29. May 2016 · Comments Off on 3,400 Miles Under My Saddle – Heading Home · Categories: 2016 Ride

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Heather, Austen, Tate and I want to thank everyone for the generous contributions to help find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis and supporting us in our cross-country journey these past few weeks. We will continue to work towards a cure and be advocates for those with this disease. We couldn’t have undertaken this journey without all of you! Our intent is to drive research so that Austen and others with the disease will have a better quality of life. You have all contributed to that goal.

This morning we were up by 5:00 AM Eastern to get ahead of the rain. It was a beautiful calm morning and I was excited to ride the Virginia Capital Trail and the Colonial Parkway through the Colonial National Historical Park to Yorktown. The route followed the Civil War Trail and standing looking out on some of the battlefields with the fog lifting created an image of what it must have been like in those peaceful moments before battle.

It certainly gave me a sense of how the country was shaped by defining moments in many of those Virginia fields. Lots of history here and Heather and I both agree that it is a place to come back to and explore.

The James River Park System in Richmond and the trail system in Yorktown are really incredible and an asset to those communities both from a tourism perspective and from a health and wellness standpoint. Even though I had an early start, there were lots of people out walking, running and cycling. The trail system is first rate with smooth, wide pavement and solid wood bridges over the low wetlands common in the area.

IMG_2245 200It was very easy to make good time this morning in the cool temperatures, no traffic and easy terrain. There were two turtles on the trail I had to navigate. The first was a large one with a shell probably 10 inches across. I gave him the right of way as he crawled along with purpose.

Further up the trail there was a smaller box turtle that saw or maybe felt me coming before I saw him. I had zoned out and was only looking a few feet ahead of me when he came into sight so I had to make some quick manoeuvres and just barely missed him.

He was standing as tall as he could with his neck straight up and when I was inches away he sucked everything in and I am sure I could hear him hold his breath until I made it by. He is probably telling the story of a Canadian almost flattening on his peaceful Sunday morning walk.

It took me a bit of time to connect from the Capital Trail to the Colonial Parkway. It was seamless but I wasn’t paying attention. The first bit of the Colonial Trail was along a large inlet of Chesapeake Bay. Mostly wetlands so there was lots of activity as local birds were getting their breakfast. It was an amazing nature area and very peaceful.

Tunnel (01) 200Further along into Williamsburg I had to take a detour as cyclists were not allowed in the Colonial Parkway Tunnel. It was a nice detour right through the heart of old town. There were lots of people and some of the roads I needed to take were closed to motor vehicles. I felt bad for some of the tourists as I was so intent on my destination I didn’t slow down much as they jumped out of my way.

IMG_1666 200After Williamsburg I had a short 13 miles and as I dropped down out of the trees and to the coast that smell of the Atlantic confirmed that I was close to the end.

A quick peddle into town and a selfie at the national monument. All the roads were closed to motor vehicles so Heather couldn’t get close so I headed off to meet her at the beach and to take a ceremonial photo of dipping my tires into the Atlantic.

We just made it in time before the rain started. We didn’t stay long and started to make our way back to San Antonio. I am sure there will be lots of reflection on our way home … it was a fantastic venture and adventure.

The last 80 miles on trails reminded me of living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – the most liberal province in Canada. We only had one car so I would ride my bicycle to work. The city had converted all the old rail beds into paved trails so my commute for years was along the cycle highway called the Galloping Goose Trail.

We also set a standard that all government buildings had to be equipped with change rooms and showers to promote activity. Nothing like cycling in and out of work to clear your mind. I often worked in Vancouver so my day would start with a cycle into work, shower and then a short work down to the dock to get on a float plane or helicopter to take me across the Salish Sea to Vancouver … at the end of the day I would reverse the trip.

We also made lots of family memories cycling those trails. We spent time as a family exploring when the boys were young. We even had a couple of Scout cycling trips and I remember when Austen was about 10 he received a new bike for his birthday and cycled to work with me that day to try it out. What a treat cycling was today!

As guest in the United States, it was a real pleasure to take a slow trip across the country and see some of the sights and meet people from different regions. We are amazed at the patriotism and we now have a better understanding of the great parts of the U.S. We also saw very humble circumstances that caused us to reflect on how grateful we are with the opportunities we have and the support of so many great people.

