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Saturday, July 31, 2010

South Dakota - updated

Monday, July 26 we left our Becker Resort digs after finishing left over pizza. I drank the remaining two beers. Before you think me crazy, just consider it an "E-Fuel".  It was eight miles to the SD border and 28 to Brookings, the first town.

There was a mile long climb leaving Lake Benton. The road was bordered by windmills. It was early in the morning and we were close enough to the windmills to hear them whooshing. As I took pictures Rosie rode ahead eventually reaching the top of a hill looking over the border of MN and SD. It was downhill to the border.

Arriving in Brookings, we had breakfast at Perkins. Perkins is high on our list because we've found the staff friendly and helpful. They also have fast WI-FI and more importantly pie.

Our goal for the day was Lake Preston where we found the Lake Preston Motel and Bait Shop. The price was right and they had beer in the Bait Shop. Toni (Boss), Brent (Boss Too), Mark (Three Sheets), Paul (Bad Back), Brian (AllState), Kevin (Suds), and Luke (The Kid) avoided the hot sun sitting in a car port. They made our stay a joy and provided a wealth of information helping me decide what route to take across SD and beyond. The people we meet on this ride mean more than anything else. It was a pleasure meeting the LPM Crew.

Tuesday, July 27 we left the LPM with the intent to ride to Woonsocket. En route we stopped at the Blue Country Foods Diner in Iroquois to fill the void.  About 1430 we arrived in Huron, our last stop before our over night town. A quick stop at Walmart, one of few out this way, resulted in a change of plans. I called the two motels in Woonsocket without responses. Not having confirmation and hearing thunder storms were imminent we opted for the local comforts at Comfort Inn.  The digs were great, a free breakfast, and a great steak dinner at the Prime Time. We avoided potential tornadoes. There was a report of a nine pound 18.5" round hunk of hail south of us, the direction we were eventually heading. It was in a town called Vivian. Just think if the town was called Mary?

Wednesday, July 28 we literally flew down the road to Plankington. We were averaging 20 mph. The day was 25 degrees cooler and we had a tail wind.  About the only time we stopped was at Rosie's urging. The 59 mile trip ended at the Plank Inn, had a nice lunch and found Gordy's Campground for the evening. Ending our day early made for a long day in camp. Gordy's was spartan and Rosie preferred to use the men's showers. Something about the she-side didn't meet her standards. For dinner I forged, returning with beans, mac salad, a two bean salad, chocolate milk and beer. Rosie rolled her eyes enough to make room for her spoon to reach her mouth.  All was consumed accept for one beer.

Thursday, July 29 we learned that just beyond a dense tree line was another more modern campground and a restaurant. I've got to train Rosie to be a better scout. Rosie's night was restless given the bugs and her thoughts of bowling ball size hail. So, I promised her a good breakfast, hoping our first town out had a diner. Fifteen miles later we found Jacki's in White Lake. The pancakes were at least 10 inches wide. I had the standard and eggs and et al. We learned thunder storms were on the way and as we were leaving town they had arrived. We rode in the rain for the next 45 miles. We spent most of the day on secondary roads, but had to ride on I-90 after Chamberlain, down a steep 2 mile hill and up a 3 mile hill and exited after 15 miles at Reliance where we had clear sailing to Kennebec. I had booked a KOA in Kennebec, but upon arrival Rosie pointed at the King's Inn and said she was staying there. The KING must make an executive decision. Mama told me there would be days like this.  Bob and Vicki, the owner's, treated us royally and the digs were top notch. We even had a King bed. We were able to dry out our gear, wash our clothes, update the blog and I worked on the bikes in the morning. We had a great dinner at the Hot Rod Steakhouse. It was a 76 mile day.

Friday, July 30 I first worked on the bikes and found things had loosened up a bit. After snugging parts we made our way ten miles down the road to Hutch's for breakfast.  We had a short day to Murdo, only 44 miles so we had a late start. This put us in the heat of the day. Not like the day before, the temp was 90+ before considering the index. We rode on probably the worst roads since we started the trip and on top of that there were thousands of grasshoppers bouncing of bike and body. Rosie, she doesn't like them. When the gritters jumped through our spokes it was as if they were plucking them. I called it a Hops-A-Cord. We first had milkshakes at the GTO Cafe for $8.00. No, they were not anything special. I called around for lodging and we ended up at a Super 8 next to the cafe. Never thought I'd say Super 8 was a bit of heaven.  The elevation is 2,280 ft. We climbed all day.

