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Touring the West Coast

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Touring the West Coast

Old 05-15-20, 06:06 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
We've used panniers on the back on our short tours and have been toying with trailer or 4 panniers. I can set-up the front for panniers so that is possible. We are a larger team so I've worried about the rear wheel and broken spokes with our weight and the panniers.
in regular riding we've broken spokes before so that's driving my concerns. As I mentioned above the rear wheel is White Ind 40 hole laced to Velocity Dyad so it is a competent wheel. I've really been enjoying the input!
I have not broken a spoke in decades, I think every spoke I ever broke was on a wheel built in the early 60s. So, maybe I am not a good judge of this, but I think a well built wheel that is tensioned properly should hold up well. But, if you have already broken a couple spokes on your rear wheel, you might think about replacing all spokes on that wheel before your trip. If the trip is still over a year away, no rush. I usually build up my own wheels with Wheelsmith DB-14 spokes when I build wheels but I have not built up a tandem wheel. I have been using Sapim nipples for my last few sets of wheels. A few people on this forum suggest Alpine spokes, I do not recall brand that makes Alpine, perhaps DT? I think part of the spoke is thicker on the Alpine.

If you get the rear wheel re-built, get a couple extra spokes for each side in case you need them later.

I assume you know how to replace a spoke once you broke one and know how to use a spoke wrench to true a wheel. If not, you might want to learn that if you have a history of breaking spokes. And I assume you know how to pull the cassette off to replace a drive side spoke.

Several years ago I wrote up a short piece on this forum for a substitute for a chain whip for removing a cassette when touring in case you break a drive side spoke and need to pull the cassette off to replace a spoke while on a tour. Link at:
Chain Whip for Travel

I used Dyads on my most recent pair of wheels for a touring bike, I think they are a good rim.
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Old 05-17-20, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
We've used panniers on the back on our short tours and have been toying with trailer or 4 panniers. I can set-up the front for panniers so that is possible. We are a larger team so I've worried about the rear wheel and broken spokes with our weight and the panniers.
in regular riding we've broken spokes before so that's driving my concerns. As I mentioned above the rear wheel is White Ind 40 hole laced to Velocity Dyad so it is a competent wheel. I've really been enjoying the input!
I have ridden the Oregon and California coasts on an early Santana road tandem with four panniers for self-contained camping.
Your rear wheel has quality components that (if built properly) should handle day rides and loaded touring easily. What tire width do you use now? And what is the maximum size that will fit your frame front and rear? Is one tandem a better choice that the other for loaded touring?
For self contained tandem touring on and off pavement I always opt for more air volume to spare the stoker, the wheel from unexpected road hits and the constant pounding of the tandem team weight.
l enjoyed the Oregon & California coasts the most with strong tailwinds much of the time. Luckily my stoker was the California Category 2 Woman's state road champion. The speedometer reached 58MPH on one long rolling stretch with 35 MPH tailwinds. The gearing was 56x12 which we spun out. I was never sure how much I actually contributed other than piloting the tandem. (FYI: When rain storms roll down the coast the tailwinds turn to headwinds if you are South bound.)

I always found that I used upper body muscles more than I expected with a loaded tandem for a longer tour.
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Old 05-17-20, 06:37 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
One of my goals has always been to tour the West Coast. My wife and I will retire at the end of this year and have been thinking of riding our tandem.

Our more grand thoughts are leave from Seattle and then ride down into Oregon to Portland and then angle over to the coast. Then on down the coast through California to San Diego. That looks to be a little over 1,800 miles.

A little lesser mileage tour idea would be to ride a portion of the West Coast. If that were our decision, what are your thoughts on the best portion of the coast to do for a 500-600 mile tour.

I'd love to here your thoughts and why you love this section.

