Friday, June 29, 2007

Atlantic Ocean:

Wow! I saw the Atlantic ocean today! This morning early the group departed on the final ride down to Revere Beach on the final 18 mile ride. Everyone was in the Crossroads jerseys (yellow and black) and were nervously buzzing around. After the final sign out we cycled 11miles to a meeting spot and then formed up to ride in a column down to the ocean. What a sight! Thirty four riders cycling along in pairs, with the orange safety flags waving. Past heritage homes in stately neighborhoods and up and down windy streets to the beach. At the beach everyone carried there bike down to the ocean for pictures and ceremonial wheel drip to signify the end of our journey. Then it was pack the bikes into the vans and back to the hotel where the bikes were stuffed into boxes and clothes into suitcases for the journey home.

Jim and his wife Sondra and I went into downtown Lexington for lunch and had a great meal in this really nice East Indian place. Lexington is where the American revolution first started with Paul Revere and the minutemen. We stood in the pub where the minute men gathered on April 19, 1775 prior to attacking the British. How cool is that? Took pictures in the park where the famous statue of the minutemen are and did the whole tourist thing.

Tonight is the wrap up banquet and probably more than one toast to the exciting adventures that we have shared over the last 7 weeks.

Today's picture is of Jim and I standing in the Atlantic Ocean with our bikes. We started out together and finished together. It has been really great having such a great friend along with me on this trip. He has been a real pillar of strenght and inspiration everyday. I am looking forward to my next adventure with Jim. The second picture is me taking Surly down the beach. Man it was tough in the soft sand.

The weeks pictures can be found on Webshots at: They are listed under Erie to Boston Album.

It has been just a ton of fun doing the blog everyday it has kept our thoughts organized and hopefully given you at home some insight into what, and where we were everyday. So did I get what I came for out of this trip? Yes I did. I came to have an adventure and I tried to have an adventure everyday. Sometimes it was by injecting my own kind of insanity in to the order with water pistols. Sometimes it was talking to dogs. Sometimes it was playing Huck Finn and swimming in the river. Sometimes it was testing my own endurance on the bike in 110 F heat.

Before I sign off today, I need to thank a few people who helped make this trip possible. My wife Agnes, who has supported and encouraged me though my training and though out the trip. I couldn't have done it without that unwavering support (and I'm not just saying that). My son Kurt, thought I was crazy for doing this fool thing. My good friend, training partner, cheerleader, inspiration, and role model, Chris. Thanks so much Chris. My personal trainer, Lynne, who got me ready for the trip. She beat me up twice a week, and put me in over a hundred spin classes and generally worked my butt off. My friends and training companions at the UofC Honolulu marathon group. Jennifer you are a total inspiration. Colleen who taught me so much but most of all that, "Every day is race day". Murray, I still haven't beat your speed record,but I'm working on it. Ken, who read my blog and left me with great thoughts everyday. And of course all my other friends who encouraged me and wished me well even if you did think I was crazy.

But wait there's more to come this is just one adventure. This years adventures yet to come are a raft trip down the Grand Canyon, hiking for a couple of weeks in Tennessee Blue mountains on the Appalachian trail, Kelowna half marathon, San Antonio Marathon, and a two week cruise from Santiago Chile to Valparaiso Argentina. So stay tuned! There is an adventure to be had everyday.

Homeward bound!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

We're Here!

Boston is well know for it's civil disobedience dating back to 1773. I haven't seen any of Boston as we rode in though a back road and are staying out in a suburb called Burlington. However as I rode in today I passed though a number of smaller towns which had incorporation dates in the 1770's, some well know, some I had never heard of. It was pretty neat. I guess that just realizing that we are here was part of it.

Today's 86 mile ride from Brattleboro VT to Burlington MA started out hot at 78 F and close to 100% humidity. The first 35 miles to the first rest stop was extremely hilly (and steep as well 14%) and by the time I got there I was bushed. I felt crappy and wore out. However at the rest stop is a Dunkin Doughnut. So I go in and get the special egg and cheese bagel. When it comes out it is 6" in diameter and 4" thick. It was hot and really good. As I wolfed it down the warmth spread tough me and by the time it was gone I felt great. Surly was ready and so was I, so off we went. There were two state lines to cross. At about the 50 mile mark we turned on to the really rough road which had a lot of traffic, and no shoulder. It was totally nerve wracking. The rest stop at the 60 mile mark was at a hot dog stand. The hot dogs were terrible and there were hundreds of flies. So I hit the road as quick as I could. About 10 miles further down the road I realized that I had forgotten to fill my water bottles. We are riding through some extremely pretty country roads, but there are no stores. The weather has cooled down and is threatening rain. With 16 miles to go I just put my head down and rode in with no water. Surly has been great. When I get home Surly gets the full treatment, new chain, cables, and brakes.

The country side here is really pretty. The low rolling hills are covered with trees and as you approach a small town or even a set of crossroads you can see white church steeples sticking above the trees. Then there are the heritage homes. So many of these heritage homes have been lovingly restored and have beautifully groomed yards. We rode though Willard national forest. I was really great. I just loved cruising along.

As a side bar note. A few days ago I had reported that people have been telling me that I have lost weight. I could not believe it considering how much I have been eating. As I was standing in line for supper tonight some one suggested a weight in. So we trouped down to the weight room in the hotel for a weight in. To my total astonishment I have lost 20 lbs! I started at 196 and tonight I was at 176. Unbelievable!

Today's picture is of one of those ubiquitous New England churches. This particular example is in Richmond VT. There are so many that you can't take pictures of them all. This church had a day care associated with it and as I was ridding past there was a bunch of kids playing in the church yard. They were yelling "What are you guys doing?" I guess that the safety flags we have on our bikes makes us stick out.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all your great comments. It is great hearing from you.

Tomorrow I wear the t-shirt!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Horrid, Hot, Humid, Hazy, & Hilly; An absolutely brutal day when you put than many H's in a row. The day started off with a horrid breakfast in the hotel lobby. Then I stepped out side into the next three H's (The temperature here in Brattleboro hit 97 F to set a record high). Within the next twenty minutes of being on the bike I got to the hilly part of the ride.

Today's 80 miles took us from Albany NY to Brattleboro VT, though some of the most scenic roads we have been on. The tree lined country roads, the gorgeous heritage homes, the white church steeples, and great road conditions make this a wonderful biker paradise. If it was only 30 F cooler this would have been the ride of the tour.

The highlight of the day had to be visiting the Bennington Revolutionary War memorial. There I met Oscar a 3 year old black Newfoundland. He was visiting the memorial with his family from Connecticut. The Bennington Revolutionary war memorial was built in late 1880's and is a three hundred foot granite obelisk , and the tallest structure in Vermont. During the Revolutionary war the Continental army was in full retreat towards Bennington but they got to the Bennington supply depot, defeated the British, who had no supplies, and then forced the British to carry on to Saratoga. This turn of events enabled Benjamin Franklin, who was in France, to convince French to join with the Revolutionaries. The French wanted to be on the winning side,(somethings never change). Oscar sure knew a lot about American history but then he claimed to the a history student. He also thought that it was way to hot, but was glad to be in the air conditioned van rather than on a bike.

Next up came the 7.5 mile climb to the summit of the Green Mountain. Tracy stopped to dump ice water on me which sure helped and got me to the 5 mile mark. At that point there was a stream that was running along the road so I went and sat in the stream to try and cool off. The water was no more than 65 F as it was flowing from the big ski area on the top of Green mountain. It worked and at the top Tracy was waiting with more ice water. On the decent I hit a top speed of 46 mph.

By the time I got to the hotel my heart was pounding and I had to lie down for about 45 minutes in order to get my heart rate under control.