Saturday, July 31 we had the Super 8 complimentary vittles and got on the road early thinking we had a 71 mile day ahead of us. We rode the old road parallel to I-90 until Cactus Flats where it ended. We rode the last 22 on I-90. The old road was rolling and left mostly to us. We had pie and a beverage in Kadoka after 42 miles. The day started cool, but quickly changed to 100+. We learned our maps lied to us by a gas station attendant in Belvadere. That was for the democrats following this blog. We ended up having to ride 83 miles, the last mile uphill to Wall. You could say we hit the wall.  Rosie is drinking heavily right now. Did I mention, she started drinking beer on this ride and is now less bashful when having to find a bush.  There are no bushes in the grasslands of South Dakota. BTW, imagine hundreds of grasshoppers jumping about while in the tall grass.

Sunday, August 1 we left Wall after fueling up at the hotel. We met a couple during breakfast. They were touring the west on their handicap bike, that's a bike with a motor. They were from MN. The husband had a bruise under his left eye. As we were commenting on the grasshoppers, he pointed to his eye.  Said he took one head on at 80 mph. Taking a hit at 20 mph isn't the same to say the least. 

There are no frontage roads from Wall to New Underwood so we were on I-90 for 33 miles. Had a great shoulder until after Wasta. After that the rumbles were several more feet further into the shoulder giving us about two feet to ride on. We only had a 52 mile day, but considering the head winds and shrinking shoulder we elected to take the Old 14/16/frontage road from New Underwood.  The road closely followed the interstate, at times we felt we were still on it accept I was riding in the middle of the road. Now we had rolling hills instead of the gentle grades of I-90. We took a break in New Underwood, visiting Steve's Biker Bar touted as the smallest biker bar in the world. It was a gimmick to get people to stop at his real big store next door. Nonetheless, we got our picture. From there we had 20 miles left for the day, if our map didn't lie to us again. As we got closer to Rapid City the Black Hills came into view. Rosie was none to happy with the thought of riding over those. We could cut the angle off and ride up to Spearfish on secondary roads, which would be very pretty and hilly, plus not many services for cyclists. Therefore, I'm thinking of the round about way. The day ended at 54 miles. There is an Outback nearby. I think Rosie is already there.

Here is an interesting aspect to I-90 in South Dakota, the rest areas are always next to the exit ramps to towns.  Give it some thought and tell me why you think they do this. Send your response to

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do The Math

The ride began with the first pedal stroke. So you can better appreciate the stroke aspect of the ride and a few other related topics, I thought I'd do the math for you.

First you have to understand the general parameters of multi-geared bike. Our bikes have 700 cc wheels, roughly 27" diameter.  We have 3 cogs in the front called chainrings and 9 cogs in the back called the freewheel. When the chain is in the largest chainring you are in a high gear. Lowest chainring is a low gear. As you know the cogs have teeth. The three chainrings are 48/36/26 and the nine cogs in the rear go from 11-32 (11 - 12 - 14 - 16 - 18 - 21 - 24 - 28 - 32 teeth).  If you divide the number teeth on a rear cog into a chainring you get gear inches (48/12=4x27 (diameter of the wheel)=108 gear inches. That is equivalent to a wheel with a diameter of 108 inches. To determine the distance traveled you multiply by pi or 3.14. Therefore, with a 108 inch wheel the bike would travel 339.12 inches. You can determine your speed by dividing 5,280 feet (63,360 inches) by 339 inches equals ~187 strokes. Divide this number my minutes (3, 4 etc) and you get the number of strokes per minute you would have to pedal and your speed. So, 3 minutes would be 20 mph and you would have to pedal 62 strokes per minute. Easy right?

Now we are riding approximately 3,000 miles and a 27 inch wheel has a circumference of (27x3.14) 84.78 inches.  There are 63,360 inches in a mile. Therefore, our wheels rotate about 745 times per mile and will rotate 2,235,000 times by the time we're done.

Now the good part. Lets say our average cadence is 80 revolutions per minute. In one hour it would be 4,800 strokes. In five hours it would be 24,000 strokes, our average day. In our first 26 days of riding our feet went around 624,000 times. I'm averaging on the low side. By the time we're done we will have made over 1,300,000 strokes.

Rosie said, "Can you say rock hard buns?"

