Friday, July 30, 2010

Back Roads = Amazing July 30

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. Maybe it was because we only rode 60 miles, and I wasn't tired. Maybe because I was kind of home sick. Never the less it was 1:30Am when I last looked at the alarm clock. So when the alarm went off at 5:20 AM, I felt like heck. I had admonished Greg the other day for looking tired. Then I show up feeling like I had been dragged through a knot hole. On top of that Patrick has decided to sag because he is tired.

Well I am not going to sag and so it is off to breakfast and I am just going to roll it. It is only 68 miles and the weather is beautiful. Besides I can burn the candle a little as tomorrow is the last day before day off and it is a short ride day. Off I go just cruising a long and taking my time. At the 8 mile mark we hit the spot where we are to take this bike path but it really isn't a bike path it is a ski-doo path. I ride it for about 3 miles and it gets too rough so it is back to the highway.

A few more turns here and there, some lefts and some rights and then it hits me. We have ridden 3000 miles across America and have been on nothing but country roads. Sure there have been a few spots here and there. Five miles here, ten there and so on but I would bet it wouldn't add up to more than a couple of hundred miles. Miles go by with out a semi-trailer passing or a loud Harley blowing your ears out. Things got a lot better with this thought, I stopped took some pictures, rode past the Horicon Marsh, took some open road pictures, took some rider pictures, and rolled into picnic. At picnic I did my usual thing which was to vacuum up as much fresh fruit as possible and then roll. Hey only 20 miles to go! Wow! Things are looking pretty good.
I cruised into town and there is a crowd of riders sitting on the sidewalk, and they tell me the school where we are camped is not ready. So I went into the corner gas station and grabbed a 24 oz can on beer and sat down on a park bench. It was cold and tasted great. The school thing was sorted out and everything is great.

We have wifi in the school and I sign on to find that Agnes has gotten Skype working at home so we talk for 45 minutes. Unfortunately Blogspot is blocked so I have to go through my office to post the blog. which means I will have to email the pictures to work. and then post them from there. So I will do it later. Job done!

What a great day!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Fun Ride to Beaverdam July 29

Not rain, no thunder storms, no wind, just a beautiful day for a ride down some totally deserted country roads. It was only 62 miles to day so there was no real panic to get down to Beaverdam but every rider seemed like they were on some kind of mission. As we started out it was 67 F and the sun was just coming up,without a hint of a breeze, so it was absolutely perfect riding weather.

I was having a blast riding ahead and then catching photos of the riders as they went past. At one point I lay down on the road to get some action shots as they crested this hill. Then Tom, Patrick and I started chasing other riders down and taking pictures of them. It was great. Before you knew it, it was picnic and there we filled up on a great chicken salad and lots of fresh fruit. I just love all the fresh fruit we have on this trip. There were some white peaches that were great.

After lunch Tom, Patrick and I set off and being totally full and being only 19 miles we were riding pretty slowly. At picnic Tom had heard Kari say to Nathan that she wanted to get in early so she could get the best spot in the gym with the best plug in. There is some sort of competition amongst the floor floppers as which spot is the best. I don't know about it as I don't floor flop. They were well up ahead of us by at least 3-5 miles. Patrick said let's get them. Tom said lets wait and get them at the end. Nothing more is said until about 4 miles out we spotted about a mile ahead. Patrick had dropped back as his saddle was hurting him. Tom and I didn't say anything but we both stepped on the pedals. At about one mile from town they were 250 yards ahead, and I said to Tom OK I`ll sling shot you. So I took the lead and rode as hard as I could. When we hit town Tom blasted past to get in first and claim the best spot in the gym. It was great fun.

So it was a great day of riding, picture taking, and having fun.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sparta to Elroy Bike Path July 28

There is only one way to describe to days ride and that is WOW! Today we rode down the Sparta to Elroy bike path, and the Wisconsin 400 path. These two paths are really one path and are part of the rails to trails network of bike paths. The line was laid in 1873 and consists of 55 miles of bike path. It has a packed limestone surface which adds some interest to the path. There are three tunnels the longest is 3875 feet and the shortest just over 1100 feet. It had rained last night so the path was damp and the dust was kept down. However there were a few slippery spots especially where there was a lot of trees.

