Friday, July 30, 2010

Mount Pleasant, MI-London, ONT, Canada July 27-30, 2010

O, Canada! Today, we biked across a huge bridge spanning Lake Huron from Port Huron, Michigan to Sarnia, Canada--the bridge was closed to other traffic while we biked across. We had a sag vehicle in front of us leading with the other sag vehicle and luggage truck following the bikers. There were two huge expansion joints (king pins) where we had to walk our bikes--my bike slipped down in one of the cracks on the first set of king pins so Ian (from England, formerly from Scotland) carried my bike and his across the second set of king pins. Other than that, it all went smoothly--we were waved through Canadian customs as our paperwork had been pre-screened. It was the only day that our group all cycled together--at least for a few miles, then we all spread out in our ususal fashion of taking pictures, stopping for personal needs, having a snack, or just biking in a faster or slower fashion. The Canadian countryside is similar to Michigan's where we just left--lots of farms, livestock, wild flowers, and countryside. The roads seem a bit smoother here and some of the houses seem a bit more prosperous. We biked 89 miles today--my total mileage for the trip is 2,958 miles! So tomorrow I should hit over 3,000 miles--it's fun to look at a map to see how far we've traveled. The weather has been excellent for the most part--it has only rained two mornings--and we are at Day 40 today! We stay in Canada till Sunday, July 31, when we'll cross over to Niagara Falls, NY. I've never been there, and I'm sure I'll really enjoy it as our final rest day will be there on Monday, August 1! Only 9 more cycling days--and 3 more states!
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Worthington, MN- Ludington, MI July 19-July 26, 2010

A few inquiries have been made as to where I am and why haven't I updated my blog!
All is well--since my last blog, I've been busy biking 612 more miles through 3 more states (MN, WI, and MI), for a total mileage for the trip so far of 2,686 miles! Today, our rest day, we biked to the ferry in Manitowoc, WI, took the 4 hour ferry ride to Ludington, MI, then biked to our hotel. So only 10 miles on our rest day, but to give you an idea, last week we had 2 days of biking over 100 miles, followed by 2 days of biking over 90 miles! By the time we get in, showered and changed, go to dinner, read e-mail if the internet connections are cooperating, we have to get ready for the next day and get some sleep! The picture at the left was taken at the Sparta-Elroy bike trail in WI, made where railroad cars went through the tunnels. We carried flashlights to see in the dark as we walked our bikes throuh the three tunnels, then biked on the bike paths. Tomorrow, we bike another century (over 100 miles), so I'll keep this short and catch some shut-eye. Only two weeks to go until we've completed our journey--and today, I was happy to be back in the Eastern Time Zone because that means I'm closer to home!
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chamberlain to Sioux Falls, SD July 16-18, 2010

Today is our rest day in Sioux Fall, SD--that means, no biking and sleeping in till 10! I also got a pedicure and manicure and did some miscellaneous shopping at Target and Walmart (need those Power Bars to keep going)! I just figured out that I've been on the road for 31 days in 28 motels! The low temps for biking have been 45 degrees on 3 mornings and the high temps, 100 degrees, going into Boise, ID and yesterday, going into Sioux Falls, SD! There are lots of farms and plains in South Dakota--sometimes, I've been excited to see animals, as when I petted this miniature horse! On Friday night, some of us went to a rodeo--great local fun--in Mitchell, SD. Earlier in the day, we visited the corn palace in Mitchell, which is huge enough for basketball games and graduations!
Let me divert and tell you about two random acts of kindness on this tour:
When I was biking into Casper, WY, I was suffering from a physical and emotional meltdown--just couldn't cut the mustard any more. It's exciting to be biking across the country, but it can also be exhausting. Another cyclist, Margot Weinstein from Greenwich, CT took it upon herself to bike at a much slower speed than normal to ensure that I finished for the day. It's not easy to cut back on one's cycling speed to help out someone else--I'll never forget how kind Margot was to take this selfless task on. I was able to bike on and finish for the day!
On day 24, when we were biking from Wall to Pierre, SD, I was leaving the rest stop at mile 58 when Barb, one of the tour leaders, said, wait a minute, I have something for you. She went to the cab of her truck and gave me a picture postcard from Ellie with Leki and Ellie swimming in the condo pool. The sun was strong the day I took their picture, and Leki has one eye closed. For the next 21.3 miles of biking, we encountered the strongest headwinds I ever encountered on a bike--it was just like biking against a wall. But I had put the picture postcard in my mapcase on the front of my bike, and whenever I felt totally discouraged, I'd look down and see Leki winking at me, telling me that I could do it!
Without these two acts of kindness, including numerous e-mails, I wouldn't have been able to bike the 2,074 miles so far! Tomorrow, we bike into Minnesota, our fifth state! We are more than half-way home!
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Friday, July 16, 2010

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Casper, WY to Chamberlain, SD July 9-15, 2010

