Please join us in support to raise funds and awareness of the Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project and World Bicycle Relief as we bike from coast to coast June-August 2010.

Our goals:

To provide a well for a community soccer field in the compound of Ng’ombe in Zambia currently used by the Chikumbuso Grassroot Soccer Team. Chikumbuso provides free education and meals to 300 orphans as well as empowering widows and single moms through microenterprise projects.

Estimated cost- $10,000

Raise funds to donate 100 bicycles for an entire school through WBR- Bicycle Educational Empowerment Program. WBR has pledged to supply 50,000 bicycles to schools in Zambia. Recognizing the particular vulnerability of female children and the importance of educating girls, 70% of student recipients will be girls.

Cost- $13,500

To create awareness of Hasbro’s http://www.projectzambi.com/ inspired by a visit to the Chikumbuso Project.

To donate:

Click on the Donate Now link to make donations directly to World Bicycle Relief through our sponor page.

Or mail checks, payable to Friends of Chikumbuso or World Bicycle Relief, to Sabrina Buehler 350B Cossaduck Hill Rd, North Stonington, CT 06359. For more information email Sabrina at sabrinabuehler@aol.com

100% of Donations go Directly to the projects

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Roller Coaster Roads of “Penns-HILL-vania”

“Relentless” is the word that first comes to mind when thinking back on the hills of this day’s ride. By far this was the toughest day’s ride that we have experienced on this trip. Now I know why “Bicycle America” takes their tour up into Canada and back down into the states via Niagara Fall, N.Y., it’s to avoid the Alleghany Mountain region of Penns-HILL-vania. Today we did 75 miles of roller coaster type inclines, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down and up and down. Usually on the downhill glide we’d reach 30+mph, but immediately after reaching the bottom, the uphill would start. Before you were 100 yds. into the uphill, you were down on the smallest sprocket on your crank and standing up to pedal to the top of the rise. Then you were over the crest and back down the other side, over and over. I reached 36.8 mph as my highest speed, yet we only averaged 11 mph for the day. It was a killer day on our legs and we were beat when we finally called “Uncle” and phoned Ben to pick us up at 7:30. We did make it to Dubois, but the campground was 20 mile past DuBois and off our route. We stayed the night in Parker Dam Sate Park in Penfield, PA. By the time he picked us up and we pulled into camp it was 9:00. Luckily Ben had pulled into a specialty meat smokehouse and bought some awesome smoked, cheese hotdogs. So, hot dogs and beans with chips, and we were satisfied. It was a busy place with lots of family campers and Ben noticed that here were the most pop-up campers that we had seen. People were up late enjoying the campsite and kids were up EARLY, 6:30 a.m. running around and yelling. All in all, it’s the sound of people enjoying their summer vacation, so it’s great. Dinner was done and the kiddies (Ben & Sabrina) were in bed by 10:00. Please GOD, be easy on us with the hills tomorrow, please! We still have 4 days left In PA and if it’s all like this, I might not male it!
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Friday, July 30, 2010

We Kicked Some Amish Hill Butt!!

Karen wanted us to experience the Bob Evans breakfast so off to another big meal to start the day. It was difficult to leave such an eager and friendly host but we had to get on the road. The rains from the night before left us with a cool and sunny morning, probably the best biking weather to date. Within miles we passed Kent State University. Neil Young’s song about that terrible day in history has been stuck in my head since we entered Ohio, one of my favorites. It is also a favorite of Ben Taylor’s (shameless plug for the Aug 29th concert). The one time I heard it live was at the first Ben Taylor concert I attended on MV at the former Hot Tin Roof. What a night with Bonnie and Drew from Michigan! That was the night that Carly Simon came out singing the chorus to “Ohio” and she uttered the words as she returned to the stage, “but where is Sabrina?” referring to autographing my lyrics to “Anticipation.” We can only hope for a repeat at the Jonathan Edwards Winery……. Back to biking
Michael assured us the hills were not as bad for the rest of Ohio but as we entered Pennsylvania, they appeared, along with another Amish town. We passed many buggies, probably on their way back from work, mostly single men and women driving with their children, always returning a friendly wave. I took a break to eat a granola bar (thanks Diane, we are down to 4) for strength when a buggy passed us headed for a big hill. I wondered, who is stronger, the horse or the bike. Half way up the hill I passed the buggy! Ben said he passed an Amish woman mowing her lawn with a horse drawn mower as well as van loads of Amish workers.
Ben found a great campsite, Cozy Rest, in Harrisville, but it was another 2 miles of hills off the beaten path.

Who said Ohio roads were ALL flat and straight??

We are in civilization now, you can tell by the price of campsites. Of course you always get what you pay for. The place we stayed at advertised internet access. That means if you go to the front of the campground, next to the Super 8 motel, you can pick up their Wi-Fi. Now you can’t get it at your campsite or inside the office where you have an electric outlet, but you could do all your computer business with a long extension cord if your battery is low, like ours. Now onto the days ride. Sabrina and I started out in hot and humid weather but it didn’t stop us. About a mile out of camp a flat on my rear tire stopped up. Glass, there was lots of debris on the roadside. While changing the tube, a nice police officer stopped to offer assistance. He was actually the Chief of Police in Milan (My –lan) and he explained that Milan is in Italy! He also explained that Milan is the birthplace of Thomas Edison and many other interesting facts about the city and his life. He asked where we were from and when we said CT, he immediately asked where in CT. You see, he collects police badges and he happened to have one from the City of Groton and it had a submarine on it. He had over 2000 badges and he seems to have studied them all! He told us about one town where there was the Mayor assumed the Chief of Police position when elected, without any formal police training, and when asked about getting a badge for his collection, the mayor said they only had two badges. The Mayor said, “What the heck, I was going to fire that gal anyway” and promptly went over to her uniform hanging in the closet and cut the badge off her sleeve and gave it up the collection. He was a nice guy and actually offered to take my wheel home to his garage and repair it and he had a compressor, and he did actually go home and got us two cold bottles of Propel water and return to our route to give them to us. Now where but in MY-LAN could you get service like that? People in Ohio are so friendly. Back on the road again and I’m commenting to Sabrina about the nice flat, straight roads in Ohio when things began to change. I should have just shut my mouth and kept my thoughts to myself. The last 25 miles of a 77 mile day tested our legs.
OMG it was hilly. For you North Stonington folks, I mean Cossaduck Hill caliber grades. And not just one, they kept coming. Route 303 was kind of like Wyassup road. This day made the Tetons seem like a pleasant memory. We had a new land speed record for bikes on one downhill, 42.6 mph, the fastest either of us had ever been on a bike. Well, right after the most torturous climb of the day, a steep downhill into a sharp corner with no shoulder and then up, up, up, we met a nice lady and her two daughters. What started the conversation was that she had just set up a pen on the grass for two wirehair fox terrier puppies. The girls had gone into the store for ice cream and I went to look at the puppies thinking they might be Parson Jack Russell’s like Callie-Jean’s Zoe. Well, they weren’t, but we found out the lady was taking them to Cleveland airport to fly them off to their new owners in Minnesota. Now it was time for the final 8 miles to Stow. Our hosts for the night, Karen and Michael are Callie-Jean Tuthill’s aunt and uncle. We pulled into their driveway just as the first raindrop fell, starting a huge thunder and lightning storm. We had a great time with them, Sabrina reminisced about Ledyard High School with Karen and then they took us out to eat at a great Mexican chain restaurant, Chipotle. After dinner we went back to their house and Sabrina and I were introduced to the Wii game, of course Ben had already played. We Wii bowled and played tennis, very fun. We met one of their two daughters, Abby who will be attending Salve Regina in Newport this fall and heard about their other daughter who lives and goes to school in Boston, who will be married in Newport next year. Karen and Michael are originally from the CT/RI area and the girls always wanted to come back east for school but Karen and Michael have adjusted well to Ohio living. A great time was had by all and we hope to have many fun acquaintances with this family in the future. After all, these girls are Callie-Jean’s cousins.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When You Can’t Sleep - Count Your Blessing

Stony Ridge KOA is one of those blessing, you know the old saying, “Any port in a storm.” Well, this is the only place to stay around here and it’s 10 miles closer to the next stop. As we rode from one port to the next, we all happened to notice of the sign outside a church that said, “When You Can’t Sleep – Count Your Blessings.” Ain’t that the truth? Well today I’m counting my blessings. It’s hard to believe but we have less than two weeks left on this adventure and we have so much to be thankful for and we are still all healthy. Linda would say, “It’s a Jesus thing.” Just read the blogs and you’ll understand.
The ride today was on the ultimate typical Ohio road, straight and flat. It was Ben and I today, and after about 20 miles, I said that we just had to get a picture of this road or better yet, two pictures. Ben took one facing east and one west. For as far as the eye could see, there was nothing, nothing but straight, flat road with several cars going in each direction. You never get a break. You pedal anywhere from 16-20 mph as long as you can, and then some more, and more, and more. Ben and I would take turns leading and breaking the air, continuously switching. The only thing was his turns in the lead got longer as the day went on. And as the day went on and he would lead, I inevitably had a harder time keeping up. Finally, I gave up trying and just went at a pace I could maintain. Lucky it was only 54 miles. At one point right near the end, I actually lost sight of him going up a slight incline and couldn’t tell if he went straight or right, luckily I chose straight and saw him shortly thereafter. Only by my “blessing” did he stop and I saw him. It was there that we called Sabrina and found out that we were almost done. This ride did bring back many memories of the days when Sabrina’s parents lived in Port Clinton, OH. Names like Port Clinton, the Maumee River and Sandusky all brought memories rushing back of our early married life and trips with the kids to Ohio for the holidays. Count your blessings every day!
My biggest blessing is all my family, and Ben & Sabrina for riding on this adventure with me, but most of all for THEM PUTTING UP WITH ME.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’
Paul, Sabrina and Ben

