A few bicycle blogs...

These blogs are run by the some of the folks in this picture...

http://bikingbrady.blogspot.com/ Kevin the VPSDBC (sound official?)
http://ridevermillion.blogspot.com/ Craig
http://cyclingcathy.blogspot.com/ Cathy

Left to Right
Kevin, Craig, Dave, Heather, Cathy, Kathy

Flash Back to Coralville...

Here are a few shots of us in Coralville visiting with the cousins...

We drank so much coffee to stay awake but still managed to take naps everyday.

Will it all fit?

Somehow it did...

A few test rides before we left. Some enjoyed it more than others.

Which way do we go?

Quick get past the police station before they catch us for speeding.

Blog entry by Kathy (a fellow cyclist)

Saturday, May 23 - Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do your best is a phrase that I have heard many times in my life. I enjoyed hearing it on Sunday, and think it is an appropriate title. Bits of stories were told about being in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa but the one that made me part of this trip started something like this..

They couldn't find a place to stay so called home to their webmaster to get on the warm showers website. Fortunately they found someone within a reasonable distance. The down side was that it was late in the day and most people want a bit of a notice before showing up to camp in their yard, and it's a holiday weekend. The guy they were going to contact listed "do your best" for length of notice requested. It's 8:00 pm and they needed a place to stay tonight. that was the best they could give today.

At this point in the story there was a dead end trail, a hard city to find your way through, a scary neighborhood, and a really steep hill on a gravel road.

I came into the story the next morning when I received a message from my friend and fellow cyclist who is their warm shower host, "The touring cyclists are taking a day off, I will have company today, stop over sometime." Being the social butterfly that I am, I headed over when I was done at church. We visited for a while and swapped bicycling stories then set out for our day.

There were two main goals for the day: 1) to find a specific book, 2) their host needed to purchase a belt for his mower. As you read on in this story you will see that I won't mention making either of these purchases. Of course if you look at the top of the Biker Beans Blog the third line explains this perfectly.

I will attempt to spare you all of the fine details and hit the highlights of the day.

We visited the Sergeant Floyd Welcome Boat in Sioux City. Here we found free cookies, candy from Palmer Candy, and education about Lewis & Clark and the history of Sioux City. I enjoyed being there as they experienced a Twin Bing candy bar made by Palmer's. This is a local favorite that I have known my entire life, but for many it is a new experience. We also learned there are four speeds at which this boat once operated, Full, Half, Slow, and Dead Slow.

Next door is the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. The dog out front made for some fun conversation! This is also where we met another touring cyclist, Derek from New York.

We headed to the mall to attempt to reach the goals for today. At the mall we introduced them to our bike shop friend, looked for tires, looked for the things we needed and left with no purchases.

We would grab a quick snack before going for a quick boat ride. Taco John's experience #1 was good. I like the fact that when the manager came to see how they liked their first TJ's experience I thought to ask about free stuff. She hooked them up with some free taco coupons!

Back to the river for a quick 15 minute boat ride up the Missouri River. Another cyclist from Sioux City took us out on his boat. We headed up river, and floated back down. Although we were set up for a quick tour, two and a half hours later I was glad I had the time to relax.

We went to pick up some chlorine for the hot tub. He left the keys in the truck and I had to take the opportunity. The Biker Beans sat innocently in the back seat, I moved the truck..

We ate dinner at El Fredo's Pizza. YUMMY! You can't beat The Works at El Fredo's.

Back to the host house for relaxation and wind down time. I left at 10:30 pm - I am sure glad that I stopped over after church. I had an incredible day!

Kathy Roberts, McCook Lake, South Dakota

Dave and Heather on the river.
Jeff getting tired of listening to our stories.

Day 46 Gregory, South Dakota - Rest Day

photo credit: http://www.cityofgregory.com

Friday, May 29, 2009
Rest Day
Today was spent resting, eating, cleaning the bike, eating, talking, getting interviewed by the local paper while eating, eating while watching a baseball game played by Dave and Mona's son, Paul, and generally trying to sample every pie available at the Ranch House.

