2022 Bicycle Ride – Day 19

Written On Monday for Monday but sent Tuesday morning because of no cell or WiFi service at campground.

Today we rode 72 miles with almost 5,000 feet of climbing. My top speed going down the hills was 41 mph. We are now camped in Riverside Campground near Fredericktown. We crossed the Mississippi River first thing this morning and are now in Missouri. So we have gone through the States of Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and now we are in Missouri. We are riding through the Mark Twain National Forest and it is beautiful. In Oregon our National Forests are evergreens like Douglas Fir and Pondarosa Pine, but here it is mostly all hardwoods like red oak, maple, ash, locust, and hickory. We are almost one-third done with our trip, that is hard to comprehend, it seems like we just started.

We are camped right on a very nice river and the camp host said there were lots of big catfish and smallmouth bass in the river. I had my rod out and ready to go, but then decided that I was to tired. I can’t remember a time that I chose not to fish because I was tired!

Today was a very nice day of riding. It was sunny but not very hot, I think because of the big rainstorm last night. There were no mosquitoes or dogs, the traffic was minimal, there were lots of hills, but only a couple of really steep ones.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 18

Today was a killer. We bicycled 86 miles of up and down, up and down, in about 85-degree temperatures with humidity. But everything seems to be working well; my legs don’t hurt, my arms and neck are feeling good, my butt is sore, but I will use a little more Butt-Butter tomorrow, and I should be fine there. My bicycle is working great as well. A lot of churches have ministries providing a place for people biking the TransAmerica to stay, but tonight we are in Chester, Illinois, staying at a bicycle Hostel provided by the Eagles, and they call it the “Bike Shack.” It is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we were first! The sleeping arrangement is in a little hut with three sets of triple bunks. It has air conditioning, and a short walk from the bunk hut is the bathroom and shower. It was great for us to get it because as soon as we got here it started pouring rain, and if we had been camping we would have gotten soaked. Right next door is a restaurant and I am sitting in it using their WiFi to write this blog, and to send and and receive some e-mail. They have big screen TV’s on the wall and I am going to watch the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns of the NBA play their seventh and deciding game of the playoffs. I will probably get to sleepy to finish it.

At some point in the trip I expect that I am going to get in shape so that I am not so totally exhausted when we get to camp. As it is, as soon as I try to read, memorize, write, pray, I fall asleep. I can be sitting in a chair, at a table, it doesn’t matter, out I go.

2022 Bicycle Ride – Day 17

Today we rode 65 miles and we are in the town of Goreville, Illinois, staying in the Methodist Church. They have airconditioning, WiFi, showers, washing machine, dryer, a room with couches, hide a beds, recliners, kitchen, drawers full of snacks, and it is free. A number of churches that are right on the route have made hosting “TransAmerica” bicycle riders a special ministry.

My bicycle worked great, but it was very hot and I was fried when we got to the church. No dogs today, no really bad hills, just constant rolling hills, we were either going up hill or going down hill. The App that I use is called “Ride on GPS” and I have a map for every day’s ride and on the map it gives a silhouette of the days ride in terms of climbs and descents. Looking at it in the morning is usually intimidating seeing what we are in for. Tomorrow actually looks fairly mild with under 4,000 feet of total elevation gain even though there are probably over a hundred rollers for the day. You can count them in the picture.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 16

It worked! My bicycle is cured! Hallelujah! I rode today from Clay, Kentucky to Cave-in-Rock State Park in Illinois. It was an extra short day, 35 miles, which was nice in that I haven’t ridden much in the last three days. The ride was very pretty with rolling green fields with lots of cattle and horses. One of the unique things about this area that I saw in Virgibia as well is that everybody has huge lawns with manicured grass. I am not sure why but it looks cool. We went across the Ohio river on a ferry from Kentucky to Illinois, it looked as wide as the Colombia River, the trip on the ferry was exciting, and very touristy.

