Acts of Kindness

Day 30, April 30

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Thank you for your kindness!

I am taking a rest day today, and thought it would be nice to feature some of the people who have shown me kindness on this trip.  Thanks to all of you that have made my trip very, very special!  And thanks to all that I have not yet mentioned.

  • Omaha NE- John Knicely from WOWT for his terrific coverage of the trip on March 25 and April 11.
  • Pine, CO- Greg and Mary Ann Branch hosted us for a fun pre-trip weekend.
  • Phoenix- Our son, Eric, hosted us twice on the trip.
  • San Diego- Jane’s brother Bob treated us to a nice spaghetti dinner.
  • Glamis CA- A woman who ran country store near the Imperial Dunes allowed me to camp at the store under the picnic awning.
  • Marty and Diane Coalson- hosted Jane after she dropped me off in San Diego.
  • Globe AZ RV Park- Waived the $8 camping fee  (for Special Olympics).
  • Superior AZ- A guy bought me a gatorade.
  • Superstition Freeway (AZ)-  A helpful female motorist who drove behind me for a couple of miles to protect me from the vehicles on a dangerous mountainous freeway.
  • Pueblo, CO- Bike shop owner (Great Divide Ski, Bike and Hike) took the time to look and my fairing and gave me two brackets… all at no charge.
  • Cassoday KS- Shari, offered me the county store shed in the back for lodging, which kept me sheltered from the overnight rain and lightning stores.
  • Pittsburg KS- Bike shop allowed me to use the air pump and rag to clean my chain and gears.
  • Larned KS- The Townsman Inn staffed who allowed me to use the hotel’s industrial dryer for me wet gear.
  • Golden City MO- The elderly couple that bought my dinner in support of Special Olympics Nebraska!!
  • Fair Grove MO- Randy and Sandy Haumann took me into their home for a much needed night and day of rest and fellowship.  They also drove me across some difficult Missouri terrain.
  • Cairo IL- Officer Damon Ray who pulled me over, and posted some very nice things on Facebook.
  • Pembroke KY- Adam said a nice prayer over me.
  • Portland TN- Pastor Bobby Sloan and the Living Waters Mission and Food Ministry allowed me to stay in the shelter for the evening.
  • Sewanee TN- Woody Deutsch, owner of Woody’s Bicycles allowed me to take a shower, camp in the back yard of the store, and gave me a treasured bike store ball cap.
  • Murfreesboro TN- A pastry delivery guy gave me two apple turnovers.
  • Hammondville AL- Gas station attendant allowed me use the station shed to take cover from the storm and await my sag team (Jane).
  • Pooler GA- Keysha and Demetrius (Motel 6) were extremely friendly and helpful as we navigated the Savannah area.

MANY THANKS TO ALL OF OUR DONORS TO THE OMAHA TENNIS BUDDIES PROGRAM!!

AND… IF YOU ARE READING THIS BLOG, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT!

I am spending the night in Pooler GA.  I am planning to complete my ride to Charleston tomorrow. Yay!

Trifecta

Day 29, Apr 29

I passed through three states today:  Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia!  They had some common traits: dangerous hilly roads, stray dogs, and few services.

I had a very nice night of camping in the back yard of Woody’s Bicycles.  Woody was a wonderful host, offering me a shower, facilities, campground… and even a hat!

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Woody’s Bicycles- Sewanee TN

Before taking off today, I was forced to replace my rear tire/tube, as it had a slow leak– it was worn out in multiple spots and had a piece of yellow glass in it.

It was a beautiful 29 miles of riding out of Sewanee and into the valley.  Then, I faced two steep mountain passes (8% grade).

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I had no business riding on some of these roads!

I crossed into Alabama between Sherwood TN and Stevenson AL. I took in some beautful views.  It was an amazing pass over the Tennessee River.  I took shelter from the storms in a shed alongside a gas station in Hammondville, AL.  My sag team (Jane) arrived very late.  I decided to take her to Rome… Georgia, that is!

“Wildlife”
Interesting scenes:  bees surrounding a dead carcus on the highway, armadillos (dead and alive) prevailing, and of course… chasing dogs.

Statistics: 55.4 mi, Max 42 mph, Time 4:59, Avg 11.1 mph

Southern Cuisine

Day 28, Apr 28

Ride, Ride, Ride!
Sometimes you have to “stop and smell the roses,” but I have only seen one patch in a small town in Missouri.  So, I am going to ride, ride, ride!

Missed Treasures
I am known to stop at all costs to pick up items along the road.  I has been really tough to pass by some of the treasures that I have seen on this trip: a set of new crutches, bungi cords, wool blanket, coolers, a pack of batteries, etc.

Killer Hills
It is really humid today. The first 10 miles were really flat.  The next 10 featured rolling hills, and finishing up with very steep rises and falls on treacherous road conditions.  the last 3 miles were 11%  grade.  I had to walk my bike/buggy up a couple of blocks, which is far more difficult than riding.  It was a killer hill terminating at the Sewanee University Campus.

