Monday, May 31, 2010

Relaxing In Carbondale, IL

To find yet different pictures and perspective of the trip visit Ambers Blog Check out her YouTube video of the thunderstorm.

Sunday 5-30 day 26 Dixon Springs to Carbondale 56 miles total 1189 miles. The most fun day cycling I've had on the trip so far. Many rolling hills that you can "sling shot" over. I'm still getting stronger and more accustomed to the grind - having more fun. Took a pleasant break at Grassy Lake State Park. Layover day in Carbondale is very welcome, my legs are getting sore also my behind needs a rest.
Olaf, Lee and Robert

Well look here, a Jayhawk in the middle of Illinois. They're everywhere.
Saturday 5-29 day 25 Marion to Dixon Springs State Park, 50 miles 1133 total miles. Crossed the Ohio river by ferry into Illinois, but we didn't loose the hills. Visited Cave in Rock State Park. Found our first real Saloon in Golconda, IL, the Sweetwater Saloon. Everyone was very friendly and bought us beers. There are ten miles still to ride, but who can resist free beer and fun banter!

Friday 5-28 day 24 Slaughter to Marion 31 miles - 1083 miles total. With all the excitement yesterday I forgot to mention that we hit the 1,000 mile mark, only 3,300 more to go. Today was an easy day albeit the hills seem to go only one way - up! We spent the night at the Baptist Church in Marion. It is the nicest indoor facility we have stayed in thus far, and maybe ever. Big rec room, great kitchen, showers, restrooms, all the comforts except wi-fi. The ice cream at the Marion cafe was delicious. I must eat more ice cream.

Downtown Marion

I won this Lockheed Martin jersey at a raffle by Garry and Beth Feltus 

Disaster In Kentucky

Thursday 5-27 day 23 Garry and Beth's Farm to Darryl and Kim Patton's Farm (Slaughter, KY). 81 miles 1052 miles total. Wow! what a day!! This has been the longest, hottest, bazaar and disastrous day on the tour. We suffered through 89 degree heat, humidity, hills, then rain, wind, lightening, hail, and then disaster! The day was scheduled to be a long one and everyone was rolling along nicely through lunch. We stopped at Hometown Proud IGA store in Utica Kentucky for lunch break when we noticed afternoon thunderstorms may be coming. With about 30 miles left in the ride the storm hit with lightening flashing all around, wind that flattened hay waiting to be mowed, rain coming down so hard the other side of the street couldn't be seen and marble size hail. Wonderful day to be on a bike! Everyone did find a garage, shed or roof to duck under , but we all got very wet. The storm lasted for about half an hour and we resumed the ride in a light rain. Unfortunately this was not the worst of it. With 22 miles left our leader, Jack, was attacked by one of Kentucky's infamous fierce wild dogs. The resultant crash left Jack with a broken collar bone, cracked ribs and numerous other scrapes and bruises. He must be off the bike for 4 weeks and the tour is in limbo. Arrangements have been made to Carbondale, IL, but after that things are uncertain. We spent the night with Jack's friend and ACA tour guide Darryl and Kim Patton. They were very generous hosts and an unmeasurable help to Jack.

(ps. I am posting this in Carbondale, IL and the plan for now is for Jack to follow the tour in his struck and keep us together and make arrangements that way until and unless ACA finds a replacement. It looks now like the tour will continue.)

Friendly couple on horseback. I wonder if their butt is any happier than mine?
Wednesday 5-26 day 22 Hodgenville to Feltus Holler Farm, Caneyville, KY. 60 miles, 971 total miles. The terrain was flat to rolling hills with the last 10 miles being very hilly, but a no walk day. Visited a very nice bike shop in Litchfield, KY and replaced the battery in my odometer. It worked for 1.11 miles! Guess it's not the battery. Spent the night at the farm of Garry and Beth Feltus, two Adventure Cycling Associates who are paying back and forward for the generosity of others. They were very hospitable and it was a wonderful night.

Garry and Beth Feltus

Happiness is seeing a full moon through my tent.
Jack with his buddy, BOB.

Leading the charge or bringing up the rear? Joe, Bryn, our leader Jack Pettry, and Amber.

