Thursday, July 31, 2008
Ozark Mountain B&B to Farmington, MO...45 miles
After our B&B host toted us up the mountain we had a lovely ride in the mountain mist. There were a few hard climbs early and then just plain old rollers into Farmington. We were confused by the changes in road names and or numbers. Today, for example, we were suppose to be on Hwy. W but part of the way the road was called N and the other part it was called 221. My theory is that when the complaints about the curves in a particular road reach a certain level rather than doing road work they just change the name.
At the Happy Hour tonight, I told the new people, who are with us for just a week, that they need to do something stupid so we would have something to talk about when they leave. I even offered to buy them a bottle of Tequila so they could do shots and get a little crazy.
Tomorrow we leave Misery...er Missouri.
Labels: I miss Betty and Bruce
Potosi, MO to somewhere in the Ozark Mountains...39 miles
We’re not lost because we know where we are... but aren’t sure exactly where ARE is. Anyway, we had a nice ride out of Petosi with some up and down stuff and ended up in a B&B with no name–at least no sign. This B&B is a mile down--way down-- a dirt road which has a 20% grade so we’ll be doing a little hike in the morning. I’m staying in a nice little house with six others from our group. Very clean.
Our meal tonight is provided by the B&B. Since there were no services on the road and we’ve had no lunch so our host will shocked by the grub this group can put away.
Tonight Bruce and Betty announced they were throwing in the towel--when it stops being fun it's time to go home. We'll miss them.
Like I said yesterday my camera does not do justice to these hills but I tried today anyway. Some these hills are almost like looking over a cliff.
Labels: we got a ride up that hill this AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Washinton to Potisa, MO...54 miles
I CAN NOT do these MO hills justice with my camera. Ron, Cal and I took a chance today by taking the Google route to Potisa instead of the Adventure Cycling Route. We saved 20 miles and over 2,000 feet of climbing. Okay, call me chicken but you'll have say I'm a smart chicken. We stayed at a Super 8 with a Mexican Restaurant and Dairy Queen near by...bikers heaven.
Monday, July 28, 2008
St. Louis to Washingtom, MO....55 miles
Missed the rain, which came during the night but stopped about 10 minutes before wheels-up. The clouds kept it coolish. Ron, Cal and I took Hwy. 100 out of St. Louis for about 30 miles to CR-T for the ride into Washington. We did over 2,000 feet of climbing, in 20 miles, on CR-T with some 20% grades. My knees are sore. There was a Dairy Queen next to our Motel 8 so we scored some good stuff for desert. We were nervous about being off-route but ended up having an easier time than those who followed the route and didn't have to ride the same route twice.
We have 3 new folks who have joined the ride for a week.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Marthsville to St. Louis, MO....69 miles
Today we rode along the Missouri River on the Katy Trail for about 35 miles. The Katy Trail is an old railroad bed, about 200 miles long, paved with crushed lime stone and rides about like a Alabama chip-seal road. Katy Trail; green right, green left and an occasional green in front when a tree falls over the trail. Kind of like riding the Natchez Trace--I'm ready to see a used car lot after a few hours.
A small cottage has sprung up along the trail which includes B&B's, wineries and cafes which cater to the folks using the trail.
After the trail we entered St. Louis and did hand to hand combat with the traffic until we final arrived at the arch. Tomorrow we have a off day. Use to call them rest days but we end up staying might busy.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Louisiana to Marthsville, MO....85 miles
Long day on the road. Hard to make good time with headwind, rain, heat etc. Pictured is one of the three B&Bs we used to spend the night.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Quincy, IL to Louisiana, Missouri...56 miles
I took this picture from our motel room in Louisiana this afternoon....it was the first time I was dry all day. My wettest riding day ever. It did stop for a few minutes when I had a flat tire--lucky me.
Our route went through Mark Twain Ville--Hannibal, MO-- but we were too damn wet to check it out. Then we hit the Missouri Hills which aren't too long but mighty steep--14% grade. We climbed 2,100 feet in about 30 miles. Looks like tomorrow will see more of the granny gear. I spite of all my bitching about the hardships they helped make it was another great day on the road.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I miss this guy...........
Fort Madison, Iowa to Quincy, Illinois...69 miles
They don't allow bicycles on the Mississippi River Bridge in Fort Madison--more 9-11 security issues-- but I was able to shamed them into letting us cross as a group, which we did about 7:30 AM. We were told to ignore the toll booth and ride across the bridge without stopping to take pictures...from the shocked look on the toll booth collectors face I don't believe he got the word.
We added Illinois to our list of states, when we crossed the river, which I think stands at eight. Total miles is about 2,850.