P.S. Please Everyone, Concert tickets for Ben Taylor & Brothers McCann are on sale at the winery. We would like to get a feel for how many people are coming so buy your tickets ASAP. It’s gonna be a great show and it’s as easy as picking up your phone and calling Jonathan Edwards Winery to buy your tickets.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Schedule Change & Party Update

We all had the same thought, why not skip the last rest day so that we can add a day in Ct, our home state. Therefore we will be arriving a day earlier in every town east of Grove City, PA. But we will not finish a day early, instead stop for an overnight in Old Lyme on Aug 6th. Therefore the last day our ride will not be as long and we can finish at the beach in the early afternoon. That being said, why not join us for the ride? We do have some friends that will join the fun but the more the merrier! If you are not up for biking, join us for a pot luck at the beach, East Beach in Watch Hill, below the Ocean House or Misqumicut. It's up for a vote. Please RSVP any way you can, blog,e-mail, or cell phone Paul's 860-710-3359. Oh did we mention it is Sabrina's birthday on the 7th.

Speaking of birthday's, we would also like to send out a Happy Birthday wish to Glenn Reid's Mom. He is honoring her by sponsoring Ben on our bike ride. We will be happy to do the same for anyone out there following us.

Perrysburg, OH and beyond

Angola, IN to Perrysburg, OH
Pokagon State Park in Angola was by far one of the most complete State Park ever. I would recommend it to anyone passing through the area. Perrysburg KOA is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Enough said. Actually, the Toledo East-Stony Ridge KOA is past Perrysburg by about 10 miles. So tomorrows ride will be that much shorter, yeah!
Sabrina and I made the 90 mile ride on almost all flat, straight Ohio roads with nice wide shoulders. Poor IN, no welcome signs to greet visitors like most states. As we entered OH and saw the “Welcome to OHIO” sign and we looked back hoping to see the same going into IN. We missed the opportunity for a photo coming into IN from IL., but we had no luck this time either. It was a pretty uneventful ride. The topping on the day was the couple we met at the KOA who are from CT. Roberto and Judy are wonderful a retired couple from Stanford who were on their way home from visiting children in CA. They had a brand new RV and had just come from visiting the factory where it was built, just so they could see the Amish workers in action.
I need to once again give my compliment to the chef, his skills are improving with every meal. Last night he put his creative geniuses to the test and whipped up pork chops with sauerkraut in a Dutch over, roasted corn on the cob and wild rice. Yum, yum. Unfortunately, desert did not rise to his usual standard, but it was not completely Ben’s fault. We had run out of charcoal briquettes cooking dinner and there just wasn’t enough heat left in the fire to completely cook the cake on top of the peach cobbler. Oh well, we ate it anyway!
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Monday, July 26, 2010

Notre Dame Fighting Irish & Touchdown Jesus

Welcome back followers and newcomer alike. I must start out by thanking our host, the Rampola family for making us feel like we were at home. Randy, MaryAnn, Ryan, Emily and Sarah, you have been like an extended family for so many years now th at it was really special to break bread together and exchange stories. We are very fortunate and feel blessed to know such a wonderful family.
Today started out with a sumptuous breakfast prepared by our hostess Mary Ann. After stuffing ourselves like we had never eaten in our lives, we were treated to a guided tour of the Notre Dame campus by an understandably proud Alumnus. Yes, Randy had earned his law degree at good old Notre Dame, so he knew the campus like the back of his hand. Not to mention that they lived about 3 miles off campus and had dealt with ND football mania most of their married life. It was really special to finally be on campus of such a storied place as Notre Dame University. Randy explained how the kids had grown up having the ND campus as their own personal park and playground. We even got the full story of “Touchdown Jesus”, the mural on the library wall directly behind the goal post at one end of the stadium. There is the “Son of God” standing with both arms raised above his shoulders like a football official signaling yet another ND touchdown! After the tour, it’s back to the house to pack up the truck and get on the road again. Today Sabrina and I will be riding the full 67 miles to Angola together, or so we think. Sabrina finally gets to ride on a decent road, nice shoulder, light traffic (Sunday, no trucks) and beautiful sunny, 800 weather. Mary Ann also explained that we would be going through an Amish town, Shipshewana, which was great but once again it was Sunday so no shopping. We passed through the town with many buggies filled with families, all with a friendly wave. Their homes also had beautiful gardens but looked more similar to our homes. Some even had cars as well as buggies in the yard. We passed two Mennonite churches, so that might be the explanation. All goes well until about 50 miles out when Sabrina gets a flat on her rear tire. Oh crap. No new tube to use, remember my frustrations patching tubes? Well you guessed it. Patch once, no luck, patch twice, call Ben. So once again, after starting the ride late out of the Rampola’s (12:00) because they were such wonderful hosts that we didn’t want to leave, and it was going a short day, and then wasting 45 min. with the tire, I was alone again riding into camp at 7:00. Oh well, c’est la vie. Ben finally got to make Chili-Mac, his and Callie-Jean’s staple dinner. So we ate dinner, did some long needed bike maintenance, washed dishes, showered, updated the blog from the last 3 days prior rides and then we finally got to go to bed. The state park we stayed at north of Angola, Pokagon State Park, was beautiful. Along with a huge lake where you could rent boats, there were tons of bike trails, horse rides, a restaurant and inn, and a refrigerated toboggan run for the winter. Too bad we are always too tired to take full advantage of these parks.
Thank-you “Touchdown Jesus.”
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Mom vs. Technology

The lightning continued through the night and Mom & Dad woke me up at 9:30 because they gave up on waiting for the rain to finish. The ceiling vent leaked all night so the laundry bag was soaked along with the corner of the seat. All of the bags got packed in the truck along with anything we didn’t want to get wet. We broke down camp and as we hooked it to the truck for Mom the rain stopped. I guess we won’t have to ride in the rain after all. On our way out of the park, we got a phone call from the local Fox news channel, wanting to set up an interview. Randy Rampola had made the arrangements for us. Thanks again Randy for all your work. We met up with a young reporter, Dave, about 15 miles into our morning’s trip so he could get some footage and interview each of us. He was jealous that my new job gave me all summer off where the station he worked for wanted him to start the day after graduation. He was also surprised that this was the first time we were interviewed for TV. Anyways, he told us that he was writing the story and it would be aired soon, depending on how much storm damage coverage they would be giving that night. Then we were back on the road towards Granger. We told Mom to go on ahead and to wait for us at South Bend so that we could reacquaint ourselves with the directions. Then, later on we got a panicked call, “I hate this lady. I don’t know where she wants me to go.” Mom is referring to the GPS” lady” and can’t follow the GPS directions. I guess it needs to be updated because there are a lot of new round-a-bouts (rotaries, traffic circles) where she is “recalculating” the route. Mom didn’t like that, so she eventually found a McDonalds to work on the computer at with WiFi. But she has little luck getting online by herself. So on the road I get phone calls about how the computer won’t work and the “Lady” is always recalculating. I can’t do anything about it on the bike so mom gives up and we eventually meet up and plan how to get to the Rampola’s for the night. Mom arrived at the house first guessing it was the house with the soccer ball out front and rang the doorbell, no answer. She waited a few minutes and walked around the house to find a car with an MV sticker on it, this must be the place. Back to the doorbell and there is movement, the dog starts barking. Still no other response so she guesses they are out for the moment. Shortly afterwards, Mary Ann arrives with 16 year old Emily at the wheel. She guessed Randy was asleep after a busy morning cutting up a limb that fell from the storm. When we arrived at their home and we noticed a theme. Over the last 13 years of renting our house on the Martha’s Vineyard, they have amassed quite the collection of MV items. We had a great dinner and talked until we realized that the 10:00 news was going to be on. We turned the TV on and shortly into the news we saw a short video promo of ourselves on the screen, and it’s said that our story would be on tomorrow night. Great! We’re actually going to be on the news. We know we’re going to be in a camp site Sunday night, but we were assured that the story would be posted on the website the morning after it airs. We are looking forward to seeing the final product and you can too, check out http://www.fox28.com/Global/story.asp?S=12866895 So even though neither Mom or Dad can figure out the GPS (looks like I’ll be doing even more driving than planned) it was a great day.