Tuesday 5-25 day 21 Springfield to Hodgenville, 50 miles, 911 total miles. Hodgenville is proud of being President Lincoln's birth place, although he grew up in Illinois. I visited the area, but the shrine enclosing his log cabin was closed for renovation. This is agriculture and horse country and noticeably more affluent, but the dogs are still out there.

Monday 5-24 day 20 Berea to Springfield, 78 miles 861 total miles. Long hot dry day. I took two detours (lost my way) was chased by dogs and ran out of water, but all in all a good day. Hills are becoming smaller and country is more rolling and open. Had a good nights sleep at the Springfield Inn in a real bed.

This is tobacco country with lots of charcoal barns. They aid in drying and curing tobacco leaves.

Sunday 5-23 Layover day in Berea, KY. Michel shows off his portable bike cleaning tool - a toothbrush.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Routine

Sunday 5-23 day 19 layover day in Berea, KY. There is a routine most of us have fallen into: eat, ride, eat, sleep. It's time to start exploring more. This is the second day of sunshine - no rain, and my spirits have improved considerably. I am writing this blog from a McDonalds in Berea. The first one I have seen in 19 days. I guess the world is still out there. It's amazing how small mine is.

Saturday 5-22 day 18 Boonville to Berea - 52 miles 783 total miles. This seems to be a poor depressed area, but also very pretty. Many houses are little more than shacks, trailers, and houses piled high with junk, and the people reflect their living conditions. There are lots of 'bubbas' but most people are very friendly and curious about where we are from and where we are going and can't believe we are doing it on a bike. This morning I ran out of water in the middle of nowhere and no towns for miles. I stopped at a pretty little farmhouse where a lady was cutting some roses. She graciously offered water from a spigot and it was the best water I've had on the trip.

Friday 5-21 day 17. Hindamin to Boonville - 64 miles 731 total miles. Still some big climbs, but a shorter day than yesterday. More wild dogs. camped behind a church with one portapotty and one cold shower for 16 bikers!

Thursday 5-20 day 16. Breaks to Hindamin, Kentucky - 73 miles total 667. Crossed into Kentucky today and it seems like it should be a milestone, but we have many more to go. Kentucky's motto should be "The Wild Dog State" I don't know where they all come from, most of the just bark, but some actually try to get ya. Long tough day with big climbs followed by a strenuous push up to the Hindamin Historical Society where we camped. Dave was very hospitable with iced tea, beer and ice cream sunday for dessert. Naturally it rained overnight.

Wednesday 5-19 day 15. Rosedeale to Interstate Breaks State Park - 44 miles 594 total. A nice ride spoiled by 3 walks. A killer hill began the day and 3 big climbs finished it. Then it rained. We are three miles from crossing the border, tomorrow it is on to Kentucky. I've biked across Virginia while my nose ran. Photo is taken from Breaks Park, I'm sure there is a state border down there somewhere.

Tuesday 5-18 Day 14, Damascus to Rosedale - 38 miles 550 total miles.
The first three miles were the most scenic of lands the trip. Through farm lands with quiet streams and rivers with old barns and mills. Then a sever 3 mile 8% upgrade that I thought would never end. That evening we shared accommodations with Fred and Barbara, 76 and 74 years young and married 54 years. They are from Australia and cycling the TransAm on a tandem. What a great couple and inspiration for all of us. Oh yes, it rained.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Damascus, VA

Sorry, I screwed up posting this blog. I did it in reverse order so that the 12th
day is last and the 7th day is first, but you'll figure it out.
To get a different perspective of the trip and more "people" photos you shouds visti Bryns Blog: There are other blog links on the left side of this page.

Tuesday 5-11 day 7, Charlottesville to Afton. Only 29 miles today 251 total trip miles.
A short but difficult day. We stopped at Wyant's Store in Whitehall for breakfast and Chile's Orchard for the best fresh strawberry shake.  From there we struggled over the hills in the rain to Afton and the "cookie lady" June Curry is a legend for hospitality on the TransAm route. We spent the night in her hostel which is a real TransAm bikers museum. Amber took lots of photos.

Wednesday 5-12 day 8, Afton to Mallard Duck campground. 43 miles today total trip 294.
This is billed as the toughest day of the trip, it is mostly on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is my third time cycling the Blue Ridge, and it will be my last. It is always tough and I wind up walking some of the longet steeper hills. Finished the last 5 miles in a thunderstorm. This is becoming a theme of the trip. Camped next to a babbling brook and had a good nights sleep. 