Today's pictures are of the Bennington monument. It is really quite a monument and seeing it has inspired me to come back to this area to further explore to sights of Vermont. I had no idea that this sort of history and beauty existed.

Two days left - unbelievable!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Scorcher:

It is 95 F here in Albany NY, with a humidity level of at least 50%. Yes it is just a scorcher. I hung my ridding shorts on the fence to dry after I washed them out and they were dry in under 20 minutes. This isn't a record. The record is 99 F. However it is 15 F above the average. So I guess that pretty much settles that it is hot.

Albany is the state capital for New York and has a long history going back to the 1600's when English and Dutch settlers first arrived in the area. Albany is closely associated with Schenectady which is only a few miles away. Schenectady is where Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and the home of GE. GE had hundreds of manufacturing plants in the local area, and at one time employed 40,ooo and now employ 4000. Looking at some quick census data I see that the 2000 population of Albany was just over 95K in 2000 and in 2006 the population was just over 95K so it looks relatively stable here. This is probably due to the state government being located here. The architecture is quite varied from ultra-modern to early brown stone. I think that it looks like a good place to make a trip though.

Today's ride was relatively short at 72 miles and had only 1500 feet of elevation so we started late much to several people's chagrin as they (myself included) wanted to out of the heat as soon as possible. At 8:00 we were off and riding. The first stop was at around the 15 mile mark were Tom E and I explored a fortified settlement that was build out of local limestone in 1750. Fort Flock had been restored and was open for tours. I believe the name came from the early dutch settler saying "Flock it" (unfortunately I didn't get an exact interpretation). We passed on the tour but took a few photos and sped off. About 20 miles out Tom and a group of other riders were stopped at a construction site but the Surly and I did a little off roading and went around the construction. Tom caught me at the 25 mile mark where Tracy was pouring ice water on me. Icy, but refreshing. At the rest stop I talked to several riders about finding a swimming hole and it was agreed that at around the 50 mile mark start looking. I zoomed ahead on a mission. At the 51 mile mark the road crossed the railroad tracks and so the road was right beside the Erie Barge canal. I saw a sign that said "Lock 9" so I ducked down the road. Sure enough there was a park right there with a sandy beach (well OK it was a little muddy). Moments later Tom E and Ray came around a the bend and we were off for a refreshing plunge. The water felt great and we had a great time. Getting back on the bikes emphasised how hot it was. With 19 miles left it was going to be easy. Then 5 miles later Tom spots the perfect patio for lunch. The three of us stopped but before long there was 8 of us sitting there. Poor Randy had two flats already and as we were sitting there one of his tire let go with a startling bang. The next 5 miles though Schenectady was slow but then it was down to 10. We were glad to get into the air conditioning but what a great day. Exploring, having fun and enjoying the whole adventure. I even managed to get a great bike ride in! 72 miles at 16.8 mph and ride time of 4:17

Today's picture is Ray and myself in the canal. The water was so refreshing and the place was absolutely picture perfect. The sound of the water coming though the spill way on the dam filled air. The lock for lifting the boats around the dam is just off the left of the picture. Although we played in the water for 30-40 minutes I could have spent the whole afternoon paddling around.
Counting Down

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hot time in the old town:

It is hot here 90+(add 10 degrees for being on the pavement), the humidity is 38%, and Little Falls is an old town. It was a huge cheese making center in the early 1800's and at the time of the civil war was supplying over 50% of the USA's cheese. There is something in the rocks that gave the grass a special mineral that was transferred to the cheese that made it especially good. In addition there was a huge supplementary cheese industry here in the making of cheese making equipment and dairy supplies. However like all good things the industry died out as new methods of cheese making were developed. Little Falls is right on the Erie barge canal and in this valley along the Mohawk River making it a very pretty little town. The census reports the 2000 population at 5100 and gives it a per capita income of only $15k compared to the national average of $21k.

Today's ride started out at around 70F but got warm really quickly so I was trying to put some miles under my belt before it turned to hot and steamy. The road was good and bad and in between. There were sections which had huge shoulders and sections with no shoulder. There were places where I didn't see a car for 20-30 minutes but there were some sections were I was in the middle of really bad traffic. As I was cruising by myself today I rode as hard as I wanted, some times just loafing along and at other times driving hard. By 9:00 I was at the first rest stop, 32 miles in but the temperature was already at the top end of the green. Some of the riders and Tracy were skipping rocks in a pond but it was too competitive for me as I could hear the voices getting high so I pushed on. An hour later I came upon this little plane that landed in a field right beside me, turned and took off again. It was really neat. However the temperature is now well into the yellow and getting hotter by the minute. Pushing on the country side is very pretty with lots of smaller farms and little villages. By 11:30 I am considering stopping for lunch but the temperature is well into the red and if I stop it will be almost impossible to restart, so I grabbed a 24 oz iced tea out of a convenience store and pushed on. At 12:16 I passed a sign that says the temperature is 90F. This is at the 73 mile mark and the steam is blasting out of the over flow valve, as I over heat. Looking down I see I have 1/3 of a bottle of water (250 ml), about an 1" of apple juice and about 1" of Gatorade. Not very much however I only have 12 miles left. I have to turn over the route sheet so I stopped. When I turned over the sheet I see that the hotel is at 79 miles. It is the happiest moment of the ride. I gulped the last 1" of 90F Gatorade (yummy) downed a gel and jumped on the pedals. So I managed to make it in with an average speed of 16.6 mph and an elapsed time of 4:47 As I rolled into the motel my bottles were empty, and there was no more steam as I had boiled dry.

Well I have to go now as I have an appointment. There is a transmission shop across the street and I am having an axillary transmission cooler installed. It will bolt to my helmet with flexible hose to quick connect couplings on my neck. Hey it fixed the over heating problem on my 1969 Ford.

Today's picture is a shot of one of the factories coming into town. Little Falls in addition to making cheese was also known for making fine papers. As I saw the big factory sign it was obvious what they made. Then when you look lower in the picture you see the other sign "Sitter" which is a little less clear what they sell. Then when you look a little closer you see that it is used. Does Sitter sell used tissue? Well, I thought it was funny when I rolled into town but then I was over heated and tired.

Make sure you scroll down and catch some of the other pictures from the day in the supplemental picture post. Jim and I went and had a great lunch in the old town railroad depot, and I took a few pictures around town.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments.

Getting close now!


Supplemental Picture Post:
Picture 1: Some people just have no respect for the rules. It is almost if they feel the need to misbehave.
Picture 2: The Masonic Temple in Little Falls. It is absolutely huge.
Picture 3: The falls on the Mohawk river in Little Falls
Picture 4: A couple of prime location fixer uppers right in the center of Little Falls. Choose river front location right across from Benton's Landing
Picture 5: This little airplane that came in and landed right in front of me. It's wing span was only maybe 15 feet and then it turned around and took off in maybe 50 ft.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Historic Ride:

Syracuse NY is a very historic town with the first settlers arriving in the 1600's, however it would appear that it really got rolling when the Erie Canal reached it in 1824. The Erie canal really opened up the area and caused a huge boom in economic and population growth. Although I have not seen anything of the city as we rode in though some back roads and light industrial area. It would appear that the town is built on low rolling hills and looking at a couple of web pages that there is just a ton of historic places here that played an important role in the growth of America.