The first tunnel we encountered was the longest, and you have to dismount and walk the tunnel because you cannot see the exit and it is very disorienting and you would slam into a wall. The tunnel is not lined so it was pretty wet. There was lots of water dripping though. Ed and I had bought wooden train whistles and had a lot of fun blowing the whistles. Everyone had their head lamps on and it was really quite a sight. I took a lot of pictures and am posting some of the tunnel entrances.
The path itself was either a flat or a a very low grade so riding was easy. However because it is not paved you had to pedal constantly, otherwise your bike came to a stop because of the unpaved surface. So after 55 miles my legs were ready for picnic. I must say that is was very beautiful and peaceful. I just loved gliding though the tree lined path. There were no Harley's roaring in your ears. No semi's hammering down on you. It was great!

After picnic it was only 20 miles in to camp so it was an easy ride. Glen and I rode along together. The route was a lot of fun as it was gently rolling with lots of left and right turns. The rain has cooled it down and the humidity has slacked off so it was a perfect ride to finish the day.
Lets Ride!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Tough Day July 27

Last night's supper was lasagna again so when the supper is bogus then so is the breakfast, so I decided to blow it off and roll out early. The time table had been moved up 15 minutes so I got my luggage loaded and was on the road by 6:06 AM. Micheal was on the road at 5:40!
There was a lot of cloud cover which was helping to keep the temperatures down. There was even a huge strom cloud moving in from the south. Sure enough I got nailed at the 15 mile mark. It just hammered down so I stopped and put my rain coat on and then it stopped. However I was soaked. Continuing down the road at the 35 mile market I stopped for breakfast at a gas station and Ed and Patrick rolled up just as I was finishing. The three of us rolled on together until picnic at the 45 mile mark, where Patrick decided to not stop but to eat on his own.
I think the story of the day is the combination of the hills and the head winds, which combined with the near 100% humidity and 95+ F temperature to make today a really tough day. It wasn't that there were so many hills or that the elevation gain was so large (it was only 3750 ft), but the hills were so steep, and there were so many of them. The wind was out of the SE and we were headed SE. It was gusting from 5 mph to 30 mph. When it was five, the heat would blister your skin. When it was thirty you could hardly make any head way. By time we reached the school in Sparta I was beat. So was it the hills, or the head winds, or the humidity, or the temperature, or it was the 94.9 miles?

Having arrived at 2:00 Pm I decided to go see the Deke Slayton/Bicycle - Monroe County Museum here in Sparta. Deke Slayton was on of the origninal Merucry astronauts. He never flew but was on the team with John Glen. He came from Sparta. The museum was very well layed out and had a lot of exhibits, including hundreds of bikes of every size and description. Of special interest was the information on the Elroy-Sparta Bike trail which we are going to ride tomorrow. I was kind of limited on time and had to rush though it but I would highly recomend the museum.

I havefound really spotty internet beside the road but it won't load pictures and the ants are eating me. So I will post some pictures as soon as I can.
Exhausted but happy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Fun Day Into Wisconsin July 26

