Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Take Your Glasses Swimming.

Tuesday July 27th: We spent the weekend with the Wilsons' of Angola, Indiana. Mr. Wilson is an avid cyclist so that was fun, and Mrs. Wilson is entertaining. She was suppose to talk in church Sunday but some how got me to replace her. Sunday night we had dinner with the Newhard family. One of their daughters had me autograph an article that I had published in a church magazine. I have a fat head now.

Saturday about 2 miles before the Wilson's house I got a flat. When I took it to the bike shop to get fixed Monday morning, Mr. Wilson had already prepaid to have it fixed plus two extra tubes also Mrs. Wilson donated $100 to the Shriners fund. I never ceased to be amazed by how many great people there are across the country.

We are in Ohio now.

Our good friends the Coles' used to live in this area of Ohio so we got a hold of K. Allen, of Delta, who directed us to his parents house. Mr. Allen had an extra little cute house that we stayed in last night and also we went swimming in their pond that was made for swimming plus it had several catfish, some about 2 feet long. The only problem is I think once when I jumped in from off the dock my glasses came off without me knowing it. I spent an hour and a half this morning looking for them. First I paddled around on a big floating thing looking in the water which was pretty clear. Then I walked through the clay and seaweed bottom trying to feel for the glasses. I also used a magnet and rake. I didn't find them. Usually I buy the cheapest glasses that I can find but I went all out on these and spent over $400 and only had them for about five months. I am wearing Laura's glasses now. They are not my prescription but they are better than my eyes alone.

After I was done with my deep sea hunt I decided I better get going and, oh no! Another flat tire! Mr. Allen helped me fix it.

I remember a song about a train when I was young, "Listen to the rhythm of the Wabash Cannonball." That R/R track has been converted to a bike path that I rode on today. After about an hour I realised that my tire was slowly going flat! I can't believe it! That is three flats in three days of riding! It takes a lot more effort to ride on a low tire. I had to pump it up six times in 20 miles to get to the bike shop. I have a little hand pump that takes a lot of work to use so my arms where sore the next day.

I had to go 70 miles today and with all that had happened so far it was getting late and I still had 50 more miles so I rode like crazy almost none stop for 3 1/2 hours to get to Tom Mather's house before dark. Tom knows the Allens' so he let us stay in his house tonight. The amazing thing is that he let us stay in his house even though he has never even meet us and also he is out town for a week! Thanks to his friend Charles for getting the key to let us in.

Wednesday July 28th: I got to see Thomas Edison's birthplace in Milan, Ohio (photo on the right).

I love the dollar stores. A couple of days ago I bought a can of nuts and a can of sardines and ate it at a display table in the store.

Tonight we had a real fun visit with a young couple Doug and Amy Toole of Elyria, OH.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Actual Amish Almost Accident

Thurs. July 22nd: Skyler's ankle just couldn't take it anymore. We got up at 4:30 AM to take him to the O'hare airport in Chicago. I can tell he was excited to see his family because no matter how hard we tried we never could get him up before 10:00 AM any other day. We are going to miss Skyler, he is a great kid. At least he can say that he rode farther across the country than 99.99% of all teenagers.

Today I rode through downtown Chicago. A couple of times I got temporarily lost and ending in places that I should not have been, but I won't give any details because I know my mother is going to read this. It takes a whole different set of skills to ride in a big city. You have to be constantly alert of everything. The skyline was a sight to see with the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, (the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere). I went by Soldier Field football stadium where the Chicago Bears plat. Then I rode along Lake Michigan. It was gorgeous.

I rode up to the Orak Shrine Center in Michigan City, Indiana. The guys there were great to us. As I rode up they had a newspaper reporter waiting there to interview us. Then we got a tour of the Shrine Center and they also got us a hotel room for the night!

Friday July 23rd: The girls went to play at Lake Michigan while I rode today. I stopped at a dollar store in South Bend, IN and bought sardines that I ate as I sat on a display table.

Thanks to Mr. Daley of Elkhart, IN. He took real good care of us. He cooked a fantastic buffet style dinner for us.