Racing the Lightning Storm

Paul and I got a late start so we could answer e-mails and write blogs at the campsite. We left just before noon and since we would be leaving the state of IL, it was my last chance to find a state pin for my collection. Luckily we were biking along the shopping districts. It was suggested we try Walgreens. The first Walgreens we came upon in Orland Park USE to carry them. When the employees found out about our ride they offered us cold bottles of water and a snack bar, very nice. We continued to stop at many stores with no luck. All the stops and traffic lights made the miles go by slowly. We crossed the state line into Indiana with no welcome sign and no pin. Determined for this not to happen in IN too, we asked if there was a welcome center. We were led down a busy, 4 line road miles out of way so we gave up due to an approaching storm.
We rode through Gary, IN (remember the song?) birthplace of Michael Jackson. And yes, for Callie-Jean and Beth , I had a MJ song in my head, “I’ll Be There.” It is referred to as “scary Gary” because of the depressed neighborhood. After biking around many potholes with many stop lights and traffic, a man passing in a car made a helpful suggestion “get on the sidewalk.” So we listened to his advice and for the next 15 miles I felt like a kid riding up and down the sidewalks, especially when the dark clouds and thunder were overhead, then we were kids flying down the sidewalks racing the storm. We were about 3 miles away from the Indiana Dunes State Park, when Ben called to say it was pouring and he was coming to get us. Just as we got the bikes in the truck, it began to POUR, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. The beach was beautiful, like the ocean, sand, waves but warm and no salt. The only problem was we couldn’t jump in to cool off after the humid bike ride because of the storm, although it was awesome to look at.
The storm died down for Ben to cook brats and sauerkraut on the camp fire, but at night the thunder and lightning returned for a newsworthy storm. So we were confined to our cramped camper in a most desired vacation destination. I was told that many get their reservations in January to guarantee a spot. We were lucky to get the last site.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vincent Van Gogh or Mekatei (Chikumbuso widow) who is the most admired artist?

We finally reached Chicago and after a great visit at WBR we met Stuart, a Grassroot Soccer intern I met last June in Zambia. After 10 months in Zambia he headed for Chicago, where he attended college and now works for a “green energy” startup company. He walked us around the city, suggesting various sites and agreed to join us for dinner, Chicago deep dish pizza. Top on Ben’s to do list in Chicago. There was a lot to see in Millennium Park, free concerts (Musicians without Borders), cool off in fountain and beautiful gardens. We walked to the lake, more like an ocean. The city has many bike paths and was very clean, yes, windy and humid. We decided to cool off in The Art Institute of Chicago. It was fantastic! Many works of art I remembered studying when I was a freshman in college, Seurat, Monet, Van Gogh, etc. As I was admiring a famous painting of Vincent Van Gogh, two women were admiring my Chikumbuso bag, WOW! They approached me asking if I made it. I told them it was made by a widow in Zambia and they asked how to get one, so of course I gave them a card and told them to contact me. The widows should be proud of their beautiful works of art. Aren’t you all glad you have one?

Day of Rest with World Bicycle Relief Staff

What a good day to finally meet the staff at WBR in person. After 1 ½ years of fundraising and talking on the phone or e-mail, to finally meet and talk one on one was very satisfying. They are a nice group (small operation only 5 employees) who all realize what “The Power of Bicycles” really means in the context of helping mankind throughout the world. Katie, Jill, Beth, Matt and F.K. , you are doing a stupendous job and keep up the good work! The morning started off with almost a vacation like feel. Finally, a day of rest, no biking for us today. We figured out that we would drive into WBR headquarters, meet the staff, then meet Stuart Phelps (a Grassroot Soccer intern that Sabrina met in Zambia last June) and spend the afternoon site seeing in Chicago. Thank goodness for GPS. Ben plugged in the WBR address and off we go. We arrive at the SRAM office right on time and Katie gives us the tour of SRAM engineering/work spaces and test track, you should see all the bikes! SRAM develops and manufactures components that go on all the various bike brands e.g. TREK, Specialized, Cannondale and of course the WBR bikes. As Katie walks us onto the test track, there in a place of prominence is the WBR woman’s edition on display, in front of all kinds of research test vehicles. Half way around the track we run into F.K. talking to one of the head engineers in charge of development. So, Katie arranged for a luncheon for us with the staff and we were honored to be included with F.K.’s family, as his cousins Steve and Jane were in town and also invited. Steve and Jane we very interesting and we had a good time talking to them about our ride and their work as members of the Weyhauser Family Grant Foundation. They get to see how the grants are helping organizations trying to improve living conditions for people around the world. How cool is that? Pinch me please, I can’t believe this is really happening to us. When we shared the news about the Ben Taylor concert, Steve and Jane were plotting how they could join us on Aug 29. We also learned that F.K. and Leah will be coming to North Stonington the 1st week in August and suggested that they please try to stay for the finish of our ride on the7th. How great would that be to have the founders of WBR and Chikumbuso be with us at the “finish”!!!!! So, with F.K. having to return to a meeting and the staff having to get back to work, we bid them adieus and head out into Chicago for the rest of the day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Smells – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Rockford to Joliet, IL
Something most people don’t usually think about as you drive cross country these days is all the smells you encounter when you’re out in the open air riding a bike. Let’s face it, most of us are riding with the windows up and the air conditioning on. Well, this blog is going to tell you about some of the smells we’ve encountered, or the things we think were responsible for those smells.
This idea came to Sabrina and I today as we rode past a place and we both said, “Smells like somebody’s baking a cake.” That’s when we noticed the factory off to our right. Definitely a Good Smell.
The Good … Onion and mint fields in Idaho. We could smell the onions and mint in Idaho even before we saw the fields. Steak house grill smells every state as we ride through cities that could account for all the steak dinners over the campfire. When we rode by Ethanol plants in NE and IA, we would smell yeast like bread rising. Thanks Aunt Evelyn, Ray and the kind campers in Chadron for supplying us with homemade breads. We noticed the Cadbury plant and were surprised that instead of chocolate, there was an overwhelming smell of chewing gum at the factory in IL.
The Bad …. Hog farms in Iowa. They grow a lot of Porkers in Iowa! Although it’s pretty cool to watch the Crop dusters do their thing, you get a different perspective when you smell herbicides. I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks to the one helicopter duster who noticed me riding by and pulled up and made another loop before dusting right over the top of me. Thanks Mr. Crop Duster Pilot! We were riding past fields of soy beans in Iowa when we started to smell raw sewage. We noticed the ponds used for fertilizer (?) in fields. Manure in general at all the farms; however we’ve noticed a change from range fed beef to dairy farms manure smells as we come east.
Ugly Smells – All the Road Kill! You definitely smell it before you see it, and it is usually pretty UGLY! To immortalize the poor creatures, we smelled raccoons (sometimes whole families), deer, antelope, turtles (one snapper who’s eggs were strewn across the road), frogs, turkeys, hawks, quail, many gold finches (they must be bad judges of distance and speed), a few cats, coyotes, snakes and many opossums. Then there were also the many unrecognizable carcasses.
Today’s ride started off as usual. I mean that we started pedaling about 10:30. Isn’t this opening sounding like the norm, rather than new news? Mind you that today was scheduled to be a relatively long day, 90+ miles. It doesn’t pay to fret about it, I need to just go with the flow and finish when we finish. We had a nice stay at Mike the Rotarians home last night and when we got up to get going, both the he and his wife had already left for work. We brought all our stuff in from the truck and ate our own food and made lunches. One thing that held us up was that even at this late date, we still weren’t sure where we were going today. Campgrounds around Chicago are few and far between. So, this morning before everyone else got up, I went on-line and found this one, the Empress RV Resort and Casino in Joliet, IL. It’s South West on downtown Chicago and about 50 miles away. I can tell that we are starting to get into civilization because the roads and the number of cars have changed drastically in the last few days. These are older roads with no shoulder and there are hundreds of cars and trailer trucks. Ben and I are very concerned about Sabrina biking on these roads. Although she’s a good rider, she worries a lot and when you’re tense and on edge all day it doesn’t make for a fun ride. We do want this to be a fun experience, right? The hardest part is that she REALLY wants to ride. So anyway, Sabrina and I start riding on Hwy 20 which isn’t too bad, but degrades pretty rapidly to a condition that is not very safe for bikers. Meanwhile, scout Ben has been driving ahead to check out the route and phones back that there’s a problem. Right before Elgin the road turns into a divided highway and has a posting prohibiting bikes and pedestrians. Not only that but the connector that will get use the last 40 miles to camp is on a business/retail district road that has lots of cars and turn offs into plazas. See what I mean about the number of people here? Now it’s time to change the route. I break out the map and ask a truck drive at the next gas station and decide to take route 39, Randall Road, it looks OK on the map. It’s just a thin black line, not red, not white/red and not thick red. It should be OK, right? Well Ben has driven over from the original route and is now back tracking up along Randall Rd. and it’s not a heck of a lot better than the original, but at least I can get onto it. So, he meets us at the end of Hwy 20 and we load Sabrina’s bike in the truck and she grudgingly agrees to call it a day at 45 miles. Who would have thought that anything under 50 miles doesn’t feel like a day’s ride. So I’m on my own for the rest which is just as well because it was a rat race. Cars turning, trucks always passing when there is no shoulder and afternoon rush hour for like the whole 4 hours. I finally arrive at the Empress and about 7:00, really ready to call it quits for the day. Ninety tortuous miles in 90+ degrees. Well, tomorrow is a real rest day and we’re heading into Chicago to see the city and World Bicycle Relief headquarters.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Chikumbuso YouTube Video

Yesterday, Carly told me about this new YouTube video on the 6th grade children at Chikumbuso. I wish I had this video to present to the rotary club yesterday. Last summer Carly got to know all the students in the video. The narrator, Akim, was April's(Carly's friend)"husband". I hope you will enjoy the video as much as I did.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Land of Many Presidents