We just arrived in Savannah, Georgia to have a late dinner with Austen as he prepares for his final week of school. Tomorrow, Heather and I will make the long trip back to San Antonio, Texas and then back to work Tuesday although I may be a few minutes late.

Thanks to everyone for a very memorable May 2016! Until the next adventure …

28. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 21 – May 28 – Afton to Glen Allen – 85 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

We could tell that we are coming back into civilization by the number of local cyclists out for day trips we saw this morning. It was nice to see busy roads full of cyclists of all different shapes and sizes.

IMG_2201 200I had a hard time getting going this morning and the first few miles I just inched along. I ate stingers and energy goo and still had a hard time getting the engine going.

Heather called and told me that up the road was a farm stand that sold peach smoothies so we stopped and had one while Heather ate fresh strawberries.

I continued through small farms and some nice neighbourhoods as the heat started to build. Although it was hot, the terrain was level after leaving the Blue Ridge Mountains behind.

IMG_2228 200The area of Virginia we are travelling through is where the first European settlers arrived. They stayed along the coast and didn’t go past the Blue Ridge Mountains as all their needs were met in this area.

There is a lot of history here and we went by one of President Thomas Jefferson’s houses … Monticello.

President James Munro also had a house in the area – Ash Land-Highlawn – and I took a picture of the sign.

glensign 200The route also took us through Charlottesville, home of University of Virginia. A true university town feel as there was lots of activity including a couple of markets.

The route continued on through more small farms and there were several local cyclists travelling the roads.

A nice stop at Lake Anna had me envious of the jet skiers and boaters out on the lake cooling off. Our final stop today was north of Richmond in Glen Allen.

To get to Yorktown I travel 83 miles on paved, dedicated cycling trails tomorrow. No more trucks, riding on the interstate, cracked pavement or near-death experiences from drivers seeing how close they can get to me. Tomorrow will be easy – that is if I can find my way and don’t start heading west!

This is certainly an area that Heather and I would like to come back to and learn more of the early American history. Being Canadian we didn’t learn much about U.S. history.

It’s has been a great trip and seeing the United States in 150 mile increments allowed us to experience so much. Heather and I have enjoyed our time together and sharing this great adventure.

Not sure what time I will be in Yorktown tomorrow but there is rain on the way so my plan is to start riding when the sun comes up so I can beat the heat and the rain.

Until tomorrow …

27. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 20 – May 27 – Wytheville to Afton – 164 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

IMG_2127 250I think its time to get off the road. This morning I road out from Whytheville and got lost twice. At one point I realized I was heading back west. The sad part was I didn’t realize this for about 15 minutes when I noticed I had seen this stretch of road already.

I noticed today that lots of my clothing is wearing out and believe it or not Spandex can loose its elasticity and that is not good when you have a physique like mine!

Other than my misdirection, this morning started out in the very peaceful and pretty town of Whytheville. I had to start early to make up some miles so I headed out in a bit of fog and cool temperature.

Heather headed off to get some groceries and planned to meet me in Christiansburg for an early lunch. I proceeded to get lost one more time on my way but realized that my mistake was actually a short cut.

decoration-day-190x300I could tell the Memorial Day long weekend was coming as the roads were busy, and people were in a rush and had all sorts of camping gear and kayaks tied to their cars and trucks.

Virginians – as do Americans everywhere – dress things up for Memorial Day – formerly Decoration Day – and the town of Lexington was particularly well decorated.

Lexington is also home to the Virginia Military Institute so pageantry is part of the city. There are a lot of Confederate flags too.

The campsites along the rivers were full by about 3:00 PM and lots or folks were into serious relaxing in the shade and in the rivers to beat the heat.

The roads after Christiansburg were really nice and with a westerly breeze I cycled through more farming communities and made some good miles. It is amazing how many old farm buildings I passed that could all be turned into postcards.

IMG_2144 250The day was hot and since I was out in the open I could feel the heat. The last few days cycling under the trees in the Appalachians was much cooler.

There were some stretches along rail lines that were nice and level. I did run into my turkey vulture companion but fortunately he was busy eating something else.

There were times that it seemed like I was in Europe on the narrow roads, small farms and communities right along the road.

At a stop where I was trying to figure out where I was another cyclist stopped and told me he was a local and that I was on the right road and in fact for the next 15 miles into Lexington it was all down hill.