The first town we entered in Illinois was Nauvoo where I believe Joseph Smith had some of his dreams. Farther down the Mississippi River we saw proof of this springs floods. A break in the levee created a big old shallow lake probably 40 miles long a 1-2 miles wide. See picture above. We had to change our route in route when the road ran into the lake. This is becoming the flood and wind damage tour. We can add famine to the list, depending on the quality of restaurants in Quincey.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Wapello to fort Madison, Iowa...62 miles.
We had a route change today because of washed out bridges from the rains a few weeks ago. Making a change in Iowa is easy with their free bicycle maps, just stay on the blue roads and off the red roads.
We usually have 3-4 groups on the road with one to three people in each one. With everyone going with in 2-3 mph of each other it's not surprising we see each other over the course of the day. One day Ron, Cal and I passed Miriam about 4 times. Today Rich was riding with us and we passed Betty and Bruce at least 3 times. I took the picture at the left we we all ended up at the same Kum and Go.
The only good restaurant in Wapello burned down a few weeks ago and the only good one in Fort Madison is on holiday. So last night we ate at a grocery store deli and ordered pizza to the motel tonight.......the pits. I mean if your going to be burning all these calories you should be able to get some good grub.
De Witt Iowa to Wapello, Iowa...85 miles
We left the motel at 8:30 which is late for us because of a rain storm. South of us they experienced 90 mph plus winds and since we were riding south we saw wind damage all along the route. The towns of Muscatine and Buffalo were without power. A nice lady at a Shell Station let us use a flash light to use their bathroom--the drinks were still cold in the cooler. Riding wise we had a good run along the Mississippi River until 2 miles from the motel. The picture at the right shows our problem, bridge gone...darn! I remember wading across a stream in Texas when Uncle Bill and I rode the Southern Tier and figured this one wouldn't whip me either. Cal and I started scouting around and Cal found a route which crossed two creeks --less than 3 feet deep--and a large sandbar. We made it to town with a good story to tell.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Dyersville to Dewitt, Iowa...75 miles
Another day on the road in corn country. About 30 miles down the road we had a great breakfast in Cascade, Iowa at Grandma's Cafe--nice crowd for early Sunday morning. Batteries in camera ran out so no picture of corn fields. Great day!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
More Dyersville...can you tell I'm board??
Why two bell towers on this Catholic Church? There is more than one God? They wanted to out-do the Methodist Church? The Cardinal's brother-in-law builds steeples?
Where the rubber doesn't meet the road. McCormick and Deere couldn't get along so this is a forerunner to the both the Farmall and John Deere tractors.
Dyersville, Iowa...off day...Field of Dreams
click to make pic's bigger
Needed a few miles on my off day so I rode the 4 miles to the Field of Dreams. "Build it and they will come!" The site doesn't open till 9:00AM but when we got there at 8:30 several cars were already waiting to get in; so maybe it's true? I took these pictures from the front gate and went back to town for breakfast.
Labels: about as exciting as a pig farm...
Friday, July 18, 2008
Waterloo to Dyersville, Iowa...86 miles.
Picture shown was taken at the restaurant we ate at in Waterloo; the whole ceiling was painted like this with spray cans--kind of an organized graffiti.
Dyersberg is where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed which was a flick about a time warp which allowed dead baseball players to visit Iowa and play ball in the present. Today we experienced distance warp which requires bikers to ride 86 miles on a day they thought was going to be a 61 miles.
We did luck out on the rain, heat and wind today. Rest day tomorrow. We've been asked numerous times if we're part of the cross Iowa bicycle ride which is called BRAG that starts next week--this ride is a big deal in this state and known about by bikers all around the country.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Iowa Falls to Waterloo, Iowa...63 miles
I rode with Ron and Cal again today. I've come up with a new name for the folks like us who leave early; Lobby Buffaloes. We mill around early in the
morning eating, then stampede at top speed to the next motel and lay around in the motel in the hot afternoon waiting on our rooms.
On the ride this morning there was always someone feeling good who would push the pace so we ended up with over 15 mph average even with a partial headwind. At least we beat the downtown lunch bunch by getting in for lunch about 11:30 AM.
The house pictured is one built by Sear Roebuck back in the days when they were in that business. My grandparents had one of these in Wisconsin. I've seen several here in Iowa.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tour Daddy Bicycle Touring.....Our Leader
What would an elite organization like Tour Daddy Bicycle Touring Company be with out a first class leader? It's hard to imagine a man surrounded by criminals all his adult life could accomplish so much. His philosophy: "I wouldn't be much of man if I couldn't scam a bunch of idiots riding around on big wheels with skinny tires!" Ride on big guy.
Fort Dodge to Iowa Falls, Iowa...57 miles
The overcast day made for some cool riding. Everyone was out of the barn early again so we had to wait around in the lobby of the Super 8 Motel for rooms to be cleaned --we watched the Tour. The joke is that Keith from Seattle, Washington, who hates the heat, gets into the next motel early enough to work their day shift.
