Monday, December 21, 2009

Final recollections before Christmas

My thanks to all the Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Idaho with whom I interacted this summer. It was truly my pleasure to work with you to further your community message and to create greater awareness. I enjoyed doing something different with each of you--from a quiet dinner meeting to doing a TV and press interview to being part of the 4th of July parade in Buhl to helping ReStores get attention to meeting with boards to offering my ideas to a board that wants to grow with new ideas. It was fun to meet each of you along the way, and I hope to see many of you again if I'm in your part of Idaho. My goal was to help you create a little more buzz about what good you do in your local service area, and if we did that, and/or recruited some volunteers or raised some money, I'm satisfied.

I'd like to offer some of my reflections on the bike ride itself. Not a day goes by that I don't think of the experience in some way. Lots of times I remember distinctly where I was on the ride, the weather, the road conditions, how I felt, and the mental ticking off of miles yet to go. People asked me then as well as now if it was "fun." As time goes by, it is tempting to take the easy way out and say "yes." However, it was most of all a lot of work that was rewarding--not fun. I really did enjoy the experience, but doubt that I'll do another month-long ride. The weeds grew too much while I'm gone, and there are always things that need some attention. That said, I'm planning a week-long ride with my wife, Linda, and our daughter, Jennifer, in north Idaho this summer.

What were some of my landmarks? Doing over a 1,000 miles was cool--1055 exactly. Riding 23 days straight before I took a day off at my daughter's in CDA was significant. Riding for the first time with bike clips shoes and NOT falling over one time was noteworthy. Covering every inch of the ride with my bike tires--I may have walked up hills, but my tires covered every inch of the way. Starting and finishing on my schedule satisfied the navigator in me, and maintained my reputation for organization and punctuality. Riding for nearly one month on some narrow stretches of highway in ID and not seeing ONE single accident--I did not see any on my hike of WA three years earlier either. Having only a couple of close calls with inattentive drivers. Riding along with several of the affiliates to get to my next destination. Meeting tons of really nice people, which reaffirms my opinion that Habitat is filled with great people no matter where you go.

Since I got home in late July, I've been immersed in the job of getting our Store up and running. We opened in August and are doing fine so far. At least we are paying our bills and making a profit, too. I work many hours on the Store Advisory Committee and drive the truck to do pick ups of materials. On August 1st, our Executive Director (a longtime friend of Tom Lay) fell off a ladder and hurt himself badly. While he was recuperating, the Board hired me to fill in for him to make sure grants got submitted, bills got paid, and to generally run the affiliate with lots of other volunteers helping. We are doing OK, and just got word that we will be a Thrivent Build in 2010, which is great. Lots of other things going on show promise, so I'm keeping busy. Our ED will be back to full time in about a month, so I go back to being a volunteer. I know I'll keep busy.

If any of you are over in Skagit County--for the Tulip Festival every April?--please look us up at our Store and affiliate offices. The chances are I'll be there. Conversely, when I get back to Idaho, I'll look forward to seeing you and hearing about the initiatives you have going on. My best wishes to you all, and Merry Christmas.

Jim "Duff" Duffied

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bonners Ferry to the Canadian border--the END!!

Today was the big day I had been waiting for--the conclusion of my ride. I was up early and waiting for Georgia Jimenez to come by at 7:30 AM to take some photos of my bike for a press release in their weekly paper. Georgia was a little early, so the photos were done and I was on my way north by 7:30 AM. I started up the tough hill out of Bonners Ferry at about 7:45, and got to the top about 8:40 AM. I got something to drink and then was off for about 13 miles more on US 95. Most of this stretch was on a bench, so the riding was fairly level, but the shoulders were really skimpy. I felt safest when big trucks came by to get off the bike and get off the road as much as possible. Fortunately, most drivers were courteous and considerate, and there were no close calls. About 10:30 AM, I turned off US 95 for the last time, and began the final 11 miles on ID Hwy 1 to Porthill. The area was very pretty, with the Kootenai River valley off to my left and the Selkirk Mountains beyond that, and the Purcell Mountains to my right. There were more ups and downs on this stretch, so with the growing temps into the 80s, it was still a challenge.

Linda and I had agreed that I would be at the border between noon and 12:15 PM, and she would drive up from Coeur d'Alene to meet me there at that time. As I rode along and saw roadside mileage markers counting down the distance to the border, it was hard to believe this long ride was almost over. I had been riding for 28 days already, with 25 of those being continuous. I'd soon be done and this part of my life would be history. I actually got to the border about 11:40, and after waiting in the shade for a few minutes, Linda drove up early as I expected she would. I let her get positioned to take some photos, and then I rode the final 100 yards. Linda turned Max loose to come greet me, and he was so excited--he had not seen me in 18 days. It was good to be done and back with my family, and Linda was so much help to me. People had asked me if this ride were "fun". I told them it was not a word I would use with the effort, but it would be "fun" when the bike were loaded on the car and Linda handed me a cold beer to drink. She anticipated that, and has a cold one for me. We drove back to Coeur d'Alene, spent the night at Jenn's house, and hit the sack early.

My ride is officially over. For those of you keeping score, my 29 miles today gave me 1055 total in 29 days. I'm going to collect my thoughts over the next few days and make some additional remarks in this blog before I shut it down at the end of August. For all of you who have kept track of my progress, thank you for your interest, and I'll be writing more soon.

Sandpoint to Bonners Ferry

Duff reporting tonight. Sorry this is late, but Linda left home on the morning of this ride segment, and is gone until she picks me up at the Canadian border on Wednesday. My blog postings will be delayed until we get home Thursday.

I left Sandpoint at 8:30 AM, and after working through the major construction on roads in downtown Sandpoint, I got to Ponderay on the north side. From there to Naples, the road was relatively level, with some dips and rises, and generally pleasant to ride. There was a light headwind and temps were in the 70s. From Naples on, the road included a couple of hills I walked, but it was mostly downhill into Bonners Ferry.

Whether it was complacency because I was in familiar country, or perhaps fatigue, or both, but I rode right past my motel. I thought it was downtown by the river, but when I got there, I knew I had screwed up. I called Georgia Jimenez, the local board president to confirm my error, and then walked back up the hill and road two more miles to the Kootenai Valley Motel. So, I broke my vow to not ride the same stretch of ground more than one time. In any case, I got into my room--thank you Kootenai Valley Motel for fixing me up--and got cleaned up. Georgia's husband, Pete, and another board member, Regis, picked me up at 5 PM and showed me around town briefly, and then we drove to the Naples Fire Department for a casual dinner meeting. After we ate, we sat around talking about issues the Boundary County HFH affiliate had, and I suggested ideas from my experiences that might help them. It was a good session, and I hope that one or more of the ideas will prove productive for the affiliate.

I got back to my room about 9 and completed my journal entry for today. Tomorrow is THE DAY--my final route segment of Duff Bikes for Habitat. It is only 29 miles, which is nice, and I anticipate being started no later than 8 AM.

I wanted to say thanks once again to Dick and Carroll Ensminger of Sandpoint for their generous hospitality during my stay there.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Coeur d'Alene to Hayden (North Idaho Habitat for Humanity ReStore) - 18 Jul 09

Whew. Long ride today. 4 miles from our daughter's home to the Hayden area where the North Idaho Habitat for Humanity ReStore is. Spent about 2 hours there visiting with folks. Duff was able to store his bike there and will pick it up when he continues his ride north to the border. Jennifer picked him up, and put him to work, helping put an air conditioner in at one of her friend's home.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Plummer to Coeur d'Alene - 17 Jul 09

Jennifer drove Duff back to Plummer very early this morning. He picked up his bike and started the trek north. Without the pet wagon, the "ride" was so much easier; Duff couldn't remember or imagine how heavy it must have been when Max was along for the ride. Today's ride was uneventful, and he arrived in CDA early afternoon. Thanks to Jennifer, taking unneeded gear to CDA, and letting him sleep in a bed, instead of along the road somewhere, made a big difference. Tomorrow's goal: very short. Duff will ride to the North Idaho Affiliate (near Coeur d'Alene), and meet with the folks there. He'll rest over the weekend, before taking off for Sandpoint on Monday.