It was so hot that the pavement was squishy and I could feel my tires sinking in and slowing me down. I consumed two bottles of water in that short distance and the sweat was running down my glasses to the point I had to stop and clean them off as I couldn’t see.

IMG_2190 250The highlight of the day was coming over the final hill before the last couple of hundred miles of near flat terrain into Yorktown.

I didn’t get rolling on the Blue Ridge Parkway until about 6:00 PM which was okay as it was a bit cooler.

It’s a spectacular road that winds its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains down to a town called Afton.

The climbing made the downhill run well earned. The fastest speed on the trip was achieved today at 42.7 miles per hour.

Merriam’s-wild-turkey 200The road was nice and followed the contours down the mountain and there were big sweeping corners.

Some of the other hills on the trip had such tight corners that I nearly went off a couple.

Heather saw a wild turkey in the area and I can imagine it must be spectacular in the fall with all the trees turning colour.

I didn’t finish riding tonight until 7:30 PM so is was another 12-hour day.

I’m looking forward to Sunday and being able to take a day off.

I love the cycling and all of the experiences on the road but methinks it is time for a rest …

26. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 19 – May 26 – Virgie to Wytheville – 146 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

Today a shout out to all of you that continue to donate! Every contribution is a personal connection to the journey our family is on and they are very heart felt. Every day I wake up being overwhelmed by the days challenge but the constant emails, texts and contributions give us purpose to continue on. We are very blessed to have such incredible support around us and this journey has helped me gain perspective on how many great people we have come to know. Thank you!

Today’s journey started in Kentucky and I shared the road with coal and logging trucks. The roads followed streams and rivers so even though the day was hot, where I was riding was cool. It was exciting to get to Virginia to mark the progress of our journey but I also felt a loyalty to Kentucky as I had many good miles in that state.

Today we had a bit of everything including some rain. There were some good up-hills, down-hills, beautiful vistas, and flats through agricultural land to enjoy. There is no question I am getting tired and I needed Heather to help in a couple of spots today. I am also loosing the nails of my big toes due to the constant riding so today I had a few pains to deal with.

Some of the roads I was on had very steep edges and were missing large chunks of pavement. When you are being forced to the edge to make way for the faster traffic it was tricky not to end up down a cliff and into the river below. There were some areas of heavy truck traffic and at one section a truck passed me so closely It almost felt like it brushed me.

IMG_2121 250Having said all that, today was probably one of the most rewarding riding days because there was a little of everything.

The sounds of the birds that accompanied me were incredible and I was amazed at all the wildlife including a large deer that I startled.

There are lots of wild flowers in the Appalachians – azaleas, honeysuckle, blackberry, irises, peonies and other flowers so the fresh fragrances were a real treat as I peddled on.

There were some communities today that were abuzz with activity while others were almost too quiet.

I did notice two styles of road building today. I suspect some of the roads were built by miners as you could see they had drilled and blasted through tons of rock to lay a road bed.

These sections were steep but effective. The other form of road building was more like rail beds that followed gentle contours so the grades were longer but a lot easier on the legs. I am sure there is a whole history of the roads in the area and as Heather pointed out – a lot easier to ride a bicycle when there are roads – good point.

whitetop 250After being in the Appalachians for the past couple of days, there was a noticeable change in the landscape at a place called Konnarock and Grayson Highlands State Park.

The vegetation changed opening up to a spectacular view of Whitetop Mountain.

After the long downhill from Konnarock I arrived at Sugar Grove and was back into the small farm agriculture.

I enjoyed about 30 miles winding through small farms and I don’t recall one car passing me – very peaceful.

It was later in the day so I was grateful for the tail wind and smooth blacktop that took me to Rural Retreat and then on to Whytheville where we stopped for the day.

Tonight Heather and I are treating ourselves to stay at the historic Bolling Wilson Hotel – named after Woodrow Wilson’s second wife who was Whytheville’s most prominent citizen. The hotel looks out onto the Blue Ridge mountains.

It is good be in Virginia and we hope to be at the coast in three days. One thing Heather noticed in several small towns in Kentucky is that there was no local store but there was access to tanning beds!

Not sure of the relevance and I am sure there is some story behind it. If you want to get a tan – go to Kentucky. Gardens are also common in the area and you could see the pride that was put into them – some were truly amazing and a labour of love.

Thanks again everyone for all the support!

25. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 18 – May 25 – Berea to Virgie – 152 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

goal 250Wow … we are still in Commonwealth of Kentucky! Tomorrow afternoon we should be in Virginia – the final state in our epic, cross-country trek. We are hoping to complete our journey Sunday but we will see how the roads are up ahead.

We are so very grateful for your contributions today and all of your kind words too. They came at a perfect time as I’m feeeeeeling the need for a day off but also want to finish. What a blessing and feeling of support from so many – it made our entire day.

Our fundraising goal has been exceeded and the great thing about the level you helped us to achieve is we can now engage with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to determine how that money can be allocated.

We think the best use is for research and will make that request so thanks again to everyone. You have all made a difference for Austen and for all who have this disease or who will be diagnosed in the future.

cob-logo-lg-231x229Today was a different ride. Heading out from Berea, the agricultural Kentucky was left behind and we started to make our way through the Appalachians and into Coal country.

The rush hour out of Berea was a bit tense and the roads are not quite as good so I had to elbow my way to have some room on the road. About 10 miles out things seemed to settle down and I could relax and just peddle.

The morning temperature was warm but it was overcast so I didn’t notice the heat much. Lots of up an down and I must say I don’t mind that.

Going up hill gives me some comfort in that I know where the top is, I can visualize the timing of getting to the top and I know there is a nice downhill on the other side.

IMG_2085 250 2The roads followed streams for most of the day so a pretty ride. Like life I had some easy miles and some hard ones too. The highlight of the day was that the road grade was not as bad as I had imagined and I had a very pleasant ride. I was amazed at the number of small houses that lined all the roads I was on today. there were very few places that I was isolated and I also transited small towns about every 10 miles. I saw a number of cyclists heading west but I every time I came across a group I was on the down hill and didn’t want to lose my momentum. This afternoon, things heated up to the mid-80’s along with high humidity. I didn’t notice how hot is was until I stopped. There are so many trees over the roads that most stretches are quite cool because of the shade and breeze from cycling.

400Heather caught up with me at lunch and I thought I had done some serious damage to my leg as it was very sore. I actually raced some dump trucks for awhile.

The road was curvy enough that they couldn’t go as fast as me and there was enough downhill that I could keep up a good speed.

At one point they wanted to pass but only had a couple of miles per hour of speed on me so the lead driver leaned on his air horn so he could get by. I followed them for a bit but thought I torqued a leg in the process so slowed down.

I ran into them again a few miles up at a construction site and the driver gave me a good-hearted smile. The roads I am on you often don’t see traffic so the dump trucks were probably surprised to see me too!

This section of the ride there seems to be more turkey vultures cleaning up road kill.

I sucked in a bug at one point on the ride and coughed for about 30 minutes and I would swear those vultures followed me to see if my cough was serious. There was one big vulture that I am sure was sizing me up for a meal.

The day ended at Virgie and we made some good miles today. I thought we would be slower but I decided this morning to eat energy goo every 10 miles and that seemed to help.

Tomorrow we have a couple of coal mines to go around where we have been advised that it is not safe for cyclists – big trucks, no shoulders. We also have some rain forecast in the afternoon but I am really hoping we can get over the Appalachians and get our first sniff of the Atlantic’s salt sea air.

24. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 17 – May 24 – Buffalo to Berea – 102 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

Another perfect day of cycling in Kentucky. This morning’s departure was early and it took me a few miles to warm up. I actually left without one of my jackets and as I travelled down hill for the first couple of miles I hoped for a good uphill so I could get warm again. I didn’t need to wait long.

I came to 40 miles of road that seemed to have no hills. I think the engineer who designed it was a cyclist since the road seemed to follow one contour, and although it wound around beneath the hills, the road was mostly level.

Today were the easiest miles I have had. We ended the day in Berea, Kentucky (the spot (GPS) did not cover the entire day) and I realized tonight I probably have two more days in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It’s a massive state going from west to east!

vicious-dog 250Nothing out the ordinary happened today – I didn’t run over anything, fall or even get bitten by a dog.

One dog did chase me down to the point that I had to stop. He had that confused – do I eat him or play with him  – look in his eyes.

I stopped because I wanted him think the playing approach was best. He was huge and I knew if he jumped up on me he would knock me down.