Day 45

Thursday, May 28, 2009
- Start: Pickstown, South Dakota
- ATW: Fairfax, Bonesteel, St. Charles (which is on the map but literally nothing is there but a cross road), Herrick (pop 105), Burke
- End: Gregory, South Dakota
- Day Miles: Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

We woke early being soaked by the dew and hauled our gear to the park just as the sun was coming up. We streached it out on the picnic tables to dry a bit as we ate our breakfast. Before long we were packed up again and on the road early. We crossed the Missouri at Pickstown and faced "river hills" for the morning. Later in the day as we told folks where we'd come from they all asked how we liked the hill out of Pickstown. It was another long slow roller that seemed to go on forever but we made it fine. The entertainment of scaring a flock of wild turkeys or having conversations with cows helps to keep us going.

editor's note: There is something there, not much, it just not on the main road.

In Fairfax we felt the call to ride the mile off the road into town to find lunch. We were stopped just before town by a guy named Billy Wagner. At 82 and a half he still mows his lawn with a push mower, helps raise goats and was currently trying to figure out how a calf kept getting out of the fence. He directed us to Louise's for a Judy Burger. He held up his hands saying it was yeah big, or about a foot tall. This sounded great for two hungry cyclists. Amazingly enough, the burger turned out about as big as he indicated. Double layered and stacked tall with all the trimmings. Our fellow diner at the bar wore bib overalls, a plaid shirt and as he talked with us asking all the usual questions. What made him fun was the excitement in the responses to our statements. "Jesus Crimminey" was how he reacted to every answer.

Back on the road we made our way to Burke but instead of stopping for the day in their city park we pushed on to Gregory. Just before town we saw a group standing outside what looked like a large equipment shop. We heard laughter and waves and one of the guys swung his arm in arcs. We waved back and were flagged in. Rolling up to the group we answered questions about our trip. The guy who waved us in, Dave, offered to buy us an ice cream cone at the Ranch House Drive In just up the road. We accepted then asked about a city park for camping. Dave offered his back yard. Little did we know what was in store for us. Then again, I don't think this Dave was ready either.
Pretty quick we were upgraded to a place to stay in the house, taken to dinner at a friends where we ate him out of house and home, then had a great night getting to know our hosts. Now they can't get rid of us.

Day 44 - Hot Chocolate!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Started out misty and cool, ended warm and clear
- Start: Tyndall, South Dakota
- ATW: Avon, Wagner
- End: Pickstown, South Dakota
- Day Miles: 43.8 Ride Time: 4hr 26min Total Trip Miles:

The morning was spent sitting in a dugout at the park catching up on our journals. We'd managed to get about 5 days behind and decided we were only going 40 miles for the day so we could start late and enjoy an easy ride. While relaxing in the dugout a young lady walks up carrying two hot drink cups.
"I thought you must be cold sitting out here so I brought you some hot chocolate."
Our angel of the morning was Abbey, the pool custodian. Going to college in Vermillion she works at the pool in Tyndall and the one in Tabor. We talked and drank hot chocolate warming our stomaches and hearts. Just when we need a little shot of light we seem to keep getting it.

For lunch we harrased the bakery attendant and bought up burrito makings at the grocery store. Dave had fixed a broken spoke on the front wheel before we left the park and just as we were rolling down the drive we heard a rear break. While in the front yard of the public library Heather made burritos while Dave changed the spoke out.

The day was cloudy until Wagner. As we were racing downhill into town the clouds finally started breaking apart to show blue sky. A stop at the grocery store gave us a heads up to a city park in Pickstown on the river. 9 miles of a long slow uphill then 3 miles downhill into town found us at the city park early. While we were enjoying our dinner a young mother with two daughters was playing in the park. We got to talking to the mother who quickly asked "What do you do for showers?" The park only had port-o-johns so we'd planned to birdbath after dark.