This mornings ride started out an hour later than usual as we only had 68 miles to cover. Sleeping in was great as we really needed it. The 20 miles took us down to Waterloo which was the birthplace of Memorial day. It would appear that General John Murray started Memorial day on May 5 1866 to honor fallen Union soldiers. It is now a major US holiday and celebrated across the country. Just a very miles down the road at the 25 mile mark we were in Senaca Falls which is where the first women's rights convention was held in 1848 and is now the site of the Women's Hall of Fame (as I was with a bunch of guys there was more than one slightly un-politically correct joke made). It wasn't open as it was still really early. Blasting on down the road we were soon at the 55 mile mark where the Erie Canal Park is and is the site of restored section of the canal and the Erie Canal museum. We arrived right at 1:00 and caught the historic boat tour. It was a forty minute tour down to the end of the restored section of the canal where you get off the boat and walk down to see a aqueduct over a creek which is in the process of being restored. It was a really interesting boat ride. After we got off the boat the temperature was pushing 80F but as we only had 15 miles it wasn't so bad. However after sitting on the boat for forty minutes it was hard getting the legs moving. Not only is this area just packed with really historically interesting it is very pretty with the low rolling hills and winding lanes though the big trees. It looks like the area is prospering as well, which is good considering how much we have seen where it looks like the people are hurting. After the side trips the ride was just over 70 miles.

Today's picture is looking down the Seneca River. This river runs though a large part of NY. There are house boat rentals and other please craft on the river here. It looked like it would be a great holiday to rent one of the house boats which are really like canal boats and cruise down the river and explore all the small historic towns of the area. As I was riding along I was thinking how nice this place would be to see in the autumn colours. The picture here would look great wearing those colours.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your great comments.

History is more or less bunk. (Henry Ford)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Up and Down:

Here we are in Canadaigua NY. Never heard of it? Well it has been around a long time. The town of Canadaigua held it's first town hall meeting in 1791. At that meeting it was voted that "That swine, two months old and upward, shall have good and sufficient yokes." and "That for every full grown wolf killed in town, a bounty of thirty shillings shall be paid." The town is on the end of one end of the finger lakes, and is basically a resort town now. It is very pretty here with low hills surrounding the lake. There is a wide variation in architecture however a lot of it makes you wonder if Norman Rockwell just painted it.

The day's ride was 95 miles of hills. Some were really steep and some were just long grinders. Some were only 20 feet and some were 400 feet. The total climb for the day was 3100 feet. So it wasn't an easy day. The temperature was high 60's which helped the boil over factor. Although a lot of the riders thought it was cold, I thought it was perfect. The road was great with big wide shoulders and smooth pavement. The scenery was beautiful green rolling hills, and as I mentioned small Norman Rockwell towns. I jumped on my big gear early and just keep riding. I was in the first rest stop by 9:00 Am and the second stop by 12:00. With only 20 miles to go I just blasted on into town. I was the first to sign in today. My FIRST and only FIRST! No one could catch me today.

Today was a mile stone for the ride. Just after we pulled out of Hamburg we passed the 3000 mile mark. They had the vans pulled over and big signs out and everyone stopped to take pictures and celebrate. It was great. The smiles on the faces as the advertisement says were "Priceless"

The high light of the day however was that I decided that I would go for a run. Having not run for probably 10 days, and having just ridden 95 miles made the first 100 yards pretty tough but once I found my legs I really opened it up. I just felt so good running along as fast as I could. I cruised down the road to the far end of the lake and then followed the beach to the far end and back to the hotel. By time I got back in I had run 5 miles in 46 minutes. Not bad after a 95 mile ride that was done in 5:45.

Today's picture is the scene at the 3000 mile mark. I don't think the smiles need any explanation. It really feels great to be on the last leg of the trip. It has been a great adventure. I have just had a blast. When do we go again!

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your great comments. I have really enjoyed sharing my adventure with you and I hope that you have enjoyed following along.

Off and running.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Supplemental Picture Post;
The pictures are:
Jim and I dipping our wheel in Lake Erie
Myself after I went into the soft sand and couldn't get out of my clips
This really beautiful harbour
An old stone lighthouse
You have to scroll down to get the full story.

The first bike ride of the summer, and what fun it was (yesterday was the summer equinox in case you missed this Hallmark occasion and since yesterday was a rest day today was the first ride of the summer). We set of in mid 50's temperatures with blue skies. Tom E, Lisa S and I formed up into a fast line and we just gobbing up the miles. Jim H joined us and the miles flew by. Although the winds were strong and sometimes in our face and sometimes quartering the temperatures never got above 66 F which was perfect for me. At the 19 mile mark we hit the New York state line, where there was the mandatory picture taking. At the 30 mile mark we encountered this old brick light house which was really cool. It was situated on this rise above the most beautiful little harbour on lake Erie that you can imagine. I was going to give you a big description but I think instead I will mark a supplement picture posting. There is just no possible way that I could describe the beauty of the spot. Tom suggested we dip our wheel in the lake. Great! Lets Go! Tom, Jim and I are on mission, which ended on a near by beach. We caught up with Lisa at the rest stop a few miles down the road, where we formed up again. Not far down the road Lisa spots a bakery, where we shared a cinnamon roll, which was hot out of the oven. It was really yummy! At the 50 mile mark there was a bridge out and we had to walk our bikes around the construction. What was really neat about the construction was that the road was closed for 5 miles on either side of the construction and we had the road all to our self. Not having to worry about cars was great, even if it was only for a short time. So here we are at about the 60 mile mark it is 11:30 Am and we have only 18 miles to go.

Hey! Lets have lunch at a beach bar! Great Idea! So Tom, Jim and I are on a mission to find the perfect beach bar to have a drink and burger. Just out of Sunset NY we stopped and talked to a few locals, then a couple of firemen at the Sunset fire hall. Yes it is just down the road turn left, cross the tracks and around the corner to Cabana Sam's Beach Bar. Riding along I can see this place with the tables and umbrellas on the roof and turn around to yell at Jim and Tom, then ride off the road into the soft beach sand and piled up Surly into a sand drift. Naturally the foot that is on the down side won't un-clip and I wound up laying in the sand. There was a bunch of construction workers and tourists who all had a good laugh. I had to laugh myself. It looked pretty funny. Sam's was the perfect beach bar. There was the Beach Boys playing on the stereo, girls in bikinis, lots of sand, beautiful blue sky, lake, lots of sunshine and of course great food and beer. For lunch I had the house specialty, a steak and seaweed sandwich, which was a foot long hoggie bun covered in sliced steak mixed with spinach and onion covered in melted mozzarella, with fries, and a beer. It was way better than a burger. Totally stuffed I wobbled out on my bike and rode the last few miles into the motel, listening the Beach Boys sing "Summer Means Fun" in my head.

Upon arriving at the motel I learned some very sad news. Frank has decided to pack it in. My heart really goes out to him. He was plagued with flat tires, then hurt his knee in the cattle guard and couldn't ride, then suffered an abscessed tooth and had to have and emergency root canal, and finally his sore backside prevented him for riding for the last week. Frank, I salute you and hope that we can meet up on the next ride.

Today's picture is Jim and Tom sitting in Cabana Sam's Beach Bar. You can see by the smiles that we have indeed found the perfect beach bar. The little town of Sunset consists of about 12 square blocks of the tiniest summer cottages I have ever seen. Usually these places have been taken over by the new larger monster homes but this place was totally unspoiled. It would be great tocome to enjoy a week at the beach in this quiet little town.

Fun Fun Fun!



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lazy Daz:

What a beautiful day! Sleep in! Go for a walk! Visit a museum! It was great. I briefly contemplated getting up and going for my usual 10 k day off run but I must admit it was very brief, like maybe only a few seconds. I opted instead to roll over and catch an addition 45 minutes of sleep.

