We had one tunnel today — dark but not bad as you could “see the light at the end of the tunnel”.

Linda and Brenda, out of the tunnel and onto the trail

There are gates along the trail. Sometimes open (leave them open), most times closed (close them after you).


Keep an eye on those clouds Bette-Ann is riding toward


Those clouds built as we neared Deadwood, and the rain hit us at bout six miles from town. We each and all got soaked. Fortunately we had the foresight to bring along dry clothing to change into. Some of us changed in the back of the bus, Linda had wet and cold feet and no dry socks. We walked to the dollar store where she found not only socks — but sandals. Well, more like pool shoes, but dry!

Fashion statement. And this without her new “shoes”

We walked around town a little and our gamblers (Bette-Ann and Brenda) hit some slots to win a few dollars. Deadwood legalized gaming in 1998 as a way to get revenue to refurbish the town as well as draw the tourists. It was built during a lawless time until a great law enforcer (I do not remember his name but will try to update this with it later) was elected sheriff and “cleaned up the lawlessness.

Brenda contemplates this gaming house (there is one on every corner, and many in every block)
Bodegas, saloons and gaming houses — that’s Deadwood

Our buffet dinner at the Silverado was quite good with lots of choices and fresh food. Now for the long drive home.