Jessie, a great lady with camping experience offered us a shower. We packed up and rode the few blocks to her house and after some fun conversation with her husband Whitney and little ones we ended up sleeping in thier backyard under a blanket of stars. Needless to say we woke up a little wet from dew but not too worse for ware.

Day 43 The Keg

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
- Start: Yankton, South Dakota
- ATW: Lewis & Clark Rec Area, Tabor
- End: Tyndall, South Dakota
- Day Miles: 41.7 Ride Time: 4hr 59min Total Trip Miles: 1542

Our host, Rick, left early for work then came back a time or two. We finally got ourselves together and Rick geared up to ride us out of town. Our tour took us through Yankton to the bike shop where his son works then our to the Lewis and Clark Rec Area where we rode along the river on a paved bike path. Just before the long hill that would take us out of the rec area and out to Rt50, Rick said goodbye and headed back to work leaving us to our route.

We pedaled up that hill at steady low gear trek forever (maybe longer, because it seemed like time was standing still). When we finally ended at the top the wind was pounding us as we rode miles to the next turn. We intended to head to Springfield for the night but wanted to give up sooner. We saw a sign that said 2 miles to Tabor so we took a chance. Small towns don't always have provisions, but we could survive with the food on the bike and we were ready to find a building to shelter behind. The South Dakota countryside is wide open with sparse trees. Beautiful but windy.

In Tabor we were pleased to find The Keg, a small bar that served food. We ordered up a couple of burgers and fries and chatted with a few of the locals having a drink. A few were interested, the rest just over heard the conversation. After spending an hour out of the wind we were revived enough to try to push on to Tyndall another 8 miles further.

Tyndall is a nice town that surprised us. Gas station, grocery, bakery, a few restaruants and a city park with pool, hot showers in a bath house open all night and free camping for tents. No signs anywhere told you what to do in the park so we set up near the showers and enjoyed a hot shower and a peaceful evening before we slept.

Day 42 - Reached South Dakota

Monday, May 25, 2009
- Start: Sioux City, Iowa
- ATW: N. Sioux City,South Dakota, McCook Lake, Jefferson, Elk Point, Burbank, Vermillion, Volin
- End: Yankton, South Dakota
- Day Miles: 72mi Ride Time: 5hr 28min Total Trip Miles: 1501

On Sunday Kathy offered to come over Monday morning to give us a lead out of town and ride along for a while. Sounded great except for the part where Kathy likes to get up at the crack of dawn and ride. After making sure that we wouldn't be getting up "too" early, we agreed. We'd never ridden with anyone else before so it would be a fun new experience.

We rode with Kathy to her house, then off to Vermillion. Kathy was supposed to stop just past her house in Jefferson. In Vermillion we rode with Craig, Cathy and Kevin out of town. Cathy and Craig left at different points while Kevin and Kathy who was supposed to turn back in Vermillion rode all the way to Yankton.

In Yankton we landed a place to sleep with another cyclist, Rick.
Mark, Heather, Dave

Not too early on Monday we got to packing up and had a bit of fun decorating the bike.

For some reason non-cyclist think that the yellow tube on the front is a bag of sand to keep the front of the bike from flying up. So, we decided to just confuse them a little more...
Mark, our warmshower.org hero.

Somewhere before South Dakota

Yeah, another state!

Kathy gets a test ride on the tandem

We stopped to eat in the shade of a tree in the courthouse lawn of Elk Point. Bicyclist are hungry all the time, as you can see Kathy's set to eat but where's Dave and Heather's lunch?
You're going where?

Dave tests out Kevin's mower. Kevin leaves it in the yard and with enough people trying it out his yard gets mostly cut. Smart move.