We were fortunate to have another Rotarian host in Rockford, IL with a speaking engagement at the rotary club in Loves Park. Rockford is almost 100 miles away so early in the morning Ben dropped Paul off just before the bridge that leads into IL, then back to break down camp to help me drive to the meeting at noon. A very foggy start for Paul with lots of road construction so we were happy to hear from him asking to drop off some candy as we passed by. Ben and I both agreed that once we crossed the Mississippi, it looked very similar to a typical New England town, lots of trees and Victorian homes. We drove through Galina, known for the home of President Grant, a very nice town. Soon the corn fields appeared again with rolling hills and farms scattered in the distance with trees lining the properties.
Mike greeted us at Loves Park City Hall where the weekly meeting is held. A very nice lunch was served, much better than our staple, peanut butter and jelly. After Mike was honored for finishing the term of president of the club, we were able to show our power point to an attentive audience. The club made a generous donation to the causes as well as some bags being sold even though by now we have a very limited selection. After the meeting Mike escorted us to his home (with a pool, yeah!), no camping tonight. We dropped off the camper and drove back on Hwy 20 to drop off Ben so he could join Paul for remaining 36 miles to Rockford. I remained near for some photo opportunities. The camera couldn’t grasp the beauty of Ben and Paul riding along the hillside with fields of corn. I met them in Rockford and Ben’s comment was “Let’s keep going to Chicago.” He was feeling great.
We drove to Mike’s home where the pool was waiting. They are a golfing family with a putting green in the back yard. Both Mike and his wife Debbie work at a country club, with all 3 children enjoying the sport. Mike brought home pizza and shortly afterwards his wife and their 15 year old daughter returned from a golf tournament in Chicago. We had a nice short visit since everyone was tired from a long day with another planned tomorrow, 100+ miles to Chicago.
Note about Paul’s previous blog. Ben says” Coffee is the paddlewheel to Dad’s Mississippi sized colon. It keeps things moving.”

Last town in Iowa+ The Mighty Mississippi

Independence to Dubuque, IA
Out by myself this morning, first stop is Casey’s for a cup of coffee. We’ve run out back at camp so I can’t start my day until I’ve lubed my insides and taken care of business, if you know what I mean. TMI (for Ben and Sabrina) Now I’m good and off I go riding parallel to Hwy. 20 on D22. Nice rolling country road through several towns and into Dyersville. Here I ride past a couple bikers crossing the street and going to a car. Wait, they’re going to their SAG vehicle. Stop, turn around and go talk. This father and his 2 sons are riding cross country just like we are. They started in Seattle and are heading to Brooklyn, N.Y. , with the same goal as us, Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean. They started out self sustaining, but had to call in SAG support (Mom) at Casper, WY. It’s not as bad as you think, they live in Chicago. Well, we were going to ride for a while but that never worked out because once they stopped to put sun block on, they never caught up to me again. I stopped once to have a sandwich and waited about half an hour but they never appeared. Sabrina was planning on riding half a day, but the road conditions were so bad that we decided she better not. Ben found a nice campground right on the Mississippi River in Dubuque. We found this great store, HY VEE, and treated ourselves to steak and Ben did another great job of cooking them over the fire pit and we had another delicious dinner. We had to look and look, but finally found Sabrina an Iowa pin for her collection of pins from all the states we go through. The End.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

A Maze of Maize

Sabrina and I got a late start knowing the day’s ride was supposed to be a short one. After trying to patch Sabrina’s tube, notice I said “trying to patch,” and talking to the nice couple about our projects and their RAGBRAI ride, it was probably 11:30 when we finally turned a pedal. I don’t know why my patch just won’t hold air, but I’m giving up on patching tubes, I’ll just replace them unless I’m on the road. So, anyway, we ride into Cedar Falls and across the river to Highway 57. Ben and I had decided it would be best to ride the road parallel to 57, so we cross back over at the next bridge to the east and got onto the road, maybe. Not sure, I stop to ask 2 construction workers how to get to Independence? Their directions were not exactly what we had mapped out, but what the heck, they’re locals so we’ll follow their directions. They lead us right past this huge John Deere factory out on this country road, I sure wish it wasn’t Sunday so I could have gone in and checked out the plant. After that, directions got a little sketchy for the rest of the day. Good thing it was supposed to be a short day. We wanted to go to Independence, right, so Ben and I figured the Independence Street heading east out of Waterloo probably goes to Independence, right? The problem is that our map doesn’t show the name of the road and the blown up map of Cedar Falls/Waterloo doesn’t go out far enough to pick up the road. So, I’m no longer shy about asking for directions so I go into the next gas station for help. The attendant isn’t a native and all he can tell me is that the next intersection is Independence Street. He only knows if you go right, you go back into Waterloo, he doesn’t know where left goes! Outside, 2 gents are getting out of their car so I figure I’ll ask them. They directed us up the road about a mile to “Old Hwy. 20.” Three times is a charm right? So I ask a third time, a young guy wearing a Univ. of Northern Iowa cap and he doesn’t know, but concurs with the other 2 about Old Hwy. 20 being about a mile up the road. Majority wins, so we go up the road about 2 miles and get to Hwy. 20, not Old Hwy. 20. We don’t want to ride on this road! So, back we go to Independence St. and go east, hoping it will take us to Independence, IA. This road is the corn maze road. Old country roads don’t go straight, they follow the property lines around corn fields to the point that you can’t tell if you’re actually heading east anymore. With corn 6 ft. tall on both sides of the road, you feel like you’re in a maze of maize. So a few wrong turns and a few phone calls to Ben and we make it onto Hwy 939 to Independence. Not so bad, about 45 miles and we’re in camp with Ben right across the street from a DQ!
Now with it still being early, we’re looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon. Ben stopped at the visitor center and found out that we’re in Amish country, so we take a ride to the North to Hazelton to see the farms. Of course we pass a horse drawn buggy and see several Amish farms. All the people waved to us as we passed and seemed very friendly, children were out playing in the yards and Sabrina was impressed with the beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. They all seemed to have a white house with a red barn and a windmill, no electric lines running to the farmhouse was a dead giveaway to Amish homes. Too bad it’s Sunday because all the Amish businesses are closed.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oh - The Joy of a Blue Slushy!

Webster City to Cedar Falls, IA
After a lovely night in a bed at Tami the Rotarian’s house, we got an early jump on what was supposed to be a relatively short day, 70 miles instead of the planned 100 to Independence. That’s the beauty of not taking rest days and having a SAG vehicle. Tami and Andy, our gracious hosts in Webster City, needed to be on the road to Omaha, NE by 8:00 a.m.
Well, we did our part and shoved off before 8:00 and headed out of town to Williams, where I ended my ride yesterday. By 9:15 Sabrina and I were on our way pedaling on County road 220. We decided to stay off the highways today as we were told last night by the County Commissioner that all the County roads were paved. So, 75+ miles in 1000 + heat really took a toll on me. I always start the day off with 2 water bottles of PowerAde. Then as we pass convenience stores, I keep equalizing the bottles and filling them with ice. Today I did that twice before I went so far of a distance with no stops that I finished all the liquids I had. Luckily Sabrina had half a bottle of warm water left that she willingly gave up for my survival. Finally, on the horizon, a Casey’s convenience store. We pull in and Sabrina does her usual ritual of asking the clerk if we can fill up our bottles with ice. She can survive on melted ice water, but not me! I’m going for the BIG BLUE SLUSHY! OMG - What a relief to have that sweet blue (who knows what flavor it is) icy drink when you’re just about as dry as a raisin. I mean I knew I was in trouble when I noticed that I wasn’t sweating any more. Ben just had skirted with dehydration yesterday and it wasn’t nearly as hot or humid as today. So, after Casey’s, off we go into the oasis of Blue Slushy. But, it was so good that within 10 miles it was all gone and I was out of fluids again and you’ll never guess what happened. “DETOUR-Road Construction 5 miles ahead” Oh No! Off we go into the unknown. How far will it take us? Well when I finally can’t go any further, I stop and Sabrina again comes to the rescue again! She still has water. So I’m panicking about dehydration and she hands me the water and says she can’ stop in the blazing sun. So she rides off into the distance while I dig through my panniers and discover – an ORANGE, a big juicy navel orange! Who cares if it’s hot? It’s so good, I forget all about the Blue Slushy and I thank God for the miraculous find. I was starting to think that I might keel over and dry up on the side of Detour road in who knows where Iowa. Well shortly after my replenishment, I’m back to pedaling and reach the detour turn sending us back to County Road 57. Sabrina is waiting there to make sure I don’t ride past in my delirium. I’ve been known to just ride blindly with my eyes focused on the road and not look at signs, so Sabrina has learned to always be one step ahead of me. Finally we reach the McDonalds in Cedar Falls and I immediately call Ben to the rescue. Sabrina has the gall to ask me if I want to ride the extra 5 miles to the campsite? And you know my answer! Ben will be here in any minute.
Well, once in camp Sabrina sets about making a delicious stir-fry dinner and shortly after dinner collapses on the bed for a quick nap. I sit down and start to record this blog when a nice couple from across the lane stop to read the Chikumbuso board I have placed out front by the truck. I explain both projects and they are very interested and the wife buys a bag and makes a contribution. She tells me not to wake Sabrina. Later that night, Ben stops by their camp and has a nice chat with them on his way back from the shower. Seems that they have some things in common as she and her son are both Mechanical Engineers, and they are also bikers. The next morning before we shove off, Sabrina gets to meet them as they ride by on their morning bike ride. They say it’s a shame that we’re too early to do the RAGBRAI ride across Iowa. They explain it’s a huge bike ride that happens every year with around 10,000 riders. They (along with hundreds of others) participate as bandits because they can only ride a couple of days and the whole event runs for a week. It’s a big deal with teams riding in theme get ups, free pie stops in all the towns, church suppers every night at various stops and quite a bit of jovial partying along the way. Sounds like a great ride and may just be the next addition to my “Bucket List.”
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Tami - The hostess with the Mostest