Saturday July 24th: There are a lot of Amish in this area. I am the only person around on a bike that is not Amish so I think they stare at me more than I stare at them. I was riding my bike on the main road and an Amish horse and buggy was coming up on a side road. Not only did they not stop, but they didn't even slow down. I had to swerve real wide to keep from being hit. If there had been an automobile in my lane I would have been ran over by the Amish man in a buggy, or even worse I could have done a face plant right in the behind of the horse! It seems odd that I have gone all this way, at times riding on hectic city streets like Chicago, and my only near hit was an Amish in a rural area.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shriners Hospital in Chicago

Tuesday July 20th: Last night we stayed with a real nice family, the Binghams. Laura asked if their farm was an animal or a crop farm. Mrs. Bingham laughed because all there is in every direction for miles and miles is corn. They gave us a tour of the farm. It was interesting to see what the different types of tractors do and to see the silos.

I rode on The Great Western Trail route. It used to be a stage coach and later a R/R route that was converted into a bike trail. There are a lot of those around these states.

Wednesday 21st: The Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago got a nice hotel for us to stay in. We went to the hospital today. We were talking to one of the Shriners and he was so impressed with what we are doing that he donated $100 cash right on the spot. We were treated like royalty all day. We went in the auditorium and spoke to the state (Illinois) high school football All-Stars that were visiting today. Kalli and Katleen, the hospital PR directors, were super. We had a fun picnic and then a tour of the hospital. They have some amazing technology.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm a TV Star Now!

Wednesday July 13th: I rode 76 miles today and the heat index got up to 118 degrees!!! I was completely, and I mean completely, soaked with sweat. I could have jumped into a hot tub and not even noticed a difference. Actually the hot tub might have been cooler. I was so exhausted. I had called pastor Clink who got us in the Presbyterian Family Center and we stayed there that night. There was a full basketball quart, racquetball, Foosball, but of course I was to tired to do anything, except take a shower and eat. There was a ton of food in the frig for us. We slept upstairs on the nice soft couches. I was so tired that I went to bed at 9:00 PM!

Friday July 15th: Yesterday we met a wonderful family, the Sheffields in Iowa City, after riding 75 miles. Today I had to hurry and ride 60 miles to be on TV in the afternoon. The Shriners got us a nice hotel in Davenport. They picked us up there and took us to the TV studio just in time. I was on the Paula Sands Live talk show! She is like the local Oprah. To see the interview go to,
then on the left click on "Paula Sands Live on July 16, 2010" and forward to about 14:30.
Then the Shriners took us to a steak dinner.

It is kind of fun when I go into s store, library, or church and a complete strangers comes up and says, "I saw you on TV."

Saturday July 17th:
I rode into Illinois and then along the Mississississississippi River bike trial for about 20 miles. It was gorgeous. Went 67 miles to Sterling, IL.

Sunday July 18th: We went to church with a great family, the Stocks. They took good care of us this weekend and invited the church members to their house this evening to hear our presentation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Wild, Wild, West.

Sunday July 11th: We went to church with the the McCance family. They have a great sense of humor and we thank them for taking such good care of us. After church there was a pot luck lunch and we gave a presentation.

Monday July 12th: This part of Iowa had bad luck years ago. Near Adair was the first train robbery in the West by Jesse James and his gang in 1873 (see picture). I also saw the bank that Bonnie and Clyde robbed in 1934. Before that had happened, near Dexter, was a near death shoot out of Bonnie and Clyde and the police.I did like the welcome sign in the town of Stuart, "Home of 1600 good eggs, and a few stinkers."

I rode 75 miles to our friends near Des Moines, Tom and Cindy Bugg. They are the only "Buggs" that we like (Get it?, "bugs."). We knew them when we both lived near Valley Forge, PA.

Tuesday July 13th: Channel 13 TV sent a camera/reporter right out to where we were staying to interview us. They ran our story on the 5, 6, and 10 PM news on TV!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pioneer Trails

Friday July 9th: 90% of the time the media puts out our story if I contact them personally but Omaha was different. Yesterday and today I went to three newspapers, four TV stations, and five radio stations and none of them where interested in our story! I couldn't believe it! I don't know if it was just bad luck or if all the big cities will all be like this.