After a leisurely breakfast Jim and I wandered down to the maritime museum where there is a reproduction of the US brigantine Niagara. The US Niagara became Admiral Perry's flag ship after he was forced to flee his ship the Liberty during the war of 1812. This ended American expansionist goals into Canada. The museum is very well done and the ship itself is currently used as a training vessel. We also learned a great deal about the city of Erie PA. It was a major ship building center and of marine engines. GE had a huge locomotive plant here and more locomotives were built here than any where else. However it would appear that the hay days are over as there are lots of empty buildings and vacant lots. Having said that there is lots of interesting architecture, and judging by the real estate guide that I picked up it looks like there are lots of homes to be had for less than replacement cost. Too bad the winters here are so tough.

For supper we went to this very nice restaurant called the Blue Moon. I had the Chicken Thai Pad it was really good. They had a live band playing in the bar area of the restaurant which was excellent. They were playing classic rock tunes. Speaking of eating at least three people on different occasions have told me I have loss a lot weight. It is really hard to believe considering how much food I have been putting away. Maybe just more gristly.

Today's picture is of the Niagara as she is today. However she is flying the flag under which she sailed. It has 15 strips and 15 stars rather and the current 13 strips and 51 stars. They only have two of the twenty guns that she use to carry, and the current crew is 17 permanent crew and 26 trainees. When the ship was serving in 1812 she had 150 crew. I cannot imagine how crowded it must have been, with that many people and guns on the ship. Looking across the harbour is very pretty.

The past weeks pictures have been posted on the Webshots and are in the folder labeled Champaign IL to Erie PA. The link to the picture is:

Before I thank you for visiting my blog and for your comments I would like to re-assure one of my readers who has been suggesting that in no way have I harmed any cats or dogs. However dear reader I would like to confirm that root beer and root beer floats have taken a lot of damage. On more than one day the root beer consumption could have been measured in the gallons. So having passed that little thought on I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting my blog and for your great comments.

Looking for adventure in whatever comes our way.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Heart of the rust belt:

Tonight we made it into Erie PA after a short 90 mile ride. Erie is Pa's access point to Lake Erie. Erie PA is a very pretty town of just over 100,000 people. However it has long been in decline as the population was once well over 150,000. Industry and the railroads have been slowly moving out and closing down. The ride into town passed lots of lovely brick homes and beautiful parks. Erie has been working hard to revitalize the downtown core and we are staying in a real nice downtown hotel. As tomorrow is a rest day being downtown is great. There is a great looking Maritime museum here which I intend to visit and Preque Isle State Park which is a short water taxi ride away. Maybe I will try to squeeze both in as I already have my laundry done!

The ride to day was fast. I got to sign out first and so was on my bike first. Tracy was fiddling around with the sign out sheet and not putting it down. So I started clapping and chanting "Lets go bikers Lets Go" She came over and let me sign out first. I had the Surly in top gear right out of the chute and caught a fast line of riders all the way to the first rest stop at the 35 mile mark. A quick refill of water bottles and we charged off again. There was fierce head wind as we were going due north towards the lake so being in a line was great. Before I knew it we we at the second rest stop. Then with only 28 miles to go the day was in the bag. A third quick stop at the PA state line sign was the last stop. The weather was a very pleasant mid 70's with bright blue sky. It sure beat the sweltering high 90's we have been experiencing. The last 10 miles I slowed down as I wanted to see the town as I rode in, so I dropped off the line. Plus I wanted to have a little gas in the tank so that I could go out for supper tonight and not fall asleep into my soup. Arriving at our hotel at around 1:30 the room wasn't ready any way but it wasn't long. Zak who is one of the staff does a great job of getting the hotel pushed along and the riders into rooms. A quick 45 minute power nap and laundry completed the day.

Today's picture is of the "White Turkey Drive Inn" in Conneaut OH where we had our second rest stop. It was also the highlight of the day. This place was first opened in 1952 and hasn't changed since it first opened. It is right out of "Leave It To Beaver". Ian our gourmet and restaurateur even said it was great and called it a dinning experience. The root beer is home made and is the best I have ever tasted. I had the "Super Ed" burger which was a double cheese burger with bacon and a onion ring. It was served in wax paper sleeve. It was so juicy and delicious. Naturally I washed it down with a large root beer float which was served in a huge frozen mug with about 5" of soft ice cream on top. The bill $6.28 What a deal! This was the best rest stop on the tour.

Rest day tomorrow so I will post the weeks pictures on the Webshots page and you can see more of the White Turkey, swimming hole pictures and the rest of the week.

Thanks for visiting my journal and thanks for sending me your great comments!

Arf, Arf That's my other dog imitation.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cat Scratch Fever:

OK Five seconds Bob! Who sang that 1977 hit "Cat Scratch Fever"? And what does Cat scratch fever have to do with going for a bike ride through Ohio. Well this morning as pulled out of Wooster OH, the first thing was about a two mile hill which was followed by a really steep decent. I round the corner and head down the hill. About 3/4 the way down I am doing 37.8 mph when out of the bushes shoots this black cat. The cat is in top gear as am I. I have zero chance to jam on my brakes or swerve and at that speed I don't really want to do either. Although it isn't a really big cat, I am probably upside down, if I hit it. Fortunately I missed the cat by less than 3 feet. A little wiggle and a touch on the brakes avoided disaster. Now I want to say that I am not superstitious but I don't like messing with fate either. So one black cat OK, I can deal with it. But then not 3 miles later there is another black cat which runs out in front of me. It wasn't close and I wasn't going fast. That is 2 black cats, and I am wondering if I should just get off my bike and wait for the SAG wagon to come and get me. Maybe I'll just be extra careful.

The routing sheet had a total of 74 written instructions about have of which are somewhat paradoxical, coupled with the fact that the mileage doesn't match up with the bike computer. So by the time I get into Fulton I am thoroughly turned around. If the sheet had standard directions like North or South on it would be easier to follow but it only has left and right. So let's see I was going East then made a left and two rights and another left and which way am I facing now? Well you get the picture. At any rate I work may self into a state which upsets my stomach so bad that I am feeling nauseous. Then despite the black cats, Marget with the van shows up and I jump. She is headed to the second SAG stop. Perfect! I get a half hour nap, and by time we get there I am feeling better. With only 25 miles left I still get a 50 mile ride in and it is going to be an easy day. Perfect! Feeling revived after my nap and on my bike I spotted a little old time Mom and Pop drive-in and went in. They had 25 flavors of soft ice cream. Although there was only one size of cone for $1.99 when it came it was the size of a small fire extinguisher (I had creme de-menthe as I had never had that flavor in soft ice cream). There was a lady selling fresh strawberries by the road. You could see there were several green houses behind her house so I stopped, being I love fresh strawberries. So despite my cajoling she wouldn't sell me just a handful. It was buy the whole two quart container or not. And she would only give me one sample. In any case we are staying in Niles OH, the last night in Ohio.

During the last very days we have been riding past hundreds of acreages with houses that range from small and large, and from new to old, with everything in between. I have been looking at the really big ones and saying I guess that is how the rich people live. Today I found a real estate magazine and to my surprise the little old ones start in the $30k and the really big ones (3-4000 sq ft) go for $250-300K. There are some deals here in Ohio.

So I did get a little sprinkle of rain but didn't get poured on, had a close call with a cat, got sick, got better, had a nap, got lost, got found, avoided a lot of really bad roads, had a huge ice cream cone, didn't get any fresh strawberries, and had a good time. I guess the black cat thing is just superstition. By the way Ted Nugget did Cat Scratch Fever.

Today's picture is of this big old barn. I saw it and immediately thought of my friend Curt in PA. He takes old barns and turns them into mansions. Curt, I think this one would make a get place.

They give me cat scratch fever!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Splash Down:

Tonight we are in Wooster OH, which is a town of about 17,000 people. The people of Wooster have made a real effort to rejuvenate the downtown core, and they have done a great job. The downtown is anchored by this 1860's court house which has quite remarkable architecture. All along the main street there are lots of new businesses and there are a lot of buildings which have been totally renovated, or are under renovation. It really looked like there is lots going on.