Women Don't Wave As Much

We have been in South Dakota for three days. Rosie remarked that women drivers don't wave as much as men drivers.  Not sure what to make of that. I started paying more attention and noticed the same. She said she noticed States ago.

After further consideration, I've surmised the following. Men can better relate to the adventurist spirit. Women on the other hand, not as though they are not able to multi-task while driving to say the least, are not indifferent, but are awe struck by our pulsating pistons.  First they see me with legs appearing if carved from fine marble, then they see the Biker Goddess following close behind.  They can only wonder what it would be like to have legs like the Biker Goddess as they momentarily gaze at their pasty thighs.  There have been reports, from where we've ridden through, that women are breaking into Walmart and stealing bikes. Those that fair better have been lining up outside of bike shops.

To all those pasty-legged women, you're welcome.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


On Tuesday July 20 we woke in the Great River State Park, Trempealeau, WI about 15 miles from the bridge to Winona, MN and breakfast.  Rosie's niece Carol Ann and her kids Josh and Jenna met us the day before in the campground as we were waiting for them in the rain.  It didn't start raining until we arrived.  Carol brought a popup to ferry us most of the way across MN. The first night with our new sag service was definitely a change of pace.

We started out about 8 AM taking the north exit in the park. There was more fog than road. Not having exact directions we were lucky to run into a local who was just coming off the Great River Trail. We opted not to take the trail, but to stay on pavement to MN. Enough of the trails for now.  An hour or so later we were at the bridge. Those that viewed the pictures saw my Little Woman ensuring the bridge's stability a few times. Bridges and high places don't mix well with Rosie's sensibilities. Nonetheless, a trouper that she is, she made it across the Mississippi River to the Timber Diner and had coffee before me. Yes, I was taking pictures.

When in La Crosse, WI while at our overnight, I had inet. Rosie copied the directions to Route 14 once we arrived in Winona. Having a keen sense of direction, I often, as I did when we left the diner, alter our route which drives the woman nuts.  It's not my intent, but no matter it drives her nuts. I must say though, the light is starting to penetrate...

Route 14 began with a 2.78 mile climb, followed by 2 miles downhill into Stockton then 1.5 miles up to Lewiston. We found them to be quite comfortable. BTW, the definition of a hill has been added to the list. We counted about eight across MN on our route. Talk about luck.

Our destination on our first day was Rochester. Carol Ann found a RV park south of town only assessable on a major four lane road ending in a mile uphill climb. Subsequently, Rosie had a long enough talk. Other than that it was great. It wasn't far from a Best Buy where I purchased a new netbook with the extend 2 year warranty to protect against stupid bike riding.

On Wednesday, July 21 we took a Bill Route, zigzagging to Byron. Can you hear Rosie? Our destination was Waseca.  Our first stop was in Byron at a Mickey D's which had a reading area with leather chairs. We met a group of Australian farmers touring the area sponsored by Case Supply. They loved America. They had nothing good to say about our Idiot and Chief. Not my words. Let's just say they were not bashful. Leaving our first rest stop we witnessed a near accident when a Cadillac pulling out into traffic nearly hit a passing car. Both Rosie and I often remind each other how vigilant we have to be. BTW, Cadillac's will be mentioned in an upcoming list about potential dangers on the road. Cadillacs are especially dangerous because they are usually driven by someone as old as your grandparents' great grandparents. Traffic was very heavy around Owatonna. Lots of construction. The last 13 miles into Waseca were white knuckling on a 18" shoulder bordered by rumbles and gravel. That evening it rained all night. We took the 22 nd off.

On Friday, July 23 we left Waseca taking county roads (Bill Route) paralleling Rt. 14. Nicest roads we've been on in MN. Rosie is thinking of calling me Pathfinder. It must be the light. We were on a paved bike path in Mankato taking us one mile from Rt. 68 the road we needed to take to New Ulm. Arriving in New Ulm we stayed at Flandrau State Park, at the top of a hill, where we had another evening thunderstorm. Thunderstorms out here are far different from what we're use to in Syracuse. Multiply our usual storms by 20.  As fast as it started it stopped. There was an eerie silence.