There is a belief going around that they would have named this town Niagara Falls but the name was already taken. The falls of Iowa Falls are only five feet high-- no surprise this is Iowa after all.
Taking a picture got complicated today; do I want a picture of a corn field, soy bean field or farm buildings? The barn pictured isn't really a barn, it's a big corn crib.
Storm Lake to Fort Dodge, Iowa...64 miles
Up at 6:00 AM and on the road about 7:00. I rode with Ron today and we went a little off route in Fonda, Iowa for breakfast and ran into Cal and Miriam who were eating. Cal finished and was fooling around outside and ran into the guy pictured–they say we all have a twin. Anyway, we ended up going to the guys house and looked at an airplane he was restoring. Miriam also went with the guys wife to look at stain glass art. Later Ron, Cal and I stopped at a Subway and end
up sharing a table with a retired dairy farmer named Don. On trips like this you ended up touching a lot of lives. Great fun.
Nice tailwind so we averaged about 16 mph today. We get the Tour for the first time in several days tonight
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sioux City to Storm Lake, Iowa 75 miles
Anyone out there think Iowa is flat? Forget it! We left the motel this morning and climbed a 13% grade-- at least it was a short hill. Our ups and downs added up to about 2,500 feet of climbing.
Storm Lake is home to one of the nations largest wind farms, showing that Iowa can grow something other than corn.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Vermilion, SD to Sioux City, Iowa....52 miles. 2,250 total miles.
We entered Iowa on CR 7 and were greeted by this stop sign.--you'll just have to take my word that this is Iowa. It was a nice ride into town along the Sioux River and then the Missouri River. A bunch more Lewis & Clarke stuff to see--yawn. Ron used his GPS to lead us to the bike store in Sioux City where he and Rich spent a small fortune--we're going to need a bigger trailer if these people keep buying stuff. Tomorrow is a off day and Monday were off to Storm Lake.
We're just about half way. I feel great.
Springfield to Vermilion, South Dakota...55 miles
People want to know what keeps you going on these trips? Maybe this picture of our motel In Springfield will give you a hint.
Nice ride today, another tailwind. We're getting spoiled.Vermilion is home of the University of South Dakota and it's 8,300 students and has a city population of under ten thousand. No Wal-Mart.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Pickstown to Springfield, SD 55 miles
I was riding with Ron and we stopped at Warner and Avon, South Dakota at the local cafe/bar/gas station where old folks were having coffee. I would get thing going with, "We’re riding bicycles across country, have run out of money and need a job. We can drive a tractor!" In a few minutes we’d all be sitting there chatting away. We talked to about half the population and 90% of the voters in these towns and I think Ron should run for Mayor and I’ll become the paid City Manager. Most of the citizens winter in Florida so if they need to talk with the new Mayor he'll already be there.
Did I mention it's been windy? In South Dakota a 20-30 mph wind is called calm and a 30-40 mph wind is called a breeze.So far the breeze hasn't been head on. No picture today. Hasn't everyone seen flat fields of corn, wheat and grass, not to mention blue sky and green trees?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Tour Daddy Bicycle Tours..SUPPORT VAN
Tour Daddy figures, "What the hell, these jerks are riding around at 15 mph, why have a van that goes over 30mph? We can all agree there is no use having the driver hanging around getting in the way of the riders so he might as well be making a few bucks on the side. Delivering firewood is just another way we keep our prices in line. If some wimp needs a support ride due to a small matter like a broken leg he can help with deliveries. Please note: last rider to the motel handles that nights pizza delivery business and no bellyaching, after all you get to keep any tip money left after filling up with gas...so get out there and hustle.
Winner to Pickstown, SD...82
As you can see from the picture we're on the Great Plains, part of the American bread basket...about a 1,500 pounds of pasta an acre. Other than farming, the main business out here seems to be big game hunting. People from all over the world come out here, risk life and limb, suffer great hardship in a effort to bag the biggest, baddest, most dangerous beast on the face of the Earth....THE BULL RINGNECK PHEASANT.
It was one fun ride today....if they were all like this the roads would be overflowing with bicycles.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Tour Daddy Bicycling...ACCOMMODATIONS
Motels like this, along with with a couple of boilermakers
before hand, will really hit the spot after a hard day of cycling. Tour Daddy Tours only offers upscale housing for our clients - but please note that satin sheets (or any sheets for that matter) are extra (as are flush toilets and electricity). Let's face it, you dead beat cyclists are so cheap we've had to cut a few corners. So consider your ass lucky that the joint has a roof on it. What do you expect for $200 a night?
56 miles to Winner, South Dakota
We had the time change yesterday so everyone was up early and on the road this morning. Most stopped 17 miles down the road in Woods, SD for breakfast. I had pancakes and hot chocolate all for less than $4 bucks.