To day we had what is called an off site breakfast which is where the breakfast is not where we are staying. Breakfast today was at Tracy's house, who is one of the administrative people for Cycle America. She hosts the breakfast as a fund raiser for her daughter's dance club. The breakfast of baked french toast with strawberry and banana syrup was so good. It was 13 miles down the road. The ride was only 68 miles to day so having breakfast down the raod made the day seem really short.
I should mention that everyone was wearing thier new Coast to Coast 2010 jerseys. They looked very sharp. So there was a real spirit in the air. Group pictures, lots of jokes and calling out "HEY NICE JERSEY".
After breakfast we rode a further 4 miles down the road to the World head quarters of Cycle America which is in Cannon Falls. This being a photo op everyone posed infront of the building. We couldn't get in for a tour as it was too early. However we had fun taking pictures and peering though the windows.
After this we hit the Cannon Valley Trail bike path which took us 18 miles to Red Wing MN. This was one of th rails to trails projects. As we followed the Cannon River it was so beautiful along the bike path. The path it's self was pathed with the smoothest pavement imaginable. There were wooded sections which hung over the trail where it was wonderfully cool. There were opens sections of meadow, where the wild flowers where in large blankets of yellow, purple and white. A squirrel darted out ran right between my wheels. I may have run over his tail with my back wheel. It was crazy.
This took us to picnic which was in a beautiful park in downtown Red Wing. Red Wing is the town famous for Red Wing Shoes. It is right on the Mississippi River. There was a huge park and marine there and picnic was set up in the park. I was riding with Ed to day had he had some business to do downtown otherwise I could have stayed there sucking down all the fresh fruit which was out at picnic.
With lunch behind us we rode across the Mississipi River and into Wisconsin. Ed was born and raised here and spent a large part of his carreer working in Wisconsin before retiring to Colorado. So I got a low down on live in Wisconsin. It was really great and we shared a lot of laughs. As we had only 30 miles to go we stopped at every historic marker, view point and everything we could think of. We stopped and had ice cream at a little road side stand. We bought wooden train whistles for the tunnels we will be taking in a couple of days. We still arrived in Pepin at 1:30 and as promised luggage was still on its way. So we headed downtown to find beer, which we did and it was ice cold.
I have to say that to day was one of the highlights of the trip. Breakfast was great, seeing the world Head quarters of Cycle America, the bike path was so beautiful, picnic was great, crossing the Mississippi marks a point in the journey, riding with Ed was very entertaining, everyone had on there new Coast to Coast jerseys, and the weather was drop dead gorgeous. What more could you want?
So now that I have completed the pounding in part of the blog process the hunt for internet begins. I see that all of the houses around here have TV antenna's on the roof so I am not hopeful. Got lucky on some poached internet, an dgot two pictures but thats all I could get.

See you later!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Day in Northfield MN

The fame of Northfield comes from the so called Northfield Raid of 1876 by the James -Cole-Younger gang. These famous gangs rode north to hit the First National Bank in Northfield. This robbery was a total failure and two of the gang members were killed out right in the robbery. However it did trigger the largest man hunt in American history at that time. Eventually the James brothers were captured and spent 25 years in prison. There is a very nice museum in the very bank which the robbery took place. There have been several movies about the exploits on the James gang.

The day off started by sleeping until 7:30 Am when I finally crawled out and put my running gear on and ran for 45 minutes. It was really nice to stretch out my legs and being a Sunday morning I had the streets to myself. It was perfect running, nice and cool with a wonderful view along the river. I had a very nice 45 minute run covering almost 4 miles. After a quick shower and then some internet action it was time for the luxury of a nap. My tent is pitched under a huge tree so I have lots of shade and the breeze was blowing though the flaps. The birds were singing in the tree and all was perfect with the world. I was asleep within 5 seconds. In the afternoon I jumped on my bike and cruised the town. It has a very pretty setting right on the river. It looks like you can pick up a 1900's Victorian home approximately 2000 sqft in totally restored condition for around $160,000. Not bad.

Supper tonight was in theEast Indian Chapati restaurant in the Achibald House which is a historic inn of the 1880's vintage. The aroma was to die for. I knew we were in for a huge treat and just happened to be standing right in front of the door when they annouced dinner was on. One taste and I went on total vacum. Sorry for the oil field jargon but that is the only way to discribe the situation. Three plate fulls later I hit the Gulab Jamun. The Gulab Jamun was the best I have ever tasted. Not to sweet but the honey taste! WOW!

A few weeks ago Brian organized jerseys for us and they are in. They look spectaular. As we are visiting the world head quarters of Cycle America we are going to wear the jerseys.

Tomorrow is a ride day so time to sign off.

Let's Ride!



A Nice Tail wind to Northfield July 24

Last night there was a huge electric storm. It started about 11:30 Pm and lasted until well after 1:00 Am. The lightning was flashing almost nonstop for the entire time. The thunder would follow almost immediately after the flash so it was close. The rain was just lashing the tent something fierce, but the tent kept me dry. It was fun watching the lightning through the tent window.
This morning the aftermath of the storm was a stiff wind out of the northwest. Fortunately for us we were headed southeast. The normal route that Cycle America rides is under construction so we were forced to take a much longer route. This put the days mileage at 100.3 miles. My take on the century rides is that they are 20 miles too long. However with the good tail wind we just flew down to picnic which was at the 50.3 mile mark. I think I rolled into picnic at around 9:30 Am so just over 2.5 hours to cover the first half of the ride.