On Saturday, July 24 we headed for one of several possible destinations none of which we reached. Head winds, traffic, a gravel road and poor timing ended our day in Lamberton.  We thought about reaching Walnut Grove or Tracy, just 10 and 17 miles further, but learned from a store keeper that Walnut Grove was having their Laura Ingall's pageant. All lodging within 50 miles was booked. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Lamberton Motel was across the road. The owner said he was holding one room and after consulting with his wife gave it to us. Showered and hungry we went to the only eatery in town, the American Legion. The streets were empty, not even a stray dog. When we opened the door to the legion we were met by at least 100 people partying it up. Hilarious!  Lamberton graduates 40ish kids each year. We walked in on a reunion of classes 78-82 and 60. What a hoot. Just like dancing, both Rosie and I said people looked like people back home. Had fun with that. After pizza and beer we were done in and slept for 11 hours.  We think it was more to do with the kids than the riding.  Just kidding Josh and Jenna.

Sunday, July 25 we had the highway to ourselves for most of the day. No rumbles, lots of good road and a fast day. We had breakfast at Neille's in Walnut Grove.  The waitress was named June. I asked her if her husband's name was Ward.  People often refer to us a June and Ward Cleaver because Rosie waits on me. Remember the "Home on the Range" picture? We also talked to an old dairyman who said he farmed for 50 years and he never spread has much manure as Obama. His words not mine. Talked to a couple in Tyler, who told us we missed the Aibleshiver Festival, a Danish tradition. Aibleshiver is some kind of pastry. The couple also directed us to Becker's Resort. Our room looks out onto Lake Benton.  We think it was a barn at one time because Rosie has killed about 50 flies. I just type and drink beer. 

We have ridden 1250 miles. Tomorrow we enter South Dakota. Met a rider today heading east who has been through SD eight times. She gave us a few ideas. Our plan is to make it to Rapid City in the next five days. We might have a problem with lodging because the Sturgis Bike Rally begins next weekend.

Monday, July 19, 2010

List of signals and verbal codes

Communicating with the local natives and your riding partner are paramount for safety and harmony. Here is a running list we're compiling in case you should need additional explanation.

1.  Standard traffic hand signals including international jestures of contempt.
2.  Pointing to the ground with or without exaggerated motions notifies tailing riders of road hazards.
3.   International stop - putting both arms above your head while standing in the middle of the road.
4.  Butt break - short rest.
5.  Shade - rest stop under anything that casts a shadow on a 100 F day.
6.  The ladies are shaking - rough road.
7.  Hammer - ride fast
8.  Gotta pee - any bush will do.
9.  Drafting - riding near the rear wheel of the lead rider, preferably someone with the nickname "Wideload".
10.  Giddyup - lets head out.
11.  I thought this wasn't a race. - Slow down
12.  It's coming up. - We're lost.
13.  Jerk - not quite an asshole.
14.  Michigan drivers - not many jerks
15.  Chain ring tattoo - leg brushes up against the front sprocket leaving the greasy outline of the chain ring.
16.  ish - a suffix. We're riding 60ish today.
17.  Octogenaria - Mickey D's and the like where Octogenarians hang out
18.  Grab this cowboy - she wants sex
19.  Butt butter - lots of lotion applied each day to preclude chaffing.
20.  The morning miles go faster.
21.  It's just like dancing. It's how we ride.
22.  Potatoes in a bag.  Leftovers from breakfast when carried in a plastic bag affords nourishment down the road. It helps to know the window of opportunity given the microbiological considerations. I never get sick.
23.  Always heading west.  The only time we move north or south is to find a bush.
24.  She is getting "itchie". bbbbbbbbb
25.   Activator - coffee
26.  Timing the turd. Getting caught on the road with that urge and you've got 5 miles to ride.
27. Double Dump - usually done before giddy-upping or you be timing the turd.
28. Educated stupid- a progressive or anyone else that believes people like Castro, Chavez and our current lot will lead us to greener pastures as they drive their armored Lincoln Continentals while encouraging us to walk to save the planet.  You can give these people a straight edge and a pencil and they still can't connect the dots.
29.  Level ground. Only found on rail beds in Wisconsin which is why campground attendants have no idea what level ground looks like.
30. Hill - the definition of a hill is it has to be at least a 1/2 mile long or shorter is the grade is over 7%.
31. Slapping the right buttock - giddyup faster
32. Handicap bike - one with a motor


We entered the state on Tuesday 7/13 from Cedar Springs, MI. As mentioned in an earlier post Bob and Jill were the quintessential hosts. Bob has promised to send his photos of our fording a flooded trail that resulted in a temporary loss of telecommunications. Passing underneath power lines on part of the trail I quipped, " We cyclists are a wired bunch, but we have little tension". Having traversed this state, nothing has changed.