Yesterday was melt down and it was headed for that again today. The temperature started off in the mid 70's and was headed for the 90's. As I was grinding into this one little town about 9:00 Am there was a sign that said 86 F. In addition the humidity was so high that there was layers of water vapour over some of the fields. It wasn't fog but was this vapour layer that was about 15 feet thick. I was actually nice to ride into one of them. Today's ride was 98 miles but the last 22 miles after the second rest stop where suppose to be these un-rideable hills. So I had decided that I was going to catch a ride from the last rest stop. I even talked to Tracy to organize my spot in the van. So with only 78 miles I was going to take it easy. Energy conservation mode. No pedaling on any down hill and easy spinning on the up hills. But all that changed.

With about 5 miles left before the last rest stop, I am dragging it is so hot and humid. It wasn't even a person on the bike any more. Then I came around a corner and there is my friend Tom H's bike, but no Tom. So I stopped and called out. I can here him yelling and hollering. When I get to the other side of the road I can see that Tom has found a swimming hole complete with a rope swing! We came all the way across America to find a place this perfect. Off with the shoes and jersey, and in for a swim. The water was perfect. Tom and I splashed around for 30-40 minutes. By time I got out I had been revived.

Tom and I cruised into the last rest stop fueled up and rode the un-rideable hills. Just so you know they were brutally steep and the road was so rough that it jarred you right to pieces. You would start up one of these hills under the blazing sun and by the time you got to the top your heart rate was just pounding in your ears, and the sweat was just running off. A bridge that was under construction at the very end sent us on detour so that our mileage for the day wound up at 103 miles, and the temperature wound up at 98 F. However Jim, my roomie was standing at the door and handed me a cold beer as I wheeled in. WOW! It was an extremely hard day but maybe the best yet! Thanks Tom!

Today's picture is of Tom and I having a swim. Tom is the one on the swing and I am just to the left. As you can see it is the perfect swimming hole. The tree with the steps nailed to it, the rope swing. Check it out! Is this Tom Sawyer stuff or what? Don't you wish you were here?

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your great comments.

Houston We Have Splashdown!


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Melt Down

Things started beautifully this morning. It was totally clouded over and was quite cool. I was thinking that it has finally cooled down to the point that I could ride without melting. So I was so optimistic that we might get some rain I packed my rain coat with me on the bike. The Ohio state line was only 2.6 miles from the hotel so there was the obligatory picture taking. About 8 miles out the road was wet and the sky is threatening. It is looking good. The roads are good and the weather is cool. For the next ten miles are so it is looking more and more like rain. This part of the country is in the middle of a the worse drought in ten years so it isn't just me praying for rain. However we changed direction and were soon under bright sky's and the sun burned off the remaining cloud cover. I cruised into the first rest stop by 9:30 and with 42 miles under my belt things were looking good despite the fact that it is going to be another hot one. There was a sign which displayed the temperature as 79 F. On the road and out riding though the country side which has turned into low rolling hills with lots of small farms and acreages. It is really pretty. I saw my first Amish buggy, and it was the classic cover wagon. However I decided not to photograph it as they do not like being photographed do to their beliefs. By the time I got down the road to the little town of Paris it is boiling hot. Being almost lunch I put into a store and got a couple of hot dogs and a drink. The choose of meals that you can get in gas station stores is some what limited and the hot dogs looked like the best to the worst. As I sat there eating I watched the temperature on the bank sign across the street go up 3 degrees to 86 F. The road as gotten really bad and for 10 miles we have wet oil on the road. The little rocks that have been sprinkled on the wet oil are flying up on to your legs and back. The next rest stop is at the 78 mile mark and by then I am just a wet rag. Out on the pavement it is probably in the high 90's. However we still have 25 miles to go. Out on the road I am grinding along and by the time I reached the 91 mile I am just a puddle of melted ectoplasm. The NASCAR race is on and Denny Hamlin is in third place. It is going to take me close to another hour to get into the hotel. Then the SAG wagon passed me. Once again I am out of water having only gotten 7 miles per bottle. So as I had two chooses either ride the last 12 miles in and miss the race or take a ride. The heck with grinding away in the heat and humidity. I am on holiday! Some riders on the tour don't ride on the sabbath. Why should I ride during the NASCAR race? I am doing what I want! Denny Hamlin came in 15th one lap down. Not great but not bad either.

I guess that there were a bunch of high lights today. I think that seeing the Amish buggy was really cool. I stopped to have a little ditch party and eat an energy bar beside this really pretty farm under a giant oak tree. There were so many birds singing in the tree it was really peaceful.
I guess I should tell you that we are in Marysville OH tonight. It is town of about 17,000 people. I think that this whole area has become a bedroom community for Columbus OH. It is only 25 miles north of Columbus which has a population of 730 k. In addition you are only 145 miles from Clevland and 160 miles from Detriot. This would explain why most of the country side is acreages, and new developments. I rode past this one estate which had the largest house I think I ever seen on it. Excluding Buckingham Palace or maybe Chateau de Versailles. Yes there are some nice places.

Today's picture is of a covered bridge which was off on a little side road. It lead down this winding road and over a small hill. It was a really idyllic place.

Thank you for visiting my blog and thanks for all your great comments.



Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Nicest Road Ever:

Another hot day in the high 80's but for about 20 miles we had the nicest road I every ridden on. We pulled out of Hagerstown and there is a sign says construction ahead. Oh! Great as that usually means rough road, no shoulder and congested traffic. However the pavement is brand new may be only a week. There isn't a seam or ripple in the pavement. It added 5 mph to the speed and the ride was so nice just sailing along without having bone jarring bumps, pot holes or cracks. The slight tail wind added to the pure pleasure of the moment. In fact I had thought that although we had head winds of 10 mph it wasn't hurting that much but to have the same winds as a tail wind added immensely to the enjoyment. The 85 miles down to Richmond was just a great time.

I picked Tom H up at around mile 30 and we cruised along for a bit and then stopped under the shade of a large tree to enjoy an energy bar. It was an old home site but the house was long gone, however you could see what a beautiful place it must have been. The SAG stop was just down the road at 39 miles. But what a stop it was! Lisa who lives in Indianapolis had arranged for donuts from here favorite bakery to be delivered for SAG. These were the great big bread donuts with just a ton off glazing on them. So I would like to think that I know my donuts EH! and I would like to tell you that these were definitely top drawer donuts. None of the chain store stuff. These were the real deal. Thanks Lisa! So I woofed down two donuts and was back on the bike, with 46 miles to go and the temperature winding up it was time to make some miles.

The donuts were great, the roads were wonderful, the tail winds were terrific, but the real highlight of the day was riding though Centerville. Now I am sure that a lot of you are aware that this is the town, that the movie "200 Motels" focuses on, as being a "Nice place to raise your kids up". The movie is about life on the road. It is about this musical group that is on tour and as the band travels from motel to motel they begin to loss their sanity. They are trapped going from mildewed motel to mildewed motel and getting crazier every day. It is almost exactly what we are doing. Can't remember our room numbers, trying door keys in locks from yesterdays hotel in the door, hanging laundry on fences, wondering why we can't get beer in gas stations (because it is Sunday), complaining about the motel waffles, etc etc.