Here I am in the middle of a street in who knows where arguing with a dog while I am wearing Spandex. I’m sure the residents shut their curtains and hoped it would all go away. Every time I tried to get away, the dog would renew his aggressive position so I would have to turn around and try and convince him that I wasn’t worth eating. What’s with dogs in this area? They are all huge! I finally managed to get away – Spandex and all body parts intact.

boonetavernlogoBerea is a really nice town with the historic Boone Tavern, Hotel and Restaurant. It is the first Gold LEED standard hotel in Kentucky yet its 100-years-old. The town supports Berea College that has 1,600 students and is home to a students’ craft program established to preserve traditional Appalachian arts. The college was founded in 1855 and is on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail that ran from North Carolina to Kentucky in 1775. Lovely place.

Tomorrow I start on the perpetual roller coaster once again and was glad to have the last couple of days being easy terrain. It looks like a hot one tomorrow so I will have an early start to try and catch as much cool as I can. Once we are over the Appalachians it’s easy terrain to Yorktown, Virginia. Lots of work over the next couple of days.

Take care!

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23. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 16 – May 23 – Utica to Buffalo – 104 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

Had an early start this morning out of Utica, Kentucky. Heather dropped me a few more miles down the road today as I have developed a sore leg and wanted to take it easy. I should have probably taken a day off but I need to keep going. We ended in Buffalo, Kentucky … about 100 miles away so a relatively easy day.

Not a single car passed me on the first 20 miles of road this morning. It was one of the most peaceful mornings of the Ride and I wound around idyllic farm houses with well manicured lawns and yards. The air was perfect and the scent of spring flowers and freshly cut crops added to the experience. The roller coaster of the road continued and I managed to get some good hills in (both up and down) before lunch.

tat-logoAround 9:00 AM, I stopped to speak with a Dutch couple and an American girl that were cycling the entire Trans-Am Trail (all 5,000 miles of it) to Astoria, Oregon. They were heading west in hopes of better weather as the first week on the road had been non-stop rain. They said that today was their first dry day and what a beautiful day it was.

I asked them about dogs ahead and they gave me some tips on how to deal with them: 1) stop, 2) be the Alpha dog, and 3) use your bike as a shield if necessary. I like the alternative, ride like the wind and scream your head off in hopes they think you are crazy and will leave you alone. Oh well, I am sure lots of adventures ahead.

After parting company, I travelled on miles and miles of country roads that didn’t even have a crack. What a day! Again, I only met friendly people on the road and was amazed at all the farm houses along the way.

ky_mp_badge_stateofmindlgAfter about a four-hour peddle I came to Rough River Lake and it was starting to heat up … I contemplated jumping off the bridge into the lake to cool off. What a beautiful area and one to go back to for some camping and lake activities. It was hard to leave such a pretty spot.

After Rough River Lake, the terrain became extremely flat. The last couple of days riding in Kentucky have been incredible and it was like Kristen Branscum, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism herself had rolled out the red carpet for me. The sights, sounds and fresh smells of the harvest made the long miles well worth it.

Crazy FrogYou may think I was hallucinating again — and while I did have a couple of dogs chase me — the strangest thing I encountered today was a crazy frog. It was sitting at the side of the road and just as I was passing, it jumped into my right shin and then went spinning into my back wheel.

It was the strangest thing and it must have jumped when it felt the vibration of my bike going by. I was going down hill and must admit I didn’t stop so check to see if it was okay. You heard it here first … in Kentucky I hit a dog and a frog. I am a bit concerned on what’s waiting for me tomorrow!

ABLINC 440Where I finished today in Buffalo, Kentucky was right by Abraham Lincoln’s birth place.

Unfortunately we arrived at the park after closing but a real welcoming officer allowed us to go in and walk around even though the exhibits were closed.

The old farm is now a national historic site and even includes the original sinking spring – a Karst formation supplying fresh, clean water in a cave in the middle of the property. Impressive site and history in this area.

IMG_2039 250The ride was interesting today in that about every 10 miles I went through a small town and outside of every small town there were cemeteries.

What was surprising is they all had 100 to 200 headstones representing the generations that had lived and developed that area of Kentucky – even Goodman’s!

It was truly one of the most picturesque parts of the ride and I am really looking forward to continuing on tomorrow.

Heather continues to be a support this ride and manages to pull up with a cold drink or sandwich at just the right time. It has been really nice spending time together and being away from the stresses of this past year.