Just before picnic we crossed the Minnesota river. On the west side of the river the land is totally flat. On the east side it is very rolling. So a person had the choose to ride as hard as you could down hill and then gear down on the way up the hill hoping not to shift out of your big ring in the front, or glide down the hill and grind up the next hill. The wind had died down and the temperature was comming up so I did some of each. If I thought I could make it with out getting into the granny gear then I would charge the down hill. If I could see it was going to turn into a grinder well then I just let it coast on the way down. The road had a lot more cracks and was very broken up on the east side of the river as well. This made the second half much longer.
At the 75 mile mark there was a huge gas station coner store. So I figured it was time to take a break. They had a sale on strawberry milk. Two, 16 oz. bottles for $2.00. Strawberry milk being my favorite I scouped up a couple of bottles, along with a glazed cininmon roll. The milk was ice cold and so delcious. I knew the milk would sustain me for the last push into Northfield.

Tomorrow being a rest day it was time to go out for supper. It was great not having to stand in line, sit on real chairs and order what you wanted. I had the half rack of back ribs. They were great. A lot of the riders wandered into the pub and a party broke out. After supper several of us wandered down the street and listened to a band in another pub for a while before heading off to find ice cream.
I feel so lucky that we have had great weather while riding. This week could have been hell riding across South Dakota. It could have been over a 100 everyday with head winds. Instead we had tail winds and low 80's.

Tomorrow is a rest day! Aaaaaaaaaaaah!


Friday, July 23, 2010

A Great Day With A Surprise Ending:

Last night we went down to the bar to celibrate Glen's birthday. Glen has been my room mate when we have been in the dorms. So We have become good friends. The bar was quite a distance from the school where were staying in Montevideo, so we had to ride our bikes down. Coming back was exciting as we had no lights on the bikes and the town did not have street lights.

That was yesterday and today was another ride. It was a total of 88 miles from Montevideo to Hutchinson with a climb of just 1070 feet. The big story of the day was the tail wind we had for most of the day. We where headed almost due east and there was a good stiff breeze coming out of the NNW. As a result the riders were just flying along. I stopped to watch a crop duster for a few minutes and Glen rolled up so the two of us rode on together. Picnic was at 46 miles and it came up at around 9:45 so we were well ahead of schedule. After picnic Glen and I met up with Frank and the three of us formed up into a pace line and whistled down into Hutchison in record time. The wind kept the temperatures down to around 74F. Combining the totally flat course and the tail wind made for a very fast and fun ride.

After arriving at the Hutchison school where we are staying I jumped off my bike and went for a 15 minute run. Baggage wasn`t unloaded so the run was in my bike shoes, which is kind of clunky but you do with what you have. So I have made my four runs of 15 minutes this week. I think that it has become easier to do and it feels less like I have wooden blocks for feet, now than it did last week so I am quite pleased. Hopefully this no run program will put me in good stead for the Long Beach Marathon in Oct.
The big surprise however is that the Hutchison Middle School has an olymic pool. It is absolutely stunning. So do blog or go for a swim? That question took less than a microsecond to answer. Out to my tent, find my swim trunks, and into the pool. It was so cool and wonderful. What a great surprise! I mean a middle school with an olymipic pool??? Come on! We have died and gone to heaven.

Supper is suppose to be beef tip, chicken wings, carrots and brocli with cheese, mashed potatoes, and salad bar. It seems like we have had more lasagna than you can imagine. Greg swears that isn't true, but I know we had lasagna last night and when I said something, to some of the other riders they all agreed that we have lasagna overload.

One day left to the end of week five---WOW!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Welcome to the humidity er I mean the mid-west

Yesterday after I had posted my blog I learned of a coworker, and friend's death. Kerry Enick was reported missing and his body was then found four days later in the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in Calgary. Kerry and I worked together for many years at Kanetic Energy and he recently joined me over at Harvest. Kerry and I shared an interest in biking and running. He took it very seriously and had completed an ironman as well as several marathons. Kerry and I did a number of runs together and lots of bike rides. To honor him I rode today's ride for him.
Todays ride was 83 miles from Watetown SD to Montevideo MN. The net climbing was 1350 feet even though we had a net down hill of 700 feet. There was suppose to be a big down hill in there but I sure never saw it. Maybe there was a head wind right there and I missed it.