Rockwell City to Webster City, IA
Well, Ben and I leave Rockwell City about 11:30, with only 45 mile on Hwy 20 to deal with. It’s not too hot yet, no real humidity, light traffic and a tailwind. Well once again the two of us are burning up the road. Ben always seem to let me take the lead, so I can’t help but make it into a game and see if he can keep up to the old man. Of course he can, but taking the lead is always more tiring. So, when I start to slow down, I always ask him if he wants to go ahead, but oh no, he’s usually content to draft off me and see if I can keep it up. I don’t know if I’m the only one playing a game here, it seems like he’s messin’ with my head. Oh well, 22 miles at 17.6 mph average and we come to a point in the road where we need to stop and make a decision. As Ben pulls up behind me he says he thinks he might be getting dehydrated and is feeling dizzy. Quick, try to find some shade, oh yeah, this is Iowa, no shade to be had. So get him off his feet and get some liquids in him, and an orange. Fifteen minutes later he’s feeling OK and wants to go on. Now, the decision. Do we go on the longer Hwy 20 Business District road or the Hwy 20 divided highway. What the heck, the divided highway is better than the two lane road we’ve been on. At least it appears that way for the first 18 miles. The last 5 miles are torturous, old pavement with no shoulder and trucks zooming by at 65 mph. When we finally make it to Webster City, we both agree that we need to find a different route. We are not going back on that road! After meeting Sabrina, I travel on alone another 15 mile on old hwy 20 to Williams and call it a day.
Back in Webster City, we finally get to meet Tami, after e-mailing back and forth for over a month. What a sweetheart, being 8 months pregnant, she just has a motherly glow about her and has gone way beyond the call of duty here. Tami is pregnant with her first child and tomorrow is the Baby Shower in her hometown. Can you believe it, Tami is the outgoing President of the Webster Rotary and even with all she had going on, she put on a sumptuous reception and invited several prominent Rotarians who attended to meet us and hear about our projects! The evening was a huge success with some bag sales and of course personal donations, but more importantly we were assured the Rotary would put our projects on the meeting minutes for discussion at the next executive board meeting and that could lead to a donation directly from the Webster City Rotary. The new President showed up and was very interested in Chikumbuso, as was a State Representative and the County Commissioner. Webster City’s Rotary has some young members who are very active and that is a sign of a community on the rise. My guess is that Tami, Andy and the State Representative are all under 30 years old. Kudos to you Webster City, good luck in the future. God Bless You Tami and Andy …… and Baby!
After everyone left, Andy filled us in on his own business, and gave us some useful information about Iowa crops and their effect on the economy. He also gave us the skinny on the wind farms, explaining each farmer got an annual payment for each turbine and that most of the power produced was targeted for some other place. As we spoke, Ben noticed some terrific lightning happening out the living room window. Andy explained that this heat lightning was a regular occurrence and that it may or may not result in rain. Sure enough right after we hit the sack it came down like cats and dogs.
Thank goodness we weren’t camping in the trailer!
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Friday, July 16, 2010

South Sioux City, NE to Rockwell City, IA - Wind farms, soy beans and corn & more corn & more corn!

Today was great day. I got out of camp early (8:15) and really made good time. Today was just the opposite of the last 2 days. I started off from the campground on a bike path that went along the Missouri river and then over the bridge into Iowa. Once over the bridge, a nice lady biking with her little son in tow gave me directions on how to get onto Hwy 20. Once on that, it was a fast day with a tail wind and no humidity. Even though I stopped whenever I needed something, like ice, food, phone calls or shade; before I knew it Ben and Sabrina were pulling over and I had completed 65 miles. Once Sabrina joined me, we continued that pace, 15+ mph for the next 30 mile until we met Ben in Rockwell City, IA. We passed very close to some windmills and saw many off in the distance. They are all just standing there, spinning silently, at a very tranquil pace over a green sea of corn. When you see them for miles in all directions, it’s a very beautiful and calming site. What a wonderful undertaking which has been repeated many times over throughout all the western states we have visited. And they’re all generating electricity for the common good using Mother Nature’s power. Towns (or Cities as they seem to prefer) along Hwy 20 are usually very similar, just a gas station/convenience store, grain mill/feed store, tractor dealership/repair shop, a couple grain elevators and a City Park. Some City Parks allow camping overnight, but of course, Rockwell City Park does NOT. As we passed through on our day’s trek, we noticed that Sac City had a very nice park, Riverside Park, which advertised toilets and showers. So after making it to Rockwell City and asking the local police about camping, we headed back 17 miles to Sac City. It all comes in a day’s adventures. Once we got the trailer set up, Ben set about cooking us a delicious meal of pasta with chicken and broccoli in a garlic cream sauce. Add to that a tossed green salad and you couldn’t have asked for anything more. My compliments to the chef! Now that we’ve showered, have full bellies and are vegging out, it’s time to bid you adieux.
Tomorrow is a short day to Williams, IA only 60 or so miles and then we will backtrack a little to a reception at a Rotarians house in Webster City. She (Tami offered to put us up for the night, so no camper for the Three Musketeers tomorrow night. Wahoo! And maybe even a day of rest on Saturday. A fine way to end a great week! Wyo. to Neb. to Iowa
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ben Taylor Concert

We are past our halfway mark for our bike ride so I thought it was time for a “commercial interruption” Please bare with me. As you know the purpose of the ride is not just a family bonding trip across America. We are hoping to raise awareness and funding for Chikumbuso and World Bicycle Relief. As we get closer to Chicago, where WBR has their headquarters, we were hoping the donations would exceed the half way mark. We are just shy of that goal so if you haven’t already made a donation, this would be the perfect time. I have been thinking of the widows more than usual when the days get trying and keep in mind their optimism and praise of the blessings we have. When there is 8 miles left to bike after a long day, I think of the schoolchildren who have and will be receiving a bike and the miles seem to go by with ease. To those of you how have made a donation, some even more than one, we thank you.

The second “commercial announcement” concerns a special evening with Ben Taylor, son of James Taylor and Carly Simon. He will be performing for us on August 29 at the Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington. We are also fortunate to have Brothers McCann open for him. They performed at the winery 2 weeks ago to great applause. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the winery in person or you can call 860-535-0202. There is limited seating and we hope to sell out so please reserve your tickets today. This will be a very special event with nice silent auction items as well. We hope you can join us.

The Nebraska Finger Wave

We did it. We made it through NE, almost. We were supposed to be in Sioux City, Iowa tonight, but the campground we decided on happens to be on the NE side of the Missouri River. We can see IA right across the river and there is even a paddle wheeler casino boat tied up on the IA side. Close enough, tomorrow it’s just across the bridge and we’re in IA.
Now for a little information that we forgot to include in previous blog postings.
Thanks to Bob Stetter, the former District Governor Rotarian from Valentine, we learned how people from NE acknowledge each other when passing on the road. Rather than waving with a full open palm, you just extend your index finger and roll your wrist once. It’s amazing how many people, from old ladies in ’69 FORD Torino’s, to cowboys in pick-up trucks, speeding motorcyclists and to trailer truck drivers, will return the gesture. Thanks Bob for keeping us safe. This is NOT to be confused with the New York finger wave!
Back a few days in Chadron NE, we forgot to mention the twenty-something desk clerk at the Best Western. We were in there meeting with our host Rotarian, Matt Reeves, when she overheard our conversation about the bike ride. She asked if we were from CT and then said she used to live in Groton when her Dad was in the Navy. She lived in Groton for 8 years and left for Chadron unwillingly in her freshman year at Fitch when she was 15. Small world isn’t it? She also has cousins that live in Prestion.
Believe it or not, here in NE there are many types of wild life not commonly thought of as living in dry plains corn country. Unfortunately, these creatures have been noticed by us primarily as road kill. Would you ever think that there would be an abundance of turtles in NE? I’ve seen snapping and box turtles too numerous to count, squashed on the road! I’ve taken a personal oath to save as many turtles as I can on this trip. I’m not a marter mind you, but yesterday I took one poor box turtle to the other side of the road and today I saved two more. Luckily, I’ve yet to come across a live snapper trying to make his way across HWY 20. Now, it only makes sense that if there are turtles crossing the road from drainage culverts on one side to water on the other that there would also be this aquatic creature. You guessed it, FROGS! But, unfortunately for the frogs, and/or fortunately for me, I’m told that most of the frogs make their final passage during the night and are squashed while darting through headlights trying to eat their last supper. I don’t think I’ll be able to save too many frogs as I don’t plan on riding with my headlamp on this trip.
The east coast humidity finally caught up to us. Yesterday was overcast but the sweat was dripping off us. So much so that Sabrina’s phone in her back pocket got wet and couldn’t be used till it dried out. Ben was feeling the mugginess and ready to pack it in and go back home. Opening and closing the camper is getting old. Tami to the rescue with an offer to stay at her house in Webster City, IO, with an apology that she keeps her house very cold because she is 8 months pregnant. That brought the smile back to Ben’s face. Plus we found his camera.
Th,Th,Th,That’s All Folks !
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Middle America

