Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Twitter - Month Two

For those not following on Twitter, here is the last month's posts. You will need to read up from bottom for correct order.

Arrived at my sister Doris' in Gillette, WY (yeah!) & will take tomorrow as rest day. I'll be heading for the mountains on Wed. 34 miles. from txt
Week 9 videos are posted on blog bikedenbec.blogspot.com from txt
Much better weather as I rode into Wyoming (woo-hoo!). Camping in Moocroft, WY 65 miles from txt
Cold wind gusting to 35mph - had to peddle down hill & nearly blown off road. Very scenic tho. Staying with HS friend in Speafish, SD 45mi from txt
A beautiful leisurly 36 miles on the Mickleson Trail. Camping in Rochford, SD cell phone dead zone - not sure if this will go out. from txt
Camping in cell phone dead zone, Rochfort, SD - oddly have a wi-fi connection. Regular update should get sent when I get in a coverage area from web
A hot difficult but very scenic 39 mi in the Black Hills of SD. Keystone, Mt. Rushmore & Crazy Horse monument. Camping near Crazy Horse from txt
Nice warm day with somewhat favorable winds. Rode I-90 into Rapid City & staying at warmshowers.org host in very nice home & good food! 60m from txt
Hwy 44 to Rapid City was under const. So I took a leisurly scenic tour of Badlands then camping in Wall, SD. 32mi. Passed 3000 mi on bike! from txt
Set short goal - strong headwinds made 50 mi an all day event but not too bad. Camping in beautiful Badlands Natl. Park. Worth the effort! from txt
Brother inlaw Dan took me to Vivian SD for planned late start @ 2pm. 44 miles in great weather - camping in 1880 Town, SD Mountain time zone from txt
40 mi of 15mph tailwind zoom! Then 14mi of 20mph headwind grrr. Brother inlaw picked me up in Vivian, SD to Pierre with Mom until Sunday. from txt
Perfect riding till afternoon then dodged a few storms. Arrived in Winner, South Dakota & prolly stay at Motel to avoid weather. from txt
Nice warm sunny day! Cowboy trail was a bit soft from rain last night & slight head wind - chose pavement Camping in Stuart, NE 74 miles from txt
Gloomy day to start then some sun & good tail wind. Left pavement in Norfolk in favor of Cowboy Rail Trail. Camping Neligh, NE 85 miles from txt
I'm rolling again! Left early from sister's home near Lincoln. Good weather & roads got me 80 miles before 4pm. Camping in Columbus, NE $3 from txt
Week 5 Video is posted on my Blog bikedenbec.blogspot.com. Trip should resume on Thurs. 6/11 unless we stay in SD for Mom's Birthday on 6/12 from txt
Arrived at my sister Karen's near Lincoln, NE (62m)& will go to reunion with her this weekend. Daily updates will resume on Sun or Mon. from web
Good tailwind pushed me into Nebraska & 74 miles before 5pm . Took a dip in the Tecumseh City pool & hopfully I'll find a place to camp here from web
Road finally flattened out this afternoon replaced by fairly strong prairie headwind. Legs said stop in White Cloud Kansas camping free 56 m from txt
Much better weather - constant ups & downs - not bad. Camp full but offer free spot not far & can shower. Weston MO. 83m Kansas over river from txt
Gloomy chilly day with hills & headwind. Next campground is too far so early stop @ Henrietta, MO 44 miles. Hopefully sun tomorrow. from txt
Back on normal roads. Daily flat, headwind & hills left me just short of goal. Good folks @ Blackburn MO let me camp in park free. 77 Mi from txt
Week 4 video & pics posted on blog bikedenbec.blogspot.com from txt

Two Great Hosts in the Black Hills

I met Fred and Sherry through the Warmshowers.org website. They are avid cyclists and have done many tours across the country. They were fantastic hosts with a great Mexican dinner, margaritas (yum!) a nice place to rest my head and route advice. They had already hosted two other groups of bicyclists that week but I was still treated like family. I really enjoyed meeting these two new friends! Of course they always have a place to rest in Ft. Lauderdale too!