However I am kind of ahead of myself, because I wanted to tell you about the huge rain storm we had last night. It started raining around 7:30 PM and never let up until after 11:00 Pm. There was a lot of lightning and it was very close. Laying in my tent was very neat, with the pounding of the rain and the flashes of lightening. The thunder would actually shake the tent.

This morning was still cloudy and a few miles out of town it turned really foggy. I always feel a little uncomfortable in the fog as I never know how well seen we are by the traffic. The fog lifted by the time I got to picnic which was in this little town called Marietta. They had a nice town park for picnic. I rode around the town to survey it and the newest building was the post office which was circa 1976. The next newest building was probably 1950. Most of t he town was boarded up. Lots of vacant lots. However I didn't see any for sale signs. I guess the market is just slow. I loved the Marietta machine works with the old truck in front.
After lunch was pretty uneventful. The funniest thing was I rode up behind Nathan and gave a few big dog barks. It took him totally by surprise and he thought for sure he was being attacked by a dog. We both laughed and talked about being attacked by dogs for several miles. Nathan is here with his mom and dad. Riding across the country as a family is great. I am sure they will remember it. Actually there was one other highlight and that was a strawberry milkshake in Dawson. I liked the cows out front and they brought me in.
On the road again.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Granny Gets a Rest July 21

To day was a short day at only 58 miles. The "as" billed elevation was only 1000 feet so things were pretty flat. The planned route took us almost due north for the entire day. With no climbs and a slight tail wind my granny gear never got used. In fact I think that the center ring only got less than a mile.
At the 19 mile mark which was the first water we stopped at this old folks home. It was a very nice home. They had a bird cage in the front of the lobby which had a lot of interesting birds. I don't know much about birds other than to say that these were not budgies. We visited for a while with the residents before getting on our bikes and heading off to picnic. Picnic was in a little park along the way. It was especially good to day as Shuli had made gazpacho soup. I just love gazpacho soup so I sucked down a bunch a long with a bunch of fresh fruit.

There had been a huge rain storm a few days before so the planned route was closed because the water had flooded across the road. I understand that the place where it was across the road was only a few hundred feet and a few inches deep. However I rode to the detour which took the riders over to a main road. You could have come back to the side road about 5 miles down the road but I couldn't see the value in riding back 10 miles to gain only 10 miles less of the main road. The main road a had a great shoulder, and there was hardly any traffic so I just stayed on the main road into town. The main boulevard into town had huge flower beds of petunias along both sides. They were very beautiful. The maintenance must be huge on such long flower beds.
The country side has changed from wheat fields which almost no trees to an area where there are trees. It has been interesting how quickly the area has gone from dry wheat land to a much softer grass land which a lot more trees in the corners of fields and around the homes. Some one said it was boring but I thought it interesting.
So now the never ending hunt for wifi begins. Actually the school left two computers out for us to use however, blogs are blocked as they are a public forum, likewise Facebook is blocked as it is a public forum and so is e-mail at Msn and Yahoo. Luck is with me as I find a public libary a few blocks away.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Half Way Point.

To day we reached the half way point. At 2.6 miles out we crossed the 2100 mile mark. It was pretty neat hitting the half way point. Cycle America had drawn a line on the pavement and we all stopped and signed your name on the pavement in chalk.

The ride down to DeSmet was only 77.5 miles, and it was almost dead flat. I think someone said that there was only 1000 feet of elevation gain today. The tail wind for the first 45 miles was great and I zoomed down to picnic in moments. On the way we passed the town of Huron where the worlds largest pheasant makes his home. They also have a really large bison but he isn't the worlds largest, even though he is larger than a pickup. I guess everybody wants a claim to fame. Vegraville has the worlds largest Ukrainian Easter Egg, and Chauvin has Suzie the worlds largest soft ball. Tom was saying that there is a coffee table book out which documents all of these roadside wonders. Picnic was home made pizza cooked over a gas barbeque. It was great!