Moscow to Plummer

Lots of hills, even started out with hills. No RV parks, camping grounds or motels available in Plummer, so my daughter, Jennifer, drove down to pick me up. She found me a place to stow my bike and gear, and then drove to her home. Next morning, she returned me to Plummer to resume the ride.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lewiston to Moscow - 15 Jul 09

Left Lewiston at 7 a.m. and arrived at base of long hill at 7:20. Walked until 11:30 when a long lost friend, Phil White, stopped his car ahead of me, and greeted me with cold beverage and fruit. His wife had been reading the Lewiston Tribune, and asked him if he didn't have a friend named Jim Duffield. They visited for about 1/2 hour before Duff restarted his "walk". At 1 p.m., he was met by Brent Bradberry, the Moscow affiliate Board of Director's President. They rode into Moscow, stopping at the U. of Idaho Student Union. Duff's comment "hardest 14 miles I've ridden." In addition to being with an experience biker who was accustomed to riding "hills", they went through a lot of construction. Duff was "bushed". He has now ridden 860 miles; today's walk/ride was 35 miles. At the U of I, Marnie from University Communication Office and a photographer joined them at 4 p.m. for an interview. After the interview, Brent directed Duff to his motel; unfortunately, the main road out of Moscow was also under construction, and all the alternative routes were steep hills. He made it though, cleaned up, and was picked up by a couple of Board members and driven out into the surrounding countryside for a BBQ. He had a great time visiting, and got back to the Hillcrest Motel about 11:30. He had a restless sleep, and got up to begin his ride (16 Jul). Goal for tomorrow - Plummer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cottonwood to Lewiston, ID - 14 July 2009

Aah, clear skies, comfortable temperature, Duff left Cottonwood at 7:30 a.m. and made it to Craigmont without much difficulty. He had about 3 miles with lots of construction. Riding the Winchester Grade, he had little pedaling because of the downhill grade, but he also had no shoulder, and had to often pull over onto a rumble strip for several miles; a little jarring, but he still has his teeth. Duff met up with four riders from Lewiston-Clarkston affiliate: Two men named Bill, Sam, and Rich. Jasmine drove the "blocker-truck", warning "caution - bikers ahead, Duff Bikes for Habitat". The group rode 12 miles over the Clearwater River into Lewiston, arriving about 3:45 p.m. Riding over the bridge, the KLEW camera crew intercepted them, and took pictures of group riding in, as well as the "blocker-truck" and sign. At the ReStore, KLEW conducted a nice interview about the purpose of the ride, information about the ReStore and the volunteers that came out to ride with him. Duff also was interviewed by telephone by the Lewiston Tribune, and was told the report would be in the 15 Jul 09 edition. Red Lion generously supplied Duff with a beautiful room. Once cleaned up, Rich Goodwin, the Executive Director, took Duff and our daughter, Jennifer (who had driven down from Coeur d'Alene) to dinner at the Roosters in Clarkston. Jennifer departed toward home after dinner, taking gear that Duff no longer needed. Today, Duff rode 56 miles, with ending temperature at 90 degrees. Goal tomorrow is taking on the Lewiston Hill, meet folks from the Moscow-Pullman affiliate, and complete the ride with them into Moscow.

"Riding for Habitat
by Stephanie Smith
Originally printed at
LEWISTON - It's a long bike ride from the Idaho-Utah border to the Canadian border.
Mount Vernon, Washington's Jim Duffield is doing it all for Habitat for Humanity. Tuesday he rode into Lewiston.
"Somebody asked me was it fun, and I said that's not a word I would use. It's been an adventure and it's obviously been a challenge and it's been rewarding to keep my schedule," said Duffield. "I'm right on schedule where I want to be and I'll finish up a week from tomorrow."
His ride started on June 25, but this isn't the first time Duffield has done something like this to raise awareness for the organization.
"Three years ago I walked across Washington state for Habitat for the same reason, to talk to people about Habitat," said Duffield. "This year I wanted to do it here in Idaho. I grew up in Coeur d'Alene so I always think of Idaho as home and I've always wanted to see Idaho at a little slower pace."
He's rode over 800 miles so far and has 240 to go. He will head to Moscow Wednesday.
Tuesday's ride ended at the Lewiston Habitat Store, one of several he's visited during his travels.
"The Habitat Store is a win win on a whole bunch of levels. If people donate stuff they get a tax write off if they want it, the store uses the product to sell back to the public at about 50 cents on the dollar and then they use that money to build houses for people. And it also keeps stuff out of the landfills, which is important too," said Duffield.
Several employees of the Lewiston Habitat Store road with Duffield from Cottonwood to Lewiston Tuesday."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Base of White Bird to Cottonwood - 13 July 2009

Long day - 12 hours! First part of "ride" was up hill. Had to sit out a rain storm, but found a historical shelter (sat for 2 hours). Upon continuing the trek, stopped in Grangeville for an interview with a reporter for the local paper. Now, he could have stayed at the Dog Bark Park - a motel shaped like a large dog, but he would have had to lug his bike and gear upstairs to get to sleep inside the dog's head. So, he opted for a single story motel. Sure felt good to plop onto a soft bed, and get a shower. Goal tomorrow is to ride to Lewiston. At the county line, some folks from the Lewiston county line will join him for the last 20 miles into the ReStore.

Riggins to base of White Bird Hill - 12 Jul 09

Departed Riggins, Duff rode downhill the first half of the distance; the second half, he needed to walk. He finally arrived at the Motel at 2:30 p.m. Thank goodness, he was in a motel. A walloping storm blew through during the night. Has been riding now 20 straight days. Feeling pretty good, and doesn't have much reserve.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Council to Riggins - 11 July 2009

Left Council at 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Riggins at 7:15 p.m. Fifty-eight miles completed today. Morning started out overcast, but muggy. Was able to ride the first 5 miles, and then the hills appeared. The next 15 miles, he, primarily, walked. He arrived in New Meadows about an hour behind his schedule, 3 p.m., but took lunch. He left New Meadows about 4 p.m. On the way to New Meadows, his bicycle seat was not stable, and he found that he lost a bolt. The kick stand bolt was the same size, and was able to be used to fix the seat. Initially, there was very little shoulder on the road, so he fixed his mirrors to show traffic coming up behind him, and moved off the road to give the drivers as much room as possible. He said he did a lot of huffing and puffing until he got to New Meadows. Thankfully, the air started to cool off, especially when he was near the small streams running off into the Salmon River. He's staying in the River's View Motel, and looking forward to a shower and sleeping on a real bed. Goal for morning is to get to the base of White Bird.

Weiser to Council, Idaho - 10 July 2009

Fifty-two miles down and an 11-hr day. Arrived in Council, Idaho about 6:30 p.m. and stayed with Sally & Darrel (will have to get the last name). They had a cabin; Sally is the mother of one of Skagit Habitat for Humanity Board Members. Temperature stayed in the 90's today. Lots of hiking and biking. Duff has blisters on both heels. While it's not needed, Duff can't use the GPS, as during the storms, the unit became wet, and when he turned it on, the unit just fried. Additionally, his watch is functional, but the band broke, so he's depending upon the cell phone for time and contact. Only real eventful episodes today was the animals. Saw a couple deer; a calf was frightened by his appearance or noise, and hid behind his mother; a horse once again trotted along the fence to keep up with him. Goal for tomorrow is getting to Riggins.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Caldwell to north of Weiser, Idaho - 9 Jul 09

A new record - 56 miles. The first half of the ride was fairly flat and about a 10 mi/hr headwind. During the middle of the day, there were more undulating hills, and headwind picked up to about 20 mi/hr. After he past Fruitland, the wind died down for the last 20 miles, and the ride was good until he passed Weiser. As he headed for the campground about 2 miles north of Weiser, a strong squall hit, with the gusts coming sidewards toward him, and he ended up walking, so he and the bike didn't tip over. Most of the day was overcasted and lower temperatures, starting out at about 60 degrees. Later in the day, he had scattered clouds, and sun and the temperature rose to about 80 degrees. It took him about 8 1/2 hours to complete his ride today, but he's tired, NOT exhausted. His right calf is not bothering him, but he did feel a bit of a strain in the other calf. Probably great that he isn't so exhausted; has more stamina to continue. That is good. He signed off with me to set up his tent.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Boise ReStore in Meridian to Caldwell ReStore - 8 Jul 09

Duff just called. He's in Caldwell, ready to eat dinner. He's had a light day of riding (about 22 miles), but a lengthy day of standing, and talking. Local Fox News in Boise interviewed Duff and others at the ReStore. Two folks from Boise affiliate rode to Caldwell ReStore with Duff. Duff will provide me more information in the morning, as he'd like to recognize some folks who have helped him.
P.S. Thanks Michael for the clarification. I have been the scribe for Duff's blog. Here's the update Duff gave me early this morning. He stayed at the Best Western in Caldwell - great accommodations, and folks very friendly. The two guys who rode with him were Jeff Phelps, the ReStore Manager, and Michael Hobson, a Boise Family Partner. Tom Lay, the Executive Director for the Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate was helpful, and pleased with the publicity for Habitat. Next stop - Weiser.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mountain Home to Boise (Meridian) - 7 Jul 09

Duff reporting: I was up by 4:30, and packed and ready to ride by 6 AM. The air was cool, and there was no wind, so it made for great riding conditions. I had set myself some intermediate goals and times, and did good at meeting or beating them. I rode the frontage roads much of the way toward Boise, and finally did 10 miles on I-84 since there was no other way. My general impression of the terrain from Mtn. Home to Boise is that it is a steady gentle climb the whole way, or at least to exit 64. I got off the freeway there, and rode west on Kuna-Mora Road, which put me into the teeth of a 10-20 mph headwind. Thank goodness, the road tended to be slightly downhill. When I turned north on Cloverdale Road for the last stretch to the hotel, again it was into the headwind, which really saps my strength. I wound up walking more hills than I intended, but it all covered ground. My 55 miles today is my longest distance to date, and in some ways, I was less fatigued today that I was yesterday. My destination was the Candlewood in Meridian, and I arrived about 2:30 PM. The folks here are super, just like they were in Idaho Falls. Again, if you are every able to stay at a Candlewood Suites in your travels, I encourage you to do so. Very nice, and the staff is so helpful. I'll stay here tonight, and then bike to the nearby Boise Valley HFH ReStore tomorrow at 9 AM for a reception and whatever else they have planned. Then off to Canyon County's ReStore for more media stuff.