The good news is the Zoo let us in for free. It is a real good zoo. We also saw the Lewis and Clark Landing point the mighty Missouri River. Most of this entire trip so far we have crossed or rode on all the famous pioneer routes of the Pony Express, Oregon Trial, and Mormon Trail plus others. My wife, myself, and Skyler have ancestors that came west on this pioneer trails. We have them to thank for our lives. I hope that some of their faith, tenacity, and endurance have worn off on me some how. They are probably looking down on us wondering way we are going backwards, but we do this in part to honor their lives. They traveled through hardships for a cause that they strongly believed in and we likewise are doing the same. Although they probably laugh at us when we complain about it being to hot as we run into the first air conditioned building that we can find.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Wednesday July 7th: Monday Mr. Sillivan drove me into Broken Bow to start riding where I left off and ironically my route, that I planned several months ago, lead me back to their house 2 1/2 hours later. Mrs. Sillivan had enchiladas for us. It was hard to say bye to the Sillivans. They are such a fun family. It was especially hard trying to get Skyler to leave their two teenage daughters.

I forgot to mention last week I stopped by the shade of a tree to rest and there were a hundred bright golden colored dragonflies. Some where hovering in the air and others where on the plants. It was like I had just walked into a fairytale story.

I went 75 miles today and after last week's horrible wind today was a piece of cake. That is funny. I would have never thought that riding 75 miles in day would seem easy (It's really not easy, just easy compaired to last week).

Here is another example of how friendly people have been, especially in Nebraska. We were looking for a place to camp tonight and a lady drove Laura to a nice camp site. An hour later the lady came back with a huge warm plate of chocolate rice crispy treats that she had just made for us. Often we have people trying to find me a job or showing us houses for sale so we will move to their town.

We had called a local church and the Lindquists' almost begged us to stay with them Tuesday night. We feel so loved. I told them that I had lost 14 pounds so far and Mrs. Lindquist made it her mission to help me gain back all 14 pounds in 12 hours, and I loved it. Lots of home made food including the peach and apple pie. I even got to eat ice cream with my breakfast the next morning. Then they called the Chisholm family 50 miles away so we could stay with them tonight (Wednesday July 7th)!
Wahoo!... I made it to Wahoo (yes, that is the real name of the town). Wahoo!... I am going to be in the Wahoo newspaper! Wahoo!...(I could go on forever with this one).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We Made it Half Way!

The people of Nebraska are great. As far as the biking, this week was awful. I thought that the prevailing winds of the summer in the U.S. are suppose to be from the West. Somebody forgot to tell Nebraska that. The last five days have been terrible. The wind has been blowing 20-30 mph day and night, mostly in me face. Sometimes it was so hard that I had to stand up or pedal in first gear just to keep moving, and that was on flat ground! At times it was a challenge not being blown off the road or into traffic. The wind was so strong that there was one big pond that had about a hundred breaking waves! To make matter worse when I planned this trip I knew that I would be done with the mountains so I planned this week as the most miles to go. I averaged 70 miles a day for 420 miles total in six days. Because of the wind I fell behind and tried all week to catch up. Some days where from morning tell night maybe 8 1/2 hours on the bike. I now truly understand the meaning of the phrase, "Saddle sore."I was so exhausted each day. For the first time I wondered why in the heck I was doing this, and wondered if I wanted to keep it up. One time this week the wind did stop...for about 20 seconds. It was perhaps the most glories 20 seconds of my life.

Enough whining and complaining. I did re-learn an important lesson. No matter how hard things are, if you focus on the negative it makes things worse. If you focus on the positive, time goes faster and life seems better. We had some great blessings this week. One night I was 7 miles from Laura and the campsite for the night. It was getting dark and I couldn't fall behind any more miles than I already was this week. It was getting dark and I didn't have lights. I was so tired that I just wanted to fall over on the side of the road and sleep. I prayed for help and all of the sudden such a burst of strength came over me that even Hercules would have been jealous. Then I noticed that the wind actually changed direction and was blowing me forward. After I made it the seven miles the wind changed back to how it was before.

In Alliance, Nebraska the Duitsmans' had the key to apartment complex that they lived in and let us stay in not one but two vacant apartments! Nine year old Faith was so cute. she said, "Baya and I are now adults because we have our own apartment." Another night we got a vacant ranch house all to ourselves thanks the Ramseys' near Ashby. And the Sillivans' in Arcadia, NE also had a vacant house that we had to ourselves. Wow, three homes of our own in one week! Mr. Sillivan is a leader of a congregation in Broken Bow and he arranged for our family to give the entire Fourth of July program at church. We went with them that night to watch the fireworks in Comstock.