I think the highlight of the ride was about 17 miles out the train tracks paralleled the road, and I could see this train coming up behind me. It was coming relatively slowly, however I didn't realize how slowly it was gaining on me. Finally it gets along side and it is a small local with only 10-12 cars and a small single engine. The locomotive engineer blows his whistle and waves to me. As the train passes, "I think I can get this train". At this point I am 9 cars back, so I jump on the pedals and go for it. The train is doing maybe 20-21 and I can do 22, so over the course of about 7 miles I work my way up to 3 cars back from the locomotive. At this point the road curves slightly away from the tracks and takes a slight incline. I can see that the train engine pumping out black diesel as it hit the grade. However it left me as I was topped out. It was a fun run over several miles.

The town of DeSmet Is the home of "Little House On the Prairie" as written by Laura Ingalis Wilder. You can cruise around town and see all the original buildings as described in the book and as seen on the TV show. It is kind of neat to see this bit of Americana.
To days blog is being posted at a DQ wifi hot spot. I guess what ever works is what you do.
Lets Ride!


Monday, July 19, 2010

I should start by clarifying the situation about the Native Learning center where we stayed last night. The lady who is the manager came to talk to the riders at rider meeting last night. She has been there for 34 years. It is for children in grade 1 through 8. They take native children who are homeless or orphaned and board them there at the school. After grade 8 they must either go on to high school some where else or go back to the reserve. They can of course go to high school on the reserve. Follow up studies show only 3% finish high school. It is a pretty sad situation.
Last night there was a thunder and lightening storm which was unbelievable. It lasted 2 hours and the remnants where hanging around when we got on the road this morning. The sky was totally black with big storm clouds and there was a nasty wind out of the east. Everyone was prepared for the worst. The best you could do was about 10-12 mph. When you hit a hill you were grinding away in your granny gear. It was looking like a long day.
By 9:30 Am the clouds had dispersed and it was starting to look not bad other than the wind. Picnic was at the 45 mile mark and I was at the the 30 mile mark so I still had a distance to go. The wind was dropping so things were coming around. An hour later I was at picnic.
By the time I left picnic it was sunny and warm. What had started out as a terrible day had turned beautiful. The wind was down and with 43 miles to go it was time to go. There was a big climb after picnic to the town of Highmore which a sign proclaimed as the highest point between the Missouri River and Chicago. However by the standards we have seen of mountain passes it wasn't that big of a climb. I guess I have a fair amount of down hill in front of me.
The miles rolled by as I cycled pass mile after mile of wheat field. At one point it looked like the horizon was 30 miles off it was so flat.
After I got in I strapped on my running shoes and went for a little run. Colleen has been recommending 15 minute runs after biking to keep the run muscles in form. It felt like I had blocks of wood strapped to my feet. I am going to try and do this 4 times a week as when I get back the Long Beach Marathon will be right around the corner.
Time to see if I can find an Internet connection. Marv's Furniture is unlocked so here we are sitting on the concrete side walk doing internet. What have we come to?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pierre South Dakota

Here it is a long awaited and much needed rest day. I didn't have to do laundry as I talked another rider into doing that last night. I did have to wipe the chain on my bike. It was in pretty good shape as I cleaned it on Friday night when I changed tires and put my back up Armadillo tire on. So up early and off for a run. However I kept that to 30 minutes. My Garmin was dead so I don't know how far a run it was but we'll call it 5K as it was at a good pace. I rode down to a Walgreen's and got some suntan lotion and shave cream this morning. At the local golf club they have a $6.00 Sunday brunch buffet so I went to that. They had lots of bacon so I oinked on that.

Sounds like a pretty good day so far.

But here is the interesting part. We are staying in the dorm for the Native learning center which is a junior college. It is a very nice place. Basic but very good. Yesterday when we rode in there was lots of hot water. Everything is fine. Last night about 11:00 it is so hot I couldn't sleep so I thought I would get up and shower, however there is no hot water. This morning there is 18" of water in the basement. So they have shut the water off. So not toilets, no showers, no laundry. You get the picture. I guess we will see what happens. In front of the dorm are a bunch of old wrecked bikes, including an old single speed cruiser tandem bike. Here is a picture of my good friend Jan and I on the tandem.