The first day in WI took us to Lake Mills via trails and roads. We first encountered deer flies on the Glacial Trail causing Rosie to pickup her pass considerably. I was not far behind, shooing the beasts from her back as we rode. The trail was paved to the 32 mile point then turning to pee gravel. The trail appeared to have a clay foundation with a pea gravel aggregate. Much nicer than the NYS Erie Canal which has a crushed limestone foundation. Less dust in WI means less damage to the bike. We got back on the road at 38 miles and rode into Helenville for vittles. The Kodak photos will show you construction on the trail. It was off road riding at this point. We intended to stay at Aztalan Park, but learned from a drunken couple at Aztalan Bar that overnight services were not provided at the park. We did get directions to America's Best Value Hotel run by a couple from Punjab, India. Seems everybody I meet from India is from Punjab.

The second day we headed for Merrimac via Waterloo, the home of Trek; Marshall, that has a dairy farm in the middle of town and where Rosie lost one of her flip flops; and continued on Route 19 until we encountered too much traffic where interstates intersected. We took a parallel road and those in the know will not believe this, it was Easy St. We truly were on Easy St. until a dog took pursuit followed by its owner, a teenage boy. Rosie was frantic. I tried barking back. The young boy said keep riding my dog likes to run. I growled, "I don't want to run your GD dog so handle  it or I will!" The boy stopped dead in his tracks. If only the dog responded in kind. It was a hot and windy day with more uphill than down, but the down came soon enough to take us the last five miles to the free ferry into Merrimac. Had a bite to eat at the Ferry X-ing and found the Merry Mac Campground a few miles in the direction we wanted to go. More food and drink was had provided by our camping neighbors.  Chad, a Septic Engineer, his botherinlaw Chad and the sisters that married the Chads treated us into the evening.

Day three took us to Wilton via a two mile climb from our campground (see Rosie climbing on Kodak), breakfast at  Jen's Alpine Rest. in Baraboo the home of the Circus Museum where the Ringling Bros. got their start.  Failing to realize the 400 State Trail began there we took country roads (Terrytown, Hogsback, Ableman and Beth... this I wrote not for your benefit but Rosie's because she insisted taking these roads.. all uphill). I suggested otherwise, of course.. We picked up the 400 State Trail in Reedsburg and continued to Elroy finding no acceptable lodging continued to Wilton where we rented a three bedroom house for $80.00. Our hosts were Larry and Lori Beaver. Suggest all fellow riders heading through this area to seek out the Beavers. Nice digs.

We were on the Elroy Sparta Trail that took us through one of three tunnels the first day. See Kodak.

Day four started at Riley's Rest. for breakfast. We leisurely prepared for a short day. I cleaned and lubed the beasts. We passed through two more tunnels on our way to Sparta. We saw a lack Bear about 4 miles from Sparta. I had both rear wheels re-trued. Milt took care of us. We met a customer originally from Rochester, NY. Once again, it's a small world.  Lunch in Sparta at Rudy's was disappointing. Rosie longed for a hot dog thinking about Heids. Well it was nothing like the Syracuse Dogs. Rudy gets a 3.  Met a few Harley bikers at Rudy's. We compared bikes. When I told them I was riding a two-stroke 240 HORSE steel steed they thought it was a 260 horse. All this riding and I'm more of a horse than I thought.

We arrived in La Crosse, WI surviving another week. The trail riding has it's advantages including shade and gradual grades, but we didn't see much of WI while shrouded by tree cover most of the way.

Today we are heading for Trempealeau where we plan to meet Carol Ann, Jenna and Joshua, her niece and kids, who will be sagging us for a week or two. Rosie is already returning to Mommy Mode....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Special Thanks

We arrived via the Express Ferry from Meskegon, MI to Milwaukee, WI to be met by Bob and Jill at the terminal. I met Bob and Jill on RAGBRAI years ago and they were gracious enough to host us for a couple days. Rosie and I thoroughly enjoyed the stay and judging from my liquor bill we had a great time.

As previously mentioned, I needed a new rear wheel. Bob took me to his local shop where John Johnson did a makeover on the stead and provided me with a bomb proof rear wheel. The Wideload should not break this wheel.

Bob had a wealth of information regarding routes across WI. and provided me with his personal maps along with a self-address envelop. I mail them as soon as I get to MN.

