Spartans Forever

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ready for the DALMAC

The bikes have been unloaded and cleaned, chains lubed and tires inflated ready for the DALMAC.  The gear is on the truck and not on the bike.  The overnight stops and eating places have been predetermined.  Planning is done.  We'll arrive at Sault Ste. Marie Sunday afternoon  completing our tour from Galveston Bay to the Canadian border.  On the way we will stay at Shepard, Lake City, Central Lake, and Pelston.  Can't wait to get back on the bike tomorrow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Once again we have had good fortune. Friday we rode in picture perfect weather, blue sky, minimal wind, temps in the high seventies to low eighties.  We had intended to ride a 35 mile ride which turned into a 71 mile ride.  We had intended to camp but the two campgrounds we came to were not really to our liking so we decided to move on.  We came to Vermontville where two women graciously tried to help us find a place to stay.  They located a Christian camp outside of town that said we could camp there.  This location sent us down a gravel road with gravel so deep that even the tryke could not make it through.  So both of us are pushing bikes down the road.  Not only are we pushing bikes, but doing it in clouds of mosquitos.  For our southern friends who believe only you have mosquitos, not so.  By this time the sun is on a downward curve, and tempers are short.  We looked at each other and decided this is nuts. The great out doors is not looking so good. We retreated down the road and rode to Charlotte, the nearest place for a motel.  This left us with only a 36 mile ride to Lansing.  The closer we got to our destination the cloudier it became.  Sound familiar?  We arrived at Doug's mother's house in time to have a wonderful celebration with champagne, cake and messages, friends and relative before the heavens opened up and a storm roared through.
We learned that not only is southern Michigan beautiful but also very hilly.  For the most part fun hills.  Maybe you have to move away to realize what has been there all the time.  Eveything is so green and clean looking and the trees are so big!  Everything is bigger in Texas except the trees and mosquitos.
We will be in Lansing until August 31 when we will joining the DALMAC ride to complete our border to border cycling tour.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Entering Michigan Once


Today we are relaxing at our daughter's house in Kalamazoo, where she promised me two ply tp.  It is the little things in life that make a difference.  We arrived after a two day ride from Warsaw through the immaculate fields and farms of the Amish.  Gotta love the Amish!  We rode over 20 miles up highway 5 with shoulders wide enough to accommodate their carriages.  One minor problem they are horse drawn carriages.
We were not aware of the town of Shipshewanna in the heart of Amish country.  This is the merchantile capital for the area Amish. The imbrasion of capitalism was more than evident.  This was a busy and very congested area where you could buy funiture, iron works, leather goods, quilts, home made fresh and canned goods, eat at a variety of restaurants, sleep in a variety of inns.  We were not aware of this town but it seems to be popular for miles around.  The couple in the motel room next to us came over from Ontario to go to Shipshe as we saw it shortened.
We celebrated as we entered Michigan the first time--there was no sign but the first people we saw when we felt we had entered the state confirmed we had crossed the state line and offered to take our picture.  We had planned to stay in Sturgis, MI but learned we needed to go back to Indiana to get a motel.  We liked celebrating entering Michigan so much that we did it twice.
Kim has been a wonderful hostess.  The best thing was the corn on the cob cooked on the grill along with pork chops. We had ridden past many produce stands with corn on the cob for sale and it sounded so good.
Today we had a visit from one of my school mates, Bill Mollema, from K thru 12. I knew him best when he was still Billy.  It was a fun visit!  We have done laundry once again and will leave tomorrow heading towards Lansing making it a two day trip.  Tenting tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Warsaw, IN