I arrived in sixth today with Jim, my roomie who is now the only Jim. As we were in really early I thought I would walk over and get some beer from the gas station next to the hotel. To my surprise in this county alcohol is only sold in liquor stores. A local who was filling his pick truck up with gas informed me there was one about a mile back (always ask guys filling up pickup trucks where to get beer). As I walked up to get beer I realized there were going to be a lot of hot thirst people tonight (remember it is in the high 80') so I picked up an 18 pack. Jim and I started a lobby party and before you could bat an eye the beer was gone. So Randy got the bar tender from the restaurant where we were going to have supper to drive him up and he picked up another 2 dozen. We had a great time drinking beer and eating microwave popcorn.

Today's picture is of the water tower in Centerville. I put it in just to prove that there really is such a place and that we did really ride though it and that I am not really making this all up. It has been a long and crazy trip and maybe the part about getting crazier is true as well. It is hard to say.

Now if you are one of the lurkers who has been reading my blog and not leaving comments what you need to do is press the comments in the lower right hand corner. When the dialogue box opens type your message in the upper right and corner and hit the Anonymous button. Then you don't have to register. In any any case, Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all your great comments. If you have been leaving comments like my friend Ken C, who wins the award for comments a special thanks.

Head out on the highway!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Around and Around:

Today's ride from Crawfordsville into Indianapolis was a tour of country roads and lanes. Then as we got closer to Indianapolis through the acreages and suburbia of Indianapolis. The country side was really pretty with low slightly rolling hill and lots of tree lined roads. The acreages were really interesting to look at and play I wonder who lives there. A lot of the homes were in 5000+ square foot size. However the route has to take the prize for the number of turns on the route sheet. There were 58 routing instructions on the sheet so it is no wonder a lot of people, without the optional side trip which added 12 more. I don't think I have ever seen so may instructions. The total ride including the optional side trip was 71 miles.

The highlight of the day was the optional side trip to the Indianapolis Velodrome. The velodrome is a 0.25 mile high banked oval for bike riding. The banking is approximately 40 degrees and about 15 feet high. The idea is to get your bike rolling and then as you gain speed climb the wall. It was and absolute blast taking your bike up the banking. At first it seems a little intimidating as the walls are so steep and you wonder how your tires are going to hold you up. However after a few laps it is just plain fun zooming around. Well you know what I'm talking about don't you Ann? I had never ridden in a velodrome before. However it was in the upper 80's and after a few laps you were just soaked and out of breath.

A new couple has joined our group and are riding in with us to Boston. Mark and Tracy were with Jim and I last year on our Pacific Coast trip with Cycle America. They ride a tandem and man can they every fly on it. They went past me this morning so fast that I had to get of my bike to see if I was still moving. A really fun couple. Jim and I had a bunch of fun with them laughing and remembering last years trip. I guess that the long distance cycling community is not all that large.

Today's picture is of me ridding the Velodrome. I guess that you should have known. This was about the 6th or 7th lap of riding full out so I am just about winded.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments.

Around and around it goes.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Supplemental Picture post:

Picture #1
The town sign post for Hillsboro, which reads; " The Home of 600 Happy People and a few old soreheads" It must be an inside joke.
Picture #2
Some of the flowers I smelled today. There were fields of Tiger Lilies. I have never seen so many.
Picture #3
My helmet with all the Post-It notes on it. It was pretty funny.
Picture #4
The land shark helmet. Wow!

Stop and smell the roses:

Today's leisurely 80.8 mile ride in 90+F with a 10 mph head wind took us into beautiful Crawfordsville IN. "A really nice place to raise your kids up." Crawfordsville ranks as 43rd on the roster in The Best 100 Small Towns in America according to author Norman Crampton's 2nd edition of the book. Hey! I don't make this sort of stuff up you know. All joking aside it was a nice ride. I decided that to day was a take it easy day just ride along and stop to smell the flowers. I rode along by myself and had a great time just cruising. Sometimes riding hard sometimes just puttering along however it struck me.

We crossed the state line in to Indiana and immediately the shoulder of the road increased from 0 to 18". The country side has changed as well. We have gone from wide open flat with straight see for miles roads to very slight rolling hills with winding tree lined roads. The tree lined roads were very welcome as there was shade along parts of the road. Although I didn't stop for a lunch as such I did stop a bunch of times to eat a little snack out of my bag or to just stop have a drink and take a picture.

Today was also helmet decorating day. I thought that the participation would be low due to the lack of formal judging or prize (this is a verrrrrry competitive group - unlike myself), however I was quite surprised at the level of participation. Out of the 34 riders there were 18 people with decorated helmets. The level was unbelievable. There were helmets with sharks, flowers and all manner of creative designs. See the supplemental picture post. I decorated my helmet with Post-it notes. Most of them blew off during the day but a bunch stayed on and a couple of them provided a hum in the wind.

Today's picture is of this old trestle which I believe was part of the old road. It has been replaced with a new concrete bridge over the little creek. There was some shade here from the large trees so I stopped to eat a bar and sit on the bridge rail. The weeds have grown over the timber trestle and the sun was shining though the treed canopy. It was really pretty and the sound of the creek was very soothing. It was just one of those moments.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments.

Remember to smell the flowers!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lazy Daze:

Today was a very welcome day off in Champaign IL. After last week's 625 miles I don't think there was a single person who wasn't ready for a day off. The heat and head winds of last week really did me in.

I haven't been able to find the motivation to get out for a run for the last week. It seems like after I drag my butt in after 6-7 hours in the saddle when the temperature is 90+ F. I just can't seem to get out for a run, and some how 30-60 minutes on the treadmill just doesn't seem to be in the cards. So I got up at 6:00 Am and was off for a 75 minute run. Just south of our hotel is this lovely older neighborhood. The tree canopy totally covers the street. Some of the roads are cobble stone. The homes are of mixed age but lots of really nice Victorian homes. There were several homes which had "For Sale" signs with the little flyer's in the box. So I stopped to look at the prices and it seems that the prices are about $125/sq ft. It was great I loved it

Other chores such as cleaning my bike and doing office work were the main high lights of the day. It has been nice not having to go outside in the 90+ F heat.

Tomorrow is helmet decorating day. I asked if there was a prize for the best helmet, but was told no prize and so I kind of think that the participation level is going to be low. I was walking around telling people who asked me what I was going to do, was use the same material to decorate my helmet as the Emperor's New Clothes were made from. However I walked across the road to Staples and bought some stuff which Jim and I used to decorate our helmet with. More tomorrow as no one is tipping their hand on what they are doing.

Pictures for the week that ended yesterday have been posted at: They are titled Abiliene KS to Chanmpaign IL. Total of 81 pictures.

The picture of the day is --- Well what do you think it is? It is quite large in fact is probably two stories.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments. It is great coming in after a hard hot day in the saddle and hearing from you.

Mon yana


PS: The picture is of the chandelier in the lobby of the hotel. It is taken standing directly under it and looking up. The chandelier is not really a fixture as such but just a bunch of those plastic light ropes hung down from the ceiling.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hot Headwinds:

Today had been billed as an easy day being that we had only 87 miles to ride and 1100 feet of elevation. However the temperature started to climb almost as soon as we left the hotel. By 10:00 it was well over 85 and the moderate head wind which was predicted had turned into 20+. By 11:00 AM I had only made 47 miles. Not much for 4 hours of hard riding. Oh did I mention that the road was so rough and broken up that it was almost un-rideable. Every 30 feet there was a crack that had a 2" offset. However I found a Subway and went in for a sandwich. I thought I would take Tony Stewart's advice "fills you up without slowing you down" and I sure didn't need any slowing down. Twenty minutes later I am back in the saddle and with only 40 miles to go am going to be in the hotel by 3:30 Pm

That idea lasted for a total sum of 19 miles. Here I am crossing this wide open area and the wind is just howling into my face. Out on the hot pavement it is probably well over 95F. I carry three water bottles on my bike as I know that I perspire a lot and I have to keep drinking. But now the bottles are empty. Usually I can make 10 miles/bottle of water. Here I made just over 6 miles/bottle. I can see the perspiration dripping from the front of my helmet at the rate of a drop every 3 seconds. So I know I don't have long in the heat and hot wind. Fortunately the SAG wagon came up just then and the chose was fill up my bottles and grind it out for another 2+ hours or get into the nice air conditioned van, with soft seats and be in the hotel in 20 minutes. A hard decision which took less than blink of an eye to make. That right I got in the van.