Thanks so much for your input on this!
I've traveled this route very often. It's my favorite. If you need to shorten your trip, I'm admittedly bias, but I feel cycling California is the best. There's a small airport in Arcadia and a large one in LA. If I were cherry picking, that's would be my advice. After a little coffee and oatmeal setting off in the crisp early morning air blowing off the ocean is nice. Speaking of wind, most people prefer the north to south route and it is a couple of days faster, I felt it really didn't matter. Going north there were a couple of days that the wind blew me to my granny gear for awhile and Long Beach can be a challenge due to the due west heading but that's cycling..( If it were easy, everyone would do it). If you go in September or October it is off-season, less well traveled and cooler. That's one reason to take the north/south direction in fall. The weather chases you south away from the shorter days and advancing winter. Spring would reverse the direction. Bike and hike campsites are spaced no more than 70 miles apart except in LA. In LA I'd suggest a cheap motel. You can negotiate a good price and bring your bike inside. The full Seattle to San Diego route is twice as good though and if you can spare the time it is all kinds of fun. Oh, and air horns are my go-to for bears. For racoons it's a full water bottle.🤓
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Old 05-17-20, 09:53 PM
  #29  
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I was planning to do the Trans-Am route east to west with ACA van support this spring but obviously that didn't happen. Now, I've set my sights on doing the full west coast starting in Vancouver BC sometime in late August. Once I get to Mexico I plan to take a left turn and head to Arizona where I have family. I'm retired so I don't need to worry about being anywhere at a specific time. With a little luck we may run into each other along the route. I plan to camp most of the time with an occasional hotel stay. I live in Oregon and have toured most of the Oregon coast, the RV's can be a bit unnerving at times but overall it's amazing and beautiful. September in Oregon is also one of the best weather months. I highly recommend the ACA route maps through Oregon which will keep you off 101 where there is a cycling friendly alternative.
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Old 05-18-20, 04:16 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by 7BikeTourist View Post
I highly recommend the ACA route maps through Oregon which will keep you off 101 where there is a cycling friendly alternative.
I guess it depends on your traffic tolerance. I had both map options and much preferred the ODOT Pacific Coast Bicycle Route Map which essentially followed 101. I found the detours the ACA took to generally not be more scenic and liked the format of the ODOT map better. I can recall places where I really regretted a "scenic" detour which took you away from the coast to a less scenic and more hilly route. I remember one that was billed as being scenic. It was super hilly, crazy hot because it was farther from the coast, and the scenic overlooks had all grown up over the years so they were no longer overlooks if they ever had been. I guess there was less traffic if that is a major concern for you.

All in all I found it much less pleasant. I have not found it to unusual for an ACA route to go out of it's way to do what seems to me like do no more than add miles and add hills. That seemed to be the case at spots here, but regardless of that I liked the ODOT map better because it was easier to use while riding. You could readily tell where you were relative to all of the state parks and their hiker/biker sites as well as other features and points of interest.

My suggestion is that even if you decide to use the ACA route take the ODOT map along and give it a comparison, if you find you prefer it you can switch mid trip or even mix and match. You might even find you prefer to navigate with the ODOT map much of the time when following the ACA route.
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Old 05-18-20, 08:29 AM
  #31  
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Aside from wind direction, a good reason to ride south is the ocean is on your right, so you have a better view. Also, the shoulder is usually better on the ocean side in California.
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Old 05-18-20, 09:50 AM
  #32  
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For me personally the ACA "detours" are a welcome respite from the traffic along 101. One of my goals when touring is to maximize my time away from traffic. As for the added miles and hills; more miles on the bike is something I enjoy and the hills are all part of the journey.

I agree the official Oregon Coast Bicycle Route map is a great resource and I would certainly supplement my ACA maps with the ODOT version. Nice that the ODOT map can be had for free and as a downloadable PDF. I think it's wise to rely of multiple sources to inform the daily decisions of touring.
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Old 05-18-20, 12:15 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
I have ridden the Oregon and California coasts on an early Santana road tandem with four panniers for self-contained camping.
Your rear wheel has quality components that (if built properly) should handle day rides and loaded touring easily. What tire width do you use now? And what is the maximum size that will fit your frame front and rear? Is one tandem a better choice that the other for loaded touring?
For self contained tandem touring on and off pavement I always opt for more air volume to spare the stoker, the wheel from unexpected road hits and the constant pounding of the tandem team weight.
The Bushnell tandem typically has 28c or 32c tires thought it will take up to at least 35c. We will run at least 32c but are talking about 35c thought we have never ridden that large of tire on our tandems. A 35c tire will easily fit the frame but I need to see if it will work with fenders. The fenders I currently have will not accommodate that large a tire. As I think I mentioned above we are a fairly large team so that's been my concern. It is funny, we have two sets of wheels with the Dyads and one I think has a build issue as it has probably broken 3 spokes in 1,000, though that wheel doesn't get ridden much. The other pair hasn't had any broken spokes but it has gone out of true a couple of times. The funny thing is our Deep V wheels with 28c are the most robust of our three wheel sets for that bike. My plan is to have the builder of the Deep V's re-tension the better Dyads with the White Ind hubs which he did not originally build.
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Old 05-19-20, 03:50 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by 7BikeTourist View Post
As for the added miles and hills; more miles on the bike is something I enjoy and the hills are all part of the journey.
Fair enough. We all have different approaches and preferences.