It was great to see a high school friend of mine while passing through Spearfish, SD. Billie Jo, her husband Todd (already at work), son Jacksyn and daughter Janesa (out of town at EMT camp) gave me a great spaghetti dinner, laundry, shopping, a comfy bed (thanks Janesa!) and sent me off the next day with a big breakfast that got me well into Wyoming.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cycling The Hills

I grew up in South Dakota and have visited the Black Hills several times before, but I've never seen South Dakota look so wonderful. Perhaps it's because they have finally had abundant rainfall this year - or maybe it is because I've never seen it before by bicycle. It was probably both. I took a lot of media this week so I broke down some of the video footage in one video and put the pictures in another one. What a fantastic week!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Good Apples

I mean no disrespect to the rest of my family by singling out these two - but I'd bet the rest of my family would agree that my sister Sharon and her husband Ron are "Salt of the Earth" type people.

I wanted to take a moment in my blog to recognize these two for all the things they do - not only for our family but for all those around them. Many times in past years, Ron has gone out of his way to drive hundreds of miles to pick me up after canceled flights or other issues. There is never a complaint or even a second thought - he just drops everything and helps. Sharon is the same way. My favorite part of a trip to South Dakota, besides seeing Mom, is staying at their home. If you look up the word "hospitality" in the dictionary - their picture should be there. You will always leave their beautifuf home well rested, well fed and properly "watered" (ie beer!).

If a family emergency presents itself, Ron and Sharon are there. When Mom fell and broke her leg last month and Medicare said she couldn't stay in recovery, nobody had to ask if she could stay with Ron and Sharon. They retrofitted their entire house to make it possible for Mom to get around in a wheel chair. And they see to it that she is well cared for and that the bills are correct and questions answered from the Doctor's office.

For me personally, not only do they let me stay with them, take me to the airport at the crack of dawn, provide fantastic meals, let me borrow their car when I need to drive to my home town, pay for things even when I protest, and now even support my bicycle adventure with a generous donation, they do all this without question and without expecting anything in return.

It is rare to find people of this caliber - and I am so happy and proud that they are my family.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Closer Look at Larry

After nearly 3000 miles riding with Larry the Long Haul Trucker, I thought I might give a quick review of the bike for those who might be considering buying one for themselves. It might not be too exciting for some of my Spokes.

Also, thank you to my sister Evelyn who donated Larry's new shoes!

Crossing the Great Plains

I started week 8 back in Lincoln, NE on Sunday June 14th where I began my trek across the Great Plains of Nebraska and South Dakota. I had a new goal of getting back to South Dakota by Thursday so my sister Sharon and her husband could take a planned trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota while I would stay with Mom for the weekend. The winds and weather were favorable (except for a few storms at night) and I was able to make it to Vivian, SD (30 miles south of Ft. Pierre) where my brother in law Ron picked me up. On Wednesday I passed through Winner, SD and got to visit a high school friend Cara and we had a nice breakfast together. Last week while I was in Pierre, I also got to see another good friend Laurel from college. We spent a nice afternoon together catching up on former classmates.

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures and videos this week because ...... well.... it all looks a bit the same in the Great Plains. Still it is beautiful country and I enjoyed my ride.

Mom's Birthday

Thankfully, my sister Karen was able to get out of the shift she was scheduled for on Friday and we were able to stay in South Dakota for Mom's Birthday on June 12th. We had a party for her with all her children and other friends of the family. It was a nice day that concluded with a campfire in the fire pit. The next day Karen and I drove back to Lincoln, NE with her two daughters and I continued my trek across the Great Plains on Sunday.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Week 6 and 7 Are Family Time

I was very pleased to arrive in Lincoln, NE in time to catch a ride with my sister Karen to South Dakota for our family reunion. To say the weather up this way can be fickle would be an understatement, so I pushed myself to get there as soon as possible and arrived on the afternoon of Monday June 1st - just 2 days before she would have had to leave. This left me time to take Larry into the shop to get some badly needed new tires. They didn't have the ones I needed in stock and it would take a week to order them so our trip to South Dakota leaves just enough time to complete that task. The road trip in a motorized vehicle also gives me a chance to scope out some of the roads I'll be riding on when the trip resumes which will help me plan my route through this area much better. I've been following the Adventure Cycling Assoc. maps up to this time but I'm on my own through Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. I'm asking lots of questions from the locals and the good folks on the Adventure Cycling Forums.

