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.