Myself, I usually think in terms of making progress toward a goal destination when riding. If I want to ride more I ride farther toward the end goal. Not attractive to everyone, but the riding part is about knocking out the miles. The tour (not the riding) is also about, the people, the scenery, and the local cuisine, but the riding for me is about hammering out miles. I usually choose long enough tours that I am not looking to extend them with detours and side trips. I tend to choose a direct route and avoid going off route like the plague. If I want to ride more I ride longer mileage days. I don't generally take days off, but do take half days.

I think I may have developed the habit of only riding toward a goal because I started out riding the Trans America as my first tour. It was a long enough tour that we needed to worry about finishing, especially since one member of our group had a deadline. Even after that I tend to go on tours long enough that I am ready to go home at the end. Then again maybe it is just in my nature. As far as extra riding each day I always choose to ride farther down the road before stopping rather than take a detour. I sometimes do a crazy long day, but almost never a meandering one.

Unlike some folks I am pretty traffic tolerant. I tend to really like highways with the "US" designation and don't even mind rinding on some Interstate highway at times. I do enjoy empty country roads at times but don't especially seek them out on tour. Despite that much of my riding has been pretty traffic free. It helps that I ride at the crack of dawn. Not relevant to the PCH, but even US highways are often deserted in places like west Texas where all the traffic has moved to the Interstate and you can ride US 90 all day and maybe not see a car.
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Old 05-19-20, 03:02 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Aside from wind direction, a good reason to ride south is the ocean is on your right, so you have a better view. Also, the shoulder is usually better on the ocean side in California.
Agreed, I road south from Bellingham to the California border a few years back and the view was fantastic without traffic obscuring it.
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Old 06-01-20, 01:39 PM
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Fun update, I was watching a cycling for-sale page on Facebook and a B.O.B. Yak showed-up about 5 miles from my house. Bought it for $75 now need to get the tandem specific skewer for the 145mm tandem hub spacing. Weirdly it looks like they are out of stock til August, that seems strange.
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Old 06-02-20, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
Fun update, I was watching a cycling for-sale page on Facebook and a B.O.B. Yak showed-up about 5 miles from my house. Bought it for $75 now need to get the tandem specific skewer for the 145mm tandem hub spacing. Weirdly it looks like they are out of stock til August, that seems strange.
Co-Motion might have them: click. Not listed as "B.O.B. Yak" specific, no, but for 145mm tandem rear hubs.

SJS Cycles (in the UK) might also have them: click.
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Old 06-02-20, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Co-Motion might have them: click. Not listed as "B.O.B. Yak" specific, no, but for 145mm tandem rear hubs.

SJS Cycles (in the UK) might also have them: click.
Thanks so much Clyde1820 the problem is that it is a unique design with the skewer ends designed to accept the yoke of the trailer. This what they look like.
https://bobparts.com/bob-quick-release-145mm/
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Old 06-02-20, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
Thanks so much Clyde1820 the problem is that it is a unique design with the skewer ends designed to accept the yoke of the trailer. This what they look like.
https://bobparts.com/bob-quick-release-145mm/
Ah. (Clearly I don't have a B.O.B. trailer.) Sorry about that.