Rest day tomorrow. I should go for a run as I haven't had a run for 9 days. Right now I don't think I could run to the wash room. However I will have the pictures of the week up for your viewing pleasure.

Today's picture is of a cow which is dressed up as a chef. I am not sure what the message is here. Maybe that you should eat more chicken. I can't imagine why he would be promoting eating beef. But what ever the message was it didn't work because the place was closed.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your great comments.

In a while crocodile!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Children of the Corn:

There was lots of corn today and I mean lots. There was 108 miles of corn and it went out to the horizon. We left Quincy IL and cycled to Springfield IL. The temperature was 86 F and the wind was 8-10 mph in our face all day. So it was a long hard day. I took me 7:31 to cover the miles.

However having said that the first 35 miles were really pretty as we sailed though rolling hills with lots of trees and fields of corn. A deer ran across the road right in front of me. It was pretty neat. As I was closing on Don a squirrel ran out right in front of Don. Then the squirrel saw Don and hesitated, I thought Don was going to hit the squirrel for sure. I have never seen a cyclist run down a squirrel. Then not two minutes later a raccoon ran out in front of Don. I guess that proves that not all the raccoons have been hit by cars.

I got passed by a tractor today. I could hear it coming and see it closing in my mirror for quite a while but I couldn't get away. I was tired at this point and the wind was in my face, so the best I could do was about 15 mph. The tractor was doing about 18. Finally the tractor pulled into the on coming lane and went around me. I tried my best to get in his draft but I just couldn't manage it. I sure could have used the pull.

Today's picture is of one of the children of corn. I walked in to the field and Tom H took my picture. It was pretty tall for this early in the season.

Well there isn't much to tell for such a long day so I am going to say thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments. Scroll down and check out the supplemental pictures.

Woof! Woof! That's my dog imitation.


Supplemental Picture Post;

Bridge over Illinois River
This is one huge bridge over the Illinois River. Up until we got to the within about three miles of the river, the country side was rolling hills with lots of trees and smaller fields. Then there was a short down hill and we were on the the river flats and there were no more trees or hills. Just corn.

Latest in salt stained biking attire.
After a hard day in the saddle.

CB Shop?
What do you think this guy is listening to? All the windows have tin foil on them. A lot of antennas. Is it a secret US listening post? Or maybe it is some one listening for aliens? It would have been interesting to go in but I was afraid to.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

State Of Mind:
Maybe not a state of mind but how about the seventh state line. This afternoon we crossed into Illinois. I think that Missouri has been given a bad rap. We had been told about bad Missouri, bad roads, bad drivers, bad, bad bad. I thought that although there were a few spots where the roads were a little rough, but 90+% the roads were great. I found the drivers exceptionally courteous. I don't think there was one driver that was rude or crowded me. Just a guess but I would say that 70% of the truck drivers gave me a wave and 100% of the tractor drivers did. Hopefully Illinois is as good.
Today was cloudy and cool. Just as my luggage was being loaded I thought maybe I should grab my rain clothes but I didn't really want to drag it with me, and besides it wasn't suppose to rain. Ten miles down the road the skies opened up and a deluge ensued. Fortuitously I as 100 feet from a gas station where wonderful Margret was, within 10 minutes there was a dozen cyclist in the gas station. Margaret was busy handing out garbage bags which we all pulled on. Off down the road wearing a garbage bag. At the 30 mile mark was the SAG were the truck was with the luggage. There every one was digging though their luggage and pulling on rain gear. A second deluge ensued but by the 45 mile mark it had cleared off. So I stripped off the rain gear and rode on. I decided to stop for a burrito out of a convenience store for lunch at the 50 mile mark. This left just 23 miles to go. However the big adventure of the day was still in front of me as today we crossed the Mississippi river. Now this is not as big a bridge as the Golden Gate bridge or the bridge across the Columbia at Astoria Oregon, but it is still a huge bridge. It has no shoulder, so you have to take the lane, and just let cars move to the other lane and pass you. Just before I crossed the bridge I caught up with Gil and Toni. Then Frank and Jim came along so the five of us all crossed together. On the far side we had a big celebration.

The other big event of the day is that we crossed the 2000 mile mark on our journey. I guess that it is also kind of a personal mile post as the furthest I had ridden on a trip was 1400 miles.

So here we are in Quincy Illinois. It is very pretty city. As we rode in I was really impressed with the nice downtown (although it does look like it is hurting). We then rode though this neighborhood of incredible stone and brick Victorian mansions. A leaflet in the hotel room says there are 2000 structures in Quincy which are listed on National Register of Historic Structures. Can,t be here take the virtual tour It is really cool. Boy would I like to live in one of those.

Today's picture is of the bridge across the Mississippi River. To give you some perspective it is about 0.5 miles long.

Well thanks for visiting blog and thanks for your comments.
Singing in the Rain

Saturday, June 9, 2007

27 Gears and used them all!

How do you describe today? WOW! Zowie! Zounds! I don't know pick one. But before you do let me give you a little back ground. The sun is out, with not a cloud in the sky. The temperature starts in the high 50's and is going towards mid 70's by lunch. The scenery is beautiful green hills covered with trees and fields. The road is this little used back country road with almost zero traffic. Now here is the kicker. We are riding 75 miles from Chillicothe to Kirksville, and there are 148 hills. The pitch on these hills is up to 16% with and average height of maybe 200 feet. You can stand on top of a hill and see 4-5 of these ups and downs. The perfect roller coaster. The only way to ride these is flat out. I am talking big ring time here. You start from the top of one of these hills pedaling as hard as you can by time you hit the bottom you are at 35 mph. Then your are into the up slope down shifting as you go. I had been saying that you are pulling 2G's at the bottom but my aeronautical engineer roomie says that it is only 1.5G's. If you get it right a little bit of standing carries you over the crest. By now you have done the math and realized the each hill is only 0.25 miles down and 0.25 miles up. However their not all the same length and there were lots of mile long climbs and down hills. So there was lots of spinning it out to crawl up a mile long hill in low gear at 6 mph. It was huge fun on the hills.

However they do wear you down and by the 69 mile mark I am exhausted. Just 2 miles to a store where I can get some food and have a rest. Then there is my friend Jose. Together we sat and chatted while I had a convenience store burrito (actually they aren't bad, but then I have very low standards especially when I am starving and exhausted). Feeling much revived we cruised in the last 4 miles.

The town of Kirksville was the scene of a civil war battle. I don't think it was a very big one but it seems to be its claim to fame. It is also home to the Truman State University. I saw that on a sign. Our hotel is on the side of town that we came from so I haven't ridden though it. However being a university town you know that your bike isn't safe. Tomorrow is Sunday and we leave at 7:00, so the kids will not be up when I ride though town.

Today's picture is of the rolling hills. From this vantage point there are five hills which are visible. They were just a ton of fun to fly over.

Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your great comments. At the end of the day it is great to open the journal to see what people have said.

Ride it like you stole it!