Day 41

Sunday, May 24, 2009
Rest day.
Toured Sioux City with Mark and Kathy. At the Lewis & Clark Interpritive Center we met a fellow touring cyclist doing a similar ride. We hovered around his bike while he was in the center and pounced on him as he came into view.


Derek had set out from New York three weeks back and was on his way through South Dakota to Mount Rushmore. The same route we wanted to take. Neither of us had it figured out yet so we couldn't be of much help to one another there but we did have a great time talking.

Next we took our 15 minute boat ride for 2 and a half hours, stuffed ourselves with The Works from El Fredo's and then ended the day soaking in a hot tub before passin out. Rest days can be tiring!

Day 40

Saturday, May 23, 2009 - Warm with more sun and a tail wind too!
- Start: Battle Creek,Iowa
- ATW: Anthon, Climbing Hill, Sergeant Bluff
- End: Sioux City, Iowa
- Day Miles: 72.8 Ride Time: 8hr 2min Total Trip Miles: 1428

In Iowa there are 5 miles between turns on paved roads so we had intended to ride from Anthon to Bronson as it was the straightest way. But a bridge was out and we followed the detour to Climbing Hill. We stopped shortly after the detour began to talk with folks sitting on their porch. Jokingly I asked if Climbing Hill had earned its name. I received serious head nods all around.

We'd climbed gradually most of the morning but into Climbing Hill we had many down hills followed by shorter inclines which led us into a false sense of complacency. Maybe Climbing Hill wouldn't be so bad, maybe it was just a short steep one, maybe we'll enjoy the hill. One last rise sent us flying down the backside into a tiny town with nothing open and a cemetery decorated with flags all around. Looking ahead we saw the way out of the valley and it didn't look too bad. Maybe we'd come down the hill that the town was named for. Out of the valley we gently rose as we twisted and turned on the roads pleasant surface.

Today was supposed to be a rest day but with a pen running out of ink and having no replacement we gave up catching up in our journals for riding a tail wind. Having already done 180 miles in the last two days and pushing uphill at around 40 for the day we were starting to feel fatigued. Then the last slope of "the hill" began. We were already in the lowest gear so all we could do was just keep pedaling and pedaling and breathing. Any other time we'd have passed out from hyperventilating but as we churned up the hill our lungs kept asking for more air. We haven't had to push up a hill yet this time we began to wonder... but we wouldn't give up. Not yet.

Muscles screaming and lungs collapsing we felt the stress on our bodies begin to slacken. We hadn't crested yet but the worst was over. At the top of the hill I told Dave to stop before we sailed down again. With nearly a 360 degree view we allowed our breathing to return to normal as we surveyed our accomplishment. Climbing Hill had earned its name.

After that a few hills challenged us but we mainly raced closer and closer to Sioux City. We crested one hill and saw another coming which didn't look too bad and our coasting took us almost completely over the rise. Once at the top of that one we gawked at the view. We could see forever on top of that tiny hill. The terrain suddenly flattened out and the river was visible in the distance.

Our next turn took us on a scenic hills route (yeah more hills) that skirted all that flat land. We picked up D38 and raced into Sergeant Bluff in need of food and a break. Eating outside a grocery store we started to revive and plan for the evening when someone told us that it was Memorial Day weekend. Ah... all the flags we'd been seeing. How we lost track of days and time... it was now later in the evening. We had wanted to spend the next day in Sioux City but being in the city of Sergeant Bluff we were having trouble finding a place to sleep. A lot of people talked to us but as soon as we asked about sleeping in a yard they made their excuses or told us about campgrounds that were already full.

Our last chance was calling my dad in Michigan and asking if he'd look up warmshowers.org to see if someone in the area would help us out on short notice. Warmshowers was a group we joined before we left but never thought we'd get the chance to use it because we didn't bring along a computer. My dad was able to use his blackberry to log in for us and found 1 person in Sioux City. For his special instructions... "Do your best" was all he asked. Having done our best all day we took the chance and made the contact. We got a green light and raced for his house with the sun hanging above the horizon.