"Washington Cyclist Stop
Wed., July 8, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Sports & Fitness
A Washington cyclist named Jim Duffield is trekking across Washington and Idaho to raise funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. Duffield is riding a recumbent bicycle pulling a trailer with his wirehaired dachshund puppy, Max. They are passing through Idaho and cyclists are invited to join on part of the ride. Read more about the journey at "

Glenn's Ferry to Mountain Home - 6 Jul 09

Duff reporting: This was supposed to be an easy 26 mile day, but it sure did not feel like it at the end. There was a headwind of 10-20 mph most of the way, but I did OK to the base of the "Hammett" hill. I knew I'd be walking the hill, and thought it would be about 2 miles, but in actuality, it turned out to be 5 to 6 miles to the top where it leveled off a bit. That left me about 10 miles into Mtn. Home, and it was all into the wind. I was sucking down water and pedalling as good as I could in 2:4 gears--that is not very strong, but it is still moving. I made my way to the north end of Mtn. Home, and found the motel. It was nothing to brag about, and I've chosen to not even mention it. On the plus side, it did have an A/C and a decent bed. I made a food run to Albertson's and stayed in the room all day resting. Tomorrow will be my longest distance yet, so I need to be rested. Again, today I covered 26 miles. That makes my grand total 466 miles, as I recollect.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Buhl to Glenn's Ferry - 5 Jul 09

Up early, Bill Root took Duff & gear back to the location where he previously ended his day. Duff started at 7:40 AM and arrived in Glenn's Ferry by 3 p.m., the "easiest 49 miles" he's ridden, and he had to admit, most of it was downhill. He had to walk "Bliss Hill", but Duff feels pretty good right now. He's camping out tonight, and will get up early to begin his next leg to Mountain Home.

Duff's after comments: I rode I-84 from Bliss to Glenn's Ferry, and in the eastern part, I was really rolling. It was downhill and with a tailwind, I even had to brake to keep from going too fast for me. Then, about five miles before I got to GF, it was up and down--and I hate the ups. I was hot, and found the first place I could to camp for the night. I got my tent up about 6 PM, and right after that, a fierce thunderstorm hit. I was safe from the rain in my tent, but there was lots of thunder and lightning CLOSE BY. Good thing the rain fly kept me from looking outside, or I really would have been scared. Then, 30 minutes later, the sun came back out and it got hot again. It had been so hot, I slept on top the sleeping bag until after midnight.

Flier to Buhl - 4 July 09

Duff was up early, and restarted his bike ride from Flier to Buhl, arriving in enough time to get ready to put his bike up on the float. What a great float it was. Each year, the volunteers have made a great float, and this year was no exception. I'll get the photograph up as soon as I arrive back home. (Linda speaking). About 10:30 a.m., Max & Duff climbed up onto the float with a large group of Habitat volunteers. The whole parade lasted about 1 1/2 hours, and was very enjoyable. Thankfully, it was also in the morning, and the temperature was cool. Max behaved himself, but Duff was a bit worried, as Max kept barking at the horse that was following the Habitat float. With the completion of the parade, Duff rode 2 miles to the outskirts of Buhl, where he was met by Bill and Suzanne Root, and his bike with gear was loaded up to go with them to the Root's ranch. Duff enjoyed the conversation and the Root's generosity for such a nice place to stay the night. Max did not continue the bike ride, and went "home" with Linda. Max, for an 8 month old puppy, did put in about 350 miles! Duff's total miles today was 12.

Burley to Twin Falls/Filer - 3 Jul 09

Duff started off from Burley at 7 a.m. Max did not make the entire ride; he was restless, and whining. Duff rode most of the way into the Twin Falls ReStore, and just before 2 p.m. loaded Max up in his wagon, and rode into a group of awaiting volunteers, media, and Chamber of Commerce ambassadors. ED Linda Fleming and crew were very welcoming, and very busy getting ready with the float for the 4th of July parade. The volunteers served barbecue and other dishes, the T.V. media interviewed Duff & took pictures, primarily, of Max, the photo-ham. A few young folks played with Max, getting him to do what few tricks he knew (with the aid of food). A little after 4 p.m., Duff (without Max) took off to ride to Buhl, where he was to store his bike and Max's wagon. The ride wasn't bad, but it was hot, and a very large incoming storm was approaching, so Duff stopped for the day at the edge of a town named Filer. This evening Duff & family were the guests of Gordon and Trudy Saffrey, in a gorgeous setting just above the Shoshone Falls. The Saffreys were very hospitable, and enjoyable hosts. The T.V. spot on local news was very nice, but Duff was a bit disappointed that there wasn't anything said about the ReStore, which was one of the primary reasons for stopping to be with this Habitat affiliate. Thanks to all who invested so much effort and allowed Duff & Max to participate. And, thank to the local station for the nice story and photo-op of Max & Duff.

Massacre Rock State Park to Burley -2 July 09

This is really for 2 Jul, not just a mis-entry. Duff rode about 49 miles on the interstate for the first time, and much of the time was good except for one bridge, where there wasn't a shoulder. He changed his routing from the interstate and took some back roads, heading for Burley. Linda (wife) met him a few miles out of town. Max was getting tired of the ride, and had been biting at the screen enclosing his wagon. When Linda caught up to Duff, Max became a car passenger. Within minutes, he was fast asleep. Duff & family stayed on the edge of town in the East Park Motel; the folks were very nice, and the room was clean & comfortable. Duff was exhausted and shortly after eating, took a shower and quickly fell asleep.

Duff's after comments: Linda did a good job reporting. The piece about the bridge with no shoulder was scary. I had to watch oncoming traffic and wave it to the left lane to have enough time to get across the short bridge. After taking a thirst break and a short nap on an RV lawn, I started down the on ramp to complete the I-84 portion to Rupert before turning toward Burley. As I got to the bottom of the ramp, I could see the bridge over the Snake River was more of the same "no shoulder", so I turned around and tried some back roads to Burley. Riding on the interstate in Idaho is legal, but not without some problems such as the bridges, and lots of debris from blown truck tires.

Pocatello to Massacre Rock - 2 Jul 09

Today was a short ride, only 36 miles. Duff & Max stayed at Massacre Rock State Park, and rented a cabin. He's not so tired tonight, and the cabin is comfortable. Duff's after comments: The ride from Pocatello to American Falls was into the wind, and rain threatened. I rode the I-86 freeway for the first time, and it was OK. Then, I experienced my first flat tire, this one on the trailer. I got out my repair kit and broke down the tire and tube, but could not find a leak. I put it all back together and pumped it up, and pressed on. About a half-hour later, I had another flat on the same tire, so I put in a new tube. This seemed to solve my problem. I was hot and thirsty, so I stopped off in American Falls, and when I passed a Les Schwab tire center, I asked them to check the tube for a leak. Sure enough, they found it and repaired it, and would not accept payment. I'm always satisfied with the service I receive at Les Schwab.

After driving through American Falls, I stopped at a convenience store to get something cold to drink. In trying to get my bike and trailer on the sidewalk in the shade, I caused the bike to fall on its left side. I bent the left brake handle, but otherwise the bike was OK. Driving out of AF, I decided to just use the freeway to make things easier, and I'm really glad I did. It was all downhill and fast to Massacre Rocks at exit 28. Of course, I did have to ride uphill to the visitor center, but once I was in my cabin, Max and I did not go far. It took a while for the A/C to cool off the room, but I slept pretty well

Idaho Falls to Pocatello

Had difficulty getting onto the Internet, so this blog is starting a bit late, like 1Jul to 4 July late. Duff rode 50 miles today; he started at 8 a.m. and had a slight downhill ride with a tail wind at least to Blackfoot. The weather started out cool, and skies were a bit overcast. Then..., the clouds cleared and the wind (or breeze) stopped all together with the temperature climbing to 90 degrees. Cindy Hill, the outgoing Board President for Gateway Habitat for Humanity rode the last 10 miles with Duff into the ReStore, taking back roads and avoiding traffic. About 25-30 volunteers were at the ReStore, as well as media, which resulted in 2 T.V. interviews and one for the Idaho State Journal. If you would like to see the interview, check out on 1 July. Max enjoyed himself, greeting folks, and trying to make friends with the ReStore resident cat. After the interview, Cindy took Duff & Max to her home, where they met the new incoming Board President, Nile Spear and his wife, Mary Ann, and Cindy's friend, Mike Rowe. (In fact, Mike and Duff found out they are fraternity brothers from U. of Idaho.) After a nice meal, and visiting, Mike took Max & Duff back to his home for the night. In the morning, Mike had the paper, so Duff was able to see what the interview said. He was satisfied that the bike ride might be helpful in advertising the ReStore.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ririe to Idaho Falls

This time it is actually Duff doing the reporting. I started out from the Mountain River Ranch RV Park right at 8 AM, and the weather was great--clear skies, relatively cool temperature, and once I turned west I had a nice morning tail wind. I covered the 20 miles in a fairly leisurely pace, and got to the Candlewood Suites building just before 11 AM. Along the way, the traffic in town was probably the scariest part of the ride so far. There just was not much room to get over to the side, and some drivers were not too good about granting me room. The last half-mile, I chose to get off and walk the bike on the sidewalk.

Let me tell you about a really nice place to stay in Idaho Falls, and I'm sure I'll have the same thing to say after my stay in Meridian on the 7th. Candlewood Suites has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity since 1996, and we are the major non-profit they support. They have taken wonderful care of Max and me, and have made us feel so welcome. Before I went off to meet the Idaho Falls director at the ReStore this afternoon at 2, the staff all gathered around the bike and we got a group photo together. Again, I can not say enough good things about Candlewood Suites, and I would gladly stay with them anytime in the future.