Good grief, the time has gone by quickly when I'm having such fun! Yesterday, we reached the half-way point in our journey across America--I'm so excited to have more than half of it behind me! There have been many challenges--long mileage days, hot weather, the climbs (they are the hardest for me), head winds, just feeling tired--but I'm blessed with a lot of determination and haven't had to take the sag van. My total mileage biked so far is 1925 miles! Since my last blog, we have passed lots of farmland and the plains in WY and SD. Lots of open space is available out West! In Lusk, WY, they were celebrating Pioneer Days when we arrived--a parade of covered wagons, tractors, Indians on horseback, and candy thrown for the kids to scramble for was a lot of fun! In SD, I went to the Crazy Horse Memorial (off our route so I had to really hustle) and took pictures of Mt. Rushmore. I avoided a hailstorm that day--some of the faster riders were caught in it, and I saw remnants of slush on the ground where the hail hit--the sun was out by the time I came through. The weather has been terrific. Today, we're going to the corn palace and have to load our luggage at 6 a.m., so that's all for now!
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Friday, July 9, 2010

7-5 to 7-9-10, Idaho Falls to Casper, WY

The days keep flying by--a month from today we'll be biking into Portsmouth, NH! If anyone would like to
come to our celebration on August 9, please send me an e-mail separately, and I'll e-mail you the specifics
as soon as they come available! We basically live on a day-to-day basis--we are given our route sheets with instructions the night before
the next day's ride. We left Idaho on July 5 and biked into the state of Wyoming--the third state, so far on this tour that I had never been to. The Tetons are as spectacular as I had heard--but climbing the Teton Pass Summit (8,431') nearly did me in!
It was quite steep for the last three miles of the climb--10 to 15 % grade. Well, as Teddy Kennedy said, "I don't care if it takes us all day to climb this hill....." Earlier that same day, I was climbing a smaller summit (Pine Creek Summit 6764') when two deer appeared on the right side of the road--they seem to be waiting for me there, looking straight at me. They ran along beside me for a little while, then crossed the road, and scampered up the mountain on the left side of the road. It was a very moving I haven't related to anyone yet as how can you describe a magical experience? The next day we biked through Teton National Park--that's where the picture on the right was taken (if it doesn't stop moving around on me!) I spent a little too much time there soaking it all in and taking pictures--as we still had the Continental Divide to climb that same day (Togwotee Pass 9658'). After we had biked several slow miles of the climb, we came upon road constuction. The state of Wyoming has declared it unsafe for cyclists bike through the construction, so they provided a flatbed truck for us to ride through the bumpy construction--the ride leader told me to hold onto the truck with one hand and my bike with the other hand--and this was safe?! It was part of the adventure; my bottom received a nice massage and I was glad to get off my bike seat, and best of all, I didn't have to climb those 8 miles where we were shuttled through construction! I haven't been sagged by America by Bicycle yet--although it's been tough at times when I feel pushed to my physical limits. Most of the other cyclists are faster and stronger than I--but everyone has been supportive. Yesterday, we biked from Riverton to Casper, WY--121 miles of almost entirely open space with desert and sage brush and not much else. The highlight of the day was stopping at Hell's 1/2 Acre, where the Indians reportedly pushed the buffalo into the canyon for slaughter. Today has been our rest day in Casper, WY--I did my laundry, cleaned my bike, took a nap, and will have a massage in a little while. I'm proud to report that I've biked 1,385 miles so far--and thanks for the posts, I'm not sure about how to reply to them, but I do enjoy e-mails, even if I don't have time to answer them! Tomorrow we bike to Lusk, WY and then on to South Dakota the day after!
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Burley to Idaho Falls, ID 7-3 to 7-4-2010

We have been biking in a lot of farm land, all of which seems to be irrigated by the Snake River and its canals. I think of Jill when I see the potato fields! The picture here at the left is at Idaho Falls, ID on the Fourth of July--and my mileage rolled over 1,000 miles for the trip on the Fourth of July! What a way to celebrate our Independence Day! I'm writing this blog at 4:30 a.m. on the 5th of July--as soon as day breaks, we will depart to bike over the Teton Pass with the total mileage for the day over 90 miles! Hope you all celebrated the Fourth in a spirited manner!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Boise to Burley, ID 6-30 to 7-2-10

Our rest day in Boise was followed by a relatively easy 54-mile day, then a 98-mile day, and today, just 46 miles--but it also included a scavenger hunt! For my part, I found a fan belt, golf ball, round band-aid, and a clothes pin! Idaho has a lot of farm land, mostly irrigated by water from the Snake River--without this water supply, the land would be quite arid. The total mileage I've accumulated on this x-country trip is 837 miles! Today we visited the Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, ID on the way to Burley, ID. It's early to bed tonight as we have a 82-mile day planned for tomorrow! The weather has been great--sunny almost every day--the temp was 100 degrees going into Boise, but mostly it's been in the 70's and 80's. We are well fed and supported by America by Bicycle--yesterday, I had two flat tires caused by goatheads--a thorny thing that pierces the tires and goes into the tubes--but both times, the support team came to my rescue, and I was on the road again!
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