Only one dog chased us today and he retreated when I did my mean bear impersonation. Rumble strips, which I hate, have only been a minor problem on this trip, and mosquitoes have been no problem either. Though Cliff found a tick on himself and had Kathy pull it out.

While I was chatting with the bicycle mechanic yesterday, and he asked me where I was from and I said Oregon, he asked if I had ever heard of Turner, and I then asked if he had ever heard of Jefferson, and we had a good laugh about the “smallness of our world.”

I am sitting in a restaurant that is connected to this campground so that I can use their WiFi. I ordered something I have never had before, “fried Dill Pickles”,” they were actually pretty good. The weather was nice and sunny today and is supposed to reach 90 degrees before the day is over.

I am feeling bad because my disciplines and goals have been pretty feeble because of all the time consumed with emergencies. I am hoping to get my Bible reading, scripture memory and my prayer back to where it should be now that the crisis events have slowed down.

This bicycle trip has been different then others, but variety is good, boredom is the curse of life. Tomorrow may be a normal kind of day or it may be a day filled with unexpected trials and road blocks, we never know from day to day, but our responsibility is to trust the Lord, be good, and look for opportunities to share Jesus with others.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 15

The great fix-it job on my bike lasted 5 minutes, and broke again. So I called Dave and he picked me up, and we went to the closest Donald’s for coffee and a cinnamon role, nothing was open yet so we decided to make good use of our time. Several of you have asked why I didn’t simply by a new pedal arm. I tried doing that and I literally called every bicycle shop in a 200 mile radius and had them all tell me, nope, we don’t stock that kind. So someone from church texted me and asked why I didn’t fix the threads with a heli-coil, good idea, I have done that on my car repairing projects a number of times. I then did what I do all the time on rebuilding the 1969 Mustang, I looked in Youtube, and wouldn’t you know it, there were several really good videos on fixing the threads on a crank arm with a heli-coil. I then called every auto parts place and tool place in a 200-mile radius to find left-hand taps, but nope, nobody had them. I then called bicycle shops again to see if I could find one that repaired threads with heli-coil, and I found one that did but it was 150 miles away, but I had no other option, so off we went. Dave and I drove in the pickup all day, but I think it is now fixed, the bicycle mechanic assured me that it was as good as new, but I have said that before. Cliff and Kathy rode 101 miles today on their bicycles while Dave and I drove in the comfortable, air-conditioned pick up. On the way to the bike shop, we were over half way there, I decided that I was going to buy a pedal arm that was the right kind for my bike online, and have it mailed to a campground that we would be at in a week as a backup plan. Everything was going good until I went to pay for it and couldn’t find my wallet. I searched every possible place with no success. The last place I had it was in McDonald’s where we had stopped. My wallet must-have fallen out of the pocket on my bike shorts while I was doing my research and pigging out on my cinnamon role. I couldn’t remember the town we were in and was racking my brain on how to come up with the phone number of the McDonald’s we were in. Dave then looked in his wallet and found the receipt he had saved. I called them and sure enough they had it. On the way back from getting the bike fixed we picked it up. I am now sitting in the recreational hall of First Baptist Church of Clay, Kentucky. Man, I hope I get to ride my bicycle tomorrow!