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Cooling Off

Southern Cuisine
I must be in the south, as boiled peanuts are showing up at the local gas stations and stores.  Speaking of southern cuisine, I have also seen local-packaged apple turnovers and other taste treats. In fact, a guy delivering to a station gave me a couple of apple turnovers…and passed me on the highway 2 more times honking.  Fun!

I have also seen evidence of homebrewed moonshine.

Act of Kindness
I was directed to Woody’s Bicycles, a local bike shop owned by Woody Deutsch.  He allowed me to camp in the shop’s back yard, take a shower, and left a key under the mat for anything else I might need.  What a great guy!  He also gave me a treasured “Woody’s Bicycles” ballcap!

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Woody’s Bicycles- Sewannee TN

Statisitics:  58.9 Miles, Max 34 mph, Time 5:59, Avg 9.8 mph

Birds and Bees

Day 27, April 27

State Birds of Kentucky and Tennessee
While the state bird of Kentucky is the cardinal, and the state bird of Tennessee is the mockingbird, I beg to offer my opinion about more fitting selections.  It has been my experience in both states that the giant bird-sized bumble bees and hornets should be considered, as they are everywhere!!  I was very glad to have my fairing (windshield) to deflect these annoying buzzers.

Dangerous Riding Conditions
The weather was warm and humid today. I faced strong headwinds all day, which reduced my mileage. I was hoping to get the 60+ mile ride in to Murfreesboro before the storms set in again.  I was able to meet my goal.

Today’s roads were uncomfortably unsafe, with no shoulder, heavy trafic, and loads of hills.

Lodging
I am staying at the Jackson Motel in Murfreesboro tonight, as we are experiencing more bad weather.

Today’s Photos
I’m including a photo of Legacy Farms (a historic manor in Lebanon TN) as well as two shots depicting the rolling hills with heavy traffic and unsafe riding conditions.  It is interesting to note the numerous country churches in each town (white building in center photo).

Statistics: 63.4 Miles, Max 31 mph, Time 5:58, Average 10.6 mph

 

Hello Tennessee!

Day 26, April 26

Oh, what a day!  It was very hot and humid, causing me many rest stops.  I was sandwiched between storms, so I wanted to ride as far/long as possible.  I was able to get in 76.8 miles in very taxing riding conditions.

Kentucky Blessings
In Pembroke KY, a very nice guy named Adam said a special prayer over me.

Fun Photos
I have incuded some interesting photos today. That is one small turtle and one large golf ball!! 🙂

Hello Tennessee
I crossed into Tennessee and made it to Portland.  I connected with a police contact and the mayor to try to figure out my lodging for tonight.  There are no hotels or camping sites here, so they suggested that I go to a church shelter east of Portland, as storms were approaching.

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Hello Humid Tennessee!

Living Waters Mission and Food Ministry
I went to the Living Waters Mission and Food Ministry.  It is an old gas station that has been transformed into a small Christian church/shelter.

  • The minister (Bobby Sloan Jr.) lives there with two homeless men.
  • Three beds are crammed into the food/drink cooler.  The minister lives on the opposite side of the building
  • The church is in the middle of the facility.
  • There was a small kitchen in the back of the building.
  • I helped set up the food drive which starts at 6 am tomorrow.

Statistics: 76.8 Miles, Max 32.5 mph, Time 6:38, Average 11.6 mph

 

 

 

 

 

Land Between Two Lakes

Day 25, April 25

This is the first day of riding (since the California desert) that I could begin my ride without a jacket.  The ride started out with short rolling hills until I approached Kentucky Lake.

Land Between Two Lakes National Recreation Area
The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area is land mass located in Kentucky and Tennessee between two huge lakes (which really look like rivers):  Kentucky Lake and Lake Barley.  There are massive bridges over the lakes and a small mountain between them.

The lakes were big and beautiful, but I needed to maintain my focus on the road, as the highway and narrow bridge were very busy.  The last 20 miles were relatively flat, which helped because the wind was cross-to-head.

It was a good day of riding!  I’m glad that I got in some strong miles today, as we have expected storms in the forecast for tomorrow (Tue) and Wed.

I had a nice talk with a local regarding the roads to/from Hopkinsville and camping options in the area.  He mentioned that I would ride by a YMCA, so that was my first hope. Yes!  The Y is allowing me to set up camp near the soccer fields, which is near a porta potty.  All the luxuries!

I was able to wash up in the YMCA restroom, and bought a few bottles of water so I could hydrate, as it was very warm and windy today.  I will need to zip myself into the tent before dark due to mosquitos.  I may treat myself to an hour of one of my Jane Austen movies:  Emma.