Yesterday we visited a famous haunt in Milwaukee called Wolski's. We didn't close it, but made an attempt to leave our mark. My bike was repaired by our second Bloody Mary so off we went to pick it up followed by a delicious dinner at a place I can't recall right now because it included Manhattans.

Today Bob and Jill accompanied us for the first 15 or so miles that took us along several trails, including the New Berlin Trail. Saved us many miles and fighting with traffic.  Part of the trail was adjacent to power lines. I waxed poetic saying "although cyclists are wired, they have little tension."

Fording a flooded trail may of cost me my computer, but it was a small price to pay for a great couple of days.  Bob and Jill, thanks again and we'll make plans to meet in Cabo next Spring.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last Day in Michigan

The day began with a relaxed breakfast with Walt at a Big Boy in Cedar Springs, MI. We had a perfect overcast sky and a straight route to Muskegon. The first eight miles to Kent were rolling and after that we felt it was downhill with a tailwind. For long stretches we were doing 20 mph plus. We were on Route 46. It was lined with fruit orchards much of the way.

Fortyish miles later we were at the Express Ferry terminal in Muskegon where upon we had our first surprise of the day. Our one way pass to cross Lake Michigan was $210.00. The price one has to pay for fun.

Then came the second surprise. I decided to check and lube the bikes while waiting 4 hours for the ferry. That's when I discovered my rear wheel was failing. The freewheel side spokes were pulling out and the rim was cracking. For those in the know, this is a hint the wheel was never properly dished. On the other hand I've always had problems with rear wheels breaking. I like to think it has to do with the horse power generated by the Horseman, but as you might recall I started this trip with this observation: the bike, the gear and me weighed 312 lbs. The combination of a poorly built wheel, a wide load and punishing power destroyed the rim. The photos are on the Kodak site.

At the end of the day all is well. We're in Milwaukee visiting Bob and Jill, who have already plied us with good food and beverage. While Rosie improves the scent of our biking regalia, I will be seeking a new wheel at the local bike shop. Tomorrow, if all goes well, we will be riding true and smelling like a rose.

Monday, July 12, 2010


It is our last night in MI. We've had a good week starting in Marine City to Addison Park in Romeo to Durand to Carson City and now Cedar Springs. Tomorrow we'll be in Muskegon where we'll take the Express Ferry to Milwaukee, WI. We roughly rode 200 miles this week bringing us to about 660 miles for the trip. I asked Rosie for the exact mileage and she didn't have it immediately at hand. She just gave it to me and told me to let you know it was 222 miles this week.

Marine City up to Durand was for the most part through the bedroom communities of Detroit. The roads had gravel shoulders, the pavement was torn up two feet into the road and the drivers were less than considerate. Just before Durand we were in a rural area and the roads improved and so did the attitudes of the drivers.  We stayed in a Quality Inn given it was Rosie's birthday on the 10th. Couldn't find a Ritz in town.  After plying her with a bit of Jameson's, I took my Little Woman to the top burger joint in town recognized world round as Wendy's. It was that or Taco Bell.

The ride to Carson City was on relatively flat roads traveling through Corunna, Owosso, Ovid, Elsie and Bannister.  Avoided the heavily traveled roads. We met the owner of a near 200 year old house in Corunna where Ulysses Grant stayed, visited the Curwood Castle in Owosso, an author of many books including "The Bear", stroked the teat of a giant Holstein in Elsie and ended up in Carson City in a cottage for $20.00. We were faced with our first thunder storm 15 miles from Carson City taking refuge on Judy's porch who directed us to the cottage. We avoided the rain and had a bed that night.

We took back roads to Cedar Springs ended up in the Lakeview Camp Park. We met Walt, a long time resident who shuttled me to the store for beer and KFC.  Rosie loveeees KFC. It actually is one of the perfect foods for this kind of thing. I can hear the "You're kidding me." now.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where have we been

We arrived in North Tonawanda, NY on the 3rd, spent the 4th and left on the 5th. BTW, follow this in conjunction with the Kodak pics. Robin, sisinlaw, bother John and sis Doris accompanied us on the 5th along the bike trail from NT to Buffalo to see us off across into Canada. My brother Jim, Mom and b-inlaw Scott met at the Peace Bridge. Jim ferried Rosie across due to acrophobia.  We continued through Ft. Erie to Port Colburne, not realizing there was a bike trail starting in Ft. Erie called the Friendship Trail. We got on it in Ridgeway after meeting two riders coming off the trail. The first day we lodged at Rock Point Provincial Park where you can get a $5.00 ice cream cone. Yes, this is where we're headed, thank you Demo Loons, but I digress.