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22. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 15 – May 22 – Carbondale to Beech Grove – 145 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

Another incredible day on the road. The air in southern Illinois and Kentucky was the perfect temperature all day. I started out to a cool morning and wound around some small lakes on the way out of Carbondale, Illinois. It was a lazy Sunday start but the smooth roads, good weather and no traffic made it is easy to pick up miles.

Heather went to church so she left me to meander and wander along to the Ohio River. I passed through Shawnee National Forest and continued the perpetual roller coaster of up and down.

vicious-dog 250I was fairly far out on the road – and winding through a small community listening intently to my Sunday programming – when out of no where a brown blur ran in front of me so fast I couldn’t stop. The next thing I new I was down on the road and the dog I had hit was in the ditch.

I got up, the dog ran away, and I realized it had come from a house not far away and owner was outside watching the entire episode as it happened.

I walked over and apologized for hitting his dog and made sure it was okay. The dog was huge and didn’t look hurt in any way and the owner didn’t seemed concerned so I got on my bike and continued on my way. After that experience, every house I went by I was alert and ready for whatever dog came my way.

IMG_1610 250It took me a few hours to get down to the eight-car ferry (barge) to take me to the other side of the Ohio river and into Kentucky.

Along the way I went through several small towns and stopped for a drink at the local market that was a hub of activity as motorcycles and trucks pulling boats came in to fuel up for the days recreation. It was just one of those days where work could wait so everyone could enjoy the beautiful weather.

The river crossing was short and I climbed back on my bike to meet Heather in Marion, Kentucky for lunch. She had come a different way and didn’t get to ride the small ferry. Lunch was at a park in Marion where we sat in the shade and enjoyed the quiet and cool.

After lunch, I headed out to make my way to Sebree, Kentucky but continued on until Beech Grove. There was no traffic and the air was magnificent. We finished up for the day shortly after travelling 145 miles.

Lawn Mower 250I noticed today that Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky residents like big riding lawnmowers and cutting grass on Sundays.

I saw one fellow on a massive riding mower cutting a strip about 10′ by 10′. I suspect it took him more energy to get the thing out of the garage and lined up properly than if he just used a push mower.

The look of satisfaction on his face said it all so I chalked that up to a learning experience.

I saw that same satisfied look on many residents over the trip as I must have passed over 50 people riding, mowing, cutting and mulching. Maybe it’s something to do with the connection to Kentucky bluegrass?

Tomorrow. we continue on and I will be more alert to greet any incoming road dogs. For the next couple of days we will try to push out more miles to see if we can finish the 2016 Ride on Sunday, May 29.

The weather looks good so hopefully the terrain and wind will be in my favour. It is beautiful country with blue skies and friendly people.

Heather said the ‘spot’ (GPS) worked part of the day so tomorrow it should be fully functional again.

Take care and have a great week!

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21. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 14 – May 21 – Farmington to Carbondale · Categories: 2016 Ride

IMG_1962 250A fantastic day of riding from Missouri to Illinois. Before I left we had our call with Austen who is celebrating his birthday today. In his second year of architecture, I don’t think he has much time to celebrate but his friends did take him out for breakfast.

I finally left Farmington, Missouri in the sun and headed through town and picked up the Trans America Trail. This year the TAT is 40 years old and there are lots of activities to celebrate. The terrain this morning was perfect, pavement smooth and no wind so it was only a couple of hours I had 45 miles behind me and was at the Mississippi River.

The ride was through farmland and the perpetual, self-propelled roller-coaster continued although some of the hills were not as steep or as long as the Ozarks. Out of Farmington I made a wrong turn and after a five-mile downhill realized I was on the wrong road to had to back track … so a few bonus miles were ridden today to make up for the shortfall before Springfield. I was glad it was such a beautiful day and didn’t mind being on my bike at all

popeye1 440I stopped with Heather and had an early lunch by the Mississippi River and then wandered up the hill to Chester, Illinois which is also on the River. We didn’t realize that Chester is the place where Popeye The Sailor was created based on local community characters. They had Popeye statues, murals and tributes to the various characters.

Coming from Chester I headed down to the river for a nice ride to turn on the levee roads to get me to Murphysboro. Unfortunately I was not paying attention and when I went across the train tracks I had a crash. As a sprawled on the tracks I was glad a train didn’t come by as it took me a few minutes to pick everything up and get my bike going. I visualized a Popeye comic strip with Olive Oyl tied the train tracks as a frantic Popeye tried to save her. No one was in a hurry to save this ageing cyclist wearing Spandex.