Ben was sent ahead to find a place to stay, Plainview or Randolph. Since Plainview had a city park with campsites, hookups, bathrooms and a POOL, you can guess our choice. We realized we are getting closer to the east coast because of the humidity. This is the first time I have experienced sweat as we are biking. Paul and I were going to bike an extra 20 miles but once we saw the pool our plans changed. Ben read somewhere that Plainview is the friendliest town in Nebraska so we had to check it out.
The community pool was great, clean, big and with lots of kids, and yes, they were friendly. We passed a ball with a 4year old named Andrew. As we ate dinner we noticed many kids on bikes in the park and a family of kids strolling a young sibling in a baby carriage. Perhaps this was the nightly routine for some fresh air after dinner as their mom prepared dessert. Teenagers were passing a baseball on the tennis court at 10pm. Yes, I’d say a nice town.
This morning we met a couple from Colorado on their way to Minnesota. Paul noticed their bikes so gave them some WBR stickers and Bonnie promptly made a donation after hearing about our cause. The only bad news to report..Ben’s “lost” camera.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Valentine- The Heart City

Today we’ll start off with a little bad news. Not really bad, trying is probably a better adjective. Like we were told, the flats can be the hardest riding if you have a headwind, and today we experienced it first hand on our ride. The first 38 miles out of Valentine were kind of slow, rolling hills with a noticeable shifting breeze, not too bad. But after a lunch stop, when Sabrina joined me, it really turned into a constant 12-15 mph headwind. The problem is that when you’re on the flats, there’s no break in the pedaling, no down hills to coast on. So, it a constant struggle on your legs to keep pumping. We averaged 11.2 mph over 91 miles. A lot different than the 16.6 Ben and I did into Merriman!
Now the good news! Rotarians rock! Today we were blessed to make the acquaintance of another super Rotarian. Bob is a past District Governor for this area and what an interesting and friendly guy. Even though he had a family gathering going on Sunday, he made time to meet with Sabrina and Ben and he even arranged for our campsite. He wanted to hear more about the projects, so he graciously invited us to breakfast the next morning and was really interested in showing us his town and giving us some background and some family history. We went around town for a couple photo ops, one in front of a heart (this is Valentine you know, and we learned you can have your Valentine’s Day cards stamped from this town) and then we headed to take a picture on a bridge. The bridge was a former rail road bridge but has been converted into a walking/ biking trail, the Cowboy Trail. The path was finely crushed stone so my bike could have handled it fine, but again Sabrina’s skinny tires wouldn’t work. So we stayed on US 20 all the way, even though the Cowboy Trail ends up across the street from the camp ground. Anyways, I headed off for my ride while Ben and Sabrina got taken around by Bob. They learned about the area, his Ranching days, and the fire that got a little too close for comfort. A few years ago there was a big forest fire in Valentine and it got within a ½ mile of their home. It would have gotten closer if it weren’t for the bomber that dropped a strip of fire retardant in front of their house. They had a nice talk with Bob’s wife, and she picked out a bag, while Bob was busy making photo copies of our flyers because we were running low. Thanks again Bob.

There’s No Such Thing as Coincidence

Karma ? Manifest destiny? Spiritual intervention? Did you ever wonder why some things happen? It’s cool, sometimes kind of freaky, but you know it just can’t be coincidence, right? Faith I tell you, you gotta have faith and let it take you where it leads you. Well today was one of those days. Do you remember yesterday, Ben and I were cruisin’, I mean we did the 75 miles from Chadron to Merriman in record time. We aver aged 16.6 mph, but the last 4 mile we ran into a strong headwind that knocked us down from 17+ mph. Remember we then went to the rodeo back in Chadron and had a great time? Well, jump back to the ride to Merriman. About 10 miles outside Merriman we pass this young guy walking and pushing a kart on the other side of the road and I yell out a friendly “hello” and keep pedaling along on my merry way. Ben catches up to me and I ask, “What do you think that guy’s doing walking way out here?” Ben answers, “Maybe he’s walking across the country.” Yeah, right, I think sarcastically to myself, walking across the country. Probably picking up cans and garbage I think. How dumb am I? Who would be walking in the middle of Nebraska picking up garbage? So now we’re driving back to Chadron and we pass this guy walking and again I’m friendly and toot the horn and wave. After our big night out at rodeo, we get back to the camper about 11:30, dead tire and we still have to set it up before we can crash for the night. Guess who’s camping out in the city park? You’re right, it’s the walking dude, he set up camp under the pavilion, a pretty sweet set up.
In the morning I’m up early and getting ready to bike out of camp before anyone else gets up like; wait, did I tell you the new arrangement Ben came up with? Because I’ve been kind of anal about getting an early start, Ben and Sabrina figure that I should just get up and go and then once they arise in their own sweet time, have breakfast and packed up the camper, they can just catch up to me and whoever wants to ride, can join on the ride wherever! Now, back to the story. Sabrina wakes and is so considerate, she has to feed me breakfast before I leave. Who am I to refuse a free meal? So, next thing I know, she’s cooking, Ben’s up and I’m repairing a flat tire on Sabrina’s bike. NOW the good part, remember the coincidence thing from the beginning? Come on now, stay with the story. The walking dude is up and moving about, so I’m feeling neighborly and go over to introduce myself and ask if he wants some breakfast. Francis, I learn IS walking coast-to-coast! OMG! And he’s going from Oregon to Boston! Seventy-two days on the road and not due into Boston until October. He’s worn out 4 pair of shoes and can’t wait to get the next care package from his Mom with new sneakers. This young man is quite amazing and has had many life experiences that hit home with us and our perspective on helping other people in need. He has work with Habitat for Humanity in Botswana and done volunteer work in Haiti. We exchange contact info, take pictures and share 2 oranges with him for his trip (he wouldn’t take any more). Francis is a very special walking dude on a spiritual journey.
So, now it’s 10:45 before I’m on the bike heading for Valentine. Again, the best laid plans of mice and men. But, today the delay was worth it and I’m learning that somethings are just meant to happen. I know Francis will show up again somewhere in our future. The ride to Valentine (60 miles) is pretty easy with only a slight headwind to slow me. Sabrina and Ben pass me and drop off a sandwich, explaining that they are travelling on to Valentine to meet Bob, another Rotarian, and set up at camp. Sabrina returns later in the day to finish the last 25 miles with me and we have a great time reminiscing about Francis. Earlier in the day I came across 2 other bikers riding from Chicago to San Francisco. They were both named Ryan, and were relocating Ryan1 to a new job in S.F. while Ryan2 will be flying back to Chicago after the trip; he’s just along for the ride. They, like us, were fundraising. Their project is a cycling project that is funding solar panels for schools. I explain that I went solar last year and explained the CT Solar Lease Program. We had a nice chat, exchanged info. And I told them where they could meet Francis (he was staying put in Merriman for a rest day) and use the restroom facilities or maybe even camp in the city park. Just another amazing day in journey for a better world and meeting more wonderful people along the way.
Check out Francis’ story on: http://www.mywalkhome.com/
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back to Chadron we go, FOR THE RODEO

Since I would be the support driver for the day I decided to support the local Rotary club by running in their annual race. It started at 8 so Paul dropped me off to go back to break camp. It was a walk, 5k and 10 k race that was called the Colter Run, named after a famous trapper, John Colter. One of the fur traders in costume sang the story of Colter, a great story. He was a trapper and member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who was caught by the Blackfeet Indians, stripped naked and was given a head start to out run them, which he did. He was also the first white man to set eyes on Yellowstone Park, then called Colter’s Hell because nobody believe what he said he saw there. It was a hot and hilly run but I managed to place 1st for 50 year olds in the 10k and will proudly wear my t-shirt and medal. Ben and Paul had a fast ride to Merriman, our next stop. The scenic by-way has rolling hills and long stretches of road that you can see for miles. The first corn fields I saw in Nebraska so far, most notable are the many windmills throughout the fields. Paul and Ben finished in record time so we decided to finally catch a rodeo, back to Chadron we go. We found a town park to camp for the night in Merriman, toilet and showers, we are all set. The rodeo was all that you would expect, barrel racing, bareback bucking, saddle bronc, kids stick horse racing and calf chase and of course, bull riding. One cowboy got his hand stuck and was dragged around the fence, face bleeding but sent away with applause as he left in the ambulance. That was our cue to call it a night, catch a bite to eat at McDonald’s(internet) and back to Merriman.

Wanna Throw some tomahawks?

Ben was looking for some company(we are REALLY missing Wayne and Mom) so we decided to have Paul ride solo so Ben and I could take part of the Fur Trade Days Celebration in Chadron. Once again the plans to get an early start were interrupted by a friendly camper from Nebraska who noticed we were from CT. He and his wife stayed in CT for 9 months in Strattford while he worked as a private contractor. We had a nice long chat and would have talked more but his wife didn’t know he stopped by. Later as they passed in their truck she yelled a “hello” and said if she was with him they would have stayed even longer, nice people, we hope to see them when they visit Ct again. At the bath house I met another friendly camper, Bev, visiting from Minnesota for a school reunion. We saw that they were camped across from us so I HAD to show her some Chikumbuso bags, of which she purchased 2 for her computer. So a morning start turned into about 1:15 for Paul. Ben and I went into town and asked where we could find the Fur Trader’s Rendezvous. We turned onto a dirt road (all the side roads in Nebraska seem to be dirt) and traveled 3 miles when we got the call from Paul, he was done. Well we were curious how much longer we had to travel so we told Paul to wait at the Fur trader’s Museum. Five more miles, onto roads just a bit better than Ng’ombe, we were deep in the woods. W here else would you find fur trappers? The camp was very similar to the camps of the 5th CT, a civil war group that Paul and Wayne belonged to 15 years ago. There were 20 or so tents and teepees and a “store” where the trappers could get supplies. In front I noticed bags that looked like they came from Africa. Yup, the merchant’s wife purchased them to help support a women’s project there. Just when we were about to leave, Ben was approached by a young boy of 9 in full costume (accept for his shorts). He was carrying 2 tomahawks and asked Ben, “Wanna throw some tomahawks?” Ben declined but, Isaac was happy to show us his skill. He also offered me a rock (sandstone or limestone) which I graciously accepted and another one he offered which I will give to Wayne. An hour later we met Paul and back to the campground where Ben prepared his first campfire dinner, steak, potatoes, beans and cornbread. Yum!