The best piece of equipment that we have is our Dinotti lights front and back.  As we have traveled along we have had many comments about them.  One of my favorites was the driver of the 18 wheeler who slowed down beside us and yelled out his window that he could really see us.  However, my very favorite was the driver of a tanker truck who we met up with at a quick stop as he was loading fuel.  He had commented to Doug about how well he could see us.  Then while they were talking a guy on a motorcycle pulled in and the tanker driver commented to him about how great our lights were.  Motorcycle guy insisted that they were not as good as his.  The tanker driver said that he would bet him $100 dollars that they were.  Motorcycle guy was greatly insulted!  He drove away discussed.
The storm that hit Indianapolis passed through Iraquois, IN where we were before it reached Indianapolis.  As has been the case for most of our trip, we were very lucky.  Our instructions for Iraquois were to call the Mayor, Jack Karr to stay in the city park.  We thought we were calling for permission to put up our tent.  We thought that we would possibly have a water faucett for water and we were hoping for a picnic table.  You can imagine our surprise when they offered us an air conditioned room, not only indoor plumbing, but a hot shower, fluffy towels, and indoor storage for our bikes.  Yeah! Iraquois.  Thank you to Joe and Carla who on very short notice readied the facility.  We were just about settled in when the storm hit. Good night not to be in a tent.  Also, this town of only 250 people has a wonderful restaurant where I had a meal that is tied for my number 2 spot for favorite meals on the trip.  It was a meal of mouth watering prime rib.
Last night after riding 78 miles we arrived at a campground in the absolute middle of no where on a very small lake.  There were six or seven camper trailers there, campground full, but no one around.  We found a spot of ground and made ourselves at home.  We did have indoor plumbing and a shower.  The sign said "Bicyclists Welcome".  We believed it.  Doug had worked his map reading skills well to get us there. Over the years I know to trust his abilities.  After 78 miles, mistakes were not an option.
Tomorrow, we plan to enter Michigan.  Yeah!  Until yesterday, wind had not been a factor for our travel.  Just when we could benefit from a south wind the wind has shifted to the north.  Yesterday was really windy but we went mostly east dodging rain clouds, sprinkles and rain.  Zero % chance of rain.  When we came out from behind the corn the gusts blew me sideways at times.  I'll take the wind over flats,  2 so far.  Next blog from Kalamazoo where we will be visiting our daughter, Kim.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Evening in Paris

Rejoice tofu lovers!  After riding through about 200 miles of Illinois through nothing but corn and soy bean fields, it looks like a bumper crop of each.
To our Texas followers, read it and weep.  74 degrees last night at 5:00p.m.  This morning the temps were in the low 60's, jacket weather, todays high was in the low 80's.
Our destination today was Lincoln Trail State Park, however, we were there too early and it was a beautiful riding day so we continued on to Paris and a motel.  We seem to be finding more excuses or opportunities for moteling it.  However, tomorrow we intend to stay at Kick-a-poo State Park.  We like the sound of it.
Last night we had a wonderful visit with The Brickers the parents of Jen of Jen and Nate.  We have known of each other for years and it was great to put faces with names.  We slept in their new camper,quit lovely with all the trains, bells and whistles.  Neither of us had ever slept in one.  They took us to dinner and fed us a great breakfast and sent us on our way.  It was all great fun!
Sharon Bricker did our laundry.  This is the third time we've done laundry, the first time we didn't have soap.
The only time we have used our swim suits is to do laundry so we could wash all of our clothes, because when we have had a motel with a pool we have gone in in our riding clothes.  I figure that a little clorine might be good treatment for anything that we may be harboring in our clothing.  We do wash our days clothes each night in case anyone is wondering how ripe we are.  Now we are pretty fresh.
We started out our trip going under I-10  today we went under I-70.  That gives us a real feeling of progress as we head north across the nation.
Need to get on with my evening in Paris.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We're back

Blog followers we are back after hiding out in a cabin in Illinois Cave in Rock State Park.  We were celebrating being out of the South and in the mid-west.  Granted we were not far into Illinois.  The cabin was high on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River and all we saw looking from our porch was Kentucky.  But hay we were on the north side of the river and feeling quite proud of ourselves.  We had left Grand Rivers, Ky. after checking the weather radar because the local weather was predicting rain all day.  We decided to believe what we were seeing on radar which turned out to be a good decision.  We rode in cloud cover all morning and some sprinkles when we came to the mother of all hills.  We rode 57miles without any services.  In the town of Joy we expected to find food.  But that was not to be.  We needed water.  There was a man standng along the road waving to passersby.  We learned that this was Mr. Lemon.  I asked him if he had a water spikette.  He said that he had city water and to come in and he would give us some.  We don't know if he had running water or not but he filled up our water bottles from gallon jugs.  How his house was standing was a mystery.  I don't believe Mr. Lemon had ever thrown anything away.  His front room consisted of his bed which sat up on a platform, a light and many collectables.  The air was air-conditioned and had no bad smells.  I'm sensitive to smells.  We found Mr. Lemon very interesting. To get into Illinois required a ferry.  Our first and probably last ferry boat crossing.
Fortunatley, we were at Cave in Rock last weekend because they are expecting 10,000 people to converge on them beging Aug.11 for the annual meeting of the Juggalos.  Charlie Sheen is supposed to be one of the presenters at the