As my friend Ian says, “Wearing Spandex is a privilege, not a right.” I had a long haul to Murphysboro and noticed my gears were a mess as I had bent some parts. I stopped a couple of times to see if I could straighten things out. The levee roads were flat, and along the Mississippi River flood plain, so there’s lots of agriculture. There were wetlands along the way with all sorts of birds and some areas had large groups of turtles sunning themselves.

Bike-Surgeon 250The wind had picked up and a couple of corners I nearly came to a stop as the wind hit me head on. I finally made it to Murphysboro and then on a short way to Carbondale to see The Bike Surgeon. They did a fantastic job of straightening things out all for the price of $5.


carbondalecycle-1 250They were concerned about one part that they didn’t know would hold so recommended a trip up the street to Carbondale Cycle to see if I could get a spare hanger. Carbondale Cycle did not have the part but ended up taking it off another bike so I would have a spare. Both cycle stores went out of their way to help and I was very grateful for their hospitality and care.

I stopped for the day at Carbondale and will head out tomorrow to get to the Ohio River for lunch.

IMG_2001 250 I also picked up dog repellent because both bike stores said there are lots of dogs in Kentucky that will try and get cyclists.

Today I had at least three come after me and only one that had intentions to bite me but I managed to scare him off with a poke in the nose. One dog crouched in the deep grass and when I came by he lunged out at me. I think I scared him with my screams as much as he scared me when he jumped out. Should be an interesting few days through Kentucky.

Beautiful day today and looks like the weather will be good the next three days. We have about 1,100 miles to go so some long days to make it to our deadline. We are still have a “spot” problem but I hope to have the GPS working tomorrow. I noticed today it picked up a few locations so hopefully back on line tomorrow.

Take care and we’ll be in Kentucky tomorrow when we cross the Ohio River. Just two states to go!

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20. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 13 – May 20 – Springfield to Farmington · Categories: 2016 Ride

Sfield 250We woke up this morning to rain and cold. Since we were staying in Springfield, east of Phelps, where we finished yesterday, I wanted to go back and complete those 31 miles to get me to Springfield. However, with the rain and poor road condition I decided to forfeit those miles.

Heather took me out of Springfield and I headed down the road into the Ozark Mountains. I was thinking Rockies but they were low rolling hills and the road was like a perpetual roller coaster with ups and downs.

I was hot working my way up and then shivered coming down in the cool air. The high today was only about 68 and most of the day I cycled in the low 60s which was perfect.

IMG_1943 250I didn’t know what to expect in the Ozarks but they were beautiful and very peaceful. The road had no shoulder but that was not an issue as the there was little traffic and what there was were friendly people that slowed down and gave me a wave as they passed.

There was even an Amish horse and buggy going down the road so an interesting day.

The Ozarks are very much farming communities and along the way there are some great parks including the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways and Mark Twain National Forest. There wasn’t a breath of wind today and the rain stayed behind me so a great day for riding.

IMG_1940 440Heather and I met at lunch and I put up my Eno DoubleNest Hammock that Austen got me for my birthday and was ready to have a nap when it started raining. Not enough to get me real wet but enough to disturb a nap. Oh well, there will be other spots ahead!

There were some breathtaking vistas today and the forest canopy density was impressive. It looks like once again we have left the rain behind us and the next couple of days are supposed to be nice. Today I started out again with cold weather gear but finished in shorts although I still had a jacket on.

I am getting tired and wish we could take a day off. I may be over a day or two to complete in Ride in 21 days but I need to keep pushing out the miles so I can keep a few days of vacation for later this year.

Heather noticed that the tracker wasn’t working today so I will do some surgery on it tonight to see if I can get it going for tomorrow. I didn’t complete all my miles today because in the Ozarks there is no cell coverage and Heather and I ended up in Farmington so we can be on a call in the morning.

I will head out from here in the morning and I think after tomorrow we have about 1,100 miles left. I can’t give you an accurate mileage amount today because we had to adjust our schedule a bit although I do know I am tired and a bit sore so a great day of riding!

Have a good weekend everyone and I hope to be in Kentucky by Monday!