Trans-America Bike Ride- Day 4 in a larger map

We left Rock Point early the next morning thinking of going to Turkey Point Park, but altering our plan en route to go to Tillsonburg. Had to get off the heavily traveled Rt. 3 and work our way through the back roads. Having GPS helped some, but Longway can be a jerk. We all have names for that woman. You know who I'm talking about?  Hoteled it and had some great KFC.


Trans America Bike Ride - Day 5 in a larger map

I spent a good part of my post ride figuring out our next route which we stuck too even when the names of the roads had been changed by the original aborigines. Ten miles of gravel lengthen our day. Can't see that on Google. We ended up in Melbourne at the Porthole Diner where we met Jean and her mother Lard Ass Lucy. Great food and Jean hooked us up with  Fred and Gayle Cahill owners of the Texas Longhorn Ranch, 15 miles away. Thank you Jean and Betty (and Happy 90th BD). We got there at 1730 to be treated the rest of the evening with a Covered Wagon digs, more evening food, beer, great conversation and help yourself breakfast the next day. We had dinner with the family including Greg, there son and two hired hands. Don't remember their names, but  I'll call them Ellie May and Ellie May. A special thanks to the Cahills. Our door is open to you at a moments notice.

Trans America Bike Ride - Day 6 in a larger map

We had a hearty breakfast thanks to Gayle and left at 0805. Our first stop was in Petrolia which is down the road from Oil City where the first oil well in N. America was drilled or should I say dug. We finally arrived at the border in Sombra, Ontario after 50 miles, had vittles at Anita's Place in Marine City, MI a ferry ride away where beer was a featured happy hour beverage. There was an antique mall across the street for Rosie t o look at... We finally put ashore at the Anchor Motel. Not too new, but clean enough. Rosie just checked the sheets and they passed the test.

Trans America Bike Ride - Day 7 in a larger map

Four Days in 100 plus degree heat

The last four days the east coast was hit by a heat wave.  We didn't realize the actual temp the first day traveling 56 miles followed by days of 74, 63 and 53. A Canadian said it was 44 C. Lots of water and whatever aid to stay hydrated. Started mixing 3 teaspoons of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 28 oz. bottles. Rosie describes the taste as dishwater like. Only a woman could appreciate the taste of such given their normal domestic obligations. ;) I'll continue to work on my formula.

We switched from our normal bike jerseys to a long sleeve wicking shirt, mine purchased at Walmart and Rosie's at LL Beam. Try it, you'll feel much cooler. BTW, my Walmart brand was less expensive and works just as well, just in case we have shirt snobs out there.

Time in the shade is important. We find a break every ten miles works.

Rosie made an observation the other day. She said it's better that we ride when it's cooler because tensions rise with the temperature. Yes, she gets mean. On several occasions I had to forfeit a bottle of water to check her heated attitude.

Don't fear I'm here.

We have been fortunate thus far and the crazy canines have been few and far between. The first day out a pit bull started for the street and Rosie took flight like a jaguar. I stood my ground and put myself between her and the nasty beast telling it to halt with a firm voice that would stop a Marine.  Rosie survived and showed her gratitude by kissing me about the face at our next rest stop. All I can say is, I'm thankful for electric fences.....


Seven days in the saddle and our behinds are fine. Lots of lotion to ease the friction is a must. Beforehand, I purchased a combo lotion that has all the butt soothing ingredients needed for cycling over 60 miles per day. It was a bargain at the Dollar Store. Spare no expense I say!!!  Although I've offered to assist Rosie with daily applications, she told me to talk to the hand and of course she refuses to reciprocate. Go figure.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The first three days

Day - 1: It was a great start!

We rode from Syracuse to Sodus Point, 68 miles. Our friend Craig met us five miles out and accompanied us for the first 18 miles stopping at Bob's Tires where our neighbor Jim works, rode a section of the Erie Canal Trail, returning to the black top east of Weedsport, continued through Port Byron and worked our way to Wolcott for food and then the point.

Our route was like a flower garden. The roadside was groomed with wild flowers.

A favorite moment was when we came upon a cross road called Shortcut Rd. Rosie was drafting at the time. A minute later I realized she wasn't behind me. She had turned. What else can I say?

We ended the day with a spectacular sunset over Lake Ontario. See the Kodak pictures.