We tried to ride a bike path through town but it ended after a few miles. We turned around, back tracked the whole way then got set straight. We passed getting onto another trail (which would have been nice seeing it the next day as we toured the city) deciding to work our way through town on the streets. Several areas had no street lights or we were near overpasses that shadowed dark rail road tracks. Dave kept saying "this has the making of a horror movie."

We just kept pedaling and finally finally found ourselves where we needed to be, walking our bike up a gravel hill in the dark looking for a specific house among many with no address numbers. Just then our host for the night rolled up and led us the rest of the way to his house. Instead of passing out, we jumped into his car and headed out to an after party for an art opening. Next came a trip to about the only place open, an authentic mexican restaurant, where we loaded up on grub and headed back to our hosts' house. Pumped with adrenaline from our ride and trading stories with another cycling enthusiast we managed to get to sleep by about 1:30am.

Day 39 - First Century Ride!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009 - Cool & cloudy changed to warm, constant ENE tailwind all day.
- Start: Ogden
- ATW: Dana, Churdan, Auburn, Carnarvon, Lake View, Odebolt, Ida Grove, Arthur
- End: Battle Creek
- Day Miles: 100.0 Ride Time: 8hr 30min Total Trip Miles: 1356

Our first century ride was only accomplished because we had a tailwind all day, flat-ish ground and long hours of daylight. We kept thinking of stopping early in the little towns we passed through but the wind drove us onward. We never imagined we ever get 100 miles in today because we started after 9am, but at 82 we thought we'd get as close as we could. By 96 with the sun slipping behind clouds we took a chance and just rode. We'd stop where ever the 100 miles rolled over.

photo credit: http://www.battlecreekia.org

At 99.4 we saw a house approaching that looked as if it would offer some wind break for the night. It seemed closer than .6 miles yet as we pulled into the driveway at 99.9 the last few feet of coasting clicked the odometer to 100.0!

When asking to sleep in a yard we always knwe there'd be the chance that the owner will say no and we'll have to keep going to the next place. We understand it's their yard, they make the rules. But this day it turned out that not only could we sleep in the yard but the owners' children have had their fair share of fun being leaders of cycling races. Currently the kids were off in South Dakota scouting a route for their next race.

With the promise of a storm we went from sleeping in the yard to the barn but then it ended up being the basement. So, after dinner and showers we slept in the basement on the floor and had the best night of sleep yet, probably due to being completely exhausted after 180 miles in two days... yeah yeah, nothing for other but for two people pedaling around 500 pounds we think it's pretty good (c;


Day 38

Thursday, May 21, 2009 - Warm with clouds then sun, started with a 10mph headwind from the W changing to a N cross wind and finally a nice NE tailwind.
- Start: Marshalltown
- ATW: Lamoille, State Center, Colo, Nevada, Ames, Boone,
- End: Ogden
- Day Miles: 81.1 Ride Time: about 9hrs Total Trip Miles: 1255

Outside of Ames we were doing our usual slow pedal routine up a hill when I caught a glimpse of cyclists coming up behind us. Closer and closer the came and eventually I was able to yell over my should to say hello. In the middle of Iowa on a Thursday afternoon we met Bruce and his wife Carol out for a shakedown run. Bruce and his son Ryan were setting out in a few days for their own tour. We talked on the side of the road exchanging advice, sharing stories and enjoying the day.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ktnxbai - Bruce's site

Most drivers passed around us peacefully but one young guy in a beat up old jalopy that was spewing out toxic gas leaned out the passenger window and yelled back something about not having common sense.
I'm sure most people would agree... why would someone ride a bike in the rain, the cold, the wind? Why sit on a bike seat all day perfecting the atomic wedgie while getting toasted through layers of sun screen. Why ride on roads with no berms while cars whizz by at 60mph? Why push yourself to climb hill after hill only to keep climbing more? Why would you choose to be lunch for dogs that owners don't bother to contain? And why in the world would you want to cross the country by bicycle taking months to do it while a plane would get you there in a few hours or a car in a few days? To a lot of people common sense may not have anything to do with riding a bicycle in the U.S.A. (United States of Automobiles), but I doubt that will stop any of us.