Hello Nebraska

Callie-Jean and Beth have to be in Washington by Friday night so they had to leave us in the morning. We also decided to not take our rest day in Lusk, but rather to continue on to Chadron, NE where Sabrina was scheduled to talk with the rotary at their 12:00 meeting . We packed up the camper fast, too fast actually, and we forgot to do a lot of the steps so we had to redo things before we could leave. C’est la vie, when you’re in a hurry. Consequently, we were running behind schedule as we drove to Chadron, NE. Half way there we practically had a coronary attach when we considered that there might be a time change involved and we might be rushing and still be one hour+ late ! OMG Sabrina jumped on the phone and called ahead to confirm the time and thank goodness, we had over reacted. The time change wasn’t until the middle of NE. So, 85 miles later we pull into the Country Kitchen only 10 minutes late, but right on time to step into the buffet line before the meeting started. Timing is everything. Sabrina kept it short and sweet because we were an addition to the scheduled meeting and since this was the 125th anniversary celebration weekend in Chadron, they had a lot to talk about. The Rotary was coordinating several events, teenage scavenger hunt, walking tours of the newly developed historic district walking trail and the Colter run, consisting of a 5K & 10K race and two mile walking race. Of course Sabrina’s eyes lit up and she registered for the 10K race. She must support the local Rotary, even if she’s dead tired from bike riding and not sleeping well. This is the Sabrina we all know and love. After the formal meeting adjourned, we got to meet and talk to some of the members. I was lucky enough to strike up a conversation with a fellow biker, one George Leadbetter, editor of the Chadron Record. We didn’t get much time to talk as he needed to leave but I think we have similar views on the importance of experiencing other cultures throughout the world to better understand them and foster global tolerance because we’re all people of the same world. After our talk it dawned on me that George was in a perfect position to help us raise awareness of the Chikumbuso project and WBR through his paper. I called him and suggested doing an article and he seemed supportive, so we e-mailed him all the information we had and hopefully it will get into his paper, although we’ll probably be In Illinois by then. After the meeting , Matt, the new president of Chadron Rotary, arranged for us to stay in the local state park and discussed making a donation from the club. After dropping off the trailer, it was back to Lusk to start the day’s ride, at 4:00! Ben stayed at the drop off point in Lusk and just chilled out until it was time to pick us up. Well it was really nice riding and we made good time, so Ben picked us up at about 7:45 and we’d covered 45 miles. Rt 20 is a great road with many historical points of interest. We passed the area where cattle were driven from Texas to WY and MT to replenish the dwindling buffalo herd. We followed the trains, with dozens of carts filled with coal from WY with friendly conductors honking a “hello.” Just before we crossed into Nebraska, we stopped at the first American Legion Post in Van Tassel. I’ll finish the last 40 into Chadron tomorrow. We made it back to camp around 9:30 to a dinner of toasted tuna sandwiches and the last of the corn chips and salsa. Thank God the Rotarians fed us a great lunch! It was another beautiful morning with lots of good memories and a few good contacts for the cause.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Riverton to Casper WY - Business Before Pleasure

July 5 - Sabrina is the consummate fundraiser. No matter what time of day or night, business comes before pleasure. We were all ready to hit the road, finally at 9:50 and as we rode out of the Kampground, the phone rings. Twenty minutes later, we did actually leave. About 1 mile later, Ben and Wayne drove by us, trailer packed and in tow.
What a hoot! Fourth of July in Riverton and we stayed at we stayed at Owl Creek Kampground, the second KOA ever, hence the K in Kampground. But, it's no longer KOA affiliated, so we got the whole story from the current owner. She's the hoot. She was a chef for Marriot in N.Y. and then they sent her to CA. She and her ex bought the Owl Creek after making a bundle in the property boom in CA. Her Harley still has CA plate although they may be expired! You get the picture. Nice place, definitely a basic clean campground, for campers not an RV park. The thing we liked best was that they have fire pits for open campfires. RV parks don't need those! DUMB! So, off we went for 80 miles of NOTHING but long gradual hills (who said it was downhill from Riverton to Casper?) and antelope. Meanwhile, Ben and Wayne were off to Thermopolis and a hot springs spa! So unfair!
Well, Sabrina and I pulled into this historical site, Hell's half acre, which we couldn't even see from road level on a bike, so I almost rode by it. Off the parking lot we see it, 320 acres of cavern that looks similar to the Bad Lands. But as you rode by on the road, you didn't even see it. Here, Sabrina received a follow up phone call confirming our Rotarian hosts for the night in Casper. Oh no, it's 5:00 and we still have 40 miles to Casper and dinner at Don and Hallie Harris' home. These Rotarian are simply marvelous, they treated us like family and after two nights in their home we feel like they are family. The most gracious and giving people you would ever think you could find in the whole world. They were the epitome of their motto, "Others before self."

God save the Queen, in drove Ben and Wayne. Our knights in shining armor. We just loaded up the bikes and drove to Casper and arrived at our host's in time for dinner. The next morning we drove back 42 miles and Wayne and I bucked 15 mph headwinds as we rode into Casper under threatening, gray cloud cover. Wayne was talked into riding Sabrina's bike instead of Ben's and boy did he regret it. Compared to Ben's Roubaix, Sabrina's bike is a tank. Oh well, making memories and sore butts. Well this half day ride gave Sabrina time to talk at a gathering of key people invited by the new Rotary president and also time for us time to see the National Trails Interpretive Center in Casper and boy was it worth it. It told us of the history of the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, the Overland Trail, and the Pony Express. Not only was the facility totally self explaining, but after the video presentation, we received a guided tour by a most knowledgeable guide, who was familiar with the history of the area. He was a retired history teacher of 28 years and he gave us the in depth info. That answered practically all our questions.
Sadly, that night we had to bid ado to Wayne. On the 11:00 Grayhound out of Casper, he left us to go back to work in CT.

Keep Them Wheels a Rollin'

Rendezvous with Beth and Callie-Jean

Before we left Casper, we got a look at one of the Rotary’s projects. They were able to build an amazing playground in less than a week and it has been well loved ever since. Don guided us out of the city to start the morning ride and while we were in the car, Mom got a call from the rotary in Douglas. The word has been getting out and we were invited to speak for a couple of minutes because there was already a program set up. So about 30 miles up the road I waited for Mom and Dad to make their way on the bikes and Mom got in the truck so we wouldn’t be late. We really didn’t want to leave Dad alone to ride on the highway (again the only way between two places) so I found on the GPS the route he should take to most avoid 75mph traffic. We drove ahead to check the route, and good thing. The road I put dad on, the only other road besides the hwy, turned into a dirt road, then ended. That’s no good. We called Dad and told him there was no other choice but the highway. Before we go on the on ramp we saw a couple riding self sustained. We stopped and talked with them and see if they were also forced to ride on the interstate. They were from Norway and were traveling from Seattle to Boston, hoping to get there by Aug 1. Me and Mom said good luck and continued on to the Douglas rotary meeting. After the presentation, we met up with Dad, who had met the Norwegians on the hwy, and we planned out the remainder of our route to Lusk. Again we chose a county road to cut off miles on the 100+ day. And again the road turned to a 15 mile dirt road. But because Dad has a big bike with wide tires, he decided to continue on it. Neither mine nor Mom’s bikes could have withstood the road. We passed over gently rolling hills and saw scenery different from the Wyoming we have been experiencing. We got held up by a herd of cattle that were eventually kind enough to share the road with us, some pronghorn antelope and a few trucks. We eventually ended up back on a main road. Getting closer to Lusk we passed through Lost Springs, population 1. Wait, what? One person we turned around to snap a photo and there looked like there was more than one building for a town with pop 1. Anyways, we were meeting up with Callie-Jean and Beth so we got a hold of them and told them we were pulling into the campground. Mom got out to check out the bathrooms at the self-service campground and a sign on the door read “this door is locked, don’t even try.” I guess we aren’t going to stay here. We called the girls to say we’re going to the other campground in town and asking if we could pitch their tent by our popup. When we got there, they were all booked up. This weekend is the Legends of Rawhide in Lusk, an annual event that features all of the old west. When I googled Lusk, WY the only things that came up were Rawhide and that they have the only known monument to a prostitute, Lady Featherlegs. Beth had also read about her and told us all about how she died; she was killed by Dangerous Dan for the money and jewels she would hide for him and other outlaws. Beth and Callie-Jean stopped at a coffee shop where their claim to fame was that they served the last meal to a teenaged serial killer that was captured in Douglas. So we spent the night in the bathroom less campground, which didn’t have water for a good couple of hours, and made the best of it. Luckily there was a WY state rest area across the road that we could use. We read the sign outside and the rest area and a Fun Fact: Ladybird Johnson (one of Mary Fisher’s good friends, a Chikumbuso connection) wanted to make the highways more appealing, so the Highway Beautification Act was signed and this was the first rest area built in Wyoming.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wayne finds Gold!