Scanned about a dozen other sites ... and they're all out-of-stock, no longer available, or don't know when they'll get 'em back in. But you probably knew all of that. Good luck in the hunt.
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Old 06-04-20, 04:59 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
Our more grand thoughts are leave from Seattle and then ride down into Oregon to Portland and then angle over to the coast. Then on down the coast through California to San Diego. That looks to be a little over 1,800 miles.

A little lesser mileage tour idea would be to ride a portion of the West Coast. If that were our decision, what are your thoughts on the best portion of the coast to do for a 500-600 mile tour.
I did almost that exact route. Canadian border, through the islands to Seattle, then down to Portland, out to the coast at Tillamook, and down.

The best portions were the Oregon Coast and the redwoods along Avenue of the Giants.

Portland to San Francisco was 800 miles, including urban Portland and the Marin/Sonoma suburbs. If I were to do 600 miles, perhaps Oregon from about Lincoln City/Newport down to Sonoma/Marin.
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Old 06-15-20, 11:53 AM
  #41  
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I know you stated that you'd likely be staying in motels, inns and B&Bs, but for anyone else who might be doing the Pacific Coast anytime soon (or maybe even next year), the Oregon State Park campgrounds along the coast have a lot of Covid-19 restrictions, including the fact that most (if not all) of the hiker/biker sites are closed. And camping in regular sites is not open for first-come, first-served. Reservations only. I only checked a few of the parks, and on those the hiker/biker sites were closed at least through the end of July for one, until Sept. 7th for another, and no projected opening date on a third. You have to check the individual parks to get accurate information as they can vary by location. If Covid surges again next year, it will likely be more of the same. However, there are county parks and private campgrounds along there too, so that could be a possibility.

I've ridden the Oregon and Northern California sections of the Pacific Coast Route several times, and it is a great ride. Frequent services over most of it, beautiful scenery, great tailwinds for southbound riders in summer (often but not always), and those hiker/biker sites in Oregon were really great. Oregon's Hwy 101 has many miles of bike lanes, but California's Hwy 1 has few. Hwy 1 is very steep in short sections with lots of hairpin curves, so that at least keeps traffic speed down in those sections, but adds quite a bit to the overall climbing. Summer traffic in Oregon can get old, especially the noise of tires and engines. Bring some earplugs to at least cut the noise down if that gets to you.

You can get rain any month of the year, but of course it's less likely in summer, especially July and August. But the first time I rode it (2008), a 3-day storm hit in mid August. Strong south winds, plenty of rain. I waited it out in a motel. Fog can also be fairly frequent in summer.

I'm wanting to ride the Oregon coast soon to do a shakedown of a new lightweight touring setup (carbon road bike with bikepacking gear). But I'm waiting for things to open up a bit more. I live in Southern Oregon so don't need to arrange flights or anything like that.

Here's a status map of Oregon State Parks.

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Old 06-15-20, 03:01 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by simplygib View Post
I know you stated that you'd likely be staying in motels, inns and B&Bs, but for anyone else who might be doing the Pacific Coast anytime soon (or maybe even next year), the Oregon State Park campgrounds along the coast have a lot of Covid-19 restrictions, including the fact that most (if not all) of the hiker/biker sites are closed. And camping in regular sites is not open for first-come, first-served. Reservations only.
Wow, that is bad news for those wanting to tour the coast. The hiker biker sites are one of the nicest perks of the route. I wasn't planning on touring this year any way unless there was some much better news on the covid situation than I expect, but still for those who hoped to ride the coast that sucks.
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Old 06-15-20, 03:59 PM
  #43  
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Have you checked with WSDOT ODOT Cal Trans & the state parks & chamber of commerce of towns along the way ? it's all on the web.

town visitor part of chamber can put you in touch with lodging and even facilitate hooking you up for reservations as you go..
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Old 05-19-21, 10:33 AM
  #44  
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Well I thought I would update this post. We have had some set back and made adjustments to our plans. In January my wife and I both contracted COVID and unfortunately are still experiencing lung/breathing issues. We thought that our trip may not happen and were pretty bummed. Our 18 and 17 year old grandsons have jumped into the mix. So our current plan is we will be driving west and visit national parks as we wind or way to San Fransisco. The grandsons will fly into SF and drive our SUV point to point, we have made hotel reservations and will ride as far as we can each day and have the boys pick us up if we can't make it the full way to the evening stop.