Day 38 - mid-day report & newspaper interview

Thursday, May 21, 2009
- Start: Marshalltown, Iowa
- ATW: Nevada
- End:
- Day Miles: Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

Gone 40 miles so far. Made it to Nevada, IA. We were interviewed in State Center, IA by the local newspaper. Do not know when the article will be published.
State Center is the "Rose Capital of Iowa" as well as the central location of the state... hence the name.

editor: Newspaper was the Mid-Iowa Enterprise. I will add the article to the blog when it is published.>


Day 37

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
- Start: Belle Plaine
- ATW: Rt66 -> Chelsea, Tama, Le Grand
- End: Marshalltown, Riverview Park
- Day Miles: 42.4 Ride Time: 4:49 Total Trip Miles: 1174

We got an early start and arrived in Marshalltown about 1:30 PM. The weather on Tuesday was warm and windy. The weather on Wednesday was warm and windier with 20 mi/hr wind from the south and gusts up to 30+ on county roads. We were blown sideways one time. We were riding on a county road with a gravel berm for a few feet which then sloped down at a 45 degree angle to a ditch about 10’ deep. We managed to stay on the gravel berm and not slide into the ditch.

After we got the bike off us, we keep riding but more carefully. After 4 hours of constant crosswinds and heavy winds we were done for the day.

We spent the afternoon and night at Riverview Park in Marshalltown.
At the park, we took a nap, had lunch and took another nap.


Day 36 On the road again, Back on the road agin,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 @2:00PM
- Start: Coralville
- ATW: Tiffin, Homestead, South Amanda, Koszta
- End: Belle Plaine
- Day Miles: 55.6 Ride Time: 5:44 Total Trip Miles: 1132

Started out again about Noon.

We do have a plan for the trip, at least each day when we start. The plan is to find a place where we can get food and a place to sleep. We will detour for food.
Spent the night in the yard of a veterinarian where a cat kept trying to cuddle up to us.


Day 33, 34, 35, 36 Visiting Cousins

Saturday, May 16, 2009 through Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- Start:Coralville, Iowa
- ATW:
- End:Coralville, Iowa
- Day Miles:0 Ride Time:0 Total Trip Miles: 1077

Staying with cousins - Rest Day.
Play with kids,
See Coralville,
Have fun.

Day 32

Friday, May 15, 2009
- Start:Lowgen, Iowa
- ATW: Clarience, Tipton, Cedar Buff, Morse, Rt1 to Iowa City
- End:Coralville, Iowa
- Day Miles:50.1 Ride Time:5:24 Total Trip Miles: 1077

Staying with cousins

Day 31

Thursday, May 14, 2009
- Start: Savanna, IL
- ATW: Missisippi River, Sabula Iowa, Malone, Dowich, Grand Mound, Lowden
- End:Lowden, IW
- Day Miles:68.8 Ride Time:6:11 Total Trip Miles:1026

Crossed the Mississippi River. In Lowden, we stopped at a gas stations to buy some milk. While standing in line, I asked the clerk the where abouts of a local church. The lady that was in front of me overheard and asked me when I left the store what we were looking for? She invited us to stay in her back yard just a few blocks away. She let us use her shower. We had a good time getting to know her and the rest of the family.


Flashback: Day 28

While on the Rock Island Trail we met a couple in Princeville, IL, who were out for a day ride on the same trail. They were visiting from Chicago area.
Their cycling website is www.elmhurstbicycling.org

Dave has the wheel off repairing the first spoke to break in the front wheel.

Pedaling once again.