2022 Bicycle Trip- Day 13

I bought some new pedals for my bicycle last year because I didn’t want the clip in my shoe kind because I kept forgetting to unclip my shoes and then I would fall over when I stopped. That was both painful and embarrassing. I remember the last time I fell over before I got rid of those lock in style of pedals and got the good old fashioned ones. I was right in front of a restaurant with a big window when I fell over very hard, and when I walked into the restaurant with one elbow and one knee bleeding everyone in the restaurant cheered and whooped it up for me, funny but very embarrassing. Well, I never liked the pedals that I put on because they were to small and my feet kept slipping off. So when we were in a bike shop recently I saw some really big platform pedals so I bought a pair. Last night when I took off the old ones I discovered that I had evidently cross-threaded one of them when I put them on and when I took them off last night I took out all the aluminum threads on the one crankshaft, and as a result the new pedals wouldn’t stay in. I needed a new pedal Crankshaft but when I called all the bicycle shops none of them had one my particular size. So I am going to order one on line and have it mailed to a campground we will be in. In the meantime we went to ACE hardware in Dansville, Kentucky and I bought some 3/16 bolts, washers, and nuts, along with several 7/32 drill bits, and some JB Weld. I drilled a hole through the crankshaft end and the threaded end of the pedal, put a bunch of JB weld all over it and ran the bolt through and tightened it real good. If it doesn’t hold I will look for a welder who can weld the pedal onto the shaft. I am waiting for the JB weld to dry now, and then I am going to try and bicycle at least some miles today by bicycling back and meeting Cliff and Kathy, then turning around and riding back with them. 😫😫😤🤪

We are in Springfield, Kentucky tonight at the City Park. It is free but no showers. Cliff and Kathy will have biked 75 miles when they pull into camp. I will have ridden 100 miles in the pick up and made 30 phone calls.

I bought a one week Kentucky fishing licence and have got in a little fishing, but no fish for my efforts.

2022 Bicycle Ride – Day 12

Today is a non-ride day in that we loaded the bike’s in the trailer and drove an hour north to a bicycle shop to see if we can get Terri’s and Cliff’s bikes fixed. Terri’s is an e-bike and it quit working totally and the brake that Cliff demolished hitting the mail box that he got fixed several days ago is not working again. He can use one brake but with the steepness of these hills it isn’t very safe. Kathy said that she saw smoke coming from his rear brake as she followed him down a steep hill yesterday. They are in the Bike shop now and I and Dave are sitting in a McDonald’s a block away drinking coffee and writing this blog. One of the main disadvantages of these new e-bikes is that there is a lot more to go wrong than on the good old-fashioned bikes.

I had been preaching at JBC on Wednesday nights on 26 different character traits taught in the Bible that should be part of who we are in our nature. We can grow stronger and stronger in each one of these 26 character traits as we pursue them diligently. Patience is one of the character traits that is important to grow in, which many are weak in. We learn to exercise patience toward ourselves, others, and God. With God, patience is recognizing that God brings many obstacles and problems into our life to facilitate and cause our character growth. We exercise patience by working to solve and overcome the difficulties and obstacles and not expecting God to remove them until He is ready. We exercise patience with others as they may be part of or all of the problem, and making unity and peace with them more of a goal than solving the problem. We exercise patience with ourselves recognizing that we all make poor choices and decisions as we progress in life, and we learn and change much faster when we don’t condemn ourselves, but press on toward maturity and wisdom.

We are camping in Berea, Kentucky tonight which is back South the way we came, and hopefully We all will be back on the road tomorrow. The key that I lost for my bike that we ordered was mailed to this camp site so hopefully it will be there.

It is here! My key came, and I will be sure not to lose it😀😀

Terri is staying at a motel near the bike shop until the part comes in to fix her bike. If it comes in soon she will catch up to us on her bike or Dave will drive back and pick her and her bike up.

We stopped in at Purdy’s Coffee Shop in Richmond and visited Laverne Purdy. She and her husband Bob we’re long time attendees at JBC and when Bob died in 2017 Laverne moved back to Kentucky with family. It was very fun seeing her again and visiting about the old days.

Well, today was a rest day for all physically, in that we didn’t ride our bike’s, though it was a bit nerve-wracking working with the bicycle shop that was swamped with business and we needed our work done quick as well as all the other customers. I got my key, Cliff got his brake fixed and Terri’s part is in the mail. We got a great lunch/dinner at Laverne’s for free and the best cup of coffee I have had in a long time, so all in all a pretty good day.

Tomorrow we are back in the saddle again!