After the beautiful day of sights yesterday, Wayne and Ben decided to split the day biking. Wayne as usual was trying to get us moving for an early start but the couple from North Carolina visited us in the morning and Richard mentioned plastic litter so of course I had to show them the Chikumbuso bags. Norma bought one and Richard promptly put a World Bicycle Relief sticker on their truck. The delay gave Wayne the chance to look down on the ground for rocks and he found a small white pebble with a fleck of gold!?!

We left Ben still doosing in the camper, Wayne in the lead searching for more rocks. We followed the fast moving Wind River with the backdrop of the painted hills. The views continued for about 3 miles and yes Wayne found 2 more beautiful rocks each weighing about 5lbs each. He put one in his pocket and one in my front pouch and we travel 40 more miles in head winds and hilly terrain. Wayne was very happy to see Ben at the rest stop at the half way point. We traveled through the Wind River Indian Reservation and passed the Crowheart Butte were a battle took place between the Shoshoni and the Crow in the 1800's over land rights. We saw many horses along the way, one house had 2 standing next to the garage door, like parked cars. That would have been a great picture if I had the camera.

Ben decided to stay with Wayne to find the camp site and help with our 4th of July feast, fried chicken, corn on the cobb, macaroni salad and watermellon for dessert(no room) Since the fire was hot, they made some cornbread for the morning. Can't wait. Tomorrow 120 miles to Casper, we'll see how far we get after 87 miles today and 90 yesterday.

WOW, Way cool Wyoming

I might say this was THE Most Beautiful Ride Ever. The scenery was just magnificent, there was wild life a plenty, wild flowers too beautiful to describe and we met many interesting people to add to our memories. Since pictures speak louder than words, you’ll just have to view the hundreds of pictures we’ve added to the blog for yesterday! I almost don’t know where to begin, there are sooo many things to talk about. The campground we stayed in Jackson looked like a motor home city for the rich and famous; with us po’ folks tucked neatly into the outer fringes just where we belong. The one vehicle that did absolutely stand out was the Jelly Belly mobile. Yes, that’s right, the Jelly Belly mobile that supports the Jelly Belly sponsored bicycle race team. They were on the road promoting their Jelly Belly energy beans designed especially as a sports activity energy supply. Of course, Sabrina introduced herself and started the conversation. Would you believe we met one of their cyclists, Jeremy Powers, mom at a friend’s barbecue? Last summer at the McCarthy’s house in Waterford. We were treated to a ton of sample packs, post cards and Jelly Belly team water bottles, signed by Jeremy and the whole team. Well, we hope to garnish some support for our projects from this connection. Off we go, into the center of town to the Elk Horn Arches in the park and then we hit the road. The night before we went out for ice cream and mom asked what way we were going in the morning, all of our fingers pointed in different directions, and guess who was right. Ben. Good thing he’s here or else who knows where we would end up. After taking our picture in front of hundreds of elk antlers we made our way north skirting the Grand Teton National park. All along the way the scenery got better and better. Sabrina came across some yellow wildflowers that she recognized as a plant she had bought, flower unseen from the Polly Hill Arboretum in Martha's Vineyard. Going through the park we got an up close view of two elk, walked through a real homesteader’s cabin, and saw a herd of wild Buffalo. Even after we left the park and started our 15+mile assent of the Continental divide, we kept getting nicer views of the Tetons and the Jackson Hole Valley. It was a long way up and road construction didn’t help. For three miles near the top was an unpaved section. The last 1/8 of a mile was all Ben walked and that was only because the ground was too loose for his skinny road tires. And because of that road construction, there was no monumental “CONTINENTAL DIVIDE” sign. Oh well, Uncle Wayne was waiting for us at the top to get a shot. All around us were patches of snow and we were able to get a beautiful shot of a mountain top lake fed by snow melt. Now comes the fun part, downhill. It was easy riding but the roads looked like they could have used some work. There were lots of cracks and holes to avoid. Now, just a little lesson about driving with bikes on the road. We are usually paying close attention to our rear view mirrors, but in poor road conditions we are watching the road surface. And when we are going downhill, we are not enclosed in a shell so the wind is really loud and we can’t always hear cars approaching. So if there is room, just give bikes a wide birth. And don’t, I repeat DON’T, honk at us. Ben almost died coming down that hill. It took Ben a couple miles to slow down his heart after the blast. Anyways, there were beautiful views all the way down, but Ben was a little too preoccupied to stop and take pictures. Just when we were about done there were more views, the painted hills of Dubois, so we had to stop for even more pictures. In camp we had a great dinner and shared desert with a couple from Holland making their way from east to west. They get up early, before 5am, to beat the winds. Good thing we’re going west to east, we don’t usually get on the road until at least 9:00. We also met another friendly couple from North Carolina, Richard and Norma, who had seen us several times during the day from Jackson Hole to Dubois, who were very interested in Chikumbuso and World Bicycle Relief, they even bought bags and contributed to the causes.
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Two for One Ride

Well after arriving in Idaho Falls at Aunt Evelyn’s house early on the 28th and having two more complete days off, it was rather difficult to face a long days ride into Jackson, WY. After not too much discussion, it was decided that we would split up the 87 mile ride into 2 days by rationalizing that this way we could spend more time with family. So, at the mini-family reunion hosted by Evelyn, we announced to Aunt Sharon and Uncle Bob our intentions and were immediately invited for dinner. I must admit that it was really Sabrina’s idea and once again, it defiantly turn out to be a wise decision. Now that we’ve arrived in Jackson Hole, THERE IS NO WAY THAT WE WOULD HAVE MADE THE TRIP IN ONE DAY! The first day we rode to Swan Valley, about 40 mile and a gradual uphill all the way. Uphill would have been no problem, but with a strong headwind for the last 30 miles, I couldn’t imagine having to go 47 more miles after that. So, I guess I kind of jumped ahead by complaining about the last 30 miles when the first 10 were enough to make us think twice about completing the days ride, road construction on Rt. 26 out of Idaho Falls. Did I say construction? I meant DESTRUCTION. No road surface on our side and only a partial hard surface coming the other way. They warned us with “Loose Gravel” signs, but that description didn’t do it justice. We really had to ride in one of the tire ruts and just let the cars back up behind us. We couldn’t get out of the rut without stopping because the gravel on the shoulder was too soft to ride. Honk, Honk went the trucks when they got tired of waiting, but that was polite. Some cars choose to speed past and practically push you out of the rut. Sabrina had a severe case of white knuckles by the time the destruction ended. Finally, 10 miles out from Swan Valley we gave Wayne the “PICK US UP” call and were happy to hear that he was only 12 miles behind us. And true to form, Wayne drove right past us about 4 miles out of town and continued into the Swan Valley general store at the intersection with Rt. 31 that we would start the next day’s climb at. It’s a good thing he did, as Sabrina and I had our first moose sighting. Yes, just down the bank from us there was a moose cow just standing in the Snake River looking up at us. This was after we had forged the Snake River on a bridge that gave us the most beautiful view of the Tetons as a backdrop to the river. What a magnificent way to end an otherwise trying ride. Life is Good!
Today started off rather sadly, having to say good bye to Aunt Evelyn and Idaho Falls, not to mention that we left Charlotte there until her return to CT on Saturday. It was really great having her along. Now the crew is down to 4. Well, back to Swan Valley to pick up where we left off yesterday. We no more than sat on the bikes than we started the accent to Teton Pass. I mean the first pedal was a struggle and every one after that for about 20 miles before a downhill grade. Then on through Victor, ID to the WY border. Welcome to Wyoming the sign read. Right behind it was another that warned, “Steep uphill – 10% grade.” And if that wasn’t enough, there was another fluorescent orange sign warning “Caution Road Work - Next 5 miles.” Great ! We can’t catch a break ! Oh, did I mention the headwinds ? No, the gods decreed, “No-one will ride over the Mighty Teton Pass today.” And so we all pushed as hard as we could before succumbing to miles of 10% grade. It was like the Cossaduck Hill that never ended. Finally I quit and waited for Ben and Sabrina to catch up and we walked our bikes to the summit as a family. Only Sabrina was offered a ride by a young guy in a pick-up, but since she was within sight of Ben and me, she graciously declined while pointing to the two of us waiting up ahead. When we reached the summit, Wayne was waiting there, resting after his long hike up to the snow line. What a glorious view, the splendor of the majestic Tetons all around us and beautiful Jackson down in the valley below. It was worth every ounce of energy exerted to be able to experience this, not to mention the Sabrina and Ben spotted 2 elk on the hillside and I saw 2 bald eagle soaring and screeching high above us. Well, a few snap shots for the records books and on to the decent. Now the sign read another warning, “Steep downhill next 5 miles – 10% grade.” Wee ! Just be careful not to melt the brakes on the rims. We stopped once for a photo opportunity and decided to stay a little longer because we could smell the brakes burning and the rims we pretty hot. Thank God we finally arrived in Jackson in one piece with lots of great memories. Two states down and 11 more to experience. Wayne found a nice campground right in Jackson, chili for dinner and we are going out on the town tonight !
Keep Them Wheels a Rollin’