I wasn't expecting too much from the reunion because our family on my Mother's side hasn't been together, outside too many funerals, for over 20 years. But the local cousins did an incredible job of organizing, preparing and putting on a fantastic day. We had around 150 people there with lots of good food and entertainment including a wonderful picture slide show with over 500 pictures from the past that ran throughout the day. Mom is from a family of 10 children and our extended family has grown a lot through the years. We took time for each family to update us on which sibling they belonged to and what they are doing in their lives. I'm usually taking lots of pictures during these type of events but since I saw many flash bulbs going off, I decided to just sit back and absorb all the information which I very much enjoyed. I'll collect pictures via Internet when I get back home. Mom has improved a lot but still can't put any weight on her leg so she was unable to attend the reunion, but thanks to the picture slide show that my cousin Dianne put on DVD for me, I was able to show her all the pictures when I got back to Pierre. She very much enjoyed seeing them! The reunion took place in Mobridge, SD by the way.

I had planned my bicycle adventure long before the reunion plans were made and was so happy that the timing worked out so that I could attend. I didn't think too many people in my family knew about my trip and so I was a little surprised to learn that a lot of them had been following my blog and twitter updates along the way. I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable being such a topic of conversation at a large event, but at the same time I was so happy to have the love and support of such a great family. I even received a lot of generous donations that will help me very much as I continue my tour later this week. I want to say 2 very important "Thank You!" messages. One for everyone in my family who are supporting my trip with donations, prayers, and good wishes. And a second one for the local cousins who made such a wonderful day that I will remember forever. I truly do have a fantastic family!!

As I write this it is Monday, June 8th and I have been resting for a week and even gained a few lost pounds back. With a little luck my sister will be able to get out of work on Friday and we will be able to stay here in Pierre, SD for my Mother's Birthday on the 12th. Then we will drive back to Lincoln, NE on Saturday and Larry and I will begin our trek across the great plains on Sunday, June 14th. I'm thrilled to have had this time to spend with family and also to help give my sister Sharon and Ann (both Angels in my opinion) some time to rest from Mom's care, but I am ready and anxious to resume my trek across the USA. However, as I mentioned early in this post, the weather up this way can be fickle and if ever there was a week or two to not be riding - this was it! We have had gloomy rainy and cold and stormy weather since I arrived in the area. It would have been miserable if not impossible to ride this last week so it was a good time to visit and rest.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I love Missouri!

Despite some gloomy and rainy weather during week 5, I very much enjoyed my trip across central Missouri. At the end of the week I also spent a day in Kansas and arrived at my sister's place near Lincoln, NE. As I write this I am at my sister Sharon's in Pierre, SD (transported by a motorized vehicle) and will hopefully resume my trip from Lincoln, NE on Thursday of next week.

Gracious hosts Rodney and Gerry sent me off from the St. Louis area on the Katy Trail

Scenery along the Katy Trail

Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City

Charming Herman, MOWeston, MOInteresting house along the road

Wolf River Bob - A life long adventurist and resident of White Cloud, KS. He showed me many historic pictures and a guest book signed by hundreds of bicycle tourists from as far back as 1984 who camped for free in the White Cloud City Park. We also spent some time driving around what would appear to be a simple little town on the decline. Through Bob's memories and hopes of reviving a historic treasure, I got a whole new view of White Cloud. Some day I believe one of those bicycle tourists who spent time in White Cloud will return to help restore the town to its former glory.

Wilbur Chapman House in White Cloud, KSBob's Pet Cemetery

Some of Bob's CollectiblesTecumseh, NE

The new Hummer H1000

Feed Me!

I weighed myself after arriving at my sister Karen's place. When I left for the trip I was just over 150 lbs - now I'm 137. And I've been eating like a pig!

I've got a week to recover before I start rolling again and there is some good food in Nebraska and South Dakota!