Friday, August 5, 2011

Close to the legitimate mid-west

Tomorrow we expect to cross the Ohio River by ferry and spend the night in Illinois at the Cave in the Rock State Park.
Once again we have had a very fortunate day.  We crawled out of our tent at Rushing Creek campground along the Land Between the Lakes and packed up a dry tent.  We had been riding about two miles when we came to places where significant amounts of rain had fallen.  As we approached The Golden Pond information center about twelve miles up the road, we were trying to out run a violent storm.  We made it to the center about three minutes before the heavens opened up.  We stayed there about 1and 1/2 hours before heading out in the sprinkles.  As we approached the village of Grand Rivers the air became oppressive and the sky was once again looking menacing.  We were headed for a campground but decided a motel would be in order.  Only one problem.  There are big boat races on Kentucky Lake this weekend.  We have managed to find a room but if the weather is bad tomorrow, this room probably would not be available.  Once again we were here about five minutes before the heavens opened up.
Today I replaced my brake pads.  The downhills in Tenn. scared me to death!  They were steep, curvy and shaded, but for the most part a good road surface.
FYI the next tour you may see me on a tryke.  Doug has pedaled up every hill we have come to.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Waverly, Tenn.

All of you who continue to pray for our safety and well-being keep up the good work.  Once again what we needed happened.
We started out our morning with our new friend Shelah Sandefer bringing us goodies for the ride; hard boiled eggs, home made peanutbutter cookies, peanutbutter, jelly, and wholesome bread.  What a treat!  It served for breakfast and our mid-morning coffee break.
The roads today were fun with two killer hills, but the fun out weighed the bad.  We wheeled into Bucksnort, Tenn. in mid-morning.  At the quick stop we were told that finding lodging any where in the area would be difficult.  It turns out that there are 25,000 people here for a national motocross competition.  We had concidered staying at the Lorretta Lynn Ranch, but that is the headquarters for the competition.  So we called the only motel for miles.  At first he had no rooms, but it seems that he has a soft spot for bicyclists--all of a sudden he had a room.  Yea!  We only rode a short distance today, but other lodging was too far for us.  Today was the first day that we really felt the heat.  We were in our air-conditioned motel, very pricey room, by 2:00.
Heading out early tomorrow and looking forward to The Land Between the Lakes.  We should be camping for the next 5 or 6 nights.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Centerville, Tenn.

This evening finds us in Centerville, Tenn.  The home of Minnie Pearl.  As I was riding along today I realized that every day something has happened to make each day special.  Maybe with the exception of the day in the motel when the weather forecast was for 80% chance of rain when we chose not to ride.  It did not rain until 6:00p.m.
 Last night we spent our last night on the Trace.  We stayed at Fall Hallow Bed and Breakfast and Campground.  The proprioritors Bill and Kathy Roper were wonderful host and hostess.  We had called asking about the bed and breakfast, but we were unable to do indoor camping because the rooms were taken up with a broadast crew from the travel channel.  They are doing a series of three shows on the Wild Roads of the South.  One is the Natchez Trace.They were there primarily to interview Bill, but they were very interested in our adventure.  They interviewed us and took lots of pictures and our moment of fame will be sometime in November on the Travel Channel.

Today we really reached the hills of Tenn.!  With the hills our forward progress is done to about 40 miles per day.  The going has gotten very slow and I am not ashamed to admit that I met a few hills that I could not drag my 65 pounds of gear up.  Walking is hard to but it gets me up the hill.  I just kept hoping that my achilles tendon was firmly attached..

While stopped along the road today, a woman approached Doug and started talking.  It turns out that she is a writer and was very curious about us.  She was also very concerned about where we would stay when we got to Centerville.  The motels did not have a good reputation.  So she made some phone calls on our behalf.
One option would have been to stay at the funeral home, but the mortician was out of town.  We did manage to find the motel had changed hands and is a very desireable place to stay.  This very curious ladies name is Shelah Sandefer.  We had dinner with her this evening while she interviewed us for the story she plans to write.  Another moment of fame.
Tomorrow we are headed to Waverly, Tenn.
We are missing the Trace.  What a wonderful place to ride, visit, and have a wonderful history lesson.  The Trace dates back to an animal trail before the mound builder Indians that were around about the time of Christ's birth.  It played a role in two wars, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It was a major route for the Kaintucks, and now a wonderful National Park.