The meeting at 2 PM did not work out, so it looked like I would spend the day in my room just relaxing--what a wonderful notion! I was enjoying eating a giant sub sandwich while watching Band of Brothers on TV when Melody Burns invited me to join her for dinner out. Melody is my point of contact here in IF, and is the Executive Director of the local affiliate and the Director of the Idaho State Support Office. She found us a place where Max could come along, and it was a novel experience. The restaurant, The Celler, was very nice to us, and offered some really interesting items on the menu. Since Max could not be in the restaurant, then set up an outside table for us on the lawn beneath the trees, which made for a very nice dining setting. I anchored Max to my chair leg and he was pretty good. Much like a little kid who gets too tired and begins to "ping". I fed him ice cubes for a while, and then the server brought him some steak marinaded in balsamic vinegar and oil, and it was all chopped finely. Max ate well. He is now asleep at my feet while I'm typing this in the Candlewood office.

What started out as an easy, relatively slow day developed into a very full day. The conversation with Melody about Habitat stuff was very interesting, and on the way to the Candlewood, she showed me other buildings they are considering as they outgrow their ReStore location. Plus I got to see Snake River Landing and the massive sculpture in the roundabout. If you are this way any time soon, be sure to see both. Also, the Snake River is at a very high level, and is pretty spectacular when you realize how much lower it normally is.

Tomorrow we are off to Pocatello to work with the affiliate there. I plan to start about 7:30 AM since it is a full 50 mile day. According to the map and my limited experience with US 91, it should be mostly level and slightly downhill, but I'm learning to not be so sure.

Idaho Falls Habitat for Humanity Web Site:

"Reason to Ride for Idaho
He's off on another adventure to benefit Habitat for Humanity. This time he will be biking from Bear Lake all across Idaho over the next month South to North. Who is he you ask? May we present, Mr. Jim Duffield a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Visit the following link for his story:

Look for him riding in from Swan Valley with Max his companion and mascot dachshund on Monday, June 29th about 2 p.m. If you would like to ride in with Mr. Duffield showing your support of Habitat for Humanity, give him a ring on his cell phone at 360-420-6079."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Irwin to Ririe

28 Jun - Okay, so the calculations for distance were a bit off - instead of 28 miles, Duff & Max went 36. They had to go through a heavy construction area, so while cars were parked, awaiting their turn to proceed on one lane, Duff walked the bike and Max along the shoulder to the front of the line. He talked with folks in line as he walked past them, and passed out a few of his cards. The construction workers were very generous with cold bottles of water to make up what Max and Duff had already used. Instead of the expected 5 hours of biking/walking, it took Duff 8 hours, but they made it to Ririe, and are camping out in a pretty RV campground. Duff's feet are sore, his leg is feeling better, and he is still tired, and hungry. Duff talked the RV campground manager into picking up a pizza, was too tired & sore to walk another 2 miles to retrieve food, and he didn't feel like eating dehydrated rations. They are now about 20 miles away from Idaho Falls, so Duff will start early to get to the hotel to shower before going to the ReStore and another interview.

Alpine to Irwin, Idaho

27 June 09 - About four years ago, Duff thought about walking the state of Idaho, so now he can honestly say that he's biked and hiked Idaho. The good news is that today's ride is shorter, only 23 miles, and a rustic cabin awaits them. Too tired to get started from Alpine early, Duff & Max set out about noon. His feet ache, and he's still tired, but okay. Sleep and shower can do wonders. The road is another day of walking and riding, and with all the rain, the mosquitoes are out in force again. People have been very generous. On one of the hills (of walking), several people even stopped their cars to ask is he needed help, thinking that maybe his bike had malfunctioned. And, most drivers are pulling out to go around him, as the shoulders of the road are not very wide or in good quality. Max has been a real "trooper", playing with his toys, or sleeping, or just spread out in his trailer (probably wondering when is this going to end). This day was very hot, and Duff spritzed Max down with water, wetted a towel down for him to sleep on during the ride. Duff had brought along a small basting syringe to give Max water, because Max wouldn't drink out of a bowl. Today, he found out that he'll drink from the water bottles, like a hose, and of course, any dirty mud hole, or ditch. The "guys" arrived in Irwin about 5 p.m. Duff really had wanted to ride more in the morning when it was cooler, so tomorrow he'll start out about 8 a.m. Though he was looking forward to a cabin, the owner didn't want animals inside, so he gave Duff a discount, and allowed him to pitch a tent on a grassy area behind one of the cabins, and still have access to a shower and latrine. Duff's feet are still sore, he's exhausted, and has strained his right calf muscle. Thankfully, tomorrow's right is also in the 28 mile range.

Henry to Alpine

26 June 09 - Still exhausted, but eager now to get to Alpine (a motel room awaited them), Duff & Max started out for another day of steep hills both ascending and descending. Max experienced new things, but then at 8 months old, most anything can be new, right? He met his first cows, and started barking. The barking only brought more cows to check out what the noise was. They saw marmots, and other little high desert creatures. Horses checked out the two of them going by and decided to run along the fence line with them for a while. Thankfully, after the Wayan grade, Duff was able to coast a bit to a place called Freedom, where he first was able to call me before losing the connection again. Storms were still approaching, and there wasn't much shelter, but fortunately,the storm stayed away from them. Duff was so exhausted by the time he pulled into Alpine at 8 p.m., that he said he was starting to feel a little goofy. He picked up a hamburger, ate and crashed. Max also loved the hamburger, and loved being able to sleep on a bed instead of the floor. The motel room allowed Duff to spread out all of their damp belongings to dry. Another 50 miles completed, and two blisters on the soles of feet earned.

Montpelier to Henry

25 June 09 - Duff is doing fine! The delay for this blog is me-lost the paper with his password. So, to bring you up to date, I'm backtracking to the 25th. Duff & Max were ready to go by 8 a.m. in Montpelier. He didn't get on the road until almost 9 a.m. because he was waiting for the News Examiner (local paper) reporter to arrive. The weather was comfortable, sunny, and they took off without any problems..., that is, until the first hill appeared. He walked the uphill parts to Soda Springs, and every other hill that suddenly was a lot steeper than he remembered. Mosquitoes were out in force; even, Max was biting at them. Duff applied Bull Frog repellent on both of them to help with the mosquito attacks. Duff finally pulled into his Henry campsite at 5 p.m. with just enough time to pitch a tent, shower, and get something to eat. He was exhausted, because he'd just walked a quarter of the 50 miles. He arrived in camp just after the small cafe closed, and resorted to eating his dehydrated foods. Duff asked the owner of the campsite if he could buy a couple bottles of beer; since the owner didn't have a liquor license; there was none to sell. Word traveled quickly through the RV park, and soon, a fellow camper brought Duff a camp chair and 4 bottles of beer. A storm was approaching, and Duff was ready to sleep, so he and Max climbed into the tent, and the storm hit; strong winds, torrential downpours, and thunder & lightning persisted throughout much of the night. The tent held, so they did stay dry, but Max was restless, since he'd never experienced a storm like this. In the morning, with a lull in the storm, Duff prepared to depart about 8 a.m. Then another burst of rain and wind started. It was much too strong to ride, so Duff & Max hunkered down in the camp latrine until about 11 a.m. Much to his dismay, everything was soaked. He dried out Max's blanket so at least he'd start out on something dry, but the day looked like it promised more rain.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

24 Jun 09 - Okay, so it's not really the 24th, but what do you expect when Duff is not the one doing this blog. I'm his wife, and I lost his password, so until I could talk with him (which isn't always possible), I have just been making notes. On 21 June, Duff, Max, & I started driving the route (in reverse) that the two of them would take riding north. We stopped at each place where he was to meet with an Idaho Habitat affiliate. It took about 3 days to arrive at the Idaho-Utah border, as well as check out the conditions of the road, and look for potential spots for him & Max to stay at night. When he's in the towns where the Habitat affiliates are, someone is helping him with accommodations. So, to get back to the 24th June.... We stopped in Montpelier, ID. We drove to the Idaho-Utah border (last little town was called Fish Haven), and Duff & Max started their journey at 3 p.m. The rode mostly on flat terrain, comfortable weather conditions, and little traffic. Their first trip of 26 miles took about 2 1/2 hours. Both did well, and they both slept well.

25 Jun 09 - Up and ready to go by 8:00 a.m., but needed to wait for the News Examiner reporter from Montpellier to show up for an interview. By 9 a.m., the "guys" were on the road. Their first day was a long one, despite starting in the morning, they didn't finish the 50 miles to a camping site called Henry until about 5 p.m. Duff had to walk about a quarter of the way, as the hills were steeper than he remembered, and the temperature was higher than the previous day. They arrived just after the small cafe closed, so they ate their rations (dehydrated meal & dog food). Duff asked if he could buy a couple bottles of beer from the owner of the cafe, but without beverage license, none was available. Thankfully, word passed quickly to the rest of the campers, and a fellow camper brought a camp chair and four bottles of beer. Duff got the tent set up, none too soon, as a horrendous thunder & lightning storm swooped into Southern Idaho (and Utah). Max & Duff survived the night. Max experienced a lot of firsts, including the thunder & lightning. They also got to share the experience of swarms of mosquitoes.