Thursday 5-13, day 9, 46 miles today, 340 total miles. Mallard Duck to Camp Bethel.
The day started with a difficult climb, but then a dream ride next to pretty rivers and streems. The day was marred only by 2 different dog attacks. Stopped in Lexington (home of VMI) for coffee and a repair to my bike shoe cleats - one bolt $1.58. The photo above os of a waterfall on the Tye River. Rain in the morning, cloudy and cool all day.

Friday 5-14, day 10, 57 miles - 397 total miles. Camp Bethel to Christianburg.
The hardest day of the trip so far. Warm humid and very,very, very hilly. Pretty country, but I was not much interested in taking pictures. Tough day.

Saturday 5-15 day 11. 57 miles today 453 trip miles. Christianburg to Wytheville.
Breakfast at Famous Anthony's was better than cold cereal. We stopped for lunch at a small country store in Draper on the New River Bike Trail. Neat place. Still lots of hills. I don't know which day the above photo was taken, it could have been any day.

Sunday 5-16 day12. 59 miles 512 total miles. Wytheville to Damascus.
There was a steep 6 mile 1250 foot climb that we were about, but I had no trouble with it. I think I am getting stronger. After that there was a 15 mile downhill, the best coast ever. My favorite day of the trip so far despite the drenching we got. Mort for short in top photo and Olaf and Joe bottom photo on the dreaded 6 mile climb.
Damascus, a layover day, is a genuine outdoor town with the 'A' Trail , the TransAm route, a trout stream and a rafting river. Acomodations are in the city park and it's raining!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Monday, May 10 day 6 Greetings from Charlottesville, VA. This is a layover day and much welcome. Legs and butt both need a rest. There is also time to organize our gear, do the wash, and clean the bikes. This is really a college town: University of Virginia designed by Thomas Jefferson. It is also the home of President Jefferson - Montecello.
At Left: Mort for short, Lee, Joe and Olaf

Sunday 5-9 day 5. 51 miles - 5:50 rtm - 11.1mph avg - 222 total miles, Hale farm to Charlottesville. The hills are getting harder and the country is becoming much more rural. There are plenty of horse ranchs here and fewer Battlefields. Got our first view of the Appalachias today - Ther're out there! 
Top photo Camp at Hale Farm. Bottom photo nice sunset at Hale Farm.

Saturday 5-8 day 4. 62,75 miles, 5:24 rtm, 11.6 mph avg 171 total miles.
Ashland to Hales Farm. William Hale is a throwback to the 60's and so is his farm. Will grows organic rye, has solar powered hot water, and the place is down right funkie. Hale and farm are one. I'm not sure that this is the life for me, but the starry night sky was superb.

Campgrounds at KOA - Ashland.

Friday 5-7 day 3. 32 miles, 2:42 rtm, 12.0 mph, total miles 109. Glendale to Ashland. The campground was OK, but too close to a busy interstate. We are now in more central Virginia. It seems that every town, road and plantation has a battlefield attached to it. There has been much American blood lost in these fields.

Camp at Willis Church (Glendale) and curious tree smooth with seemingly no bark.

Thursday 5-6 day 2: 49 miles, 4:04 rtm, 12.0mph avg. Williamsburg to Glendale (Willis Church). This was a very enjoyable ride that was mostly on bike trails. Oh how I wish the rest of the ride would be like this!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wheel Dipping - We're Off!

Wednesday 5-5 28 miles, 2:14 ride time 12.7mph avg. Rode to Yorktown and dipped wheeles into Cheseapeak Bay (Atlantic Ocean). We are oficially off.

After the wheel dipping we had lunch served to us by the wonderful people at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown. They were very generous and meeting people like that is the reason many of us are doing this trip.
I have been asked many times why we are doing this trip from east to west. Here is the official American Cycling Association reason. The ride began in 1976 as a celebration of America's Bicentennial. America was settled from east to west and this recreates that adventure. Sounds good to me.
There is some serious bike repair going on here.
A statue of Pocahontis and an archeological dig of the original Jamestown fort/settlement.

Williamsburg Inn - Williamsburg, VA - not where I am staying, and a shot of some beautiful flowers in front of the Inn.