2022 Bicycle Trip- Day 11

Tonight we are camped in Buckhorn Campsite near the town of Buckhorn, Kentucky. Today was a comfortable 55 miles, but there were still seven peaks to climb. Today I was going 35 mph going down one of those peaks and as I was going around a curve, leaning into it good, I saw a sign that said 25 mph, and I thought, cool!

Virginia was my favorite State to ride a bicycle in, and Kentucky has become my least favorite State. It seems everybody has a dog or two or three or more, and they all hate bicycles and are looking out for them to chase them and bite them. My brother Cliff had a big one bite his pannier on his bike. He had a rain cover that ripped off when the dog pulled on it. Otherwise, the dog probably would have caused Cliff to crash. Then he would have a crash because he ran into a mailbox and one caused by a big dog pulling him down.

I mostly outrun them using turbo mode on my bicycle, and yell and try to sound like a bear to scare them. Kathy my sister-in-law bought some pepper spray made just for bicycle riders to protect themselves from dogs and it has been working good, dogs don’t like that pepper spray, for sure. I was riding behind Kathy and a big dog ran out towards her and she pulled out her can quicker than Matt Dillion on Gun Smoke drew his gun, and she gave the dog a big blast. The problem was that there was a hard head wind that picked up just then and all the pepper spray blew right on me. I thought I was going to crash, I couldn’t see anything. It took awhile, and most of my bottled water that I had, but I finally got it all washed out, but it burned for the next 30 minutes.

Kathy felt really bad and is dreading this blog about it. Tomorrow I will ride in front or waaaay behind her!

This is the second blog for today because I had no internet to send yesterdays until an hour ago.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 10

Wow, ten days of riding already. It seems short, but also seems long in that I can’t remember much about the first several days without going back and reading my blogs. I think that it is a form of information overload. I am thankful for my journal and pictures to relive the adventure.

One of the fun things on the trip is the number of friendly people we have had conversations with about our trip, Oregon, and even hunting and fishing. I stopped today to get out of the rain at a city park/playground area. There was an old firetruck in it, so I climbed up and sat in the cab for a while. A young guy came by in a golf cart who was a groundskeeper and he had never been out of Virginia in his life. We had a great time talking about deer hunting in Virginia and Oregon, and about our bike trip. He fished but had never caught anything bigger than a 10-inch trout or bullhead. I invited him out to Oregon to fish with me, and gave him my cell number. I also suggested that he save up his money and fly up to Alaska and fish with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to do it.

My bicycle is an e-bike which means it has an electric motor on it that helps me out. It has been a lifesaver for me because one of the problems with my Parkinson’s disease is that my balance is shot. At four miles an hour I can’t balance the bike without wobbling all over the place, which means when a hill gets much over 6 % incline I have to walk pushing my bike. With my new bike I can go up most hills at 5 miles an hour instead of walking. I have four settings on it, “econo” which I keep it at most of the time, “tour” which I switch it up to if the hill gets steeper than 8%, “sport” which I switch it to if the hill gets steeper than 10%, and “turbo” if I am trying to outrace a dog that is chasing me. I never use “turbo” much because it will suck my battery dry in a very short time. The amount of electricity that goes to the motor is determined by how hard I press on the pedal. If I put normal pressure that I would use on flat or mildly hilly ground at 12 mph I will get very little help, but if I start pushing harder because of a steeper hill I get more help, so the more I give in energy the more I get in energy.

I have two batteries that I charge up at night in camp. I usually use all of one batter and half of the second in a normal day, but all of the second if it is hilly like this trip so far. A number of days I have plugged into camp all on my own power because I ran out of juice in both batteries. A couple of days ago I lost the key that unlocks my battery on my bike so I haven’t been able to change batteries. I run it of juice around 40 miles, and the hills are so steep that I have had Dave pick me up, and I ride the last 30 miles in the pick up; how embarrassing! I ordered a new key from the place I bought the bike and they are mailing it to the campground we will be at on Monday night.