Day-2: Many Quotes

Sodus Point to Hamlin Beach State Park, anther 68 miles, but loaded. We rode along the lake most of the way, detouring once to bypass a seasonal bridge that fortuitously led us to Salvatore's Pizzeria in Rochester. Good pie!

 We spent most of the day on Lakeshore Rd. and the Ontario Parkway. Staying close to the water lowered the temp at least 10 degrees. We had planned to stay at Green Harbor Campground, a private site because State parks had a minimum two day rate. We learned from three guys riding around the Great Lakes that they had “walk-on sites”. Go figure, they were from PA.

We changed our plans and stayed at Hamlin. While setting up camp a van pulled up carrying a young family. The father introduced himself and said his kids were curious because we arrived on bikes. Their eyes were wide and their expressions were priceless when we shared our adventure.

Our first night in our itty bitty tent was eventful. Lets just say level ground in a small tent is very important. A few thoughts from the day:
1.Don't want to exercise all night long, find level ground.
2.Old people shouldn't sleep in small tents.
3.A 6'2” 240 lb. Man should not try to use a tent the size of a shoe box.
4.Yellow tents are bright in the morning. A wake up call.
5.This is why they invented 5th wheels.
6.You have to be a contortionist to work the zippers.
7.Rosie said the last time her hips hurt like this it was during childbirth.
8.Got a cramp?
9.It actually has an overall body toning affect. You wake up stiff as a board.
10.The last time I slept this long in the fetal position I was in the womb.
11.Rosie said, “Yes it was my idea, but I was thinking hotels not hard ground.
12.If it doesn't kill us, it will make us regret tenting.

View Trans America Bike Ride - Day 2 in a larger map

Day – 3

Hamlin to North Tonawanda, 69ish miles. We're at my brother's. It doesn't take long to appreciate a bed. Oh, we had ice cream today. Me a banana split and Rosie a twist. See pics. Oh, did I mention, it was a great ride until we left the lake and the temp spiked 10 degrees?

BTW, as I expected WI-FI is here and there and updating this block will not always be timely. I'll try to unload pictures to the Kodak site often.

View Trans America Bike Ride - Day 3 in a larger map

Special Thanks

A very special thanks to our friends Hanie and Rick. They provided sag service our first day with Rick arriving early in the morning to acquire our gear, take our departing photos and sending us off with a special prayer. They arrived at the campground one-half hour before us and had all the fixings for dinner and breakfast as well as libations.
We had summer squash and Argentine steaks cooked on a campfire. Not familiar with Argentine steaks? They're cooked directly on the coals. We shared many laughs and stories and I contemplated hiring them to sag us across the country. Rick's hourly rate is equal to a Wall Street lawyer. Said he'd gives us a deal, but I'd have to return to a 9 to 5 job and Rosie would have to clean houses for the rich and famous. The following morning we had blueberry pancakes, steak and eggs all cooked over the same fire pit. Rick said it was nice being away from the daily madness. So what is madness?

Thanks again guys. True friends don't hesitate to lighten your load.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cracking the Whip

While our elected representatives pull most of us further towards central planning and crony capitalism (fascism) promising a government shepherded life with less risk where they steer and we row, Rosie and I seek the open road on our trusty steel steeds. I was up at 0446 while the Little Woman caught a few more moments of sack time knowing a comfortable mattress will be less often enjoyed in the next 60 days. I prepared the coffee. The scent nudged Rosie from her fetal position. Looking forward to one more morning on the front porch, Rosie said it was a bit too chilly. This could be a foreboding moment. I'm typing this as Rosie is preparing my last breakfast, not necessarily comparable with the Last Supper. I don't expect to be crucified any time soon, although my fate is in the hands of the Open Road God.

We've batten down the hatches and await our friends Hanie and Rick who will be providing us with sag service our first day. They've taken time out of their busy day to share with us, carrying our gear to our destination and setting up camp. Along the way our friend Graig plans to meet us on his bike and escort us to the outskirts of Syracuse. Jeff and Karen visited us last night to send us off with a few laughs and good lucks. Jeff considered riding with us the first day, but like everybody else he has to work. Oh yeah, that's why we can do this ride. All of Rosie's girlfriends have voiced their concern for her health and safety and have charged me with ensuring both even though this was not my idea. My friends for the most part have remained silent and suspiciously envious I'm sure.
Well, I should make haste because Rosie is doing the dishes and just asked me if I've finished eating. There are many ways to crack a whip.