We are still in Badlands, sort of, but for the first time we are seeing row crops in the form of wheat fields
Arrival time at the motel was before 1:00 pm so we had a lot of time to kill. First you have to check out all the eating joints and pick one for lunch. Next you have to stop at a grocery for some snacks. After a nap it's time to start thinking about dinner and where we're going to get breakfast. Can you tell it's 'see food time"?
Got to run, time for the Tour. We have over 80 miles tomorrow.
Monday, July 07, 2008
My road buddy.......
Interior to White River, SD...80 miles
We got the hilly stuff again today but a nice tailwind helped the cause. I don't know how Rich did it but so far he has mannaged to take us over every hill in 6 states...he thinks it's funny.
This is still Indian Country and today we passed a couple towns built with federal money...nice roads, nice street lights and a lot of boarded up windows. I saw a lady with a shirt that said Native Pride but didn't see anything else in the neighborhood that made the point.
We staying at motel which comes with it's own drunk Indian....I woke him up and told him he should move out of the sun before he burned up and he move back into the shade.
Rapid City to Interior, SD 75 miles
Got an early start to beat the wind shift. We cooked along at 20 mph early on and made good time the first few hours. After the wind shift we slowed to around 14 mph. All and all a very nice ride. The Badlands have bare sandstone hills and they are something to see. Not a lot of row crops in this country.
We saw a large Snapping Turtle slowly crossing the road. Very slowly. I tried to hurry him up with a little push from my bike tire and he damn near bit it off. I ended up grabbing him by the tail and dragging him off the highway. He didn’t want the help and was mad.
We actually rode to what is called Cedar Pass in the Badlands National Park, a few miles out of Interior, and stayed in cabins at the Visitors Center. You can tell this place is controlled by the Interior Department. We payed various rates to get in the park depending who was working the gate; a husband and wife can ride together on a motorcycle and pay $7 but if they come on bikes it’s $14 unless there is a different person on the gate who let 3 of our bikes in on one ticket. The restaurant is open from 9AM to 4PM and would be out of business in a free market. For the first time EVER we had to wait till the 3PM check in time. Turns out they only have one set of sheets for each bed and have to wash and dry the sheets before making up the rooms. I just can’t wait for Federal Health Care.
Keystone to Rapid City, SD..24 miles and our rest day
This part of the route is mostly downhill. We had a nice easy ride and got to the motel about noon. Caught up the laundry, ate 2 or 3 meals, cleaned the bike, watch the Tour and got the hammer smack on the head about 9:30.
I’m glad the Black Hills are behind us and hope the Bad Lands are flatter.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The ride up to Mt. Rushmore
Spear Fish to Keystone [Mount Rushmore], SD 62 hard ass miles
We did 5,000 feet of climbing including a 12% grade the last 2 miles up to Mount Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore has shrunk since I was here as a kid. We rode the last part as a group with Rich caring a large American Flag. It brought tears to my eyes as cars came by with people honking their horns and waving at us; we don't get a lot of thumbs up.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Black Hills of Wyoming and North Dakota
Hulett, WY to Spearfish, South Dakota...54 miles
Crossed into South Dakota today--6th state-- our back road didn't have one of those "Welcome Signs" but we knew when we arrived because of the road surface change. We actually had a 2 miles flat stretch on route; it's been so long since we've seen one people actually took pictures. Can you say hilly...we had to climb another 3,000 feet. Up down..up down. Rich says the last few days is just training for the ride over to MT. Rushmore tomorrow. I'm not big at celebrating the 4th but Rich has me fired up for tomorrow. I already have two American Flags on my bike basket....GO USA....
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Our 5th state..........
We'll only be in the Cowboy State for one night then it's off to South Dakota and more of the Black Hills. Oh yea, that's Devils Rock pictured on the sign with the wrangler. We made a side trip there from our motel in Hulett, WY.
Broadus, MT to Hulett, WY...91 miles
Headwind, rain, cold and hilly. There was one service station at the 60 mile point today. Climbed about 3,000 feet. It was great.
Hulett claim to fame is being near Devils Tower...a big rock people come to see. I don't get it..why would anyone spend over 30 seconds looking at a big rock, not to mention driving a long distance to see the rock? Of course someone crazy enough to ride a bicycle 90 miles doesn't have much room to talk.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Ashland to Broadus, MT...42 miles
Had a $3.50 breakfast in Ashland before leaving town. Forget about the six pack I purchased and the grand total cost was less than $30 bucks for a room and 2 meals. Am I saving money or what? We had a long discussion at breakfast about the accuracy of the bank temperature sign which showed 106F yesterday. Turns out we have a couple folks in our group that claim it only got to 96F, appartly they have super natural powers which include built in thermostats...right. Ride over to Broadus was nice and we're in a dowdy but cheap motel. Tomorrow is 90 miles, all to bed early tonight.
No cell phone out this way for the 2nd day, had a great super size salad for supper.