Statitistics: 71.8 miles, Max 33.5 mph, Time 6:00, Average 11.9 mph.

 

 

Charleston Already… Missouri

Day 24, April 24

Charleston Already?
Shortly after leaving Sikeston, MO, I arrived in Charleston… oops… Missouri (NOT South Carolina).  Rats!  Oh well.  Onward!

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Oops… Charleston, Missouri

Better Route
I have decided to follow the Google (Bike) Map instead of the Adventure Cycle route.  This seems to put me on a more direct (and less hilly) SE route.  At the intersection of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, I crossed into the corner of Illinois near a town called Cairo.

Another Traffic Stop

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Officer Damon Ray in Illinois

Near Cairo IL, I was stopped (AGAIN) by a policeman.  Officer Damon Ray was amazing!  We discussed my “mission” and he proceeded to set up a photo with his squard car (lights on) and my bike.  He also took a selfie of us and posted it to Facebook as we talked.  He posted some nice things as he shared the photo with our daughter Melissa.  I was deeply touched by Officer Ray’s post, but particularly by Melissa’s response.

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Very touching!

Goodbye Illinois, Hello Kentucky!
I crossed over the Ohio River on a very long bridge into Kentucky.  And the hills began to roll once again!

Mayfield, KY
I made it to Mayfield KY where a policeman informed me that there was no camping there, as everyone goes to “the lake.”  (He was referring to Kentucky Lake, which is quite a bit east of here.)  I wound up at the Super 8.

Statistics: 67.5 miles, Max 32.0 mph, Time 6:02, Average 10.9 mph

MO Better

Day 23, April 23

This turned out to be a day of rest for me.  I hung out with my host family from last night (Randy, Sandy and kids), and enjoyed my day with them very much!

Randy is very familiar with the highways in the area, and helped me to determine a better route for the trip.  The Adventure Cycle route across Missouri is riddled with “monster climbs.” Randy suggested that I switch my route to Hwy 60, which would flatten out my ride quite a bit.

The family took me on a road trip through the Ozarks.  We wound up in Sikeston for dinner, afterwhich they delivered me to the Town and Country RV Park to set up camp for tonight.  It was a delightful day!

Many thanks to Randy and Sandy and their family for providing me with a much needed day of rest and fellowship.  To borrow from my son Eric’s quip: I feel “MO better!”

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A fun day with Randy, Sandy & Lily!

Missouri Misery

Day 22, April 22

I started today’s ride early, about 6:40 am.  It was nice for about 10 miles, and then I met up with the Ozark Mountains. Oh my goodness!  Missouri needs to implement “cut and fill” roadwork!

I rode through what I call 4/40’s… 4 mph uphill and 40 mph downhill! I was forced to walk the bike and buggy up some of the hills.

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Missouri’s 4/40 hills

Our son, Eric, commented on “Misery in Missouri,” so I thought I would borrow from his clever comment for today’s title.  Those hills really took it out of me!!  I am told that I will see a lot of this same terrain across Missouri and Kentucky.

Random act of kindness:  I met a couple (Randy and Sandy) in Fair Grove who were interested in my ride.  They have a daughter with Down Syndrome, and have fostered many others.   They offered to have me stay at their home tonight, a few miles out of town.  Honestly, that sounds heavenly right now!  What nice people!!! 

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Randy & Sandy

Statitstics: 68 miles, Max 42 mph, Time 6:50, Average 9.9 mph

 

Hello Missouri!

Day 21, April 21

I woke to rain this morning (4-6 am).  I departed around 6:30 am and arrived in Girard KS 51-miles later with the sun shining and a light NW breeze.  I spent about an hour there drying out the tent and some of my gear.  Then, I rode onward to Pittsburg KS and a stop at a bike shop on the route in order pump up the tires, lube the chain, etc.

I crossed into Missouri about 5 miles out of Pittsburg… so “Goodbye, Kansas!” and “Hello, Missouri!”  I was feeling pretty strong and the weather/wind conditions were favorable, so I decided to go for the 94-mile day that would take me to Golden City, MO.

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Hello, Missouri!

The oil fields have gradually disappeared and toward the end the rigs were so small… only 5′ height in some cases. Cute!

I had a couple of more dog chases, but luckily outrode them again.  I am told that my upcoming 400-mile route across Missouri will be pretty hilly.

Today’s random act of kindness: an elderly couple bought my dinner tonight in support of Special Olympics Nebraska!! 

Golden City offers a nice park structure for camping with facilities closeby.

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Golden City camp site

Statistics: 94 miles, Max 33 mph, Time: 7:00 hrs; Average 13.4 mph

Postlude: At the Goldne City park, a kid started talking to me about the trip.  He asked me how old I thought he was.  I said, “about 15,” which turned out to be right.  Then, I asked the dangerous question, “How old do you think I am?”  He said 42.  Yay!  Ha! Ha!