26 Jun 09 - Okay, the storm lingered a bit longer than Duff expected. In fact, there was just enough of a lull to allow him to start packing up to ride again. The heavy downpour did not abate until almost 11 a.m.; Duff & Max huddled in the campsite latrine waiting for the rain to stop. By the time Duff was able to get started, everything was soaked. Max actually dried out the quickest. Max met his first cow, and started barking, bring others to figure out what the noise was. Horses were also curious what the contraption was, and ran along the fenceline to keep up with Duff & Max. Max has been a real "trooper". Every once in a while, Duff heard him chewing on one of toys, but the rest of the time, he just rested quietly. Max is so happy when they see other people, and is staying pretty close to Duff. The "guys" finally made it to Alpine, where Duff had reserved a motel room. Hot shower felt great, had room to spread everything out to dry, Max got to share a hamburger, and sleep in the bed with Duff instead of on the floor. Feeling pretty fatigued, Duff & Max didn't set out on their ride until late morning.

27 Jun 09 - Another rough day, 22 miles, but they're done for the day in a place called Irwin. Duff thought they might be able to get a cabin, but when the owner found out Max was along for the ride, he offered a nice grassy area instead of the cabin. Duff & Max are fine - probably more Max than Duff. Duff has earned some unfortunate blisters on the balls of both feet, and pulled a right calf muscle. He's tired, but feeling like he's done the hardest distance for now. He is ahead of schedule, so the next few days he'll be able to ride shorter distances, like 25 instead of 50. He wanted me to relate to you that about 4 years ago, he thought about hiking the State of Idaho, so he can honestly say he has now hiked & biked on this journey. You may know how Duff likes to talk?? Well, he has been talking with as many folks who even look their way. He is impressed with the generosity of the people he has met. Several cars stopped while he was pushing the bike up one of those long hills to see if he was okay, or if there was a bike malfunction. Others have given him discounts on lodging or food.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Ride has officially begun!!!

I know I said the start date for Duff Bikes for Habitat was the 25th of June, but I jumped the gun and got started today. It was a great feeling to be finally biking for real.

The past three days Linda, Max, and I drove the route I had planned, but in reverse. That was obviously to get me to my start point, but also to allow me to see the route from ground level, and gain an appreciation for what I'm tackling. It was really worthwhile, and I actually changed my routing in a couple of cases where frontage roads were not good, so I'll ride the interstate in those cases. I also got to see some of the hills I'll need to climb, and while I'll give them all a good try, there are some I just know I'll be walking. Examples are the Lewiston Hill, White Bird Hill, and a couple we saw today. All in all, the route is fair and as safe as the other drivers and I make it.

Today we got to Montpelier, ID about 1:00 PM, and checked into our motel. I had already decided that if we got here early, I would start my ride today. Linda drove Max and me to the ID-UT border south of Fish Haven on the west shore of Bear Lake. We got the trailer attached, everything loaded, took some photos, and then launched. It was 26 miles to Montpelier, and most of it was fairly level. The sky was clear, temperature in the low 70s, and the wind was a 5 to 10 mph crosswind that sometimes became a quartering headwind. We made a couple of water stops, and got to the motel at 5:45 PM. According to the GPS (thank you sons and families), I was riding about 10 to 12 MPH.

Riding today allowed me to get about one-half day ahead of my original schedule, which will probably come in handy getting to Idaho Falls on schedule. That is my first affiliate to visit, and I know they have something planned for the afternoon after 2 PM. I'm hoping my ride today allows me to shorten some of the coming days as I bike toward Idaho Falls.

Tomorrow I intend to ride to Soda Springs, and then turn north to arrive at Henry. We talked to a person at the RV park there this morning, and we are welcome to camp out there Thursday night. I'll be out of cell phone range as we approach Henry, so Linda will not get an update on my actual progress until Friday evening when I arrive in Alpine, WY. I need to go through WY to get to Idaho Falls. So, if you want a "real" update, watch for Friday's posting.

Best wishes to all who read this, and I hope each of you makes a commitment to support your local Habitat affiliate wherever you are. I've had people ask me how to donate to an affiliate in Idaho, so here are some numbers to call to make a donation of cash, time, or materials.

Idaho Falls 208-528-0298
Pocatello/Gateway 208-233-9081
Twin Falls/Magic Valley 208-735-1233
Boise Valley 208-331-2916
Caldwell/Canyon County 208-459-3344
Lewiston/Clarkston 509-758-7396
Moscow/Palouse 208-883-8502
Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho 208-762-4532
Sandpoint/Panhandle 208-263-7001
Bonners Ferry/Boundary County 208-267-1601

Of course, if you want to donate to my own affiliate, Skagit HFH, call 360-428-9402. To donate to Habitat for Humanity International, call 800-422-4828. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Time to hit the road

It's Saturday morning early, and it's time to get on the road to Idaho to meet Linda and drive to my ride start point.  It's been a "good" hectic week, full of four days of paid work, plus meetings, plus a graduation, plus trying to get stuff set out to pack, so my sleep cycle can use some adjustment.  I've been to bed by 10 most nights, and up from 3:30 to 4:30 each morning.  While I know I'll be working hard on the ride, it will actually be less hectic than being home getting ready.  I know that Max will be glad I'm not in a class or a meeting.  He has been my shadow when I'm home, and now we'll be together constantly for 30 days.

The article and photos that the Skagit Valley Herald did on my ride came out in this past Thursday's paper.  The photos show my bike and trailer arrangement, and Max was a real ham for the camera.  If you want to check out the article, you can go to "" and look for the news from 18 Jun 09.  I'm also going to try to get it posted on "" where all the rest of my news has been so far.

The car is halfway packed, and the rest is ready to load.  I plan to do a dry run with all my gear in the bike trailer when I'm in Coeur d'Alene waiting for Linda to arrive from her sister's in Canada. While I'm confident I'll have the weight below the maximum recommended, the bulk or "cube" of the load may have Max riding pretty high in the trailer.  It is impossible for me to carry all the food supplies for both of us--even with dehydrated rations--so I've arranged for four of the ID affiliates to stash a sack of supplies from which I'll replenish when I get to each of those points.  The idea is to have what I need without carrying extra stuff.  For example, since it is going to be late June and all of July, I need to count on good weather for the most part.  I'm taking a rain jacket and one long-sleeved polypro shirt--everything else is short sleeves and shorts (actually convertible pants).  I'll be living in shorts and T-shirts for most of the month.  If the weather gets too cool, I'll have to pick up something along the way.

All the ID HFH affiliates are doing a great job of arranging support for me and planning an event to justify local media covering my ride through their area.  Each has arranged a place for me to stay, plus one of our Skagit HFH Board members "volunteered" her mom's place in Council, ID.  All in all, I expect to sleep outside using my tent maybe 11 times.  If I get tired of sleeping on the ground, it may be less than that.  I find that the ground gets harder the older I get.

OK, that's enough.  My next postings will be from Idaho, and after the 24th, Linda will be posting them for me each evening.  I'll be taking photos along the way, but probably won't be able to include them until I get home, and can add them to this blog after the ride.  Wish me luck and I hope you enjoy following my progress.

"Recreation: Mount Vernon cyclist has a reason to ride (Skagit Herald)
June 18, 2009 - 04:50 PM
by Vince Richardson