Friday, June 8, 2007

Supplemental picture post

Picture #1 family of locals

Picture # 2 The fisherman in the boat in case you couldn't find him

Picture # 3 The chef who made the cinnamon buns

Picture #4 A wall painting in downtown Chillicothe

Eat Your Heart Out:

That's right all you cyclists, eat your heart out! Today was the perfect day. It started off slightly cool at 56 F ( 13 C) and warmed up though out the day to a high of 74 F (23C) . There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The wind was close to nil, although at times were was just a hint of a breeze to cool you off. So you have the picture, a perfect weather day. The road was this freshly paved country road. Lots of winding curves, lots of really neat roller coast hills, some of the hills were high enough that you had to get down and spin them out, but none were over a half mile, of course they were offset with longer down hills, very little traffic (all of which was exceedingly polite). So you have the picture: the perfect road. The scenery was these beautiful green hills, with lots of trees, fields of wheat and corn, the odd pasture with cows or horses, quaint farm houses and the odd little town. So you have the perfect ride scenery. Now put it all together. Perfect weather, perfect road, and perfect scenery. Like I said: EAT YOUR HEART OUT!. The only sad part of the day was that at 88 mile mark I had to turn off of the road and into the hotel.

The high point was we rode though this little town called Mayville (pop 1200). It was designated as team day so we were all wearing our team jerseys. Then just before town we all stopped and rode into town as a group. In town the local historical society was hosting a social for the riders. This group of sweet little ladies had gathered and put together a wonderful feast. They had fresh fruit and all sorts of goodies as well as lemonade and ice water. This one fellow had been a chef for thirty years and had made his cinnamon buns. They were the best cinnamon buns I have ever had. They were sweet but not overly sweet, not sticky, but not dry. The glazing on top was perfect, not over powering. No raisins or nuts to get in your way or distract you from the enjoyment. Trust me, I know my cinnamon buns. The social was held in front of their museum which was quite a collection of local memorabilia. Stopping here is one of the things the Crossroads has been downing for several years.

Tonight we are in Chillicothe, which is a quaint little town of 8900. It seems to be prospering as the down town seems to be alive and growing. Chillicothe is the home of sliced bread. Yea right. OK here is proof; I saw a sign on the wall of a building downtown and had to look it up.

Today's picture was a really tough chose as there were a number of great pictures to choose from. However I did settle on this picture of this river that was so pretty I stopped on the bridge to get a picture (not recommended practice). As I was taking the picture one of the other riders said "Look someone is down there fishing" I just couldn't see him but there he is in the lower left in a boat just off the one big hole. I'll bet he knew exactly what he was doing.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and thanks for your comments.

Happy trails (?)


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Show Me:

You guessed it we are in Missouri. We crossed the Missouri River on this decrepit bridge about 70 miles into the ride today at Acheson. Acheson is actually a really famous place from the Acheson and Topeka railway fame and of course home of Amelia Erhart The bridge itself is the huge iron truss affair which stretches across the river in three sections it is probably over half a mile in length. It had to have been built as part of Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" in the mid 1930's and it has not seen any maintenance since. Last year's Pacific Coast ride boasted some big bridges but this one was right up there. May be not in size or length up certainly in terms of scare factor.

Tonight we are in St Joesph, MO which is a really quaint place of about 75,000. There are lots of old Victorian homes and the old downtown is mostly 20's-30's brick . However there are lots of modern shopping malls as well. The ride into town took us though some beautiful treed streets and parks. St Joesph is home of the pony express and although it only lasted a few years is quite famous. The is a huge pony express rider statue right in front of the museum. (No picture sorry messed up). It is also home to Jesse James and the Younger brothers gang. I am really messed up on this western stuff this place doesn't look any thing like the west of the movies. The Wild West in the movies is this dried out sun backed place which is full of tumble weeds and evil Mexicans (sort of like Nevada). Looks like I am going to have to make another trip though here to visit these places in more detail.

I guess that today's ride also marks an important point in the trip as we are now over half way. Topeka was the half way point. It seems to have just flown by. It is really hard to believe that we have traveled in excess of 1900 miles. There have been some great adventures and I am sure that there are a few more just over the next hill.

Today's ride was 87 miles with a 25-35 mph tail wind. So most of the time we just flew down the road. It was great flying along at 25+ mph without even pedaling. At one point I was going up a pretty steep hill at 22 mph and wasn't pedalling. However the last 8 miles or so though town was tough as there are a bunch of really steep hills and I was tired from yesterdays beating. Never the less the seat time was only 4:57 and the average speed was 17.6 mph. I got in just after 1:00 and was really fortunate as my room was ready. Most of the crew had to wait until 3:00 to get their room. Boy was there ever a bunch of grumbling. So even though I had a ton of office work to do and should have got for a run but I opted for a 2:00 hr nap. After that I worked on my brakes they were not working very well and there were a couple of places where I really had to jump on them to stop. Rick the Crossroads mechanic was going to the bike shop so I hitched a ride to get some new brake pads. The shop however was may be the worst shop I have ever been in they didn't even have brake pads.

Today's picture is fooling a round at the first rest stop. Jim took the picture even though he had no idea of what was coming down. Randy (blue shirt and white helmet) is the only one who knew what was happening. I could have shown you a bunch of really pretty county side but you have all seen beautiful county side. You know rolling hills with lots of trees and fields of grain and fields with herds of cattle. The country has really changed over the last couple of days.

Well thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for all the comments. I love to know that you're out there. But tell me what kind of dirt you want to know about, and I will try to let you in on it.

On the road again.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Blown Away:

How hard is it for wind gusts to talk to each other? It is a breeze. Well that is how the old joke goes but it was NO breeze for us today. The wind was a constant 25-35 and gusting to 45. The wind was coming directly from the south. For the first 15 miles after we left Abilene we headed directly south into the wind. The best I could do was 11 mph. I thought I would never get to the turn. As we came to the turn you could watch the riders grinding to the turn and seem to shoot forward as they made the turn. The next leg of the ride was a straight shot due East for 60 miles. When you were headed East you could make up to 16 mph, but a lot of the time I spent grinding away at 8 mph. I think that on the the first two legs I averaged 14.2 mph. When a gust would hit you it would carry you half way across the road. My safety flag was bent over at a 90 degree angle to the bike. It was really weird riding along leaned over at a 45 degree angle. It was really hard on your arms and shoulders as you had to constantly wrestle with the handle bars to keep the bike going in a straight line. At one point the gusts were so strong I thought the bike was going to lift off so I got of and walked for about 100 yards to this point where there was some shelter from a tree. The last 35 miles into Topeka were NE so we got some relieve. In fact a one point I crested this one hill and with the wind directly on my back I hit 44.7 mph in less than 0.5 miles. While this may not have been my toughest century it did take me 7hr 25 minutes to ride the 107.3 miles.

The safety flag which every one has attached to the bike was jerking the bike around so badly that I bent it over and put it under my handle bars. Then finally at one of the SAG stops I took it right off. This was one day where being a big heavy guy on a heavy duty bike had an advantage. The little light people on light bikes were whipped around even worse.
However it wasn't all really grim. The highlight of the day was this little coffee shop in a town called Dover. A place right out of the early 50's. A bunch of local retires drinking coffee and exchanging tractor stories. Tom E and I were together and went in to have pie. It was absolutely fabulously. I had a piece of homemade banana cream pie that to die for. Curt I. they had homemade cherry that Tom had and raved about. Tom bought - Thanks Tom.
One of today's picture is of me after the ride. As you can see I was totally caked in salt. I think that I drank 10 bottles of water and 3 bottles of Gatorade to day. My skin felt like I had rolled in sand there was so much salt on me. The second is of a sign for the town of Alma. Jim says they make good cheese there.
Thanks for reading my blog, and of course thanks for the comments. Stay tuned for tomorrows blog when we ride in to St Joesph MO. The forecast is for 25-35 mph SW winds and we are headed NE.
See you down the road.