Pierre is the smallest state capital at 9750 Pop. of all of the state capitals. It has a beautiful setting on the Missouri river with a beautiful city park along the river. The down town is small and quaint. I rode quickly through it on the way into town and it looked like there were a couple of ice cream places. I think the park and the ice cream parlours might be a good place to spend the afternoon.

I will post the route map for next week as soon as I can.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Across the Missouri

To day was a hot one at 105 F. That was the bad news. The good news is that we blew that 89 miles away, thanks to the tremendous tail wind.
We started 30 minutes early to beat the heat and catch some of the hour we are losing due to time zone change. I lit the after burners as soon as I was on the road. The tail wind made it seem easy to hit 25 mph. In fact I averaged 18.3 mph. That included the 16 miles of road construction where the asphalt had been milled and it was so rough that you could only do 10-12 mph. There wasn't much to say about the ride as it was down a little used highway though wide wheat fields, which were being harvested. There were huge semi's with big B units loaded with grain passing us but they were the only traffic.
The highlight of the ride was crossing the Missouri River. This marks a mile stone on the trip as we have now passed the 2000 mile mark and have done 90,000 ft of climbing which is 75% of the total trips climbing.

The best part of the day is that we are now sitting in a golf club house in Pierre South Dakota where the food is excellent, the beer comes in 1 liter glasses, free Internet, and it is air conditioned. Oh! and tomorrow is a day off.
Well time for me to go as my beer is empty.


Badlands National Park

What a weird day it was to day. I think the weirdness started right before breakfast.We have to ride up into Badlands National Park for breakfast, which is a couple of miles up the road. I am going to lock my bike to a bench when I notice that my rear tire has a huge bulge. There is a huge chunk of rubber missing and the cords are bulged though it. I spin the tire around and there are half a dozen other spots where chunks of rubber are gone. This is a brand new Armadillo tire which Jim gave me. It has less the 1500 miles! The bike mechanic's trailer is parked in the parking lot but nobody has a key. Then Chris who is one of the staff digs a used tire out of his bike box which is in a different trailer and saves me.
You are suppose to turn left out of breakfast and ride back the way we came to a different turn off but I follow a bunch of riders right. They pull into the visitors center and I ride on. About 10 miles up the road is Patrick and Chris. OK we are lost. We are out of the park and now it is either ride back to breakfast, ride 20 miles down the freeway to Wall, or ride up to Philip. We elect to ride the freeway to Wall. We miss the park but at least we will get to see Wall Drugs, have lunch at picnic, and get a 60 mile ride in. The freeway is straight and level with a nice wide shoulder. I stop to take a picture of a Wall Drug sign and there are 20-30 horses grazing in the field. So let go with a few big dog barks and the horses all come over to the fence. I start riding and the horses follow me for close to a mile down the freeway until they came to a fence.
Wall Drugs is a pretty weird place all by its self. Wall Drugs was started in 1930 and made its fame by offering free ice water and coffee for $0.05. It still has free ice water which tasted pretty good after a hot ride down the freeway, and the $0.05 coffee wasn't bad either. Today it a huge junk shop selling everything imaginable. I picked up a souvenir patch for may self and one for Chris who saved me earlier. I will give it to him at awards, which is tonight.
There are millions of grass hoppers on the road. Some of them have been hit by vehicles. Some of them are just sitting on the road. As you ride some of them jump up and hit your legs. Once in while one will attach itself to your leg. They feel really weird as they are gripping your leg to stay on in your slip stream. I have been trying to run them over. They make a loud squishy noise. It reminds me of the line from Men In Black, when Will Smith steps on a cockroach and says "Was that your auntie"
On the going home scene, the couple on the tandem have had enough. Her foot is sore. Larry our Shakespearean actor had a near heart attack and went to the hospital. The doctors said "GO HOME, NOW" Mark, who is our oldest rider at 81 and who has done three prior coast to coast rides has a bad hip and is out. He hasn't been riding for the last few days and it is getting worse. The recumbent rider has had enough, and is going home. With the two broken arms who have already left the casualties are now at a total of 7 out of an original 46. There are a couple of other injuries, who have been sagging so there could be more to come. Fortunately my luck has been holding -- Touch Wood.
One more day to the end of week four. WOW!