Jim Duffield pulls his dog Max along a training route in Mount Vernon. Duffield will pedal the length of Idaho beginning June 25.
MOUNT VERNON — Trekking long distances for a cause is nothing new for Jim Duffield.
In 2006, the Mount Vernon man walked 410 miles, from Anacortes to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The trek raised money for Habitat for Humanity affiliates along the route.
Duffield will be on wheels for his latest endeavor to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.
He will pedal his Bacchetta recumbent bike the length of Idaho — the state where he grew up — from south to north. That’s 1,100 miles.
Duffield will pull a Burley Tail Wagon Trailer loaded with gear and his wirehaired dachshund, Max.
He’ll begin his quest June 25 on the west shore of Bear Lake on the Idaho-Utah border. If all goes as planned, he’ll ride into Porthill, Idaho, on the Canadian border on July 22. He plans to average 40 miles per day, and finish riding each day by 2 p.m.
“I need to be off the road by that time in order to get out of the heat,” Duffield said.
Along the way, Duffield will work with 10 Habitat for Humanity affiliates, participating in public appearances, making presentations and having “man-on-the-street” interactions in order to share information about Habitat for Humanity’s mission and to encourage new volunteers.
Follow his journey as it unfolds at For information about the journey, go to and click on the Duff Bikes for Habitat link.
“I have contacted each affiliate,” said Duffield, “and asked them what would work the best in regards to getting publicity. In Buhl, Max and myself will be riding on a float in a parade. I’ve told the affiliates that I’ll do just about anything they need — as long as it’s legal.”
He will camp, and stay at local affiliates’ homes and hotels while on the trek. The week before he leaves, he and his wife will drive the route in reverse. They will stash supplies at four affiliates.
Duffield understands that with the ecomony the way it is people may not be able to donate money. However, he said donating services or goods can fill voids.
“People can donate their time, expertise or help facilitate an event,” he said. “Work on a job site, a committee or donate materials.”
Along the route, Duffield will talk about Habitat for Humanity ReStores, one of which is in the works in Mount Vernon.
ReStores, according to Habitat’s Web site: “are retail outlets where quality, used and surplus building materials are sold at a fraction of normal prices. Proceeds from ReStores help local affiliates fund the construction of Habitat houses within the community. Many affiliates across the United States and Canada operate successful ReStores—some of which raise enough funds to build an additional 10 or more houses per year.”
As Duffield said, “If you can’t donate money, then maybe someone can donate a window or something.”
In Boise, Duffield will ride in the Tour de ReStore, where bicyclists will pedal from a ReStore in Boise to one in Caldwell.
“Then in Coeur d’Alene,” explained Duffield, “they are building their ReStore’s anniversary around my arrival.”
Going from walking to pedaling hasn’t been an easy transition for Duffield.
Getting used to his recumbent bike has taken some time. In particular, the clips he uses to fasten himself to the bike’s pedals.
“I am learning to ride with my feet clipped in,” he said with a semi-smile. “It’s taken a lot of practice. It’s just weird. I just have to remember to twist my foot to get it out. I am still struggling with sharp turns. That’s the hardest part right now. So far, I’ve only scared myself a couple of times. I haven’t had a major crash yet.
“Riding a recumbent bike, heck, lots of people take them on long bike rides. That’s nothing new. What’s new is I am an old guy on a recumbent bike pulling a dog. That’s my shtick.”
Duffield is slowly learning the nuances of the bike, such as not grasping the handlebars too tight and handling the rather short wheel base.
“It is so comfortable,” he admitted. “It’s sort of like sitting in an easy chair. It has 27 gears that I am trying to learn how to use appropriately. I also have a GPS unit attached to the handlebars, and I plan on carrying my IPod so I can listen to music.”
Duffield is looking forward to seeing his home state at a much slower pace than he’s used to.
“This is about as slow as you can see it,” he said. “It’s going to be a good pace. Plus, I think folks are really going to be excited about it.”
That pace may slow to a crawl near two mountain passes. White Bird Hill lies between White Bird and Grangeville on U.S. 95 and climbs 3,000 feet in 7.2 miles. To get from Lewiston to Moscow, Duffield will climb 2,000 feet on sweeping switchbacks as he travels up Lewiston Hill.
“My tires will cover every inch of the route,” said Duffield. “My butt will probably not be in the seat the whole time. I’m not too proud to walk and I realize there will be sections were I will have to walk. I’ll walk where I have to.
“I know there are going to be places where I am going to struggle. But they are going to be beautiful. Idaho is a beautiful state.”
Then there’s always concerns for safety.
“Running off the road,” said Duffield, “and getting mugged. Those are two big concerns of mine. I will be able to get help along the way, but you have to trust that things are going to go well. The nice thing about Idaho is that you can ride your bike on the interstate.”
And the weather?
Duffield said June is a good month to get started. It shouldn’t be too hot, too cold or too windy.
“I hate riding in the wind,” he said. “That can be a real struggle.”
As far as Max is concerned, Duffield believes his pooch will aid his efforts to educate people about Habitat for Humanity.
“He loves it,” Duffield said of his dog. “He’s going to be my buddy out on the road.”
Wirehaired dachshunds are outgoing toward new folks. They love the outdoors and boast an intense curiosity.
“He just loves people,” Duffield said of the puppy he’s had for about six months. “He wants to meet everyone and he thinks everyone wants to meet him. He’s going to make a great traveling companion and be a great icebreaker. People don’t know a lot about Habitat for Humanity. I hope to really be able to spread the word.”
Max will lay on Duffield’s supplies and on a moist chamois in order to stay cool.
“I plan on stopping every hour for water and I’ll make sure Max gets some as well,” he said. “I will be constantly checking on him.
“The trailer has a 75-pound capacity. Thirty pounds of that will be Max.”
If things don’t go as planned, Max will get a reprieve in southern Idaho where Duffield’s wife will take the dog. While Max may get a ride home, the same can’t be said for his owner.
“If I’m not doing well,” said Duffield with a laugh, “I have to keep going. I won’t have the same luxury as Max. I have a schedule to keep. I have no option but to keep on riding.”
So, why no walk this time around?
“That would have taken me three months,” said Dufflield. “I walked for a month last time and my feet hurt. They hurt a lot.
“I am looking forward to getting started. At the same time, I don’t want to make a fool out of myself. As long as I can stay healthy, I’ll be fine. It’s a long haul, but I have a month. I’ll make it.”
It is indeed a long haul for a noble cause.
Vince Richardson can be reached at 360-416-2181 or by e-mail at
Ways to donate to Habitat for Humanity:
1. Cash/check/credit card donations can be used and are tax deductible.
2. Consider donating a day or more of your time on a Habitat job site.
3. Every Habitat affiliate could use help with volunteers serving on committees. Call your local affiliate and serve as much as you can.
4. If your local Habitat affiliate has a “ReStore” — selling discounted building materials, appliances, furniture, etc. — donate things the affiliate can sell to provide capital to build houses. That donation is tax deductible.
Donate to Skagit Habitat, to Habitat International, or to your local Habitat affiliate. For more information on how to donate, please visit the Skagit Habitat for Humanity Web site at and click on the link for “Duff Bikes for Habitat.” Or just call the local affiliate and say you want to help.
For those with kids and grandchildren, Jim Duffield offers this idea to get children involved in learning about community service and caring for others: use the ride as an educational event. Get a map of Idaho and have the kids keep track of his daily progress. They will learn some geography and see how long it takes to ride 1,100 miles.
Ask the children if they could donate to Habitat, say a penny a mile, and let them experience firsthand the joy of helping someone else. While visiting Duffield’s blog (, one can add comments about his entries or offer words of encouragement. "

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to get ready without a bike

Linda left for her road trip to Canada (a family history convention) on Friday, and I had her take the bike to our daughter Jennifer's in Coeur d'Alene, ID.  We have the bike rack on only one car, and I wanted Linda to have that car.  So, I'm left to get ready without my bike until this coming weekend.  As it works out, I would not have had time to do any long rides, and at this point, one or two training rides will not make that much difference.

I've been organizing my gear, and getting everything as ready as I can.  Once I leave here, I need to have everything set.  That includes allocating food for each leg; portioning out Max's food in baggies; etc.  I'm going to leave drop bags of resupply stuff at four affiliates along the way so I won't have to carry additional weight the length of Idaho.  The Idaho affiliates are being spectacularly supportive, and I really appreciate their help and creativity.  As I do the ride and report in my blog, I think you'll appreciate how each affiliate has planned to make the most of my ride in drawing attention to their local efforts.  I'm impressed by what I've heard so far.

Before I leave to meet Linda in ID, I'm going to devote one posting in this blog to let people know how to donate money and/or time to a local affiliate, especially the ones in Idaho.  Several people have already asked how to do that, so I'll let you all know.  That will probably happen on Thursday or Friday.  So far, I know that three donors have helped, and I'm hoping there are many more.  Remember, a donation of your time is really valuable, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First interview and photos

My plan for today was to spend the morning doing coordination for the Ride, and then do a photo shoot and interview, and finish up with a ride with Max. I got a lot accomplished in the AM, and have filled in some holes. In the afternoon, Max and I met a photographer (Steve) and a reporter (Vince) from the Skagit Valley Herald for input on an article on my ride. Max was a real ham for the photos, so there should be some good ones from which to choose. We rode past the photographer a few times for "action" photos, and then I spent a half hour providing Vince with information for his article. (Vince is the same reporter who did the article on my Hike three years ago, and coincidentally, spent lots of years in Idaho.) The article should be out in the Herald, both in print and on their website, next Thursday in the Recreation or Outdoors section. I'll try to attach a copy to the Skagit Habitat website for easy access.

After we were done at the Herald, I took Max for an 8.5 mile ride. I wanted mainly to check the adjustments we did yesterday to the shifting and the brakes, and to see how Max did in the mid-70s heat. The mechanical changes seem to work fine, and I did not have the slippage in gears 5, 6, and 7 I had before--Dale from Angle Lake Cyclery did a simple adjustment to the cable tension. The brakes work well and do not squeak now. Max did fine, but he does get hot when he is in the direct sun. I have some ideas on how to screen him and/or cool him, and will employ those on the ride.

I'd like to claim I'm "tapering" my training now, but the simple fact is that I need to do logistical and coordination things, and I don't have much time to ride. Today may have been my last training ride before Linda moves the 'bent to Coeur d'Alene, ID on Friday. I'll see the 'bent again in a week, and will do one more ride with Max in CDA on Father's Day, and after that, the next ride is for real in southern Idaho. If I had another six months of training under my belt, it would certainly make me more ready--but I don't. So, I'm going to do the best I can each day, and I will keep my schedule unless I'm injured or my bike breaks down. It will be a "gut check" many days, but once I'm on the road, this will be my sole job and I can do it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

On the road and no blog for 8 days

I just checked to see when I posted my last blog, and it was on the 31st of May. Since that time, I've been plenty busy and did ride a couple of times. The 1st of June was spent on an all-day retreat with the Home Trust of Skagit. The 2nd was spent getting ready to drive to CA. I did a very short ride of 30 minutes on the 3rd to check out my clipped pedals and shoes. I've been told by everybody to expect to fall several times using the clips, but my obvious goal is to fall as few times as possible. I did OK the first day and only ALMOST fell once. I've decided that I need to make a bold, committed move when I begin so that I have enough momentum going to get the second foot in the clip; anything less than committed will probably result in a fall. Since I would be riding with my son, Robb, on the weekend, I wanted to be sure I could at least get into the clips. Mission accomplished on that.