Day 30 - Rest day

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - Warm to cool then rain and thunder
- Start: Savanna, IL
- ATW:
- End: Savanna, IL
- Day Miles:4 (on foot) Ride Time: Total Trip Miles: still 957

Rest Day
Our rest day consisted of touring the area, then hiking four miles and eating the house!

Day 29 - x!@#$%&*!!! Crows!! and tail winds

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - x!@#$%&*!!! Crows!!
- Start: Kewanne, IL
- ATW: Annawan, Hooppole, Prophetstown, Morrison, Fulton
- End: Savanna, IL
- Day Miles:72.7 Ride Time:~6:08 Total Trip Miles:~957

We were wakened early the next morning at 5:30 AM by some very noisy crows right above us. We packed up in record time and hit the road by 6:30 AM.

We are now relaxing from pedaling 50 miles in less than 4 hours with a tail wind most of the way for the first time on our trip. We are just waiting for friends to show up and have some ice cream before we finish cycling for the day.


Day 28 - End of Detour off planned route??

Monday, May 11, 2009 - Hot and breezy
- Start: Peoria, IL
- ATW: Alta, Dunlap, Princetown, Wyoming, Toulon
- End: Kewanee, IL and Johnson Saulk Trail State Park
- Day Miles:63.7 Ride Time:7:15 Total Trip Miles:885

source: http://dnr.state.il.us/LANDS/landmgt/parks/sitemaps/rockisland.gif

After a huge breakfast, we went to the bike shop and got replacement spokes. We started on the Rock Island Trail. The bike trail was crushed limestone and the trail was a gradual uphill for 26 miles and four hours of hard riding. It had rained a few days ago making the trail squishy in places and the trail was rutted where others had ridden their bikes when it was very soft. So after the bike trail and hard ridding, we got back on country roads. We were able to continue on the planned route that we had detoured off. (editor - on a trip without a route?) We rode late into the evening, pulled into a grocery store, and overstocked with food. I had to carry two bags of groceries as we peddled the remaining miles to the campground. It had gotten late so we decided not to knock on any doors, simply looked to pitch our tarp in a campground.

The first campground was super saturated and we would have woken up in a puddle. We continued late into the night, turned on the rear blinker, and put on the headlights and we continued, without incidents, on a paved 6-foot wide berm to the turn off to Johnson Sulk State Park. 28616 Sauk Trail Rd. Kewanee, IL 61443 309.853.5589.

We pitched our tarp and sleep till about 1:30 AM when someone pulled in to setup their tent. There was not anyone else in the area and they picked the campsite next to ours.


Day 27 - Another detour while on the detour

Sunday, May 20, 2009 - Warm, light breeze
- Start: Roanoke, IL
- ATW: Metamora, Germantown Hills
- End: Peoria, IL
- Day Miles:30.7 Ride Time:3:34 Total Trip Miles: 820

(Saturday) Our plans were to take Rt251 North to Rt17 to Rt78. However, on Rt251 a bridge was completely missing. We detoured onto Rt4. How can a trip that has no route, have a detour? Riding into the wind, we stopped for the day and were offered a change to sleep in the hayloft of a horse barn. This kept us out of the wind and in the warmth and we did not have to setup our tarp. (Sunday) The next morning we found 4 broken spokes, so instead of continuing north, we rode into Peoria, IL.

Editor’s note: – I was on the road in Columbus, Ohio and I got a call from Heather. She asked where the nearest bike shop was in Peoria. I got on my Blackberry, did some web searches, and gave her the telephone numbers of about six bike shops in the area. This was not as bad as when a different daughter called me and said, “Dad, I am lost, can you give me directions?”

We rode into Peoria to find a bike shop that would have replacement spokes. Once in Peoria, we were nabbed, at the top of Grandview Drive, by a couple. Once they heard about our broken spokes and that we were waiting for a bike shop to open the next day, they offered us the opportunity to sleep in a basement bedroom that they called “The Suite”. We happily agreed and rode over to their house to wait for them to get home. After a dinner of pizza & grapes and conversations late into the night, we finally got some sleep.


