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2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 23

Today was an easy day of bicycling. It was only 45 miles long, it was primarily flat with an occasional hill to climb, there were no dogs, I only got five mosquito bites, there was no rain, and we had a ten mile an hour tailwind for half the day. One time I was going 26 mph on a flat road with very little pedaling because the wind was blowing so hard.

We did have five miles of gravel road today and I hate riding on gravel. The reason I hate riding on gravel is because the skinny bike tires that we have scoot out from under you like you were on ice, and sure enough I had a wreck today on that hated gravel. No blood and nothing was broken on me or my bike, but I do have a number of aches, paines, and pulled muscles tonight, and I probably will discover some more in the morning. As a 73 year old man I have a limited number of bicycle wrecks in me.

We are camped at Mutton Creek campground and Marina tonight which is on the Stockton reservoir and the town of Stockton.

I talk to people all the time about our bicycle trip across the U.S. and today I had a bunch. The first line of conversation is about the details of how far, how far today, and various adventures, then the next line of questions and discussion is why? It is a hard question to answer with most people because they really don’t understand the concept of enjoying a challenge so I usually don’t even try, but today there was a fellow at the Marinia that was about my age and into Mountain biking and still does some pretty hairy stuff, we had a great conversation.

Tom hit a pothole yesterday going pretty fast and broke his back rim. It isn’t broke badly but there is a crack that runs all the way across the rim. He and Dave spent all day at bike shops in Springfield but didn’t have any success finding a shop that had a rim his size. The town we will be camping in tomorrow is Pittsburg, Kansas and there is a bike shop there so he is going to ride his bike and see what happens. The worst that can happen is he has to call Dave to come pick him up, but Dave is getting used to that.

It is supposed to thunder and lightening and rain tonight with strong winds. I hope it is all over in the morning. We have the tents staked and tied down extra secure and everything put away so it won’t get wet.

I am sorry I didn’t get any pictures today, tomorrow I will for sure. We will enter into Kansas tomorrow and lots of flat riding coming up.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 22

We were biking today and a big thunderstorm blew in, unbelievably fast. Lightening was everywhere, the thunder was super loud, the wind started blowing hard, the rain was coming down monsoon style and it was hailing little marble size ice. I couldn’t ride in it, so I pulled off on a gravel patch and stood there with my head down and pretended that I was in a tent. I had my rain gear on, so the only thing getting wet was my feet, which got really wet and very cold. I put my hands in my pockets because the hail would sting badly when it hit bearskin. I stood there for 30 minutes, and then it let up enough to bike 8 miles to the next town. I just got into McDonald’s, and it started again, only worse. Dave was already in McDonald’s, so I called the rest who were strung out over a mile and told them where I was, so they headed there. We sat in there and drank coffee for a while, and then when it slowed down a bit, everyone went out and rearranged all the camping stuff so we could all get our bike’s in the trailer. We then drove the remaining 20 miles to our campsite at the KOA in Springfield, Missouri. It was supposed to be an 80-mile day, but it turned into a 60-mile bike ride, and a 20-mile pickup ride. The campground had some cabins for rent, so we rented the biggest one they had. I am now sitting on the couch writing this blog.

Tomorrow we are supposed to have a relatively easy day, only 50 miles and relatively flat. The rollers are less steep and not as tall. Hopefully it isn’t going to rain on us.

2022 Bicycle Ride – Day 20

Last night we had a racoon visit our campground and he made a royal mess and ate a bunch of our food. He liked the freeze dried stuff especially well. We will keep stuff locked up from here on out.

Dave and I drove 100 miles to St Louis to pick up Tom Zilverberg from the airport who will be riding with us to the end. We have his bike in our trailer. We have another rider joining us in Colorado. Cliff and Kathy, and Terri are riding their bikes to our next campsite in Eminence, Missouri, which is about 85 miles. They will ride into camp about the time we arrive there. We will then tell them what a hard day we had riding in the air condtioned pick up with soft seats, and how easy they had it cruising along on their bicycles.

Tom is way more hard of hearing than I am and Dave has a hearing loss as well, and it is really hard writing this blog while they are talking to each other, because Tom is in the back seat and Dave is driving and they are shouting at each other, really loud to be heard, and they still say, huh, about every other sentence.

I am finally getting into somewhat of a routine where I am getting in some writing time, besides this blog, book reading, listen to some sermons, Bible reading, scripture memory, and prayer time.

Tonights campground is much nicer than last nights in that it has showers and WiFi. I might even be able to “live stream” the NBA playoff game between Boston and Miami.

2022 Bicycle Trip – Day 21

Today was an 85 miler with lots of rollers, big rollers, but I only biked 42 miles of it because of the rain this morning and because I like 42 miles and I don’t like 85. Sounds like an old wimp writing that 😁.I thought the Appalations were bad, but I think the Ozarks are worse. I can’t wait until we get to the Rockies, and do some climbing that just goes up for a long time instead of up and down, up and down, up and down. After awhile they start working on your mind when you get to the top of one and see another and you mentally scream, “Oh no, not another one, give me a break!”

It is a lot like life, one problem, then a trial, then a hassle, then a sickness, then an unexpected bill, then somebody gets mad at you, then a problem at work, then a close friend stops speaking to you because of your political view, then your dog dies. Yikes! When does it end?? When we get to heaven, and not a day sooner, so make up your mind to enjoy the ride down the hill and the challenge of making it up the hill. That is life by God’s design.

Here is a picture of the silhouette of our day.

Tonight we are camping at Mountain Grove, Missouri. A nice campground with very nice showers and lots of shade and WiFi. I learned about Missouri today, they have lots of turtles. I know that because we have seen dozens run over on the road, and I saw a couple trying to make it across before they got run over. There is probably some joke about the turtle crossing the road that I have’t heard yet. I also learned the Missouri has Armadillos because I saw them run over in the road as well. I thought that only Texas had Armadillos.

One of the irritating things that happens periodically is that the chain on my bike comes off, and it seems it is always at the worst of times. I have cleaned my chain, tuned up the shifting but it still does it occasionally.

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!