Thursday the 4th and Friday the 5th were spent driving to the Bay Area to see our sons and families, and to attend a birthday party for grandson Will. On Saturday, Linda and I got to see granddaughter Maggie, and Will swim in a meet--great fun and I'm glad we could be there. After a trip with Max, and Robb and Liz' two dogs to the dog park, Robb suggested we do our 14-mile ride then rather than try to fit it in on Sunday. So off we went. I was nervous riding with someone else who is a better rider than me, and started too fast on a steady, but slight, uphill slope with the wind in our face. I had to stop several times, and walked two tougher hills (for me) before we got to our turnaround point. At that point, I was not going to bike back, and we called Linda to fetch me. I was disappointed I did not ride better, and now Robb is concerned for my safety and my ability to keep my announced schedule. He'll just have to trust me to bring it off. So long as I stay healthy and uninjured, I'm confident I can still average 40 miles a day.

Sunday we attended Will's class birthday party, and then vegged out at the house. This morning we got back on the road at 7:30 AM and made it to Roseburg, OR before stopping for the night. Tomorrow we'll make a stop at Angle Lake Cyclery to get the recumbent adjusted before I begin my ride, and then we're home.

Since the 31st, I've heard from more Habitat affiliates on their coordination efforts to capitalize on my ride, and the plan is coming together. I've also made an appointment to meet with a reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald on Wednesday at 2 PM so he can get a photo of Max and me, plus do an interview for our local paper. Vince Richardson did the article on my Hike three years ago, and is glad to do this follow up story.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Other ways to get ready

For several reasons, I did not ride today. First, there were lots of things that needed to be done around the house, especially with our upcoming trip to CA to see the grandkids. Second, I needed to rest my strained groin muscle a day, and hope that will do the trick. I think I need to spend more time warming up before I ride, and ride at a pace that will last for a long ride. I can do that. Finally, I went to the REI in Bellingham to attend a Bike Maintenance 201 class. It was really worthwhile, and I learned how to make some adjustments to my 'bent. I also picked up more of the necessary supplies I'll take along. That's it for today, and I'll ride a bit tomorrow.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I finally did a hill!!

My goal today was to ride a 23-mile route that included two hills I thought/hoped I could do. Max did not do this trip. For the first time, I got out to ride in the mid-morning--I started riding before 10 AM. When I'm on the Idaho ride, I'll try to start about 8 each morning so I get the coolest weather possible for both Max and me. Today the wind was blowing about 10 to 15 MPH, and did I mention previously how I dislike riding in the wind--it always seems to blow harder in your face than it does on your back.

I made the full ride, and made it up the second hill--Josh Wilson Road coming out of Bayview. For the first time, I used first gear, and that made a big difference. I had not used it before because I was sure I would go so slowly I'd be a hazard wobbling around. That was not the case, and while I was working hard, it felt great to actually do a hill. I could have made the first hill, too, but got half way up in 2nd gear and figured I could not make it, so I dismounted. If I were to do it again in 1st gear, I'm confident I could do it.

A couple of bike notes. When I shifted into 1st gear to do the hill, the chain jumped off the sprocket. I thought I was sunk, but figured out how to put the chain back on and kept riding. I also had more instances of the gear slippage I described previously, but in talking with another biker about it, I found that I probably was not shifting correctly. I adjusted how I shifted, and it seemed to help. Tomorrow I'm enrolled in a Bike Maintenance 201 course at REI Bellingham, so I'll learn how to make some mechanical adjustments.

I feel really good about my stamina and endurance after today's ride, but I did experience some tenderness in the left groin. I slowed down my pedaling, and that helped. Rather than chance pulling a muscle or some other such injury, I'm going to take tomorrow off to rest my leg. We'll see how it feels on Monday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another training ride with Max

I intentionally waited to ride today until about 2 PM, so that we'd have the most heat. I think it got into the low 80's, which is pretty warm for here, but that will be "normal" for most of the ride in ID. I'm trying to get Max acclimated to the heat as he rides along in the trailer. Since he was born in the winter, this is his first experience with heat, and it does seem to bother him.

We rode an 11-mile route on the Skagit Flats, and had the heat and the wind. No hills today, but the wind was a bother again. I intended to do more, but my rear wheel/gears arrangement is still slipping when I'm in 5th, 6th, or 7th gear. It's aggravating. I'm taking my bike to the REI in Bellingham on Sunday afternoon for a maintenance class, so maybe I'll find out what needs to be adjusted. I suspect it goes back to when I had the rear tire off to fix the flat last week.

I also arranged to get my Duff Bikes T-shirts produced, so that is one more detail done. I've been hearing from points of contact with the Idaho Habitat affiliates, so I know the pieces are coming together. I'm sure I've said this already, but I know that this will be a significant physical and mental challenge, but it will be greatly rewarding. I'm eager to get started.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A good ride today

Yesterday we had rain and rain showers, and I had lots of work to do to support my ride and coordinate with the Idaho Habitat affiliates, so I chose to take a day off from riding. I think I had ridden for the past four days, and a day off felt good.

Today my goal was to do 23 miles, and include some hill work. I drove out onto the Skagit flats, parked at the McLean Road Fire Station, and rode my planned route. That included through LaConner, counterclockwise through the Swinomish Reservation back to LaConner, and back to the car. I did the full route OK, and feel pretty good for doing 23 miles. On the other hand, the two long and steeper hills ate my lunch--I wound up walking both of them. While I suppose I could have geared down and kept riding, there was too much traffic at 50 MPH for me to be wobbling around at low speed. I'm not proud and will walk when I need to. I did manage to do all the other hills, and I'm pleased with that. This route has several short spurts of hills to climb--none too long nor too steep, but just enough to provide some challenge. I need to face the fact that I'm not a good hill person. I can live with that.

I have a minor problem with my rear wheel, and suspect I did not completely get the wheel back on in the correct position when I previously fixed my flat. I have slippage when I'm in 5th, 6th, and sometimes 7th gear, and when I was coming down a hill, I noticed some noise in the rear disc brake. That makes me think the wheel is not correctly aligned. I'll check it out tomorrow, and I'll have a pro look at it next week when I take it back to the dealer for a final checkup before I depart for ID.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I didn't hit my goal today

My goal for today's ride was to do about 17 miles and include a hill climb.  I did pull Max in his trailer for about 95 minutes, so that was progress for both of us.  However, I underestimated the steepness of the hill, and had to quit riding part way up.  Maybe without the trailer and Max I might have made it, but I doubt it.  The shortened distance was 16 miles, and once again I was riding in wind.  Did I mention how I dislike riding in the wind?

Because of today's experience and the greater eventual weight I'll be pulling, I suspect on the ID ride I will wind up walking up the more significant hills.  For example, Whitebird Hill and Lewiston Hill will probably get walked.  I've always figured that may be the case, and while I'll give them a good shot, they hills will probably win.  I least I can coast down the back sides--I sure could not do that on my hike three years ago.

Max seemed to do OK today, so I'm encouraged he will be able to handle the duration of the ID ride.  I'm most concerned about the heat.  I waited today to ride in the afternoon heat, but it was only in the 70's, so that probably did not provide much of a heat test.  We'll see.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My apologies to all wise guys

OK, I need to apologize to wise guys everywhere. The problem with my bike tire was a real leak, and no one let out the air while I was at lunch yesterday. After sleeping on the problem, I tackled the tire and tube again today, and found a small leak. I successfully patched said leak, and reassembled the tire, and mounted it on the bike. After giving the patch a while to show its effectiveness, I was satisfied it would hold.

I did a 17-mile route today that was basically flat. While I was not trying to ride at any set pace, I did take my GPS today, and saw that I averaged about 12 MPH. Again, I'm satisfied with that. I felt good at the end of the route, except that the bottom of my feet felt numb from the pressure on the pedals. I'll get the new Shimano pedals and clips on later this week and see if that helps some. Tomorrow I intend to take Max in the trailer to see how he does on a longer ride of about 2 hours. I'll need to give him a break halfway through, and I may need to give him more protection from the sun, but we'll see how he does.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My first flat--sort of

Linda and I arranged to meet her sister and brother-in-law today at the end of my ride. I left the car at the restaurant north of Burlington, and planned to ride a 15-mile loop route with a gradual hill in the middle. I had done the similar route with the hill two days ago in the opposite direction. The wind was blowing, and unless it's a tail wind, I don't like riding in the wind. I did the hill OK, and that pleasantly surprised me. I chose to shorten the route to make it back to lunch on time, but still wound up doing 13 miles.

While we were enjoying lunch in the beautiful weather, I left my bike on the rack and locked up. Linda took that car home and I drove the other car to the recycle center to drop off some stuff. When I got home and began to take the bike off the rack to store it for the night, I noticed that the rear tire was flat. I looked it over and could find no exterior damage. So, I got my goodies together and set about to change my first flat with this bike. I got the tire broken down, but could find no leak in the tube nor any nail or anything sharp sticking into the tire. I put the tire back together and pumped it up. I'm going to let it sit in the garage tonight and see if it is still holding pressure in the AM. I'm now suspecting that some wise guy let the air out of the tire while we were in the restaurant. What I've learned from this is 1. sit where I can keep an eye on my bike and trailer, and 2. pump up an unexpected flat first to see if the air was just let out. While I would rather have not had to break down the tire, the experience was good. I just hope I don't have to repeat it too often.