Day 26 - Start of detour

Saturday, May 9, 2009 - Warm and Windy
- Start: Lexington. IL
- ATW: El Paso, Panola
- End: Ronake, IL
- Day Miles: 38 Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

We started packing up in Lexington a little on the early side. After breakfast, getting everything stowed, and reducing our total weight by about 5 pounds it was time for a nap. We slept for about an hour and woke up in time for lunch. After lunch and our goodbyes we stocked up at the local store and left town on Main St.

By El Paso Dave was craving ice cream but we didn't want to spend six bucks at Dairy Queen. Heather said that if we could eat it all we could buy a box of ice cream bars from the local grocery for 1/3 the price of Dairy Queen. Which we did and did eat all six bars. Refueled we continued north on 251 until just outside Panola.

A construction sign warned us to detour but there were no detour instructions. We rode a mile through the site up to the equipment to see if we could cross anyway. There was a huge gaping hole where the bridge had been and a the creek 20 feet down was to wide and too rapid to cross.

All day we'd been dealing with a cross wind as we tracked north. Now we turned back and rode west on Rt. 4 into the wind. By the time we made it to Roanoke and tried to sleep in the town's church yard which was a little too small for us we stopped the first chance we could on the outside of town.

A couple of people were working outside in a yard that looked like the trees would offer a wind break. Heather pleaded our case to the owner and was given the choice of "anywhere." Relived we wouldn't have to ride any farther we began to look for a secluded spot when the hosts offered us the option to sleep in their hay loft. Yes! No setting up the tarp, we'd be out of the wind and we'd be warm. Super warm when were shown that the barn was a horse barn and held 8 horses.

After another night of good conversation, a meal cooked on a real stove and a bed made on a layer of hay we settled in to sleep.

Day 25

Day 25 Friday, May 8th, 2009 - Beautiful Weather!
- Start: Lexington, IL
- End: Lexington, IL
- Day Miles: 0
Rest Day. We spent our time relaxing, and trying to figure out how to lighten our load on the bike.


Day 24 - Windmills

Thursday, May 7th, 2009 - Sunny, Hot, then... RAIN!
- Start: Urbana, IL
- ATW: Leroy, IL
- End: Lexington, IL
- Day Miles: 68.5 Ride Time: 7 hr, 2min Total Trip Miles: 751

Our friends offered their sister's place for the night if we could make it to Lexington, IL. Sure, no problem... it's only forty miles away. Turns out Heather read the map wrong and a forty miler turned to the longest day yet. After almost 50 miles of pushing into a head wind we pulled into Leroy, at 5pm. Heather grabbed a Subway sandwich and we ate on the bike as we pedaled out of town. Just before turning north on 21 we got rained on. We pulled over and slipped into our rain gear and left town eating soggy cookies. A couple miles out of town lighting flashed over head and it was time to get off the road to re-evaluate our sanity.

We pulled up to a barn and parked inside while we talked to the guys within who were working on a lawn tractor. In a few minutes the worst of the storm had passed and we rode on. With red light blinking off the back we crossed the ridge left behind by the Wisconsin Glacier. All through the day we had watched windmills in the distance. As we crossed the hill we rode within a hundred yards of their bases and Dave kept wanting to turn down the private gravel roads to investigate.

Photo Credit: Amit Gupta at http://www.flickr.com/photos/superamit/sets/72157594448325513/

Photo Credit: Amit Gupta at http://www.flickr.com/photos/superamit/sets/72157594448325513/

Photo Credit: Amit Gupta at http://www.flickr.com/photos/superamit/sets/72157594448325513/

With a slight tail wind and downhills we coasted into Lexington just before dark. We enjoyed a hearty conversation until 11:30PM when the whole house passed out.