Our plan is to head west Memorial Day weekend and get to San Fransisco on June 14th. I'd love to hear from others who have done the ride from SF to San Diego as to what are some of the weather conditions we might encounter? It sounds like coastal fog is still an issue during June. We have most gear available but would love to hear what others thinks we should bring. One thing we can do is not have to ride if it is pouring rain so we were planing to have some rain protection with us but not the full gear. I've love to hear your thoughts! :-)
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Old 05-19-21, 12:05 PM
  #45  
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Fog is common but you probably won't be seeing any rain. Have fun.
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Old 07-07-21, 08:58 AM
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I thought I would give an update on our trip. We've been planning this trip for many years and had so many obstetrical this year to it actually happening. Three weeks before we departed we received a call that both my 89 year old dad and 88 year old mom had contracted COVID and my mom was hospitalized. No one could visit her during her two weeks in the hospital. They live in Illinois near my brother. She got out of the hospital and we left our place here in Pennsylvania and headed out to help out for a time. We were able to leave her getting stronger and head out on our trip the first week of June. We had a great time visiting Mount Rushmore, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone on our way west. Because of my mess-up and not getting reservations for Yosemite we decided to stay in South Lake Tahoe for a couple of days and cycle there before heading to San Francisco. We met up with our Grandsons on the 14th, did some sightseeing in SF before starting our journey south.

We started at Half Moon Bay and had a great ride to Santa Cruz for our first day. The second we spent cycling to and around the 17 Mile Drive including a visit to Carmel which included a big climb I didn't realize we would be doing up to town from the loop and then getting back to the start of the loop inland. :-) Day Three we left from Carmel with our hotel in San Simeon, we rode all the way past Big Sur though ran out of steam at Lucia and got the ride into San Simeon. This ride was a once in a lifetime experience, what beauty and adventure, it is hard to describe that ride, you have to just experience it. Day Four was San Simeon heading to Santa Maria but ran out of steam at Pismo Beach, our hotel was in Lompac for that night. Day Five we had the boys drop us off at Gaviota and our destination was Santa Barbara. Day Six was Santa Barbara to Oxnard, you have to ride on the expressway for a very short bit south of town and I missed the exit off and we hit some debris and flatted the front tire on the shoulder of the highway No problem in stopping thank goodness, but we then lugged the tandem up and over the railing to the wonderful bike way and fixed the flat. We stayed in Camarillo that evening. Day Seven we had the boys drop us off at Point Mugu Beach to Redondo Beach. We were shocked riding through Venice Beach area, we hadn't been there in 20 plus years. The Homelessness was shocking. Our grandsons were planning to skateboard in Venice Beach area on their way to our rendezvous as we had told them it would be a funky fun place to skateboard. They were less than impressed. Day Eight was a rest day which we spend out in Simi Valley as we wanted to see the Reagan Library and got a wonderful deal on an awesome place to stay called the Grand Vista. Day Nine was Seal Beach to Dana Point for the end of our journey.

It wasn't a true tour of which I'm disappointed, we just weren't able to do it physically but we had a blast and know we can do a ride week or more tour, longer then our weekend tours we've done to this point. All said we traveled 9,457 miles by car over 5 weeks and had a blast both driving and riding. As we were traveling home my wife said she was up to doing this again. She continues to say no to camping. :-)

Last edited by Paul J; 07-07-21 at 09:46 AM. Reason: added to the story
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Old 07-07-21, 11:16 AM
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Sorry to hear that you had to change your plans so much, but it is great to hear that you were able to get out and ride and enjoy the trip regardless!
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Old 07-07-21, 01:30 PM
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Sounds like a fun trip, despite everything. Hope all your relatives came out of COVID OK.
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Old 07-07-21, 02:53 PM
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Have a great trip next year too. By then hopefully your remaining Covid sypmtoms might be gone.
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Old 07-08-21, 10:00 AM
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Thanks for the relies and well wishes, my folks are on the mend and convalescing on a lake in Minnesota, their happy place. I do have to say my thoughts were one of them wasn't gong to make it. So blessed! We will keep working on our fitness and hoping for another opportunity for an epic ride. :-)
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