More training rides done

I just noticed it has been six days since my last posting. I have been training and getting some logistics accomplished. With better weather here at home now, I'm three days into an "every day" riding schedule. Wednesday I did a 12-mile loop, and was pleasantly surprised that I averaged a bit over 12 MPH. Thursday I did a 14.5-mile ride that included a steady hill on an old railroad grade, so it was about 3 miles long, but not too steep. I also dealt with some headwinds blowing up the valley, and that was no fun. My average speed was about 11.5 MPH--again, I'm pleasantly surprised. Yesterday I did the same 12-mile loop, but this time I pulled Max in his trailer so I could see how he and I did on a longer ride. He did not fuss, but he does get hot in the open sun, so I'll be working on a way to keep him cooler--maybe an additional sun screen inside the trailer, or maybe a damp towel for him to lie on. The wind was swirling on the route but not strong, but it always felt like I had a headwind. What took me 56 minutes without Max took me 63 minutes with him, so I need to expect a drop off in my average speed. I still did the 12 miles in about 11 MPH.

I also began to shop around for a shop to produce a few T-shirts for my ride. I'm going to use ones, too, from my Hike three years ago--it's magic what you can do with a marker pen to change an "H" into a "B". I have emailed all the ID affiliates with my one-page press release for the ride, and I'll be writing them all this weekend to share specific details that apply to each site.

Thursday I drove up to REI in Bellingham and bought some "performance" gear for the ride. I bought a pair of bike shoes for SPD clips, and the Shimano pedals to match. Everyone tells me to expect to fall a lot as I learn to use them, but I'm hoping to shorten that learning curve by using them on my stationary bike in the basement first. The shoes alone do help some, as the sole is quite rigid, but I really do need the clips to get the full benefit. Yes, I'll let you all know when I fall off the bike as I'm learning.

I'm really pleased with the performance of the Burley Tail Wagon trailer. It pulls smoothly and is simple to break down and set up moving from home to the ride start point. Of course, once I'm on the ID ride, I'll keep it intact until I'm done. It is a good product. I'm also pleased with my bike, and am beginning to get used to it more. I've signed up for a Bike Maintenance 201 course at REI Bellingham, so I'll be able to make small, simple fixes and adjustments to the bike.

Today I'm going to do a 15-mile ride and meet Linda for a late lunch at the end of the ride. I'll be riding every day--weather and schedule permitting--from here on out, and will work to get up my mileage as I go. I'm confident that I'll work into the daily distances on my actual ride, since I have virtually no schedule and can take as much time each day to cover my planned distance. I suspect that once the ride begins on 25 June, I'll probably average between 8 and 10 MPH, and will likely stop every hour to take a break, and let Max have a break, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good day today

Since I did not ride yesterday (lots of Habitat stuff going on), I decided to do a longer ride today. I chose to do some flat riding, plus some fairly minor hills. I drove to Allen northwest of home, and began there. I rode to Edison, and then out to Samish Island, and back to the car. Most of the ride was flat, with hills on Samish Island. I could not do all the hills--or at least, I chose not to do them--but I did make it around the approximately 22-mile route. I felt better on my 'bent ( I think that is bike speak for a recumbent) and felt more stable. On the return leg, I chose a definite point I could find on a map and timed myself to see about how fast I was riding. That section was about six miles, and I did it in 34 minutes, which should be a little more than 10 MPH. I was using the upper range of the gears, so I feel pretty good about the ride.

When I got home and cooled off, I took Max for a short ride in the neighborhood to get him acclimated to more time in the trailer. We did about 2 miles, and he did fine--barked at other dogs so I think he is comfortable. The ride included two short but steep hills in the neighborhood, and I managed to do both of them with the trailer attached. So far I'm using my mountain bike to tow the trailer, and will switch over to the 'bent later this month.

Tomorrow I plan to take the recumbent back to Angle Lake Cyclery to get a different set of handlebars--ones with a wider gap between handles so my legs don't rub my hands when I'm pedaling. I'll also check on bike shoes and clip pedals, since I feel like my feet are slowing slipping off the pedals when I ride. It puts more strain on my legs and my softer shoes make my feet tingle after riding a while. Hopefully, stiffer soles and clips will make it easier.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More training notes

The weather and my schedule have not been favorable for riding a lot, and I'm definitely a fair-weather rider until I'm actually started on my Idaho ride. Since the last posting, I've ridden a bit to get more comfortable with my recumbent, and found out from the cycle shop that I'm "over controlling" the steering and that is why I feel "shaky" while riding. I'll correct that on the next ride. I've also learned that when I make a sharp turn, I need to get my feet in the proper position, or my outside foot rubs on the turning front wheel. I understand that is the "heel over" position that I'm seeking. Now I understand. With better weather in the forecast, I'll plan to do a 22 mile ride on Saturday to and from a Habitat meeting.

My business cards supporting the ride are back from the printer and look really good. The front is an ad for the ride, and the back describes how a supporter can help Habitat, wherever they are. I'll share that info in a later posting.

I hooked up the pet trailer--the Burley Tail Wagon--to my old mountain bike, loaded Max with his blanket for security, and took him on his first trailer ride around the neighborhood. He seemed to do fine on this first ride and I'll take him on longer rides each week. I was favorably impressed with how the trailer pulls, and it did not seem to pull "heavy." I'm sure I'll feel it most of all on the uphills, but it should be fine on the flats and downhill. So far I'm pleased with it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers out there, I hope you've had a relaxing and enjoyable day.

Lots has happened regarding my ride since my first posting. Normally, there won't be such long gaps in postings, but this has been a busy week. On Wednesday, the 6th of May, I drove to Sea-Tac to pick up my new recumbent bike and the pet trailer. By the time we got everything added onto the bike, it took about two hours. Then, the bike got its first "bath" on the way home to Mount Vernon--it poured down rain.

The bike is very nice--a Bacchetta Giro 26. It has 27 gears, two mirrors, a front light that strobes, a back light that flashes and strobes to catch attention, and best of all, a comfy seat. It is a bright yellow. The trailer is a Burley Tail Wagon, and should work great to haul my gear and give Max, our wirehaired dachshund puppy, a safe place to ride. It too has a rear light and a flag on a tall stick. I'm confident it will work.

We had really ugly, rainy weather Thursday so I did not ride. Friday, I was in Leadership Skagit class all day. Saturday, I was putting on a class for Skagit Habitat for Humanity (SHFH), so I did not train that day. Finally, today, I got the bike out and wanted to begin to get used to it and do a shakedown ride.

Riding a recumbent is certainly more comfortable for this old body, but it does take some getting used to. I've ridden an upright bike since I was 10, and that feels natural. Not yet so with the recumbent. I set out to do a 12-mile route, but only got about half of that done. I had a minor mechanical problem that I'll fix Monday. My goal starting tomorrow is to try to ride everyday from now until I leave, so that I can get comfortable with the way the bike handles. Right now I'm kind of wobbly and uncertain, but that will be resolved.

I did work on some of the logistics for the ride. My business cards for the ride will be ready next Wednesday, and I created a press release about the ride I can send out to Idaho affiliates and other media contacts. REI is having a big sale, so I bought the meals and some other goodies I'll need for the ride. Also, Friday night was a tough night for Max to get to sleep, so I wound up working around midnight doing my typed routing. That was good to do, and pointed out some adjustments I need to make. All in all, I'm comfortable that the plan is coming together.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Welcome to my blog--Duff Bikes for Habitat!

My goal for the blog is to document my preparation and experiences with my bike ride of the state of Idaho--from south to north--this summer. I'll start at the ID-UT border on the 25th of June, and expect to be at the Canadian border by July 23rd. Along the way, I'll transit ten Habitat affiliates in ID. While I'm in each affiliate's area, I'll work with them to tell their story and advance their goals to build houses for low-income families. I expect to do interviews with the press, radio, and TV, and just talk with as many people as possible. I'm excited to be getting close to my start date.

I'll be asking people to support my ride by donating to either Skagit Habitat, Habitat International, or the Habitat affiliate in your local area. While money donations give an affiliate the greatest flexibility to take action, you can also help by volunteering at a construction site, or serving on a committee, or donating materials, especially if your affiliate has a ReStore. More on that in a later blog.

My bike ride of Idaho should be about 1100 miles. People have been asking me if I'm riding alone or have a support vehicle along. No, no one else is making the whole ride with me, except my wirehaired dachshund puppy, Max. You may be able to see him in the photo on the blog--I'll post more of him along the way.

I'm excited to finally be getting my new bike tomorrow from Angle Lake Cycle. I'll be riding a Bacchetta Giro 26--that's a recumbent bike and far more comfortable for this old body to ride 5o miles a day. I'll also be pulling a Burley Tail Wagon trailer with my gear in it, plus Max. If the hills get too tough, I may have to hitch him in front to pull for a while. Max will be great company as he loves to be around new people, especially kids. He will increase the "ahh" factor at each visit.

I've been training for the ride since the first of April, and will be ready for the kickoff in late June. I've been on my stationary bike while the weather in Skagit County is iffy, but I've been getting out on my mountain bike, too. I'm up to 22 miles so far, and I'll be adding to that training distance each week.

That's enough for tonight. I'll try to write each day and let you know how things are going. The affiliates in ID have been super supportive, and I'm looking forward to visiting each one. I'll publish here on the blog how you can support Skagit Habitat, your local affiliate, or HFHI--watch for that in the next couple of days. If you do donate $$ or time, please let them know you are supporting Duff Bikes for Habitat. Thanks.